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Friday, February 26, 2010

Why wait?


None of us know how many days we have left here on this earth.
For some, they are narrowed down much faster than we had planned.
But we are not the ones in charge of that.
God pays no mind to our own calendar of events. 

Many, through diagnosis, are presented with a calculated finality.
We are destined to spend a few more weeks or years entrenched in doing the things we often put off doing until we are running out of time.

We rush to get those ‘Bucket Lists’ of dreams accomplished as if there is nothing more miraculous on the other side.  As if the living is in the here and now.  And there is SOME truth in that.  There IS life unimagined, void of our own minds comprehension, waiting on the other side.  



But there still is.....
living 
in 
the 
NOW

So what will I do with the NOW?  If I have 3 days or 50 more years I still need to respect my time more.    

I will make sure that every moment of my children’s lives with me is more loving & meaningful.  I will make sure that moments aren’t wasted in nothingness.  I will make every minute count for something. 
I will be more thrifty with my time.  More frugal.  I will be more conscious of where it is going & to what benefits from it.  My time, like a crisp new dollar bill, will be handed over only if it is going to make a difference.  If the exchange is going to truly matter. 

I will spend more time in prayer.  In gratitude & thankfulness.  For the ‘every day’ moments that make the WHOLE so beautiful. I'll hesitate more with seeking trivial things.  
Instead of wanting for things that fill my home, I will ask for the gifts that fill my heart.

Why do we risk more usually?  When the calculation renders much less than we had planned on, why is it THEN that we decide to finally get in the game?
Physically, we will push ourselves into trying things that we may never consider otherwise.  We will jump from planes, swim with sharks, run with bulls, spend weeks kayaking through the Grand Canyon.  Attemping to retrieve every last minute that we are given.  Making up for lost time.  I will choose to make the moments count TODAY.

In some sort of last-ditch-effort, we pull out all the stops & finally find a definitive freedom in making every breath count.

And it’s usually the risks in heart that take it’s toll the most.  We regret not saying more.  Or we scramble to erase the times that we said too much.  We regret not loving more.  Feeling more.  Being there more for those that truly matter.  So I will choose to be here NOW.  I will be more aware of my words.  Think before I speak. 

Why does it take a lump in your breast or a tumor in your brain to change how you spend your life?
Why does it have to come down to a life threatening illness to make us alter how we LIVE & LOVE in the here and now? 

Live NOW, as if you really only did have 31 months left. 
Approach TODAY, as if there were really only a certain number of them remaining.
Be present right now, as if your life depended on it.





Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Point me in the right direction


It drives me crazy when I am lost.
I get off track.
Take a wrong turn.
Usually because I’m distracted.
(Maybe it’s because I’m geographically challenged)

All the sudden, I look around & recognize nothing familiar.
And I have absolutely NO IDEA where I am.
Or, how to get where I need to be.

I always tell our daughter, ‘If you lose me, just stand still & don’t move.  I will find you!’

And I know, without a doubt, that is exactly what she would do. 
She would obey me. 
She trusts me.
She will be still.
She knows that I will come for her. 

God does the same thing for us.

I’ve lost Him at times. 
I become distracted by things I shouldn’t.  Things that take me AWAY from Him. 
I venture off to what appears to be a better alternative route.  A greater destination.  Like a child, I run off with an adventurous & unbridled soul.
And then I realize that I took a wrong turn.
I messed up.
And then all of the sudden, there I am…..lost, scared, panic stricken.

And I do what I told my own daughter to do.
I stand still. 
And I wait. 
And I trust.

It is THEN, that I see Him. 
When I allow the stillness & TRUST that I am where I need to be, in that moment, in that circumstance, in that time & place……He is there. He finds that lost soul that wandered away and is now stranded….paralyzed in fear….and He sets my feet back on the right path.  He releases my doubt by providing peace.  He guides me gently through my isolated wilderness into freedom & guided purpose again.

With Him……
I am no longer lost

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What will you give?


What is life if not to make it easier on one another?

Let’s face it.
Life can be hard.
Hopefully not every day but the moments that make up the whole, can be difficult at times.
If we walk around in our own bliss or even ignorance & don’t see the things going on around us, then how can we ever use 100% of the heart that God has given us?

Part of living is in the life that we choose to live!

We are all blessed with something.  Given provision because we are some of the lucky few!  And if we give away what we have been given-
Patience
Mercy
Money
Food
Grace
Time
Friendship
Love……..
        The door to our hearts will open even wider to receive even more

If you’ve been given kindness, lend it out to someone else.  Open a door for someone that has their hands full.   Push that shovel down your sidewalk a few more feet & give someone else a break that morning when they are already late for work.  Pull the trash cans in for your husband so he doesn’t have to. 

If you’ve been given the luxury of eating THREE meals a day (and then some), feed someone who hasn’t even had 3 meals this WEEK! 

If you’ve been surrounded by love, embrace someone else that needs it!  Wear your heart on your sleeve for a while.  Gain a different perspective into what someone else’s life is like at the moment. 

Run an errand for a friend that is juggling kids, her husband’s cancer, a job….and give her the gift of a little more time.

If someone is hurting, reach out to them.  Even if no words are spoken, sometimes more is said in the ‘doing’.

And set your heart on the path of fulfillment!
          No obligation. 
               No expectation of future payment.
                    No future applause or ticker tape parade.

Just give what has been given to you.

Even the tiniest favors are sometimes the most needed.  The smallest gifts are the ones most treasured.

Become more aware of those around you.
Recognize the need.
Be conscious in your living.

If we are more aware of the life going on around us, and lend our heart freely to those that need something, the joy will come.  Even if that’s not what we’re really seeking.

Living in fullness has nothing to do with how full your bank account is or how full your closet is or your garage is or your social calendar is.

It comes from being present in heart.  By allowing the love that is given to us every day by God, be given away.  It never returns void.  It never seeks redemption.  It’s just there for the giving!

What gift will you give this week?  What will you lend out?  I want to hear about it.  Was what you received in return so much more than what you gave?



Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Morning Commute


It was a Monday morning.
On THAT day 9 years ago.
The day that changed my life forever.

Who I was.
How I thought.
What I believed.

Snow was falling gently.
Daylight hindered by the darkness that still blanketed the city.
It was a typical Monday commute.  For most.
People going to work.
Dropping their kids off at school.
Stopping at Starbucks to get their double nonfat cappuccino.
Complaining about the weather and the driver in front of them.
Preparing their minds for their staff meeting.  The week ahead of them.  Travel plans.  Their daughters recital.  Their sons football game.  LIFE!

I sat at a stop light.  I still remember it all too well.
And I thought ‘The person in the car next to me has NO IDEA that my husband died an hour ago!’.  ‘They have NO IDEA that my entire world just exploded into tiny little pieces of uncertainty, fear, sadness.
Life moved on.  Forward motion.  World still spinning.  Why did the world not stop moving for just a moment?  Because MINE did! 
For that moment, TIME STOOD STILL……..for me anyway. 

The lesson in that moment was to never underestimate the power of circumstance.

We never know what someone else is really going through.
We judge someone so quickly for their unfavorable mood, their impatience in a moment.

We don’t know the battle that exists in their hearts.  In their lives.  In that time & place.

The news they just received.
The final goodbye that was just said.
The fight they just had with their teenager.
The diagnosis they just received from their doctor.
The funeral they just came from.
The divorce papers they just signed.

We Don’t Know!!

The lesson in that moment was to never underestimate the power of mercy.
The power that grace can provide in a moment of sadness & uncertainty.

So I will give it when I can.  I will lend it where it is needed.  Because I have been in that Monday morning commute.  I have been there.     


Friday, February 19, 2010

He is no Picasso


He paints every single blade of grass.
And stirs the wind that moves every leaf on the trees in my backyard.
They alone, don’t make a sound.
But on His command, as they motion together, they form the most beautiful song in nature.
The moon is hung on His very word.
He takes care in making every cloud billow.  Fluffs them perfectly.  And on certain days, His creativity shines even more when He takes the time to make them look like a giraffe on stilts or a frog chasing a robot.
He sits calmly at His easel at times.  Mixing new colors for sunsets.  Or a lighter hue, for today’s rainbow.
And when He is feeling feisty & wants to liven things up in this already crazy world, He will shake His mighty hands &
                                        move the earth.
   Shake the land.
                        Stir the oceans.
         Twirl the winds.
He dresses ladybugs in the most adorable polka dots.  And paints daisies in His favorite colors.

He shines every star, one by one, with His own hands.  Taking pride in their brightness.  And gives, even them, the responsibility of leading the way for wayward travelers.

He kisses the sky with every beautiful sunset that appears.  Shades of deep purple & scarlet red. 

With a single touch of His tender hands, winter turns to spring. 

He designs every snowflake & blankets His handmade mountains with millions of them.

On His command, the sun rises, tides turn, snow falls & rivers are made. 

With His brush stroke, waterfalls are created, leaves change colors & new life is made.

He is the Creator.  He is the artist.  He is the One painting the canvas.  He is no Picasso.  He created Picasso.   

All we have to do is enjoy the magic.  Appreciate the beauty.  And stand in awe of His every day masterpiece.
    

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Living outside of the 9 to 5


I was a part of the corporate world.
I ran meetings.
Fought battles.
Organized important events.
Was sought out by important people.
I made things happen.

I lived in the 9 to 5.

And in that season, that is who I was.

I was important.
I was strong.
I was depended on.
I was resilient & intelligent.
I fixed problems & solved corporate issues.

My living was in the 9 to 5.

And then…..

Life changed.

Marriage.
Cancer.
Death.
Healing.
Marriage.
A daughter.
Destruction.
Rebuilding.
Twins
Chaos.
Awakening.
Transforming.
Simple Abundance.
Reward.
Life.

It was then that the realization occurred.

The life that was in the 9 to 5 was not LIFE at all.

The living…….is in the moment.
It’s in the trials & the triumphs.
It’s in the celebration & even the tears.
It resides in the crevices of meer seconds, sometimes.
A last touch.  A last kiss.  A final goodbye.
The moment you hold your first child for the very first time.
Feeling true life.  Heartbeat.  Breath.  Fear. Awakening.

It’s not in the ‘we used our life savings for this vacation’ moments.
It’s in the sand between your toes moments.
The picking seashells by the seashore moments.

It’s in the laugh until your stomach hurts moments.
The heart-stopping sunset moments.
The ‘I am so thankful I have her as a friend’ moments.

It’s in the residual.
The effect of what is left from the equation of:
           Blessed Life-Tremendous Loss-Unspeakable pain+Mending+Praise+Beautiful                                                                                     

In lies the living.
The heart-tugging, joyful tear making moments that allow for life to be truly FELT.
For the heart to give way.
For the living to be had.

Don’t just live in the 9 to 5.
We need work to put food on the table.
To pay our bills.  Feed our family.

But let the true living……
The laugh until you pee your pants living…..
The over-the-moon moments….
Those times that take your breath away….
Let THOSE be the things that make you LIVE the life that we are all meant to live!!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Invitation


Meet me in this place.
Open the door of my hardened heart & come in. 
You’re invited here, where others have come & gone, left their mark, taken what they needed or given what I did.
Either way, there is a space for you.

When I am tired and weak, scared and uncertain, I know to rest my head on the shoulder of peace & possibility, on grace and mercy.
When the burdens I carry are too much for me to hold, I know to lay them at your feet, to place them where they will be taken from me, and then take my empty hands & lift them in praise to You.
When my feet wander down a path of destruction & sin, I know that You will lead me back.  To place my feet in the richness of your soil, to allow them to take root & grow & bear beautiful fruit.

Meet me where I am.
I am ready.
 I will be here this time.
Fully present.

Sometimes I’ve been a no-show.
I thought I was ready but I wasn’t.
Even long before I even thought of returning to you, you were ready.

I am willing now.
I am ready.
I am available.

So come in.
Transform my heart.
Move where it is needed.
Plant the seeds that need to be planted.
You are welcome here.

And please, PLEASE
Don’t
Ever
Leave!

Monday, February 15, 2010

In(Dependence)

I’ve always considered myself independent.
 I don’t count on others to do things for me.  (My husband may disagree!)
But I walk my own path.  Don’t worry about what others think all that much.  I can manage just fine on my own.
Being independent these days, shows strength.  It means you don’t need people.  You can make a life for yourself with no favor from others.  Get by with little help.  Support yourself in whatever lifestyle you choose.
But being in dependence of God is something that I desire. 
I am dependent on Him for EVERYTHING. 
I look to Him to give me provision in every aspect of my life.
From finances to food on our table.
From the clothes on my back to the clean sheets on our bed.
I depend on Him for my health & safety. 
I look to Him to alter my heart when it’s not in a good place.
I rely on Him to move in my life every day so I can be a better mom, better wife, better friend, better person, better servant to Him.

Without Him, I can’t do anything…..nor, do I want to.

And this doesn’t make me weak
In fact, it does the exact opposite.
       I am stronger through Him.
               I stand because of Him. 

 And even when I rest on the shoulder of His forgiveness & mercy, it’s there that my dependence transforms into something that can move mountains.  It is there that the shadow of weakness turns to radiance that transcends this world we live in.  And my dependent heart becomes STRONG……..In….                                                          Compassion....Forgiveness....Empathy....Love.....Patience......Kindness....& Joy!
                                    
                                                                                                                                                                        
 I CAN’T manage this life on my own.  I’ve tried.  And I have failed.
I AM weak.  He gives me strength.
I AM broken.  He mends.
I NEED HIM.  I AM…….DEPENDENT.



Friday, February 12, 2010

I can't outrun the chaos

I am stretched.  Pulled in too many directions.
I have no more give.
No more requests.  No more saying ‘yes’ to everything.

Every day I think ‘this will be the day’.
The day I give more to my kids than anything else.
The day I don’t let errands & chores get in the way of what really matters.
Today I will give up something not so important to focus on the one thing that IS!...my family.

I am always thinking of something else.
What to write about next.
What I need to make for dinner.
Did I email her about the play date next week?
Did I get the kids applications in for school & summer programs & classes & swim lessons & everything I think they need to be the happiest, most well-adjusted, well educated toddlers to walk the earth.
When is my next half-marathon?  Did I book the right hotel in Napa?  When do I need to start training again?
When is vacation Bible school for the kids?
Did I get everything done for MOPS?
Did I read my homework for Bible study?
Did I call her to make sure she didn’t need anything else for the party?
Did I do everything I needed to so that my husband felt loved this week?

Wait…..I need to do laundry & mop & clean the kids rooms & color code the closets again because in the chaos of it all, I’ve mixed the reds with the browns & that just won’t do.

Did I do enough with the kids today?
Did I read to them?
Help them with their colors & alphabet?
Did I make sure all of their senses were touched on today?  Did they feel enough, see enough, taste enough for them to be happy?

I need to clean the car, clean the garage, pack some boxes.
Get things ready for the next consignment sale in April.

Oh, and then there is work.  It’s only 20 hours a week but it’s 20 less hours that I can focus on everything else.  I love it.  But it still takes time.

And no matter what……if I’m investing time in one thing, I’m taking time away from something else. 

So what will suffer?
My children?
Our marriage?
The organizations I volunteer for?
Friendships?
My relationship with Jesus Christ.
My relationship with myself?

Something will eventually give.

I’m not sure what to stop focusing on just yet.  But God will show me.  He wants me to be where I need to be for today.  Even in the chaos.  Because, today I am seeking Him for peace & patience.  For redirection & renewal.  Today, I will focus on Him first & the rest will all fall into place exactly where it needs to be.

Where do you feel pulled right now?  Do you feel stretched?