Tuesday, November 13, 2018

This Is How I Fight My Battles



Life is hard. Isn’t it? There are so many beautiful, precious moments along the way, but there are also some gut-wrenching difficulties.

Life doesn’t pick and choose who has to wage this battle or that. We all get chosen at one point or another.

We all get a “turn” at heartbreak, at rejection, at overcoming adversity; at going against the ‘odds.’

Those moments become etched in our hearts. In our souls.

You never forget them.

Some of us put our fists up ready to fight. Some of us curl into a ball.  But however we choose to respond, the battle comes to our front door anyway.

My battles in life may be the same as yours. Or, they may be different. They may leave me scarred, or they may empower me.

I choose the outcome of how they leave me. Sometimes it takes longer than other times to make that choice, but I still choose.

That’s how I fight. 

I decide to choose my attitude.

I decide to run to… to cling to.. and to dwell on my God and my faith.

I decide to gather as much info, as many resources, and as much Godly counsel as I can.

I decide to run into battle with support - not alone.

These things strengthen me. They give me peace so I don’t panic. And they keep me in the “light” instead of the ‘darkness’ that creeps to overtake me.

I choose to have Scripture verses in prominent places where I can recite them over and over. 

I want to have Christian songs, podcasts, Bible verses, and prayers play into my ears and my heart.

I know when to give myself time alone, and when to saturate myself with the presence of others.

These things focus me. They keep my mind on the things above, instead of the things down here on earth.

It is how I fight my battles.  It is how I am not defeated by my battles.

For I never fight them alone. I know that and I embrace that.

How do you fight yours?



TrekkingThru





Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Perfect Isn't So "Perfect"



Part of me loves how a mom can weave and hold the fabric of a household together. The other part of me at times, feels so overwhelmed by it.

Over the years, God has taught me some very personal lessons on this very thing.  I have seen, how I used to be so easy-going as a young adult woman. Then, as a young mom, I somehow became more serious. I got intense about each and every decision I made as a mom - so fearful of “blowing it.”

Can you relate? Do you know that feeling?

Although I never want to regret being intentional about making the right choices and moves in life… I do look back and see how those moments could so easily elevate into “high-strung” and “intense” moments.

All because of the elusive desire for “perfection."

So, I worked on changing those attitudes and desires; worked on moving into a more balanced way of managing my home.

You see, God spoke to my heart. He  showed me over the years, that perfection is highly overrated. 

What is "perfect" anyways? 

Someone will always be more perfect than us in our minds. Someone's home will always be more perfect. Someone's look, style, way of speaking, way of parenting, and even their way of handling life, will be more "perfect" than ours. 

So what is perfect?

When Jesus came to earth, He never tried to be perfect. 

Let your mind grasp that for a minute. 

He was here as a man. Did he make sure his feet were washed and he was "perfectly" clean and presentable before seeing others? No. 

He felt their presence was more important. 

Did He care that Mary and Martha's home was perfectly in order, or that their meal was immaculately prepared? No. 

He wanted their companionship more. 

And that is what God is showing me. That, people matter MORE.

God has shown me that "perfect" isn't so perfect. We can try to do our best out of love for those in our life, but we need to reframe our priorities and standards of perfection.

Our best today might be to clean our whole house; whereas tomorrow, our best might simply be to make the bed.  You see? It’s not perfection that matters.. it’s simply doing our best at the life we’ve been given.

We have all been too hard on ourselves, holding ourselves up to standards that no one can live up to.

Do your best. Do your best out of love for yourself, and for others. But prioritize being with people, more than delivering something TO people. Prioritize soaking in your moments together as a family. They won’t remember the dust-free shelves as much as they will remember the laughs or the tears you shared in conversation together!

Let’s walk together in the Lord, faithfully doing our “best” - but saying goodbye to “perfect.” For it will ever-tempt us with its elusive and unattainable standards that will only overwhelm us.







Tuesday, October 30, 2018

We Are What We Think We Are



“I’m not a fighter," you may think.

“I’m weak.,” your spirit may feel.

But you’re not weak. And you CAN be a fighter…. A great warrior.

Our thoughts are half the battle, they say. I think, our thoughts sometimes, are the WHOLE battle.

We are what we think we are.

If you start thinking you can do something, you are that much closer to doing it.

If you start feeling like you can overcome, you take a step in doing just that.

You just need to believe in yourself.

I believe everyone can become a fighter. Everyone can gain internal strength. Everyone can overcome.

But not everyone will.

The difference between you and that successful, victorious, overcomer over there? They refused to give up or give in. 

They were determined.

They persevered.

They believed.

Don’t you want that for yourself? I know I want that for MYSELF!  

So, start believing. Start paying attention to the battle that wages inside of your mind. 

Start paying attention to what words you let trickle down and plant themselves in your heart.

Rise up.

Overcome.


And become a great warrior.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Which One Are You?



People leave footprints in our lives. On our hearts. Some imprints we let come in and stay - when we shouldn’t.

We need to be very careful about who we open the door to.

Not everyone wants to be our friend. Not everyone is giving us unselfish and loving advice.

Not everyone, is thinking of US.

On the other hand, some of us don’t open the door at all. We don’t even look to see who’s there. We just leave it shut. We’ve already seen what can enter. And we don’t want to go near that again.

Which one are you?

I think we all step towards one - or - the other.

We either have those walls up, or we NEED to put some up.

Broken hearts. Wounded pride. Lack of self esteem. We are all on the road to “somewhere.” How we walk that road, who we let in to walk it along with us, and why we walk one road, compared to another one - they are very telling.  They tell a story of where we’ve been, and how we’ve let that affect us.

Are we victims? Are we survivors? Are we overcomers?

Do we expect the world to come to our door, or do we open it up and walk out into it on our own?

Do we hide behind the door?

Do we fail to shut the door at all? Fail to see we let others run our lives? Our thoughts? Our feelings? 

Are we too careful? Or not careful enough?


Which one are you? Which door is yours? And which road is yours?

No one can dictate your destiny. YOU choose. You choose your attitude. You choose your direction. You choose who walks with you. 

YOU.


So which one are you?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Those Chips On Our Shoulder




Chips.  Those ones that sit on our shoulders. 

There are too many of them.

Not one to ever stir a pot - I see one being stirred anyways.  

It’s being stirred by the person who always thinks that everything bad that happens to them, is because of their race or color. Not because they weren’t a good employee, spouse, or person.

It’s being stirred by the person who feels left out because they are “gender-different”. They don’t consider the fact that maybe the activity simply is meant to be “fun” for a group of guys, or girls, or friends. And that they can start their own.

The pot is being stirred by those who can’t handle any kind of views, beliefs, or thoughts that are different than their own. Especially in government. It doesn’t matter if good is being done. Morality is being restored. Or values being enhanced. If they can’t do what they want - they don’t like it.

Even if it’s illegal.

We can rephrase things. We can twist them. We can protest against them.  But none of that will change what is going on inside of US. 

None of it will change those chips that sit on our shoulders. Chips that have nothing to do with anyone else - not really. They started with our parents. With being bullied. Rejected. Emotionally ridiculed and abused.

And then we let them sit there. For years. Until they embedded themselves so deeply that we found ourselves letting those moments, those people, affect everything we did. Everything we said. And everything we believed about the world, and about ourselves.

Chips.

There are too many of them.

It starts with us. It starts with us getting healthy ABOUT us. 

It starts with us recognizing our character. Do we have any?

It starts with us treating that cancer inside of us that we let grow and grow and grow.

It’s time for healing, don’t you think?

Life IS unfair. And maybe you WERE fired because of your race or your color. But maybe? Maybe you were fired because you didn’t do a good job.

And maybe someone DOES think differently than you. That doesn’t mean they can’t still like you.

We get “off” on stirring the pot, because we’re unhappy. And we feel unloved. It’s time to change that.

And it starts with me. It starts with you.


It starts with getting rid of those chips on our shoulder, that we’ve let sit for far, far too long. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

We Need to Learn to "Accept"



I’ve always been slow to process things. When my girls go shopping with me, and ask me if I like something, I pause. They are quick to think I mean, “no,” and that I don’t like the item. But really, I’m pondering and digesting.  

Then I know what I think.

I’m just built that way.

When someone I love deeply passes away, it takes me many, many months to grieve their loss.

When I get dealt bad news, (like having to wear my splint for 3 months post-jaw surgery, instead of 6 weeks), it can take me many hours to overcome the disappointment.

But the point is, I do come to that point. I do overcome.

I do accept. I just need the right time to come to terms with things.

We all have different timeframes built inside of us - that are the right timeframes for us to come to terms with things. There is no “set” time period that fits all of us.

But for some of us, we can live there in that moment far past the moment of acceptance. We stay in denial, rejection, or fear.  And it holds us back.

You can’t truly be free until you accept something.

For me, it was humbling to have to go out in public and talk weird and slurred with a splint in my mouth. But once I overcame the “humiliation” aspect of it all, it was easier to accept. It was temporary. It was for a greater good. And anyone who loved me, didn’t care. They knew I’d been through a big surgery and was still healing.

Perspective.

Acceptance is about moving forward. It’s about refusing to let something make you “lesser” of a person. It’s about deciding to be strong, instead of weak.

And let’s face it, we have a world full of people who refuse to accept. They refuse to accept a President. Refuse to accept that something was an accident. Refuse to accept someone’s “I’m sorry.”  And they live there. 

And it weakens them.

I know there are things in life that are truly injustices. And there are many battles we should wage and fight for. Moral battles and fights. But most things? Most things are just life. And life is all about ups and downs. Good and bad. 

And we need to accept that.

We can never be the people we truly desire to be, deep down, if we don’t learn to accept the losses in our lives. 

I want that for you. And I want it for me.

So, even if it takes you awhile to process something… like it does for me… process. Then move on. Lift your chin up. And step forward.

Stronger. Wiser. Humbler. 


Better.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Feeling the Sting of Conviction



Not that long ago, I wrote an article that caused some strong responses from people.

It had been awhile, since that has happened to me.

At first, I thought, maybe I was wrong in the thoughts I had expressed. But after further contemplation, I realized it wasn’t that I thought I was wrong in my feelings, but rather, I thought maybe I was rash in expressing them.  

They were, after all, going to be controversial.

It’s so easy to stay in the “safe” zone.

It would have been so easy for me to not express what I was feeling.  Even in doing so, I had tried not to point my finger at anyone, or make anyone feel like I thought I was better than them.  Let’s get that straight right now. I’m not.

But sometimes, I feel very propelled to write on something that God has spoken to my spirit. And I need to have the strength of conviction, to do so, with love, and truth.

Whenever I say something, I realize that everyone has the right to feel or think what they want to. It’s your freedom. It’s mine. But I don’t want to shy away from topics out of fear. I don’t want to be afraid to speak truth. And in this social climate, it’s easier and easier to feel that way.

If God uses something I say to convict someone’s heart - that is a good thing.  But it is not ME doing the convicting. I am merely a messenger.  And in being a messenger, I realize that we all have different battles. What you feel convicted about, I may not struggle with. I may have an entirely different struggle altogether. But we all struggle with something.

Feeling convicted is a good thing. A good thing, indeed. And I fear we have encroached upon a time in life where no one really feels convicted anymore. 

They merely feel offended.

We can never change, without feeling convicted about something in our hearts, or in our life. We can’t become better, wiser, or understand someone else’s perspective, without some sort of conviction humbling our hearts.

Writing a piece that caused some strong words to spill from people, was a good thing for me. It showed me how comfortable I felt staying “safe.” Staying out of controversy. And far from wanting to jump into controversy all of the time, it strengthened my legs, to remind me WHO I write for.  

And why.

I am not right about everything. I have to rethink a lot of things along this journey in life. I change my mind. I consider. I ponder. I ask God for direction.  But one thing I do do, is offer honesty in love.

And if I share something, you can bet it’s from a heart that means well. That wants to make a positive impact on someone’s life.


I will humbly, continue to write about the things that I feel God stirs in my spirit. And I pray, that as you, the reader, read them - that He will in turn, use them for some sort of good in your life. Even if that good, starts with the sting of conviction.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Don't Let Them Change You



Don’t let them change you.  Unless it’s for the better.

We so easily let others define who we are, and who we will be.  We let their words pour out of our hearts when we look at ourselves in the mirror.  We let them dictate our choices and our weaknesses; forgetting where our strengths lie.

We let them change us.

We let them choose the paths we will go on in life. 

We so easily believe what is laid upon us, by others. We believe that we are weak. That we are ugly. We believe we aren’t talented and we believe that we are never going to get better. 

We let others control us. And sometimes they aren’t even in our lives anymore. But their words ring on and on and on…. And they live inside of us as if they were standing right in front of us.

We weaken ourselves to the point where we can’t handle any kind of stress, tragedy, or curveball that will happen in our lives. 

We become fragile.

All because we let them win. We let them change us.

I’m here to tell you, you are made of MORE. 

You can start again. 

You can change YOURSELF.  

You can become stronger.

Start with one thing. Then add another and another until you leave that path they had you on, and you step onto the path YOU choose.  

YOU change YOU.

YOU take control.


Don’t let them change you. Don’t let them hurt you anymore.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Letting Cobwebs Gather



I hate it when I go around dusting my home, and see corners where cobwebs have sneakily gathered. Sometimes it’s up high in a corner; sometimes on a tucked away window ledge.

It makes me feel like I’ve neglected my house making duties. Like, I have been “slacking.” 

Maybe I have. Or maybe I just don’t always pay attention to the things that aren’t right in my line of eyesight. I mean, how often do we go about our lives in our homes, and forget to look up. Or forget to look behind something? 

That’s why the cobwebs gather.

The same is true of our lives. A lot of times we tend to the things we see right in front of us. We think everything is clean, and superficially, it is. But we forget to look in the corners and nooks tucked out of our line of vision. We forget to look behind, to what hasn’t been taken care of. Those areas of our lives that are gathering cobwebs.

Maybe it’s an area of bitterness that we haven’t dealt with because it’s not currently bothering us. Maybe it’s the loss of something that we’ve failed to grieve, or a hurt that we’ve set up on a shelf.  Sometimes those things that are gaining cobwebs in our lives are the very things that are keeping us from feeling whole. We wander around wondering what is missing, and why we can’t move forward. 

It’s because there are cobwebs that are taking up residence in our lives. 

Just as in a home – every area of our heart and soul needs to be dusted off and cleaned. We can’t expect things to heal themselves. We can hope for everything to feel “good as new” but it won’t. Not without some attention from us.

Is it time that you got out that dust rag or feather duster, and cleaned off some corners of your heart? 

Do you need to look at some things that you’ve buried deep inside – things that have grown cobwebs?  

We think things stay back in the past when we move on with life but they don’t. They come with us. They reside IN us.

In order to be whole – we need to pay attention to every area of our lives. We need to deal with the “junk” even though (just like dusting) it’s not fun.  Once we do? Everything will feel better. We will feel cleaner.


And, we’ll wonder how we ever could have let that spot get so neglected.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In the "Wait"



The waiting can be excruciating.  You wake up each morning with that sinking feeling that today will be another day that goes by, without your answer.

For me - it was waiting for my insurance to approve my appeal so that I could have jaw surgery. A surgery that would entail a tough recovery.

It would be hard enough to actually GO THROUGH it all. But the wait? The waiting just made the tough process seem all that much longer. All that much harder.

I was sitting in the bathroom one morning, when God spoke to my heart. As I was thinking, “How long will I wait….?”  He spoke to me about my feelings. I was enlightened to how He must have felt each morning He awoke, knowing the day of His crucifixion was all that much closer. How must He have felt…. Knowing each day brought Him closer to that?

Was MY wait that hard?

And Queen Esther. How must she have felt each morning she awoke, wondering how she was going to approach her King.. her HUSBAND… about the impending death of her people? HER impending death?

When did Job wonder how much more he would have to go through? Each day he awoke, did he feel discouraged? Did he wonder how much more he would have to endure?
The wait.

We all have it. We all have to go through it.

Those of you who wake up each day, waiting for an organ transplant.

Those of you who wake up, hoping this will be the day a child is granted to be your FOREVER child.

Not one “wait” is easier or harder than another…. To those who are going through it. 

But it’s there so that God can open our eyes. So that we can SEE. So that things will be revealed to that raw, tender part of our heart that is suddenly so open. So willing to hear something GOOD, or something that we can relate to.

My wait was hard for me. But God met me there. And He will meet you in the middle of your “wait” too.

And that experience? Will always be something we hold close to our heart. Because through it, we grew. We felt.


We SAW.