Showing posts with label life lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life lessons. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Lesson Never Ends...

I've been thinking lately about people's behavior.  Christians in particular.    And I sorta think we can be placed in one of two categories.

1 - Those who fully grasp the weight of their own shortcomings and because of that are able to offer love and grace to those around them. They are genuinely a joy to be around...even on their bad days.

And...

2 - There are those whose plank-filled eyes knock-out everyone they come into contact with.  They literally hurt to be around.  The plank of self-righteousness bruises and batters, unless the people around them get good at learning to dodge it...which means they please and agree i.e. duck and weave.

Over simplified?  Yes.  But true?  I think so.  

I've walked in both categories.  Sometimes flip-flopping back and forth moment by moment.  Each is a choice.  I can choose to have and be joy, or I can choose to have and be misery.  It's a choice I have every moment. Everyday.  

I choose joy.  And it's hard, and I fail often...because in my own strength, I literally want to beat some people with the plank in my eye.  

I mean realllly beat them with it.  

But I've been on the other end of that beating...and it hurts.  And it brings destruction.  That is not the legacy I choose.  I want to encourage.

The only way I can choose and be joy is Christ through me.  I can't muster up enough in me to do it on my own.  Any good that comes through me...is Him. Christ in me.

I am so very thankful for those in my life that bring joy.  Their lives speak, and live and breathe truth.  They point to Jesus, rather than to themselves.  They encourage me that it is possible to live outside myself.  To choose to dwell on good in other people and in the circumstances of life.  

And without the plank-filled beatings I've received, I may never have grasped my own destructive behavior. 


Matthew 7:3-5

New International Version (NIV)
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.




Now, if you'll excuse me, I hear Lucy playing in the toilet upstairs.  Again.

Life lesson #50028




Monday, April 29, 2013

Ironic...

So.  Last week I wrote this post on Words.  And then on Friday I got a call from my First Grade son's teacher about his choice of words.

Irony.

Oh Jake.  

Ben and I like to joke that Jake is (almost) 8 going on 80.  Like a grumpy old man in a young little body.  He's not easily amused or impressed, and on any given day he's pretty easily annoyed by whatever and whomever. And his "filter" is, well...we're working on that.  

It's just one of his quirks.  I like quirks in people, it's what makes us, us.  That being said, the kids has some great qualities too...and dimples.  Dimples are like my kryptonite.  All he has to do is smile... 

At school on Friday one of Jake's classmates declared that it was going to be a great weekend, which Jake then replied something to the effect of "I hope you have the worst weekend ever."  

When his teacher repeated what he said to me, I couldn't help but wish he'd been using some sarcasm...but he hadn't.  Jake was annoyed, and blurted what popped in his head.  

As I sat Jake down that afternoon to talk about it, I said that part of maturing was thinking about what we say before we say it.  Filter 101.   So we ask ourselves, Is this kind?  Is this helpful?

And in the back of my brain God is whispering, do you hear yourself?

And as a parent, I was disappointed that he chose those words...but I've also been there.  Or maybe I am there.  I'm 35 years old, and I've learned to filter thoughts when in public.  And, when you become a pastor's wife, God helps you install a double-filtration system for your tongue.  It's like a requirement. 

But at home...my filter is maybe not working so great.  I'm quick to tell the kids all the things I think they are not doing right. Without really filtering if it's kind and helpful in training them.   And I skip that part because I'm impatient and irritated

And that's not ok.

So in the parsonage, we are all working on: Is it Kind?  Is it helpful?  And guess what?

It. Is. Hard.

I was trying to explain to Jake that it's a problem we all struggle with, even grown ups.  But if we don't learn to tame our tongue we end up being rude and hurtful...and someone that people don't want to be around.  

And that got me thinking...maybe the people who don't bother to filter what they say drive me so crazy because the rest of us are doing the work to filter! The hard work.  It's like when I see people in pajama pants in public.  It's not so much that I hate the pajamas (ok, maybe I do) but that if the rest of society goes through the effort of putting on some pants, then so should they.

Wait...was that kind?  was that helpful?  Hmmm.  I'm not sure.  See, still working on that. ;)




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Words

This is one of my favorite songs right now.

Words by Hawk Nelson


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anVweXDcxhA


(Nelson is also the name of our dog.  That's just bonus random info for you)





Words can build us up, words can tear us down.  Start a fire in our hearts or put it out. 

Let my words be life.  Let my words be truth. I don't wanna say a word unless it points the world back to you.

I wanna speak Your love not just another noise.

The song speaks some serious truth.  I'm not sure we truly realize the power we hold in our words.  I'm also not sure that Christians listen to themselves all that much.  I mean really listen to what we say in regular conversation on a daily basis.

It often reeks of selfishness, arrogance, pride, harshness and criticism.  

Let's stop doing that.  It makes us look like idiots.  

And if someone points that out to us, we are quick to defend our reasons why we are justified in it...aren't we?  Sometimes God whispers to me, do you hear yourself?  Stop it.

And sometimes I want to say to other people, do you hear yourself?  (but that generally does not go over well ;)

But in my head I'm asking it. 

The Bible is clear.  This is one of a ton of verses, the Bible is not silent on the tongue.



Proverbs 18:21

New International Version (NIV)
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

We have the power to speak life to those around us, our husbands, children, friends, family, neighbors, community and strangers.  And internet land.  

Or...we speak death.  Which is another way of saying we crush people with our words, or tone, or our blabbering on and on about whatever.

Those around us, they hear us.  Whether we want to be honest with ourselves or not is up to us.  If you are brave find someone who will be honest with you and ask them the tough questions so that you can hear what you sound like. (and then when they tell you the truth, accept it.)   

What consumes my conversations?  

Am I quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry?

Who does most of the talking in conversations?

What does my attitude generally portray about me?

Am I an encourager or do I leave people feeling drained after being around me?

Where are my sights and perspectives?  Focused on temporal or eternal?

Well, you get the idea.  Go ahead, do it.  I dare you.  When I did it the first time...it wasn't pretty.  But through God's grace the answers to those questions are changing.  

The weird thing that I didn't expect, is that some people don't want to see you change!  They view it as criticism against themselves...and/or other stuff I don't quite understand.   So I go back to this truth:  God called me from the way I was speaking, and to a way to control my tongue in order to bring life to those around me.  I didn't make it up, and I can't do it on my own.  In Him and through Him, because ultimately:  I want to walk in obedience to Christ.  Who gave His life for me.

That's it.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Eleven Days

Eleven days since my last post, yet it feels like I've lived eleven months worth of stuff in that time.

(Actually, it's now 14 days since my last post.  I started this one three days ago and then something else *hit the fan* so to speak.)  So it's a little inaccurate now.  Whatever.

*Deep, deep sigh*

Today all the kids are finally back to school and the flu has hopefully left our house for good.  

We had an ice storm, and then last night we had a thunderstorm.  In January. Weird.  It's like the weather is matching all the other crazy stuff going on.

(No worries though, because we also had a snow storm and school was cancelled three days this week...that's just part of the update for you.  Confused yet?  I am.)

Our tiny little church was a part of two funerals in the past two weeks.  

And some things you think would never happen.  Happen.

And you pray.  And pray and pray and pray some more.

Because life sometimes...well, it's terribly messy.  And hard.  And sometimes walking with people through their hard stuff brings a unique kind of pain.  

And sometimes you just want to blame it on the terrible month of January, and let yourself believe that if you can just make it to February 1st, it will be better.

Because maybe it will.  

A few weeks ago, I came across this verse from our Bible Study and although I'd heard it before, I heard it that time in a new way.


John 16:33

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”



Jesus sets the bar at trouble.  "You will have trouble"  Period.  It's like He said to me, expect it.  Don't be shocked, and certainly stop trying to live life in ways to avoid the trouble.  Life is trouble.  But Jesus has told me the things I need to know and hear, so that I can have peace.  And then He gives a big, fat, fresh dose of perspective by reminding me that these current troubles, are just itty bitty in the scheme of things.  

Big picture:  He has overcome the world.

The world, and all the crap that it has to offer and throw at me...I can deal with because of Jesus.  

He has won already.  


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Keeping it Real

Let's be honest...

People are crazy.  All of us: Crazy.

There's this Pinterest quote I saw...


Love....or friendship, requires a mutual weirdness.  It's funny.  And true.  I'm pretty sure that I will spend my whole life still learning about people and relationships.  They're complicated, and wonderful and sometimes terribly frustrating.  

I'm convinced that God uses the frustrating relationships in my life to refine me, and change me.  I'm also convinced He uses them to help me value and appreciate those whose weirdness is compatible with mine.  

As I look at my inner-circle of people, I can't help but smile at their weirdness.  All unique.  All crazy.  And completely different.  

I read an article awhile back about relationships, and it said something to the affect that we become a lot like the combination of the five people we spend the most time with.  It went on to talk about Jesus, and His ministry to the masses as well as how he interacted with the few that were in His inner-circle.  And it got me thinking.  Who are my 5?  Who's 5 am I in?  And how are they affecting me and me affecting them?  

Do I leave those in the inner better than I found them?  Do I rub off on them positively or negatively?  How do my mannerisms, thoughts, words, beliefs, actions change them?  Are they better for having been in my presence?  

Or...

Do I leave them feeling discouraged?  Annoyed?  Frustrated?  Do I complain too much and listen too little?  Is our relationship about my agenda, my needs, my everything?  

Tough questions...but crucial.  Sometimes tough questions require tough answers, and tough answers mean even harder changes.  


Philippians 4:8

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I want my mouth and my life to match when it comes to this verse.  I want to think and speak on those things FAR more than I vent and complain about their opposites.  And that is hard.  

But I didn't make it up.  God did.  And it sounds lovely.












































Source: etsy.com via Olivia on Pinterest

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A True Story...

If you're not new to my blog/life you likely remember Julie.  I haven't updated on her for awhile and thanks to a sweet comment from Amy@ My 
Front Porch, I realized I should because frankly it's quite a good story.

If you need to get up to date, you can go to this post to get the back-story (for the record, I had to re-read to to figure out where I left off ;)

So.  In 2009-2010 Julie (from Norway) was our exchange student.  In May of 2010 she finished her year as an exchange student and went back to Norway to finish her last year of school there (they go 13 years.)

Through reasons that can only be explained by God, she decided to come back to Iowa to attend a University that is only about 15 minutes from our tiny town.  If you read that last post about Julie, you'll see that I was really looking forward to getting a do-over with her.  Our experience with her as an exchange student was wonderful.  And crazy all at the same time.

We learned so much about teenagers.  And parenting of teenagers.  Boyfriends and dating and curfews and saying no and setting restrictions and enforcing and protecting.  To Julie's credit, she was pretty easy-going as far as exchange students go.  She took it in stride, and respectfully submitted...even if there were some tears involved.  She never ran off and slammed her bedroom door.  I remember Ben and I looking at each other many times and saying, "Our own kids are not going to act so graciously about our rules."  

Her first year at college, I helped her move in and get settled.  We occasionally had coffee together or she'd stop by the house, but I remember telling Ben that it wasn't quite the do-over I expected.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it seemed like there was something that was causing a distance between us.  I became the "mom" who had to ask 20 questions in order to get any information.  

And then late in the winter or early spring she went on a retreat with a group of college kids from her church.  (Julie just shared her testimony about this retreat at her church's college group, and the Pastor sent me the CD so I could hear it, so it's how I know the inside-story :)  During the retreat they were encouraged to really sit quietly with God to see if there were areas in their life that they needed to ask forgiveness in order to move on...and other stuff.

Julie was reminded of something that had happened when she lived with us as an exchange student.  I do not know that details of the event (Thank you Jesus) but it involved her lying to Ben and I.  She felt convicted and knew God wanted her to call and apologize to us.  She shares in her testimony that she did NOT want to make that call.  She did her best to rationalize that it was in the past, and really wasn't necessary to bring it up again.  But the gut feeling wouldn't ease, and she made the call.

When she called, she was crying so hard I could barely understand what she was saying.  I knew she was apologizing for something that had happened when she lived here...and it didn't matter what it was or the details...but I knew without a doubt that she was sorry and that God was moving in her life. I reassured her that all was forgiven, and that we loved her, and that we were so proud of her for doing the hard thing and being obedient to God's nudging.

I hung up that phone so incredibly humbled for the opportunity to be a part of Julie's life.  Our greatest desire had always been to encourage her in her faith.   To witness her doing the hard things necessary to grow was beyond worth it!

And it opened the door for that do-over that I had so looked forward to. :)  The guilt that she had felt had hindered our relationship...without either of us really knowing it.  God taught both of us something really valuable...when he nudges us to do something, even if we think or want it to be invalid: It's not. He wants us to do the hard things because He knows it's what brings us freedom.  We have a closeness now that we didn't have before.  

This year, Julie is already a Junior in college and is working as a RA (Resident's Assistant) and she's interning at the (quite large) church she attends.  God is using her life, and her testimony and we are so very proud of the woman that she is allowing God to shape her into.  She stops in for visits, and every now and then stays for a couple days...and we feed her.  

Occasionally we reminisce about the events that lead her here to tiny town Iowa.  I'm still in awe that we even decided to have an exchange student in the first place!  It seemed like a crazy idea, but isn't that just like God?  He works in the crazy, unexpected ways.  

Julie is and will always be one of our family.  And I'm not gonna lie...I'm really hoping she falls in love with an American boy that loves Jesus as much as she does.  But I'll let God write that story...but I can still hope. ;)

Here's our Christmas card this year...and then I promise no more Christmas pictures till next year. 




Side Note:  I'm working on an "interview" for Julie so that she can answer some questions on the blog.  If you have any questions you might like to ask her (i.e. How annoying is the parsonage family?) go ahead and leave a comment for email me and I will add it to the list.  Fun, right!?!





Friday, January 4, 2013

Better Than a Click

I came across some wisdom (via the internet) that has really sort of stuck in my brain the last few days. 
The first is via my internet friend, Lindsay.  I've read her blog since I started blogging...so we're talking years.  It's good stuff.  She posted on FB a little blip about blogging:
well, I'm finding that even if I'm the only one that reads my own... it's still worth something. It's more than clicking like ... and I know it's something my family will treasure for years to come ..."
That resonated with me, because I like to like stuff on Facebook because it's quick and easy...but it matters about as much as the effort it takes to do it.  But my blog, no matter how insignificant, is still worth something...to me and my family.

Lindsay is right.  No matter how lame it may get, a blog post is still worth more than a click.

Yesterday, I was reading Mindy's post on being intentional and it just resonated with me. 
Being intentional, and staying intentional are not my natural bent.  It's something that God definitely started a work in my heart this past year, and He's far from finished.  Being intentional while at the same time leaving some freedom for the Holy Spirit to intervene and move is a tricky dance sometimes.  So, I'm making a list of areas that need some work yet...and then praying God messes with the list as He sees fit.  

Hoping to share the list with you soon.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Bye & Hello

I think I've got my blog block figured out, just in time to say good bye to 2012 and hello to 2013.

I let a remark get under my skin.  And it tainted everything I tried to write.  

But today...something is different.  

I've been reminded of why I write. 

To whom I write...

And that I'm called to write...even when I'm misunderstood.  Even when others read between lines that were not meant to be read between.  Even when false assumptions are made, and people disagree.  

It's a life lesson, really.  Who will control me?  Who will control what I'm called to do?  Will it be my God, or will it be random people?  Who will I fear?  Who will I please?  

God reminded my heart that of course some are not going to get it.  Of course some are going to disagree.  Of course some are going make assumptions.  And He gave me my spunk back, by whispering...who cares?  So what?

Just write.  

And so I will.  *smile*


Sunday, December 2, 2012

I'm Alive and Well

You know you've ignored your blog for too long when you start receiving emails and questions about your well-being.  

Sorry about that.

November was an interesting month.  And I wish there was a way to blog about some of the things I learned, experienced, and grew from...but there's no way to do it in a way that remains general enough.  My life is too "small" to be vague enough.  And so this past month will be one of those lessons that I have to learn from and then keep private...because that's just how blogging works sometimes. 

Blogging can be tricky., because like any writer, you're putting yourself out there for not only encouragement, but ridicule as well.  You run the risk that people are going to misunderstand your words, your heart, your intentions.  I think anyone that has blogged for a significant amount of time can attest to this.  It's just part of the deal.  That's hard to overcome sometimes.  And sometimes it just seems easier to shut-up.  Lock down.  And then something happens...

Emails.  Thoughtful questions and concerns.  And the Holy Spirit's gentle reminder that there's a purpose in the writing.

There's a purpose in the writing.  And my purpose is not to be understood by people...it's to share my journey.  My journey.  So I'm going to get back at that.  

Thanks for hanging around for it. :)


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Anything

It probably began last winter sometime...I began thinking a lot about prayer.  When we would ask for prayer requests at church, in Bible Study, Sunday School, they always looked the same.  Most were about physical needs.  Some were about life situations and very, very few were about our own spiritual struggles.  

And it bothered me.  It bothered me that in my own life prayer had become about petitioning God for what I thought was best.  Bring healing.  Provide here.  Work out this situation.   Bossy.  

I couldn't shake that nagging thought of, "Who are you, to think you know best?"  

Because I know myself.  And I know nothing about how anything is going to turn out.  Ever.  I make wrong assumptions, wrong choices, often with wrong motives.  And yet when I spoke to my Holy God, I came before Him with instructions.

Why?  WHY?  There were a couple reasons.  One:  That's how people around me pray.  We all do it.  I mean, when the prayer line comes around to me and I say, "You got this God.  Do what honors and glorifies You...and no matter what that is, help us to draw close to you and bring You glory."  What are people gonna think?!?  It might end up sounding like I am just in a hurry.  So instead, I list out a few (not all) and then wrap it up. People pleasing at its finest.  Two:  If I  just list out instructions, then I'm not responsible for really accepting His plan.  And I think I'm in control, and that makes me feel better.  Except that is doesn't.  Because ultimately I know that I'm a moron and shouldn't be left in control. Of anything.

And then this spring I got an email.  They'd like to know if I would review a book.  And it's called Anything.  And in my gut I know this is God's timing.

It's called Anything: the prayer that unlocked my God and my Soul by Jennie Allen.

If you want less God, then you will hate this book.  If you want to remain in control because you know best, this book is not for you.  

But if you are feeling that nagging-in-the-gut that you are holding back from God...then read this.  I promise you it will hurt so good.

Part 1 of the book is called Everything Keeping us from Anything, and I read through that thinking yep, yep, yep.  Right on.  

Part 2 is called Praying Anything and that's the part of the book where the tears begin to flow...because the prayer of Anything is hard.  And scary.  But essential if we want to know the fullness that God has for us.

And Part 3 is my favorite, called Living Anything.  Jennie gets down to the nitty gritty of what that means, and how (practically) that works out in our lives.  

Jennie's writing style is easy, and honest and simply to the point.  I adore it. 

I've found that Anything is a prayer I pray, and then often try to take back.  I often pray anything, and mean anything but that.  I'm a work in progress, and two steps forward and one step back is still better than being stuck.

And Stuck is what I'm talking about tomorrow.  Stick around.  And say hello.  Stalkers. ;)
  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where I'm At

I don't plan out blog posts.  Mostly because I want to be me...and I'm a procrastinator.  So whatever I'm writing about, is just me, where I'm at.  

This fall I have been teaching/leading three different areas of ministry within our little church.  We're little, which means most of the core group is serving in more than one area.  I often think maybe that's the reason some people avoid little churches...you're needed.  And life is busy, and the more I talk to people, the more I realize that each of us acknowledges each others busyness, but secretly, we think we're the busiest.  

And maybe we are.  And if that's true, then that's sad.  But busy is not the point of this post.  Digression.

Ministry is where I'm currently at.  

God has been messing with me in lots of different areas.  Which I'm planning to share with you over the next few days.  Frustrations, anger, complaining, people pleasing, fear of man...it's ugly.

Teaching spiritual stuff is so very good.  And so very hard.  And has been absolutely essential in my spiritual growth.  

It requires time.  And preparation.  And God wants me to get what I am teaching (that's where the hard part comes in.)  It requires commitment.  And prayer.  I can't decide I don't feel like going.  It requires putting other people above myself.  It requires inconvenience...which may be the very definition of servant hood.  It requires obedience.  It requires being held to a higher standard.  And for me, it's what God uses to change me, mold me.  

These three areas of ministry have not caused the "busy-ness" and hassle that you would think they should.  They're producing growth...and growth, in regard to myself, is almost always painful.  But in the end, it produces something so beautiful, not just for myself, but for those around me.  It boils down to this:  Jesus makes a difference in my life.  I want other people to know He can make a difference in theirs too.  And that makes all the requirements minuscule in comparison.

If you have never taught, or led in an area of ministry in your church:  You should.  Period.  And I don't mean greeting at the door, or working in the nursery once a month (those are great things, and still do those :) but I mean going beyond the ministry that just requires you to show up.  In fact, do it regularly.  Not constantly, but regularly.  Because in the end, what do our beliefs mean if we aren't willing to give of ourselves for His glory?

You will not learn enough, or grow enough by just showing up on Sunday or Wednesday or whatever day.  That's what your pastor wants to tell you, but can't because you're too busy telling him how busy you are.  Just kidding!...that's what his wife wants to tell you. ;)

Till tomorrow...or ten days from now.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Holding On While Letting Go


Two.  

It's a little bizarre, realizing how fast two years can wiz by.  I'm realizing I deal differently with Lucy growing up, versus the three boys growing up.  At each of the boys birthdays, I get a little sentimental...a little sad that they are growing.  Which is dumb, I know, because the are meant to grow.  It is a gift to watch them grow, but in the growing is also a knowing that with each year that passes they become a little less mine, and a little closer to becoming someone else's.  

And that's a good thing.  A beautiful plan...that those little boys are growing (so very fast) and becoming young men...handsome young men, who will one day capture the heart of a girl.  And though that young girl won't replace me, she will take over that young mans heart, the heart that now belongs to his mama alone.  

I think that's what makes being a mama to boys so very special, so unique.  





With Lucy, it's different.  It seems easier for me to approach each stage with a simple joy.  With each new crazy thing she does, it's just fun to watch her.  






I love her two year old self...but I don't long for it to last.  I didn't feel weepy over how fast it's going.  Instead, I can just enjoy her...and even anticipate what's to come as she grows.  As a girl, I know that our relationship as mother and daughter will deepen so very much.  I mean, after all, I'm a pretty great grown-up-daughter friend!  I'm sure I'm way more fun than when I was two!  


Lord willing, Lucy will grow up into a beautiful young woman...and a handsome young man will capture her heart someday, just like her daddy did to mine.  And when I think about that, I smile.  Which is funny, because when I think about girls capturing my boys...It's more of a furrowing of the brow, that crosses my face.  


Anyways.  You see the difference.  


With Lucy, I don't have that sense of her "slipping" away from me as she grows.  (Poor Ben will have to deal with that one. ;)  And as I watch parents around me, who have children who are grown, I realize that parenting is always about enjoying the moment, and of holding on while letting go.


I am so thankful for these four amazing little people that God has created from Ben and I.  Please God, help us survive the teenage years that will approach far too soon...and please help Lucy not to have a sassy mouth like her mother.  Amen.




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wretched

I so enjoyed your comments and emails on my last post.  Thank you.  It's good to be understood. :)


Last week I had one of those weeks where I just couldn't shake my bad mood.  The fact that I couldn't pinpoint what was causing it just made my mood worse.     That saying, "If mama's not happy, nobody's happy" couldn't  be more true.  


It was even more annoying that I knew my mood was terrible.  I knew it was affecting my family, I just couldn't break free from it.  


Until this weekend.  


It had been a couple of weeks since I've been able to run outside.  A couple of weeks without my running buddy.  


Months of remodeling.


Kids with sickness.


A husband, whose already crazy schedule, was made even crazier by working on the remodel.


Cabin fever. 


I needed a break.  But sometimes, amidst the chaos, there just isn't time for a break.  


Saturday I was able to run outside.  4.75 miles of therapy.  I came home feeling better already.  


On Monday, it ended up that Ben didn't need to help on the remodel project, and a dear friend took Lucy for us so we could just hang out.  


I snapped this picture before we left.  Happy?  Yes.  Dork?  Yep.








We got groceries, used a gift card to Subway, and then sat at Starbucks for a couple hours.  I worked on my Bible Study, pausing way too often to share thoughts and other random stuff that we just haven't had time to share lately.  Ben read his book, and patiently put up with my interruptions.  


It's funny how something that simple...and short, was so refreshing.  It was a gift.  And a lesson.


God has hardwired me a certain way and I need to be aware of it, before the "Sarah that no one wants to be around including myself" emerges.  


 - I need to run.  Physically and mentally I need it.  
 - I need a break from my kids.  I love them dearly, but the constant-ness of                it all can be overwhelming.  
 - I need time alone with my husband.  Even if it's just a few hours.  
 - I need to not live on a diet of sugar alone.  

I made a pact with Ben.  I told him he needs to help remind me of these things, BEFORE I end up in the place I was last week...the place of the wretched mood that won't go away.  


You might notice that the list is void of the spiritual things I need.  That's on purpose.  I'm completely aware of the spiritual things I need.  It's a lesson I had to learn and relearn a million times.  I need to be in His Word, I need fellowship through prayer, I need to worship through music.  It's my given.  Last week all those things were present.  And that's good.  The above list, specific to me, was sort of God's unique personal touch on the other things I need as well.  


How about you guys?  Do you know what you need?  Or, like me, do you easily forget?


I need internet too.  I should have added that. ;)



Thursday, February 2, 2012

Get a Real Job

Anyone remember that song, "Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job?"  It's a classy one, for sure.  Anyways, it's been running through my head this week.  Let me refresh your brain about  the chorus.


Lyrics www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/george_thoroughgood/ 
Get a haircut and get a real job

Clean your act up and dont be a slob

Get it together like your big brother Bob

Why dont you, get a haircut and get a real job


Being a stay at home mom and a pastors wife sometimes feels like being on a treadmill.  And we know how I feel about the treadmill.  In that, I'm putting forth great effort...one could say busting my butt ;) and still, when I hop off that treadmill, even if the little dashboard says 3 miles...it was 3 miles in ONE spot.  Which never quite feels the same as 3 miles of actual trail or pavement behind me.

Kinda like staying at home.  And ministry.  It's feeling a bit like a hamster wheel.  At the end of the night, I sit down and I'm exhausted.  You'd never know I ran the dishwasher, vacuumed, did 3 loads of laundry blah blah blah because at that moment, there are dishes to be done, cheerios on the floor, and  dirty clothes awaiting.

And that feeling of the treadmill creeps in.  That feeling of wondering if I really am making a difference or just working my tail off without going anywhere...without progress.

I stay at home.  Certainly I should be able to keep up.  I mean, what do I do all day?  (I hope you read that with sarcasm.  If not, go back and do it...it's fun.  Trust me.)

I think I'm realizing that I can't keep up.

There, I said it.  I can't keep up. Because even with staying at home, it's more work than one person can do.   At least with my (ridiculous) standards it is.   

And that's O.K.  

So, to all the stay at home mom's out there who also can't keep up:  *fist bump* or *knuckle bump* or whatever they call it, to YOU.

It's this season of life God has placed me in.  And it's good.  Very, very good.  And it's also totally fine to not keep up with all of it. 

So here's to not keeping up.  Because dang it, it's still a REAL job. ;)  

But I really could use a haircut...





Monday, October 31, 2011

Hemorrhaging


Day 27, 28, 29, 30 & 31 of 31 Days of Happy


It's hard to believe that October is almost done, along with 31 Days of Happy.  Maybe I'll spend the month of November posting on all the things that do not make me happy.  HA.  Kidding, only kidding.  


It's a little tempting though.  


Back to happy...


One of the major things that has been on my happy list this month is the Bible study that our ladies are doing.


This one:




This is our third Beth Moore study.  They're all amazingly good...but this one...extra extra good.  

I keep going back through it to re-read what I've underlined, to rehearse what I've learned again and again.  (we're only on week 4 of 10) 


There's something Beth Moore says, in particular, that I just can't get out of my head.  


"Without God's intervention, we can offer only a small bandage to someone hemorrhaging from uncontrolled emotions.  We may bring calm for a moment, but our efforts will have little lasting effect."


It's a word picture that I can't get out of my head.  It's so very, very true.


Maybe it's because I'm in ministry...or maybe it's just because I'm an average person like everyone else, but so many around me are very literally hemorrhaging with problems.  With issues.  With emotions.  With life.  


Can you picture someone hemorrhaging?  I've heard stories.  It's not pretty. It's not a slow bleed.  It's fast, and furious, and messy.  If not stopped quickly, it means death.  The doctor doesn't have a patient hemorrhage, and decide the best course of action is a band-aid.


My words may be able to calm...for a moment.  Which is good.  But they do not fix the problem.  They are not meant to fix the problem.  


Only God's intervention brings healing.  He's the only thing strong enough to stop a hemorrhage.  So many times we want someone to give us the answer. Give us the 5 step plan, or better yet 3 steps...shorter is always better, right?  And when the person we go to, lets us down or doesn't have an answer, or can't even help, we lose hope or worse yet...give up.  We continue to hemorrhage.


Only God brings the healing.  And before the healing can start, He has to stop the hemorrhage.  The way He chooses to stop it, well...that's up to Him.   What's up to us, is whether we will let Him or not.


In my experience, there's a vast number of people that would rather die hemorrhaging than surrender and let Him intervene.  


And I don't get it.  I just don't.


But that little quote of hers...it's gotten to me.  And God's using it to remind me of who I am...which is just someone He uses to send encouragement and truth.  And who He is...which is the Healer.  He is a great-big God.    

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Kicked My Butt

Day 3 of 31 Days of Happy.  Not sure what I'm talking about?  You can go here for more info.


hap·pyAdjective/ˈhapē/ (according to Wikipedia)

1. Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
2. Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation).

Wouldn't it be grand if happy and thankful were the same thing?  All day I've been trying to come up with a post for this blog and I kept coming up with things I'm thankful for...and then I'd stop and think, yeah...I'm thankful for that but am I happy about it?  I'm talking "Happy" from the definition above...not happy as in la la la everything is perfect kinda happy.
Hmmm.  Sort of revealing.  Sort of don't like what I saw in my heart.
It started this morning.  
Children (who wake at the crack-o-dawn) yipping orders at me as I stumble down the stairs barely awake.  Thankful for my kids...less than happy with them.
The house is a mess.  Thankful for a home to clean...not exactly happy with doing it.
Off to Menards to pick out storm doors and look at kitchen cabinets.  Thankful for the new addition...not happy with customer service or myself when it comes to picking out stuff.
Home to cook supper.  Thankful for food to fill our bellies.  Not happy about making it...or cleaning up.  And really not happy with my children's reaction to the food.  
You get the idea.  Should Thankful and Happy coincide?  Not necessarily...not always.  But should they, more often than they do?  I kinda think so.  
I kinda think they should.  If I'm truly thankful, then there should be a sense of satisfaction.  Happiness really is a reflection of satisfaction.  
Today...31 Days of Happy, kicked my butt.  And I'm going to learn to be happy about that.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lately...

A few weeks ago I complained about a nasty canker sore I had on the inside of my cheek.  It's long gone now, but I still can't help but think about it.


It hurt that bad.


In comparison to my body, it was minuscule in size.  The rest of my body felt just fine, in fact. Healthy as a horse.  Yet...it made my days miserable.  Especially one of the things I enjoy most...eating.


It's like that in life though, isn't it?  So many things to be thankful for.  So many good things happening, and all it takes is that one little thing to distract us from the rest.  To somehow make all the other great things suddenly seem less enjoyable.


It's like that in churches too.  Ask anyone who goes to a church and they can likely think of a situation they've experienced.  Maybe they enjoy so much about their church...but there's that one little thing they can't quite get over. Ask those in ministry and you'll likely receive a faint smile and shrug of the shoulders.  Either because they're doing all they can to hand over everyone's one little thing to their Savior who promises He has the shoulders to bear it...because they do not, or because although so many people in their church are faithful and encouraging and growing in their faith and are joyful...there's that one...


It was tough to ignore the canker sore.  Sometimes, I just decided I would not be able to enjoy food until it was gone.  Totally and completely gone.  


And other times, I resolved to eat things that didn't bother it so much...because really, one little canker sore surely cannot ruin everything...that would be ridiculous.


God's teaching me to {isolate} things.  To take captive the things that seek to destroy joy.  The things that distract me from Him.  And it's hard.  And it's constant.  Because isn't it true, there's always something.


Am I saying that people are sometimes like canker sores?  Yes.  Yes I am.  


Praying today that God helps me not to be that canker in someone else's life...and that I learn to not let the canker in my own life steal the joy from all He's doing...because He's doing some really amazing stuff.
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