Saturday, May 28, 2016

No One Can Ever Steal a Memory

 I’ve lost some special people in my life. But I still think of them, often.

I think of my grandpa who died of a heart attack when I was in 5th grade. And my other grandpa who passed in 2009 at the age of 90.

I think of my cousin, who committed suicide at a young age. A friend who did the same.   And I think of a young friend who was hit and killed by a car in high school.

I think of so many people who have come into my life – left their mark; impacted my heart, and then were gone.

Their love keeps living inside of me.

You never really lose someone you love. A part of them is always with you. Whether they are a friend, or a family member.  Certain things will always jarr your memory and remind you of something they did, something they said, how they smelled, etc.

Time somehow keeps certain memories alive. Certain feelings vibrant.

They don’t have to be sad – they can cause a smile to form on your lips, or a giggle to spill from your throat.

That’s love.

Everyone, whom I love in this life, becomes a part of me, somehow. In some way, a slice of them rubs off on me, and it sticks.

And I like knowing that. I like feeling that.

We may be physically far away from those special loved ones who’ve passed on ahead of us. But inside, we will always be close.

No one can ever steal a memory.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Know Yourself. Know Yourself WELL.

How well do you know yourself?

Do you know yourself well enough to know when someone “mislabels” you?

There will always be people out there who don’t get us. People who are jealous of us. People, who just, plain, don’t like us.

I don’t understand it. I don’t agree with it. But it’s the reality of life.

So, how well do you know yourself?  How well do you know yourself when you find out lies have been spread about you?  How well do you know yourself, when someone says something to you about how you act, or what they think of you… that is in contradiction to who you think you are?

How well, do you know your heart, your soul, and your mind?

We must know ourselves very well. We must know what we stand for. We need to know what we believe about ourselves, about humanity, and about life.

We need to know our weaknesses and strengths.

We need to know when to reject words and thoughts meant to shape us in ways that aren’t encouraging, or aren’t fuel to the fire in our hearts. Words that don’t motivate the spark in us that can impact the world in a better way.

We need to know our giftings. We need to accept how we were made and how we are growing.

It takes time alone to truly learn about yourself. It takes quiet, reflective moments to listen to what’s in our hearts and our heads.

It takes courage to listen to what is truly going on inside ourselves – good – or bad.

But we need to hear it. We need to know what rages inside of us. And we need to let it be molded into something that strengthens us into better people.

Some people are really good for us. They are great at getting us to know ourselves better. They have a gift of investing into us, without chipping anything away. 

These are the people we need to surround ourselves with. They are gifts.

You never know when your life will be taken for a spin. You never know when everything you thought you were, will be questioned, challenged, and confronted.  So if you don’t already, get to know who you really are. Know what you’re capable of. Know what you want to be about.  And then stand on it. Stand strong and sure.

So that when the attack comes, you will know yourself well.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

For the Things I Clutch Onto, Too Tightly

I love deeply. I love with passion. I love with every bone and fiber of my being. So when I love someone, I LOVE someone.

I love my God. I love my children. My husband. My relatives and friends. But there are times where God has to remind me that loving people, here, doesn’t mean I can compartmentalize them away from Him. For when I love them, I want to hold onto them. And sometimes God has different plans.

I love my Lord more than anything. Yet His lessons are still hard for me to grasp and accept at times. It’s hard to accept when He wants to take away someone in my life that I love dearly. It’s hard when He sees fit to move along a friendship or bring someone new into someone else’s life so that I am set aside. And yet, I trust Him. Even if I don’t like how events unfold.

I don’t think I have ever loved anyone more completely in this life than my family.  Once you become a wife and a mom – it’s a whole different ballgame. Your heart is no longer your own. Everything can become a threat, a fear, a danger. You throw your whole being into protecting your children, nurturing them, instilling values and morals into them – only to know that one day they will walk out your door.

It can be so easy to clutch onto them too tightly.

If letting go would only be easier. If it only would sound more inviting, and welcoming.  But it doesn’t. It sounds painful.

I am coming upon that time in life when God will ask me to let go of my children. To let Him take over. (As if He wasn’t always in charge, anyways!) As my children come into the age of being independent adults, my heart has to ready itself to break a little – or a lot. I have to unclench my hands and let God’s hands replace my own. The God I love more than anything. The God I trust.

I couldn’t let them go to anyone or anything else.

They are so priceless, my children. So irreplaceable. And it’s so scary to let them go. It’s scary to relinquish “say” and control. Because I love them. Deeply. I enjoy them. And I always want them near. They are lifeblood to me.

Someday, I know they will have children of their own. And they, too, will feel that deep, deep love. And they will understand. They will know my heart.

But for now, I have to ready myself. I have to prepare. I have to understand that this season of my life is changing and shifting.

I think when I think of “letting go” I envision a person on a cliff holding the hand of someone who is about to fall. That’s why it’s so scary. I feel like I have to hang on for things to be all right.  But what if I instead, envision someone releasing a bird in the sky? That bird is free to fly. To soar. That is the kind of ‘letting go’ that I think a parent really does. And it may be one with tear-soaked cheeks, but it’s one with a smile. A dream. Hope.

My hands may never fully be ready to open up and let God take those I love so dearly out of my grasp. But ready or not, I will do it. I will hand over my heart to the Lord I love more than life itself and watch Him carefully tend to the sweetness He graciously brought me all those years ago.

My children.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fight For What's Right

Growing up, we were always told to “be nice.” “Play fair.”  “Say you’re sorry.” We were taught to include others, and to be respectful.

But I think oftentimes as parents, (me included), we forget to tell our children to fight for what’s right. To defend the weak.  To stand up for yourself.

We can very easily tap into the “be nice” mode – especially as Christians. But how easily do we tap into the warrior part of us? The part that has a passionate fire burning inside, against injustice, evil, or bullies?  We need to be able to be equipped, and TO equip our children, to be soldiers. Moral fighters.

We love to evade the fight. Most of us hate confrontation. And we certainly shouldn’t engage in battle on every circumstance. But we do need to engage in some battles.

There are those out there, who are thirsty for our blood. For our children’s blood. Satan is on the prowl and he loves the fact that we emphasize “niceness” in our lives.

Sometimes, life calls for a war. It calls for a little “fire” in our bellies.

We can fight with a moral justice inside of us. We can fight for what’s right and decent. And the next generation needs to see that there are courageous, brave men and women out there, who are ready to be bold and fight for those who are weaker, or those who can’t find their voices.

I think the world needs more warriors.  More soldiers ready to battle for the good of mankind. For the good of our souls.

The world needs soldiers who are on alert.

We can be honorable, just, and wise – and still be soldiers and warriors. We can be kind and decent, and still be courageous and brave.

The world needs honor. It needs justice. It craves leadership.

The fight will often come to us, and to our homes; even if we don’t want it to. Even if we hate confrontation, and don’t want to engage in the war and battle going on, for our morality. It will still come.

It’s up to us, to be ready. To be willing to fight for the future of our souls. Our children’s souls.

Will you be that one? Will you teach your children to stand strong?

This is the time. This is the fight. The fight for our very lives.

How will we choose to live through it?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I Like "Me"

I’ve never been one to have a “thick skin.”  I think I was born knowing how to empathize with others… knowing what they must be feeling…and feeling it with them.

I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. I take everything in my life personally, because I invest everything I am, personally INTO everything that I come across.

But, as I’ve grown up, I’ve had to change a little bit. I haven’t lost who I am. I still have a deep instinct and perception on others, that rarely leads me wrong. I still relish having empathy as a strong quality in my heart.  But, I’ve had to develop a little bit more thickness in that skin of mine.

I’ve been criticized. Judged. Mislabeled. My thoughts, feelings, and actions, at times, have been delved into. They’ve been questioned.

I’ve always said, that if someone truly knows your character and heart, they have no need to question you. Ever. They know where you are coming from.  But it’s been new for me, to learn, that not everyone knows where I’m coming from. And not only that, they don’t care to know.

Some people just see things from their own perspective and viewpoint – and that’s the only one they believe in. The only one they ever care to know.

I think it’s been a gift for me, to learn how to let some things go, yet still remain soft and compassionate. It’s certainly been a challenge! For hurts can so easily turn into bitterness. I don’t have it perfected, but I’m learning to sift the thoughts of others into file boxes, that I keep in my heart and mind. Those boxes are sorted, based on the weight and input I believe they should have on my character.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand, why some people won’t understand me. For I’m so transparent. I’m so human.

If I give, some people will always want me to give more.

If I love, someone will always want me to love bigger, better, and more often.

If I get more thoughtful, someone will always want me to share what is only meant to be between me, and God.

If I have a good day, or a bad day, someone will always judge my actions as a result.

It’s life. It’s people.

It’s certainly a process. A unique road to learning more about myself, and more about others.

It all comes down to the plain fact, I am who I am. God made me this way. And the way He made me as a child….has morphed, adjusted, tweaked, and grown into who I am as an adult.

And I LIKE ME. I’m not perfect. I’m extremely flawed.  But, I like me.

Even if someone else never quite gets the “me” they want to get.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Things Aren't Always Fair

One of the hardest lessons I’ve been having to learn in life, is that things aren’t always fair.

When we moved from Idaho to Texas, and a bunch of our furniture was scratched or ruined – we had to let it go. Even though it wasn’t fair.

When I sat and watched my daughter sit on the sidelines in volleyball, even though other girls’ were messing up time and time again, and playing the whole game? I had to come to terms with the fact that things just wouldn’t be fair.

When, most recently, the photographer at my daughter’s wedding “lost” all of our family photos, and other important shots… to be gone forever? I had to swallow, feel “sick” about not having family wedding shots on my daughter’s wedding day – and let it go. Even though it wasn’t fair.

Someone can’t always make things right for us, when something unfair happens. The photographer could offer money back, a free album, canvas… whatever. But the special day was done. Gone. Family had been in and flown out. Nothing would make up for what was lost.

So many of us feel like we are treated unfairly, so often in life. And you know what? We are.

My girls are treated unfairly when they have to be punished with their whole class, even though they weren’t involved in something.

My husband may be treated unfairly at work. I may be treated unfairly in friendships. Whatever it is, it happens. And it will happen again. It is one of life’s biggest, and hardest lessons to learn.

We have to learn to let things go. We have to learn to move on. We have to learn, and we have to grow in these times. It does us no good to sit in them, and wallow in the “unfairness” of it all. And believe me, some things are extraordinarily unfair!

I know, that as I have learned to embrace moving on, just a little bit more, through each circumstance, I am happier. I am more at peace. I am more understanding of mistakes we all make in life. And I am more appreciative of what I have and who I have, in my life.

Things ARE unfair. You WILL be treated unfairly. It’s life. It’s the way it has always been, and the way it always will be.  The biggest question is, what will we do in those moments? And how will we move on from those times?

I hope we move on softer, gentler, and more thankful people. Not because of the unfairness of it all, but because of how we can now understand how it feels for others, when they too, are in those moments.  And knowing how it feels, makes us stronger.  Better. And more loving.

I’d choose those any day, over being bitter. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

But, I Can't Pray For EVERYONE and EVERYTHING!

Sometimes it can be overwhelming…. The needs out there. Constant requests on facebook for prayer. Constant streaming news clips of a world gone bad.

People so obviously need our prayer. The world SO OBVIOUSLY needs our prayer.

But what do you do, when you just can’t pray for it all? I mean, if I prayed for every need I saw, I’d never get to living my own life! The needs. Are. Great.

Sometimes it can be easy to feel guilty. When I see people asking us to fast and pray for things going on in the world that I truly want to see God’s hand in. I may be very saddened by what is going on, and I may be opposed to what is going on just like everyone else. But I can’t pray for it ALL.

God moves on our behalf, so I deeply believe He wants to hear our prayers. No prayers – no movement. Now just because one person can’t pray for every need out there, doesn’t mean that one person can’t pray for a lot of needs out there. I can pray for whatever is brought to my attention and brought to my heart and mind. If I feel moved and led to do so, I can pray for a longer period of time over an issue. If not, I can pray for a few minutes. But I’m still praying. I’m still asking God to change, move, and intervene in someone’s life or situation.

And it still matters.

When I can’t sleep at night, sometimes I just start rattling off prayers. I pray for anything and everything that comes to my mind. I pray for our political leaders, things going on in the news, and more. I pray for people by name. If we all did this, that would probably just about cover all the needs in the world. Right? Because, we all know someone else. And we all have things brought to our attention.

So, even though one person may not be able to pray for everyone and everything – together – all of us – CAN.

We don’t need to feel overwhelmed. We simply need to move on behalf of the people that God directs us to.

For there will always be needs.