Hurry up and wait

Doesn’t it seem that time either creeps by at a snail’s pace, or races by in a dizzying blur? Doesn’t it seem that there is no middle ground? Why is this? Do you remember when Christmas just could not get here fast enough, and now when we see the decorations start going up, we feel anxious because it’s coming again? Dear Lord, the pressure!

I even heard someone say once that time is actually speeding up. The conspiracy-theorist in me wanted to agree, but the realist in me said, “Not.”

When I’m waiting for an answer or waiting for direction, or waiting for my next move, I am desperately impatient. And life seems to do that to me a lot; I find myself in a holding pattern that I’m just sure I’ll never get out of. Then all of a sudden, things change and my life charges forward into a new phase and it’s exciting.

Being happy right where we are is the challenge. One of my favorite scriptures in Philippians reminds me to think on the good instead of the bad. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy… meditate on these things. (Phil. 4:8)

And this scripture can be applied to so many different things. When I’m impatient, I need to think on the good. When I’m sad, I need to think on the good. When I’m angry or hurt, I need to think on the good.

Whatever curve ball life might be throwing at you, I encourage you to think on the good. When people drive you crazy, I encourage you to think on the good. When you know change is coming but it’s not quite there yet, I encourage you to think on the good. It may not solve any major problems, but it makes the holding pattern much more bearable.

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Dear God, make me a bird

My sisters-in-law and I love the Jenny line from Forrest Gump, Dear God, make me a bird… so I could fly far… far, far away from here. I can’t tell you how often that sentiment floats through my head. Almost daily.

Jenny really had it right though when it comes to dealing with thoughts. Some of them need to get the heck outta here. Thoughts can be dangerous, thoughts can be dicey, thoughts are where actions start; good or bad.

The devil tries to capitalize on our thoughts, that’s where we can either win or lose the battle on sin. You see, the devil brings thoughts to our minds and they just sound like us. He doesn’t announce himself and say, “Hi, this is the devil, I’m going to tempt you now.” No, it comes as a simple thought, and it comes in our own voice.

The Bible says in James 1:14-15, But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

This principle obviously applies to all sin, but something I don’t believe we think about much is how it applies to our emotions, our feelings, our hurts. Emotional pain can make us do some bad stuff. It can open a box that’s pretty tough to shut.

What about when we dwell on a hurt, or stew about how someone did us dirty? What about replaying a fight in our minds and going over everything the other person said and how much it hurt or how mad it made us? Let’s get honest here, have you ever written it down so you wouldn’t forget how mean that person was?

I have.

There is no difference in dwelling on a past hurt and it bringing forth sin, than dwelling on how much we need a drink or a pill or a substance, or a person, or a feeling, or a release, or anything else. It’s the dwelling on it that opens that door.

We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all suffered loss. We all know pain. But pain doesn’t have to define us, past hurts don’t have to entomb us. There is freedom in forgiveness. Let the hurt go, forgive that person in Jesus’ Name and move on. Don’t dwell on it, don’t stew over it. Let it go, let it fly far far away from you, setting you free.

A twisted mass of bird-nested fishing line

My blog is a year old. It was a year ago tonight that I decided to do something with this twisted mass of bird-nested fishing line that is my brain. I guess I thought getting some of it out might be a good thing. And I think it has been. I have helped myself, and I hope I have helped a few others.

I love to go back and read how this all started. (Where do you live?) It blesses me to read my nervous words and remember that hopefulness… hopefulness that I could stick with it, hopefulness that it would make a difference. And then my second post was even more profound. (Self doubt) It was the clarification of why I did it, what I was trying to do. It is a concept that I’ve been working on all year. I’ve been walking through life with the express purpose of trying to see God’s greater plan for my life. Not just making it through another year, but seeking God and fulfilling His vision for me. And I haven’t gotten it all right, but I do see where I’ve made progress.

Here are a few things I’ve learned:

Everybody has something to give; give what you can. Do something. Give God something to bless.

You have to take a step of faith to expect God to make the next move. He will if you will.

You have to have faith… every day… without quitting. The manna is new every day and we can’t store it up. I said in one of my first posts, “… So this is me picking up the manna and expecting that there will be more tomorrow.” I love that line. You can’t get new manna until you pick up what’s already on the ground. You have to use what God gave you before He’ll give you more.

Walking with God is a walk of faith; it’s a walk of trust. And the more I take my hands off a situation and trust my Father God to take care of it, the easier it becomes.

Thankfulness is an awesome force. It will take you farther than anything.

I’m so thankful to you, my readers. I have loved hearing from you that something I said hit home or struck a chord, or made you smile. Your comments always make my day.

And maybe the biggest thing I’ve learned, and this sounds so trite, but it really has been a revelation to me: We are not alone. Our struggles are truly universal, we don’t have to walk through challenges in the dark, someone has already been there. Someone can stand beside us and say, “I’ve been through this; you will make it.” I think that’s what this blog has been all about… making our world a little smaller, a little less lonely, a little more united.

You guys are a blessing to me!

If lovin’ the 80’s is wrong, I don’t wanna be right

Juli and Christi Roberts, prom night, 1989. Pure awesomeness.

Do you think my lips were red enough? Do you think Christi’s hair was tall enough?

I think I had bathed in Calvin Klein’s Eternity too. It was a gift and I thought it smelled pretty close to heaven. Now I think it smells pretty close to cat pee.

Just thought I’d share. Happy Saturday!

That whole sharing one another’s burdens thing

I’ve been thinking about emotions this morning, damaged emotions, broken hearts, hurting souls… real things that affect all of us. You know, in the natural realm, people hurt, people bleed, people have scars that remind them of past injury. The wound might be healed but the scar remains. I think we Christians are so much more critical of our souls than we are of our physical bodies. We give our flesh plenty of time to heal but we don’t extend the same grace to our souls. We don’t give it the same attention, somehow we value it less. This should not be.

It takes time for physical wounds to heal, it may take a little medicine, a bandage, a crutch. There are things we can do to aid in the healing process. Why do we not give this same aid to our broken hearts?

Yes, we have to forgive those who hurt us, (Mark 11:26) yes, we have to let go of offenses lest they consume us, (Psalm 119:165) yes, we have to forget the past and move forward (Philippians 3:13-14). But what about loving people and being loved in the process? What about not walking through it alone? The Bible tells us to Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2 NLT).

When we go through trials, we need each other. I wrote a post called Don’t be an island last year and I reread it this morning. It’s so true. God didn’t just make one man in the Garden, he made man and woman. He made a pair. And it took both persons to create more people. Man couldn’t have children alone.

We need each other, we need friends, we need a listening ear and a comforting shoulder. We need to give ourselves the chance to grieve when we suffer loss, and to heal when our hearts are broken. Now, we can’t live there forever, wallowing in our pain, but I think there’s a balance that many of us are not paying attention to. Or maybe I’m writing this just for me today, but I’m trying to live by faith with a realization that I am human. I am fallible, easily broken, I bleed, I hurt, my eyes leak occasionally. I am not a machine. And neither are the people in my life.

I thank God for my friends and family, and I’m going to do a better job of that whole share one another’s burdens thing, both for them and for myself.

Jaxon and Quincy Jones

Jaxon had his first experience in a recording studio tonight. We have a budding rock star on our hands. Some dear family friends asked if I would be willing to let him sing on a kids worship album that they were recording. Apparently, they were short on boy voices. Jaxon certainly has a big voice to contribute… not to mention super inappropriate ten-year-old humor that kept the kids giggling. It was a fun experience. He’s going to record a few more tracks later in the week. I’ll keep you posted if Quincy Jones calls.

It was nostalgic for me because I used to do that same thing when I was about his age, growing up in Nashville. If I remember correctly, I think I made some pretty good lip gloss and skating rink money in some of those sessions. (Thank you very much, Carol Tornquist!)

The first children’s musical I remember recording was called “Agapaopolis,” and believe it or not, it is still floating out there on Amazon and Ebay… what a trip. I still remember some of those songs. It’s amazing what has stayed lodged in my brain for nearly thirty years. It’s also amazing that I forget whether or not I fed the dog.

Sweet memories are a gift from God. May you all encounter a sweet memory as you read this post; a memory that makes you smile or laugh, or look at your child and think, “Oh my Lord, it’s me!”

Secrets

I’m getting my hair done today. The gray roots just keep coming back, no matter how many times I color them. Every 4th Friday, I’m in the chair, doin’ time. I’ve had many a stylist in awe of how fast my hair grows. It’s a never-ending story. I’m Falcor.

I don’t know who I’m fooling, really. I tell people all the time about my gray hair, and yet I’m obsessive about hiding it. Hmm. I’m sure there’s a larger issue at work here.

What do you tell everyone about but still try to hide?

We probably tell more than we want to, it’s evident in our faces, our demeanor, our smile, our laughter. They all give it away. We tell on ourselves. And even if we don’t tell you what we did, we tell you we did something by not telling you anything.

My son just drank from the tea pitcher behind my back. I didn’t see him do it, I had no idea he did it, I didn’t even really care that he did it, but he told on himself. He knew it was something he wasn’t supposed to do, so he told on himself. I just smiled. He is definitely my son, neither of us can keep secrets.

If you have a seriously deep, dark secret, please don’t tell me. If I get backed into a corner, I’ll sing like a canary. I can’t take the pressure. That’s something I love about God. He can take the pressure. He knows our secrets and He loves us anyway. He’s not fooled by any of our games, you know. We can sit in church all we want, but if there’s evil in our heart, He knows it. We may fool ourselves, but He is not fooled.

When we are struggling with fear, or anger, or depression, He knows it. He’s the ultimate best friend and confidante. He will never tell, but His sweet Holy Spirit will gently nudge us in the right direction, and if we are seeking help, we will find it. The Bible says Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).

So many times, we just don’t ask. We don’t believe He’ll actually help us, or we don’t feel worthy of His help. The devil wants to make us feel like we are the worst person and God would never help us, but it’s a lie. The devil’s motto is divide and conquer. If he can make us think we’re alone, he’s half-way there. Don’t let him. We all have issues, and none of us is hopeless. God hasn’t met His first unsolvable case yet. You are not the unlovable, you are not the unforgivable, you are not the one that doesn’t deserve God’s love and mercy. You are God’s precious child, and He’s never going to let you go.

Bulldog lovin’

Why must I share my bed with a 90-pound canine? Why must I share the couch with same said canine? Why must the canine follow my every move around the house? I can’t even go to the bathroom alone. It’s like having a toddler all over again; I trip over him when I come out.

It’s loyalty. It’s love, devotion, and hope that I will share my food with him. My dog likes bread, I give him the crusts off my sandwiches, he’s spoiled rotten.

I didn’t mean for him to become codependent on me, I didn’t mean to become the alpha human, but it happened anyway. I guess he just knows that the Mom is the kingpin. I’m the one from whom all blessings flow. (All the Methodists can sing along!)

Everyone ought to feel the love and utter devotion you can get from a giant bulldog; there is really nothing like it.

And the best part? He barks like he’s going to eat any bad guy that comes around me, but my sister’s chihuahua is much more likely to actually bite. Samson is all bark. He’s scared of the vacuum cleaner. He hid between my legs the other day after he was dive-bombed by a locust. It was hilarious. I screamed like a girl, but hey, I am a girl.

This is going nowhere.

Three cheers for our best friends, for dog hair on all our clothes, and for complete and total love from a furry being.