I’ve been jotting down some ideas on what I want to accomplish in 2017 for the past few weeks. Usually after Christmas myself and a few friends sit down together to map out our goals and drams for the new year.
Here’s what I know I don’t want to happen. I don’t want a year of busyness without something tangible to show for it. Actually, that’s a trick statement. I believe if we live life so busy we don’t know which way we’re going, good fruit doesn’t come from that.
As you look back on 2016, how do you feel about the year overall? Did you see good fruit? Were you too busy? Did you get sidetracked on accomplishing your goals? Was life just way too much to keep up with?
Here’s a secret: Maybe you’re making it harder than it’s supposed to be.
Several weeks ago I attended the funeral of a family friend. As I sat there listening to the preacher honor her, my heart sank looking around the room. Less than 40 people showed up.
I looked at the pictures her family had pasted to the whiteboards standing around the room. She was smiling, of course. Each photograph portrayed beautiful memories of a life well lived – dancing, bowling, cooking, posing with grandkids and great-grandkids.
I knew there was no doubt a period of happiness in her life, those pictures proof of a joy-filled time in her life. But what I remembered about her wasn’t that season of her life. I remembered the bitter, broken heart that often spewed venomous words. As I looked at the pictures again I found myself wishing I could remember the happy memories.
With Thanksgiving approaching in just a few days, perhaps you’re thinking of all the extra things you’re thankful for – family, friends, your job, and Grandma’s banana pudding pie (maybe that’s just me).
But what happens when Thursday is over and the dedicated day to be thankful won’t come again for another year? Can we still have hearts of gratitude? Can we follow the advice of Paul in 1 Thessalonians and give thanks for everything? I hope so.
Have you ever wondered how some of the people who inspire you most stay so successful? So positive? I would bet for starters they view life with a heart of gratitude.
This picture has 128 years of combined history behind it. Three women who’ve endured heartaches, tragedies, blessings, love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and redemption are the creators of this beautifully shattered heart.
If you’ve never taken the time to grab a plate or two or five or ten and shatter them on the ground, oh, my friend, you’ve got to make that happen! There’s something so invigorating about letting go without a care in the world and watching that plate shatter into a million tiny pieces before your eyes. Call me and I’ll come do it with you.
This is part three in a series of my latest journey with God. Click here to read the first post
, ‘They Say I Had a Stroke,’ and here to read the second post
, “Saying Goodbye to Dolly Parton.”
Humility is a powerful thing. Sometimes we ask for it. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it. I’ve experienced my fair share in the last few months, both solicited and unsolicited. God’s grace has been prevalent in both. What a humbling season God has walked me through.
Friends drove me to doctor’s appointments. Others let me cook a meal at their house so Caleb and I could have a break from eating at the restaurant every night. Another let me do laundry at her house. We went to the home of others to eat a meal around their family table. For a time I lost my ability to even park a car or drive farther than a 10-mile radius. (I broke that rule once and learned it was a very, very bad idea.) I did laundry at a friend’s house.
This is part two in a series of my latest journey with God. Click here to read the first post
, ‘They Say I Had a Stroke,’ to follow the journey.
I’d hit my breaking point, again, at least for that morning. My blow dryer stopped working in the midst of trying to fix my hair, and I cried another river of tears. Seriously? Seriously? My blow dryer? The one day I’d actually decided to put makeup on and do something with my hair. The one day I was trying to feel normal, whatever that looked like.
I called a friend and through my tears said, “I can’t do this. I’m not cut out for this. I’m tired. I don’t know what to do. And my freaking blow dryer won’t work!” She listened. She validated. She prayed with me, and I was calm again.
This is part one in a three part series of my latest journey with God. Click here to read the second post
, “Saying Goodbye to Dolly Parton,” and here for the final post
, “That Time God Healed Me.”
It’s 4:07 am. I’ve been awake for a while now, praying, journaling, hanging with God. I seem to struggle with sleep more so lately than I have in a long time, but I’m learning to embrace these early mornings. God is using them to create some beautiful, intimate time between us. I do a lot of praying in the middle of the night these days, so if you have any requests, feel free to send them my way.
It’s been three months since I’ve been able to write. I am more grateful to be typing these words out right now than you may ever know. Grateful God is restoring the gift of connecting words in my brain and bringing them to life. I’ve feared and wondered if that’s something that would ever happen again.
Isn’t it amazing how God is always putting the puzzle pieces of this life together, and often times it takes years before we even see how the pieces connect? Let me tell you a story.
I was eight years old, sitting around the kitchen table during a weekend visit to my dad’s house. I heard this unfamiliar voice come on the radio, and within seconds, my life was forever changed.
You’ve heard the rhyme a thousand times… (Oh wait.. I think I just made that sentence a rhyme.)
“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”
Malarkey! Anyone who’s ever been on the other end of a hurtful comment or condescending remark knows that’s one of the most ludicrous statements ever made.
Recently at Celebrate Recovery we were discussing Step 5 of the 12 steps: We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Celebrate Recovery often uses acrostics in their lessons, and the N in “Confess” stands for no more guilt. As the leader continued with the lesson, these words stuck out to me:
“We no longer have to follow the rearview mirror way of living.”
It made me think of a song I wrote 5 years ago called “So Long Insecurity.” I wrote it around the same time as Beth Moore’s book So Long Insecurity was released.