The Roller Coaster of Life

I spent a wonderful Mother’s Day at Cedar Point amusement park with my son. It has been a few years since I have been there. 

As we walked through the park, I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells. We waited five minutes or less for each ride. I was so thrilled that I was able to ride the upside down rides without getting sick.

It also took me back a few years to a youth group trip to Cedar Point. Our youth leader did a devotional that day called…the roller coaster of life. I was a lot younger back then and as I reflect back to that moment, I agree…life is much like a roller coaster.

There are times of great highs and lows. We climb hills of anticipation and then things we have looked forward to are over so quickly. Sometimes, things we looked forward to aren’t as fun as we thought. Other times, we realize that things we were afraid of really aren’t so scary. We might find ourselves screaming one moment, then laughing the next. The twists and turns of life can take us upside down and right back up.

I was apprehensive about riding roller coasters, but I really wanted to have this time with my son. To my delight, my stomach didn’t get all queasy on the rides. I had been praying about this day because it was so important to me that we have this time together.

God cares about the big and little details of our lives. He wants to hear our hearts. He cares deeply about us and desires a relationship with us.

God has a plan for your life. Through the roller coaster of life, hold on tight and trust God on your journey.

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Stay the Course

My day did not go as planned. I had prayed yet things still unraveled and fell apart. Discouraged. Disillusioned. Unraveled. I was upset, and I just needed a walk to be alone with my music, nature, the thoughts in my head, and God.

As I wrestled with my disillusionment and asked God what in the world I was supposed to do with it, I heard very clearly…stay the course.

Stay the course? I knew what that meant. It means not giving up. It means trusting the bigger picture to God. It means that the path He has laid before us may not be easy.


I am reading Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson, and it has really opened my eyes to the amazing power of prayer. Batterson states, “The beauty of obedience is this: it takes all the pressure off of us and places it squarely on God’s sovereign shoulders.” 

 Stay the course…the desires of my heart…as I pray these and cling to His promises, He honors my obedience. It takes the pressure off of me to be perfect.

Growth is painful but so sweet.

When I look back over the past few months, I see God’s hand all over my life. He is directing my steps. I merely need to stay the course.

What are you struggling with? What are you hoping for in your life? Pray. Pour your heart out to God. And then…stay the course.

31 Days of Gratitude….Team

They were pieces on the table. Colorful Legos, something I saw often on my son’s floor but not something I saw at my workplace in a senior living community.

The instructions from the leader were detailed yet open ended. I was sitting at a table with others in a leadership training being asked to make something from the pieces. 

Together, we worked. We constructed from our interpretation of the instructions. A little house. Colorful with a roof, a door, a window. Oddly enough, we were proud of our unique little creation. We laughed as we created.

The little Lego house constructed at our leadership training represents in a tangible way the value of teamwork.

Great teams are led by amazing leaders.

Yesterday, I sat in my supervisor’s office for our weekly meeting. I have multiple informal meetings all week with her, but Tuesday afternoon is our set aside time devoted to an agenda. I had my list, my materials prepared for our meeting. 

She caught me off guard. Before I could speak, she asked me what do you need from me, how can I support you??

This isn’t the first time God has reminded me of the blessings from a prayer where His answer is wait.

I did wait… months.. in a challenging job situation, but God blessed me with the amazing opportunity to work in a Christian environment. He has blessed me with great Christian leadership…Leadership where I am given permission to try something and learn from mistakes because I know the team will support me.

I am tired but inspired daily. I am so grateful for an amazing team and Christian leadership that I can grow and learn from. 

Without wise leadership, a nation (insert company, organization, school, household, etc) falls; there is safety in having many advisors. Proverbs 11:14 NLT

I am so thankful for great leaders in my organization and to be part of such an amazing team.

Sometimes, the best answer to prayer truly is wait. God has greater plans than we can see. He knows exactly what we need and who we need.

Words

Yesterday morning, I stepped off the treadmill and saw a tiny post it note on my wooden floor. It was crumpled a bit, forgotten about.

I picked it up intending to pitch it in the wastebasket. I paused, read the words. My own writing. Powerful words I had written. At some point. But for this point in time.

Words infused a strength.

I paused for a moment, snapped a picture of the little note. Unsure of the day, the reason I had scrawled the words across the note…no doubt so I would remember them for a moment such as this.

Infuse….to fill, pervade, to cause something to be added

I thought of an exchange of words with someone I had had over the weekend. Were they life breathing words? Did they fill the person with strength? The answer would have to be no, my words did not.

As I read my little note again, I reflected..  listening is powerful but so is the power of the words we express in return. Are they life giving or life zapping? Do my words fill others with strength or something else?

Scripture speaks of guarding our tongue, of being mindful of the words leaving our mouth in so many verses.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:4

Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

May our words infuse strength today in others and for others as well as ourselves.

Don’t let the sun set on your anger. There is such power in healing words of forgiveness.  A simple I’m sorry, I love you…infuses healing strength.

Words…such powerful things…

Stomping My Feet…

This morning, my son stomped his feet up the stairs. He wanted to stay planted in the Lazy Boy, nestled under a blanket, lazily watching TV on a Saturday morning. He did not want to go upstairs to take care of what I had asked him to do.

So, he stomped his feet all the way up those stairs.

It made me think…how many times do I stomp my feet or drag my feet relunctantly when I feel God asking me to do something I would rather not do?

I suppose in some ways I’m not much different than my 12 year old son. Only, as an adult, stomping my feet may look a little different…silence towards God, trying to reason and bargain with God…but…

I’m learning to pray differently. Instead of God please do this… I am learning to pray for strength to make it through the day to embrace the opportunities and challenges in front of me.

I have a ways to go…but I am growing. Yes, it would be much easier to stay nestled under that blanket…warm and comfortable…stomping my feet when asked to do something I don’t really want to do but staying stuck in my comfort zone doesn’t allow for growth.

Growth might hurt while we are walking through the journey but looking back, reflecting is so sweet. I experienced a reminder of God’s hand upon my life this week. I had an employee this week stop by my office to thank me for my patience with her. She said she could tell she was growing professionally and personally. She thanked me for my leadership. My work has been challenging at times, emotionally and mentally exhausting, but God reminded me that He is at work in my life through this conversation with my employee.

The struggles…the stomping my feet moments are real…yet there are moments I am reminded…I can see I am exactly where God needs me right now. And that, my friend, is a beautiful thing.

Plans and Feet

 

When plans go awry…

We were heading into the city for a Saturday morning of family time, just me and my two kids. A cooking class for my young aspiring chef son. Computer shopping for my college bound daughter. Coffee and brunch out. 

Until we heard a loud, persistent, disturbing noise.

“Mom, I think that’s your van,” my daughter stated matter of factly.

Sure enough…I pulled off into the empty parking lot of a country ice cream shop and this is what I saw…

A very flat tire. And just like that…our well laid out plans gone awry. Long story short…some friends picked us up. My husband and his friends saw my SOS texts when they took a break from fishing and came to rescue my van. The tire was repairable for less than $15. And, I still enjoyed quality time with my kids.

The message in this? Sometimes , life just happens. At no fault of our own, things come up that cause bends and kinks in our well thought out plans. Things like nails on the highway. Illness. Weather. Other people’s choices.

Other times, our own choices, lack of action, or a multitude of other reasons can throw our plans to the curbside.

God’s got our back, though. He is always right there to lead, guide, and direct.

I know that I just need to be willing to listen. Trust Him in the small stuff. Keep moving forward. It is easy to allow myself to get stuck, but being stuck doesn’t move me forward . 

Sometimes, there are messages in everyday stuff. Even flat tires on Saturday mornings.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

31 Days of Surrender: Saying Yes to God

I am learning surrender means saying yes. It means saying yes to God before I even know what I am saying yes to. It means every morning, I say yes. As I drive to work, I say yes. I say yes to whatever comes my way. And when I want to say no, I still say yes. I am honest with Him…I tell Him when I really want to say no, but I am choosing to say yes…sometimes in a whispered yes through tears. I know He will be with me. Saying yes is trusting. Trusting when I don’t understand. Trusting when I don’t want to endure what I am walking through. Saying yes is trusting God with my life, trusting that He knows what is best for me.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Surrender-Saying Yes