Monday, February 27, 2017

Be Thankful For the Desert

There have been some major “desert experiences” in my life. Oh, how painful they were! And the tears I shed? I think they will forever be stored in my heart.

But I learned SO much.

I gained so much in the way of wisdom, discernment, integrity, and maturity. Yes, I had to be broken down a little bit, and learn how to rebuild myself stronger, wiser, and kinder despite the hurts.

But my soul got deeper in the process. My roots … stronger.

Everyone has a “desert” in their life. We often want to run out of it as fast as we can. We want to forget about it as soon as possible. And when in it? We see only ugliness, desolation, and loneliness.

But that “desert” is a gift. A priceless gift.

There are no other gifts in life that quite mold us like a “desert experience.” No other time period that truly shows us what we have inside of us, and what we need to grow.

These times are for our own good. They stretch us, mold us, and prick us. But we are more flexible afterwards. More insightful. More in-touch with humanity.

Everyone wants green grass in their lives. But we look out from where we are; thinking the other side of the desert is indeed greener. But it’s not. The grass is greener where you water it. And even a desert can grow an oasis!

Look for the gifts waiting for you right where you are. See that God does indeed provide you with nourishment and He has never left your side.

Sometimes what WE want isn’t what HE wants. And we can only see that when walking through a desert.

Or, maybe afterwards.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Starting Over

In high school, I wore braces. For two years.

I had the whole “headgear thing,” then had 6 teeth pulled (including 4 wisdom), and my braces for two years.

I was so glad to get those things off.

In early adulthood, I had to have a gum graft. My gums were receding too much. It wasn’t comfortable, and took a bit to heal. I was glad, too, that that was done with.

Then it started again. Only a few years after all of this, as my life transitioned to different cities, I began to hear different dentists speak about the functionality of my mouth. I needed braces again, they murmured. And possibly jaw surgery.

I heard that from more than one source. It was frustrating. Disappointing. Depressing.

Hadn’t I already been down that road?

Some people go their whole lives without having to wear braces, and here I was, being told I’d have to wear them a second time?

I put it off. I ate bagels less. I rarely chewed gum. Things that would put extra stress on my jaw.

I got a retainer to help a tooth that had retracted inward.

I did what I could, while being in denial that I’d have to face things one day.

Then, it happened. While I was away on a trip, my jaw started popping and clicking every time I ate. My husband could even hear me eat – not because I chewed the food loudly – but because he could hear my jaw clicking and popping.

I knew. I knew I’d put it off as long as I could. I had hoped that maybe I wouldn’t have to go down this road. I was terrified to have jaw surgery. I mean, God gave me this jaw! The surgery scared me – but the braces idea on top of that? That humbled me. What gorgeous grown woman wears braces, I thought? My vanity struggled.

But I got to the point where I knew I was going to move down that path. It wasn’t one I wanted to travel. But it was one that was needed for the future functionality of my teeth and mouth. And I knew, I needed to be brave and do what needed to be done for the future health of my mouth and jaw.

Why did I have to endure this? Why would I have to wear braces twice? Why was my jaw made to work against my mouth and teeth? Only God knows.

I realize many people have to go through things twice. Maybe more. This is my “lot” in life to bear, as much as I hate it.

It’s just another chance for me to see how strong I am. How humble I can be about my looks. And just what God can do through unfortunate circumstances.

It’s not what I would choose. But it could be a lot worse.

So, I’m starting over again. Starting back at where I was in high school.

I’m going to have the best attitude I can with it. I’m hoping to learn. Grow. And be better. Not just to have my teeth and mouth improve and be better – but my whole character.

Here we go.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When Your Heart Feels Like Crying

My heart feels like crying.  Have you ever felt that way? Like you know something is coming, something you dread….but it’s not there yet?

Do you ever fear something you know in your heart of hearts will happen, but you have nothing to base it on?

I love with abandon. I love deeply. And so, it can be hard for me to fathom someone ever questioning that love, or thinking that it might not be enough for them.

Of course, it hurts.

 But ya know what? Sometimes my love ISN’T enough for others. It’s not enough because it’s trying to fill holes that should already be filled by that individidual themselves. There are empty places inside of lives that aren’t there because no one loves them. They are there, because they are searching for love in all of the wrong places and by the wrong means.

It has nothing to do with my love at all.

I can tell someone, “No one will ever love you more than me.”  But if they are seeking love in the form of constant material $, items, and help – they won’t see that. They won’t hear what I’m saying with their heart, or with their head.

I can tell someone that I’ve given them every ounce of love energy I have – but they won’t agree if they don’t know how to stand on their own feet. Because they will need and want more of me (or someone) than I have.

Love has to be tough sometimes. It has to bleed. It has to watch someone not choose it and go off in a different direction.

That’s the risk of love.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. For the memories of loving someone and being loved by them – whether a family member, a friend, or a neighbor – are worth it. The laughter shared, the hugs given, the photos snapped, and the moments where neither party walked alone?..... All worth it.

When you love someone, you will always want to be chosen. You will always want to be understood. You will want to be appreciated, valued, SEEN. But it won’t always happen.  And it can be crazy how the heart can sometimes see those moments coming.

And when it does, it feels like crying. For that’s what a heart does – it FEELS. It sees past what is said. It looks past what is occurring.

So someone may not have chosen you. Or, it may be nearing the time when they don’t choose you and the love you so freely offer to them.

For that, I am so so sorry. But don’t despair. Because the crazy thing about love is that it stands the test of time. It is seen, felt, and reflected on, even if you do nothing more. It LASTS.

You WILL be loved in return. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow – but it will happen. Just wait for it.

Even if for today, that means your heart must cry a little.

Friday, February 3, 2017

When We Head In the Wrong Direction

 We try to make sense of God’s ways at times. We know He wants what is best for us and that He can see into the future – where we, cannot.

We know His ways are perfect.

And yet, at times, they just don’t feel that way.

Some things in life hurt. We make mistakes. Those we love make mistakes. And we don’t know how to deal with them. We don’t know how to correct them without damaging relationships.

We head in the wrong directions. And He lets us.

Sometimes we have something so good right in front of us, and we don’t see it. We don’t want it. We turn away from it and head in another direction altogether. We think that’s the right one for us.

When it’s all wrong.

But you can never go back. “Back” always changes. We think things stay the same as we remember them – but they don’t.

Everything changes. EVERYONE changes.

So we tilt our heads to the One we love so dearly, and we try not to doubt. We try not to question. We wait. We pray. And we grip onto Him with every ounce of faith we have – hoping it will all turn out okay.

That’s faith. That’s the risk of love.

I wish we all could see life clearly. I wish we could take off those rose-colored glasses, and see everything come into focus. The past, the present, the future.

I wish we could see that just because someone else has gone on a certain path, it doesn’t mean that path is also meant for us.

I wish we could see the love that lives in our life, right where we are. And that it’s GOOD.

But, if we don’t – and we stubbornly forge our own path, may He never leave our side. May He weave HIS plan, amidst our own and turn it into something better. Something GREAT.

May He never leave our side. Never let us go.

And may we, in our own humility, SEE IT.