When Words Can’t Do Justice

We all have seasons in life that seem to flow a whole lot smoother than others. The current season I find myself in is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. That’s the thing about seasons–they aren’t “all or nothing”. They are a definite mixture of all sorts of things. And in the midst, we have a choice. Resist? Or embrace to learn and grow?

There are so many things about this season I would love to resist, but in resisting, I short-change myself and those around me that I directly impact. So I surrender. To the awkwardness. To the pain. To the unearthing of things hidden within of which I wasn’t aware.

I don’t surrender in a way that has this season and these things controlling, defining or labeling me. No. I surrender in a way that says “OK, here it is. Let’s face this and work through it and allow God to use it for His glory.”

Does putting that spin on it make it easier? Not at all, but it does remind me in the middle of the hard that there is more than this. This life. This season. These hard things. And don’t we all need that reminder? That it won’t always be this way? That something beautiful will come out of our struggles?

I’m not much of a gardener–not for lack of my dad trying. He even told me one day how therapeutic gardening is. To which I laughed and replied “Dad, it’s just one more thing on my to-do list.” Maybe someday I’ll change my perspective. Maybe someday I too will think it’s therapeutic and actually enjoy it. That day, however, hasn’t arrived yet. In the meantime, even if I’m not a gardener, I do know this: before the seeds can be planted, the soil must be prepared. Worked up.

This not only applies to gardens, it also apples to our hearts and souls. Before seeds can be planted, our soul must be prepared. Worked up. What doesn’t belong (weeds) removed, soil softened and fertilized so that when the seeds are planted they can grow with less hindrances.

What does this have to do with “when words can’t do justice”?

Simply this. Sometimes there are no words for what we are going through. Sometimes, it is impossible to explain. And that is OK.

In a world where everyone has a thought and opinion. In a world where others voices are constantly bombarding us. It’s so very refreshing to sit back and say “I have no words, but you are welcome to come sit with me in my silence.”

In the Bible, in the book of Job, after he lost everything, his friends came and sat with him in silence. Later they gave their opinions, most of which weren’t helpful. But first they sat. Could we possibly learn from this? Sometimes there are no words. In those times trying to “come up with words” won’t do justice at all to what I or you might be going through. Not that words are wrong, obviously as I need them to write this, it’s just sometimes, silence is far better.

Yet that brings us to an entirely different thing–in this world full of noise we no longer know how to sit in silence. For the most part, it’s a lost art. One I am incorporating into this season. I fully admit, at first it was awkward. Very awkward. But I am discovering the absolute joy and beauty in silence. It’s in the silence I learn, grow and discover. It’s in the silence I hear. I hear more easily the whisper of God. And ohhh how I long to hear His whisper. For it’s His Words that unearth the unknown within and tell me who I really am.

So I ask…will you come sit in silence with me? But first, before we do, let’s be reminded of who God says we are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8WK9HmF53w

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Traces of Yesterday

This morning my house is silent.

With only the sound of my big, old grandfather clock as a backdrop, I putter around, cleaning this, then that. I smile as my cleaning leads to the orange toy car. The one that has been in this household ever since my son was four. My oldest grandson is now five, and still the car gets used. It’s drastically in need of a wheel alignment, but it still gets used.

In the back of the car I find water. Lots of water. Along with a cup. This is the newest way my almost three-year-old grandson has taken to drinking water. He pours the drinking water into the “trunk” of the car, then takes the cup and scoops it out to drink whenever thirsty. Kids–their creativity and way of thinking is a constant wonder to me–that is when I’m not being “too grown up” to appreciate it.

Traces of yesterday.

As I begin to scoop out the water and dry out the car to prepare it for the next time my grandson is over, I wonder. What are the traces of yesterday that still linger in my soul?

You know what I mean, don’t you? You have them too, right? The “little things” that often stay hidden, only to pop up when least expected.

A memory. A moment. A regret.

Something in today will often be the trigger that reveals something hidden within still lingering from yesterday.

If it’s a good memory, a moment of laughter we can simply remember, smile and go on.

But when it’s a regret…then what? I was faced with that very recently. Just yesterday, in fact.

In the midst of homeschooling, it was a seemingly inconsequential comment, a slight bit of attitude from my youngest daughter. But in it, I flashed back to many yesterday’s ago. To the years I wrestled daily with Lance. Instantly the regret came. That kid often got “the worst of his mom”. Because he was so much like me, because he pushed every button–even without intending to, because I was so broken and reacted rather than acted, he got the worst of me.

I’d like to think if I knew how it was going to end–with his death at 18, it would have been different. I would have been more patient, more loving, overlooked so much of what I didn’t at the time. But I can’t know if that really would have been the case.

Often when we are in the moment, we don’t think of how fleeting this moment really is. We don’t stop to remember this will all be over in the blink of an eye. We are simply focused on that moment.

Although I believe present moment living is the fullest way to live. Sometimes in the present, it’s essential we remember there is a future. And what is happening now, won’t last forever. Sometimes we need to pause long enough, right in the heat of the moment to ask, “Will this matter in five years? or even five months?” And sometimes we need to gauge our reaction in light of eternity.

So when my daughter “triggered” those traces of yesterday and the regrets, then grief arose, the immediate temptation was to lash out–in some way, shape or form, so as to deflect the pain. To not have to feel what I was feeling. But instead, the Spirit (Holy Spirit) rose up within me reminding me, I am forgiven for my past sins, I don’t have to react today to the traces of yesterday, and it’s perfectly alright to feel and grieve.

And so.

I let the slight attitude be overlooked (after all, she had no idea what was transpiring inside, or what she had triggered). I walked away. I took comfort for my grief in the only way that truly comforts me, being real, raw and honest before God. He doesn’t require me to be strong or forget how much I miss my son. He doesn’t ask me to ignore the pain of the past in light of the hope of tomorrow. He understands this in between. And what completely amazes me is He gives healing from yesterday, strength for today, and hope for tomorrow all at the same time. That is the ultimate definition of present moment living, don’t you think?

Forgetting the past is impossible. Learning and growing from it is optional. We all have the choice. And that choice begins with what will we do when the traces of yesterday–the unpleasant ones–arise? Will we face and work through them? Or will we attempt to outrun and bury them?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgSOH_NoApQ

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The Nothing in Prayer

I woke up early this morning with some thoughts rolling around in my head. As is typical for me, I lay there, talking it over a bit with God. Then, fell back asleep. Later when I awoke, the basic thoughts were still there, so with pen and paper in hand, I sat and fleshed them out.

This is quite different from my normal journal entries, I myself am not sure what to think, but since honesty, transparency and vulnerability are things I’ve prayed in the past to have, I am choosing to share.

“What if I came to You with nothing?  I don’t ask, I don’t share, I just sit?  For nothing is really all I have. Every breath I take is a gift from You. Yet you welcome me in.

Not just welcome, You invite me into Your very throne room. You delight in me as I delight in the antics of my grandchildren.

Nothing else matters. Nothing.

You clothe me in royal robes, my beauty is beyond comparison–because of You.*  From nothing. To royalty. Without any effort on my part.

What if I remembered; realized; really knew  that this is what prayer does.

When it (prayer) doesn’t seem to ‘be working’, when my requests seem to go unnoticed; what if I realized there is so much more to prayer than what I know.

Yes, You tell me to ask, ‘you have not because you ask not’ (James 4:3) ‘ask and it shall be given unto you’ (Matthew 7:7). Yes, You tell me to ‘cast all my cares on You’ (1 Peter 5:7) but there is so. much. more.

There’s wonder and awe to even enter Your presence. There’s the reality that all this, this world and everything that distracts me now, is passing; and soon I’ll step into Your very presence in a way as real and tangible as the chair I’m now sitting in and the birds I hear singing.

What if everyday I lived with that truth at the forefront of my mind and the center of my being?

What if I really lived for You? Like, really. Every moment. Every day.

What would my life look like?

Maybe, just maybe, it would be **war-ship through worship.

For if I truly understood the privilege of prayer, the reality of the spiritual; I’d be far more in awe. Living amazed at the beautiful love story You have created.

I’ve been transformed. From a beggar with nothing to daughter of  The King.

Thank You , Lord.

Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ. For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving. Ephesians 2:7-9 The Passion Translation”

*References from various verses in the Bible.

**I’ve often considered prayer a type of war against the enemy–and I still believe that is part of what it is. But in the above, I’m beginning to see as a “prayer warrior” my focus may sometimes be too solely on interceding, bringing my requests and concerns before God rather than simply coming to Him with nothing, and sitting in awe, wonder and worship. By worshiping Him, the only One worthy of worship, I’m engaging in an entirely different type of warfare against the enemy. I love how God continues to unveil and reveal His truths!

 

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It Only Takes A Morning

It’s been one of those rare, perfect mornings for me. Rare needs no explanation. It’s rare because I don’t experience mornings like this too often. Perfect–because I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Not one thing.

What is even better, I’ve been changed because of it. Not because of the morning itself, rather, because of how I chose to spend it.

Today it is just me and the cats at home–and the clutter I still need to attend to. But for some reason, I was fully able to ignore the clutter and not feel guilty. For some reason I recognized what I was choosing was of far more importance. Far more value. And had the potential to change my life.

“What” you may ask, “did Lori do?”

And the answer would be, “Nothing.”

Nothing it all that would be considered by anyone else as ‘world changing’. Yet for me it was. It changed my world.

I woke up at my usual time, said good-bye to my hubby as he headed off to work, then went back to sleep. I slept in! This girl doesn’t do that—I mean really slept in. Like it was almost afternoon before I got up slept in. Some of you may be wondering what the big deal about that is. Others. You understand. And let me take it a step further–I slept in without feeling guilty. That’s huge! (For me, at least.)

The sleeping in without feeling guilty was wonderful, but what was life changing is the choice I made after.

Even though my day was “half gone” by sleeping in. And even though I had “a plan” of everything I wanted to get done knowing I seldom have full days at home to myself; instead of jumping out of bed and getting to the list of chores, berating myself for sleeping in, I reveled in it. I laid there for awhile appreciating the sound of my grandfather clock ticking in the living room just feet away. I breathed in deeply the fragrance of the essential oil in my diffuser next to my bed.  I looked out the window at the snow sparkling on the evergreen trees outside. And I just let it all soak in. As I did, I gave thanks to my Heavenly Father for all of it.

And that is when it hit.

Certain circumstances currently in my life came to mind threatening to steal the peace and the joy of my moment. It would have been so easy to allow them to. Instead I “took captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) those thoughts. I pictured those circumstances as a huge weight before me–that was pretty easy to picture because at times that is exactly what they are; a huge weight. I pictured  myself trying as hard as I could in my own strength to push them before the throne of God, to leave them at His feet. But try as I might, I didn’t have enough strength. The stack would barely budge. Then I pictured the breath of God, one tiny exhale on His part and the weight before me became tiny particles that drifted slowly away. And isn’t that really the truth of it? What is huge before me is nothing for God. What I can’t see around He can evaporate with one small breath.

From there, I went into prayer. Not a “wish list” prayer time. Rather a pouring out of my heart prayer time. A time when I ask the hard questions of Him and sometimes (like today) He whispers the answers to my heart. I’m learning not to ask the questions unless I really want the answers because God is not the impersonal, silent, stand-at-a-distance God we sometimes think He is. Not when we come before Him in humility and honesty. No. He reaches down to our level and speaks to us–if only we choose to listen.

And that was the ‘world changing’ part of my morning. I chose, rather than get up and hit my to-do list, to sit and ask the hard questions of God. And then I chose to sit and listen to His whispers to my heart, even when what He was saying was painful. Brought tears to my eyes and down my cheeks.

My circumstances, the ones I pictured before me unable to budge, haven’t changed–yet–but I have. I did. As I chose to spend time with my Father and listen to what He had to say, He revealed attitudes within me, fear I hadn’t recognized, that was directly influencing these circumstances.

That led to another choice. I could get up and ignore what He had to say, or I could take heed, confess to Him my wrong attitudes and motivations. Allow Him to transform me.

If in my position, which would you choose?

This time, I made the life-changing choice. I chose to listen, to confess, to repent, to allow Him to change my heart. I wish I could say I always make that choice, but I can’t. I don’t.

If I have learned anything in this spiritual journey I am on, it is this–when I choose to listen and obey God it doesn’t just affect me, it has a domino effect on everyone around me. When I am changed by God I live better, I love better, I impact others positively.  If however, I choose not to listen and obey what God is speaking to me I stay trapped in whatever it is He is revealing to me–fear, arrogance, pride, selfishness..and the list goes on. That too has a domino effect, but the impact is not positive, it’s negative.

So the way I see it, obedience to the whispers of God is a win-win. For me and for all those around me. Disobedience, may be easier in the moment (because who wants to step out of their comfort zone and make changes, or apologize, or confront someone/something amiss in our lives? Not this girl!) but in the end I will regret it if I don’t. In the end I will always wonder “what if I would have?” And in the end, whatever God is revealing to me is really for my good and the good of everyone around me.

Do you struggle with believing God is good and only wants your best? Are you still trapped in the “religious” ideas of God that man has created? Do you wonder if it is possible to really hear from God?

These are all questions I have had to personally work through as I journey through life. And I am the first to say I have SO much more to learn! But I am ever so thankful God has/is showing me who He is and how much He loves me  as I choose to go deeper and be still before Him.

You know what the cool part is? This isn’t just a God and Lori thing. Anyone willing to take the time away from the busyness of life, to ignore the to-do list and simply come before God with an honest heart and open ears can experience this. He loves each one of us that much! That includes you, my friend. <3

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38

I welcome any questions or comments you may have about God or my walk with Him. Just hit the connect button and send me a message. But like I said, I am still on the journey myself, I don’t pretend to know it all. What I have learned/am learning though, I am more than willing to share. 🙂

 

 

 

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The Struggle of Obedience

The kiss of the salt air and breeze on my cheeks. The sound of the water, waves crashing along the shore.

I’m reminded, they can go only as far as the Father commands. “This far and that’s it,” He says. And they obeyed.

If only obedience was that easy for me…

Being that it is relatively early in the new year yet (where has this month gone though?! We are more than half way through it) my morning Bible reading was from Genesis. New year, new attempt at reading through the Bible–but that’s an entirely different topic 🙂

One of the things I love about the Bible is that when we are open to it we discover new things that leap off the page no matter how many times we have read a particular story–at least that’s how it works for me. Today that happened again. A coincidence that it happened to be about obedience when that memory from my day at the beach was still fresh in my mind? I don’t think so! But then again I don’t really believe in coincidence…again, another topic for another day.

“When his brothers were ready to leave, Joseph gave these instructions to his palace manager: ‘Fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they can carry, and put each man’s money back into his sack. Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother’s sack, along with the money for his grain.’ So the manager did as Joseph instructed him. The brothers were up at dawn and were sent on their journey with their loaded donkeys. But when they had gone only a short distance and were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his palace manager, ‘Chase after them and stop them. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you repaid my kindness with such evil? Why have you stolen my master’s silver cup, which he uses to predict the future?What a wicked thing you have done!’ When the palace manager caught up with the men, he spoke to them as he had been instructed.” Genesis 44:1-6

Did you catch all that? I don’t know about you, but if I was that palace manager I would have thought Joseph lost his mind…put the cup in, chase after them and ask why they stole it (even though the manager clearly knew it wasn’t stolen). I would have wondered, I likely would have questioned, if not aloud, most definitely within. And maybe he did, I don’t know it doesn’t tell us. But what it does tell us is what jumped off the page at me. “When the palace manager caught up with the men, he spoke to them as he had been instructed.

Obedience. Even when it didn’t make sense.

If Joseph, a mere man, could command such respect that his manager was willing to obey despite how crazy it all appeared why do I struggle to obey God?!

God! The one who knows my future, who gives me every breath I take!

And so my wrestling began.

There is no easy answer to my question. Or maybe there is. Maybe it is simply lack of faith. Lack of trust. Lack of confidence in the very fact and truth that God is love and yes, He allows bad things to happen, but never just to be mean. Always there will be a reason even if I can’t see it, even if my entire circumstances make no sense whatsoever.

When I hear the word obedience, often it triggers a negative connotation. “Obey or else!” Alluding to conditional love, performance based attainment.

And that right there is the struggle. It isn’t a struggle of obedience per se, it’s believing a lie instead of the truth. The truth that God is good. God loves me, period. God is bigger than my circumstances. God can take the mess, the heartache of my life and make something good out of it….and just because it isn’t working out the way I think it should doesn’t mean it isn’t working out. It is. In God’s way and His timing. Which is always better than my own.

Sure, I like everybody else, would like life to be easy. To go the way I want it to go. To always have enough. But when it doesn’t (we do after all live in a broken world, a world of imperfection), when none of it makes sense, will I still obey?

When that person says the hurtful things, spews judgement on me or my family, will I forgive (obedience) or retaliate, seek revenge (not what God asks of me therefore disobedience). When the pressures of life and circumstances, whether those circumstances are time, people or money related weigh me down will I give it to God, trust Him (obedience) or worry, fret and try to figure things out myself (disobedience). When I get that prompting within to step out of my comfort zone, to stop a stranger and ask him if he knows Jesus (yes that really happened and let me tell you I didn’t like it!) will I obey? Or will I walk away from the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s eternity by choosing disobedience?

Oh, to be like Joseph’s palace manager and live life “as I’m instructed.” The bonus for me and you that the palace manager didn’t have–God doesn’t leave us to live life out of our own strength. He doesn’t require obedience out of randomness. He has given us His Holy Spirit. It’s in His very grace and strength we are able to obey. And anything He asks of us is always for a very good reason. Never just randomly. We just don’t always know the why because we can’t see the bigger picture, the connections that lead to other connections.

Each time we submit our fleshly desire of doing things our own way, choosing instead to obey God we are becoming more like Jesus. And in so doing that, we become brighter lights in a often dark world. But the danger (at least for me) is to make this a “religious” thing by attempting it in my own strength. How easy it is to default to that. But that turns it back into the performance based, have to do this to please God attitude and that is so not the truth!

As I wrote in Losing Lance: One Life Matters “Grace received. If you have ever experienced it, you know just how beautiful it is.”

Thank you God for Your grace to walk in obedience, thank You that You don’t require me to do this in my own feeble strength.

So as I wrestled with all of this today, talking it over with God, digging to the root of it all I decided to actually look up the definition of obedience–remember to me it had bad connotation (unless of course it was me asking something of my kids haha). And here is how dictionary.com defines it: Obedience–the state or quality of being obedient (ok that was a no brainer!)                                  the act or practice of…submissive compliance.                                           Submissive compliance? So me being me  looked up compliance.                             Compliance–the act of yielding: cooperation.

Now how is that negative?

Obedience.  It’s not the list of rules I need to check off that my mind tried to tell me it was.  It is simply yielding to God. Cooperating with Him. And if I truly believe all that I say I do about Him, would that even be difficult?

I know this is not a one time lesson for me. This will be a life long process. But today I am thankful for the insights. The encouragement. The answers my wrestling and discussion with God brought about.

And I’m even more thankful for the the peace obedience brings. That young man I was nudged to ask if he knew Jesus–we had a wonderful conversation. And if it hadn’t turned out so well, really, what would it have cost me? Embarrassment in front of a stranger–I’ve lived through far worse.

And just when I thought all that was enough, looking down on the sidewalk as I walked back from the beach was a heart-shaped rock. I smiled and said “thank you Jesus, and Lance for sending the love”.

Obedience. May I learn from the waves along the shore–it’s really a beautiful thing!

As a little bonus for making it all the way to the end of this post enjoy one of my favourite songs 🙂

The lyrics went through my mind as I felt that breeze on my cheeks and heard those waves along the shore….

 

 

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Learning To Be Still

I sat on my bed. Bible, journal and pen beside me. But rather than reading and writing, my mind was racing.

It had been a season of busier than normal, and here I was finally with more than just a short moment of quiet. Although everything around me was silent. I wasn’t.

I had been here before, even though that had been several years ago it was still etched perfectly in my mind.

The inability to be still.

That day, so long ago, had been a beautiful spring day so I opted for a walk outside and inadvertently stumbled upon a beautiful park. Surrounded by the picturesque scene before me, the fragrance of fresh cut grass in the air I could feel the stress slip away.  At last I was able to have a conversation with my Father without all the noise in my head.

That was then. This was now. This time I was at home. It was winter and yes I could still go for a walk outside but the idea didn’t appeal at all. So I simply sat.

“Push through the resistance.”

The words of my mentor echoed through my head. His advice had been when writing my memoir. He had said, resistance would rise but I would have to push through to get to the other side. He had been completely correct. But did the same apply for this?

Everything within me wanted to get up and do something, after all, reading, prayer and journaling isn’t really doing anything is it?

If you ask many people they would say it is a waste of time. But I knew better.

This. This intentional time spent with my Father, listening for His still small voice, digging into the truth found in His Word had prepared me for living through the nightmare of losing my son. It had slowly, over time, transformed unhealthy thoughts and habits.It had changed me. So, why, even though I knew better could I not focus?

“Push through.”

I continued to sit, to simply breathe as worship music softly played in the background.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity my mind quieted, my spirit within rose up and all distractions faded away as I poured my heart out to God. Connection began.

It is a connection that is only understood by others who have experienced it, and impossible to describe to those who haven’t.

It’s available to each and every one of us, but too often, like I almost did, we don’t persist and push through. We give up. We fall for the lie that the immediate around us is more important. Or we are distracted by emails, Facebook, the more tangible things. And we walk around with empty souls, masks of pretend happiness on our faces. We snap at our spouses and children, irritated by the littlest things because we haven’t taken time to nourish our souls, to be filled by the only One who can truly satisfy.

I remember life before this world of constant online chatter. Yearly I go camping with my family to a place of no cell or internet service. And yet, I struggle making stillness a priority, what will it be like for this generation who has known nothing other than 24/7 bombardment with technology?

Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

That doesn’t sound like a suggestion to me. It sounds more like an imperative.

And yet we (I) run through life like being still is optional. For what? And at the expense of what?

This getting to know God thing has been a long journey, and I will be the first to admit I have a lot more to learn. But one thing I have discovered and know for sure. When God gives a command it’s not to be a stick in the mud, to steal my fun. It’s for my own good.

He knows. He knows the Lori that has spent time in His presence being still is far superior to the Lori that hasn’t. And I know that too—now.

If there was only one thing I could change from my past it would be to have learned this sooner. To have practiced this when my kids were younger. To have given them the gift of the mom who had spent time in the presence of God. The mom who is still far from perfect, but oh so much more patient, loving and kind because my soul isn’t starving.

If I could pass on only one piece of advice to the ones coming up behind me it would be to take time. Take time to learn to be still and know that He is God. Take time to have your soul nourished by the One who created it.

The housework can wait. It will, after all, wait. Unless you have the little cleaning fairies in your house I have always longed for. If so, please send them my way.

It’s not like all that needs to be done won’t get done. In fact, something else I’ve learned is somehow I manage to get more done when I have made time with God a priority. It doesn’t make sense in the world of time management, but another little tidbit….often, God doesn’t make sense.

I can almost hear the excuses and arguments. I’ve made them all myself.

But in the end, when all is said and done what would you (I) prefer–a “perfect” house or a nourished soul and the benefits in life that come with that?

There are 24 hours in a day. Out of those 24 hours isn’t it possible to set aside 10, 15 or 30 minutes for the One who gave us those hours, this life to begin with?

Knowing all this myself I fully admit, I still struggle.

And that, my friend is why I entitled this learning to be still. I too, am still learning. Will you join me on this journey of learning?

 

 

 

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Get to vs Have to

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my attitude. And how it affects everything about my day.

I don’t lead a glamorous life. I have dishes to wash (without the aid of a dishwasher, we are talking old school here!), toilets to scrub, laundry to do. Just like everyone else.

Some days…..well, it all gets to me. I look at the mess, the clutter, and I grump. I think about all I have yet to do, and become overwhelmed. I fall for the lie I don’t have enough time…..

And then, like a glimmer of light peeking under the crack of a door into a dark room, I’m reminded.

Life is short. Life is unpredictable. Life–is a gift.

A gift I do not want to waste.

When I choose to grump and groan. When I allow myself to feel overwhelmed. Am I not wasting my minutes, my life?

I constantly have to bring myself back to reality. The reality of choice. I may not be able to control my circumstances, but I can control my attitude in them. That’s a quote I have heard so many times I wouldn’t even know where to begin finding out who should get credit for it. But it is so full of truth, I will risk sharing it without giving credit where credit is due.

I really can control and choose my attitude, even in the midst of the mundane.

I’m sure there are many ways to do that. Every one of us would have different ideas and tips.

For me, the simplest way, is to change my “have to” to “get to”.

I get to wash a sink full of dirty dishes–because I have food to eat and dishes to eat off of. And people I love living in the same house as me who dirty dishes and leave them in the sink.

I get to scrub toilets—because I have indoor plumbing and running water.

I get to do laundry–because thank goodness I have clothes to wear and don’t have to run around naked. Trust me, that wouldn’t be a pretty sight. You will not see this girl joining a nudist colony anytime soon (or ever!).

Such a small thing.

All I’m doing is changing one word in my sentence. In my vocabulary. But that one word changes everything! Because when my outlook changes, my day changes. My relationships change. The irritating chores become blessings.

Another “little thing” that makes a huge difference.

I’m beginning to think when I die I will be remembered for the phrase “the little things matter.” Truly, they do. They matter and make such a difference.

Now sometimes I think we get caught up on little details that don’t matter. Thus “don’t sweat the small stuff” gets said. But when it comes to attitudes and actions, the “small stuff” can end up making the biggest differences in our lives.

Not just in our own lives, but in the lives of others as well, because they tend to have a ripple effect. Have you noticed a bad attitude seems to be contagious? A good attitude can be too.

I have not arrived at always having a wonderful attitude. Just last night I failed for quite awhile before I was reminded I was in the middle of a get to, not a have to. Once I remembered…I was blessed with laughter and the creation of beautiful memories with two of my daughters and one of my grandsons.  And I was blessed even further as my girls began reminiscing about their brother and the little things they remembered about him.

There it is again–the little things. It is the little things about Lance that brings the sweetest memories. Memories that warm our hearts, bring laughter to our conversations, and tears to our eyes.

What “have-to’s” in your life can become “get-to’s”?

Try it for a week, changing “have to” to “get to”. Just one week. And see what difference it makes.

The little things…..

Now, I “get to” go make supper and create more dirty dishes.

And then.

I “get-to” curl up with my book and read for awhile…not because I will be all caught up with everything that needs to be done (pretty sure that will never happen) but because I am choosing to remember…

Life is short. Life is a gift.

And sometimes chores can wait while we “get to” enjoy this gift called life.  🙂

 

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Choosing to Remember

The year my son died (and for a time following that first year) has hands down been the most painful season of my life. Nothing else I’ve gone through has even come close.  I hope I never have to endure a season like that again. But if I do, I know that the God who walked beside me during that time will walk beside me again. He didn’t let go. He didn’t drop me even when nothing within me was able to keep holding on to Him. He is faithful.

I find it essential to remind myself of this. It chases the fears and the what-ifs away. For awhile. And then they return. And then I remind myself. Again. And again. And again.

Oh how quickly I forget the lessons “of old”. The things I thought I learned but seem to need to relearn. Is it just me? Somehow I doubt I’m alone in this.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9

This verse in Deuteronomy is proof I’m not alone. Forgetfulness is something we are all prone to from the beginning of time.

Some things are good to forget. The “little” offenses we hold on to. The unintentional slights and hurts. I’m all for forgetting those. When I choose to remember those it simply causes discord in my soul and relationships. Life is too short for discord.

 

And yet, sometimes, discord is inevitable.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

If it is possible….the word if suggests sometimes it isn’t possible. Then what?

I said at the beginning losing Lance has been the most painful season of my life, but one thing positive in that loss was everybody expected me to be hurting. I felt the freedom to grieve publicly and privately without apologizing. Sure sometimes I defaulted to wearing the mask of “I’m fine” because in the  moment it was easier. But I am the one who chose that. Nobody made me feel like I had to be fine.

What many don’t know is, with the exception of losing Lance, I have never grieved as much in one year as I have this year. This year has been beyond hard! But in this season of grief I do not have the freedom to grieve publicly because this grief involves others still living and breathing. It involves others who, for this time, I am not able to live at peace with. So it has involved boundaries. Distance. The breakdown of relationships.

Why do I share this? Honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe to let you know, if you are grieving silently, you are not alone. Maybe it’s to remind myself, and you, even in this, God is faithful. The same God who walked with me through the pain of losing Lance is walking with me through the grief of this season. And if you allow Him to, He will walk with you through the grief you carry.

Much of life doesn’t make sense to me. I’m not going to try to figure out the whys behind this season I am in, or the breakdown of the relationships in it. But I am going to choose to trust that just because my physical eyes can’t see a reason doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason. And if there isn’t a reason? Even then, God is faithful.

I will remind myself of that as many times as I have to….and some days that means reminding myself many times! God is faithful. God is loving. God’s got this…..

The enemy of my soul wants me to forget this. Wants me to believe God doesn’t care. I won’t fall for the lie.

My eyes have seen the evidence of God’s love. My heart has experienced the comfort and joy only He can give. So I will continue to remind myself. I will choose to remember. And I will teach it to my children and grandchildren for as long as I live.

Where has God been faithful in your life? If you aren’t sure, simply do what I have had to do many times. Ask Him. And once He reveals the answer to you, then choose to remember. For when we choose to remember, we will never forget….

It may not change the season we are in, or the grief we are experiencing, but it will change our perspective in it.

The little choices we make.

They make a difference.

What will you choose?

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Good Medicine

Music has been and still is like healing balm to my soul.

On the hard days, the weary days, even the good days, to pause what I’m doing, take a few moments, put in my earbuds and let a song wash over me is just good medicine.

On any given day I could have a new favourite. It’s kind of like the “flavour of the month” for me, except rather than ice cream or food it’s music.

My current favourite however has lasted for more than a month. Maybe it’s because watching the news, seeing the devastation and hardships going on in this world it’s easy to become overwhelmed and let fear erupt within. Or, maybe it’s because of having lived through one of the deepest heartaches a mother can live through I sometimes need the reminder. Whatever the reason, this one has stuck with me for quite some time.

I shared it with a friend awhile back, and she too has found healing in it. Truthfully, I forgot I had sent a link of the song to her until the other day when she wrote to say she still listens to it almost every day.

The power of a song.

The importance of what we allow into our minds.

My dad is famous for sharing the quote “garbage in garbage out” and although I tend to roll my eyes at hearing the same thing over and over again from him it really is true.

What we allow into our minds shapes us. It can subtly or not so subtly influence and affect what we think and who we become.

It’s way too easy to have “background noise” forgetting the impact it can have. I know. I’m guilty of not paying attention to what I’m allowing into my mind. But then when the fears overtake, the doubts begin to arise and I stop long enough to evaluate where my thoughts have been it’s often easy to see the connection.

There is an old saying, “Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” I’d love to give credit where credit is due on that quote but when I looked it up it has been attributed to several different people. Nevertheless, whoever originally said it spoke truth.

An even older saying, Proverbs 4:23 says “So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.”   The Passion Translation (the Hebrew word for heart includes our thoughts, our will, our discernment and our affections.)

So again, as I’m so often learning, it comes back to the little things. How the little things you and I let into our minds morph and become bigger things in our lives.

But how, in this fast paced world where all sorts of things are coming at us is it even possible to counteract what we often don’t realize is coming against us?

By purposely, intentionally,  renewing our minds. Filling them so full of truth there is no room left for the lies and doubts to live.

That truth is found in God’s Word. I know many people who think the Bible is dry and dusty–or simply a long list of rules. You may be one of them. At one time, I was too. But when I dared to dig in with an open mind and heart I discovered treasures. Messages of love. Unconditional love that this girls mind still can’t comprehend.

And the in between moments (which is really the majority of my day) when I’m not reading God’s Word?

I saturate myself with “background noise” of positive music, worship songs, anything that is uplifting, not pulling me down and causing the negative, fearful thoughts I am so prone to.  If I’m not is a place I can have that going in the background I take “music breaks”. Some people take smoke breaks, I take song breaks lol! In those breaks I literally shut the world and outside noise out for two minutes by putting in my earbuds and focusing on the lyrics while the melody washes over me.

So are you wondering what song it has been for me lately?

Here it is…put in those earbuds, let it wash over you and enjoy! And when you are finished, let me know your thoughts…if this is something you already practice, let me know what your current favourite go-to song is. I’d love to know. Maybe I’ll find a new favourite 🙂

 

 

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The In Between

Transition.

It can be a hard place to be.

That in between place, full of uncertainty, where it sometimes feels like you are standing on shifting sand.

This is where I have been the last couple months. With my memoir Losing Lance complete and published as of July 7th and the next project still unknown I’ve struggled. Apparently I am more goal orientated than I realized and with nothing to “look forward” to I feel kind of lost.

Yet it is also the perfect place to practice what I preach…that everyday matters. That even in the ordinary meaning and beauty can be found. That it’s the little things that make a real difference. Yet somehow during this in between I have forgotten this.

I listened to a podcast recently by John and Lisa Bevere and in it they referred to transition as intermission. Now doesn’t that sound so much better? Anyone familiar with sports knows how necessary an intermission is. It is in the intermission you rest briefly and prepare for what is still ahead in the game. A regrouping so to speak.

Armed with that picture in mind this season of transition has become far easier. Like it has more purpose in it than it seemed to have before. And I can finally say I am enjoying it.

I don’t need to know what’s coming next, I just need to live today–this moment, with excellence because lets face it, no matter how ordinary today is I will never have this moment again. And some day I will likely look back and treasure it. Because I have discovered since losing Lance, it is the littlest, most ordinary moments that have made the fondest memories, the biggest impact. So why would I wish these days away for ones I perceive to have more value?

I won’t. Anymore. Until I forget again that is. I seem to do that a lot. Forget the lessons I’ve learned and need to relearn them all over again. I know I’m not alone in that, and all I can say is that I am grateful for a God who is patient with this girl!

Thank you John and Lisa Bevere for helping me see this season through new eyes.

And now to simply sit and rest while I listen to the perfect “in between” song. Feel free to pause a moment and enjoy it with me!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DQobykZHMQ

 

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