Monday, April 20, 2015

What I learned from Pulling Weeds

I am not a gardener.  As much as  I love fresh veggies and pretty flowers, I have the blackest thumb around.  Seriously, I've killed ivy and all the other non-killable plants.

Needless to say, I'm not usually allowed to plant anything.  Since I don't plant, I don't usually take care of the plants either.  I really think they smell me and die so I stay far away. 

But when you have a big backyard, even without a garden, you have weeds.  And the weeds we have growing by our septic sprinklers are bigger-than-Texas weeds.  We planted trees last year that are smaller than some of the weeds--I'm not even joking.

So, Friday night, Brian mentioned that the weeds need to be pulled so we can mow.  (Y'all, they are so big, the riding mower won't go over them!)   He showed me how to use the pick to dig them up so it didn't leave as big a hole as the shovel.  No worries--I can do this.

Saturday morning, I got out there and about killed myself.  There are 2 patches of them and I made it through the 1st (easier) patch.  I got about halfway through the other-which, let me just say, made me feel like I was in an episode of Swamp People it was so mushy!  Lots of ibuprofen and sore back and shoulders later, here is what I learned:

  • If you don't get the whole root, you will deal with the same weed again
  • It's easy to ignore the little weeds to attack the big ones, but they are just as dangerous
  • Some weeds take digging from all 4 sides before they come loose and then you still may need to tug to get them out
  • There is no way around tasting some dirt if you are truly committed
  • When you know you've missed the root, it's easier to pull your tool out and start over in the right spot rather than try to muscle through
  • It's gonna take more than a water hose to clean off all the dirt/mud
  • You've got to stop every once in a while and look up and get perspective; otherwise, it will feel like you are getting nothing accomplished
  •  The ground will probably not look pretty when you are done
  • When your daughter makes you pancakes (esp. after a hard parenting bout the night before), you need to stop and take a break
  • Hearing someone else cheer you on and tell you how good it is looking, will give you energy when you think you want to quit
  • If you wear athletic shorts, make sure they are long enough that you don't moon the passing cars when you lean over (cuz you will be leaning over a LOT)
Anything you would add to the list?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ice Days are Bittersweet

I cheered just as loudly as my girls when we got the word last night that school was cancelled today due to the ice.  I had been secretly hoping it would be when I went to the store earlier in the day and bought stuff for my daughters to bake--just in case.

But, as I woke this morning, I couldn't help but think of the 60 kids that Lovepacs helps to feed in Aubrey.  And I began to worry.  Their parents probably weren't able to go to the store and buy chocolate chips and butter.  They may not have extra food at home--just in case there's no school.  They were probably depending on school today so they could have breakfast and lunch.

I don't want to suck the joy out of an unexpected holiday, but my heart is heavy every time I think of them at home without enough food.  Would you join me in praying for them?  Since we don't know who they are, I just picture my daughters' faces as I pray.    I'm praying for full bellies and warm beds and most of all, for them to feel loved and known and not forgotten.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Unnoticed and Forgotten

Do you ever feel unnoticed?  Like what you do, doesn't matter.  That you are invisible unless someone (usually a child in your house) needs something right away?  I call it the George Bailey/Its a Wonderful Life syndrome and I find myself suffering from it more than I like to admit.

I'm gonna be really honest in this post--not that I'm not usually "real," but there are things I say in a joking manner that are truly things that I struggle with...things that hit me in my core.

I can tell you that if you struggle with this, then you haven't embraced your identity in Christ.  And I would be right, but for those of us who have head knowledge and not heart knowledge, this may just further frustrate you.  Why is it so hard to believe the TRUTH that God says about us?  My only answer is 1 Peter 5:8:  
Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour. 

I know that sounds like a "church" answer, but friends, if Satan can get ahold of our minds and distort our perception of our identity, then he wins.  At least for now.  He is pacing back and forth, just waiting for an opening on which to pounce. 

I don't know what you are dealing with right now.  Maybe it's a husband who doesn't look at you any more.  Maybe its a child who never notices the small touches you put in her lunchbox each day.  Maybe it's a friend whom you love, but always have to be the one to call/email/text first.  A boss who doesn't realize all the time you spent on that project he just pushed aside.

Here's what I DO know--reading Scripture helps.  I don't memorize as well as I used to, but even just having a go-to list of verses when I'm feeling low, changes me.  It's not always immediate, but sometimes it takes TRUTH a while to sink in through the many layers of lies and defensiveness that have been built in us--many of which we've contributed to since we were young children.

Here are some of my go-to verses:

I am not forgotten:
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord,
who has compassion on you."
Isaiah 54:10

God wants me to cry to Him:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

God is on my side:
"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8

I am not alone:
"Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence? 
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. 
If I say, 'surely darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will bot be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."
Psalm 139:7-12

"The Lord replied, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Exodus 33:14

I am seen:
"Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16

He can turn my worry/anxiety into peace:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-8

When I feel unworthy:
"...being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might
so that you may have great endurance and patience,
and giving joyful thanks toe the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light."
Colossians 1:11-12

When I feel stuck in a rut:
"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?"
Isaiah 43:18-19a

What verses speak to you when you are feeling small, unworthy, unlovable, or just forgotten?


How to spot a Seasoned Soccer Mom

  • You have granola bars, water bottles, Gatorade, and other assorted snacks in your car--not for your athlete, but for yourself...when you find yourself sitting in the car at soccer practice
  • You know where the closest restroom and parking lot is at every field you play on
  • You never leave home without a blanket, chair, jacket and extra water bottle
  • You've stopped "checking in" at the fields on Facebook bc it would blow up your friends' newsfeed by the number of times you are there
  • You always have a book with you but you seldom read it because you're too busy watching your athlete...or talking to other parents
  • You and your daughter have mastered the art of eating in the car
  • You know someone on almost every team you play and refer to other coaches in the same way you do your neighbors down the street
  • The "saved locations" part of your weather app is full of the cities in which your daughter plays soccer

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When you say Nothing at all

Life is busy.  Most of us have too much on our plate and we find ourselves doing the bare minimum to get by.  And we miss out. 

We make lots of excuses as to why we are busy and why we can't stop doing anything right now, but will in the future.  Some of those excuses are valid.

The other day, I found myself face-to-face with a friend who had a big tragedy last year.  Life-changing big.  And during the aftermath, I never said anything.  Oh, I think I commented on facebook a couple of times about how sorry I was, but I never reached out personally. 

And I had some (in my opinion) valid reasons.  She was overwhelmed with wishes from others, I would wait until it had been a month and then reach out--you know, when the reality of her loss had set in.  Also, I couldn't think  of words.  I didn't want to be trite "Sorry for your loss.  I'm praying for you" just didn't seem like enough.  I wanted words that would touch her and comfort her (when in reality, MY words could never do that, but if I'd have allowed Him to use me, the Holy Spirit could have). 

I still believe my heart was in the right place.  But I also believe I missed the boat on being a friend.  I got caught up in the "me" portion of it and failed to just be there for her. 

The older I get and the more years pass beneath my belt, I am struck by the power of words.  The simple, "I love you."  The "You are special."  Even just "You crossed my mind today and I prayed __________ for you." 

What holds us back?  In my case, I really believe it's a lack of margin.  I want to say something, but I want to say the right thing, so I wait and then I get busy and don't take the time to just sit and think through it. 

I've been  more inconsistent than ever with my blog.  Partly because I don't want to share everything that's going on in my head.  Partly because I think people don't read it based on the lack of comments I get and I don't want to clog up everyone's newsfeed.  Partly because of my insecurities of getting the pity comments because people feel bad nobody else has commented. 

Crazy, huh? 

Maybe it's the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart (I choose to think it is), but I have been hit with the urgency to slow down and take time to speak the words I'm thinking to people.  It's easy to do for a day, but my challenge is to continue to do it when I'm racing kids to activities or trying to finish emails after a long day of meetings. 

And here's the other part I know.  God prompts us constantly.  It's that voice that says, "Hmmm...that article he posted made me really think."  or "That was a great family conversation we had because of that comment she made."  Or even, "I haven't talked to __________ in a while, I wonder what she is up to?"

So, I am committing to stepping out to not just listen, but to follow through with action.  To write the note, make the call, send the message, leave the voicemail. 

Anyone else with me?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Nothing is Impossible...Right???

Many of us have watched “Facing the Giants.”  We know the tag line in the movie, “With God, nothing is impossible.”  We probably believe it to a certain level.

But then there are those times when we doubt.  When we aren’t sure God thinks it’s important. Or that He even notices us struggling in the valley, trying to get to the base of the mountain to climb it.  Or that we want our impossible thing for the “right” reason.

Every year, I have to evaluate my faith during our Christmas pack for Lovepacs.  It’s usually a few weeks out when I start to feel the panic taking over.  When I start to give in to those whispers that say, “Yes, I know He CAN, but WILL He provide?”  It comes after an “easy” season of Thanksgiving when the donations pour in. And after we step out in faith to commit to more schools.

I’m in that place right now.  That place where fear keeps me up at night, wakes me in the morning and invades my thoughts throughout the day.  Have you ever felt that feeling?  Yours is probably not about Lovepacs.  It may be about your kids or your marriage or your job. 

What I have found is that Satan loves fear.  He likes for us to live in it.  And he often throws it at us—just like he did Elijah—after a mountaintop experience.  And, even though I try to pray, these thoughts commandeer my prayers and I find myself more stressed afterward than before.  And I imagine him doing his stupid little happy dance.

So, for me, I am claiming Scripture today.  Over and over, I will repeat it in my head, out loud, as I’m driving, as I’m showering, as I’m typing. 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:19 NIV)

And as I pray it and say it, I am emphasizing the ALL.  And imagining my house to have 41 FULL boxes like in the picture above.  And me and God doing OUR happy dance.  Will you join me and do the same?


Monday, November 17, 2014

Clothe Yourself

By the title, you might think I'm gonna rant about the skimpiness of what people wear.  Nope. 

This morning, the verse in my Bible study was this:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people,
holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with
compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness,
and patience."
Colossians 3:12

I've seen this verse many times, but the word picture stopped me in my tracks today. 

I envisioned a closet and all sorts of dresses, shirts, pants, skirts--and don't get me started on the amount of shoes and other accessories I envisioned...  All for me.  All chosen and waiting just for me--no sharing with my daughters allowed.

For those of you who are moms, do you remember when your child started wanting to choose her own clothes?  Do you remember telling her that you bought those  red-stripped leggings to go with a cute red top--not the hot pink one with stripes she thought she needed to wear that day?  Do you remember how you let her wear it anyway.  And then made sure your own clothes matched so people didn't think you were colorblind? 

I can just picture God furnishing our closet with all of these clothes: compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, patience.  But, we like to shop for ourselves,  and sometimes anger, jealousy, bitterness, pride, unforgiveness and impatience make their way in amongst the others.

So we pull out mis-matched clothes and try to wear them.  But like a navy shoe with a pair of black pants, it just doesn't work.  They don't go together.  But, like us with our children, God doesn't force us to wear His stuff.  He puts them in there for us.  And makes sure they are clean  and ready to wear.  But we have to put them on.  He gives us that choice. 

This made me think twice about the way I got dressed this morning.  And because I am not just loved, but DEARLY  loved, I counted my blessings to have those items available for me to wear from such a compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient God.