Thursday, August 14, 2014

Because Some Lessons Have to Be Relearned

And then a few days ago, I ignored my own words.

It started with an e-mail I received. It asked me to choose a date for a specific opportunity I was already involved in. There were only so many dates available, on a first-come, first-served basis, and from the e-mail chain in front of me, I was apparently the last to speak up.

I knew better than to get worked up over it…but I did anyway.

From what I could tell, all of the dates were spoken for. I had chosen not to spend my day online, and for that, I had missed out. And I fumed.

I knew God had it under control, but I couldn’t seem to get myself under control. Actually, I don’t think I even tried.

I was sure I’d been left out of something I’d been involved in for years, and I let my emotions fuel my nasty thoughts.

I told myself that it might be part of God’s plan for me. Maybe it was time to move on to whatever was next. The problem was, I had no idea what that might be, so I started feeling sorry for myself.

I kept checking my e-mail waiting for a reply, knowing that it would confirm what I thought I knew. And while I continued to stew about it, I grew snippy with my family.

I’m sure they were less than thrilled to be around me because I didn’t even want to be around myself.

And then, I received the reply I was waiting for. But it wasn’t what I was expecting. It didn’t say what I’d already chosen to believe. Instead, it confirmed that I already had a place.

I ignored common sense and my belief that peace comes through trusting God, choosing to walk the path of negativity instead of possibilities.

God had it under control, but I decided to fume rather than to trust. And because I failed to trust, I was far from experiencing His peace.

I had apologies to give and forgiveness to ask for—from God and my family. And a post to write—because lessons are easily forgotten (or ignored) and have to be relearned. Over and over.

And over again.

In Christ,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Trust Brings Peace

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34 NLT

There is an unexplainable peace that comes from trusting God.

The Bible tells us about it. I can imagine the peace Abraham felt after God reminded him that He would make Abraham the father of all nations, despite the lack of physical evidence that it could ever happen. (Genesis 15:1-6)

Abraham believed God…and believing that God keeps His word brings peace.

It’s overwhelming to experience it personally. When you feel God’s peace, you just know it’s from Him because there is no way to rationalize it.

And to watch God’s peace settle over someone else—it’s awe-inspiring.

My young, teenage daughter has had a rough year with ongoing illness. Between new and worsening symptoms and missed school, she’s had plenty of cause for worry. Overall, she’s really handled it well.

Until a few weeks ago, when there was one thing eating at her...

Please join me at Next Level Mama to continue reading the story of how my daughter found peace in the midst of worry.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. 
Matthew 6:34 The Message

In Christ,

Monday, July 28, 2014

When You Feel Alone

Sometimes I feel completely alone.

I’m not talking about times I’m by myself; sometimes I need that. I mean that even with my husband, daughter, family, friends, and co-workers, there are times I still feel alone and lonely.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about.

When it feels like there’s no one to talk to.

No one who understands or has time for you.

No one who cares what you have to say, or is interested your dreams and goals.

I’m not trying to throw a pity party here, but let’s face it—sometimes the course of life leaves us feeling alone in this world.

Friends turn.

Children stray.

Loved ones pass.

Marriages crumble.

Loneliness is a part of life—a part we don’t understand. In fact, sometimes I wonder why it seems like God wants me alone.

Perhaps it’s to draw me closer to Him so He can be the center of my life.

Not unlike He’s done before…

Joseph must have known loneliness as he sat in prison for something he didn’t do, wondering if he’d see his father and brothers again. But God never left him.
But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Genesis 39:21 NLT
Moses was surrounded by the Israelites as he led them from place to place in the desert. And yet, his wife and sons were not with him; they were living safely with her father, Jethro. And now the very nation he led to freedom was turning on him. But Moses knew God was still there.

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” Exodus 17:4 NLT
David was alone and on the run from Saul, having had to leave behind his family and best friend Jonathan. But he knew God was there to answer and guide him.
“…will Saul actually come as I have heard? O Lord, God of Israel, please tell me.”
And the Lord said, “He will come.”
Again David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah betray me and my men to Saul?”
And the Lord replied, “Yes, they will betray you.” 1 Samuel 23:11-12 NLT
Certainly, Jesus knew what it felt like to be alone and to have others turn on Him, even those He considered friends. But He knew His Father was with Him.
But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. John 16:32 NLT
We may feel alone and lonely at times, but just as God was with Joseph, Moses, David, and Jesus, He’s here with us too.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5b NIV
God wants to draw us close and promises to never leave us, no matter how alone we may feel. 

Maybe the question is whether we’re leaning into His embrace, or struggling against Him.

Has there been a time in your life when you felt alone, despite who was around you?

In Christ,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Little Bird Named Albert

“There’s a baby bird in the egress window,” my husband said Saturday morning, “and I don’t think it can fly out.”

My daughter and I ran to the basement window to see this for ourselves. Sure enough, the cute little guy sat in the cushion of leaves in the window well. My daughter immediately wanted to save it. Deciding it was a “him,” she named him Albert.

We watched Albert through the window, before doing anything, to see if his mom would come back. And she did.

She didn’t sit in the window with him, but she was never far away. She brought him food and she stood on guard.

She sat on the fence outside my kitchen window while I baked chocolate chip cookies. And she chirped. Over and over. Chirp (pause)…chirp (pause)…chirp.

Albert kept the same chirping rhythm. Chirp (pause)…chirp (pause)…chirp.

We decided they were communicating…
Mom?...I’m right here…Mom?...I’m right here…Mom?
…Albert scared and crying out, while his mom let him know she was there and hadn’t left.

My daughter said it reminded her of when she had an MRI and I stood next to her throughout it, with my hand on her leg. She couldn’t talk or move, but the couple of times I moved my hand, her leg twitched, as if to make sure I was still there. And I rubbed her leg to assure her I hadn’t left.

Throughout the day, we watched Albert as he attempted to fly out…without success.

We wanted to scoop him out, but like his mom, knew that he would eventually fly out on his own. So, we cheered him on.

Again, we realized how the mom-child relationship isn’t all that different. Sometimes, as moms, we can’t rescue our kids, but we can stay close and comfort them.

They will get themselves into predicaments that they have to figure out how to get out of, and all we can do is support them…and love them. So, Albert’s mom stayed.

First thing Sunday morning, we checked through the window. Albert was still there and looked like he’d gotten used to his new surroundings.

I went on to do other things, but received timely updates from my daughter. She was sure he was looking at her through the window. Maybe he was feeling supported and encouraged by her too.

And then…
“Mom, mom! I got to witness it!” she yelled as she ran to find me. “Albert got out!”

And he did. After the night’s rest, he was strengthened and refreshed…and he flew to the edge of the barrier to the window well. We couldn’t help but be proud of the little guy.

We snuck outside and watched as he sat on the edge chirping. Then, we spotted Albert’s mom, with breakfast in her beak, but still able to answer his cries.
Mom?...I’m right here… Mom! Look, I did it!...See? I knew you could do it!
We thought we were being sneaky, watching from a distance, but moms have a good sense about things, and we figured she was on to us. Albert wasn’t going to eat breakfast until we left.

Albert was gone when we checked back later, probably off somewhere with his mom. We were happy for them...but at the same time, we kind of missed the little guy.

Linking up with Unforced Rhythms, Soli Deo Gloria, Winsome Wednesday, #TellHisStory, Coffee For Your Heart, #EverydayJesus, Thought Provoking Thursday