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?

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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.

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.

Everyday Wonder

I believe when you ask God for a sign and are genuinely seeking His will for your life, He will reveal one.

We have to be attentive, though. Signs don’t always present as we expect but then again, we should expect the unexpected.

A sense of awe, of wonder, of anticipation should carry us, guide us.

Simple moments should capture our attention.

For me…the grateful hug of a newly widowed man expressing appreciation for the care his wife received, moments of a person confiding their fears and sadness because you listen, watching a bedridden resident mouth the words to a Christmas song with her eyes closed, and the thoughtful Christmas gift from my staff signed from “your lovely team.” A supportive husband and family, a leader trying to help me learn better boundaries.

Signs, some subtle, some screaming.

God’s calling on our lives…those things that bring us alive and center us on a purpose greater than ourselves.

It’s easy for me to question my calling when I feel like I made a mistake or things fall apart or someone is upset. I know I too easily become unraveled during these moments.

Yet, in those other moments of everyday wonder, I am reminded He is working, using every detail of my life to shape and mold my unique story.

And for that, I am grateful.

Journey with Courage

I love as I begin to type in the word “courage” in my title, my phone suggests the word coffee. Yes, these past few weeks and months have been a whirlwind, and coffee definitely has fueled me on my journey!!


Perhaps a little too much lately. My posting has been more sporadic since the Write 31 day challenge ended in October. Life has a way of shifting priorities. 
Ever been there before?

I remember a pastor stating very clearly that sometimes the very thing standing in the way of God’s will in our lives is ourselves.

Living by faith is a daily, moment by moment journey. It is not easy. I know this in my heart, but when life gets crazy then sometimes I just want to say…I can’t do this anymore… it’s just too hard.

I have felt a bit on auto pilot recently. I have the “To Do” lists. I knock the items off one by one. I press on. I am tired. I want to embrace the joy of the season, and I do in captured moments, but they don’t seem to sustain me. 

Enter Joseph. The Christmas story often focuses on Mary and of course, Jesus, as it should, but do we spend enough time thinking about Joseph? The pastor today dedicated his message on Joseph. We talked about the extreme faith, trust, and obedience Joseph demonstrated. He trusted God’s Word. He honored and loved Mary. He protected her and this baby, Jesus.

Joseph journeyed with courage. He was willing to go on an unknown journey to trust the provision of God and His direction.

Which brings me back to my present state of mind and where I am.

Do I have the courage to follow the call of God in my life? 

Do you?

With our finances? With our jobs? With our health? With our families? With those dreams so dear and precious to us that we dare not share out loud?

Are we willing to trust God on the journey He is calling us to take?

Life offers too much to live on autopilot.

When we step in obedience and stay alert listening to His direction, He is faithful and will be with us each step of the way.

May we have courage in our journey as Joseph did so many years ago. 

The Moments…

Some things are almost certain as a mom of boys.

  1. You will at some point experience the excruciating pain of stepping barefoot on a Lego.
  2. You will find the most random of things in pants pockets when you do laundry.
  3. You will be caught off guard from an unexpected Nerf gun dart when you least expect it.
  4. You will hear yourself asking…did you put on deodorant… daily in those preteen and even into teen years.
  5. Boys do things to surprise you. Often.

As I sit here and linger for just a few more minutes enjoying the tree, I focus not on the fact that my son will awake in an hour asking where he left his shoes but rather on the moments from the weekend that make me go wow. 

My son went to the basement this weekend and brought up all the Christmas decorations without being asked. He just did it. He started decorating and patiently waited for me to finish what I was doing so I could help. Then, he cleaned up and took it all back downstairs.

His college age sister had to buy a car this weekend. They sat beside each other in the front as my husband and I sat in the back as we drove around to see Christmas lights. My husband leaned over and whispered to me, “Our children are getting along.” Our son later declared he was going to work really hard when he was old enough to get a job so he could buy a nice car like his sister.

My little chef made a double layer cake yesterday. He improvised. Our cake pans were two different sizes. Oops!

As I dropped off a dear 93 year old lady whom I take to church every Sunday, she hugged me tightly and told me to enjoy every moment with my children. “Don’t wish the moments away. Even the hard ones. They go by so quickly.”

As we head into the Christmas season, may we stay focused on the things that matter. Let’s not be so busy that we miss the special things our children do, the whisprered words of our spouses, the wisdom from dear friends, and the greatest Gift of the season…our Savior Jesus Christ.

Don’t wish the moments away, even the hard ones.

What are your favorite things about this time of year?