Lost?

FMF | Lost

I can’t see where we’re going right now. We keep taking the next steps forward, but the destination — even the length of the road — is shrouded in fog.

Yet, I don’t think we’re lost.  Nope, I don’t feel lost at all.

I don’t know why the road we’re on is so long and slow.  I wish my life’s GPS would tell me how long until our destination.  I wish I could know for sure that disappointments are temporary and not full stops.

Even so, we’re not really lost.

We’re on the road He’s planned for us.  We’re making the progress as He allows.  We can’t see the whole map, but we’re not really the ones in charge of the directions.

We’d only be lost without a Leader.

If I’m lost in anything, it’s trust.  I’m so deep in trusting my heavenly Father that I can’t see out of it.  I can’t see beyond it because it stretches too far.  I wouldn’t even know how to choose another road.  Charlie, more so than me, is lost in hope, I think.  I can still sometimes glimpse the exit for hopelessness, but he seems firm.  Thankfully, we’re on this road together.

“You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me.”  Psalm 139:5

You surround us, so if we’re ever lost in anything, it’s only You.

 

Almost already done

Time isn’t very logical.

Days feel long. It makes sense that months of long days would feel long too. Yet months always feel a little shorter. Years — they fly. Fast.

It washed over me the other day that our travel nursing time is over. It’s been more than a year, but sometimes I still freshly remember that we won’t do that anymore. No more waking on Tuesday to head to the ocean without a plan. We’ve already ridden over the bridge, surprised the moose, picked the fall apples, and fallen asleep next to the fire in Maine. We’ve already done it. We waited and waited to get started and we’re already done.

I remember days when Charlie was at the hospital and I didn’t have anywhere to volunteer for whatever reason. Those days felt so slow sometimes. Yet all together, they flew by so fast.

We’re waiting again for the next chapter in our family. The days feel long as our hearts stay full to the brim with love that’s longing for a new place to grow. But I know in time (whenever that is), I’ll find myself saying, “I can’t believe the waiting’s already done.”

The waiting days feel long, but I’m hoping their season will somehow feel short.

It seems to work like that.

Not Nothing

FMF | Nothing

Five Minute Fridays — a weekly writing flash mob designed to keep the words coming, no editing, over-thinking, or perfecting allowed!

Nothing can mean emptiness or it can mean resolve. I’m going to choose resolve.

As in, “Nothing can separate me from You.”

Nothing can convince me You don’t hear us. Nothing can persuade me that You won’t be good to us. Nothing can make me believe You aren’t here.

My body feels empty some days. There’s nothing in that place where we long for something.

But my heart is not empty because You live there.  There is not nothing because there is always You.  And You are everything.

This week, You reminded us that You hear our cry and are moving us forward.  You proved to me that there is not nothing at the end of our prayers.  There is You.  Because You are with us and because You love us, our hearts and our souls will always be alive with hope.

The things I don’t want to admit

There are things about God that I believe are true, just as I believe that the sun will rise.

I believe His timing is perfect. I believe His will is best.

Sometimes though, I don’t want to admit those two things. They’re easy to affirm when we’re not waiting in tears and frustration. But when we’re sitting on the side of our bed sobbing on what sometimes feels like a dead end road, I don’t want to admit that His timing is perfect. I don’t want to admit that His will is best.

To my fragile heart, affirming those things lets in the painful possibilities that His timing will have us waiting even longer and that His will may be very different from what is in our hearts. If I believe those things, then I have to open myself to the possibility that we are on a long road.

It feels like accepting those truths about God might leave the door open to more heartache, more frustration, more disappointment and more tears.

Yet, my tired heart also believes God is good. It also believes He loves us.

His goodness and love are the hope that push us forward each day. When we don’t want to acknowledge that His road looks so different from ours, we’re able to keep walking it because we trust Him more than ourselves.

Some days we fall apart. I’ve done that enough to know there’s a sweetness in letting Him hold you together. Some intimacies with Him are only experienced sobbing on the side of the bed.

Easter People

FMF | Glue

Five Minute Fridays — a weekly writing flash mob designed to keep the words coming, no editing, over-thinking, or perfecting allowed!


Lent is a time for brokenness.  A time for realizing how flawed we are within ourselves, leaving us humbled.

This Lent has been really powerful for Charlie and me.  We’ve had three specific situations that have been difficult over the last couple of months — things that frustrated, confused, and saddened us.  We had been praying about them for awhile, but it just seemed like they all reached their peak of stress around the same time.

Then we realized we hadn’t truly surrendered them to the Lord.  Though we were praying, we still weren’t approaching them from a place of total surrender.

As we talked one night on the couch, we realized that we had come to the end of what we could offer to the situations.  We were out of ideas and out of strength.  We gave these broken things to the Lord, because we finally saw that we hadn’t truly released them to Him.

Then He came.

He came and began glueing broken pieces back together through His love and grace.  He literally turned one struggle around in a day.  Another, he brought opportunity after opportunity in an area of our lives that has felt bone dry.  In the last place, He brought unspeakable hope in the form of a phone call.

We were broken, and He allowed us to persist in our own ability because He wanted us to come to the end of ourselves.  We didn’t realize we were even doing this until we found ourselves exhausted and still unfulfilled.

I think it’s so sweet that He allowed us to start Lent deep in these struggles.  He showed us our need for Him as we gradually approached Easter.  He brought hope, life and strength into areas that were beginning to feel dead — and what a special time to realize He does that for us every day throughout our entire lives.

As I sit here on this Good Friday, I’m so grateful that Jesus allowed Himself to be broken so that He could become the glue that holds us together.  We are truly Easter people.

 

New Clothes

When we visit my grandmother, she occasionally likes to take us shopping for new clothes.  I used to protest because we always go to more expensive stores than I normally shop at, but I’ve realized it pleases her to spoil us a little.  When I open my closet back home, it is a treat to choose the new things that are prettier and more well made than what I normally purchase for myself.

But I also notice that after a few weeks, I begin choosing my old clothes more often.  Even though they look a little drab compared to the new, they’re comfortable because I’ve worn them so often.  I know just how they fit, I know just how to mix and match them, I just know them.  As pretty as the new things always are, they’re a little stiff since they’re new.  And sometimes it’s just easier to go with what I know and what’re more comfortable in the moment, especially when I’m tired or busy.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  Colossians 3:12

God tells us in Colossians that He has chosen us out of love to be new creations in Him.  We are to put off our old selves — for me, my easily irritated, impatient, perfectionist, anxious, sarcastic self — and clothe ourselves with things that look more like Jesus.  As Isaiah 61:10 says, Jesus is literally giving us His robes of righteousness.  This is expensive.  These new clothes came at a cost I could never afford myself, in that Christ died to give them to me.

Just like the clothes my grandmother gives us, I should revel in these new traits.  I should be throwing off my old self to slip into the more radiant, more beautiful clothes of Christ.

But just like with my actual clothes, my heart begins to fall back into what I know.  What’s comfortable.  What is my go-to when I’m too tired, too busy, too stressed to make a better choice.  I leave His beautiful clothes untouched sometimes because it’s just easier to do what I know.

But God is not going to dress me Himself.  Sometimes I wish He would.  I pray to be more patient, more loving, more content as if I think He will magically transform my heart with no effort on my part.

e64c28eaf4e01a116734c405eca38878

But what I see in Colossians is the truth that these things come as the result of my choosing them.  Jesus gives them to me freely, but I have to choose to put them on.

Even when I’m tired, even when I’m stressed, I have to choose to wear the new clothes and not slip into the old.  Because let’s face it: the old clothes are ugly.  They’re worn thin and aren’t attractive to anybody.  The new clothes will never wear out.  They’re beautiful and attractive to people looking for kindness, mercy, love and forgiveness.

So my prayer is no longer for God to dress me.  He’s already provided new clothes of righteousness.  My prayer now is for the strength and presence of heart to choose not to think and act in the comfortable, old ways, but to choose to put on the new things of Christ every moment, trusting that they will become more and more comfortable with daily wear.

“I delight greatly in the Lord;  my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

Mighty Good

FMF | Mighty

Five Minute Fridays — a weekly writing flash mob designed to keep the words coming, no editing, over-thinking, or perfecting allowed!


Picture1

“The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save.”  Zephaniah 3:17

He is with me and He is mighty.

He is mighty to save me from anxiety and depression.

He is mighty to save me from the sin that took years from my life.

He is mighty to save me from selfishness, pride and worry.

He has been mighty in my life. I am up against a struggle right now, and I think I need to be reminded that He is mighty. I need to look back and testify to my own heart about His strength, His power and His goodness. Because He is mighty in His goodness!

If we just had a little more…

What he said: “I need an MRI.”

What it meant: “I need a simple test that will turn out to cost us a lot of money at a time when our car insurance premiums are due and we’re trying to save for something else.”

I’m grateful for that MRI. It showed that Charlie’s rotator cuff in his shoulder was not torn after all, which is a HUGE praise. The pain he’s been experiencing for years isn’t the result of a tear and it’s something we can manage when it flares up. That is a huge blessing.

But a few weeks after receiving the wonderful news that he doesn’t need surgery, we received the bill for the blessed MRI that told us that fact.

I did not receive that bill with the same gratitude that I received the test result.  My mind cycled through frustrated, worried thoughts.  Why is this test so stinking expensive? Why is it that we can’t seem to make headway on our savings goals lately? I’m grateful we have enough each month to pay for the things that keep coming up, but I’d really like to be storing up more extra money than we are for some other things.

“Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15

Oh.

Thanks, Lord. Seriously, I needed that reminder in the early morning quiet this morning.

After this verse comes the parable of the rich man who tore down his barns in order to build bigger barns to store all of his excess stuff in. After he stored away more than he needed, it says he finally relaxed. He had provided more than enough for himself, so he felt his burdens were relieved. Then the Lord told him his life was required that very night.  What do his extra possessions matter now?

The man was hoping that by having more than he needed, he would never be burdened.  God was saying that the relief of burdens is not in the possessions.

I struggle with the idea that if we just had a little more, my mind would be at ease. The hopes we have for our future would feel more attainable.  But what future am I imagining in which God will not provide what we need as we need it?  What faith do I have that I’m asking Him to give us more than we need right now “just in case?”

Life is not found in having more than we need for the present. Faith is not found in storing up provision “just in case” God doesn’t come through in the future.

Life is found in seeking God first.   Faith is found in acknowledging God as our Provider and trusting that when future needs arise, so will future provisions.

In this moment, I’m thankful that God provides for us to have the medical care we need. I trust that as we continue to seek Him first and be good stewards of His provisions, He will provide for us in the things we hope for on our horizon.  

Five Minute Fridays | Crowd

Crowd.

We are normally in crowds of people like us, aren’t we? It’s crowded at church, crowded at the high school basketball game, and crowded in Wal-mart (ok, maybe not always like us!).

But as we got in line for a music festival in Berkeley two summers ago, we were in a different crowd. Suddenly I felt old. We liked all these bands. We knew all these bands. We weren’t out of touch. But suddenly, 28 felt old next to the 19-year-olds dressing like Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell. When did acid wash, Mom-butt shorts come back in style?? Where did they get my neon sunglasses from 2nd grade? Am I really old enough to have my childhood fashions being paraded in front of me as hip again??

Inside, as we listened to some of our favorite songs played by our favorite bands, a distinct smell overtook this crowd. It’s hard to mistake and harder to escape. We kept manuevering around the smoke, avoiding all the teenagers with “chronic pain” and “anxiety” who were being medicated on this fine, Saturday morning in the shadow of the hills.

We were unexpectedly out of our comfort zone. I spent part of that day watching the crowd. Growing up in a small Southern town, I felt totally different from these Berkeley kids.

The whole day definitely made for a very “San Francisco” experience, but I have to admit: I was happy to get back to my uncrowded car, turn on our XM radio, and hear all our favorite bands as we drove home to the suburbs.

music