31 Days of Gratitude: Enough

The week has been a whirlwind of activity. I am awake early this morning, much earlier than I wanted to be. I am leaving in a few hours for a writing conference which I am looking forward to. 

I am tired, though.

I am weary.  I am full of doubts.

I wrote earlier this week about stillness. In this stillness, I am seeking to listen. One of the things I am hearing God whisper to me… that He is enough. 

That’s not an easy thing for me to embrace as a perfectionist, as someone who likes to be in control.

There have been a few occasions in my life where I have felt completely out of control…the labor and birth of my daughter, the adoption process of my son, and most recently, going through the Virtual Dementia Tour. During the virtual dementia tour, you undergo a simulated experience of what it might feel like living with dementia. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I was paralyzed by my loss of control that I simply sat down.

When we call and claim God as the Father of our lives, then we can trust that He is walking the journey with us.We don’t need to be in control.

He is enough.

The pressures to perform perfectly, to be everything, to seek to please people dissipates as we embrace the truth that He is enough.

All our worries, desires to control, to perform…can be surrendered to Him.

He is enough.

The doubts, the worries, and the hard stuff of life will still come our way, but we have Someone with open arms willing to take those heavy burdens from us. 

My grace is sufficient for you for My power is made perfect in your weakness.

 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV 

Today, as those doubts attempt to steal your joy and eat away at your confidence of who you are in Christ, whisper a simple prayer of gratitude…thank You, Lord, for being enough….And then allow the joy of His promise and presence to wash over your soul.

He truly is enough.

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31 Days of Gratitude…Laughter

The morning is early…black, quiet, calm.

This particular morning, I am thankful for laughter.

When I have to be out the door by 5:00 a.m. to be at work to help conduct a 12 hour training session, I am thankful for hair care products that I can squeeze and scrunch my hair into loose curls.

Where does laughter fit into this?

The unfiltered comments of my residents in various long term care facilities where I have worked.

Over the years, hurrying out the door with scrunched, crunchy loosely curled hair has resulted in the following comments to just share a few…

“Back in the day when I was working, young ladies cared what they looked like when they left their house,” a 90 year old lady.

Your hair is stringy today,” an 80 something year old lady.

And perhaps my favorite…. “Did you even comb your hair today???” a 90 something year old man. (And to which I wanted to respond, well, it’s debatable…)

Although my residents may not appreciate my crunchy, scrunchy hair, I definitely appreciate the convenience of the curl gel and the laughter from the unfiltered comments of my residents.

What does Proverbs have to say about laughter?

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 NLT

So, whether your hair is straight or curly or whether you spent 5 minutes on it or 30 minutes, find something to laugh about today.

I heard my staff laughing today as they worked together in teamwork. It was so good to hear the laughter. I laughed with friends a few nights ago whom I had not seen in a long time. It was exactly what I needed.

Trust your future to God and relax and laugh a little…it’s good for the soul.

laughter

 

To Truly ListenĀ 

Listening….do we really listen or are we just hearing? Sometimes, do we even hear?

Our own agendas, our own emotions, our own busy schedules…we are busy people with more to do than we can possibly ever complete. We work longer days. We work harder. We are tired and exhausted. We are glued to our devices.

We have no energy to hear someone yet alone listen.

We are missing out on stories, on blessings, on relationships…we are missing out on life.

I have worked in long term care for 15 years. If I have learned one thing, I have learned that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone wants to be heard, to know he or she matters.

Sometimes, listening means stopping. It means kneeling beside someone and making eye contact. It is pausing so that person feels like the most important thing in your life at the moment. 

Working with older people with dementia has taught me to live in the moment. To make eye contact, to hold onto it, to connect. Sometimes listening involves the silence. A hand extended, offering a connection.

So often, as we are talking to others, our responses are playing in our heads. We are formulating the words to say before we even hear what the other person is trying to say. By failing to listen, we miss the story of another.

Some of my favorite words my best friend taught me…help me understand…words that invite listening, seeking to understand, to truly hear another.

No matter what we do for a living or what our family looks like, we all have the opportunity to listen to someone each day. Every day, we have the opportunity to bless another by the simple yet profound act of listening.

In my job, I listen a lot. I listen. I validate. I reassure. But mostly, I listen to stories of beautiful lives, of broken lives, of simple lives…but stories that matter, lives that matter.

The more I listen and the less I speak, the more I understand, the more I grow.

God has been speaking to me lately to speak less, listen more. He reminds me that He spoke to Samuel in a whisper in the quiet of the night.

I challenge you…Silence the noise in your own mind and be the listening ear someone needs. Truly listen. You will be amazed at the stories people will share when someone will truly listen.

The journey of life can be a lonely road. One caring soul who listens can change everything.