Seasons

It is a rare Sunday afternoon where I am hanging out in my backyard with my laptop and my terrier. I live in a small town and it is quiet and peaceful out here. 

Except for one blaring distraction.

It is not the neighbor mowing his yard nor the EMS sirens as they travel to the hospital down the road. The distraction is less about audible noise and more about the inescapable comparison to my life at the moment.

Overgrown. The fence that needs to come down is overgrown with vegetation. Weeds to be exact. Why? Because we have been busy doing life. Because when we do have a free moment, it is easier to stay inside than stare at the work that needs done.

Life gets like this sometimes. We overcommit ourselves. We say yes when we should pause and pray first. We leave so little whitespace in our lives. The responsibilities grow around us and squelch the joy of things we once felt passionate about. Burnout threatens to set in.

So, here I am now after a message at church this morning…do not be afraid. Here I am contemplating decisions of where commitments have overgrown in my life and what must be reprioritized.

When we want to welcome something new in our lives, we must be brave. If we feel God’s blessing upon a new chapter and if we witness a door opening, we must be willing to close the doors that need closed. Yes, I believe God closes doors for us sometimes. I also believe there are times when we need to step back and realize that some areas in our lives are overgrown. 

For example, do you want to start writing a novel? Maybe you need to step back from a committee you serve on.

Ecclesiastes 3:1…There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…

What season are you in currently? Maybe it is a season for something new which also means an end of a different season.

Isaiah 43:18-19…Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 

Life is full of seasons. Don’t be afraid to end one so a new one can bloom.

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Sunday Reflections…

Seek Him and find life that overflows…

Seek

I absolutely love this verse. Jeremiah 29:11 is referenced so many times in relation to graduates and their future. I love to keep reading, though…yes, He promises to give us a hope and future, but we need to call on Him, pray to Him, and seek Him with all our heart.

Encouragement on this Sunday as you head into another week….dream big, pray boldly, call on Your Father, and seek Him with all your heart. Lord, help our unbelief to see and embrace life that overflows with Your goodness.

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Sunday Reflections

The world is unpredictable. The world feels out of control.

Despite all the chaos, all the uncertainty in the world, one thing remains constant for those who believe…God never changes.

It is easy to feel fear. It is easy to feel unrest.

Today, at church, we spent a lot of time on Missions. Our youth spoke of their passions for missions. They sang songs of praise to their Heavenly Father. They were not afraid of the unrest in the world.

We need not fear. God is on our side. He is constant.

The Lord will fight for you. You only need to be still. Exodus 14:14

still

Deeper

deeper

A dear friend of mine encouraged and challenged me to go deeper with my writing. She reminded me I am more than my food issues, and I should never allow them to define me. So, my Sunday reflections…

I am not defined by my food issues…yes, they affect how I must live my life….not just by what I choose and not choose to eat, but in a social sense, my health issues, financial issues (healthier living costs more), and they complicate things like family get togethers and travels.

The frustrating thing about food issues is that it is not a “socially acceptable” issue…it’s not a defined disease like diabetes or even Celiac disease. When I tell someone I am gluten-free, I often have to face a litany of questions…do I have Celiac disease? Do I just choose to eat this way? And so on. I even had a waiter at a restaurant ask me once if I chose to eat this way or if I had to eat this way. Yes, it’s a choice….don’t we all make choices? Even the strict diabetic must choose whether or not to indulge in a double chocolate brownie and then thus deal with the consequences.

I could allow these food issues to consume me, and for a while, they did, especially in the thick of the unknown. As the GI bleeding ceased and my body began to slowly heal, I was still consumed by my food issues. I have a mental list of “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to what and how I eat, but it’s not consuming my every thought anymore.

I am and will always have these food issues according to my much trusted nutritionist because of the damage that has been done to my gut. And, I guess that’s okay. I can learn to live with them, deal with the issues, and move on. They are not who I am. I am complex and complicated. Yes, I get frustrated by my food issues, but I also get frustrated by work, a messy house, weather…I am human.

This past week, I went back to work after a wonderful week of vacation. In less than one day, all that relaxation from vacation was once again replaced by the daily stress of life. I had to deal with an expensive car issue, my husband missing a day of work due to a migraine, an unplanned state inspection at work, work stress, school meetings for my kids, not as much sleep as I would have liked…in other words, LIFE. Life happens.

I have been reflecting a lot. I have been having prayer conversations  with God on my way to work. I realize I have goals, but I must have a plan, work hard, and sacrifice with intention. When I am discouraged, I need to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I believe I am where I am for a purpose even if I don’t like it at the moment. I am learning, I am growing.

“Not only so,  but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

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I snapped this photo on vacation…through the long winter, hope of new life…a tiny green plant… is peeking through…the extraordinary in the ordinary. God’s way…always a lesson if I am only still enough to listen to the quiet in the noise.

My challenge for the week: notice the little things and find joy in them.

And the World Slowed Down…AKA…a Snowy Day

It’s Sunday. It’s snowing. The world around me is a blanket of crisp white beauty. I hear snowblowers and the hum of my furnace. I will be getting ready for church soon only because we live in town, and our church is in town. Our message last night from church was a “to attend church at your own discretion” message. So, we will be heading out soon.

I love a snowstorm on a day when I don’t have to head out anywhere. I don’t particularly enjoy the day before a storm. In Northwest Ohio, an impending snow storm means 45 minute long lines at the grocery store. Yes, crazy, I know. It’s as though people seriously think they may be cooped up for days on end. It’s as though every person in town is suddenly out of eggs, milk, bread, and toilet paper. Yes, the world stops for a day, maybe two depending on how much snow and wind, but really….

So, even though I do not really like snow blasts because I work in healthcare and there are no snow cancellations, and tomorrow morning, I will make the long commute into work, I do see beauty in it. I find it amazing that no single snow flake is the same. That never ceases to amaze me.

I love Sundays. Even this snowy Sunday. Even though as I sit here, I feel bloated from last night’s dinner of gluten-free chicken fajita pizza (it was the cheese, not something I normally eat).

I love that it is Sunday.

The snow continues to fall in its beauty. And the world will slow down a bit today.

snow