friendship

God has a sense of humor. wanna know how i know this? well, i’ll tell you… He often puts a subject on my heart to write about, and, not long after i write it (or even during), i realize that i’m writing it for…me!

today is no exception. i sat down, and the words poured out about a subject that i really didn’t think twice about…until i read it back. you see, my heart is full of cracks and crevices full of hurts. some caused by others, some caused by my own self. healing is a journey, and here’s what it all comes down to…

friendship.

hearing that word can most likely do one of two things.

it can give you warm fuzzies inside and make your heart happy.

or

it can fill you with dread or even emotional pain.

sometimes it can be both…depending on the day or circumstance.

why are friendships hard? i have often asked myself “how hard is it for people to just be kind?” i have been hurt, betrayed, ignored..i could go on. i often wonder if i have ever unknowingly been the cause of any of those. it makes my heart sad to know that i probably have. we all have. ya know why? … it’s because we are not perfect. not one of us. i have also been encouraged, uplifted and overjoyed in friendships. bet you can’t guess which i’d rather! ha!

so here is the most important factor in friendship… ready?

be willing to hear and admit that you aren’t perfect.

sure, most of us would say that we aren’t perfect. but if someone comes to us and says, “hey, what you did hurt me” or “i’m feeling like you are treating me [insert negative action here]”, how do we react? are we defensive? do we shoot them down or get angry? or do we take a minute and digest what is being said?  do we take a step back and prayerfully examine our heart?

ouch! right?! ….been there!

some of us have stories that include others betraying us or spreading lies about us or someone we love. I’ve been there too!

what kind of friend are we? what kind of friend-material are we emulating for our kids so they, too, can have healthy friendships?

i have heard it said “to have a friend, you must be a friend”… and while that can be true in many cases, i have found it sometimes isn’t. in my opinion, it’s all about perspective. and all of us have a different one. imagine that! we may think someone isn’t a good friend… but that’s just OUR perspective because maybe from their perspective, they are being the best friend they can be!

and here, we insert GRACE. it’s grace that can only be a God-filled kind…because sometimes it’s definitely not felt. sometimes we just wanna turn all “mean girl”… and we’ve all made that poor choice at one time or another, unfortunately. it’s a daily choice (and prayer) for grace.

i know i write often about grace… i mean, c’mon, it IS my word for the year… but God is showing me so much about it. it seems like no matter what i write about, it all comes back to grace.

we have been given grace and mercy. so many times i wonder how in the world God could forgive me again. but He does! do we deserve it? …nope. yet, daily He pours it out on us. how could we possibly not do the same?

 

hope

all things new.

I love spring…it’s my favorite season. it’s like all of nature gets a do-over. a new beginning. I love that.

flip flops. longer days. vacations. sunscreen. picnics. long walks.

trees birth new leaves, grass comes back to life.

birds return to our trees singing their song and announcing the warmer weather.

standing outside, breathing in air that even seems new, almost “births” new life into my being.

it is fitting that we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection in this season. another reminder of all things new… new life in Him. second chances.

sometimes our lives are like seasons. in the summer, things get a little uncomfortably hot… we complain and whine about the very heat we longed for all year. then autumn arrives and things cool down… and we marvel at the beauty of the colors. BUT what we don’t notice is that it means things are dying. before we know it, all the beauty fades and dies. things look gloomy and empty for while…until…. the pure white snow falls from the sky, coating the earth with sparkling diamonds. again, we are overwhelmed with the glorious beauty it brings. the cold months last long, yet the days are short. animals hibernate and sometimes so do I. ha.

and then…just when it seems like the winter season will never end, we hear a bird chirp… and a bit of hope emerges… it’s SPRING.

some people call life a rollercoaster. up and down and all around. i guess i prefer to compare it to seasons… seasons of emptiness, seasons of hope, seasons full of life, seasons that seem to drag on.

so as i walked around my yard today, listening to the birds and breathing in the fresh (warmer) air, i am reminded that life is always changing…it will never be spring all the time. without the changes of seasons, we’d not have the hope to keep moving forward. to keep getting out of bed each day. to be able to face whatever the day brings.

hope. hope in Jesus that offers life eternal.

 

 

 

 

 

valentine’s day (…and what i’d tell my 21 yr old self if i could go back)

valentine’s day is my favorite holiday.

i give no apologies for that fact. i am cheesily in love with everything cheesy about it. i love the heart décor, the heart shaped pancakes or sandwiches, the chocolate… ahh yes, the chocolate.

i love the romantic part of it… exchanging gifts with my husband and making an entire day about hearts. sure, we celebrate “love” but the holiday seems to focus on material love. ya know, the gifts, the food, the dates… it’s actually pretty superficial. that’s not real love.

as we mommas have learned, becoming an adult brings many lessons. one big one is love. love is not romance and getting carried away with another person. it is not the fluttering of your heart or wanting to be with someone every second of every day.

true love…the love that matters, the love that lasts… is not a feeling.

don’t get me wrong… again, i love valentine’s day… it is my favorite.

but we cannot get it confused with true love. as a young bride, if my husband didn’t live up to my ever-exceeding expectations of the romantic day i thought he should plan, i felt like he didn’t love me. it sounds so extremely silly to me now, but that is truly how i felt. poor guy!! the pressure he must’ve felt on that day. he probably dreaded it for the entire year leading up to it. who could possibly live up to that?! and then young girls wonder why they can’t find the “perfect guy”. oh my…

HE DOES NOT EXSIST. i mean, c’mon… sweetheart, we aren’t perfect either. if you’re anything like me, an early morning before my coffee is grounds for my over-the-top “unperfectness” (spell check just loves my invention of new words! ha!)

true love is so many things. if you want answers, just open your Bible. the Word of God has so much to say on this very topic. however, in a marriage relationship, here are a few things i have learned (and am still learning) love looks like.

love takes the garbage out.

love goes upstairs in the night when the baby cries so your spouse can sleep.

love makes coffee each and every morning (even though he doesn’t drink it)

love makes lunch for the other when they are running late for work.

love prays for the other, even though our own day is the “worst day ever”.

love does dishes.

love gives a hug or a listening ear.

love forgives. and forgives again. and forgives. did i mention it forgives?

love doesn’t take things personally.

love tries to look at situations from the other perspective.

love listens to hear…not just to respond.

love is worth sacrifice.

love is a gift.

 

what can you add to this list?

oh and….

  HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

 

 

 

what is your word?

i have heard so many people doing away with resolutions this year. and i don’t blame them. how many times do we set ourselves up for failure by making our inspirational, and often unattainable, lists.

each new year, i try to look back over the previous year and evaluate how i did with my resolutions. and guess what… most of the time, i cannot even recall what i resolved to do, change or improve. please tell me i’m not alone. because if i am, then my new resolve will be to remember my resolutions. and my #2 will be to not quit my day job to become a comedian…. because, well, you know, that wasn’t funny. get it? no? yeah… moving on…

in place of resolutions, some of my friends have been coming up with a word for the new year. just one word. fantastic! i can remember one word. maybe.

i decided to think about doing this and i felt like there was much value in this idea. so i prayed and thought for a while…weeks even. one word was consistently returning to my heart.

it speaks life to my soul. it teaches me and reminds me. it comforts me. it convicts me. it strengthens me. it’s what i didn’t deserve. it’s what i want to give. i want to show this… to myself and others. it calms me. it brings clarity.

one word. one word taken from THE Word. something that my Jesus emulated so well.

grace.

what is your word?

Mary’s Example

she was young and vulnerable. she loved God with all her heart. but most importantly, she was chosen.

chosen. hand-picked by God.

it’s hard for me to imagine or put myself in her place. she was likely 16 or so. while that age at that time doesn’t resemble that age now, i still have a tough time wrapping my head around what it must’ve felt like for her.

if it were me, i’d be a basket case. no, really, i’m sure that’s why God chose Mary to carry His SON. but i still can’t help but feel like she struggled with emotions that we’d struggle with, had WE been chosen. fear, loneliness, nervous, doubt, confusion… yet also, excitement, wonder, peace…

but God knew she could handle it. not because she was perfect, but because she trusted Him to give her what she needed, when she needed it.

do we do that?

or do we tend to feel called to something, only to dismiss it thinking we are incapable, unworthy, or inexperienced? Mary could’ve easily had that response.

but she didn’t.

in this world, we long for people to look up to… ones that can be an example of what a “Christ-like” woman looks like…here is one we can look to.

when God asks something of us that may seem to be a challenge, we can recall this story and know that He has bigger plans to glorify Himself through the calling… and He knows that we are able…through Him.. to do it. we just need to only trust Him.

i’m sitting here thinking of the times i missed His calling all because i didn’t feel capable. really?! yikes. my desire is to honor God and do what He wants me to do, yet, when that actually happens, do i trust in myself (or lack thereof) and decide not to do it? usually.

how sad. because… all i needed to do was trust in Him.

if He calls us to it, He will carry us through it.

 

hope

comparison. alone. emotional wars. emptiness. judgment. betrayal.

all words that make me cringe. things that are apart of this world… apart of life.

today I can pretty much say that I experienced all of these things in the course of two hours. I am not going to whine and cry (this time anyway. ha.)… no, i’m just going to be mad. yes, mad. i’m tired of being sad, of feeling hurt. so, just for a minute, mad is what i’ll be.

but then.

but then I am going to put on my big girl panties, shake it off and run to the One who holds me. because, let’s face it, this is life. and it happens. if I sat and cried and covered up my head each time, i’d probably become a hermit (which, by the way, sounds extremely appealing at the moment).

and so… I put one foot in front of the other… toward Hope.

and if I can’t take that first step, I reach out my hand. sometimes, I reach far and with desperation. other times, it’s just a slight movement toward reaching. either way, it’s my small step of faith… reaching for the One who knows me. the One who is constant. the One who hears and sees it all.

so, my friend, on those days or in those moments where you feel alone or feel invisible…whether you are in a grocery store surrounded by strangers or in your church surrounded by familiar… wherever you may find yourself, reach out to hope.

because… Jesus.

and on the seventh day

rest.

we all need to be refreshed and refueled. every. one. of. us. even GOD.

as a matter of fact, it is very clear in the Word how important rest is.

“The words: ‘On the seventh day God finished His work’ (Genesis 2:2), seem to be a puzzle… We would surely expect the Bible to tell us that on the sixth day God finished His work…… After six days of creation — what did the universe still lack? Rest… the Sabbath.” (Rabbi Heschel from his book “The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man)

Hmm.. interesting. part of creation was rest. it wasn’t complete without it. God may call us to a variety of ministries, but He wants us to rest.

“Rest was the capstone of creation and without it the universe would be incomplete.” (Priscilla Shrirer from her book “Breathe – Making Room for Sabbath”)

in other words, he was not just hanging out or lounging around. on that seventh day he created peace, tranquility. if we truly value God’s creation, why do we leave this last part out? why is it a negative thing in our society? so many spend time doing things that are not lasting… (a whole other blog because we need to chose our activities wisely with an eternal mindset…. oh how we get caught up in this world and it’s ways!).

our lives need margin, just as businesses need margin. it leaves room for growth and opportunities. and in our family’s prospective, it creates time for memories and drawing closeness. from a personal prospective, it creates time for personal growth, closeness with THE Creator… and time for Him to pour into us so we, as mommas, can pour into our husbands, children and then others.

I don’t know about you, but when I don’t refuel, I feel burnt out and running on empty! I am also an introvert, which many extroverts don’t “get”…. but it is imperative to refuel with time alone…peace, tranquility. I am blessed with a husband that understands that, but life doesn’t always allow for him to give that time to me. he’s a very busy guy. we don’t have family or friends that we can turn to for help, but I have to say, this causes us to draw ever so close to our Father. we are forced to depend on Him to refresh us and give us that rest. while I may not get the physical rest I crave/need, as I continue to follow His leading and pour into others, He blesses and refreshes.

obedience and blessing go hand in hand. hear me when I say this… we do not obey in order to be blessed. we are blessed BECAUSE we obey.

rest in Him, fellow mommas. He will restore and bless as you obey Him.