Wow, I did not realize how long it had been since I wrote on this blog. It seems like time consistently escapes me, so it has to make the best of the opportunities allowed….like this morning. At 4:30 this morning, I woke up with a song in my head and soul. It always amazes me when this happens, because it happens at the most inconvenient times, like driving in a car when I can’t stop and write it down, or when I don’t have any access to a pen and I have to repeat the lines to myself a thousand times to try to remember them by the time I find a pen…or like this morning, when I would have loved to continue sleeping. However, my brain..and my heart, for that matter, would not allow. So…here is the song that poured out on paper in about an hour, in between yawns. Enjoy!
I hate wakin’ up too early,
My heads a-poundin’, it’s hurting
I roll over and flip on the light.
Start prayin’ for ex-boyfriends,
And all the things that could have been,
The changes that I should make in my life.
So I close my eyes and try to dream about You,
But reality just seems to creep right back through.
So, here I am thinkin’ about Truth.
Here I am thinkin’ about You.
Here I am wonderin’ what life could be.
And here I am givin’ You all of me.
Can’t get it out of my head,
Expectations I should have met,
And all the wrongs that I need to make right.
Keepin’ promises that I made,
My debts paid,
And being careful what I say,
Forgivin’ those that hurt me in my life.
And I close my eyes and try to dream about You,
But reality just seems to creep right back through.
So, here I am thinkin’ about Truth,
Here I am thinkin’ about You.
Here I am wonderin’ what life could be.
And here I am givin’ You all of me.
This morning, God taught me yet another important lesson in the walk of life. On the way to the girls’ Christmas musical, we hit a patch of black ice on 469 (We were one of 10 people who had an accident that morning because of black ice). One moment I was laughing and talking with my mom, the next moment I was trying desperately to gain control of my car and keep it from hitting anyone or anything else. I have never had something like that happen to me before. No matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t get control of it. We went from forward, to sideways, to backwards, to spinning, to almost going off of the side of a steep embankment, and then finally coming to a stop after slamming into the concrete median. Amazingly, no one in our car was hurt, there were no other cars around so no one else was hurt, and the only thing destroyed on the car was part of the front bumper and the front wheel.
The lesson learned: Give God the Control. It wasn’t until I stopped trying to control the car that we finally stopped spinning and came to a slamming stop. It wasn’t until I finally realized that I couldn’t do anything about the chaos that the peace came rushing in. Isn’t that true in life? I try desperately to control my life, to keep it going on the path that I feel is best for me and my family, only to find that I feel out-of-control and chaotic. No matter what I do to try to stop the spinning, it isn’t until I finally release control and allow God to steer me that the chaos finally stops and peace enters. Even though God lets my life spin out-of-control sometimes, He always keeps me safe and never throws anything at me that I can’t handle. In the end, the repairs are a little painful and cost me a little too, but ultimately I am a stronger person because of the lesson learned.
I have been writing Bible verses on the girls’ bathroom mirror for the past 6 months. I started doing it to give them encouragement, keep them in line with a current struggle, or just present them with the Word on a daily basis. For the past month, they also started memorizing the verse for points which they can cash in for prizes. It seemed a little wrong at first, but then again, I memorized hundreds of Bible verses as a kid for the little trinkets at the “Bible Store” at our church. It might have defied the “do it for God” attitude a bit, but there is rarely a day that goes by that a verse does not pop into my head when I face a certain situation.
So…after all of this immersing of my children in the Word of God, I was surprised at the conversation that I had with my youngest daughter tonight at bedtime. I put a simple verse on the mirror about a week ago (“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”) and did not mention it to either of the girls. Normally, I would read it to them, explain the meaning of the verse, have them read it each day, and quiz them at bedtime to see if they had it memorized. This week, I decided to not say anything to them about it and hope that they would do it on their own. Well, tonight I asked Gabi if she knew her memory verse for the week. She looked at me with a complete blank face as if she had no idea that there had been a verse written on her bathroom mirror the entire week. (I put the verse at their eye level, so there is no way that she could not have seen it). I asked her if she noticed that there was a verse on her mirror. She simply replied, “No, I didn’t notice. I guess I just looked right past it.”
Out of the mouths of babes…It’s amazing isn’t it? Yet, how many times do we do that as adults? We get so consumed by the business of our lives, by the image of ourselves, that we look right past Christ.
What a great lesson for my girls to learn. What a great lesson for me to learn. I, for one, am going to make sure that I no longer dismiss the writing on the mirror.
I’m so thankful that God has used pain in my life to bring about HIS purposes! I pray that this video encourages others toward healing and restoration in their lives as they experience the hope of living in freedom from addictions.
For those who don’t know this about me, I love to garden. I hate pulling weeds, but I love planting seeds/starter plants, tending to the garden, watering it, churning up the soil, and eventually seeing the bright red tomato hanging off the vine. It brings me great pleasure to pick a nice ripe vegetable from the garden, wash it, slice it up, and proudly serve it with dinner that night. There is something very primitive about the whole experience that intrigues me year after year.
Because of my love for my garden, it doesn’t surprise me that garden analogies interest me. Today, I was reading in 1 Cor. 3:1-9. The verses that struck me deepest were verses 6-9: “[Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field.”
Now the context of this passage is dealing with the people in Corinth who are arguing about who is the better teacher, Paul, Apollos or Peter. They are even struggling in wanting to become followers of either of the three teachers, instead of followers of Christ. Paul is trying to explain to them that they are merely co-workers in God’s service who have the same purpose, and that ultimately God is greater than any of His teachers.
As I pondered these verses, I was brought back to the lesson that God has been teaching me over these last few months: He is God and I am NOT. I have a tendency with the girls that I mentor to want to be the one who makes them grow and even get the credit for them growing in their spiritual walk. I also have a tendency to not see my job as the planter or the waterer as very important. And even more so, sometimes I can feel shorted or even threatened if I have done the planting and someone else begins to do the watering.
What God has taught me from this passage is that my job is to be either the planter of the seed or the waterer of the seed, not the grower. He has taught me that my job as the planter or the waterer is very important, because I am His co-worker tending to His field. And He has taught me that there will be times that He has me as the planter and someone else as the waterer or vice versa and that I need to work well with that person, because we have the same purpose and end goal….to see the plant grow.
After I came home from a bridal shower given for one of my past small group girls, I walked into my room, sat on my bed and began to cry. The emotion completely caught me off-guard, because I am extremely excited for this young couple and proud of all that their relationship represents. Yet, I have found that over the last few weeks my emotions are literally sitting on the rims of my eyes, ready to overflow at any moment. After some much needed inner reflection, I realized what my issue is…I am struggling with being content at being a Mentor for the Moment.
For the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of loving on hundreds of teens and investing in their lives and allowing them to invest in mine. I have walked them through the worst of their lives and the best of their lives. I have cried with them and laughed with them. I have watched them live life to the full and embrace death with dignity. I have encouraged, mentored, inspired, disciplined, and loved. They have truly blessed my life richly. But eventually they move on.
I think this is the part that grips my heart. Like a mom dealing with the empty nest, I struggle with each of my youth growing up and moving on. I know that God has called me to be a mentor for them for this particular stage in their life, and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I just wish that I could hold onto them for a little longer. It’s events like a bridal shower that remind me of how truly precious my short time with them really is and how important it is to hold them with an open hand and a praying heart.
Although I miss that daily interaction with each of them, I look forward to the times that I get a phone call needing advice, or a pic text of a dazzling diamond or an email detailing the announcement of a beautiful newborn baby. I thank God for the time that I got to spend with each of them…even if I was just a Mentor for the Moment.
Today I broke a glass. Not a big surprise. I have a tendency to be extremely clumsy. Today, though, in the midst of cleaning up my mess, I became pensive. It might be the snow or the silence of my home because my kids are finally back in school…or maybe I just didn’t want to think about the pile of tax papers looming on the table. Either way, I paused to think about how many times in my life I have picked up the pieces.
Whatever might have caused me to break apart: a shattered heart, a crushed spirit, or a sliver of doubt, I have found that I never hesitate to pick up the mess. Some of the pieces are huge chunks, jagged and threatening, yet simple to see and easy to pick up. Other pieces are microscopic, seemingly harmless yet piercing, and require the assistance of a broom and pan. And others escape me. They have neatly tucked themselves around a corner or under a rug only to be found later by a bare foot or an unsuspecting finger.
It’s those hidden pieces that get to me. I think that I have everything neatly swept up, discarded in a concealed bin, only to have something reveal itself when I am most vulnerable. But, what can I do? Wear shoes? Wear gloves? Do a more thorough job cleaning up the disaster?
Or maybe I don’t. Maybe it comes down to that little prick on the finger that is used to remind me of where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, and that a hurt is never wasted.
For those of you who are skeptics of the power of prayer or of God for that matter, just wanted to share this with you:
I have always been a strong believer in the power of prayer, esp. when it pertains to asking for wisdom on certain situations.
When I lost my wedding ring a few weeks ago, I began searching frantically in each place that I could I possibly think of leaving it…to no avail. Although I asked several people to pray that I would find it, I never really prayed about it myself.
Well, today, I was getting ready to have lunch with one of my fav’s and realized that I didn’t have my debit card in my wallet. Talk about panic. After searching and then re-searching and then re-searching again, I stopped and prayed. It went something like this, “OK, God, I have lost too many really expensive things lately, that we don’t have the money to replace. I am asking You, no, I’m begging you to please help me find my card and my ring. Amen.” The second that I said Amen, I thought of my running jacket. I never take my ring off, but the family and I went bouldering a few weeks ago and I took it off to get a better hold on the grips…hence, the pocket of my running jacket. Then, since my lunch friend wasn’t there yet, I reached into my side compartment of my car to get a CD to listen to and lo and behold….my card. Thank you God!
My lesson learned….always stop and pray before you panic. :)
On my way home from doing makeup for a bridal party today, I got lost. For those of you who know me well, that doesn’t surprise you at all.
Typically it’s times like these that I search for the GPS, pull over to the side of the road, punch in the address and follow the voice leading me home. However, today was different. I punched in my address, and the GPS stayed on “Searching for Signal” for the next 5 minutes.
Frustrated that it wasn’t telling me where to go, I just started driving…hoping that I would see something familiar or that instinct would take over and I would know the way home. After several guessed turns that ended at dead ends and me being even more lost, I came to a street that gave me a choice. One way was plowed, the other way wasn’t. Although I was tempted to take the non-plowed road because it looked more promising, I turned and went down the plowed road. After a few blocks, I reached the main road that took me home.
As I drove home, knowing exactly where I was going, I began thinking about all the spiritual parallels with my situation. There have been numerous times in my life that I wonder what direction God wants me to take. Sometimes it seems that even though I ask for an answer, I get a “Searching for Signal” non-answer and have been left asking God, “Ok..now what?”
In my frustration and lack of patience of not getting direction or hearing His voice, I typically just start “driving”…walking through life taking wrong turns, hoping that instinct will take over and then finally realizing that I am making myself even more lost. Thank goodness that God loves me so much that he eventually shows me the plowed road. Although I get tempted sometimes to take what I think is the more promising road…the easy road, it’s the times that I take the plowed road that I get back on track and am able to get home.
Last night I was thinking about the impact of words in my life. Whether it be words I listen to, words I speak, words I read or words spoken to me, they can either be meaningful and enriching or completely degrading and destroying.
It brought to mind a few different verses, but in particular: James 3:2 “If you control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.” Because I am obsessed with the meaning of words, I looked up “whole” and “wholesome.” The definition of “whole” or “wholesome” is ”including all aspects: physical/mental/emotional/social/spiritual, to have sound health, to not be broken/damaged/or defective.” How cool is that?
So many times I have read that verse and immediately thought that it meant just controlling the physical body, but in actuality it’s the ability to control ALL aspects of the body. And why should I control all aspects?…to have sound health and to ultimately be whole, not broken or defective. This revelation led me to a full analysis of how I am doing in “controlling my whole body.”
I realized that the areas that I truly struggle the most with are mentally and spiritually. Spiritually speaking, I need to be better about being…well…more invested. To be honest, I struggle picking up my Bible and reading. I love to pray…that is an all day thing for me, but reading…that’s an area that I lack passion.
Mentally speaking, I think that I fill my mind with too much junk, from the shows I watch to the music I listen to. I believe that it’s probably time for a major mind cleaning.
With all of this self-reflection, I came up with a little acrostic that I think is an easy way of holding me accountable to the words that I am filling myself with and the words that I am saying. Feel free to use!
D irty, Destroying, Degrading
It seems to me that it’s a choice thing. I can choose to fill my life with words that are wholesome or words that are dirty, destroying, and degrading. The end result is going to be just how “whole” I truly am or how broken and defective I become.