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.