Tuesday, May 20, 2014
It’s been months and months since I first mentioned the soup blog. I still haven’t written it. As I was thinking about it today, I thought….does it really matter now? Why should I write it after all these months? Sometimes we have to bring things back up and talk about them again, not because we haven’t moved past that thought but because someone else can benefit from our story. So….here goes….the soup blog…. Last Summer, 2 different guys in my life said very similar things to me….that I’m comforting….it’s comforting when I’m around. The second time I heard it, I busted out with….SOUP! I AM FREAKIN’ CAMPBELL’S SOUP! BUT WHO WANTS SOUP EVERYDAY? The friend I was with at that time took it one way and made me promise to stop talking about myself like I didn’t deserve great things. I took his advice to heart and even did something about it….maybe I’ll get to that later on. Then I told this realization to the first guy who called me comforting. He took it a different way and told me that being soup is a good thing. He said, soup comes in so many different varieties….I wondered for a minute is he was calling me crazy and saying I came with many personalities. Either way, he thought it was a good thing to think of myself as soup. So I took my friends advice and I started believing that I deserve good things. I thought about how I would spend a lot of money on a gift for someone else because “they deserve it” but if I needed something new, I didn’t mind going to the dollar store for myself. There’s nothing wrong with being frugal as long as it’s for good reason and not because you feel like you only deserve the dollar store. So I started on a journey of learning to take care of me. This meant saying no to a lot of things that I did out of obligation. It meant figuring out what I liked and enjoyed and taking time for those things. In August, I was shopping with my mom and saw a bracelet/watch thing that I had seen one of my customers wearing the week before. I liked it a lot but never wear watches and “diamonds just aren’t me.” For a month I thought about this watch. I finally decided I wanted it….I should have something pretty….who says diamonds aren’t me? I went to the store and there was one watch left. I looked at the $28 price tag and almost didn’t buy it. $28 isn’t a whole lot but for someone who’s used to simple things and trips to the dollar store, this was a pretty big deal. I sat in my car and put the watch on. I loved it! It was beautiful! The next store I went in was a jewelry store. Walking in, I actually thought, I hope they don’t think I stole this from another store. I stood there and had a conversation in my head about this. Just because I’m not used to wearing things that sparkle, no one else knows that, why in the world would they just assume I stole it? And this, friends, is how the spirit of inadequacy works….why am I not good enough? What’s wrong with me? Will I ever be enough for someone to love and want? Oh no, I’m ok, I don’t need anything fancy or nice. And those are BIG FAT LIES. I do regret not blogging through this whole process. A lot of lessons have been learned. A lot of new things….I curl my hair often….because I love my hair when it’s curly. I go on long walks and hikes by myself….and occasionally with a friend. I joined a gym and met with a personal trainer for a few months. I had two goals….gain confidence and don’t lose my butt….I reached both of those goals and am still working on them. As I’m reading back over this, I’m thinking, what did I just do? What does this have to do with the soup story? It all ties together. I have to see the compliment in being soup. I love that others find me comforting. I love that I can hold someone and let them feel loved. But I also can’t think of myself as just soup. Sometimes you’re in the mood for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes you want something more fancy. Yeah, fancy soup, I’m sure there’s fancy soup somewhere. It’s a balancing act. One of the first things I learned from my personal trainer was about balance….when you relax, you can keep your balance better. Everything in life is a balancing act. I may be soup….but I’m beautiful soup….and someday I’m going to meet someone who is crazy about soup. This didn’t turn out like I wanted it to….but such is life.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
I’ve always been told that I give up too easily…that when it gets tough, I quit…when it gets uncomfortable, I run. But as I look back on the things I have fought for, the really important things to me…I held on as tightly as I could. It wasn’t until someone else made me let go that I was able to. Sometimes I wonder if there’s such a thing as too much hope. I know that there can be a disaster waiting around any corner and pain can sneak up on you at any time. Things won’t always work out the way we want or even hope they will. But is that a reason to walk through any door with an expectation of failure and pain? Even things that didn’t work out, I look back and remember the feeling of excitement and hope and the fun that was had. And I regret nothing. But if there had ever been a time I didn’t walk through an open door just because there was a possibility it would lead to a dark, dead end hallway...I would regret it everyday…because maybe, just maybe it would lead to something beautiful…like a secret garden or a breath-taking view. So no…there is no such thing as too much hope. Because no matter what happens…it’s an experience, it’s a story, it’s a chance to explore, a chance to live.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
My mornings usually start a little like this….I hit the snooze button at least 5 times….I think about getting up….then stretch a little….think about how I wish I didn’t have to get up….stretch a little more….then sort of roll out of bed. This morning was different. I actually hit snooze way more times than usual. After stretching a little, the thought came to my mind….I can’t do this by myself. So before my feet ever hit the ground, I began praying some very specific prayers to God….as He laid on my heart things I would need to walk through this day. I am not a morning person….surprise! I want to be. I love being awake early but it seems to take so long to wake up and feel focused. So for my mind and heart to be this focused before I even rolled out of bed was very unusual. I don’t even think I rolled out this morning….I sort of hopped out….excited to get the day started. Nothing unusual happened at work….nothing special. But I could feel them….all the things I had asked God for today. The point in that is don’t hesitate to ask God for what you need. He’s waiting for you to ask. He’s there with an abundance of joy, peace, love….and anything else you need. You never know where your day will take you….or your thoughts or emotions. Yesterday I was feeling very homesick. Today wasn’t so bad. But as I drove home from work, I began thinking of all the things I needed to do this evening. I thought about dinner and what I would cook. I thought about needing groceries and cleaning and exercising (none of which I’ve done yet). My mind goes quickly from one thing to the next. So it wasn’t long before I was thinking about how I used to spend my evenings when I lived in Lewisburg. I wouldn’t get home until at least 5:30. I would always come home to family and friends. My sister and I would usually cook dinner together for everyone. After cleaning up and doing the dishes, we would go for a walk. We walked 2 miles every night. Some of my best memories are from those walks. I got home, walked in and sat my belongings down. Then it hit me….something like peace. It’s rare that I open the garage door and don’t feel like a ton of bricks have fallen on me. Many times I’ve had to pray before even opening that door because I know what’s on the other side….empty, quiet rooms. But tonight I walked in and never even felt it….the sadness. I thanked God. I thanked Him that before my day started He was working. He was working to give me peace and strength. He was working to bring me joy and hope. He was working to fight that monster behind the garage door….that monster that says, “You’re all alone. You better figure this out on your own because nobody is coming to rescue you. It’s just you and me.” Am I the only one with a monster like this? I sure hope not. But I also hope that you too know the truths that God speaks much louder than any of those lies….YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE WANTED! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Patience is a virtue. And by golly, it’s gonna be one of mine, even if it kills me. I’ve always been patient when it comes to others…mistakes, children, other people in general. But there are some things in life that cause me to feel very impatient. Waiting on answers. Waiting on things to work out. Waiting on things to happen. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been waiting around for 30 years for my life to start. Other times I feel like it’s come and gone and I’ve missed it altogether. I can’t explain those feelings, justify them, or defend them. All I can do is admit to them. I always say. “Patience is a virtue but it’s not one of mine.” A few weeks ago, I was driving and began thinking about a situation in my life that is left without answers. Someday, probably after I master patience, I will learn that one very important word….LETITGO! Sometimes you just won’t get answers…ever. So you just have to let it go. So I began praying about this certain situation when I looked up and saw a billboard on the side of the interstate. The bottom sign was for BP and above it was a blank, white sign and in the lower right corner, printed very small were the words…patience is a virtue. Out loud…very loudly…I said, “REALLY, GOD…REALLY? That’s what You have to say right now? Tell me something I don’t know!” Then my own words played in my mind…patience is virtue but it’s not one of mine. Then I said…”Oohhhh! That’s what this is about.” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…. We can’t pick only what comes easy. Or in what situations we want to show love, patience, gentleness….We must bear fruit at all times, in all situations. I’m in the process of learning. And trying.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
As I left Knoxville this past weekend, I was driving down the interstate, doing a lot of thinking. As usual. Some say I think too much. Or over think things. I agree. But I don’t know how not to. I passed one of the exits that I hear about often but have only been on once. When I read the sign, I felt this feeling of familiarity. And somehow, that’s what started my thinking. Three and a half years ago, I was someone who was unwilling to drive on the interstate but more than willing to hop on a plane for the first time ever, fly to a third-world country in South America and live with a family I’d never met. Why? Not only is the interstate a scary place, it’s normal (for normal people)….it’s part of everyday life. It’s routine. It’s the daily work commute. It’s the weekly shopping trip. It’s the monthly business trip. It becomes mundane. What scared me more….the traffic or the idea of getting up everyday and doing the same thing? When I moved here in November, it was my 10th move in 9 years. The longest I’ve been in one place at one time, since I was 21, was the 2 years I lived in Lewisburg. Why was I there so long? I had dreams….dreams of being settled down….living in a little house with flowers in the yard, walking the kids to the school directly across the street, planting a garden….living with the awareness that every 30 minutes the train would go by. Talk about routine. That’s what I wanted….to wear my favorite apron and make homemade biscuits, pick berries and make homemade jam, to hang the laundry outside to dry on warm days. I loved waking up everyday, going to the same job, seeing the same people….dreaming the same dreams. And then….I woke up. After that, in every place I lived, as soon as the last box was empty, the last picture hung, I started getting antsy. I thought it was an adventurous spirit….I didn’t realize it was a broken spirit. When the routine gets set and the days run together, I feel that uncomfortable feeling….I don’t know if I can put words to it….it makes me want to dream. It makes me want to hope. But is it safe to dream? Is it safe to hope? It sure is easier to pack up and move on. It’s easier to push your dreams aside and become someone new. Is my heart dreaming today? Maybe. I want to buy a sewing machine. I want to finish sewing the aprons I’ve started. I want to learn to make tiny dresses for little princesses. I want to make those homemade biscuits I dreamed of and pick the berries for the jam. I want to finally plant the herbs that I bought seeds for months ago. I want to do all the things that bring me joy. I don’t want to pack up, move on, or be someone new. I want to get back to me and back to my dreams….even if that means being uncomfortable for a little while.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
I believe in fairy tales and I’m told that it’s ok. I hold tight to that truth that IT’S OK…to have desires, longings, to want someone to smile when I walk in the room, to giggle when someone says his name. Those are not silly, girlish things. That’s the way God made the woman’s heart. It’s His design and He understands it fully…even when these longings cause us to act out in silly ways. What’s the point? LOVE…that’s the point. I am learning about love…God’s love. I have so many passionate things inside of me that I enjoy sharing. I generally always felt hopeful…usually…some of the time. I could find encouragement in just about any situation. I’m not the person who falls apart easily. I always saw myself that way…weak and emotional. But others would describe me as strong and persevering. So…then why on earth did I fall apart? Why did I feel completely lost…completely hopeless…helpless…alone…and the list of self-pitying words could go on and on. For one…I found out that my heart is still beating. The heart that has been hard and lifeless for 4 years…it’s still there. And it’s capable of feeling so much love. None of us want to feel heartbreak but sometimes it’s just what we need, as a reminder that we are still alive. Sometimes we live so long just going through the motions and not feeling anything that we forget how to really live. Life is full of all kinds of emotions and we can’t shield ourselves from the ones we don’t like or else we shield ourselves from life’s fullness. What does this have to do with God’s love? Everything. God is incredibly, madly, passionately in love with us. What do we do when He so passionately pursues us? Do we trust Him? Do we open up our hearts and accept His love? Do we fall right back in love with Him? Do we tell him we’re too busy or too tired to spend time with him? Do we let our hurts and fears keep us from trusting in His love? Do we push Him away or try to run? Do we sit at His feet with all of our brokenness and honesty and let Him fill our broken hearts with His love? I know I have hurt God’s heart many times, as I’ve pushed Him away and told Him with my actions that I don’t trust Him. But He’s so forgiving. That’s how much He loves us. Even while His heart is breaking, He’s pursuing us. I’m not perfect. I’m learning. Life is a series of new lessons and new beginnings. One of my deep desires is to start writing again. I plan to open up my heart, as messy as it is, and share the lessons I’m learning. Hopefully there won’t be another year between blog entries.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
A few days ago, I felt ashamed that the thought on my mind was, “I’m so done with this season in my life.” I’m not even sure when this season began but it seems to be filled with nothing but loss and sadness. It’s not me at all to want to throw my hands up and call it quits. Normally, I can learn lessons in any trial and walk away from any mistake having no regrets. I won’t go into detail on these things that have happened but a few weeks ago I received heart-breaking news. I was actually shocked at how much it affected me. It opened the door for God to begin working on my heart….in ways that are anything but fun. Because of these heart issues that God & I have been dealing with, I took two chances that I normally would have run from. I walked away from the second one feeling worse than I ever remember feeling. At one point, when things were going good, I made a comment that I felt bad for ever doubting that God had a plan for me. In the end, I felt as though God had dangled a dream in front of me and just when I got the courage to reach for it, He snatched it back and laughed, “You thought I was serious!” Yes, I know that is not the nature of God. I know that He does have a plan for me and that He’s not going to let me settle for anything less. My heart was tired and almost to the point of resignation. We can resign from what God is doing in us. We can opt out of His plan when the process seems too hard. But know that He sees the end. He knows what He’s doing. He loves us and has our best interest at heart. These song lyrics speaks volumes to my heart…. I knew what I was getting into when I called you. I knew what I was getting into when I said your name, but I said it just the same. I knew what I was getting into and I still want you. And I am not shocked by your weakness. And I am not shocked even by your sin. And I am not shocked by your brokenness. Because only I can see the end from the beginning. And only I can see where this is going. And only I can see the end from the beginning. And I see in you the seeds of love. And I see in you strength when all you see is your failure On Friday morning, I drove to work feeling sad, tired, and praying for the week to get better. Instead, I got news that my grandpa had passed away. More heart-breaking news. Somehow, I forgot that my heart was ready to resign. Instead, it had to hold on tighter, just a little longer. This is the third grandparent I’ve lost. And every time I say, I have no idea how someone can go through this without Jesus. I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with my grandpa that last weekend. And so thankful for the strength that God has given us all through this time. As much as it doesn’t make sense in a human perspective, I’ve walked away knowing that God is up to something big. It has to be something big for me to have considered giving up on this process. I got home and checked the mail to find exactly what God wanted to speak to my heart today….a letter about hope. I have read this prayer several times and mean every word of it…. Jesus, I ask you to breathe hope into me, right here, in the places that have lost hope. Restore hope. Give me your hope. Spirit, help me; I pray to overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I renounce resignation, cynicism and defeat; I renounce hopelessness. Come and restore my heart here, Lord. I put my hope not in an object or an outcome but in Jesus Christ. I put my hope in you, Jesus. Come and breathe your hope in me, and keep breathing it into me, breathing it into me, breathing it into me. I welcome hope; I receive hope. Because of you, Jesus; because you are here. In your name I pray. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So….while God does give us the option of resigning….nothing on earth could be better than the plans He has for us….even when we can’t see the outcome yet. He sees the end….and we’re only at the beginning.