Sunday, March 29, 2015

When You Can't Move On

Stuck. Sometimes we’re just stuck.  Stuck in the past. Stuck in the moments that hurt us deeply. Stuck in what “wasn’t.” Stuck.

We live there, in the past. We wish. We hope. We mope about feeling sorry for ourselves and our bad luck. Our misfortunes. Our wasted dreams.

It doesn’t do us any good to be stuck. It’s not healthy and we need to learn how to move on with our lives. To move forward.

Yes. We were wronged.

Yes. We were hurt.

Yes. Someone took advantage of us.

Yes. We were lonely and ignored.

Yes. We could have been great at “that” thing.

Yes. We are dealing with someone else’s wrong choices and they affected us in an unfair way.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It stinks. But we lived through it. We made it.

It was in the past and we are now in the present. It’s time to live in it, don’t you think?  Use what hurt you. Use it for good. Use it for growth. Use it to get stronger and better. Use it to help someone else.

The longer I live life, the more I see how life doesn’t go the way we thought it would go. Our nicely laid out plans and paths end up being detours and road blocks. What should be a smooth road is bumpy. What should be a straight shot is full of curves.

It’s life.

We have the opportunity to move forward with freedom, joy, and peace. We just need to come to terms with what has happened to us.

It is a part of our story. Not the best part, but a part. And we can use it to our advantage and the advantage of others. But we can’t stay ‘stuck’ back there; still living in that moment and time. We have to leave it back there and move forward.

What we’ve gone through will always be a part of us. But it can be a part of us that God can redeem and use for good.

Let Him.

Take a step today to move forward and find a new dream, a new purpose, and a new freedom in knowing that you weren’t conquered. You weren’t overcome.

Move forward. Make the choice to redefine your future into something beautiful. One step at a time.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sometimes, Your Decisions Cost Me

The world loves the saying, “to each his own.”  It is a champion of doing what is right “for you.”

This mentality fails to highlight the problems with these sayings, or with this kind of way of living. There is the plain and simple fact that more often than naught, our own decisions affect others.

Rarely do the decisions we make affect only us.

I am here to say that many, many times I have been hurt, stressed, lost financially, and been burdened, by the decisions that other people have made – for themselves.

When we think only of ourselves, we fail to see how our decisions affect those around us, especially those we care about.  Someone always picks up the tab for a responsibility, problem, issue, or dilemma that we choose to leave unaddressed. If it’s not us – then who is it? Someone else!

Someone else always picks up the tab emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Issues in life can’t just hang out in the open air to dangle for eternity. They have to be dealt with.  Not only that, sometimes the issues we DO choose to address, are still dealt with by someone else nearby. It’s an overflow issue.

When we choose to do things to our bodies, those near us have to deal with those choices as well, whether or not they agree or like it.   When we choose to live according to ideals or principles, those who love us are affected by those same ideals and principles – whether they are good ones, or bad ones.

I’m not saying we have to consult everyone around us before we make decisions in life. I AM saying that we should give thought to how our choices might affect the people we love; especially if there is the possibility of them being affected negatively.

It is also important to remember that when we choose to run out on commitments, problems, responsibilities, etc – someone else is often left holding the bag. It may not cost you, but it costs them.

You may not have to deal with the affects of quitting that job – but your parents might, as it weighs more heavily on them financially to help you out.

You may not see the problem in growing or smoking marijuana in your backyard, but the neighbor who has to breathe and smell it next door might.

You may not have any problem with your dogs running around the neighborhood, but your neighbor who doesn’t own pets and has to constantly scoop up poop or gets pee spots in his green grass might have something different to say about that.

You may not worry about that money that was loaned to you years ago, but the person who loaned it to you could really use that amount repaid to them.

Our decisions always cost someone. It’s better that that someone be us, than someone else. We need to be responsible for the choices and moves we make in life.

If we can own our actions and behaviors, we can overcome them, as well. And we won’t ruin relationships along the way.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

What's Up With That Texas Pride?

The pride in Texans is so very obvious. When we first moved here, I noticed it right away. The Texas star symbol was engraved on beautiful glass entry doors, on manholes in the street, and on highway overpasses. The Texas flag hung here and there and the Texas state shape was on jewelry, phone cases, and wall d├ęcor.

One of my daughters commented on how much people adored a “symbol.” I mean, we came from Idaho, and I never saw anyone wearing a necklace in the shape of the state of Idaho. I grew up in Oregon. Same thing. Never saw anyone wearing an Oregon necklace, much less have the shape of it painted beautifully as art on their wall!

It’s Texas pride.

It may seem odd to some – but I like it. Not that I want to worship a symbol, but that it shows respect and pride in something. And that, I think, we need a whole lot more of.

I have a cross on my wall and it is a symbol I respect. Just as I respect the shape of Texas that I wear around my neck. Because it stands for a place where I live and where I love others. It stands for a place that I am going to try to better, while I am there. Somewhere that I am invested into the community, and care about the people I walk amongst.

Can you imagine what would happen if more people had symbols as reminders of what they hold important to them? What if we had images of the cross engraved in our doors, or beautiful paintings of the Bible hanging on our walls? What if we had other images as reminders of what we prioritize in life? Images of a committed marriage, the value of a newborn’s life, or a symbol for respect and honor?

They are reminders, that’s all. Reminders of what we hold dear and what we stand for.

I’m thankful to be here in Texas - to see what pride in something means, and to take part in that. The world could use more people who take pride in where they live and in who they live among.

It may just be a symbol – an object – but what it stands for is what matters the most.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sometimes I Don't Feel Equipped

As a parent, a wife, and an adult – I feel like I should know answers in life. I should know how to handle dilemmas, problems, challenges, and hurdles.

But I don’t always.

I have instincts, I have intuition, I have some experience in things – but it doesn’t cover all of what life plans to throw at me.

Sometimes… I just don’t feel equipped.

I don’t feel equipped to navigate the circumstances that my children have to go through.

I don’t always feel equipped enough, to know what to do with life’s hurts.

I don’t feel equipped to deal with relationship issues that no one will seem to win at.

I don’t feel capable. I don’t feel knowledgeable enough. I don’t feel like I am the right person for the job that is placed in front of me.

But the thing is – as ill-equipped as I feel at times? I know my God is MORE than equipped. He is able to handle it all.

When I don’t know how to help my children, God knows. 

When I don’t know what the right thing to say is, God knows.

When I don’t know where to funnel my emotions after a deep wound, God knows.

He knows it all.

And I am here – His vessel. Ready to be used. Ready to be molded. Ready to grow.

Because I don’t want to keep facing life’s challenges feeling like I can’t do it. I don’t want to feel unsteady. I want to feel equipped – not in my own strength. But in HIS. I want to feel His lifeblood course through my veins knowing I can trust it all into His hands.

And be at peace.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Love Is....

Love. It’s easy to show love to someone when you are “feeling” it. When you first meet and everything feels magical … it’s easy to love.  But as the years go by, and you get to know your love more intimately, you realize love is a much deeper feeling. It’s a much deeper choice.

You choose to love when your spouse smells from working out in the yard or hasn’t shaved all weekend. You choose to love when they are throwing up from a 24 hr bug.  You choose to love when you are grumpy, irritated, or annoyed by your significant other.

My husband has shown me what true love is. He has loved me in ways and in times that have deeply touched my heart. My husband has showed me how much he loves me by going out walking in our neighborhood; calling, and looking for our indoor cat who had slipped out and gone missing. He doesn’t like cats, particularly. So him taking the time and effort to try and find something that was dear to me, showed me how much he loved me.

My husband knows how cold I get. So if he is in bed before me, he will lay on my side and warm it up for me, so that when I come to bed, it’s all warm. Now, that’s love.

Love is more than a good feeling when everything is going well and you both think the world of one another. It shows up in the middle of a tragedy, when you are bone-tired, and when you have the plain-as-day choice to not “feel” loving. That’s when true love shows how selfless, kind, generous, joyful, patient, and thoughtful it can be.

My husband is so good at loving me. He’s a great teacher. I learn from him often, how to reach out and think of someone else and not yourself. I am blessed.

I pray, that you too, can have a great teacher for what love is. If you don’t, you can teach yourself by modeling it and showing it – even when you aren’t quite feeling it.  Make the choice to love your husband (or wife) on the days and in the moments where you won’t get anything back for yourself. There IS no greater gift, than to give the gift of love. It will come back to you tenfold.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sometimes Our Hearts Go Off Course

Sometimes our heart goes off course.  We start on a mission, ministry, or goal and it can be pure. It’s good. God may have called us or led us to that thing, purpose, or vision.

Then, somewhere along the way, that pureness is lost. We aren’t following God’s calling anymore. We aren’t listening to His whispers. We listen only to our own voice, or those who feed into us with things we want to hear.

We get lost along the way and we don’t even know it.

So many things in life are like this. We get tainted by our own ‘press.’ We get filled with our own success. We get lost in the details of the plan and forget the meaning and purpose of what the plan originally was.

Our hearts go off course.

It’s so important to have accountability in our lives. People who won’t just tell us what we want to hear, but people who are honest with us in a gracious and loving way. We need people who have wisdom and discernment – and those who are honest.

We also need to remember we aren’t the boss. We like to think we’re in control, but we’re not. There is a higher power who dictates where we go, when we go, how we go, and when we get there! He can strip us away from that dream just as easily as He gave it to us.

Just because we are gifted in something, doesn’t mean we are pure in using that giftedness.

Just because we were called to something, doesn’t mean our hearts are humble in achieving that calling.

We need to analyze our motivation and our intent on a regular basis in order to keep our heart on the right track. We will only accomplish what God wants us to accomplish and touch hearts in the way He wants them touched, if we allow our hearts to stay on the course that He wants them on. Sometimes we may feel rerouted from original goals. Sometimes we may feel like we are stuck in our tracks and not moving anywhere at all. But we are right where we’re supposed to be if we continue to let God do the leading and guiding.

It only feels right, to be on the right course. We usually internally know when we’ve veered off, but we can do a lot to protect ourselves before we even get to that point. Take the stand today to put boundaries in place, so that you can be right where you flourish and are used the most….

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Living In a Constant State of Thankfulness

A spirit of thankfulness.

I was recently listening to someone pray and they spoke of wanting to live in a state of thankfulness. Their words really touched my heart, for they are words that you don’t hear that often.

We ask God for forgiveness. We offer up many prayer requests. And we do thank Him for specific answers. But we don’t offer ask to live in a constant state of thankfulness day-to-day.

I was touched by the humility in that request. The pureness of it all. And I immediately wanted that request to come from my own heart as well.

I want to live in a perpetual state of thankfulness.

I don’t want to ever forget where God has taken me, the things He has brought me out of , or the platform He has given me. I don’t want to forget His constant faithfulness, His never-ending patience with me, or His tender love during the tough moments in my life. For I am so deeply, deeply thankful for it all.

I am thankful for all the “yes’s” He’s given me, and I’m even thankful for many of the “no’s. “

I’m thankful for the protection, reassurance, and victories.

I come to my Lord over and over and over again. And He never tires of me. He never tires of my requests.

That is a GOOD God. That is a LOVING God!

I never want to feel entitled, bitter for what I don’t get in life, or ungrateful. I want to be thankful for where I am, what I have, and who I have with me. For I know, they are all precious, priceless gifts.

A spirit of thankfulness. I do want to live in it and feel it radiate within me.

For with it, I know I will be happy and content.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The World Has Enough Talkers

It seems to me that we can say just about anything we want to in life. We can express our heart’s dreams, wishes, disgust, criticism, or opinions on just about anything and everything.

We can openly talk about all the things we want to do or intend to do.

We can say we’ll do lots of things.

We’ll pay back that debt.

We’ll be accountable.

We’ll get a job.

We’ll change our ways.

The list goes on and on.

Our politicians say lots of things. Our teachers say lots of things. Our pastors, our community leaders, our parents…. Say lots of things.  But do they DO them?

It seems to me that the world has enough “talkers.”  We need people who put action behind their words. People who are active participants in their life and in the lives of others.  For talk doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s just that – talk.

I want to believe someone when they talk. I want to trust what they say. At times, what I need is hope. I need love, respect, and yes, sometimes I need protection. I need to trust that when someone tells me something, that those words stand on fact. I need to believe in words that hang out in the air with nothing to hold them together except someone’s integrity and character.

We all need that.

There was a time when I’d trust people until they betrayed that trust. Time’s are a changing! It’s more often than naught, that now, I wait to see if someone will actually do what they say they will do. If they will be who they say they are.

I want to believe. Don’t you?  But we can’t expect of others what we also don’t deliver ourselves. WE need to not just be “talkers” but also, be people of action. WE need to deliver on our word and on our promises. WE need to be trustworthy!

The world has enough “talkers.” Let’s start praying for “doers” and let’s start BEING “doer’s” ourselves.

It’s time for action.