Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gifts In Disguise

I always try to find lessons every day through my kids.  Usually that’s where most of them are. 
 In them.  It’s God’s way of speaking to me in His softest tone.

Like every child, Noah loves picking dandelions for me.  From the purest place inside of him, that place of love & wanting to make me happy, he pulls them from the ground.  Collects them in his hands gently & brings them to me.  As a sign of his love for me.  Because he says ‘it makes my heart happy’.

And YES, it does.

And in my own purest form, I accept them.  Kiss him on his forehead & tell him ‘Thank You’.  Not for the ‘weeds’ turned flowers in the moment but for his heart for me.  For his showing me that I can trade what is broken for what is beauty
If I open my heart to it.

He sees something that I don’t.
He feels something that I have a hard time accepting at times.

Like God.

I have been handed trials in my life, ugly things, circumstances that I would have traded for anything in the moment.  But God saw something else.  He saw the beauty.  In the moment, He saw what I didn’t.  And in that time, I accepted it.  Sometimes He had to peel back my fingers from the clenched fist I had for Him but I was still accepting because I knew that God was at work.

Thank you Noah, for my lesson today.  For the beauty that you showed me!   For allowing me to see that love & grace sometimes come in the form of things that we would rather dismiss because they aren’t pleasing to us. 

Sometimes the magnificent is disguised until the gift is ready to be revealed. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Window Seat

This is for you!
The one that sits quiet & comfortable.
Staring across countryside, along roads torn & into eyes that spark uncertainty.
                                                           Silently you observe with birds-eye view.
Through crowded streets & quiet souls.  By way of outstretched hands eager to feel your love for just a moment.
Desperation seeps through your own veins as if you are breathing her breath.  Feeling his loss.  Living within their concrete walls.

And at times, it’s almost too much to bear. 
The burden weighs so heavy. 

Hope covers them like a blanket.  And for some, is the only thing that will tonight.

We hold on to this moment.
The beauty of Doxology sung.  Did angels join in when they heard?
Did even our tears gain power in those moments to shake the gates of heaven?

Through joy in the meeting & sadness in the parting He keeps us on task for His work.  For we are the hands & feet.  Surrendering to the calling.
Just beyond the comfort zone He pulls us.
Beyond the walls that protect us.
Out of the window seat.
And into the presence of angels in the flesh.  To hold their hands.  Be enveloped by their hope. 
And yet WE are the ones that learn the most.  That experience Holy Spirit movement. 

And that’s where we find Him. 
Just beyond the edge.

He placed us here in ruin & rubble so our hearts break wide open to a need so great that we will never go back….to our own way of selfish living.

We move beyond the comfort in our own lives to dwell in the comfort of His arms. 
Seeking to understand the things that don’t make sense with human eyes. 
And like the ones that have nothing, seek Him with EVERYTHING that we do have!

Finally, opening our eyes to what is beyond the tinted glass & making what we see be from God’s majestic eyes & through His touch…..

EVERYTHING becomes beautiful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Promise With A Purpose

I can see the day.
Gorgeous skies ahead.
Not even a breeze to wash over her face.
Only a calm to meet her where she is that morning.
And then the clouds roll in.  The storm comes!
And she is left alone….a widow.

I can see Naomi crumble under the loss.
A heap of an broken soul in a barley field.
One day planting seeds.
And the next day reaping what she did not deserve.

Laughter & dreams washed away by the steady stream of tears & confusion.

And then love sweeps in.
In the form of a mirrored image of sweet Naomi in her younger years.

Ruth….widowed at a young age & losing both of her children.
Suffering incredible loss also.
Playing the ‘same-storm, different-day’ card.

And in that field, both gathered up their dreams…TOGETHER!

There was something about Naomi that Ruth loved.
Was it her wisdom?  Her spirit? 
Was it the fact that she was planting beauty in a field that was void of it for so long?
Whatever it was, it was worth hanging on to.

Naomi encouraged Ruth to move on.
She didn’t want to hold Ruth back from what her life could possibly hold.

And Ruth…was going nowhere!!

She stayed!
Taking hold of Naomi’s hand.  Maybe because it’s the only thing she could find to hold onto at the moment. 
Maybe…it’s because she just plain loved her!
And in her loving voice, committing to her that she would not leave her!

Can’t you hear her?  Strength in her words with a bold touch of beauty as she spoke.
‘Until your heart finds a home I won’t let you feel alone Naomi!!’
‘Even if it takes us into FOREVER’
‘I am not going anywhere’.
‘Where you go I will go!’  And, ‘where you stay, I will stay!’.

Promise with purpose is unbreakable you see!!!!

In my opinion, Naomi allowed her to stay because she was an example of God’s love.  Strong & bold.  Beautiful & unfailing.    And with that, comes nothing else needed!

And Ruth didn't want to leave because that’s not what friends do.  If love abides here, why would she need to go somewhere else?

Their friendship triumphed over adverse circumstances & blessings reigned down on them because of it.

It’s easy to call someone a friend but so much more of a blessing to actually be one! 

Holding hands.  Through the storms. Where heaps of rubble lay.  Fractured lives rebuilding themselves....with the help of one another.

In those times that it’s hard to stand, isn’t it always better to have that friend to hang on to.  To hear those words, I’m not going anywhere!...EVER!’ and to know that promise has met purpose in that moment.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hello 2012!!

Hello 2012!!

What will you bring this year?

If I can put my two cents in, here’s what I’d like to offer.

That you allow every single day to be filled with Joy!  I’m not asking for it every single second because that will be too unrealistic.  BUT….a sprinkle or 2 of it at random times would be wonderful.

I would like to not have worry!  So many things that I COULD do with it but I don’t want to.  Let me give all of that to God.  Place it at His feet each day & go about my business.

Let me embrace my family even more.  Not just physically, although I shall work on that too, but allow my heart to open up even more to feel things I haven’t even yet discovered.

Please God…watch over us this year!  Continue to blanket our family with your amazing love!!  Protect our children with the power of 10,000 armies.  Keep them under your wings Lord & show us how to love them with YOUR heart.

Give us memories this year that will last a lifetime!  Whether we travel to far away places or our feet are planted here just in our own home, let laughter ring loudly in everything that we do.

Give us good friendships.  The kind that are only seen in movies.  Let new faces enter in & let us grow in the old ones as well.

Give us a better appreciation for the wonderful marriage that we have.  For this partnership that we have entered in to.  Allow for quality time together to grow in our relationship with one another & keep God in the very center as we should.

I want more time with You God!!  I know that’s not just going to happen on it’s own.  I’m aware that it takes two of us to make this relationship work.  But some days, I may need a push from you.  I’m giving you full authority to wake me early so we can have a good morning chat.  (that’s funny!!...Me giving YOU authority)

Provide me Your gifts Lord!!  Of gentleness, kindness, self-control, love, goodness, etc. so I can reflect that back to my family. 

And if there is to be time wasted, let it be time that’s spent well.  In good company & not just on trivial things that do nothing for me or my soul!

Bring lots of sunshine our way so we can enjoy the outdoors & all it has to offer.  Let us feel rain on our faces & fall asleep to it’s sound hitting our rooftop.

Give me lots of kisses & hugs & snuggle time with my kids!!  Cuz OH how I love them!!

And when there are times when I ruin my ‘mother of the year’ nomination, let forgiveness fall on my tongue.  Let that softness pour over me & an apology come easier than it has in the past.

I know it’s a lot to ask!  And it’s probably more than 2 cents worth but you can’t get anything if you don’t ask for it, right? 

And one more thing….simplicity!

Can 2012 be simple?  No hassles or hype.  Just plain living with those I love.  Less shopping & more fresh air.  Less eating out & more dinners around our own table.  Less money spent on material things & more time spent with those less fortunate.  Less worrying about what the house looks like & more making of messes with the kids that are growing up WAY too fast.  Just….SIMPLE!!

And there we have it.  Just a small request.  Here’s praying for a GREAT year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lost Girl....Found

It seems like a lifetime ago & I guess, in a sense, it was.
I was only 18 years old.
In some respects I can’t even remember my life back then.
Different priorities.
Different values.
Completely different views of loyalty, friendship, compassion, love, kindness.

Oh, and.

I’m not actually talking about me.

My priorities have never really shifted.
My view on loyalty & true friendship still as intact today, 20 years later.

It’s the people that were in my life that grasped on to the opposite.

I was in a low-point in my college life.
It looked good on the outside.
I had lots of friends.  A fun job.  A rockin’ social life.  I was in a sorority.

And then.

I wasn’t.

The friends that I had made up to that point where some of my very best.
We did everything together.  Talked for hours on the phone.  Hung out every weekend.  Ate together.  Studied together.  Partied together.  Shared really bad days together.  And had really great days together.

And then.we WEREN’T together.

I felt like I had lost everything the day that I was told that my GPA wasn’t high enough to remain.

I’m not even sure that ‘devastated’ is the best word I could use. 

That day.shaped my heart like only a few others have.

In the days to follow, I felt like I was drowning. Trying so hard to hold on to those friendships like they were a life preserver.  I just couldn’t hold on anymore & they all slipped away little by little.

A new year came.  They moved on.  So many attempts were made to act like I was okay.  And I really wasn’t. 

Spring break arrived & I was invited to go along.  SoI went.

And, another day came that shaped my heart into what it is today.

I wanted so badly to feel a part of this group like I had BEFORE.  Moments were still awkward.  And I completely felt like an outsider tagging along on someone else’s vacation.

I think back to that life-changing night & I really can’t recall what started the argument between the girls but it ended up with my packing most of my things & leaving.

And thereIwas.

In the middle of a lake. 
On a beach. 
On a pay phone making a collect call home. 
Tears streaming down my face. 
I couldn’t catch my breath. 
Not even really aware of what just occurred.
Not ONE friend came to see if I was ok. 
Not ONE.

By the grace of God (& I truly mean that), I met the guy who managed the motel on the lake & he let me stay in one of the only rooms left.

There were thousands of college kids on this lake & friends that I thought I would have for a lifetime & I felt completely & totally alone.

A lot of growing up happened in that 24-hours.

I had to take a cab to find a Western Union.  Another cab to the bus stop.  Take a bus 3 hours to the airport.  Take a middle of the night flight home & in between that, return to get the rest of my things, wait in the motel room for 7 hours while everyone was having a GREAT spring break & I just felt like I WAS breaking!

Even in the writing of the words, my heart still breaks for that girl. 

So what happened when life resumed to ‘normal’? 

WellI finally found myself.

I realized that THEY were not what made me.  That money really can’t buy you friends. That I was so much more than they saw.

It took another year of making new friends.  Finding a new life socially.  Opening up my heart to love again. 

It has taken a very long time to forgive.  The scar that they left is not easy to cover up.  And that’s why I don’t.  That’s why I’m sharing it.

Not to make anyone feel sorry for that lost girl.  But to make another lost girl know that it’s going to be totally fine.  That life will move forward.  Her heart will mend.  And that God says ‘no’ to things at times because He has a greater ‘YES’. 

There is a reason you’re standing on that ‘beach’ right now or in that apartment or school or cubicle or marriage or hospital room.  Don’t let that gaping hole in your heart at this moment, be for nothing!  Fill it up with something MORE!!

That moment in time made me grow up.  It was not easy & I’m not sure I would walk that path again.  But I know what I look for in friendships now.  I know what I search for in this life.  And I am so much stronger. 

Many things have attributed to that strength but that moment was a BIGGIE!

I’m not sure why we all try to be something that we think others would like better.  Cuz I tried that & I ended up on a beach in the middle of nowhere.

My real self would have been just fine.  And even if it wasn’t fine, with THEM anyway, I would have been.

Insecurity can be a wrecking ball on your life if you allow it.  And I did.  For a moment.  Then I picked up the pieces.  Brushed the sand off my toes & got back to life.

Life is not all good.  It’s not laughter all of the time.  Friends will hurt you.  Your heart will get broken.  You will be disappointed by a LOT of different people. 

It’s my prayer that the same friends that hurt me in that season, never experience that same feeling.  Forgiveness is a difficult thing!  It’s taken a long time.  But that slate, for me, has been wiped clean.  And so has my heart!