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.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Love Is.....



There used to be a cartoon strip that my husband and I would see in the Sunday paper from time to time. It was entitled, “Love is….” Then it would show a guy and a girl and it would have various themes each week of what “Love is.”  I remember hanging one or two of them on my fridge, and in fact, my husband and I would use that phrase occasionally when one or the other of us, did something loving for the other.

I still go to that phrase in my head and my heart.  For “love IS…” so much more than we often think of. And so much less. 

It’s the little things.

Love is….. when my husband walked back and forth our back yard with me, when I was healing from jaw surgery - because I was too tired to walk our street.

Love is…. When instead of playing the music I prefer at bedtime, I play my husband’s music of choice…… 70’s.

Love is…. When my son-in-law runs an extra errand even though he’s tired from work, to help out an “also-tired-from-work” daughter.

It’s turning on the heated seat in the car for your spouse before they get in from the cold.

It’s letting their messes around the house go, for a day, or a week, because you know they’ve had a busy or tough time of it.

Love is not complaining. Eating the not-so-greatly-cooked dinner. It’s not expecting a ‘thank-you.’

Love is taking your hard-working husband a cold drink, when they are out taking care of the yard.

It’s wiping up the kitchen, or sweeping the floor for your wife.

Love is SO much. And it’s also so little. 

It’s in the details of our day-to-day life. It’s in the laying down of our wishes, our pride, and our agenda.


Love IS. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Let's Talk About "OMG"




OMG.  It’s typed all the time on the internet. In texts.  In comments. 

And, it’s said in the same abbreviated form. 

“OMG!”

Usually, it’s in response to a “wow” kind of thing. Something that makes you feel astonished, amazed, or flabbergasted. (Yes, I used the word, “flabbergasted.”)

For me? Personally?

I HATE the abbreviation “OMG.” 

And I’ll tell you why.

It stands for, “Oh, my God.”

Not, “Oh my gosh.”

Not, “Oh my goodness.”

No, it stands for “Oh, my God.”

And it offends me.  Because MY God? He is Holy. He is to be revered. Respected. And the Bible tells me I am not to take his name in vain.

To me - that includes taking his name in abbreviated-form of vain. Or written-form of vain.

Listen, I get it. It’s an easy-to-adapt way to exclaim over something. You’re not REALLY saying “OMG” spelled out.

But, you are INFERRING “OMG” spelled out.

And intent is everything.

At least for me.

So, if you believe in the Lord, if you claim Him as your Savior - can I just ask you a favor? Think about what you say. Think about what you INFER when you say it. And think about how others might take it.

For me? I intend to try and honor my Lord in all I say and do. 


And that means, no “OMG” for me.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Be the Person You Wished You'd Had in Your Own Life




For some of us, we struggle with our purpose in life.  We wonder if we are at the right job, in the right town, or if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing in life.

We dream of things being different.

We dream of living somewhere else. Doing SOMETHING else.

When our real questions and dreams shouldn’t have anything to do with what we DO at all.

They should address who we are BEING.

I think a lot of times, we feel empty inside not because of WHERE we are, but because of WHO we are.

We place our focus and priorities on the wrong things. Things that will satisfy only temporarily.

Life changes. THINGS change. WE change.

The grass will always look greener somewhere else, because we look at it through “movie-perfect” vision. We don’t see that there are still problems everywhere. There are still negatives. Still unsatisfied people living where we want to live. Working where we want to work.

Yes. We do often feel tugs and pulls that are not to be ignored. There ARE moments in our lives, where we need to change something, or move somewhere different and better. There ARE places where we can flourish more, than where we are at.

But……


And it’s a big “but”…..

Not everyone has a specific calling in their life. We don’t all have a “call” to a certain career. For a lot of us, we are simply meant to walk faithfully day in and day out. We are to BE the person we wish we had in our lives. BE the person we wish we’d had in our lives when we were younger.

Did you go through a “storm” in life, and wish someone had walked with you through it? BE that person.

Did you feel lonely as a child, because no one understood your home life? BE that person for another child.

Did you wish you’d had a better father figure, or mother figure? BE that figure for someone else.

BE the person, YOU’D wished you’d had. 

And you’ll feel that emptiness float away. You’ll find your purpose and meaning.


Not because of WHERE you are, but because of WHO you are.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Teach Your Kids To Keep Swimming



Being a parent is so emotional.  It’s hard enough navigating the tired days, the stressful, “too-busy” days….but the days where your kids are battling emotional issues outside of your home? Those can really take their toll.

If only I could swoop in and rescue my kids on these days. For it is excruciating, to stand by, and see them hurting. Whether it’s someone who verbally hurts them, an unfair situation that occurs, or feelings of inadequacy, those are truly pivotal moments in our children’s lives.

As are, how we handle them, as mom and dad.

It would be so easy to run in and rescue my kids. It would be easy to shelter them from the bruises that come from others. And it would be preferable to my heart.

But it’s not what our kids need.

If we don’t give our kids the tools and the roots to handle life when the ground shifts beneath them —- they will never know how to stand firm. They will get swallowed up and “lost.”

We may not always have the answers to help. But we do have ideas. We have compassion. And we can believe in who our kids are. Those tools can be EVERYTHING to help them get through those tough seasons.

The only promise we can give them, is that we will walk through this time with them. That we will listen, and we will love.

It doesn’t help to hurl insults on another party. To remove our children from the situation. (Unless they are in danger emotionally or physically.) It doesn’t help to address things FOR them. No. We need to give our children tools to speak up for themselves. We need to help them learn what “higher ground” is, and how to internally, and emotionally protect themselves, even when things aren’t fair.

These are the best things we can give our precious kids.


So, mom, dad? Teach your kids how to keep swimming. Teach them how to wade through those currents and rough waters, so that they don’t risk drowning.  We can’t always be there for them. We’ve got to help them learn how to be there for themselves.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

For He Loved Me




“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
Psalms 44:3



…”For you loved them.” 

That line brings such warmth to my heart. 

There are so many battles we fight in life. Some of them are physical, some spiritual.  And for most of them, we think it’s US doing all of the fighting.

We think it’s US waging the battle. Whatever it is, that has been placed before us, we feel like we have our swords drawn… daily.

And, maybe we do.  But we certainly aren’t in the battle alone. We aren’t waging the fight… alone. And WE aren’t the ones who bring about any victory.

There is a whole spiritual realm fighting for us. Fighting WITH us. And it’s those swords that bring about our victory. 

We can pray mightily. Fight mightily. We can muster all of the courage in the world. And those things, I reckon, will probably help us grow, learn, and become even stronger. 

But the battles are won, most times, because God simply loves us and wants to give us the victory.

We think there must be more. But there’s not. 

God does things for us simply because He loves us and He desires to bless us. 

He doesn’t want to see us defeated. He likes to encourage us, and reveal His glory to us.

Yes, I believe He wants us to get on our knees and pray. I believe He wants us to use what tools He’s given us in our faith, to fight the wars in our lives. But I think those things are there, more for our own spiritual growth and walk, than they are for end results, really.

In our own strength, we are so feeble. Do we really think it’s US that deserves the victory? 

Or God?

If I think I’ve done “enough” of something to win a battle, then it’s too easy for the focus to be on myself and what I can do.., then on what my God can do. And in fact, on what He DID.

So what a tender reminder this verse is for me to remember, that it is not by MY might but by God’s, that wins the battles and wars in my life.

And He does it for one simple reason.

Love.


For He loved me.