Comfortable with Uncomfortable

I remember sharing a thought with a friend once…I don’t think God wants us comfortable.

In the valley of comfortable is the land of complacency, stagnation, and indifference. I have been there more than a few times.

In Joshua chapter 7, after experiencing a great victory, the people face a defeat. Joshua laments, Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all-to deliver us into the land of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?

How does God answer him? Get up!!

How easy do we forget our victories when we are faced with challenges, defeats, and mountains??

I am not comfortable now. I am being stretched and challenged. More than once recently, I have felt God telling me to get up when I felt knocked down.

This morning, I can smile. I have had some challenging days, but I have sensed the Hand of God all over my life. Little things have caused me to step back and smile. Progress not perfection. Seeing my son interact in such caring ways with residents. Positive interactions with the staff and residents. Allowing myself to take feedback, reflect, and be willing to grow from it instead of internalizing and being defensive.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle, it can be hard to find the light in the desert.

The light is there. When we keep our eyes and thoughts fixed on God, it keeps our focus on where it should be. My friend, I don’t know what your life looks like, but if you are feeling uncomfortable…trust God to use your situation to stretch you and grow you closer to Him.

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Beauty in the Challenges

Beauty exists in challenging situations.

Why do I say this??

I certainly did not see the beauty in the moment. We were lost. It was dark. The roads were curvy. We were almost out of gas. Our cell phone and internet reception was extremely sketchy. We hit very treacherous high water and could not see the lines in the roads.

We followed the GPS to the last 5 minutes of our road trip only to find our road closed due to high water. Nothing existed in the sleepy town except for a church and a bar.

The beauty? When we are in situations where we feel completely helpless, those moments are great reminders to trust Him. God provides what we need when we need it.

We had just enough cell phone reception to call the cabin owner for alternative directions. A man walked out of the bar and told us to follow him to the closest town. The gas station was open. The road to the cabin from this route was dry. Our son helped us navigate the new directions and reminded us to work together.

This morning after a night of great sleep, I am thankful for safety. I am grateful for sun peeking through the trees. Although so much is going on in my world that feels overwhelming and uncertain, I know Who is guiding my path.

Don’t take a moment for granted.

Granted by Josh Groban

Keep Moving Forward

I love the opportunity to “reset” on the weekend. One of my favorite things to do is go for a very long walk with Quill.

My mind has the freedom to be free from distraction and to reflect on life. A lot is going on in this mind right now so my walk yesterday was especially therapeutic.

I thought I would share my reflections with you…

1. Keep moving forward.

2. Don’t dwell on what is behind you.

3. Believe great things are ahead.

4. There is joy in the journey even when the path before you is uncertain.

As I walked, I listened to this new song by Jonny Diaz… Let Faith Move You.

https://youtu.be/-10O7HGjcbs

The song has a great line about packing your bags to take a journey of no regrets. What would I pack in my bags? Confidence, hope, faith, trust.

What would you pack?

Keep moving forward!!

Who do you say He is?

Who do you say I am?

This is the question Jesus asked his disciples. He wasn’t interested in what they thought other people defined Him as. He wanted to know who they defined Him as. (Matthew 16:13-15)

Our pastor asked us to close our eyes during the sermon. We were to ask ourselves that question. In the quiet of the church, with my eyes closed, I dared to ask myself that question.

Rescuer.

Jesus is my Rescuer. As my Savior, He has rescued me from the depths of hell. He has rescued me from the storms of life. That’s not to say I haven’t endured the storms, but He has walked with me to the other side. And most often, He rescues me from myself.

How often are we slaves to the bondage we enslave ourselves to? The pain of our past. Bitterness. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. Complacency. Unworthiness.

What is enslaving you?

As I sat by myself enjoying some much needed quiet time, I glanced down at my feet dangling in the water.

What did I focus on?

The chipped off paint from my nails. Life chips away from our feelings of completeness, worthiness, and beauty. Just as the chlorine stripped away the paint, we allow the irritations of life to strip and chip away at us.

So, yes, Jesus is my Rescuer. He rescues me those feelings of unworthiness, of failure, of fear…

When the world screams that I should just give up, throw the towel in, walk away, be knocked down, surrender to defeat…He whispers to me that He is right with me in the midst of every storm, every failure, every feeling of defeat and inadequacy that I feel. He knows those hopes and dreams deep in my heart. And, He knows the fears that surround them.

I am stronger from the struggle.

When I can analyze not internalize and self reflect for my growth and spend 1-1 time in prayer, yes, I know I will be okay. The struggle is real and the battles seldom cease, but Jesus is my Rescuer.

His promises are true. He sustains and carries me. He anchors me.

I challenge you to ask yourself…Who do you say He is?

Waiting

The other morning, I embraced the coolness of a spring morning and took my dog for a walk before work. As often happens, I had to wait on a train. Quill wanted to bark. Once I convinced him that he was no match for a train and he needed to be calm and quiet, I snapped this photo.

Where my initial reaction would normally be one of annoyance at having to wait, I felt myself being challenged to think differently.

Sometimes, in life we have seasons of waiting. There are times when we just must wait. God can do His greatest work in these seasons of waiting if we are open to what He is doing. I think of the waiting we endured as we waited for the news to travel to our son. I remembered the waiting period for medical test results. I recalled the waiting for the potential phone call of hopeful news of a new job. Dreams and opportunities require waiting seasons of growth and well, waiting.

Waiting teaches us to trust, to be expectant, and to rely on the strength of One much greater than myself.

Every season has a purpose. God does not waste one single moment.

Wait on the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait on the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Whatever you might be waiting to happen in your life, trust God that there is a season for everything. He always goes before us.

Remnants of Me

“Do you want that old dictionary?”

My college age daughter was in the process of cleaning out her bedroom. As she uncovered her own pieces from her childhood memories, she stumbled upon this…

It is a worn, somewhat tattered dictionary. I remember purchasing it for a $1 at a department store, perhaps Montgomery Wards. I remember being so excited as a fourth grader. I was already writing at that age. I have been a lover of words for as long as I can remember.

As I flipped through that old dictionary, I found random words highlighted.

Why?

Secure? Indignant? Abrupt?

I searched within myself… trying to guess why out of all the words in the English language, I would have chosen those words.

Now, there is one thing you should know about me. I love highlighters. A lot. I highlight passages in my Bible, in books I am reading, my to do lists… basically, everything. 😁

But, as a young child, what would have possessed me to highlight such random words?

As I reflect on those words, these are my thoughts…life is abrupt…change comes often and with little warning. Even as a child, I had recognized that fact of life.

Secure…I like to feel safe and free from doubt or fear and unlikely to fail. As a child, I know I valued that. As an adult, I am venturing into different territory where I can accept my doubts yet push on and where I am learning to embrace my failures as opportunities to grow.

Indignant? I suppose I learned early on that life is not fair.

Words…I love them. It has been fun to find that old dictionary and to go through glimpses into my child brain.

I know God was already working in my life from that early age. Those words are reminders that He has our lives in the palm of His hand.

Despite the abrupt changes in life and the indignation I feel at things in the world, I can rest in the safety and security of His constant peace.

There’s nothing deep in these words, but I hope they touch you somewhere within yourself and remind you that God has been, is, and will be with you always.

Sometimes, wisdom is found in remnants of our childhood. What pieces of your childhood still speak to you now?

Mother’s Day reflections

If you scroll through Facebook today, you are likely to see your feed filled with pictures of moms and their kids.

What if your Mother’s Day doesn’t feel Facebook post worthy?

What if your Mother’s Day doesn’t live up to the expectations you were hoping for?

My day wasn’t perfect, but you know what?

That’s okay.

Authentic love isn’t perfect. It’s messy. There is beauty in brokenness. God does some of His best work in us when we are willing to be vulnerable and to allow Him to work through our brokenness.

I don’t know what Mother’s Day looks like for you, but I do know that every woman needs a gentle reminder to extend some grace to herself from time to time.

Pictures on Facebook are nice and hashtags with bestmomever are all fine and dandy, but everyone has a struggle of some sort behind their Facebook life.

Today, despite my unmet expectations of the “perfect” day, I was reminded to relish in the joy of everyday moments and to extend some grace to myself and those whom I love.

the meal my children cooked me

I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s day!!

Oh and if you need a little mom encouragement…. here’s a great collection of stories. Enjoy!!