Spiritual Affirmation

Every morning look in the mirror and say, “You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You can do anything.” I’ve heard many examples of personal affirmations and the reasons why they actually work. I cannot say I have consistently tried this in my life. I simply giggle anytime I have tried to talk myself in such a way. It is intriguing, nonetheless.

I was thinking, though. What if I did this in a spiritual sense? Like, take what should be a simple fact that I tend to overlook or brush past, engrain it in my thoughts, and (bam) I feel the truth more deeply.

Take the first part of Romans 8:11, “And if the same spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…”. The same spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in me. Wow, the same spirit. When I think of my life and the way I’d live my life if I made that a part of my mindset more often. I would have more peace, more joy, more love…more fruitful living. Powerful, isn’t it?

 

 

Cheap Wine

wine-619452_1920Cheap wine. I cannot say I am a huge fan of it. It isn’t that I am a fancy person, per se. It is just that I have had the taste of fine wine and I can tell the difference. I especially can tell the difference the next day. Naturally, I would much rather indulge in the “fine wines” of life. Who wouldn’t choose something that goes down smoother, tastes better, and doesn’t give you a headache the next day?

Life doesn’t always give me the kind I like. My wine glass runs dry at times. It leaves me aching for more. Try as I might to hold onto the fleeting “fine wine” moments, I am really just fooled into thinking fine wine is even a thing of this world. I hear the news about a cousin committing suicide. Then more news of another family member that died an ugly death. The bad news never ends. A friend dies too young. My child has a hard time. Conflict occurs. I see and feel pain all over the world. All the pain proves how cheap this life really is.

I know this life is cheap and yet I don’t always live this truth out. Wouldn’t it be nice to accept this truth…to know the cheap wine will one day run dry? I guess I need to be reminded…we all need to be reminded that Jesus will return. And, just like the wedding at Cana, we will see the glory of Jesus and rejoice loudly, “He has saved the best till now.”

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

-John 2:1-11

 

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Know

I love personality tests. I think it is the way my mind works and my never ending quest to dig deeper into what makes me tick. I’ve taken all the popular ones. I was at a retreat once and we had to take one. The leader went through the results and had us raise our hands to see how many of each group there was. When it came to mine, I quickly raised my hand and then looked around the room. I was the only one. In fact, every test I have ever taken indicates how “unique” I am. Sweet.

I mostly am okay with this until I run into those who just don’t get me. Better said, those who take my weaknesses the wrong way. Try as I might to roll things off my shoulder, somethings just roll back up and weigh me down. I want to defend myself. I want to swear on the bible that there are things about me, times when I have a lot going on and I need to hide under my rock until it is safe to come out. There are times when I cannot form a sentence during a conversation and I have to just sit there. There are other times I cannot stop talking. There are never times, though, that I intentionally try to be mean. There are never times I would intentionally try to make someone feel bad.

I always try to be open about my introverted ways. I always try to compensate by being there (to the point I am probably annoying) when someone needs me. I don’t know. I just don’t know what else to say or how to prove myself any better.

Peace

Yesterday was a day of peace. A day where I accepted the peace that only He provides. A day of being still and opening myself to His presence. I grabbed a book, blanket, and pillow. I stretched out on my hammock and closed my eyes. The slight rocking put my mind to rest. I opened my eyes and attempted to read my new book. My thought process was too lazy to comprehend the words. So, I set my book aside and just existed for a bit. My boys and their friend were playing twenty feet from me and even their voices seemed like distant whispers.

I felt only the sun, the wind, the rocking. I breathed in the air and exhaled all that has been weighing me down. It reminded me of when I was a kid. I’d find a spot on our anchored boat, usually on the bow, where no one else was. I’d lay down and soak up the peace…and the sun. No worries crossed my mind. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. My brothers loud voices and splashing didn’t even bother me. All was easily pushed out of focus.

It is in those moments of overwhelming peace that I am reminded of why I do what I do. I remember why I feel the never ending pull to share God’s love with others. Why I know if I only touch one person’s life with my words, actions, and deeds it will all be worth it. All I need is to push the noise out of focus the best I can. So I can be who He wove me to be.

Sometimes, I look at my life and wonder if I am doing enough. Am I enough? I complete something that I put all I could possibly put into it and wonder, “Did I do a good enough job?” I think it is important to evaluate our efforts in life. We need to look at what we can improve. That is, as long as we are acknowledging our strengths as well.

Whatever I do, wherever I am in my life, I strive to make it my ministry. Meaning, I try to do it with all my heart and see my place in life as where He needs me to be. Whether or not I want to be placing a bandaid on my son’s knee I can choose to turn it into part of my mission. Or, I can try to control or change it into what or how I think it should be. That just turns me into a stressed out jumbled mess, though, because I am not using the opportunities given to me.

Peace exists in our present lives, not in our ideal lives. It is in our joys and in our ordinaries and even in our sorrows. Peace is in our letting go and giving it to God.

cropped-image1.jpeg

 

 

 

 

A Force

The sun is shining, my dog is sunbathing on our deck, and I am doing what I do best. I’m thinking, of course. I’m thinking about my life, mostly where I came from. From the outside, my life would appear quite ordinary. I grew up in a small midwest town with my parents, my two brothers, and myself. When I look back on it, I see it as anything but ordinary. My parents gave me what many people strive to give their families. Even through their imperfections they gave me hope and a vision of what life, marriage, and family should be.

I’ve been missing them more than usual lately. The other day, Oliver said he wished he could teleport us to Florida. Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe that is what has sparked all this thinking. They deserve to be recognized and I just don’t do it often enough. So I’ll start off by saying thanks to them, but mostly to God for giving them to me.

Both my mom and dad were hard workers…do-it-yourselfers to the core. If it was broke, they’d fix it. If it was old, they’d make it new again. They used what they had before they went out and bought something new, even though they could have. Unless, it pertained to one of my dad’s hobbies. Then we’d have five. Five snakes, five guitars, five boats. You get the picture. He dove right in and was whatever it was he was passionate about.

In many ways, I am much like my dad in that aspect. I see this in my youngest son as well. We get lost in our worlds, whatever our world is at the moment. It is a strength to ourselves. To some, they see it is a weakness. It is misunderstood. It is something that needs to be changed. To us, though, it is ours. It is the only thing we have that makes our drums beat in rhythm.

I learned from my dad and my mom (in different ways) to be me. To be nothing else. I learned from watching them to love God and to trust God. They showed me to walk the walk He is leading, don’t look back, and definitely don’t look to others for approval.

Our closest friends were always drawn to our home.  I had a friend who practically lived with us when I was ten-eleven years old. There was never even a question whether our not she was welcome to stay the night at our house. Many times after school on Fridays we’d walk to her house, pack her clothes for the weekend, and then go home. Our home was her home while she was there. My oldest brother had a couple friends who actually lived with us at different times. One of them I didn’t get along with. I remember demanding for my parents to tell him that he couldn’t live there. My parents pretty much told me to suck it up because life is bigger than him annoying and picking at me. His life was harder than I’d ever imagine life could be. Boy, they always had a way of humbling me in simple ways. It showed me behaviors were so much deeper than the surface showed.

My parents were a team. They were a couple God would look at and say, “Yep, that’s the way it should be.” They were not perfect, no couple is. But they were one. They made a decision early on in their marriage to put themselves and us kids before others. They did things their way. They never tried to live up to anyone’s expectations. Only their own. It made them a force. A peaceful force. A safe haven for themselves and for me and my brothers. I can see my kids feel the same when they are around them. I have a hard time with that, only because they live so far away from us. I guess that I need to pull a page from their book more often to “read” to my kids. With mine and Matt’s own twist on it, though.

That is where I came from. That force was what I knew I wanted for my life and for my future spouse and kids life. After all these years, they are still all of those things. What a lucky girl I was. What a lucky woman I am. I pray my kids can pull some of these same things from Matt and I when they are older. I really do. I know Luke and Oliver deserve it.

image

Something in the Water

image

 

There’s something in the water.

Something that soothes the weariness.

Something that renews the ragged and torn.

Something that pulls me in and pushes all else out.

The tension gone.

The pain forgotten.

Lies wash away.

Only truth remains.

It floats along basking in the warmth.

I know exactly what it is, do you?

It is me in Him and Him in me.

Oh, yes, there’s something in the water.

My Retreat

imageI flourish in the desert when I retreat, when I find refuge under the shade provided. Deep peace reemerges. Underlying joy re-expands. Thoughts decelerate and smoothly travel. Breathing becomes unrestricted. My vision clears and I see the next tree is not so far as my eyes once deceived.

Life has a way of stripping us down at times. It doesn’t matter what or why or how long. It doesn’t matter how strong the person. It can happen to anyone. Last week, a friend mentioned something she saw in a television show that made her think of life in general. It got me thinking. It made me reinforce something that’s been brewing in me. Sometimes all we need is to rest in the arms of the only one who can be steady. God. God is the only steady in our lives.

He is the only steady and he is the only unbreakable we know. Sin prevents us from living a life of perfection. In a sense, it turns all of us into glass. All it takes is one big rock or many smaller rocks to shatter us. We can be put back together, but there is nothing we can do to fully shield rocks from striking again.

I happen to love being a shield to others. I try to catch the rocks of life from shattering people. I cannot help but to help build people back up when they are shattered. I am that person to many. I feel blessed to be that person. I was made to be that person. I thank God for the gift of mercy and cannot imagine my life without it.

I am introverted, though. Not the kind who doesn’t like being around people. I love being around people. The thing is, I need time to recharge. I need time to retreat and rebuild my shield so I can care for others as I so long to do.

I’ve learned along the way that I can only shield so much at a time. I’ve struggled with this all my life. I know I don’t have the strength to do it any other way. It just so happens that recently I needed to be a shield for myself. More, I needed to allow God to hold me and be my shield. I needed to stop…completely stop and just exist for a bit. I felt vulnerable, more vulnerable than I have ever felt.

It somehow strengthened me. It strengthened my family as well. Through my stopping I felt led to do less living as the world draws you to. I actually began doing more living the way I feel led to. I broke my attachment to my phone and social media. I mean, to the point I keep forgetting my phone at home. I have never loved the idea of having a smartphone and all that goes with it. It is funny when you take a step back and see how much it becomes a part of your everyday life. It is funny how less distracted I feel. I am learning more and more that social norms are not always for me. I need never hesitate to stop and choose to do what I feel led to do and be.

The end.