Monday, January 1, 2018

Resolutions for 2018

I've been praying for several weeks about the New Year.... what will I resolve to change this year? Based upon the lessons of last year,  what does God want me to focus on this year? I felt led to three sweeping concepts to focus on, instead of specific resolutions to make (i.e. break) this year.

Here's what they are:

1. Listen
2. Bend
3. Moderation

(Yes I realize that list is not parallel... but it's my list, and it's the way God gave it to me.)

Listen... this one is so multifaceted for me.... I need to listen to others better... I need to listen more closely to what my body is telling me. I need to  listen more during my quiet time. But most of all I need to listen for that still, small voice from God..... during my regular day... when I'm faced with a big decision... when I'm losing my stuff over something.... when discouragement settles in... I. Need. To. Listen.

Bend... again this speaks to many areas of my life... I want to physically bend more... like literally... stretch, sweat, strengthen, bend more often. I want to bend my mind to the idea that my way isn't the only way... I want to bend my will to love AND accept those whose beliefs are different than mine... but most of all I want to bend me, mySELF to the will of my great God more readily, more completely, more joyfully.

Moderation... the oddball in this list... the only noun in a list of verbs... a place amongst the action of these resolutions... my overarching goal... the sole idea I most want to carry through this year is moderation. So often, extremes are my goal:

*exercise every day
*lose ___ pounds
*build up $____ in my savings
*stop worrying what others think about me

But guess what:

*some days are made for sitting on your butt
*there should be eat cake days in life
*sometimes that cuss word flies out
*sometimes you make a STUPID purchase
*life just isn't as perfect and EXTREME as Facebook would lead us to believe

So I want to aim for moderation... especially at the expense of perfection.

I want to eat healthier, but also have permission to have decadence in my life.
I want to move more often, but I'm not giving up my crochet in my recliner time.
I want to save money, but I need to STOP obsessing over EVERY SINGLE penny.
I want to SLOW MY ROLL during my quiet time... this year I don't want a read through the Bible plan.... instead I want to slowly absorb some specific passages.


I love this time of year... the focus on newness... the chance for beginnings... the blank slate of a new year in front of me.... and I'm praying that these concepts will stick with me ALL the way through 2018.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lessons from 2017

This past week I've been focusing on what lessons 2017 has taught me. I want to use these lessons as a springboard for my 2018 resolutions.

This is what I've come up with so far.

1. Everyone is on his/her own journey.

Everyone in this world is on his/her own journey. When my journey intersects with someone else's journey, it's helpful to remember that what God is working the other person through is NOT what God is working on with me. This year, I learned (painfully and not really completely yet) to take my interactions with others less personally.... to focus on what God wants ME to learn.... and to love the other person through his/her journey.

2. It's okay if it's not MY way.

This was a tough lesson for someone like me to accept. Obviously, MY way is the best way... I'm guessing it was because this lesson would be so hard for me to learn that the fire that forged it was INTENSE. For MONTHS this year, I was stuck on my rear end... forced to allow others to cook, clean, shop, and care for me... what may sound like a vacation was actually torture. I like to do things on my own so they get done MY way. Would you believe that teenage boys don't realize the sink should be wiped down every day? Can you fathom that some people don't fold the towels in thirds? And the horror of it ALL: there are people who drink unfiltered TAP water and try bringing it to me when I ask for a glass of water??? This year I learned (maybe not COMPLETELY though) to let others do for me and to relax the reigns a little when they don't do things MY way.

3. Slow and steady wins the race.

Healing from a ruptured Achilles tendon took. a. LONG. time. You wouldn't believe how long. In some ways, 7+ months after the fact,  I'm still working on parts of the healing. I don't like moving slowly. I zip from task-to-task. I don't really do slow. But I really, really wanted to get this Achilles rehab RIGHT. So I forced myself to take it slow. It taught me a lesson to apply outside of physical therapy.  This year I learned that life isn't a sprint. It's a marathon.  And slow and steady wins the race.

Hope this blog makes you pause for a second and look back at 2017.... life is a lesson... let's learn from it.

But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
Deuteronomy 4:9

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The cattle on a thousand hills

Yesterday was a tough day.  We woke up to a hole in the bathroom ceiling (leaky toilet above) and in the middle of showering the filth of the toilet mess off me, I missed a call from Jeremiah who was trying to reach me because he had been in a car wreck.... with his baby cousin in the car. It wasn't exactly the peaceful Saturday I had planned on. But somehow, honestly, In the misdst of the turmoil, I had complete and utter peace.

As I sat on the couch yesterday listening to John pull down the water logged bathroom ceiling, I wondered how vast this repair would be, and I realized I wasn't nervous at all. My husband has leaped over every hurdle in our initiation into homeownership with grace and skill. As I sat on the couch I truly WONDERED how much this would cost. I didn't worry at. all. I did puzzle for a second, thinking, Hey God, I'm really not worried about this. I heard Him whisper, Yes... because you KNOW I own the cattle on a thousand hills.

That knowledge wobbled just a smidge when I returned Jeremiah's missed call, "Mom," he said, sounding very calm and steady, "I was driving Cori's car to try to get Declan to sleep, and we were in a little car accident. We're both fine, but I have to go because the police are here." Satan turned my peace cup upside down.  I felt my peace FALLING toward the ground,  but faith STOPPED the descent toward fear with a whisper,  "the cattle on a thousand hills..." THEY ARE BOTH FINE. nothing else matters.

Lest you think I have arrived at some Nirvana island of perfect peace, let me explain to you.  Peace isn't calm blue seas around a tropical island.  It's more like chin barely above the CHURNING seas, but KNOWING that Life Preserver is SOLIDLY under your armpits. As the adrenaline wore off, I felt this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop... a knowing that God would see it drop and have a plan for that... but still waiting for it to drop.... When Hannah returned from seeing a movie with Oma... and Jeremiah and Elijah were back from Cori's.... and Noah FINALLY finished gaming with Seth.... I released a HUGE sigh of relief that my babies were back under my roof, and we could put this day to rest.

So I'm over here.... the seas are calmer but I still have my Life Preserver firmly under my armpits.... and I just wanted to remind you...

For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
Psalm 50:10

Thursday, November 16, 2017

It never gets any easier

It never gets any easier.  This thing called parenting.  People tell you that.  It never gets any easier.  But you plod along naively assuring yourself YOU will break the mold. You will be the one to prove them wrong.  For everyone ELSE, it never gets any easier..... but not for you.

This afternoon I stood on a flag lined stage,  facing this man who was wearing my baby's face.  He raised his hand and swore his allegiance to this great country.  I smiled and swelled with pride. I teared up when the officer waxed patriotic. I came home and posted my braggy, proud pictures on Facebook.  When he walked in the front door, I squeezed him liked I wish I could've when we were there. 

But now... in the dark... trying to chase sleep while it is being a sneaky lil punk.... I'm wondering how will I let him go? The tears are falling freely as I realize,  "they" were RIGHT. It never gets any easier. I've raised this amazing young man.  I thought the diapers and the heartbreaks and the driving by himself were the hard parts. But guess what??? The hard parts NEVER stop coming.

I have no idea how I'll make it through this letting go.  I do know it will involve a TON of coffee to counteract the sleepless nights and a whole lotta Jesus carrying me through. I just plan to hang on tight and enjoy the ride. I am going to CHERISH every single one of the 306 days until he ships out. (I even smiled while I picked up his dirty laundry on the bathroom floor tonight.) All I wanted to tell you though,  was:

I was wrong. 

They were right.

It never gets any easier.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A handful of sorrow

I have had this blog banging around in my soul the past few days. So I'm going to try to quick get it out before I start working today. It's about a handful of sorrow.

I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  Honestly, it's about money.  It's embarrassing to admit that because anyone who's followed this blog knows that we "know what it is to be in need" and we have watched as God has carried us through some VERY lean times... yet STILL as we inch closer and closer to late fees on our bills... as our savings dwindles a bit more each day... I feel discouragement settling in.

I know in the DEPTHS of me that "God's got this"... I realize that this testing of my faith develops perseverance... Yes! And AMEN! But I don't really like this venue of $0.83 cents till payday,  working OT yet still barely enough to pay those looming medical bills, just replaced the dishwasher and now the brakes are going. I don't like it!

So the past two days God has been ministering to me that EVERY single season of life has a handful of sorrow. This perfectionist wants a neat, tidy, bills paid early kinda life, but that is NOT reality. That is NOT an earthly existence. Reality is: on this earth there will ALWAYS be a handful of sorrow. Whether that handful is ice cold or burning hot... Whether it CONSUMES our life or quietly nags in the background... no one... no time... no thing on this earth is perfect.

When my kids were lil enough to fit in my lap.... that's a season I LONG to return to. But honestly I was SO BONE WEARY TIRED... I absolutely NEVER peed alone... I was outnumbered, out gunned, and constantly flying by the seat of my pants.  Now most of them are bigger than I am... they don't snuggle as much... they don't need me as much... but they are HELPFUL... they've been taking care of momma and pretty much running this house for 5 months while I've been laid up... and they are these AMAZING humans who I love to be around.

[Okay for those of you who are wondering when I'll ever get to my point.... I'm there!]  Every season has good... every season has a handful of sorrow... I need to STOP pining for perfection and rejoice over the good while embracing the sorrow.  The landscape of my current situation is flawed, but it is also SO BEAUTIFUL.

Accept that handful of sorrow... every season of life will have one.... and make sure to lift your eyes up off that handful and appreciate the beauty that is RIGHT NOW.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

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