Growth Can’t Always Be Measured With A Ruler

Stress

Image by alancleaver_2000 via Flickr

I still have a long way to go.

Growing. Stretching. Absorbing. Changing.

Some days I think I’ve got it all together. Whatever “it” is. I’ve got it all figured out. I’m on top of things.

Other days I know I don’t. I wonder if I ever did.

I look at other people. I think maybe their lives are right. And good.

Even if they aren’t.

I measure myself.

I come up short.

I want more.

More of what is good. More of what makes me happy. More of things going my way.

More. More. More.

Ungrateful.

The dark emotion washes over me like the cold waves of a surly ocean. I am overcome.

I breathe deeply. I don’t really like this place.

I snip at my kids, ignore my husband, don’t even want to pet the dog.

Who am I?

I breathe again.

Ann Voskamp reminds me in chapter 8. I know this woman’s words are a gift to me from God Himself. There is no other explanation. God speaks in many ways–and sometimes it is through a Canadian woman, a farmer’s wife, a home schooling mom of six. I am humbled.

On page 143, her words sear through me. Cutting me. Straight to the place that oozes with the ungrateful. The worry. The stress. The parts of myself that I don’t like to show.

“Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness.  How I angle my jaw, braced, chisel, the brow with the lines of distrust. How I don’t fold my hands in prayer…weld them into tight fists of control…… Do I hold worry close as this ruse of control, this pretense that I’m the one who will determine the course of events as I stir and churn and ruminate? Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is. And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow.”

And on page 146, ” Stress isn’t only a joy stealer. The way we respond to it can be sin.” ……”I’ve got to get this thing, what it means to trust, to gut-believe in the good touch of God toward me, because it’s true: I can’t fill with joy until I learn how to trust: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow.” (Romans 15:13)

I breathe again.

And I work on giving thanks. I need to give thanks. I must give thanks.

In order to see.

#155  Rainy days

#156 Warm light spilling through the kitchen

#157  Green showing through melted snow

# 158  Children laughing

 

 

 

 

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Rest For The Soul

RELAX

Image by marc falardeau via Flickr

Rest.

Time slows.

I savor the moment.

Saturday morning.

Walking around bare footed.

Wearing sweat pants and an old tee shirt.

Coffee in a deep mug.

With extra creamer.

Quiet time.

Reflection.

A time to enjoy.

 

 

 

Cold Beauty

Snow Globe

Image by David Hepworth via Flickr

Yes. This winter seems unending. It has been cold and chaotic since the first snow fell on December 1.

And yet…as I stand at my kitchen window, I am amazed at the beauty of it all.

I quietly sigh. I stare upward.

White gray.

Snow blowing every which way. A blur of flakes.

Each one different. Unusual.

The scene before me resembles a snow globe that has been shook hard.

A flake frenzy.

Cold beauty.

Dogs with snowy fur.

Schools closed.

Gray sky filled with flakes.

The roar of wind.

I feel the need to snap a picture. To remember.

To pull out on the hot, sticky days of late July.

A cool memory to ease the pain of the heat.

Lord, I am thankful for this day you have given me.

And for the eyes wide open…to see your gift to me.

 

 

 

I Forgive You

Moon

Image by neko687 via Flickr

Today’s blog topic at the Faith Barista Jam is forgiveness.

Ouch.

I don’t know about this.

Forgiveness is difficult. Especially, when it is I that have been wronged.

Especially, when I didn’t deserve what I got.

I was left hurt. Bruised. Confused. Broken.

How does one forgive through the pain?

Even when the wrong doer doesn’t care about the pain he/she caused….

The sleepless nights…..

The actions that played in my head like a never ending movie reel…

I was a prisoner in my own unforgiveness.

It wasn’t pleasant. I didn’t enjoy it. But, I couldn’t let it go.

I didn’t know how.

Until……

God showed me.

It didn’t happen all at once.

It was work.

I still work at it.

I’ve learned that forgiveness is a gift.

Not just to the forgiven….but, to the one forgiving.

A gift of peace.

How can I not forgive others, when Christ has so richly forgiven me?

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

(Colossians 3:13)

Simply Love…

Love for Arts

Image via Wikipedia

“Le Prix d’Amour, C’est Seulement Amour.”

The price of love, is simply…love.


Family. Unconditional love. Safe and secure.

Growing up, I never doubted love.

I was seventeen.

He held my hand. We shared a kiss.

The sweet tenderness of young love.

I was a young woman dressed in white, a young man at the end of the aisle.

We faced each other and declared our love.

Until death do us part.

The nurse handed the wrinkled bundle of baby boy to me.

I, as mother, looked at my newborn and love enveloped my heart.

Love tries again. Second chances are real. I step out into love.

Love for those I surround myself with.

Agape for my fellow man.

Love and thanksgiving to God.

….And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13 :13)

 

Who Gets To Choose?

The skull and crossbones, a common symbol for ...

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Out of sight. Out of mind.

This news story is tragic and it also scares me. This is a current story that is happening to a family in Canada, our neighbor’s to the north.

The parents are asking to take their terminally ill baby home, to die. They know he will eventually die…they are not fighting that. They just want him to die at home, and not in some sterile, impersonal hospital.

The courts got involved, and said that the breathing tube must be removed at the hospital and he will die there. I suppose the decision is part of Canada’s health care system.

I have a real problem with this. There does not appear to be any compassion in this decision. The little boy is just another tough decision to make. The humanity is lost. Are they removing his tube, and letting him die because it is too expensive to keep him alive? Why does the government get to make that decision? Who are they, to play God?

(One of the family members)”I believe when the medical world doesn’t understand a situation, they just want to get rid of it,” Samar said. “That’s exactly what’s happening.”

 

 

When Life Is Hard

Smelling the roses 1/365 days

Image by Liam Wilde via Flickr

I’m finished with chapter five of One Thousand Gifts.

It was a difficult chapter.

Painful, even.

It hurts, when faced with the reality that life will never be easy. Not for me. Not for you. No one will get out of this life without struggle. Will I be thankful for what my life holds for me? Even when things aren’t going as I planned? As I had hoped?  Even when I sit at the bedside of a loved one who is dying? Even when I hear the doctor’s voice explain the diagnosis? When my child is sick? Or run away? Will I be thankful for all that God has done for me when I get the bad news? When my husband loses his job? When people hurt me with their words? When I feel robbed of happiness? Will..I…be…thankful….then?

I realize that some of you reading this might be thinking, “Well, she is a real bummer. Where are her funny blogs? I like her sense of humor. This stuff is depressing.” To those of you I reply with this….I do love to laugh. I enjoy telling a funny story.  Life is a joy. There are some times when the deeper things of life need precedence. When I need to think deeply. This is one of those days.I hope you will read my blog post with your eyes wide open.

On pages 84 and 85 I read the words that slammed through me like a deadly, powerful wind. My breath caught in my throat.

Ann Voskamp writes, “What will I lose? Health? Comfort? Hope? Eventually, I am guaranteed to lose every thing I have possessed. When will I lose? Today? How  much time do I have before the next loss? Who will I lose? And that’s definite. I will lose every single person I have ever loved. Either abruptly or eventually. All human relationships end in loss. Am I prepared for that?”

Tears stained my cheeks with wet. My breath was ragged while reading her words. Because…..I know they are true. A sob escapes my throat. So true.

Will I be prepared for the hard eucharisteo when that time comes? If I am learning the discipline of thanking God in all things now…daily writing down all the ways that God says ‘yes’ to me, all the proofs of His love, will I be ready to thank Him through the hard times? God is good today. God will be good tomorrow. God will be good for all the days after that. He does not change. If I love Him today when things are well for me, should I not love Him tomorrow, even when the news might change?

It is not an easy thing.

It is not easy when my heart bleeds. When my hopes are dashed. When my world is torn apart. When pain is so great. When I scream “the why’s” at Heaven.

God is good.

He is good.

He loves me.

He shows me His love daily. I am listing His thousand gifts to me….and when I get to the end of my list, I will list a thousand more. His love is eternal. On days when life is hard, I can look at my list and be amazed at each moment I recorded. He showers me with the moments.

On page 91 Ann states, “Without God’s Word as a lens, the world warps.”  (Matt. 6:22-23)  Yes. Yes. Yes!  Page 94..”When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become a gift?

One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.”

Saint John of Avila.