New things in life do not happen overnight. There is a process, there is peeling away the old and finding what things lie beneath the surface that need attention. And that is the process I am in…peeling away what is so that I can make room for the new.
Since my last blog there have been so many of you who reached out and made guesses what it is… Anywhere from going back to school, leaving my current church, to writing a book. I can tell you with great certainty that I am not leaving my current church. God is doing great things here and that is part of the new thing I am making room for. In just 4 short weeks we will launch a NEW Service! I am so excited about this. I can’t wait to see what impact this will have on God’s kingdom. This is not about filling up a church with people, this is about leading people to Jesus. Making a difference to those who are desperately searching for something.
I am peeling away layers of living a life without margin for far too long. And yes I have made progress but not enough and I am convicted in this area. Peeling away layers of things that have to be dealt with if I am to be the leader, wife, mother, pastor, friend that God has called me to be. Soul searching and being still in His presence are all good things. I think in our world today we have lost the art of silence and solitude. So I am bringing those things back into my life slowly and intentionally. I must if I am to move forward.
The new thing is coming in so many great an unexpected ways. And even though I am not ready to share all of those yet I know that through this journey God is doing something far greater than anything I could do on my own. I know that this process is to strengthen my own faith, to grow deeper in my walk, and to come out on the other side a little less stressed, tired and worn out.
The new thing will require sacrifice and that is a little scary at times. There are things in our lives that we have grown so attached to that are unhealthy for us and when we go to lay them down we feel safer picking them up again. But then we can’t see our real selves because we have hidden it behind the clutter. When our lives are cluttered we can’t fully engage in all the things that Lord has called us too. When he says “taste and see that I am good” we have to slow down enough to do that. If we truly want to worship him in his temple then we have to declutter our lives.
So something new is coming…Its big and its small. It is a thousand decisions to make between here and there. It is finding the new normal in which God is asking me to find. And my prayer is simply this..
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Ps. 27:4
At the end of my life, I want nothing more than to be spent for Jesus. Spent for His kingdom’s sake. So in the mean time I have to make sure that all of my energy, time and resources reflect that.
Today, I challenge you to start a new thing that brings you closer to your truest self, the person God called you to be. I am reading Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I highly recommend this book. My next blog is going to be about some insights I am learning from her wisdom. The insights are opening my heart and eyes to the new thing that God is showing me.
Obviously so much is new for me these days. My nest is emptying out. BIG GULP! I have one child left at home. How I have and do define myself has shifted. My location has changed from Midwest to East Coast. And that is just to name a few. I made a list of events that has happened in the last 3 years and let’s just say wow! What roller coaster ride! And now I am ready to find my footing. Find the sweetness of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. Finding the calm in the middle of all the changes (some good, some not so good) and rest in his promises, to TRUST him more! Which takes me back to my word for the year…and my inspiration board that reminds me of the things that are important. And it is there that I find Jesus, his rest, his blessing and his hand reaching out to mine…
Its been a little crazy the last few weeks. However, I feel like I now substitute the word “crazy” for “busy” these days. In just a few short weeks, my third child will graduate from high school. That means for the past 3 years I have hugged my grown children and threw a party to celebrate their accomplishments and send them on their way to college, to adult decision making, to the freedom of being.
Life spins on… Summer is coming… family decisions to make, and life to live. The thing about time spinning on, is that some days the spinning seems to fast and the moments go to quickly. This week, I was with a family, and unless a miracle occurs, one of them will lose the battle to cancer. There were tears, hugs, laughter, questions, prayers, more tears. Life has a way of catching us off guard. We can’t control the number of breathes we take, but we can control how we handle the moments we have. We can enjoy each day, no matter what it brings.
I was just telling a couple of my kids that we have a choice to make. We can be vulture or a humming bird. One flies around all day looking for the dead, the decay, the bad laying around, while the other flies around all day looking or the beauty and the sweet. We can choose to see the good around us. That doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge that there are bad things going on, we just choose how we want to live and what our focus will be.
And some days I am the hummingbird. I can see the good, smell the sweet… and other days the vulture… the dead and decay seem to be all around me. And I want to give up. I want to retreat. But something brings me back…
I ask Jason this week why is it with all that has happened to us in our 21 years of marriage, why do we cling to each other instead of leave like so many others. What made us…us? It was a rough day, followed by several rough days in a row. Our hearts were broken for situations we have no control over. Life is messy and spinning and I found myself asking questions and writing it out. ( Jason gets all the blogs that never make it to public view)
On that day my feelings were stuck in my throat. I kept choking back the big tears that threaten to spill down my cheeks. And yet there were a few that escaped and cascaded down my face.
Failure seems so terminal. You know? Its like it has a death sentence. And yet I know that isn’t true. I look around and I see failures, my own, those of people I love, those the media makes news… Failures happen. It is the lessons learned in them. My own failures are still teaching me lessons, sometimes I wonder why I haven’t learned the lesson yet, and other times I see that I am learning and growing because of them.
I listen to a man for cry out this week, that he didn’t want to die, I still hear his cries. I see his face. I feel his hand grasping mine.
I do believe in grace and grace that is never ending. I believe that God forgives…always. And I believe that he loves us. I believe that he is faithful to forgive us and welcome us when we breathe our last if we confess our sins and honor him. My faith has questions just like everyone else. I don’t always understand His yes’s , His no’s and His wait… But I don’t have to understand… I just have to trust. (which goes back to my word for the year!)
Then there are days that I fear if most people could see inside I would be exposed as a fraud. That inside is messy, fearful, doubtful, a little girl looking for the safety of her Abba Father.
I seek God, and I know he isn’t hiding, and yet some days it feels like he is. Friends are not a few minutes away to go and vent, cry and seek together. What is familiar is gone, and vacations seem like a dream.
And 20 years of ministry with all of its stories, the good, the bad, the heartbreaking, the hurtful adds up in my heart and I wonder why would anyone sign up for this? Its heavy and overwhelming.
And here in the midst of it all, I feel like I am drowning… slowing at first and faster sinking deeper and deeper, not being able to catch my breathe. I see brighter days but only through the lens of my failure and will I ever be able to overcome. So here I am… at desk…filled with more questions and doubts than I have had in a long time and I surrender… again!
And maybe that is where it is at… the surrender over and over. The laying it all down when I pick it up. When I try to fix when I should just be trusting. Maybe its in the tears that trickle and some time stream down my face that shows God is still working on me, and that my heart isn’t hard towards him, and he is still molding me.
Maybe its in the worship song, that brings me to my knees with no spoken prayer…just tears being collected by the heavenly father who promised to never leave us or forsake us.
Maybe its in the clinging to my husband, when everyone else leaves. Maybe that is it, I conclude to Jason… that we know that deep down God has us… and we cling to us out of our desperation for more. More of Him, less of us! More of what he can do, less of what we can do. More of his grace…because we need it! More of his wisdom…
SO maybe at the end of the day that’s it… its the good the bad the ugly and the beautiful that makes us equipped to do this thing…
In the middle of our mess….
For all those mom’s and dads that find themselves this time of year looking over the past 18 years and asking themselves “where did time go?” “how did my little boy/girl grow up so fast?” This year is the second year in a row I find myself reviewing 18 years of one of my children’s life. We are on the home stretch of writing the final chapter of Jordan’s childhood…high school is days away from being done. Middle school has long since been left and grade school seems like a lifetime ago.
I do not just simply ask the questions that I listed above but I also ask “if I did enough,” and “is he ready,” or “what did I forget” to name a few… The reality is this chapter is closing. Our family dynamics change again. We send another child away but not away from our hearts or our thoughts. It’s like you know the day is coming but then it gets here… and your heart is so proud that it wants to burst, but it is also so sad that you cry tears from a deep, deep place. You drive away and you realize this is where faith comes into place. Maybe that does not make sense to you…but it’s where you have to trust Jesus to hold them on a different level than what the last 18 years were like. Now it is them making decisions, wrestling with their faith and my Jesus. So that it will be their faith and their Jesus. The safety net of your home and boundaries are now removed. Their freedom is unleashed.
The thing about writing final chapters is this… God is the author and perfecter of our faith. As one more child leaves my nest I can rest in the fact that God is writing their story. It will be their story…filled with lots of good things, sprinkled with heartaches, and faith building experiences. Proverbs 22: 6 (MSG) Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost. That’s a promise…so I write it on my heart, and pray it over their lives and trust the One who is writing our story as an ongoing story of His story.
I will allow myself to slip down memory lane, remember the fist time I knew I was going to be their mommy. The first time I looked at their face and called them by name. I will remember first words, first smiles, first days of school and everything in between. I will count my blessings of each day spent with them. I will look forward to the future they are moving into. Their location may change but their lives are imprinted on my heart, I will continue to lift them to my Jesus as they make Jesus their own and seek Him for their career path, their spouse, their place to worship and to serve.
As April gives way to May and graduation looms… I will celebrate the amazing young man I get to call son!