Monday, July 28, 2014

Lessons learned [or not]

Last Sunday after church we went for a late breakfast. (I love early church and late breakfast). As we pulled up in the van, I noticed a group of people standing outside talking and a little boy (maybe 2 years old?) was with them. He started running off, towards the parking lot, and his daddy was chasing him. But the little boy wouldn't stop. The father reached out and all he could grab was the little boys hair. As he grabbed it, the little boy started to cry "my daddy pulled my haaaaiiiiiiiiiiiir". Thankfully he was safe, although really upset at being grabbed by the hair.

 I began to wonder is this what happens sometimes with us and God? We are running headlong to danger and God wants us to stop. 

And we keep running. 

And He's chasing us. 

And finally He grabs our hair and pulls us safely to Him. And all we can think is "ouch. That hurt", no idea of the danger we were saved from. 

Overflowing

I'm really (REALLY!) starting to believe/know/trust that my "word" for the year was REVELATION for a reason. I keep having them...revelations. And when I do, I want to call or text (or yell out to random strangers) what the revelation is. So, since yelling out in church might be frowned upon, and most people aren't ready for "revelational" phone calls early in the morning, I decided to just blog them. Lucky you. 

A few weeks ago, in church, the illustration of being "in Christ" was used. She (the pastor) put a pitcher full of water on the table. There was a glass inside the pitcher which was also (obviously) full of water. This was to demonstrate that we aren't like a glass filled with the water ( Christ) but we are actually IN the water. I can't seem to get this picture (of a pitcher) out of my mind. 

Last Sunday during church I was thinking about it and "saw" something else...

When a pitcher is full of water and you submerge a glass in the water, some of the water will spill out. This gave me another "picture" in my mind...that when you become a Christian {and IN CHRIST}it's not all about you, but also about those lives He touches (through you) when HE spills out. 

John 7:38 ESV / 

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Big steps

I shouldn't be surprised to feel like God keeps speaking to me...saying the same thing over and over and over. I'm a bit slow to catch on sometimes. I talked about Here what stepping out of my fears let me experience. And this week, I'm taking another BIG step. This step is worthy of its own post, so I'll just say this; if you feel like you've been given something (a gift, a talent, a job, a calling) but can't seem to grasp that it's REALLY for you, read this . Jessi talks about "putting your shoes on" and doing what God has given you. Just one more motivational push for me this week. Instead of fear about "what might happen" I'm expectantly excited to see where this goes for me. And I'm not limiting myself by my fears...in fact, I'm turning loose of them, putting my shoes on, and going! See you on the journey to the finish line!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

On fear and faith

A quality that I easily recognize in myself is the habit of overthinking.  And we all know where overthinking can lead, right? To fear.
I fear what might happen if I "do" something...
I fear what might happen if I don't "do" something...
If I take a trip...if I don't take a trip...
If I accept a job... or don't...

And sometimes, the fear feels almost crippling.  Not in a "I should seek therapy for this" kind of way (although maybe...) but more so that I feel like it keeps me from Living my Life.  Yes. Those are capital "L's"...

A few days ago I had planned to take a day off work to hang out in a hospital waiting room with some family.  I REALLY wanted to go...wanted to BE THERE for my family...until the last minute.  Then that overthinking (read FEAR) started.

What if I had an accident on the way there...

What if something happened at home while I was gone...

What if they needed me at work...(perhaps the lamest reason ever not to do something!)

What if...

Seriously.  I almost cancelled my trip at the last minute.  

Luckily, good sense, jumped up and took hold of the fear.  And here are a few "coincidences" that happened along the way...

a friend sent me this picture in a text and said she thought I might like it...ummmm, does she know me or what? (and actually I got a wall plaque with this same phrase on it for Christmas...apparently my "problem" is not a secret!)

Also, I stumbled upon a blog (sorry blogger, can't remember what blog!) that the opening line said "What would you do if you had no fear?"... I spent the next hour journaling the answer to that question.  Which led me to googling bible verses about fear.  Here are a few I came up with...




And here are a few of experiences that I would have missed if I'd let my fear overtake my faith...

I drove to the hospital ( 2ish hours ) with my oldest niece.  I don't get to spend a lot of time with any of my nieces or nephews and this was precious to me.  Two whole hours we spent talking...about some important things and a whole lot of not important things...but it was ALL good.  And made my heart happy.

My middle niece and I wandered down to the hotel cafeteria together.  It was not quite lunch time, but we both proclaimed we were STARVING TO DEATH and had lunch together.  More good times (and some giggling over the inappropriate talk show that was playing on the T.V. in the cafeteria!).

Then my youngest niece and I shopped for a stuffed animal in the gift shop like it was our job.  I'm pretty sure we touched EVERY stuffed animal they had on display...the monkeys, the bears, the dogs, the chicks, the dinosaurs AND the pigs (oh that snoring pig...I still might need to get  him!).  We did finally settle on a  giant stuffed black dog...maybe he was a lab...I think someone named him Rufus.

After most of the day camping out in the hospital waiting room (literally camping...pillows, blankets, food and drink) my nieces and I loaded up in the van and headed back to their house.  I listened to stories about boys and dances and friends and college choices.  Conversations that I wouldn't have had if my fear had kept me home.  I watched them doing homework and checking their "to do" lists.  I could see who they are and who they are becoming.  Glimpses I wouldn't have had if my fear had kept me home.  



And what really happened here?  I intended to spend time at the hospital, supporting my family and "be a blessing" and "encourage" them...but as it turned out, I was the one who was blessed and encouraged and replenished.  I'm thankful for God showing me how much more He has for me...if only I will step out in faith, let go of my fear, and go. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Be enough

While I consider myself a hobby photographer (I'm not really sure what that definition means, other than it's NOT my job) I've been running around a fair bit lately with my camera.  And I'm loving it.  But what happens when I'm photographing anything other than my own family? Doubt creeps in.  And then I don't really want to take my camera anywhere.  Doubt. . . I don't really like that guy. . . makes me feel that I'm not "enough" of a photographer.

But last week, I found out that a dear friend's mom had unexpectedly passed away.  And since I'm friends on Facebook with a lot of her family, I was seeing many family photos posted.  Old black and whites.  Recent Christmas and birthday and race party photos.  Some were even photos that I had taken at a 80th birthday celebration for my friends mom.  

And then I realized. . . those family photos? THEY were enough.  It wasn't about me, it was about the result of my love for photography.  Not always "perfect" results.  If the truth be told, they are not always sharply focused, not always pleasing compositions, not always abiding by the numerous photography "rules".  But that's okay.  What matters is that I keep pursuing my love for photography. 

So this is really just one of those "preaching to the choir" conversations.  Me convincing myself (now, and later) that continuing to haul my camera around with me and snap whats in front of me is the important part.  Don't retreat and don't back down to that guy named "doubt".  

And, maybe I'm preaching to you too.  Whatever your gift. . . writing, cooking, singing, or. . . don't stop exercising and growing your gift.  You are enough.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting of shadows. ~ James 1:17


Friday, March 28, 2014

Reflections

It was "that" kind of morning.

I said "bye, zacharoo" to my 17 year old and wondered how much longer he'd let me call him that.

I thought about my sweet grand-baby on the way to work and reminded myself to call my 25 year old to warn him how fast time passes.

I thought about how long it had been since we'd seen our extended family...HOW, does time get away from me like that?

And just when I was about to dissolve into tears on the way to work (not a good make-up move), I glanced up to see the most perfect, fiery circle of a sun rising over the horizon.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I grabbed my phone and tried to snap a picture.  Driving + iPhone does not equal great photography.

Luckily, every day I drive past St. Andrews church.  And they just happen to have this serene setting behind the church.


And once again, my day was on the right track.  

(yes. just an iPhone photo... but still)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Letting go

Have you ever had something stuck in your heart?  Not "good stuck".  Bad stuck.

 And you wondered how to make it go away.  How to STOP thinking about it.  How to not let it consume you.


Yeah, me too.  And maybe you're like me, and prayed for it to go away.  Or maybe you begged God to take it away.  But it was still there.  Everyday.

My "sticky" was coloring my outlook on life.  

It made it impossible to concentrate.

I wanted to fix it.  Get rid of it. Obliterate it.

But how?

Finally one morning as I was praying (not about getting rid of this horrible sticky in my heart), I felt the words forming in my head "God, how do I let go?".

And He said? 

Open. your. hand.



Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.