What do you want?

The joy of the Midwestern spring weather is that one day, you’re hot, and the next day you’re cold. Today was a cold day.

It is amazing how our moods can so easily mirror the tone of the day. It was cold, dreary, windy, and rainy today. Teenage boys seem oblivious to cold weather, though. I opted to stay in the car as my husband and son trekked across the soccer field for pictures.

As I sat in the warmth of our Jeep, I stared across empty fields. The stillness of the park, its emptiness, and lack of activity spoke to me. 

Today has been a reflective day. As I weigh through things in my mind, I can appreciate the mood of the day. The gray skies seem to offer permission, telling me it’s okay to have a quiet day. Last weekend, I cleaned and sorted. This weekend, I seek to be still, one question lingering in my mind from my morning devotions.
In Matthew, Jesus asks the two blind men, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Mark Batterson, author of Draw the Circle, says, 

We have no idea what we want God to do for us, and then we wonder why it seems like God isn’t doing anything for us. The great irony, of course, is that if we can’t answer this question, then we’re as blind spiritually as these men were physically. Most of us don’t get what we want simply because we don’t know what we want

Which has had me pondering all day….What do I want God to do for me?

I know what I am struggling with, and I know what I don’t want, but do I know what I want?

So, I am quiet, reflective, wondering….what do I really want? What is in the bottom of my heart? Am I brave enough to pray for God to reveal, to speak, to share? Am I listening?

What do you want? What are the desires of your heart? What are your hopes, your dreams? 

Are you brave enough to ask God for the desires of your heart and then trust Him with the answers without knowing what they will be?

I want to be that brave.

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Traveling to or through

I spend hours on the road commuting to and from work. Since I drive interstates and the toll road, I see lots of trucks.  Trucks travel miles through towns, counties, and states on the road to a destination. 

As a kid, I was fortunate to grow up with parents who loved to travel. Although we flew occasionally, I actually preferred to do cross country road trips. We traveled miles, and I loved looking out the window at the passing scenery. Some vacations if we had time, we would stop at unplanned destinations as we passed through somewhere. Those were some of my favorite memories.

Are you traveling through or traveling to?
In life, we all go through struggles and challenging times on the way to a destination. Maybe this destination is a much hoped for new job, college courses to your degree, a relationship, the quest to buy a new home, or a million other things. While this journey may be painful, if we are paying attention, there are lessons to be learned as we go through the journey. 

Some of the most difficult moments in my life as I struggled through on my way to something greater have taught me the most amazing lessons. For example, the painful journey through my anxiety struggles these past few months have taught me coping strategies. The journey through has brought me to a greater sense of peace. 

Don’t miss the scenery as you pass through on the way to your destination. There are lessons to be learned along the way. If we look, we can always find something meaningful along the way. 

Keep Your Eyes Ahead

I have an hour commute to work and generally take the toll road because it is so much faster. As a result, seeing  state troopers is a normal occurrence for me. I am not an overly fast driver so I rarely fear speeding tickets.

The other day, though, I saw a state trooper make a quick turnaround in the median. The car followed behind me for miles, exit after exit. I was not speeding, but nevertheless, I found myself looking back in my rear view mirror every few minutes. I realized as I did this, my palms were sweaty and my heart rate a little faster.

Why?

It turned my thoughts to how we often look back and allow the fears of our past mistakes and failures to hold us hostage to the future God has promised us. I thought of Lot’s wife who looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt in the book of Genesis.

I am extremely thankful that I did not experience the same results as Lot’s wife for looking back, but I am thankful for God’s reminders of His promises in everyday life moments.

I needed to not fear anything as I drove to work that day. Instead, I needed to keep my eyes focused ahead on the promises God has in store for me.

 Our past can teach us lessons, but we need to keep our eyes focused on what is ahead.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13 NIV

Yes, sometimes it feels like we must strain and keep pushing forward, but keep your eyes on God, and He shall lead you through all the rocky waters of life.

One more day, maybe I can

Just when you think you can’t do this anymore, God reminds you that well, maybe you can.

It’s been a week like that for me. Work has had me exhausted. The balance between work and home feels overwhelming at times. It is hard to find that separation between the two. 

Work is a source of back and forth anxiety for me, but work is such a huge part of my life. When you work full-time, you spend a lot of time at your job.

I love my job. I work with seniors. I love the residents and their families. We have some amazing staff. 

The day to day stress, though, can overtake all the reasons I went into this field in the first place. And then I start feeling….I can’t do this anymore!

Then, God reminds me in the midst of an exhausting week that yes, I can.

If you work in long term care, then you understand the intensity of state survey week.

I worked long hours this week. I left my house super early. My neighbor had to take my son to school. But….I witnessed staff coming together, working together, serving the elders. I spent lots of time interacting with residents and staff.

I was reminded what an amazing leader I am privileged to work under…One who is appreciative and cares deeply. I was reminded of the great group of people I work alongside with on the leadership team.

Our results? Deficiency free. Deficiency free. Those two words…The cumulative results of months of hard work and day to day, moment to moment dedication. 

I was reminded I am called to do this.

A few weeks ago, I read this passage from Psalm 127:2…It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones.


That very week, I had been up early working and up late working. I was allowing work to become too much of me. What has felt like my passion and calling was beginning to feel like a source of total overwhelming endlessness.
I can’t figure out this balance thing, but I realized that I don’t have to. I am learning more about prayer through Draw the Circle 40 day prayer challenge by Mark Batterson. I can pray over the promises in that Psalm and trust God for His guidance in finding balance.

Sometines, life is about beautiful simple moments tied into profound realizations. The happy tears of my coworkers. The words of gratitude from a family. Sharing hugs of celebration with staff. Laughing with a resident.
Yes, God, maybe I can do this just another day.

God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Tonight, I am grateful for His reminders that I am exactly where He wants me right now. 

Comfort in the Uncomfortable

What does it mean to be comfortable to you?

 Comfort is a warm fuzzy blanket, a book in my hand, a warm mug of coffee or tea, and a quiet house.


Of course, those cherished moments are just that, cherished moments. To be comfortable​ in the day to day existence…What does that look like?
I told a friend once that I don’t think God wants us to be comfortable for too long. During that particular time in my life, I had just left a long-time job to try something new. This “new” was different and very uncomfortable.

I believe it is during these challenging periods of life that we experience the most growth. I realized that even when my job was hard, I could find something to be grateful for. Believe me, I’m definitely not trying to sugar coat anything or be “Pollyanna” about this…Some days finding something good in a difficult day was, well, hard.

Some days may be like a typical dinner conversation with our son…

Me: “Jay-R, how was school? What was the best thing that happened today?”

My son, with a smile on his face as he gets ready to take a bite of food, “It ended.”

 Maybe some days​, you are grateful to have just made it through yet another day. 


My prayer into work has become a prayer of “God I have no idea what I might face today, but I say yes to whatever comes my way because I know You will be right there with me.”
Greater trust. Overcoming anxiety one moment at a time. Glimpses into what really matters to me in my life. All lessons in the uncomfortable.

Yesterday morning I read this in my In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley…“We must accept that God’s priority for us is transformation into Christ’s image and not necessarily comfortable circumstances.”

Paul shares in Philippines 4:11…

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 

Times of plenty, times of less. Times of sickness, times of health. Times of comfortable, times of uncomfortable.

Finding comfort in the uncomfortable….Perhaps this is on my mind so much as I reflect on the message of Easter. Christ endured the greatest “uncomfortable” for me, for you, for us. He was ostracized, ridiculed, beaten, mocked, and hung to die a pain staking death. Why? So that we can live a life full of His grace, His love, His mercy, His peace, and His hope.

Is comfort possible in the uncomfortable?

I think it is when our hearts are open to what He is wanting to whisper into our souls. 

My friend, all things are possible through Him.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

How about you…Where has God spoken​ to you in the uncomfortable?

What if…

It’s one of those mornings where no one but me has to be up early. My husband has the day off work, and school is closed for my son today. 

In the mostly quiet house except for the off and on barking of our dog, I really don’t mind these days of being awake in solitude. My mind does a lot of thinking during these mornings.

The other day, I wrote about “keep fighting.” The next day, my devotional was about fighting, and it really resonated with me. It’s important to fight through the struggles of life and keep our eyes on God. But, here’s another thought to add to this whole fighting thing….God loves to fight for us.
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:14

Stay calm? During hard times?? This is definitely something I continue to learn. It is becoming a little easier everyday. The whole expression of “let go and let God,” it really holds a lot of truth in terms of peace.

When I am discouraged, before I know it, my mind wanders to this world of “what ifs.”

What if I had chosen another career? What if I hadn’t changed jobs? What if we had moved so many years ago like we had planned? The list can go on and on.

But, here is another question…”What if I am exactly where God needs me to be right now?

Life isn’t easy, but it is during the most difficult moments that we can experience the most growth.

On this Good Friday, I reflect, what if Jesus would have been spared the pain of everything He endured on the cross for us, for you, for me? 

That is a what if I don’t want to think about because the answer would change everything.

Thankfully, that’s not how the story goes. Jesus died so that we may live. His death and Resurrection change everything. He died on the cross so we can live in His truth and promises.

Instead of worrying and “what iffing,” I need to let go and let God. He will fight my battles. Just stay calm, trust His promises, and rest in His peace.

What if we worried less and prayed more?

Prayer can move mountains. 

Keep Fighting

Sometimes, I feel so knocked down by the stuff of life…Work stress, so much to do at home, exhaustion…The list goes on.

Sometimes, I just feel so defeated. I feel like a failure. I know we all have bad days. Bad days can morph into all kinds of negative thinking if we let them.

When I was in fourth grade, my dad came with me to a young author’s event at a local university. I remember being so excited to go and that my dad was with me. I came home with the book It Wasn’t my Fault by Helen Lester. I love the story because the young boy has an egg dropped on his head. He tries to find someone to blame but ends up realizing that maybe he was to blame after all. Instead of turning the blame on him, his new animal friends try to stand behind him and make the best of the situation.

Walking the Christian life is a lot like that.

We make mistakes. Things don’t always go as we plan. We feel like failures sometimes. God doesn’t waste anything in our lives. He can and will use everything to grow us and increase our trust and dependence on Him.
For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

It often isn’t big trials that seem to get me down. My faith has carried me through some pretty big challenges in my life. For me, it’s the everyday stuff that drags me down and threatens to defeat me. Difficult situations and people at work. Not feeling well. A cluttered house because we are so busy. Taxes still to do ( I have a week yet 😉). 

This “stuff” weighs me down. Then, God speaks to, encourages me through one of the most precious voices in my life. My son.

We were driving home recently, and I asked him if he knew what spiritual warfare was. He proceeded to tell me about how this was the theme of his recent youth retreat. We talked about praying through those difficult times and trusting God. He looked at me and said, “Mom, you’re a fighter. You always fight through stuff.” 

Thanks, son. I needed to be encouraged.

Maybe the morning moments of reading my Bible are noticed. Perhaps our nightly prayer together matters to him.

Little acts of faith create big faith. 

Maybe I can fight through this one more day with God leading me. And then one more day. Someone is watching me fight my battles, and he’s taking note.
We never know when our faith might resonate in someone else’s life

 Keep fighting. Eyes are watching.