Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pause For a Moment

Sometimes as I’m going about my day, I stop, and I pause for a moment. If I’m laying in bed at night and my mind has been racing with thoughts and things from my day - sometimes, I try to just clear my head and focus.

I have paused those rushing thoughts from the day, and just listened to the rain coming down outside of my window; enjoying the sound as I lay snug in my bed.

I can look around my room, and feel comforted by the familiar. By the “loved” things that surround me.  I can smile softly at the Christian music quietly playing from the radio, on my bedside table.

I love those moments.

How often do we pause long enough to just take in a moment?  So often we are busy with our thoughts, to-do’s, prayer requests, regrets, replays of conversations in our head….we just overlook the sights, smells, and sounds of what is happening all around us.

We can be so good at soaking in the larger-than-life moments. Yet, we aren’t as good, at taking in the smaller, more meaningful ones.

Wherever you are right now, stop.  Listen to the sounds around you.  Is it the hum of your dishwasher or washing machine? Is it the sound of giggles and laughter, coming from your children in the other room?  

Listen for the things that are so easily overlooked.  That bird cheerfully chirping in your backyard.  The hum of the neighbor’s lawnmower. The sound of sprinklers.

Now look. LOOK. Reflect. Look at that picture that hangs on your wall. Look at the plants, candles, and the view out of your window. What mood and feeling washes over you?

What do you smell? Is it an aroma from the last meal cooked in your kitchen?  Your husband’s cologne wafting in the room?  Do you smell a yummy candle given to you from a friend, or relative? When was the last time you really closed your eyes and took in those smells?

What do you feel? Do you feel boosted from the sunshine coming in your window? Do you feel warm and cozy, or are you experiencing a heart in turmoil? 

Take it in – embrace it for a moment. Let it envelop you.

We can get into such a rut of overlooking beauty that exists right where we are.  We forget that softly playing music in a moonlit bedroom, is beautiful. We can forget to soak in the beauty of our kitchen, that gifts so many that we love, with nourishment. 

We can get so busy planning our days, or reliving them. 

We forget to be still and just soak the moment in.

Let the familiar be enjoyable, not overlooked.  

Learn to to stop once in awhile and just pause. Feel. Smell. Hear.

These moments are a gift to our soul.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Can You Forgive Yourself?

None of us is perfect.  We are so good at hiding our flaws, failures, and those things that we regret doing, or having as a part of our life.  Some of us would never guess what someone else has been through, because we are adept at presenting the most polished, perfect part of ourselves to others.

But, what do we think about when we face ourselves in the mirror? When we are alone in our own company? Are we able to see the person we are today – or do we only see the injured one from a few years ago? Do we only see the one who made that huge mistake that impacted the rest of our life? Do we only see the imperfect parts of ourselves?

That’s not how God sees us, you know.

It’s a big question. Can you forgive yourself? Can you move forward? Even if, you know what you know about the deepest parts of yourself?

Can you forgive yourself for that addiction? For that infidelity? For those things you hid from your spouse and kids?

Can you forgive yourself, for being mean to someone in school, or in your neighborhood? For leaving someone out?

Can you forgive yourself, for stealing? For harming yourself by cutting, intentionally throwing up, or denying yourself food? For overeating?  

Can you forgive yourself, for that abortion? For that road rage incident? For cheating on that test?

So, so many things. We’ve all done SOMETHING. 

That’s why grace is such a blessing. 

God gives us grace. He gives us mercy. Can you give them to yourself?

I pray you can. For all things are made new. 

You can be an overcomer. A blessing. A testimony. An example.

You can save someone else. Love someone else. Heal someone else.

You CAN forgive yourself. And you can help someone else move on, and forgive themselves too. 

You are not what you once were. 

Look in the mirror. See the person God sees. That person is valuable. And so beloved. 

That person is a miracle.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Why Do We Always Point Our Finger at the Lord?

“How long, Lord, must this go on?”

“Why did God allow this to happen?”

“God must have His reasons.”

The questions.  The frustrations. They go on and on and on.

And we always direct them towards God.

But, I have to wonder… are we pointing our fingers in the wrong direction?

Maybe we should be pointing our fingers at Satan instead.

Maybe it’s SATAN who caused this to happen to you.  Maybe it’s SATAN who aimed his fiery dart your way.  Maybe it’s SATAN who is hindering you.

Not God.

We blame God for so much. And we blame Him quickly and easily.  And yes, He could come in and rescue us… and often, He does. Many times, probably without us even realizing it.  

But it’s our own sinful choices.  Our selfish world. And an evil one who gets great delight out of our sorrow, our emptiness, and our anger towards the Lord.

God does not ever intend to harm us.

God LOVES us.  Satan, on the other hand, does not.

The world scoffs and laughs so easily at our “God.”  But how many forget the devil in that equation? He is just as real. 

And he is busy at work.

The next time you are tempted to point your finger towards the Lord and ask, “why?” Think first. And see if maybe you shouldn’t be grabbing your warrior suit - as you look in another direction. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

It's Still Worth It

You try so hard.

You invest time. Prayer. Heart. 

Into someone else.

It can be so hard to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Who doesn’t SEE that they need help.

It’s frustrating. 

Yet, even when my efforts don’t yield results…. I have to say, it’s still worth it.

I have to say, I would do it again.

You never know when you’ve planted a seed.  You don’t know, how many times they will still think about what you said. You don’t know, how even for a minute, you made someone feel loved and cared for. EVEN IF, they still choose another way - another road.

We HAVE to take the risk. WE HAVE to take a chance on people. We may be the only ones who do.  We may be the only ones who have the courage to say the difficult things they don’t want to hear. But the things, they NEED to hear.

We may be the only ones in their world, who gave them a hug. Who gifted them with the love of a caring touch.

We may be the only ones who cared enough to say, “no more.” “I won’t let you get away with this.” 

The void in this world is tangible. Can you feel it? Can you hear it?  Are you doing anything about it?

To love God - is to love others. They are intertwined. 

If we aren’t giving of ourselves, if we aren’t investing in others, I’d venture to say it’s time to take a look at just how much we love our Lord and Savior.

The best use of our time, is time given to people.

We are His gift to each other.