“Funny” Thing

Three years ago a series of events happened that changed my life forever.  Funny thing about forever change- you don’t realize at the time that is what’s happening.

Two years ago a series of events began that I thought would bring me back to the way things used to be. Funny thing about this- things would never be like that again.

One year ago a series of medical interventions began that I hoped would give me my old life back. Funny thing about medical intervention- impossible things are made possible, but with it comes a whole new set of changes.

Through it all, I could hear God whisper to me the first part of Psalm 46:10-

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I heard it over and over again. I know that He is God, but I have been having trouble with the “be still” part. I suspect many of us do. Anyways, I am a “doer.” I need to always be working on something. I have lists for everything and see no reason why those lists can’t be completed. I am fulfilled if I have an “accomplished day.” There is no time for being still, much less knowing God deeper. Did you get that? My accomplishments were my fulfillment.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Funny thing about ignoring God- He’ll put you in a place where you can’t ignore Him.  This is not a “if you do this then I’ll do that” type of thing. Going into a deeper relationship with God does not end with getting my old life back. He has actually shown me that I never will.

Funny thing is, He is the one showing me how to navigate all of this. He is changing me for His good, and that alone is reason not to go back to the way things were. The joy of a changed relationship with God is reason enough to “Be still and know that I am God.”

 

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A Hard Week

This week has been very sad and emotional for me. Yes, there have been a multitude of things happen this week to people I know and love. Yes, it has been a very busy week both personally and professionally. But that is not why it’s been a hard week.

I am having a hard week because of a law that was passed in New York. I never thought it would. I have prayed over this. I have cried over this. I have asked God to forgive those who had a part in the passing of this law.  Just thinking about this or reading about it, and especially seeing pictures about it has about sent me over the edge. I can barely get through writing about it.

I think about women who are already in an emotional state of mind making life altering (literally) decisions. I think about the many families who will never be. I think about my own life story and how this law would have changed the course of my whole family. I think about how many states won’t be far behind New York.

It’s awful.

I am praying God’s forgiveness on our nation. I am praying that we will turn back to him. I am praying that we won’t stand for this any more.

The Orange Frame

On a counter in my house sits THE orange frame. It’s placement had great consideration and the frame was bought with great intent. No other decorations are around it. You might say that it holds a place of honor- not in the house, but a place of honor in my heart.

For the last few years, ever since it was bought, THE orange frame has held the physical evidence of all the changes my family has gone through. But it doesn’t just show the physical evidence to me.  With my mama’s heart I can see the changes of growth and maturity. I see the changes of hard lessons learned. That’s not all I see. I see the goodness of God poured out into my family. I see joy in friendships built that started out because we’re related.

I don’t know how many more times we will be together all at once. It’s getting harder and harder due to living in different locations. This makes looking at the memories in that frame so bittersweet. It makes me even more thankful that all those years ago a little orange frame, sitting on a dusty store shelf, came home to live with me.

The Day Before

Well, it’s here. The Day Before. And I don’t know what to say or do.

How do you act when a piece of your heart is about to walk out the door? What do you say when it’s not just for “good night?”

First off, you don’t act sad. You don’t want your last moments together to be a tear fest. And you don’t say all kinds of sentimental things or else you’ll be needing to buy stock in Kleenex. But it’s the day before…

You act normal and talk about insignificant things, even though you know that each of these moments are definitely not insignificant. You try to memorize every little feature, even though there’s modern technology to stay in touch  But it’s the day before…

You let it all sink in that this long year has been so very short. And even though it’s time for them to move forward, your heart still breaks. But it’s the day before…

You understand what a privilege it has been to have a front row seat. You understand the sacrifices that have been made. You grieve a little for the changes this means for you. But it’s the day before…

And now it’s time for one last smile, one last squeeze and one last kiss goodnight.

Because it’s the day before.

 

 

The Day of Promise

Thursday has turned out to be my favorite day of the week.

Why?

Because it is a day of anticipation.

Because it is a day of promise.

A promise that the work week is about to end.

A promise of a weekend yet to come.

A promise of a payday about to happen.

A promise of new plans to be made.

I used to call Thursdays “Friday Eve.”

But now I call Thursdays the Day of Promise.

And I look forward to Thursday every week.

 

Starting 2018

2017 was a busy year for us. We had 3 graduations, a new grand baby, a long awaited surgery, an empty nest, a special anniversary vacation and a booming business. It was all good, but so much at one time! After all of that, life was supposed to go back to being low-key. Well, our 2018 is laughing at our 2017.

We’ve had some temporarily move back home, one left for military basic training, there are medical situations, and business is crazier than ever (in a good way). There will be a wedding, a new job for several, half of our family will be moving away, and one will come back home. It’s only March! Who knows what else this year will bring.

One day this week, within a two hour time-frame, every member of my family had called me with great news. I don’t know if you can understand this, but in that moment, the goodness of God was almost too much for me to bear. I knew that I needed to cry out to Him with thankfulness for His grace and mercy on my family. And I never want to forget that moment, because I need to cry out to Him so much more. I need to cry out to Him for thanksgiving. I need to cry out to Him for forgiveness. I need to cry out to Him for strength, hope and faith.

It is all good. So very, very good. Even the hard things, because they are what bring me to God. And I need constant reminders of this- that God is in it all. That I need to continually go to Him in both the good and the bad. That His strength is all I need.

 

 

 

For a Few Hours

For a few hours life was new

And a few hours later, it was gone.

For a few hours dreams were beginning to unfold

And a few hours later, they were gone.

For a few hours your life totally switched directions

And a few hours later, your life was back again.

For a few hours you wondered how it was all going to work out

And a few hours later, you didn’t have to wonder anymore.

For a few hours you held a secret in your heart

And a few hours later, the secret changed.

For a few hours you wondered what God was doing

And a few hours later, you wondered yet again.

For a few hours I want you to know how very much I love you

And a few hours later, I love you even more.

The B Team

Sunday mornings are my favorite. They have been all my life. Going to church and being around a congregated group of people who love Jesus is the best. Hearing God’s Word preached and explained elevates my relationship with God and draws me closer to Him.

But…on this particular Sunday morning I struggled to go. Adding to the struggle was that church would be a “B team” day. On this Sunday there would be a different Sunday School teacher and both our pastor and worship pastor were not there. And while I have nothing against the “B team”, it just wasn’t what I thought I needed. Silly me for thinking that worship was about me.

I figured that I knew which of the pastoral team would be preaching, and knew that he would bring a good message. Still, I fought with going. But I went.

Our Sunday School lesson was good and gave me some things to think about in my relationship with God. Afterwards, I went into service and quickly learned that we a had guest pastor preaching instead of who I thought. Great, I thought to myself. I don’t know who this guy is, but I now really wish I had stayed home. I know, I know. I’m so spiritually advanced (written with much sarcasm).

Well, let me tell you. I truly believe that God had that man come and preach just for me. It was as if he was speaking straight to me. Not only did I receive a clear message from God that morning, it has carried me through ever since. I’m so thankful that I took notes that morning instead of sitting back and only half listening.

The even greater lesson is that even if I didn’t get a single thing out of the service, someone did. On Sundays when I have left feeling empty, someone else left feeling full. And whether it’s myself or someone else receiving a special word, it is such a priveledge to be a part of it all.

The Style of Memories

I love to get the house ready for Christmas. But for me, it isn’t about the end result–it’s about the process.

Every box of decorations that I open is a time capsule of my life. As I slowly and carefully peel back the layers of tissue paper and newspaper of each item, I am greeted with a sweet memory of Christmas’ past.

The small church given manger scene from my childhood that has somehow survived all these years; the ornament Chris gave me the year before we were engaged, the many, many, many ornaments, cards and wall hangings my children made in preschool and kindergarten; the manger scene that belonged to grandparents, the angel ornaments that I collected year after year, one at a time; the kitchen items that were part of my family before I was; the crown for the top of the tree that took many careful hours for my mom to make.

I think about the traditions that were kept through the years. There were many years I would groan at the bringing out of the Advent wreath and the weekly out loud reading that came with it. But now I am so thankful that was instilled in my life. I remember the Barbie clothes that were sewn to perfection and the special homemade dress that was my Christmas Eve present to wear to church that night. This leads me to remember late night church services for Christmas Eve and how beautiful all the candles were. Taffy pulls, cookie baking, the fresh Christmas tree, a Whitman’s Sampler for my mom, secret Christmas reconnaissance missions of my brother and sister, and strings of bells around our bedroom door knobs to avert anyone who thought Christmas needed to start too early.

All of these memories and more are what decorating the house means to me. Merchants and social media try to have us believe that bigger is better, and everything must be done to perfection. I say otherwise. While I may not have a Pinterest-worthy style, I would choose the style of memories by far to be the best.

 

 

Thirty Years…and Counting!

What do you call it when two people, who are opposite in every way, who are both very independent and headstrong and who have all the odds stacked against them, fall in love and get married and, stay in love and married for 30 years? You call it God’s grace.

In a month, Chris and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage! And let me tell you, we have both earned every single one of those years. Our story is not necessarily a “and they lived happily ever after” story.  But then again, whose really is? We have based our lives and our marriage on having God’s joy, instead of human happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, it has been a great marriage, but most of our years together have been an uphill climb. The secret to the longevity in our marriage? We have clung to God through it all. Plain and simple. Many times we have clung to God together, many times one has been stronger in their faith than the other. When the world has told us to call it quits, God has said to stay together. And we are so thankful that we listened to God instead of the world.