Nothing wasted

I just threw away two ornaments because they had been stepped on and broken. Chards, the tiniest pieces of glass, useless to me.

Yet that is exactly what God uses. our broken chards, the crumbs of our life- because maybe that’s all we have left.

You know you’re in a good place when all that’s left is chards and you give it to Him anyways. You hand it to the One who can make something miraculous with it.

We don’t understand God’s ways, even His thoughts. Or why He takes so stinking long sometimes. But in the end what he is creating is more beautiful than we ever imagined He could do with such small broken pieces.

He takes your broken pieces and mine and somehow makes a masterpiece, He calls it the church. This place made up of chards held together by His Spirit.

You might have nothing left to give, your hands might be empty, open them anyways and let Him flood you with His very Presence.

It’s enough. It’s always enough.

His ways are not mine.

Hallelujah.

Calm

This past week my husband preached on the Armor of God out of Ephesians 6.

We were discussing the sermon and how to apply it in our small group. We got to the armor of “shoes readied with the gospel of peace.” We began discussing it and how we are supposed to apply this verse.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure.

Sometimes in this is the joy of discussing scripture, we get to put more pieces together that help it make sense, because we are talking it out loud, and the spirit is not only working in us, but the lives around us too.

I’ve struggled with anxiety; therefore, peace is a word in the Bible I’d run to in anxious times hoping it would come flying off the pages into my heart.

However, this night one of my fellow sisters said, “I’ve learned peace has nothing to do with calm.”

This rocked me to my core, to an untruth I’d believed for awhile. I looked at her and audibly spoke “yes.” Exactly. Clarity. Truth.

We spoke about what peace meant for our feet. I believe in this passage it’s meaning was to sturdy us. I suggested that maybe peace in the gospel is that the gospel has made us right in God’s eyes, giving us peace with ourselves. (Ephesians 2:14). Peace with the war that goes on within us. Like Paul talks about in Romans 7, he does what he doesn’t want to do then ends with but “thanks be to my Savior Jesus Christ.”

There is peace, and it’s not always the calm I once looked for. It’s peace with the fact that my God accepts me exactly as I am: wholly and freely His, because of my Savior Jesus Christ.

Will you leave the light on?

My brother and I share our favorite songs with each other. It’s one of my favorite things.

Music has such a way of getting to our hearts without us even knowing it. Music sings deep to our souls. It opens us up to move, even if just the slightest toe tap.

Music has been such an aid to me in times I thought I’d just break and fall to pieces. It has helped me to move slowly, to follow a rhythm, and move through life’s problems.

Music brings joy and praise surging up. An exhale of gratitude to ourselves for giving the gift of freedom to stop all the worrying and just sing.

Sometimes life feels like a lot, and lonely.

Tom Walker sings,

If you look into the distance, there’s a house upon the hill
Guiding like a lighthouse to a place where you’ll be
Safe to feel at grace ’cause we’ve all made mistakes
If you’ve lost your way

I will leave the light on.”
Do you need a lighthouse?
Does someone you know need a lighthouse to look up to?
Will you be that lighthouse, allowing light to flow from those places that held you and tried to take you under?
Because someone else needs to see it too. They need to know, even though you’ve been broken, you can stand again.
I’m grateful He will use any of it. For years I’d hold God at a distance in certain areas I felt were too vulnerable, but that’s where He shines His light through us, will you let Him.

Self care

It’s not always easy to think about ourselves. Or the opposite we can be self-absorbed, I hope I can say that. We all have this tendency. But maybe that’s because we lack proper self-care, instead we insist on sitting and playing the victim. We say, “Poor me, I can’t do this. I’m defeated.”

Self-care, I think, is checking in on yourself. How’s your body feeling, have you kept up with health check-ups, how’s your emotional state. Those answers aren’t something to be afraid of, but it’s a piece of us that needs to be embraced.

Or do you just take care of yourself in an ER type way, when you are forced to look at yourself because you’ve neglected yourself. No one else can take care of you but you. You are able. You have what you need, and if you don’t ask for help.

Self-care is realizing our own limitations and seeking those who can help us in our weakness.

So today, I’m getting my teeth cleaned. Two years ago I had nine fillings because I just thought it wasn’t a big deal. But three kids later and I had some work to do on my teeth.

Be proactive.

How are you responding to your needs? Are you waiting for someone else to step in?

P.S. I still get nervous going to check-ups but I’m learning to go anyways. Because two years later, my teeth are cleaned, no cavities, and our insurance covered it. A lot of insurances cover preventative care, check into it, you’re worth it.

Redemption

So I’m watching Downton Abbey and it’s marvelous.  Witty, funny, just the right amount of drama and love.

The oldest daughter, Mary, has a secret that her and her mother are keeping. She’s afraid it will scar her forever, and she will be a lonely spinster if word gets out.  So she pays a man to keep her secret quiet for her and she agrees to marry him.  All the while she is still madly in love with Matthew.

You are pining for them to be together, just tell him I’m thinking.  It’s okay, he will love you anyways.  You know the truth, but she’s unsure.  Her father, Lord Grantham does not know either.  And for fear of him outcasting her she stays quiet.

Then the day comes, her mother tells her father.  He sits down and absorbs the news.  Mary goes to her father and they embrace as he already knows and has forgiven her.  It’s a powerful moment.  He stands beside her, whatever may come, because he didn’t want his oldest daughter marrying someone out of fear.

Then, Matthew learns the truth.  And again, he takes some time, but walks right up to her and professes his love for her, in spite of the truth she has told him.

Whew!  Redemption.

It’s beautiful and powerful.  Undeserved, but needed.  Grace upon grace.

To be known to our depths and loved.  I pray and hope you have someone in your life that knows it all and loves you still.  Because that truth points us to the one and only true God who said, I know all you will do, and I’m sending Jesus anyways.  I love you that much.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, that all who believe in Him will not die but have eternal life.”

Still learning

We had a week of the stomach bug in our house. Which left us feeling exhausted, physically and emotionally.

But I learned something this week I’d love to share it. A lot of these writings are so I can remember and maybe remind you as well of simple truths I’ve learned along this journey.

So back to this week, my kids were not feeling great and needed a different level of care this week. We had to help them get to sleep, waking through the night to help them, and using our resources to get them better.

And through it all, I loved them more.

Their vulnerability, their inability to care for some of the simplest needs made me kiss their foreheads, hold them tighter, and whisper I love you so much. Then telling them how special they were to me.

My daughter calls out across the room “mom, I love you…” like an exhale to my care for her.

I’m honored.

Grateful.

I felt as if God was reminding me, see daughter when you need help I’ll give you more. When you need love I’ll give you more. Whatever you need I have it and I want to freely give it, my child. Chosen. Loved.

He doesn’t care what we produce for Him, He cares if we let Him go with us. He cares if we let Him love us when we have nothing left to offer Him but ourselves.

It’s enough, always enough.

Affirmation

I like for God to affirm things in my life.  Kind of like Gideon, if you really want me to pursue this show me a sign, I’ll put out the fleece and you make it wet or dry.   You know.

Clarity.

Show me a sign Lord.  Then another sign, because I’m not sure that was a clear enough.

Then maybe we don’t move at all, completely fearful we misheard God.  Unsure if He even cares.

Oh boy.  I am finite.  I am vulnerable and desperate to be known and reassured.

Is it just me?

I love that even in this frustration with myself He is not the slightest.  He sees this all working out, He sees all that I’m learning.  He sees the knew connections I’m making and He will restore and make all these things work together.

Typically I like to know what God’s affirming, but is that the point?  Are we supposed to move and then look up saying is that right God?  Or do I go left?  Do I serve you here or there?  Do I love this person, or make time for this one?  It can get very confusing.

What if He wants us to look up long enough so He can say I love you anyways.

I know You want to know.  I know you need this affirmation from me, but what if I told you I love you.  I love you, even if.  I love you, and I’m proud you are making steps.  Because once you get there you might face trouble, but if you know I love you…  Oh daughter, if you know I love you, if you abide in that love, then that will make all the difference.

As you go about your day, think about how God is showing you He loves you.  It’s everywhere.  For me it is flowers, taking pictures, my kids laughing, naps, slowing down, rain, my neighbor bringing me saltines for my sick kid, or curling up with a good book.

He is faithful.  He’ll show you too.

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Out of hiding

When my daughter was born, Frozen had just released on DVD and my mom obliged and got us a copy.

I fell in love and so did my anti-napping, two year.  So each day after lunch, I’d turn on Frozen and our oldest would fall asleep within ten minutes.  And I’d be holding a sweet sleeping baby girl, so I’d usually finish watching.  It quickly became one of my favorites and I really didn’t mind when they wanted to watch it.

I love the story.  About a girl who is scared and trying to be in control of something powerful.  Something she’s scared would be dangerous and hurt someone else.

Then love steps in, her sister sacrifices herself for her and she knows that love is the answer.  Isn’t this what Jesus did for us?

Forgive the correlation if you don’t agree  (I know Anna is not Jesus, and this is not a story like Narnia).  But stay with me.

He saw us.  He saw us about to be taken out by our sin, our hiding.  He saw all the broken places, all the fear, all the hurt and He came.  He came for you.  He came for me.  He came for us.

We all have places that feel too broken within us.  Places that we are scared of, but those are the places that need less hiding and more love.  Redemption.  So God can use it for good.

That lonely hidden self will show up in insecurities, fears, anxiety, depression.

Maybe you find it hard to let God in and let those places be loved.  Me too.

It’s scary, its new.  But is the right way.  To healing, freedom, being loved and the core of who we are.

Find a counselor, mentor, someone to walk with you.

Go listen to Steffany Gretzinger “Out of Hiding.”

Control

I like control. There’s a safety there. Where you know what you’re capable of and how you will handle it all.

Where does that leave you?

Are you tired of trying to keep it all together?

Controlling your emotions.

Maybe controlling your response, not too angry so you don’t lose control but you still feel the need to express it.

Part of me has believed if I expressed an emotion then maybe it would go away.

So I’d confess away, trying to find relief especially from those intense emotions: anger, fear, depression.

Feeling like if I didn’t confess them the emotions would control me, take over. I’d condemn myself saying “I can’t believe you felt that way.”

Recently reading a book called “You are the one you’ve been waiting for.”

And it talks about how valid each of our emotions are, they are parts of us, is humans at least. And one emotion is not who we are, but a part. I have had depression and anxiety but those were expressions of deep hurt I was trying to control and mask so it would look prettier, more presentable. I’m learning there are parts of me that I have not taken care of.

Anxiety was a way I coped. It was the best I had at the time. So now, I’m relearning. And I’m really excited because God has a new way.

He came for all those parts I try to hide, the ones I push aside or lay a verse in it hoping it would consume it for me.

Stay posted, I’m walking this one out.

On waiting

Sometimes waiting is enough to push me over the edge.  Then sometimes I love waiting, like waiting for the coffee timer to ding that the coffee is done.

But sometimes waiting is painful…

  • waiting for the doctor to call, i.e. high blood pressure
  • healing to come
  • relationships to restore
  • falling asleep
  • coffee to finish brewing (its both, anticipated and taking way too long the next morning)

How are we supposed to wait well?

How do we let our heart take courage, when it’s difficult?  When what we are waiting on we are not looking forward to?

Psalm 27: 14 says,

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

I don’t know why you are waiting, and I’m betting that answer wouldn’t help.  But maybe we can allow ourselves to wait, so that our heart can take courage.  We don’t have to know why, but we can know that there is purpose.

Maybe, our hearts aren’t ready yet.  Maybe you are waiting to see a black and yellow butterfly drinking nectar out of your zinnias out front.  So we can stop and be in awe that we aren’t the ones holding this whole thing together.  That we are loved, cherished, adored.  Strengthen your heart with that truth today.

So what are you waiting on today?  Let your heart take courage.  img_1299-1