I don’t have time for this…

It’s Saturday afternoon, and I am in bed. I don’t have time for this. It’s not that I am feeling horrible, it’s just that I am not feeling great.

If there is one thing I have heard over and over from my friends and family the past few days, it is…you need to rest!!

The winter sickness has hit my family. My teen son is in bed. My husband is downstairs. He is feeling better and attempting to put our lives back into some sort of semblance.

It’s been busyness followed by not feeling well which quickly transforms the house into a full blown disaster. Dirty dishes, laundry piles….

I feel a sense of guilt resting. I don’t rest well especially in one of the most intensely busy seasons of my life.

Yet, time after time in the Bible, we are given examples of resting. I suppose I tend to focus more on the stories of doing, of action.

Which leads me to this thought… maybe I need to make rest a priority. A friend reminded me that if I don’t take care of me, then I can’t take care of those I love.

So, I rest….

The diffuser with lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus oils is on. The headache oil blend that I used on my temples was effective. After an hour nap, my headache is gone.

We may not think we have time for rest, but we need to take time and trust God with the details of our lives.

This was not how I expected to spend my weekend, but maybe it is exactly what I need.

What helps you rest?

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Hiding

I have had an emotionally challenging week. I didn’t realize that I would struggle so much this week. The impact of everything and my emotional response blindsided me.

Let me back up a bit and fill in a few details…I lost a high school classmate and friend very unexpectedly in a car accident. I had a difficult interaction with someone this week. My daughter went back to college after winter break and I already know she will not be home for the summer. Long days at work equal exhaustion.

I slept in today on this Saturday morning. I rarely sleep in. My husband brought me coffee to bed and I am lingering for a bit before starting my day which affords me time to reflect.

My week has made me really think about this…how often do we hide behind masks? We smile. We tell the world we are fine. We push on through the challenges of our jobs and lives.

This is all great. Having a spirit that can persevere through whatever life brings is great. I call myself a fighter, and I am, but sometimes we need to take off those masks and stop hiding behind them.

Sometimes, we need to be transparent and vulnerable. Not with everyone. It feels risky to take off those masks. Some people honestly won’t care what is behind them. We want to protect our vulnerable self.

Prayer is so powerful. I believe God wants us to be real, definitely with Him. I encourage you to read the Psalms. So much raw emotion is poured out to God in those Psalms. I also believe God cares about us and wants us to feel the freedom to be vulnerable and transparent. I believe He places safe people in our lives. I had some very powerful conversations this week with safe people in my life. God takes care of us through the love of others.

I also have been reflecting on the ways others around me hide behind their own masks. I have seen two situations this week where people have broken down, the weight of hiding behind the masks suddenly too much. 

I encourage us all to….

1. Regularly read the Psalms and share our own raw emotions with God.

2. Pray for those safe people in our lives.

3. Just be kind… everyone has a story and some hide more behind masks than others.

Last night I heard this song … If We’re Honest by Francesca Battistelli. Sometimes, we just need to be real. 

It’s a new year. Let’s come out of hiding and strive to be better versions of ourselves and to love more genuinely.

What helps you when you feel like hiding?

Patient Endurance

It’s the time of year when many people become reflective. We look back at all we have accomplished, and we look forward to all that is ahead. 

I am one of those people. I have my words and my verses. This particular year started off with a family vacation to Florida which provided time for reflection. It was also filled with expectations, and the lessons when these expectations were not met. 

It was as though God was reminding me…you may have your agenda, but I have a greater purpose.

Sometimes, we are humbled.

Vacation provided multiple such moments…

* Since the rental car was in my name, I had to do all the driving and endure my children’s backseat driving. Usually, Dad does the driving. My husband and I switched our usual roles of driver and navigator.

* Legoland was definitely geared towards younger children, but we shared  laughter over my husband and son being stuck on a ride. We all enjoyed the ski show and a peaceful walk through Cypress Gardens. 

* The hood of our rental car was full of paint scratches after Legoland. I am grateful that we purchased the damage protection plan.

* The kindness of strangers was revealed during our airport experience.

 * Craving pizza, our GPS led us to a gas station where the windows were barred.  Needless to say, we traveled back to the hotel and ordered pizza.

Vacation is like that…the anticipation and the expectations sometimes don’t match the actual experiences. 

Nevertheless, we had a great time on vacation. I was reminded so many times to let go of my expectations and to be present and open to the moment. Joy is a choice.

Life is like this especially in the dawn of a new year. I look forward with expectancy to the year ahead but I will be careful to not let my own expectations and agenda get in the way of God’s greater purpose.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. Hebrews 10:36 NLT

Another Year

What does a new year mean to you? Are you into making resolutions for the year?

This year, instead of focusing on all the ways I fell short last year, I will reflect on all the ways God has worked in my life. I will look forward to the year with expectation not perfection.

Yes, I will still make my goals for the year. I will reflect on my hopes and dreams. I will pray over them and trust God on my journey this year but I will do so with hope and expectation rather than with fear and anxiety.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and verses for the new year. 

What are your thoughts for the year ahead?

Intentional Rest

In the aftermath of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, quiet is what I long for. The dog lightly breathes as she sleeps and all else is still in my house. I need sleep, I know this, but the coffee I made myself at 3:30 at work wasn’t drank until almost 5 pm. My stomach, angry from holiday eating, is finally calming down. I long for quietness more than sleep. Sleep will come soon enough. For now, I choose to be restfully still. Being this still is an act of willful intention. It is something I must learn to become better at. My mind, my body, my soul…at rest.

I am already prayerfully considering my focus words for the upcoming year. I had thought they might be joy or intentional, but maybe it’s rest.

When I rest, I savor the quiet. It is in these moments of intentional rest that I listen. 

Life is not a series of perfect performances, but a chance to grow, to seek, to love, and to live more alive and full.

This week between Christmas and the New year leaves me expectant. 

The quiet is exactly the gift I have been longing for.

Merry Christmas!

May we hold dearly to those simple yet profound moments that matter most this time of year and always…

A box of Wisconsin cheese arriving on my doorstep from dear friends.

A peaceful winter walk with my son’s new dog.

The fireplace lit, the stockings all hung, and my family close by.

A long kept Christmas surprise of a magical family vacation finally able to be shared, and he was so surprised!

The magic of a white Christmas.

Being perfectly okay with changing up traditions just a bit to accommodate work schedules.

And the most important part of this time of year and always…the greatest gift of all…the babe in the manger.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. I am so grateful for my blogging community!! 

What makes your Christmas magical?

Greater Than Ourselves

Sometimes, you just know everything is going to be okay.

Your college age daughter may dump her clothes by the door, but she is home for the holidays. A clean house is not important.

You willingly spend almost six hours in the car to attend the funeral of your friend’s dad because you know she needs you and there is no other place you want to be at that moment but there supporting her.

God keeps reminding me of the joy in the everyday stuff of life. Life is not easy. It’s messy. It’s sad. It’s just plain tough at times. 

Working with elders has taught me an important life lesson at a young age. The things that matter in life are the meaningful relationships we create along our journey. Every day, we have the opportunity to touch lives through our words, actions, and love. 

As I sat in the funeral today, I felt part of something greater than myself. I witnessed the impact one man had on multiple lives. For many reasons, I am thankful God has blessed me with the joy of this friendship and the opportunity to know this family. Only God could have allowed our paths to intersect.

In the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Sometimes, we get so caught up in trying to figure out God’s will for our lives. I think it is spelled out pretty clearly in those verses.

Rejoice…pray…give thanks…in all circumstances, not some but all.

What if we truly lived by those words? We aren’t perfect people, but we can love other imperfect people. 

My friend is teaching me this very thing…love others well. Her dad’s life and love for others over his years was so evident today.

As I reflect on our drive home, these thoughts come to mind.

1. Life is hard but filled with meaningful life lessons if we are open to the everyday moments.

2. People need us. We need people. Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. Be kind. Listen more than talking.

3. Rejoice…look for the everyday blessings. They are there.

4. Pray about everything.

5. Thank God. He is working even when we can’t see it.

6. When we trust God with our lives, He will bless us.

I felt it today…the love of others, the love of God. 

Life is greater than ourselves.