Thursday, May 18, 2017

Time is a Teacher

Recently I sat down with my journal after getting the young ones to bed and looked back at my entries from our first couple of months living in North Carolina. 

I don't write in this particular journal every day or even every week. I write in it when everything comes to a head and I just can't deal. I appropriately titled it my Things That Feel Too Hard journal. It's where I keep my big feelings. I write prayers. Lists of worries and hard things. I give myself pep talks and reminders from Scripture too. 

This is what I wrote last fall in the middle of some angst and question filled days:

What do I fear?
✔️ there will be no close friendships forged
✔️ I will be rejected here
✔️ we will mess up our teens
✔️ our kids won't have any friends
✔️ no other families will not want to be around us because we're too big, too weird, and we might not look like we need them

I wasn't in a bad place as a whole, but I sure had my questions. 

Looking back these several months later, I can see some of these fears have lessened. Some of them are still lingering, but that's only because these things take time. But it helps me to be able to see the real places I've been, and where I've landed just a few months later.  

Don't we just need a little perspective sometimes? To look back at our questions when we know differently now? I knew I needed to be patient. I knew in my heart none of it was true. But it sure felt true at the time. 

What do we do when false things feel true? What do we do when fear taunts us with possibilities that terrify?

We call fear a liar and put our hope and trust in the One who called us. He is present. He does see. He is working behind the scenes in ways we couldn't dream up. Let's give Him room to work without rushing the process. 

We just love to rush the process, don't we? 

Should I whip out some stats about waiting from the lives of some of our favorites from the Bible? Abraham? the Israelites? David? Elijah? Noah? Joseph? Some of them waited half their lives or more to see the promises of God to them come to pass. 

Why then do we think our timeline should be sped up? I'm preaching to myself here, but maybe it preaches to you as well.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" - Psalm 27:14

** You may or may not have noticed my monthly newsletter didn't come at the end of April! I decided writing quarterly newsletters would be best for me and my use of time, so I'll be back to writing another one near the end of summer! To sign-up to receive them, click HERE. If you get these posts in your inbox already, you're all signed up. ** 

Until then, let's keep up on Facebook or Instagram!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

If You Think Something Nice, Say It

I haven't been to an over-abundance of funerals in my life, but I've been to enough to notice a few things.

Each time I'm at a memorial service, as kind words are bravely spoken from the pulpit by loved ones, I always have one great hope as I manage the lump in my throat:

I hope this person heard these words before they passed. I pray they knew how beloved they were.

I picture the person being remembered sitting in a chair receiving the words. Eyes beaming. Tears streaming. But the problem is they aren't there to hear them and have it impact their life here on earth.

What if this wasn't the case?

What if our loved ones knew all the good things we thought of them when they were living?

Imagine how this would bless them. Imagine how beautiful our world would be if the good were praised and the criticisms hushed? Imagine the impact it could have it just one more person were encouraged and built up?

We hold back so much.

Maybe because we think if we tell our loved ones how much we appreciate the good in them, it will mean we accept the bad parts too? I get this.

I once heard Pastor Craig Groeschel say, "Never withold a blessing. If you think something nice about someone, say it." 

I've been so challenged by this.

If we think something nice, we ought to say it. Is there anything more simple yet so impactful?

Who might benefit from hearing your offering of kindness? The hearer? The hearer's family? You just never know what kind of waves a single act of kindness can make.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
    sweetness to the soul and health to the body. - Proverbs 16:24

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What 2016 Taught

Every once in a while, I like to stop and recount what I've learned after a long stretch of life, and the start of 2017 seemed like the perfect time to pause and look back. Here are my major takeaways from 2016.

1.  I don't always know the answers. My gut isn't always right. 

As hard as it is to swallow, 2016 showed me that my pride and assumptive abilities have no place in any area of my life, but especially not in decision-making. I sometimes assume the answer is whatever I'm "feeling" the most. Guilty. 2017 will be the year of me not always following my gut.

2.  You can never go wrong when you choose to serve others rather than self. 

I'm not talking about neglecting ourselves here, I'm talking about service. Real, genuine, uncoerced acts of love and service for the benefit of others. Too often we make sure we get what we want and do what we want, and forget the bigger picture. Jesus modeled this kind of others first living, and it's something I want more of.

3.  Yep, it will be hard, but it will also be worth it. 

2016 taught me to wait out the storm, take a big leap, and trust even when the way is foggy. Good things can be really, really hard and also absolutely worth it.

4.  My family needs and deserves my best. 

I don't have many words to share here because I've already said it all. My family, this gift from God, deserves more of me.

5.  Regardless of others' opinions, follow God's words to you. 

Sometimes following God's lead involves receiving some backlash from those you know. That's okay. Be gracious and keep on following Him.

6.  Unconditional love makes a difference in my heart and theirs. 

One of my top struggles as a human is the habit of temporarily withdrawing my affection from those who have wronged me when unconditional love is what's needed instead. This takes place mostly in the parenting realm. I want to be a steady mother who gives consequences for poor choices from a place of mercy and grace rather than bitterness and swinging emotions. This post I wrote over on The Masterpiece Mom speaks to this.

7.  Good skincare and well-fitting pants are important to me. 

Laugh if you will, but how many times have we neglected our skin and worn pants that are way too uncomfortable? Way too many times. I pledge that my skin will be cared for and my pants will not make me want to unbutton them. Amen.

Well, there you have it. 2016 in a nutshell. Speaking of 2016, Anne-Renee and I just released a new podcast episode where we talk about all our favorites from last year. Clothing, music, books, TV shows, mothering moments, etc. You can listen right here: Episode 58 - Best of 2016

Happy January! What did you learn last year?

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