As I am.
As I am.
So many thoughts rumbling around today… but many of them with a similar theme…I guess someone is trying to get my attention…
I read this quote in my devotional today…
Going through life without pauses (big and small) would be like writing without punctuation! Commas, periods, or new paragraphs help us make sense of things., take a breath or organize, and to know where one chapter ends and a new one begins. We need these pauses in our lives as they unfold as well!
~Amy Cooper Collier
from the devotional itself by Julie Bogart…
Maybe today we can all pause – simply long enough to be present to ourselves and to our families in this moment in time. To pause is to cease what you’re doing for a moment, giving yourself an opportunity to be.
and then this post from blogger Shauna…must pay attention…
Pausing to think about a sisters birthday today. A sister who is lovely and gentle and kind. Silly and funny, quiet and thoughtful. Pleasant and loyal and deserves a really good year. A really, really good one. Happy birthday Aya – I love you always.
Pausing to reflect on my daughter. The joy it brings me to see those words before me. My daughter… all my life I wanted a daughter. She was worth the wait. Her name, Elaina, means light. I was thinking about how,she was born at the beginning of a new chapter. We’d had several years of darkness in our family so to speak. Death and disillusionment, disappointment and loss…and through it all we kept walking – rather stumbling, falling and crawling and even, being carried by grace. Grace and faith…at times, even hope was gone, and even the road didn’t look like a road leading anywhere good…but Jesus…he was there…and then, the road turned sharply, the clouds parted and the valley was behind us. Breathing deeply,the gasps of survivors. and we were bathed in light. The kind of light you can feel on your skin. The kind you can’t help but turn your face to. The kind that warms your insides, heals your soul, refreshes your hope and brings clarity to your mind…and the path ahead.
Light… reflecting on the daughter conceived in the final steps of that valley. Elaina, is certainly delightful, almost always happy, loved by everyone… last week I posted a cute pic of her online, and it had over 50 likes, overnight. She loves to jump and sing and dance. She loves hugs, and her family. She has this bright smile and sparkly eyes and this curly blonde hair that when the sun hits it on a certain angle, looks like a halo. She makes me pause…a million times a day. To hug, to sing “twinkle” – for of course – Twinkle, twinkle little star” – a million times a day, to “jumpy mommy!”…she’s full of things to say and share and learn…a reflection of the promise.
I pause to reflect on the years my womb was silent, when the hope for children was crushed again and again. I’ve often thought, why didn’t God just tell me then, what I know now…that it really was too early? That He had things for me to do that would be impossible to do with a family…and that I would look back on that hard season as one of the best of my life? That He knew me better than my 20 something self knew me… that I would want to share motherhood with my sisters who weren’t even married yet, rather than the friends who shared that season with me, but are no longer nearby? That I would want my children to share memories with their cousins…not just grandparents. So the timing, though unexplained, difficult… five years of waiting and loss, was in Him. Why didn’t he just whisper it to me? Maybe He had, and I just wasn’t listening. 20 somethings don’t often know how to pause.
Pausing to reflect on those sons – the first, the promise child – who causes me to cling to hope and continue to trust in the Lord’s promise, that the work of faith wasn’t fulfilled in his birth, but in the walking out of motherhood with him. The second son, the talker, the joker, the fun-maker. The one who pushed me away when he was months old, and still isn’t sure if he wants to pull me closer or push me away even now. A riddle I am challenged with loving in his own unique way, for forever. And the 3rd son. Born 6 months between the deaths of both grandfathers…the child who was peaceful… though rarely slept. Who cried every night, until you picked him up. Who just wanted to be held in the midnight hours…and now I wonder if instead it was he who was holding me…through his early years, the path our family walked, grew darker still and yet, this child continued to be a watchman – the one constantly seeking to comfort others. A picture of God’s peace in the midst of every imaginable storm…knowing now that God was holding us all up, together, and drawing us forward into a season of light.
Pausing again, as our first chinese “daughter” returned to visit last night. Reflecting on 3 almost 4 years ago, and where we were then, at the very beginning of this chapter – when I was expecting Elaina and welcoming light in…and where we are now, where the Lord has brought us…wondering if she saw the difference? Wondering if the light I feel radiating inside me, is felt outside me at all yet?
Pausing, to reflect on Grace. Where we’ve been, where we’re going. To let the light shine, to let the light in and to give thanks.
“My name is now Christian, but my name used to be Graceless.” ― John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come
When I want to show my affection to my children the most natural impulse is for me to kiss them. It is a simple gesture, yet it implies much more.
It implies that they are beautiful to me, that they are accepted. It denotes that I would withhold nothing from them, and I wouldn’t. I am filled with joy when I see how one of my kisses immediately brings a smile to their faces, they walk more confidently and laugh more fully. One of my kisses would magically “heal” a boo boo. When they were little, they were requested more than food or entertainment of any kind. My response to this… more kisses. Doesn’t our heavenly Father demonstrate His love to us with no less passion?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
Because we have been given everything we could ever need, because we have been given Christ himself and He is all in all. More so, He loves us. He demonstrates his affection for us, constantly. It’s like He is blowing us kisses from heaven, perpetually. As His grace is extended to us every moment, we become more aware of His favour on us. When we have those moments of “seeing” his hand at work, we are being kissed. In her book- The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst defines those who fear God (follow after, honour and worship, be in awe of) as those who “see the hand of God in everything”. I love that. Sometimes we have to choose to see it, but it is always there.
We are “highly favoured”, but in addition to that, we have been made the “children” of God. We have been born into His family so that we could have fellowship with Him, eternally. Now, His influence on our hearts enables us to walk in the awareness of His strength, His wisdom, His vitality, His peace and His provision, in every area.
And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work: 2 Cor 9:8
I believe that the more we recognize these “kisses” from heaven, the more we will respond to His affection. We will radiate His love. We will smile and laugh in the abundance of joy that salvation brings.We will walk in the light, as He is in the light. In essence, our worship is really like blowing kisses back to Him. In turn, He continues to shower us with His love! Is this not one way His glory will cover the earth?
I’ve had a fear of being “ordinary” for as long as I can remember. It’s driven me to try to accomplish something, to “be” someone, to leave a legacy that is…special.
I haven’t wanted to be “just like everyone else”… and lately, as in the last few years, I’ve had to examine this drive. This sense of inadequacy and where it comes from.
Most people do not live to see the significance their life has or hasn’t had on their world and it’s far reaching effects…and yet I’ve been constantly aware of it. I’ve lived with a shadow on my heart because I didn’t find ‘significant’ education, or ‘significant’ success in business or ministry…
I think I’ve even tried to find ‘significance’ in my relationships with underlying motives of becoming significantly “wise”… what’s wrong with that you ask. Pretty sure that pretty much everything is wrong with that. I am a person, and the people in my life are significant because we are HERE. We all matter to someone. We all matter to God.
I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve developed some kind of psychological imbalance or spiritual deficit because I haven’t. I think I’ve just come to a place where I’ve realized that it’s not necessary for me to stand out from the crowd to be significant. I am no more or less significant than any other person…I am ordinary. Ordinary is not insignificant.
I matter to Him, but more than that, I’m not the only one that matters to Him. Yes I am beloved…highly favoured and blessed…but I don’t deserve it any more than the next person…none of us deserve His love, His forgiveness and grace…Yet He loves us anyways. We matter to him.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel that I have to matter to everyone else in order to matter to God. (And yes I know I am significant to my friends and family…my people – I am blessed among women). It’s just been a bit of a day of inward reckoning…
I’ve been very comfortable focusing on thinking about my place in the world, my place in history, the things I feel and think… without honestly giving a whole lot of thought to the fact that others maybe live like that too. I haven’t really thought about the role that others have might have NOTHING to do with ME. Thinking in that small minded way that everything happening around me, is about me. Crazy I know… I think I’ve been a slow learner at this… or maybe just an ordinary learner – lol.
This morning I read this post from a lovely soul (Thank you PW) who is an inspiration in her authenticity and transparency, it sums up how I’ve been feeling…
I sat in my usual spot.
I am a creature of habit.
I saw him coming down the bus aisle.
Pants hanging way past his waist.
“Please God don’t let him sit beside me”
I put my purse down on the chair beside me.
Closed my eyes and leaned against the window.
Avoiding eye contact.
I felt his presence.
Standing beside me.
I opened my eyes.
He looked down at my purse and motioned me to move it.
“Fine” I thought to myself.
As I wondered why God had ignored my previous request.
He smelled like a mixture of drugs and alcohol.
I rolled up my sweatshirt and tried to ignore the smell.
I was feeling pretty sorry myself.
And wondering what I did to deserve this kick off to my Thanksgiving weekend.
I look over and noticed him texting someone.
“I want to die, everyone hates me”
The message said.
Whoosh…I could feel Jesus reminding me of where I use to be.
I started to take in this stranger beside me.
Starting at his feet.
His shoes were falling apart.
The back pack on his lap was held together with duct tape.
It was then that I noticed.
There written with something sharp.
Were words like these:
My eyes filled with tears.
I know what it feels.
To feel like that.
I started to pray.
For this man sharing.
My bus space.
“Are you ok” he asked.
“You aren’t worthless” I replied. “You have infinite value”
His eyes welled with tears.
“No one has ever said that to me before”
I gave him my cell number.
“Next time you feel like that, text me”
I got off at my stop.
Nodded my head goodbye.
And thanked Jesus for my new friend.
Be in prayer.
He has infinite value.
His creator said so.
Thankful that He who created me.
Sometimes says “No” to my selfish requests.
Blessed and Grateful.
For many things.
And that’s a great thought to kick off my Thanksgiving weekend.
Yesterday someone asked me how I’m getting through the days…
Just watched this video and this one. It’s funny how when you are ready, the things you need to hear and read and see are there, the things you need in order to be changed and renewed, which were just out of reach – are suddenly rushing in abundantly…
The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same
That’s a pretty strong statement. How often do I sing it with oh such feeling and good intention, but when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of life, it’s way to easy to complain rather than bless.
I look back at the last year of my life, and I am truly grateful for health (esp. that of my boys) and God’s grace and provision. however, it has not been easy and I’ve not been myself. I don’t know if it’s a combination of the grief of losing my dad in 2008 and the regrets that only the passage of time can soften, or if it’s the mid-thirty drift (heart, mind, horomones)- but somewhere I lost or put down my joy, and I didn’t even realize it. It’s been a struggle to truly enjoy each and every day – now i would not say i’ve been depressed (because I remember 1996 thankyou very much and never want to go back there) – no, but i remember feeling truly connected to myself, even when the world around me was uncertain and dark – i was sure and full. I enjoyed the smallest things, really enjoyed them. One of them was writing, another was going out, dressing up, cooking, decorating – and now, well, now
Perhaps its the toll of all the changes that last 2 years have brought finally catching up with me – gaining, losing, hurting, healing, losing again, fighting, letting go, giving up, surrendering, picking up, dusting off, trying again….
or it could just be the reality of me having to deal with issues I’ve long avoided… anyways, I remember that girl, the one I was and I’m wondering where she went, because the one looking at me from the mirror, well, she’s just not me…
The great thing is though, that it won’t be hard to find her, because she’s been whispering to me all along (and of course, the Holy Spirit has been whispering to her all along too).
everything feels like WORK
I don’t want this season of my life to just pass me by because I’m so busy or emotionally shut down to accept it for what it is and find the happiness that can be found in it.
But I find that no matter how hard I try, everything going on in my little world right now is insistent on bearing down all the pressure possible onto me. Pressure on mind, my will, my emotions and my body, and is hell bent on stealing my joy. I used to welcome pressure, because it made me stronger, but now – now I think it’s breaking me…
Dare I commit to black and white my fears, doubts and true feelings – what if someone read them!?! gasp. Is it all just a big lie? Am I actually just a pretender? At this moment in time I’m really not too sure about anything at all. Not even what I’m afraid of? What am I afraid of really, being destroyed? no – in this state of mind – utter destruction feels like a sweet escape…
as a person of faith, how do I reconcile my humanity with myself? I’m completely overwhelmed and freaking out on everyone all the time, and my world keeps spinning,spinning, spinning and everything is so big, so fast and so out of my control, I can’t get my footing – i can’t even get a moment to catch my breath. I’m afraid I’m changing into the person I fear becoming.
I have no one to talk to because my partner and best friend is changing too and my place in his life is not what is was. When I try to verbalise it, there’s no soft place to fall, and he looks at me like I’m going crazy. I just have to BE something I’m not, because I don’t really know who I am right now, and that’s just not acceptable.
trying to embrace the element of faith in “rolling it over to jesus” just doesn’t seem to be enough right now – I can’t barely stand still enough to remember to “cast my cares” let alone do it, leave it and move on.
and what’s with this whole “Die to Self, Die to Self, Die, die, die in order to truly live” mantra that repeats itself in my head? As a concept – it doesn’t seem to be working for me. I feel like i just can’t die, die, die – without losing all of my identity and stability along the way. Heaven forbid I be weak, and wretched and afraid – this grace has trapped me…
Does no one notice? In my day to day life I’m rarely relaxed these days. I’m frustrated and angry more often than truly happy in the moment. I have no interest in planning annual events that used to inspire me, I have no interest in adding anything to my life. I could care less about being inspired, I’d be happy with a break. I’d rather be alone and watch tv or read so i don’t have to face my reality? I have little interest in going out – though I know I need it – and my soul screams for it, when i have the oppourtunity to go out, I’m overwhelmed by choices – so i do nothing at all. I’m barely creating anything – my last blog was in July, and they were becoming more sporadic before that. I haven’t scrapbooked in over a year, no poetry, no new music – nothing. dark, dark, dark – and everyone who would help me look to Jesus in the past, is well – i’ve done such a good job in the past, that I don’t think anyone sees how much I need rescuing now.
The only times I’m truly alive are when i’m leading worship/ singing (and only in certain perameters) and I think that’s because that’s the only time I’m truly lost in Him and free from all the pressure… but the strings attached to that simple happiness are becoming too strong for me1. the only other times i truly escape are when i’m with the boys and I ignore or pretend that I don’t have anything outside of them. Unfortunately that does not last either, because the responsibilities i ignore in those times just become deferred and end up being thrown on the pile of things creating the pressure that’s killing me…
Don’t tell me to “talk about it” – please just shut up – this is me talking about it, it’s out, it’s in black and white, i can leave it here and if need be, tomorrow I can delete it. but for now, i’ve done what i probably should have done weeks and weeks ago – and maybe i’ll come back tomorrow and write some more, from a different side of the vortex that is all bright, shiny and full of hope… but today – this is what it is, so just shut up, ok?
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