Tuesday, August 29, 2017

To Be Welcomed In

I remember very vividly the sweet neighbor lady who lived across the street from our family, when I was a child.  She loved to love on us.

I remember going over to her house, and she would let us in her backyard to pick tomatoes. To this day, yellow pear tomatoes (like some she grew), are my very favorite.

I remember going over, and just visiting. She would be sitting in her chair knitting. Her poodle would happily greet us, and her husband would be tinkering in the garage, making beautiful wood clocks.

We were never an inconvenience. Never rushed.

The same was true when I would visit my grandparents. They would greet us at the door with big smiles and big hugs. Then, they would sit in their rockers, and just visit with us in an unhurried manner.

There was comfort in that. Peace. Acceptance.

I left and I grew up with the feeling that I was welcome. At any time.

I felt wanted. And I felt loved.

I was thinking about that the other day. About how I treat those who grace my doorstep with unannounced visits. Do they feel welcomed? Do they feel comfortable? Do they feel like they can sit and just talk? Do they want to come back?

I want to be the kind of person who never hurries relationships. I want people to feel like they are welcomed in my home – and that they are listened to.

I miss that. I miss that sense of slowness that exists in our homes. It seems we are always hurrying from here to there. I know I’m in and out of my home all of the time.  But when I’m AT home, am I able to relax? Am I able to slow down?

There’s something inviting about knowing that someone is sitting on their front porch and there is an extra chair next to them. There is something adoring about knowing that someone always has homemade chocolate chip cookies ready for visitors. There is something in those things, that invites. That welcomes. That loves.

I want that something. I want to be remembered in some little girl’s fond memories.

How about you?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

He Makes My Dreams Come True

Dreams. I always have them.

I’ve had dreams for my life when I was a little girl.

I had dreams for my life as a young newlywed, and a brand new mommy.

I have dreams as I near the empty nest.

I have dreams that may seem selfish to others, and I have dreams that are spiritual desires in my life, and in the lives of those I love.

So, so many dreams and wishes that come and go in a life.

So many unanswered prayers.  Some of which I will probably always hold the question, “why” in my soul, for. And for others – I am so deeply, deeply thankful that the Lord did not, and does not, answer them.

For He spared me deep heartache.

Every life has a path. It’s easier to see that path when we turn our heads backwards; than it is to see the direction the path is going, as we face frontwards.

It’s easier to see the answers. It’s easier to see when we stepped off and went our own way – only to waste time and end up where we were supposed to go in the first place.

It’s easier to see the blessings. The ‘thank-you’s.’ It’s easy to forget those blessings, too. But still, they sit there – waiting for us to turn around and see them. To acknowledge.

To remember.

Dreams. Wishes. They DO come true.  As you turn around, do you see them? Are you reminded?

Look. Look there to the left of your path. Do you see that moment when you were thankful for answered prayer? And to the right…. Do you remember the moment you were stunned at something you thought would never happen?

Do you remember that dream you had that someone would do something nice for you? Or the one that you never spoke out loud?  Do you remember the medical test you were worried about? The one that came back, “all clear?”

So many answers. Do you see them now?

God does that. God is there.  He IS answering your heart’s cries. He IS making your dreams come true.

One here. One there.

Some little. Some big.

Turn around. Remember. See them.

And thank Him again.

Monday, August 14, 2017

How Do You Let Your Child Go?

How do you let your child go? The one who you gave up everything in life for – for the past 18 years?

It’s 4 days before I make the long drive to take my baby to college. My BABY. The one I asked God for. The one I looked down on, knowing she was a magical gift. A miracle.

The one I worried about every time she was sick, or got hurt. The one I saw blossom before my very eyes into a beautiful young woman. Outside yes – but increasingly on the inside, as well.

How do you handle not knowing where exactly, your child is?  Not knowing how well they are eating and sleeping? Not knowing if they are dressing warmly enough, or if they walk back into their room in a bad mood, because they didn’t have a great day?

How do you handle knowing how tired over the years you were – from driving your child to and fro, from picking up last minute supplies for school projects, or taking them to a friend’s house….only to have a quieter home? One that is void of that laughter and sound?

How do you disguise the tears that want to fall from your eyes – FOUR days before you leave to say goodbye?  Or the fact that your heart is simultaneously breaking, while being proud and excited at the same time?

It’s all so much.

I want my daughters to be independent. I want them to purse their own identity in life. I never want them to HAVE to call mom, text mom, or do something for mom. But I sooo want them to want to!

I want them to miss me. I want them to run home in anticipation of sharing a story with me. I want them to see that my life goes on too… just like theirs. And that I have interests, friendships, and commitments. But they will always be my priority. My deepest loves.

I know their world will grow bigger. And my role will be smaller. How do you successfully manage that? How do you transition with grace into that role?

Four days. Four days where I can ponder my own feelings. Navigate them.

Four days until I say goodbye to one of my very best friends in the whole wide world.

I’m not ready. But I’m willing.

This is my job. My role. To set my little bird free, and watch her fly.

Heaven, help me.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's Time To Focus Our Attention On What Lives In That Head Of Ours

It seems to me, that in the first half of our lives, we collect, collect, collect things. And in the second half of our lives, our focus turns more towards getting rid of, getting rid of, getting rid of.

We didn’t really need to have all of those things.

And in this day and age, a lot of attention is given to “spring cleaning,” “simplifying,” “organizing,” and “downsizing.” 

We want our houses clean and not cluttered.

But what about our hearts and our heads?  A clean house doesn’t really make an impact on our lives, if our hearts and our minds are too full of “stuff.” We forget that we need to “spring clean,” “simplify”, and “organize” what is going on inside of us, as well.

There are things we keep carrying in our minds and in our soul that we should have long since let go of.

Our minds are too full of “stuff.” Stuff that is hindering our life, our growth, and our emotional well-being.  When was the last time you went inside of yourself and said to a certain thought or emotion… “Hey. It’s time for you to go?”

We need to do more of that!

Our lives simply cannot be healthy with just a clean home, closet, or car. They can only be healthy with a clean mind.

We need to declutter, and sweep some things out.

Overthinking? Time for you to go.

Discouraging self-talk? Out the door.

Holding onto past hurts? Their time is through.

Clinging to needing to “achieve?” Shave those thoughts away.

Our minds are SO powerful. We can “think” ourselves into being lonely, sick, unappreciated, or misunderstood.  But if we are intentional, we can also “think” ourselves into being courageous, blessed, inspired, and content.

It may take practice. You may have to try a few times before you truly get rid of some of those guests hanging around in your heart, mind, and soul. But it CAN be done.

If we find our homes so worthy of our attention and detail, shouldn’t we find our own bodies and lives even more worthy?

It’s time to focus our attention on what lives up in that head of ours. It’s time to blossom and find freedom from the cobwebs that need to be cleaned out. They’ve done their time.

It’s time for them to go. It’s time for YOU to grow.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

When I Live Without God As Part of the Equation

I am a Christian. I love the Lord with all of my heart. Yet, life gets busy. I get busy.

It can be so easy for me, to go weeks without picking up my Bible, or reading God’s Word… unless I’m forced to, because I’m currently in a Bible Study group.

It can be so easy for me to go days, without praying or speaking to the God I love. I mean, I’m busy, right?

I can get tired, and want to skip church on the weekends. I only have two days to catch up on rest, get things done around the house, and regroup before the week begins again. So I choose Sunday, to be that “catch-up” day.

Are you like me? Are you a Christian living without God as part of the equation in your days?

How do we do it? Not very well, in my opinion. It shows up in all we do.

We are tired, stressed, irritable, anxious, confused, and we wonder why. We wonder when the churn of life will spit us out, and we can slow down. Calm down. Regroup.

The thing is, when I live without God as part of the equation, I’m saying that everything else in my life is more important than Him. I’m saying that I, am more important than Him.

Oh, how convicted my soul! How ashamed I am!

Not only that, but God shouldn’t be PART of the equation in our lives. He should be the whole dang goal. He should be our focus. Our priority.

We shouldn’t just read the Bible because we have to, we should dwell on it. Ponder its words. Soak it in. Let it permeate our very souls.

We shouldn’t just pray to God when we have a need, but we should speak to Him in thanks, and in a posture of listening. He has things He wants to say to us, too!

We shouldn’t just go to church because we have to. We should go to church because we thirst for MORE. We quench for healing, learning, growing, and fellowship.

Yes, I love the Lord with all of my heart. But I don’t always show it. I shove Him aside, because I can. Because my favorite TV show, my work online, folding the laundry, and chaperoning my kids in my car, is so much more important.

What if I took Him with me? What if I spoke to Him through it? What if I consulted Him before each thing, and whispered to Him in my heart as I went about each thing?

Oh, Lord. Please forgive us. Forgive us for letting Satan distract us from YOU. We say we believe, we say we love you, and yet where are you? We go about our lives without you.

I am so sorry, Lord. Give us the desire, the thirst, the habits and discipline we need to once again place you on the throne of our lives, where you belong. It is only then, that we will find what we are seeking. It is only then, that we will feel peace, calm, rest, and clarity.

You are more than anything I could chase here on earth. Show me as I seek your face.

Oh, how I love you Lord. Thank you for your grace and mercy.