Five Minute Friday | Dwell

Five Minute Friday | Dwell

  

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Dwell.

Daylight all is normal. It’s only when my head hits the pillow that it begins…angry hateful words spewed at me, calculated humiliation, all the pain, anxiety, what ifs running through my brain.  The past remains alive in my head and sleep is impossible. 

And in the daylight, I know that God is my protector. And in the daylight, I know that God has delivered me from this potentially soul crushing situation and I am safe. But in the night, the past is still present in my brain.

I call out to God. I know His mercy and grace. And in the wisdom of His Truth He leads me to His Word:

Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. Isaiah 43:18

I was dwelling in the past. Past events that  I couldn’t change. I turned events over in my mind, trying to figure out how I  could have prevented it from happening. 

God doesn’t want me to dwell in the past…mistakes, triumphs, happy or bad.  He desires for me to dwell in His truth. His daily mercy and grace. If I dwell in the past…I cannot forget and focus on today, the new things He has for me.

God wants me to dwell in Him.  And when I dwell in His goodness I experience His peace and presence even during difficult times, and I am able to do follow Him and do the things He has called me to do, and….I can sleep!

Five Minute Friday | Travel Weary

Five Minute Friday | Travel Weary

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Weary.

Brighted eye and busy tailed at the beginning of our journey!

Two weeks ago, my husband and I boarded our plane in Madrid headed back to the US!  We had a lovely time in Spain, seeing great works of art, strolling the cobblestone streets, and dining on tasty Spanish cuisine. We were so happy to be headed home…see our smiles?!

Trans-Atlantic flights can be a long haul, but we arrived safely in Philadelphia.  I always love hearing from the U. S. customs agent, “Welcome to the United States!”  We only had a two hour layover before our final flight to Nashville. 

I was giddy, really giddy as we stood in the security line, chatting up strangers, giddy from over 18 hours of being awake and traveling through umpteen time zones. While in line we neared the departures board.  We searched for our gate and saw the dreaded word…Cancelled.

Coincidentally, my husband’s voicemail alert beeped and he listened to the airline’s message that all flights had been cancelled to Nashville and they had rebooked us for the next morning to fly out of Philly to Chicago at 5:15 am.  What?!!

Suddenly, all the giddiness evaporated and I suddenly felt weary.  World traveling, almost 24 hours up weary.  We got through security, hustled our way to the nearest airline agent and thankfully got a booking to fly to Chicago later that evening with a hotel room secured and then on to Nashville the next day.

I was thankful, beyond thankful, we would not be stranded at Philly’s lovely airport…but oh, waiting nearly five hours to board the flight to Chicago was a challenge for me! I knew if I fell asleep, I would not be able to walk myself on to the plane. I was weary beyond giddiness, beyond sleep, and near the edge of cogent thought!

Keeping it real!

I definitely know my weariness two weeks ago was a first world problem.  But still, I leaned on God to get me through the limits of physical exhaustion and stay awake, through the four hour layover and then the two hour flight to Chicago. God calls us to Himself when we are weary because He will give us rest. Rest in our souls. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Most of my weary moments do not arise from world travel but from my worrisome habit of turning and churning “what ifs”over in my brain into the wee hours of the morning when I should be resting. My Father is gracious.  He knows that about me. He calls me to take up His burden because it’s light…unlike my heavy wearisome burdens. 

Lay your weariness and burdens at the Father’s feet. Take up His burden and find rest in Him. Rest in your soul that no one else can give you. And don’t pick your burden up again!  

Five Minute Friday | History of Dance

Five Minute Friday | History of Dance

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Dance.

Always a good day to go to an art museum and see a Degas painting of dancers!

Dance is a part of my life. Growing up I didn’t take ballet, but I danced in my pink ballerina tutu and black ballet shoes all around the house as my mom did the housework. 

After literally standing on my head and teaching myself cartwheels, my parents signed me up for gymnastics. Like any young gymnast in the late 70s, I dreamed of the Olympics and becoming the next Nadia!  I danced between tumbles in my floor routines and twirled on the balance beam.  

After realizing I wouldn’t make it to the Olympics (seriously no chance!) I made cheerleader and continued dancing to Pom Pom routines!  Besides dancing in the routine itself, choreographing the dance was just as much fun!

My college and graduate years were filled with mixers, perfect for letting some steam off after a hard week of classes. 

But once I entered the workforce, the dancing stopped. And when I would attend a wedding I would realize how much I missed it…dancing for dancing’s sake!  And I knew I needed much more of it in my life!  You know how the saying goes…dance like nobody’s watching you!

So, when an ’80s song comes on as we’re watching tv, I jump and groove, much to the dismay of the teens and the amusement of my husband. 

Mostly though, I dance to one one of my jams, while cleaning the house by myself! And while dancing I reconnect with the little ballerina, the high school cheerleader and burn off some stress!  Dancing reminds me to not take myself so seriously!

What about you?  Do you dance like nobody’s watching?  What are your favorite dance jams?

***** sorry for the crazy half done post before, Word Press doesn’t always “act” like it’s supposed to!!

Five Minute Friday | Doubt

Five Minute Friday | Doubt

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Doubt.  

Followers of Jesus usually don’t speak of their doubts. Christians are supposed to have All. The. Answers.  All. The. Time. But we have doubts…even if they remain unspoken.  

Having doubts doesn’t make us less of a believer…having doubts reveals our humanity.  Something inside us wants to explain difficult situations with a pithy phrase…God is in control.  Love wins.  God knows best.  These statements only show that the speaker is relying on her own humanity and not coming alongside her friend who is in the middle of pain, crisis, an unbelievable storm and struggling with doubt and struggling with God.

Many times as I struggled with doubt those Christian phrases left me cold. I brushed them off, feeling sad that these believers didn’t know God the way I did…journeying through a doubt filled struggle and how I turned to Him even in my doubt.   

In His Word I found my way to pray…Is anything too hard for God??? (Not, is anything too hard for God!!!!!) Are you the One who was to come or should we expect someone else? (From Jesus’ own cousin John the Baptist)  I do believe!  Help me (Jesus) overcome my unbelief! (Father of a boy with seizures, asking Jesus for healing)

Through my struggles in my faith I have learned this: 

God can take our doubts. Every time. 

And where I expressed my doubts God has met me there in the doubting and strengthened me. 

Have you talked to God about your doubts?  Has He revealed Himself to you through that struggle?  I’d love to hear how God has met you or if you’re doubting now.  

Five Minute Friday | Celebrate Your Day

Five Minute Friday | Celebrate Your Day

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Celebrate!  

Celebrate.  We celebrate the big moments of our lives pretty well…hand lettered invitations, gorgeous Pinterest worthy decor details and guests who arrive in their finest to celebrate the bride and groom, the expecting parents and the reveal of their baby’s gender, or even the first day of school!  

But what about the everyday?  Do we embrace and celebrate the ordinary days that aren’t soft focused, Pinterest worthy decor or well heeled guests?  What about celebrating the everydayness?

Like household chores…  

or small moments… 

  

or noticing the subtle changes that signal Fall is approaching… 

 

Small ordinary moments are worth celebrating!

We mostly live ordinary daily lives and occasionally can celebrate the big moments such as new life, families uniting and growing and a life well lived. But small moments are worth celebrating too!

God is in every moment.

Too often I long for something BIG in my life to happen, the next event, the next trip or conference to jot in my agenda. 

Something BIG already has happened though…salvation through Jesus!  A new life, forgiveness and purpose.  I can be small and ordinary and celebrate daily what Jesus has done and is doing through me!

I didn’t arrive at this revelation on my own. I owe it  to Emily P. Freeman’s latest book, Simply Tuesday, I can embrace my  ordinary life and celebrate my smallness!

  

And so I’ve been celebrating my smallness, my ordinariness, my every days and giving thanks to Him for being with me every moment. And what I’ve learned is this…

The more I celebrate my own small ordinary moments,  the more I can celebrate others’ big life defining moments. 

What does celebration look like to you? Do you celebrate the ordinary moments? Do you celebrate well others’ big moments?


Five Minute Friday | Say Yes and Figure It Out Later!

Five Minute Friday | Say Yes and Figure It Out Later!

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Yes!

 

Saying Yes! to my own God given abilities!
 

I love Tina Fey’s line…”Say Yes and figure it out later” because for too many years, I over analyzed everything…and it paralyzed my life. 

I would review all facts, opinions, statistics and see all the “nos” and obstacles and reasons why not to do …fill in the blank. And I would tell myself No.  I wasn’t permitted to have fun, joy, etc. 

That’s no way to live.

So…gradually and more recently in 2015 I’m saying YES! to many things and going with the flow and figuring it out later. 

Yes to travel.  I’m fortunate and blessed to have the luxury of time and means to travel and I’m saying YES! To travel. It’s a big world out there and in the past I turned down way too many opportunities to travel. No more. 

Yes to me.  Again, for far too long I sacrificed in my work and personal relationships in some crazy way to gain others’ approval and to show my loyalty, all to no avail.  No more. 

Yes to freedom in Jesus.  So many women are chasing such crazy standards of what’s been portrayed as godliness, perfect wife, etc. plus then overlay what’s expected from a female on church staff (my most recent position) and that’s an impossible burden which Jesus never asked me to carry.  In 2015 Jesus reminds me that His burden is easy and His load is light.  I’m saying YES! to Jesus all the way!

Yes to more laughter, joy and positive nonparanoid people in my life!  People you hang out with will rub off on you.  One day I realized I was immersed in an unhealthy culture of paranoia and negativity and once I was freed from it, saw everything clearly. I had became paranoid and negative myself because of my immersion in an unhealthy culture and now…so much joy and peace in my life!  Amen. 

Saying YES! has been such a game changer in my life this year. I take small trivial risks as well as bigger risks now. I allow myself to have fun.  My life’s still not perfect but it’s my life fully and completely and I’m loving the freedom and joy Christ has given me through this journey!

What are you saying YES to these days?  What’s been a game changer for you?  Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments!

Five Minute Friday | Alone

Five Minute Friday | Alone

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Alone. 

So many feet have traveled these cobblestones through the years and here I stand alone .

Alone can feel so, well, lonely.  Not only can one be alone physically in a crowded room, or geographically far from the maddening crowd; but, one can now be alone even while using social media. 

Alone can be healthy. Jesus left the crowds and his closest friends to go to the lonely places to spend time with the Father.  Jesus made time to be alone. Spending time alone is a necessary step in order to spend time with others. 

Alone can be freeing. We will all go through a season where everything is stripped away and you find yourself standing alone. Alone in the Truth. Alone in your circumstance. Alone. 

Alone can never be really alone. When we follow Jesus, we are never truly alone. Emmanuel, God with us. Always. And while we may feel alone at times, Jesus is standing with us. Giving us the strength to endure, persevere and continue standing. 

When everything’s stripped away, it’s surprising how clearly you see Jesus. Surprising how He’s not where you thought He was…in the “blessings” or the job or even in some once imagined godly leader…but in His Word, His Truth, His Presence. 

There’s beauty in the alone.  

Five Minute Friday | Finding My New Normal

Five Minute Friday | Finding My New Normal

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s link up and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is…Find

My latest prayer request, written a day before this word prompt!
 

As the hot, humid and itchy days of summer begin to move towards fall…I’m keenly aware that I’m in the middle of trying to find my new normal.

It began several months ago when I left my job and continues as my middle stepdaughter has moved into the dorm and my husband and I find ourselves  practically empty nesters. 

We got here fast. And though each life changing event has been positive and life giving;  still, the events produce a certain disequilibrium for me…how do I order my days, my weeks, my life now?

Thankfully, I haven’t lost my faith in God and am so grateful for His Grace and Mercy. Instead, during my prayer time, I am asking Him for the next step, next path, next road.

And what I hear Him speak, through his Word and the Holy Spirit,  is to continue to abide in Him and keep taking my daily small steps forward, trusting Him to reveal the bigger plan in His time. I’m learning to embrace  my smallness and let go of outcomes, as Emily P. Freeman puts it.

And so here I rest, my identity not in a title or a task, but being small and letting go of my expectations.  And during this time I have found that when I completely let go of outcomes, then I truly am trusting and fully putting my faith in Jesus

Five Minute Friday | Learn

On Fridays I join Kate Motaung’s linkup and with other writers write for 5 minutes on the weekly prompt. This Friday’s word is:  

This time of year, many are gathering school supplies from two page back to school lists, attending open houses in freshly cleaned classrooms, driving an overloaded car to set up a dorm room and posting  the first day of school photos on Facebook. 

We all expect our children to learn this bright and shiny new school year.  Learning does occur in classes but I have found that I learn the most when I experience painful life circumstances.  I’d much rather sign up for an elective class entitled The Problem of Evil, where I could passionately discuss pain, suffering & evil doers philosophically rather than be confronted with these real life events in my own life. 

You don’t forget what you learn when you walk through fire. 

  • I learn that God is real, my Protector and my Rescuer. 
  • I learn that those who wish you harm are sometimes those within your inner circle.  
  • I learn that when confronted with the painful reality,  not wishing things as I want them to be, is liberating for my soul and person. 
  • I learn that God’s burden is easy and light and the weight of what I was trying to carry thankfully gets left behind. 
  • I learn that I can shed what I thought was true and embrace the Truth with joy and peace. 

And I use the phrase “I learn…” because even though the event has past, I’m daily gaining knowledge of who I am and who God is. And I am thankful that I can learn through pain with such a loving Father. 

Have you ever gone through a season of hard learning through pain, suffering and/or evil doers?  What lessons did you learn and continue to learn?  

    Five Minute Friday | Free

    Five Minute Friday | Free

      

    Free. My earliest memory was squealing with delight when piled into our family paneled station wagon, the gas attendant (does anyone remember those?) would peer into the station wagon, count how many kids he spied, dig deep into his pockets and hand my dad 4 wrapped pieces of bubble gum. Bubble gum!!! And it was FREE because there was no way our parents would buy us 2 cent bubble gum at the store no matter how badly we pestered them.

    In 7th grade, free took on a different meaning when in the middle of President Reagan’s inaugural address he announced the Iranian hostages were freed!  Free!  We celebrated because our prayers had been answered!

    And nowadays the kid in me squeals with delight whenever I enter a restaurant or business and on front door are posted the magical words “Free Wi Fi”.  

    As a follower of Jesus I am free in Him.  It’s way more joyful than free bubble gum and it’s even more liberating than when the Iranian hostages were freed. And while free wi fi is valuable to me in my everyday life, the free I am in Jesus far exceeds The reach and capacity of the Internet.  Now to live it!