Learning to Relax

You would think that relaxing would be something easy to do, right? Not so much for me. I am learning to relax. I can relate so much to Martha in the Bible. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha was busy with all the work as her sister sat attentive and focused at the Lord’s feet.

Martha missed what was truly important at that moment.

I am so much more like Martha than Mary.  My son wants to watch TV with me, but I feel the need to be doing something while watching. Dinner cooking? Why not load the dishwasher? It is so hard for me to be present. 

I work in senior care, and one thing I have learned from older adults living with dementia…you learn to live in the moment. They have been great teachers to me.

I tend to wake up early even after a short night of sleep. I can relax best in the morning quiet. I love the ocean, the mountains, the lake…they all help me relax. I know I need to learn to relax where I am. Resting is important for my well-being.

I also want to be attentive with my friends. I want to be present for my family. I want to learn to relax. I don’t want to miss moments at the Lord’s feet. These moments are present every single day. 

God is with us. Rest and relaxation are okay. In fact, they are needed to replenish our tired souls.

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 

How do you relax? Am I the only one who struggles with being able to relax?

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United and Free

Happy Memorial Day. As a kid, this day meant no school, summer was almost here, warmer weather, and having to get up early for the parade so I could march as a good Girl Scout. I remember jumping the first time I heard the gun salute to the fallen soliders as we stood in that eerily quiet cemetery.

Over the years, my understanding‚Äč and reverence for this day has deepened. When we traveled internationally to adopt our son, I will never forget the young male working at the airport who told my son how lucky he was to be going to America or the welcoming sense of home I felt as I walked off the plane onto American land once again.

Yesterday, in church the pastor spoke of the sense of united. The great thing about America is the sense of being united to others. There is a feeling of belonging to something greater than yourself. 

Being a part of the body of Christ is like this, too. We belong to a body of believers. We may not always agree on everything, but we should be united by our love of Christ. 

Freedom is never free. It has come with a cost. The countless number of soliders who gave their lives so we could be free…

Christ who endured suffering on the cross for our freedom from the enslavement of sin…

This Memorial Day, enjoy your cook outs, the lake, your friends and family, but please pause for a moment to return gratitude for those who sacrificed so we can be free and united together.

And remember the One who gave the Ultimate sacrifice. His love runs deep for you.

No More, No Less

Is it really this simple‚Äč?

That verse makes it sound so easy, but being content with who you are to me means surrendering your life to God, trusting Him with your hopes, dreams, and fears, and allowing Him to work in your life. The timeline no longer is yours. 

I like to set deadlines for myself. They are not always realistic. I am learning to trust God with the timing and details. I need to pray and trust. 

I am a work in progress. Accepting that God is working in my life means maybe I can be content with who I am…no more, no less.

That certainly takes a lot of pressure off. Worry less, pray more. Words I am learning to trust more and more each day. 

Sunday reflections: Happiness

Happiness. We have all heard quote after quote about happiness. Money can’t buy happiness. Happiness is a choice. 

Today, I am reflecting over our message at church on the pursuit of happiness. One thing the pastor said that has me quiet and reflective is this… achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. 

He then proceeded to ask and challenge us…how do we deal with this discomfort? Do we choose to live with it or do we do something about it?

This led my thoughts to something else I have been working on when I pray. Instead of praying out of difficult situations, I want to pray through difficult times because I believe God has something in these moments for me.

Maybe praying through these difficult times of considerable discomfort and being willing to stepping out in faith to meet God is the pathway to happiness. After all, growth is often painful.

I don’t know what discomfort you might be feeling today, but know you are not alone. Pray through your discomfort…and look for opportunities to find joy.

Tears of Transparency

My heart is sad this morning. It has been a restless, short night of sleep. We learned of my husband’s uncle’s completely unexpected death last night. We are devastated. The hardest part of being a parent is seeing your children cry and to know they are hurting. It is our son’s first experience losing someone close. Our daughter is in another state and unable to come home for a few days. It is hard to not be present to console her.

Knowing your children are hurting is so difficult as a parent. As much as you hurt, seeing the tears of your child is that much more heart wrenching. We have always tried to encourage our children to share their feelings with us and to be open.

Transparency in my feelings… something I am not always so great at. Being willing to be transparent and vulnerable in your feelings with someone you trust can open the floodgates to understanding. Yes, it feels risky and uncomfortable especially if you are like me and not used to talking about feelings. I would rather suffer in silence, but I know God doesn’t desire that for us. And, I certainly don’t want to model that behavior for my children.

So, through this difficult time right now, we will pull together and comfort one another. Tears are the unspoken language of transparency and vulnerability. They are a bridge to understanding.

Life is often not easy, but with God and the support of those we love and trust, we can walk through the valleys and know we are not alone.

The Roller Coaster of Life

I spent a wonderful Mother’s Day at Cedar Point amusement park with my son. It has been a few years since I have been there. 

As we walked through the park, I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells. We waited five minutes or less for each ride. I was so thrilled that I was able to ride the upside down rides without getting sick.

It also took me back a few years to a youth group trip to Cedar Point. Our youth leader did a devotional that day called…the roller coaster of life. I was a lot younger back then and as I reflect back to that moment, I agree…life is much like a roller coaster.

There are times of great highs and lows. We climb hills of anticipation and then things we have looked forward to are over so quickly. Sometimes, things we looked forward to aren’t as fun as we thought. Other times, we realize that things we were afraid of really aren’t so scary. We might find ourselves screaming one moment, then laughing the next. The twists and turns of life can take us upside down and right back up.

I was apprehensive about riding roller coasters, but I really wanted to have this time with my son. To my delight, my stomach didn’t get all queasy on the rides. I had been praying about this day because it was so important to me that we have this time together.

God cares about the big and little details of our lives. He wants to hear our hearts. He cares deeply about us and desires a relationship with us.

God has a plan for your life. Through the roller coaster of life, hold on tight and trust God on your journey.

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

What to do with Defeat

I hate it when life feels fine and then all of a sudden, it’s like that sturdy sense of stability falls out from under you. What exactly am I referring to?

Friday afternoon at work at 4:40…just when you think you might be able to leave by 5…things unravel.

Sigh…what do you do with that feeling of defeat? 

I don’t believe in coincidence. Rather, I believe firmly that God uses things and orchestrates events in our lives. This morning, my devotional was about those difficult times…do we pray for a way out or do we pray for way through?

Out and through are very different prepositions.  

I believe we do some of our best growing as we walk through challenging circumstances. When our eyes are on God and our heart open to His promises, He can do some amazing work in our lives.

So, what did I decide to do with my feeling of defeat? I chose to listen to the voice of truth. I cranked up my Christian playlist on the drive home, and once I was home, I hit the pavement for a soul refreshing, mind clearing run. I flooded my mind with His truth, prayed, and ran. 

I received some great insight during my run. The defeat will not defeat me. I will cling to His promises. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28