Category Archives: Life as I know it

Forgetting

Standard

Sticky Notepapers on Wall in Office

Lying on the floor, face down in a puddle of tears.  I cry out to God to help me, to heal me, to take away my anger.  You knew before the creation of the world what today would hold and You have me studying and reading about Thanksgiving?  About living a life of gratitude?

**

Last Christmas, husband and I decided not to get each other presents.  Instead, we decided to get the piano we’d been wanting since we moved in.  He found a great deal on Craigslist and we had the perfect spot in the family room for it.  Husband plays a little and I had taken lessons for years as a kid.  This piano would give us both a reason to practice and revive our skills.

But I wasn’t counting on forgetting how to play.

A few weeks ago, husband finished the installation of our Endless Pool.  This thing is amazing.  It generates a current so that you can basically swim in place and get a great workout.  He swam competitively in HS, and I took lessons every summer as a kid.  We gave up half our garage for this ‘investment in our health’, bought goggles and swim caps.

But I didn’t realize you could forget how to swim.

Now granted I wasn’t passionate about piano or swimming as a kid.  I learned how to do it, because that’s what kids do.  Learn an instrument; try out some sort of athletics, things parents check off as they’re raising kids.  I’m sure my mom never dreamed her hard earned money would go into lessons that would eventually be forgotten. (sorry mom.)

The point is today.  Today I have a choice to re-learn.  Today I have a choice to jump in the pool.  Today I have a choice to sit my booty on a piano bench, fingers stumbling over keys, practicing until they become nimble.

**

I woke up angry.  Angry that another’s choices were affecting me.  Angry that I couldn’t control.  Angry that I couldn’t make things go the way I wanted.  Angry at everything.

In the midst of my angry day, my mentee and I decided to meet up that evening.  I’d need to read the next chapter in our book and take a few notes for our discussion.

Eucharisteo (yoo-khar-is-teh’-o) = Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.

I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed the fullness of my thanks every day, and eucharisteo is elemental to living the saved life.

One Thousand Gifts – Ann Voskakmp

I was distracted by my anger.  I just kept thinking, “Get through the next sentence.  Get through the next page.”  Anger was choking the life out of these beautiful words of living a life of gratitude, living out the fullness of my salvation.

I had forgotten how to be thankful.

I stopped everything.  I lay on the floor and cried out to God for help, for healing, for peace.  I prayed for forgiveness.  I prayed for wisdom.  I prayed for eucharisteo to be a balm, a prayer, a lifestyle.

I rose renewed in my purpose.  My anger, although justified, is not meant to rule me.  Eucharisteo is meant to be the posture of my heart.

Thankful to love another to the point where their actions affect me.

Thankful when I am given a voice to speak into another’s life.

Thankful that I am not in control.  Thankful for a God who is.

Thankful for grace on days when I allow my emotions to overtake me.

Eucharisteo = Thanksgiving.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Love You More

Standard

Hispanic woman holding large, woven heart

It’s a thing I send to my best girlfriends when we’re texting and have to say goodbye.  “Love you.”  “Love you more.”

I say this to my mom or my sister when we’re ending a phone conversation.  “Love you.”  “Love you more.”

So when the words came out of his mouth, it brought immediate tears to my eyes.

“Have a great week pastor, love you.”

“Love you more.”

Three small words.  Three small words which crumbled my heart into a happy bit of rubble.

My pastor loves me.

Really, this shouldn’t be such a big deal.  A pastor is supposed to care about the people in his church.  A pastor is supposed to teach, lead and guide.  A pastor has many ‘things’ to do in the life of a church.  And a pastor should love the people in his church, unfortunately many don’t.

Then my pastor said “Love you more”.

I wrote awhile ago how we had started the search for a new church.  We had visited a few churches in the area, but nothing seemed to stick.  So when husband said we should check out the church down the street, I figured the same thing would happen again.

We’ve only missed a handful of Sunday’s in the past six months.

We walked in and found a place where ‘real’ness and sincerity met.  We walked in and found a place where safeness is a goal.  We walked in and found a place where it’s OK to be broken and healing.  We walked into a family, we walked into a home.

And it freaked me out.

Terror filled my spirit.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of being hurt again.  Fear of being disappointed.  I wanted to run away, the risk seemed too great.

But each week, I return.

Leaders are showing themselves to have integrity.  Teaching is deep and challenging and biblical.  The people are sincere and willing to come along side and walk life’s journey together.

Each confirmation, each step forward causes me to shed tears.  Tears of freedom.  Tears of healing.  Tears washing away the stain of hurt and bitterness.  Tears that drip down my face and chin, leaving their trails on the front of my dress.  Tears which are breaking down the wall I built for protection.

My pastor said, “Love you more.”

Weeds

Standard

weeds

.

I wake up and move through the steps of my morning routine, familiar habits signal another day is starting.  After the kitchen has been cleaned and a candle lit, I slide into my rain boots and go out to water the flowers.

Happy flowers which are blossoming and growing each day; the marigolds having tripled in size in just a few weeks.  I turn on the hose to shower their upturned faces with life sustaining water.

Then I look more closely at the beds where the mulch has been spread thickly and evenly.  Weeds have invaded.  Not giant spiky weeds created to choke the life out of my flowers, but small, innocent looking shoots of green enjoying the sunshine and water provided each day.

I tug out a few of the bigger weeds, their roots easily giving way from the dark, rich soil.  With each one I pull out of the ground, three more are there to take its place and happily give life to more.

Tomorrow I will take the time to eradicate the problem.  In the cool of the morning each weed will be removed and thrown away, so the beauty from each blossom can be enjoyed.

The next morning, routine is ignored; sunscreen and deet are applied as I make my way out to the flower beds.

I kneel and start to pull out each of the invaders.  As each weed is discarded, my mind wanders into a prayer.

Remove the weeds of self doubt and insecurity from my heart.  Pull out the poison of comparison.  Uproot the trap of business and distraction.

I work my way around the bed and continue to yank out the weeds.

Cultivate grace for myself and others.  Nurture seeds of love, so I may give out of abundance.  Plant a deep sense of Your guidance and direction.

I rip out the last weed and take in the color of these blooms.  The deep orange Marigolds, the creamy white Zinnias, the hot pink Gerberas; each petal an individual prayer, each plant a song of beauty and thanksgiving.

The work continues each day, both in the flower beds and in my heart.

Remove anything which may steal away essential nutrients, and cultivate everything needed for a flourishing life.

Hungry

Standard

Santa Maria Magdalena Cemetery, Close-up view of praying angel statue

.

My mentee and I are reading a book right now about God-Sized Dreams.  One of the chapters talks about characteristics of God-Sized dreamers: faithful where they are, keep their hearts open, embrace enough, encourage others, etc.  One of the lines I underlined in this chapter said: You’re feeding someone today.  Who is the hungry heart in your life?  These few words gave me pause thinking of all the hungry hearts I know.

I decided to write a list.  Students I work with, friends, family, acquaintances, anyone I could think of.  For each person I wrote “K is hungry for _______”; “G is hungry for ______”; M is hungry for ______”.

Hungry for true friendship

Hungry for physical healing

Hungry for adventure

Hungry for peace

It was an eye opening exercise; so many hurts, but just as many joys.  Then the question comes: “What can I do?”

Nothing

I cannot solve the hurts; I cannot deepen the joys.  I can do nothing.

Thankfully I believe in a God who can.  I believe in a God who loves to bring healing and create stories of redemption.  I believe in a God who loves to deepen our joy and give good things.  I believe in a God who can.

And He gently reminds me of my role to help with the hurts and the joys.  Pray.

Spend time in prayer bringing these needs before Him.  Pray peace over the broken hearted.  Pray healing over those battling sickness.  Pray thanksgiving over new adventures.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray.

What is your heart hungry for today?  Share your hunger with someone.  Ask for prayer or help.

Who is the hungry heart in your life?  Offer prayer, give encouragement, be love.

***

ps – Does anyone else think the word ‘mentee’ is weird?

pps – The book we’re reading is You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth

Delight

Standard

delight

Do you wake the same each morning?  Refreshed and ready to take on the day?  Or clinging to the sweet sleep that shelters?  Have you ever been woken like Joseph with a purpose and a charge to go now, spend time with your Maker and see what He has to say?

Late in December I woke much earlier than usual, with a need to leave my warm bed, go to my office and spend some time in the word and in prayer.  God led me to a series of verses and each said “Delight”.  Delight in Me.  Delight in my word.  Delight in the law.  DELIGHT.

It seemed a clear message to me for the year of 2013 – Delight.

And after a crazy 2012, the word Delight seemed like a wonderful thing to be, to do and to focus on.  I was ready.

Then five days into the new year, my sweet brother unexpectedly passed away.  A frantic call from my mother and less than 48 hours later I was on a plane.  The next three weeks were spent with my immediate family, mom, dad and my sister; just us four in one house dealing with all the stuff that comes with death.

And each day in my heart the word “Delight” was repeating like a mantra.

But how do you take delight in such a horrid situation?

  • You delight in being able to spend time, just your immediate core family, for the first time in many moons.
  • You delight in knowing a brother who had lived with many disabilities is running free and unfettered in the vast expanse of heaven.
  • You delight in the family and friends who surround you with love, hugs, food, prayer and encouragement.
  • You delight knowing the next time you see your brother he will be able to show you all the best spots and introduce you to the family who has gone before.
  • You delight in the freedom to stay and serve your parents for as long as needed.
  • You delight in having a sister to share a room with.

I have been given a word to purposefully define this year.

I have been issued a challenge in the way I look at the world around me.

I have been given a purpose to seek after for these next days and months.

DELIGHT.

I am Thankful

Standard

I am Thankful for my husband.

Words cannot express the deep sense of gratitude I have for having him in my life.

His love is deep and true.

He is angered by deep injustice in the world.

He can make an amazing cup of coffee.

He works harder than anyone I know.

He serves others well.

He can fix a computer and build you a room.

His encouragement leaves no room to question yourself.

His soul is laced with music.