Monday, March 30, 2009
Okay, maybe it's just me.
We will be traveling back tomorrow, so it will be a day or two before I am back online. In the meantime, tell me what you think about:
How do they relate? How have you been affected by one or all? Are these earned or given?
Think about it.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Here is a thought to chew on:
Friday, March 20, 2009
*Greek hagiazo (set apart for sacred use or make holy)
I recently read a news article in which a person's true character had come screaming through. This person had put on a facade for the public, allowing people to believe they were kind, gentle, and of humble spirit. Unfortunately, this past week, through various media outlets, we have seen another side: crude, cruel, and arrogant. Willing to sacrifice the character of another for the fulfillment -- even betterment -- of themselves. I felt outrage that this person could so easily transfer from one front to another.
Then I realized how often I do the same thing: speak with firm-but-gentle words to my husband or kids when in public; but behind closed doors my voice tends to raise in volume and tenor. I may come across as a selfless person to the church when I volunteer in my child's classroom, but really I'm just making sure I'm doing my part, keeping guilt at bay.I may speak of my Faith to one friend who shares my belief, but don't "speak Jesus" to the one who does not believe. I do not want to appear fake, after all. I wouldn't want to be judged for my character after-all.
What if we all lived our lives as if living under a media-microscope? What if we lived Truth -- not goodness and mercy; rather, true to our selves. What if, rather than fearing what other people thought, we lived as if their lives depended on it? I, for one, fail at this on a daily basis. I constantly worry about what other people think of me. Jesus was not crucified on a cross worried about what people thought about him. Was it easy for him? No, he was fully human, after all. He was also fully GOD. Mercy and grace, love and humility in their finest form.
Do you live in the world, or by the world's standards?
Which face are your friend's most familiar with? Co-workers? Family?
I encourage you to live in the Truth today.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
(When you get me, you get all of me.)
Thank you for your patience as I play with this new endeavor. I was never one for fancy, but I do have the occasional desire to feel pretty.
Don't we all?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Several months ago my husband approached me about taking part in a weight-loss challenge. The winner of the challenge would win a portion of a pot of money. Good stuff, and appropriate since I still had some post-baby weight to lose. We would enter the challenge together, instant advocates and adversaries. Even though I didn't believe I would win the challenge, I still gave it my all. I ate right, made it a point to get to the gym at least three times a week, and made small lifestyle changes where needed. I cut out the bad carbohydrates and started eating more vegetables and protein. Through this, I was able to lose over twenty pounds.
Two months after ending the challenge, I have yet to make it back into the gym. My eating is erratic at best. My only exercise is walking the kids two blocks to our neighborhood park, where I watch them run and play. I know I feel better when I exercise and eat right, so why can't I just do it?
Yesterday I sat down to write a post, but didn't feel "inspired." Sure, I had plenty of thoughts running like a bullet train through my head: none of them stopping long enough to capture, but buzzing through at suicidal rates, dying before I could grab a hold of one and put it down on paper (or screen, as it were). I kept trying to leave myself open to inspiration, but walked away empty and confused.
This morning I started off on the similar track, frustrated with my alleged writer's block. I kept thinking, "I do not do what I want to do." I am not writing, therefore I am not doing what I want to be doing. As I chewed on this all morning, I realized I was afraid. I was afraid to take that leap of faith, to walk the path-unseen. Self-doubt and critical thinking filled my head: what if I write something that offends someone? What if I say something wrong? What if I come across fake or flowery (not that there's anything wrong with flowery!). I am not, by nature, a flowery person. Can I be something that I am not?
The second epiphany came as I was telling a friend of my woes. I realized that God is SO much bigger than my doubts and fears. Again, I say this without floral and fauna. So often I find myself stressing over the details, when all he asks me to do is obey. If I am afraid, then I do not really trust him. For too long I have tried to do things my way and failed. This time, I am going to be still and listen.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7
Monday, March 16, 2009
I tell you, I was as nervous as a high school freshman entering her first day of school. I knew what to do -- by the time you get to high school, the school part is old hat! -- but unsure how to do it. I went by myself (very un-comfort-zone-ish of me!), I went unprepared (no business cards, no proposals, no idea what I was doing), but I went. Here is what I gleaned from my day:
From Robin Gunn
*STAY THE COURSE! No matter what God has put in front of you, don't try to go around the obstacle, instead stick to it and he will see you through to the end.
*TAKE A RISK! Give yourself back to God, make your work a living sacrifice to God. You are responsible for doing your (creative) best. God is in the details.
*SHOW UP! God is the Alpha and the Omega. He was, is and is to come. He is FOREVER. God does not show up. (Good point, Robin!) We show up to do his work. Do something that doesn't make sense. Stop comparing yourself to others. God has a plan for you.
From Cindy Hannan
Cindy co-authored Sisterchicks, Take Flight! with Robin Gunn.
*(from her personal prayer journal) "I did not call you to succeed, I called you to obey." Not everything we do is going to be for success. We may not even be recognized for what we do. God calls us to do it anyway.
*Say, "Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! Yes! Yes, Lord!"
From Patricia Rushford
Patricia taught a workshop at the conference. She is a nurse, counselor, author and speaker.
*LET GOD LEAD.
*GOD CAN USE OUR EXPERIENCES TO HELP OTHERS.
*PURSUE THE CALL
*ONLY GOD IS THE PERFECT PARENT
The last one had nothing to do with writing, or purpose, or anything conference related. I wrote it down to remind myself that I am going to screw up, I am going to fail. God loves me anyway and he will not.
I went into the weekend with full expectations. I knew I would have a certain amount of hob-nobbing to do. I knew I would be asked about my work. I knew I would flounder and flail like fish, fresh out of the life-sustaining water it lives in.
I walked away from the conference over-whelmed with all that I still have to do. I started questioning myself, "Is this really what you were made for? Is this really what you want to do?" I started to answer "NO!" but then stopped and realized that I was saying no because I was too afraid to say "YES!" I don't like saying yes to something when I have no idea what I am doing.
Last week, as I was whining to a friend of mine about how grossly unprepared I was for this venture, she reminded me of Indiana Jones. In the third installment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones is walking out of a tunnel and straight off a cliff! Oh, what is our hero to do? He can't jump, the chasm is too wide. He can't use his trusty bullwhip, there is nothing for it to attach to. What to do? WHAT TO DO?
That's all. Just a little leap of faith. Indiana Jones holds his father's diary (yes, I've seen the movie a few times) over his chest, closes his eyes, holds one foot out and...
...finds himself standing on solid ground! (WHOA!) There was a path there all along, he just didn't see it. Although, throw some sand on it, and -- look! There it is!
What is your chasm? What will you do today to take that leap of faith?
Friday, March 13, 2009
My little girl, still this side of two, is very passionate. I can see it in her already, even without the beautiful strawberry blonde hair. She often feels she is being wronged (as many eighteen-month old children do) and sets out to right the situation. Recently her brother, almost three years and twenty pounds her senior, wouldn't move out of the chair he had been occupying. She didn't like the fact that he wouldn't budge, so she resorted to screaming (which was a break from the biting she normally uses). Just as I turned to correct the situation, I saw this: from the depths of her toes, with all the energy she could muster, my little girl balled up her fists and screamed at her brother as loud and as long as her precious little lungs would allow. In turn, my sensitive little boy, her big brother, started crying at the shear enormity of the sound emitted from her mouth. I didn't really blame him.
Throughout history we see many examples of what passion has driven people to do: burning men and women at the stake, claiming they were witches; capturing and enslaving an entire nation of people for the color of their skin or their religious choice; wars, marriages, slavery, murder...the list is more than I care to think of. Yet, passion is what drives us. Passion carries us from bellhop to general manager to president. Passion takes us from student to teacher to principal to superintendent. Passion pushes us into the arms of a lover. Passion feeds children and holds the homeless.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord not for men.” (Colossians NIV)
I once confused purpose with passion. I didn’t think I could have one without the other. This is partly true. Here is what I am discovering:
I am a mom. This is one of my purposes in life. Am I passionate about it? No, not really. I love being a mom. I am thankful daily for my children and the lessons they teach me. I wouldn’t give them up nor trade them for anything in the world. I love them with everything I have, yet I know I do not put everything I have into being their mom. I do not spend my days playing with them, tutoring them, training them in the ways they should be. The house has to get cleaned sometime! I am there to guide and direct, but more in a “hands-off” kind of way.
I love writing. I love reading. I love books. I am passionate about all of the above. My home would be filled with thousands of books if I could. I would spend my days writing and pondering and writing some more. I shed a tear every time my daughter tears her board-books apart. (I’m still not sure how that happens. I really thought those things were kid-proof!)
I am passionate about women: I want women to know they are loved. I want women to know they were made with passion for a purpose.
Do you know what you were made for? Do you know what you are passionate about? What makes you get out of bed (besides personal hygiene or small children)? What drives you to get through the day? I urge to find it. Find your passion. Then, on a small scale, fan the flame. Feed it until you find your niche. You are worth it. You are a beautiful Creation of the Almighty and he doesn’t make mistakes.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
So often as moms, we find ourselves wandering about life, darting here and there pushing our limits of sanity and patience. What am I doing? Where are my keys? You mean show and tell was today!?
After the birth of my son four years ago I knew I had found my purpose. I had finally become a mom. This was what my life was lived for. I had arrived! That thought lasted for all of about two weeks. Then the collic set in, along with the real diapers, the sleeplessness, the feedings at insane hours, and midnight trips to the grocery store for anything which might make the screaming stop. I felt inadequate as a mom, and lost sight of why I was put on this earth.
Fours years and two children later my perspective is finally back in line with reality. A counselor once told me that being a mom is a role I play, along with daughter, wife, friend, etc. I will be a mommy to these little buggers for a short time, and then they will grow up and not need so much of me. What else am I? Who am I?
This I know: I know I have a purpose. I hold onto that belief with all my energy, because if I am here wandering about, filling the void, what is the point? I know I was purposed to be a mom to my kids. I know I was purposed to write. I know this because I have been making the wrong choices for so long that the Creator finally tapped me on the shoulder and said,
"I'm here with you, but you should be going in that direction."
I have tried working in hotels.
I have tried working in human resources.
I have tried working in an insurance office.
I have tried working as an accountant.
I have tried sitting and doing nothing.
Everything has brought me back to this moment. Writing is my purpose, it is my passion (more on that tomorrow). The verse above (Exodus 9:16) is taken from when the Lord was speaking to Pharaoh through Moses. He was once again telling the Pharaoh to release the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. The Lord told Pharaoh that He (the Lord) could have easily raised his hand against the Pharaoh and wiped him and all his friends off the earth. Instead, he used Pharaoh and his hard heart to show him the true power of God so there would be no doubt.
Okay, so if God chooses to use Pharaoh -- and a man like Moses! -- for his purposes, maybe he has a plan for me, too. I may have only one purpose, and maybe I've been running from it. Maybe I have several. I don't know, and I may not know this side of heaven. My prayer today is that I will live in the moment for my purpose.
(Right now, my purpose is to find out why my daughter is not happy with the cereal and raisins I gave her for a snack.)