Rest

Random Musings, Writing

We woke up late again today. I was really excited about moving to the west coast for what I hoped was (finally!) an answer to my lack of early bird worms. The time change should work all that out.

But late nights don’t lend themselves to early mornings, no matter the time zone. Each day begins further behind. Gun missed, the race to catch-up has been underway for hours. I make coffee.

Accepting rest as ultimately flawed, I push on. I drink more coffee.

In these feeble attempts at wholeness, I am getting so tired of trying to fix the broken. In me. In others. In the world. So tired.

What is wrong with me? With us?

After all, what is late? Days, full and complete. School and work and meals and exercise, all checked. Rest and work and joy in equal measure.

I fear for us as people when our yardsticks of success are demarcated in busyness. Each score a real and visceral notch of exhaustion. We feel it in our bones. The drink of progress a brimming cup of blood and sweat and tears. Bottoms up. And we wonder why we’re so empty.

 

9am comes with the stirring of my beautiful oldest. When did she get so tall? So grown up? I glimpse the baby she was in her not quite awake face. I blink. She returns my smile, this lovely girl-woman.

Each new day greeted with joy. So much joy. I know teenagers are supposed to be moody and all, but giving her space to rest her growing body has been just what she needs.

This, I think, another reason to love homeschooling. We empower our children to declare and satisfy their own needs. For learning, for love, for rest.

 

And amidst trying to catch up I stop. I sit. And I catch my breath. For in this space of rest, peace dwells.

Walking

Faith & Spirituality, Random Musings, Writing

“You seem kinda sad lately.”

I guess I am, but not in a sad, sad sort of way. More of a brooding, a contemplation of sorts.

I miss my younger self, raison d’être blazing, a badge across my heart. I spend much more time waiting now. For what? Something? Anything? What I do doesn’t define who I am except when doing is all that gets done.

Deep within my soul, kindling waits for courage. Each individual spark of promise drowned in a slow steady drizzle of fear and rationality. I know He carries burdens, but their weight is such a familiar comfort in my arms.

I must find the sacred in the everyday, but some days are decidedly less sacred. The promise whispers still, “There is something more. You are something more. This is something more.”

Something more but a glimpse, heaven meeting earth in a sink of dirty dishes. Rejoicing in the enough of my Heavenly Father’s provision demands not settling, but embracing.

I can’t give my life away if I never embrace it for the gift it is. For me, for the Kingdom, all at once. This beautiful and holy existence, both in spite of and because.

The time has come to walk, each step strengthening my stride, flint striking steel.

Just Give Me a Sign

Faith & Spirituality, Random Musings

“Why did you move to Oregon?”

This week, I’m not really sure.

If you would have asked me a few weeks ago, before we left, I would have told you we were chasing down a God-planted dream. We felt led out west, I’d say confidently. Anything, anywhere, we told God. And He answered. There must be some reason.

The money was less, but it offered so much more. He will provide.

We accepted. But then I lost my contract, a decent chunk of our income. It was too late to recant.

He will provide.

We drove seven states in three days. Over mountains and through some of the prettiest country this land has to offer. I was so excited.

We actually did it. This thing we’d be thinking about, praying about, dreaming about, happened. We were here.

Then, that was it. We were just here.

And it doesn’t look anything like I had imagined.

We left family, friends, our neighborhood and church all to follow, to obey. So where was the spark, this illumination where God lined everything up to be just like it was, only here?

In this perceived silence, doubt sings her hopeless song.

 

We made it to church yesterday. After deliberating since we got here about where to even go (introversion and less than desirous decision-making skills + no lightbulb moments), we decided to just go back to the church we had tried on our house hunting trip.

It wasn’t our church. It didn’t feel like home. I like everything to fit, make sense. So while my brain tried to get everything to line up, I simply prayed for a sign. Any sign. Just let me know you hear me.

The sermon was on Peter getting out of the boat to follow Jesus. “Where did we get the idea that for things to be God’s will, it should be easy, with everything working out just so?” The pastor continued, “What if we started thinking and truly believing this, ‘I am exactly where God wants me to be right now,’ to shape and mold and develop me.”

What if instead of trying to figure out what’s next, I accept right now. Instead of ceaseless striving, I say, enough. Maybe instead of operating from a position of trying to help God, I become low, allowing Him to rescue me.

My youngest runs out, hugging me, “I love it here! They sang all of my favorite VBS songs! Can we come back next week?”

And so I’m realizing that perhaps it was not a sending, but the going that God had planned all along.

And through it all, He will provide.

Our First Apartment

Faith & Spirituality, Random Musings

So we signed a lease for our very first apartment this week. What is generally a monumental step of independence for young adults and met with much rejoicing, well, sucked. Not going to lie, there were tears. It was just so beige. So impersonal. So not how it was supposed to be. There’s carpet.

But when you sell your house (in FIVE DAYS!), because you feel God is leading you on an adventure of His making, sometimes there is a middle. A layover of sorts. And in every middle, you can be assured there is a reason. Coincidentally, before the ink on the lease (or my tears) even dried, I read THIS. And oh, did I just get it. I didn’t necessarily like it, but I got it.

The writer shares Isaiah 45:2: “I myself will go before you, and I will level the mountains. I will shatter bronze doors; I will cut through iron bars,” before going on to say, “When I am not patient I do not trust God, and I end up running into mountains that God has not prepared me for yet.

Just because there is waiting doesn’t mean it’s not part of God’s plan. We’re not waiting on a job or a house or anything other than God. We are waiting on God Himself to make clear our path. Kind of a game changer, right?

Romans 8:26-28 {MSG} states: Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Even when I feel tired of waiting, and ready to give up, God’s faithfulness endures. Thus my response must be:

  1. Pride I’m not above living anywhere God calls me. “So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come.” {Hebrews 13:13-14, MSG} Where I live this side of heaven matters not.
  2. Praise – For God is good, no matter my earthly circumstances, and deserving of my worship. The quick sale of our home, the way He goes before us, leveling mountains. All things will be worked out for our good and His glory.
  3. Practice – It’s all good and well to say I have faith until I actually have to step out. Selling our home without seeing what’s next was *ahem* scary, but faith requires action and trust requires continuing to move forward. My faith is lived out when I’m open to what He’s called me to. As a Christ-follower, all of our life is to be lived out according to His leading. There is Kingdom work to be done no matter where we are, both situationally and physically.
  4. Presence & Preparation – In this season of waiting it would be so easy to give in to fear and anxiety, but God has given me such a gift in the layover. The work of preparing the house to sell is over, apartment living has its conveniences. I need to take advantage of this resting place and abide in God’s holy presence so I am ready for what comes next.

So, in this waiting, in this in-between:

“Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful.” {Hebrews 10:23, VOICE}

And I will not doubt that God will deliver on all He promised, in His perfect timing, for our good and His glory.

I don’t want some online friends or acquaintances or followers,
who see my best side when I want them to,
the girl I wish I was.
 
I want to have real friends,
friends who are brave and let it get messy.
Real friends bare their souls, and share clothes.
Weaving stories, sometimes over wine.
They don’t judge if you act crazy or cry ugly.
They do life with.
 
I want those friends.
Who not only pick up the pieces,
but come alongside with the glue.
Friends who don’t just love me anyway,
but love me because. 
 
AS
Girl Power, Poetry, Random Musings, Writing

A Letter to Myself

Faith & Spirituality, Girl Power, Random Musings, Writing

My long-awaited Golden Birthday is tomorrow. It seems so weird that it’s almost here. Your thirties are so far away for so long that all of a sudden you’re thirty, which I suppose counts as actually being in your thirties {gulp}, and the clock still chimes on.

It’s not so bad, honestly. I am far happier at 30 than when I was 20. I can’t say I’m necessarily happier at 30 than 10, because it’s judged on an entirely different scale of relevance. Happiness at 10 was ice cream and thunderstorms and days off school, while happiness at 30 is well, ice cream and thunderstorms and days off work (plus the hubs, the kiddos, and of course, wine). So maybe it’s altogether not that different.

IMG_3629

And here on the eve of my Golden Birthday, I thought I would write a letter to myself. Random musings about things I wished I knew way back when and notes of things I hope to never forget as that grand clock chimes ever on.

To my funny 11 year-old self, 

You are you, and that is enough. What you like today is not fundamentally different from what you’ll like at 31. You’ll try to convince yourself after high school that you are a completely different person, but then you’ll spend most of your twenties realizing that you’re still you and re-discovering all of the things you used to (and still) love.

You are perfect the way God created you. No boy or job or degree or amount of money or change in appearance will ever make you a better you or complete you in any way. I’m so glad you decided to like yourself early on, because it saved you so much trouble down the road. Don’t ever stop liking yourself, because you are so worthy of being liked. Never stop wandering and wondering. (Your daughters love those stories best). 

P.S. You do end up figuring out what a mortgage is and how to live apart from your Mom, so don’t waste your tears on what tomorrow holds. Also, eating Golden Grahams for every meal and living in squalor has far less appeal than you imagine. 

To my striving 21 year-old self, 

Stop. Breathe. Relax. Your twenties are a decade, not the Bucket List for your entire life. You don’t need an MBA or to run marathon or drive a fancy car and you certainly don’t need them RIGHT NOW. These things take time, money, and effort that were better spent elsewhere. You made some bad choices, but overall, you mostly made good ones. 

This is going to be a confusing decade for you, because you’re going to spend time convincing yourself that you need so much more to be happy, to be complete. You’re going to buy into the lie that you’re not enough on your own. God’s work in progress won’t be good enough or fast enough for you. You will strive in vain. 

Don’t consider these years a waste, though, because you were learning. Learning that your purpose is not wrapped in your job or your education or your status. You’ll learn that your purpose is found in God alone, and He already has your life planned out for you. Anything that deviates from His plan is not meant to be. That which He desires for you, He will make known, so seek Him first. They are plans that give you a hope and a future.

Trust me, it’s going to be okay. 

To my 31 year-old self, 

Happy Golden Birthday! You’ve waited all your life for today and at last, here it is.

You’re starting to pursue your purpose; funny that it lies in your strengths and the things that have always brought you joy. Keep listening for His voice as you discern your steps. This year, don’t get discouraged! Have more amazing adventures, make more time to write, and try to get more sleep. (Maybe you can finally kick that caffeine addiction you picked up in your twenties).  

Slow down. Step back. Take a break from technology. Your “babies” are growing up way too fast. Kiss them and that handsome husband of yours. (You already can’t remember what he looked like without that mustache). Hold them tight and make memories and messes and create a life and a legacy of love. Show them what it means to have a joy-filled mom. One who builds  forts with all the couch pillows for movie day and sings silly songs about them and looks into their ever-watchful eyes as they speak.

And no matter where this decade takes you, hold fast to the promise you have in Jesus Christ. He alone is your hope. He alone is your future. Set His words as the mantlepiece of your home and the cornerstone of your heart. In this life there will certainly be sorrow and uncertainty, but Jesus remains the rock on which you stand firm. Grow in Him, know Him more, and cling to Him for the remainder of your days. 

May this be the best year, the best decade, the best life lived yet.

Vulnerability

Faith & Spirituality, Random Musings

I listened to Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on Vulnerability today. It’s amazing, it’s only 20 minutes long, and if you haven’t yet seen it, CLICK HERE and watch it now. She speaks to the fact that as humans our greatest desire stems from being connected. As a psychologist and researcher, Brown’s studies pointed to that fact that connection is why we humans are neuro-biologically here.

Yet, she goes on to state that we cannot achieve true connection without the vulnerability of allowing ourselves to be fully seen and known. When we are ashamed of ourselves and ashamed of who we are, we intrinsically feel that we are not worthy of connection. Those who have the courage to be imperfect are generally the people that have the greatest sense of self and of belonging. They love themselves, so they’re able to love others.

I thought her talk was especially fascinating when placed in the framework of my own Christian perspective. Here we are, as human beings, desperately created for and seeking connection. Why? Because we were made as relational beings, hard-wired to relate to and enter into community with our God, who also just so happens to be a relational being.

And our greatest desire stems from being known; yet, we so often reject the one who knows us better than anyone.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

Isn’t it interesting that as soon as Adam & Eve tasted the fruit in the garden, breaking community with God, they hid? They no longer wanted Him to know them. And they’re not alone. We all hide. Out of shame, out of brokenness and regret and hurt, we construct our walls high. But God ever pursues us. Knowing full well that Adam & Eve had betrayed Him, the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)

And that shame, that brokenness, the ugliness we feel we bear means nothing to the one who knows us, because it was already nailed to a cross. It’s not too late. Don’t let shame keep you from a relationship with Jesus. Be brave, be vulnerable, and accept that you can’t do it on your own.

God will not stop pursuing, but we do have to stop running and hiding.

Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me
where I go, always, everywhere.
Psalm 23:6a {The Voice}