Category Archives: Motivation

The Wingman

By definition, this word has a couple, different meanings.  I need you to get the urban dictionary connotation out of your mind for a few moments to hear this important message.

I often have words on my mind before I pray…before I even ask God for something to share.  More often than not, I will have just a couple words that end up turning into a chapter in what I hope will some day become a book.  This morning…

Wingman

This couldn’t be from God, or could it?  I mean, the God whose been a part of my life certainly has a sense of humor…maybe He’s just trying to make me laugh.  I had to humor him and sit down to my computer to find out what both the silly dictionaries and the reliable ones said about this word.

Wingman…Wingman…Wingman…

Over and over again. I pictured Aubrey.  What? Yes, I pictured my daughter.  I paused and opened a letter she had written to me for just this moment.  I wrote in my journal about how I loved my husband for loving her so much.  I reflected on the wonderful day the three of us just had yesterday, which I could re-live over and over again.

That’s when it hit me.  I’m a wingman! Not in the bar scene sense.  Not in the military sense.  But in the take the military definition and apply it to life sort of sense.  WOW!

I was on to something here.

By dictionary.com’s definition:

Wingman: a pilot in a plane that flies just outside and behind the right wing of the leading aircraft in a flight formation, in order to provide protective support.

Her whole life, I’ve been in the lead, hoping to set the right example, taking the right steps (and sometimes the wrong ones too), giving orders (sometimes a little too often), helping her to reflect on things, learn from situations, and essentially  see things my way in hopes that she gathers enough from our deep conversations to make informed decisions in life. 

As her mom and her best friend, I don’t want her to fail.  But I’m reasonable and know that sometimes that will happen.  I want her to have the strength, the confidence, and the skills to make it through those moments where the outcome isn’t favorable, even if it is just spending money on something that you realize later wasn’t worth it.  These moments could contain BIG things  or small ones but in each lies a lesson that she will eventually pass on to her child(ren).  In some delicate way (or not so delicate if she has “off” days like I sometimes do) she will share this very situation with the next generation, maybe even a few words of wisdom I’ve given her with the flare she’s added all on her own.  It’s a cycle that is often like the game “phone” where words are passed from person to person but instead of the final person sharing a message that sounds nothing like what started off, it’s going to be something profound, life-giving and meaningful.

Every day she opens a letter I’ve written for her so that the entire 25 days we’re apart, she’ll know how much I love her, even though I’m sure she already has a pretty good idea 😉

I didn’t want to be sentimental on every single one, but I found myself writing life lessons from Day 1.  It wasn’t my intention, but it happens.

It always happens.

Whether she asks for it or not, I give advice, I share my thoughts and, if I’ve been in a similar situation, maybe even tell her what I did.  If I’m lucky, she thinks I came out alright and takes my advice.  If I’m faithfilled, I know that what I’ve shared will be taken with a grain of salt and used to do with it what will work best for her.

Ah…then there were other letters…when I realized how grown she’d become.  She’s much like me in ways such as maturity, forward-thinking and independent.  She’s a free spirit too, one that I look at and thank GOD for giving her more of the good qualities of mine than the not-so-favorable.

Wingman

It’s been 15 days so far since she’s been gone and all I can think about is how proud I am, how blessed we are as a family, and how I know she’s going to be more than just fine.  You see, my job thus far has been so important.  As her mom, I was blessed with a role that would mold and shape her into someone who would more than handle anything.

She’s far surpassed that.  She’s taken what I’ve shared with her and ran with it, in such a way that she knows how to develop the right kind of relationships.  She has a faith that is strong, that she’s not afraid to share with anyone.  And for the most part, she doesn’t really care what people think of her.  Many of the lessons I’ve taught her, she’s put her own spin on to teach the teacher.  What an amazing experience!

I knew that there would be a step forward at some point, when I would realize it was time for her to take the lead.  I knew she’s been there for some time now but I failed to see that with her in the lead, there was now a new role for me…

Wingman

In order for her to lead the formation of her life, I had to let her be in the lead plane.  I had to slow down and take a secondary role where I would compliment her while still protecting her.  My part had to change so hers could grow stronger.

I read an excerpt from a blog posting about being a wingman and it was SO TRUTHFUL right in the midst of our very situation.

The writer says that there are three qualities that make up being a good wingman:

  • Mutual supportThe best leaders expect wingmen to be on the lookout for threats to the formation and empower wingmen to intervene and keep the formation safe. This isn’t always comfortable, but it is always the right thing to do and an expectation that should be created in everyone. Of course, to intervene and provide support to a teammate, it’s necessary to first sense a problem.
  • Situational awarenessnot just of one’s own situation, but that faced by teammates. From the day anyone in any walk of life joins a team, no action or inaction — positive or negative — is free of consequence  for  teammates.   This means every team member must know where s/he is in time, space, and circumstance, but also remain aware of the situations confronted by teammates, and how individual actions might impact group dynamics.
  • Individual reliabilityIf each individual meets expectations and is always in position, the formation will spend less energy on mutual support and more energy on making the enemy suffer. 

Although the writer was quite literally discussing qualities of a pilot, he hit the nail on the head, explaining who was now.  It’s time for me to take a position as part of her team, but no longer leading the formation.  I couldn’t have found a better way to explain the position I am now in as her mother, her friend, her wingman.

When I got to Individual reliability, I was floored.  In that moment, God brought it all together.  He used this analogy in such a way that by point three, I was realizing that my job wasn’t over — it never will be over.  In order to be a good wingman, I have to continually work on myself as well.  I can’t slow down or lag behind.  I have to be the example, even if I’m no longer in the lead.  And I have to help my team stay in formation by taking up a role that will make us stronger to fight the enemy that tries to attack us each and every day.

He comes in the form of thoughts in our minds…but he’s different to everyone.  We are attacked where we’re weakest and trust me, he’ll never stop trying to find the weak spot in your formation.

We have an armor of protection (Eph. 6: 10-18) that we need to clothe ourselves with daily but we also need to remain in formation.

So now what’s next?  That’s not up to me.  I know my role is just as important to her now as it ever was before.  But accountability is key; moreso than ever before.  Holding myself accountable to take the position as wingman seriously will do wonders for her when it’s time for her to do the same for her daughter/son.

Deep breathe.  Sigh.  Close my eyes.  Do it all over again.

I’m confident that this shift in formation was with perfect timing.

I’m comfortable with where she is in life.

I’m blessed beyond belief to have been a part of it all thusfar.

And I’m looking forward to all the years ahead.

Baby girl, you have no idea what’s in store.  When I say you’re going to do great things, I believe it to be true!

Continue to take it all in.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Be you.  Be the best you.  Take notes.  Love big.  Love forever.  Love life. Live life.  Judge no one.  Stay true to your beliefs.  Honor God.  Honor your family.  Use your faith to battle your weaknesses.  And always, always, always, know that I love you so incredibly much.

Love,

Mom aka your wingman

Read the full wingman blog post HERE

Come To A Complete Stop

When you hear those 5 words, what do you think of? A stop sign, right? Maybe those of you teaching your teenager to drive are specifying what they should say or do to know how long is long enough to stop.
 
As adults, most of us don’t practice what we preach in that scenario. Coming to a complete stop has meant pulling up to the stop sign, looking both ways quickly while we gently roll through it. We’ve made our own definition of stopping and, so far, it’s worked quite well.
 
What if traffic was going so fast in the opposite direction and the stop sign only pertained to the way you were headed? You couldn’t just work your way into traffic going full speed in the opposite direction. Considering your limited number of options, you’re forced to stop.
 
Now let’s talk about life. How fast have you been going? Are you noticing what’s going on around you? Who needs what? Where are you headed? Do you even have a clear direction? Are you going so fast that you don’t even know yesterday from the last?
 
We’ve all done this. Some of you have been here before, others are there now. You’ve begun to roll through the signs telling you to STOP. Signs such as exhaustion, weight gain/loss, irritability, lack of sleep, lack of or over abundance of emotion, forgetfulness, sickness, and the list goes on and on. There are signs everywhere, telling us to slow down but eventually, we will come to a crossroad where we must stop.
 
Hear me out on this one folks…
 
There are some times that we need someone to tell us to STOP. We need to heed their advice for our safety as well as others out there on the road. If we’re not careful, we could injure ourselves or others along the way. Unintentionally, by not giving ourselves any time to stop, we are making the road more difficult to travel than it should be. Just because we ignore the stop signs, doesn’t mean we’re going to get there any faster — or at all if we keep up the pace we’re going.
 
Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still, and know that I am God;"
 
It’s a verse we can use in so many different ways but in this case, we need to stop and really hear those words.
 
Stop worrying if everyone has everything.
 
Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
 
Stop trying to be everywhere at the same time.
 
Stop trying to do everything.
 
Stop trying to be a part of everything that’s going on.
 
Stop worrying if you have enough and just know that you ARE enough!
 
God didn’t put you here on this earth to run yourself ragged. He didn’t intend for your purpose to be, “work yourself to death.” He also didn’t decide that you were the one that was going to do all of the things that could easily be done by several people. Look around. Do you enjoy what you see? Are you taking the time to truly enjoy what you see?
 
Take a look at this picture. My love for cows is the reason we came to a complete stop to take this photo. I love the warning that here, at this very spot, cows may be crossing. It’s a warning to all the drivers on this dirt road that they might just need to stop. Of all the things in the world, God cares about us so much that he gives warnings for us too. Sometimes he gives them to family, friends or coworkers to share with us and sometimes He just gives them to us. Often times, we have both but still fail to listen. That’s when we’re forced to stop.
 
Back to the picture. Take a look around at the scenery. What once was a beautiful ranch became a burnt mess back in October when a fire ravaged the area. I don’t know about you, but that is cause enough for me to stop immediately.
 
Some of you are there. The fire is roaring, you are forced to stop moving, and you just don’t know what to do next.
 
Read the scripture again: “Be still, and know that I am God;”
 
No one is going to get the best parts of you if you aren’t coming to a complete stop. You can’t give everything and think you’ll have something left. Your family will suffer, friendships, your job, your ministries and finally — you.
 
Don’t let that fire have a chance to start in your life.
 
Don’t miss all the warnings and continue to speed through life.
 
Don’t wish you hadn’t waited so long.
 
Life is too short and if you go too fast, you’ll miss it entirely.
 
I know this is for someone today. I’ll be praying for you. Love you all.

User Error

Do you realize that typically, we are the ones who set our own limitations? I say typically because there are certain physical limitations we cannot change and rules we must abide by but otherwise, we set our expectations high but often lower our limitations.
 
Why do you think that is? Low self-esteem? Lack of confidence? Situational setbacks? Those may all be true but for the most part, we have a tendency to be so proud of others for their accomplishments while verbalizing that we could never do that.
 
My question is, why not? If the opportunity is there, other than time and hard work, what is holding you back from going after whatever it is? If we are given a chance just by being who we are then who are we to hold ourselves back?
 
I understand stepping out of your comfort zone might be a little scary and setting the bar high for yourself often demanding, but if you can expect more out of others why not do the same for yourself?
 
Imagine you’re sitting there, wishing you could do something that you’ve never done — run a mile, do 20 push-ups, write a book, lead a group, meet new people, go for a promotion — and the list goes on and on. So you’re sitting there, thinking, wishing but never really believing in yourself enough to take that chance and do what you want to do.
 
I’m calling this your “User Error”.
 
Typically, you have a few tries before being locked out in situations like this, but fortunately and unfortunately for you, your opportunities are endless. You can want and wish for things for a long time and just never try. You are given chances time and time again, doors opening and closing before your eyes, little reminders of the dream you have, little nudges of movement but no actual push of the forward motion.
 
Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
 
If I adopt that scripture into my mind and believe it to be true, I know I have enough to at least try with all my might to get to where I want to go. I may not be there tomorrow. I may find out that what was at the end of the tunnel wasn’t for me. It may take a little longer than I would have wanted. But if I’m believing that God has given me all I need to be successful at all I’m called to be then I truly am the only thing holding myself back.
 
I don’t know who this message is for today, but I felt these words very strongly on my heart. I’m believing that soon, you will feel empowered. You will start to align yourself with the right people, the right sights and sounds, to just make that next step…then another…and another…until that limitation no longer exists. If you’ve used up all your “User Errors” simply because you’re afraid, now’s the time to try again.
 
Photo Credit: Aubrey Marie, Mexico 2016

Guacamole

I won’t apologize for making guacamole. I don’t need to justify that I’ve spent my time mashing avocados, squeezing limes and adding a dash of sugar. Those delicate little leaves of cilantro, so perfectly chosen will add the final touches.
 
Still reading? Good! Because Guacamole is Part II of Cilantro. For those of you thoroughly confused, I suggest you stop reading right now and go to yesterday’s post. It will all make sense then!
 
I felt I had to follow-up Cilantro with Guacamole because of one, very important reason. Those leaves are a part of something bigger. Each has their own flavor that they bring to the bigger project — Guac!
 
All metaphors aside, what is it that you and those you’ve chosen to be in your circle have done or are doing? As with you and your greater purpose, those you are aligned with will also serve one another as well as some outside of your carefully chosen few. When everyone comes together, adding their own distinct flare [your talents], with it comes a taste like no other. A few additional ingredients, such as your time/dedication, wisdom, and a dash of the sweetest gift from above and you have something to share!
 
Ah…but not everyone likes guacamole, maybe even some of you reading this post…but stay with me here! Even though you may come across those who don’t like what you’re throwing out, aren’t picking up what your dropping, or who just have a problem with what you’re saying, that doesn’t mean you need to stop.
 
HEAR ME ON THIS ONE…
 
You were NOT put on this earth to please everyone therefore, your mark on this world should not be dictated by those around you who are not part of your immediate circle. Even still, those within your bunch might disagree a time or two, but remember that you CHOSE them for a reason. Their gifting on your life might just be wisdom a time or two to bring you back to that walk with HUMBLE CONFIDENCE.
 
You see, we have an inner circle of carefully chosen individuals who will grow with us and make a difference by simply being together with us. There are other circles that are equally as important such as those who are a part of your church family, work family, and so on. Something has to be said about these groups as well because just as we have to purposefully choose who to allow into our immediate circle, we must do the same with the rest.
 
Face it, you are not going to go to every Bible study, be a part of every small group or go to lunch with everyone after church on Sundays. You may not even know what’s going on in each other’s lives until the very last minute. Same goes for work — you may not get invited to the after work gathering, you might not be on Joe Schmo’s wedding invite list and you just might not be on the attendee list for a meeting with the big shots. Want to know something cool?
 
IT’S OKAY!!
 
We shouldn’t put people into our circles because we’re afraid to miss out. That’s important so I’m going to say it again…
 
WE SHOULDN’T PUT PEOPLE INTO OUR INNER CIRCLES BECAUSE WE’RE AFRAID TO MISS OUT.
 
Why are we letting people into the inner workings of our lives simply because we need to add one more notch to our friends’ list? Or is it because we’re afraid something might happen and we wouldn’t have been a part of it?
 
We have to learn to say — WHO CARES!!
 
It’s not that we don’t care or that we’d rather stay in a bubble, but if we try to be everyone’s friend, to be everywhere, do everything, the only thing we’ll be missing out on is what COULD be happening in our own lives! Think of all the time you wasted just wondering why you weren’t on the guest list. What else are you missing out on because you’re somewhere else in your mind when you’re body is right here?
 
It’s time to work on that end result — that Guacamole — those other circles and see that, they too, matter to the greater purpose of your life. Not every ingredient will be added. Not everyone will like it. But one thing’s for sure, the right people will get what they need at the right time when YOU ARE ALIGNED THE WAY YOU SHOULD BE.
 
I can’t answer for you what changes it is that you need to make, but I can tell you this…some decisions will be hard. You will miss out on a few things. But as I said the other day, you can CHOOSE the thoughts you allow to stay in your mind. When the doubt, sadness or loneliness creeps in on you, as it will when you feel you’re “missing out”, get your head back in the game. Call on God and ask Him to take those thoughts out of your head and then — CHANGE THE SUBJECT! Busy yourself with works within YOUR CIRCLE and stop worrying about others.
 
Hope this reaches someone today. Love you all!

Humble Confidence

I’m fat. I’m ugly. No one really listens when I talk. I have no purpose. I have no direction. I’m boring. No one really likes me. I wish I were more like her. I wish I were stronger like him. I don’t matter.

Now that I have your attention, I want to ask you a question. Have you ever said any of those things? Have you ever wondered if you’re ever going to amount to something?

I’m talking to people of all ages here, from the teenagers to the adults. And it’s important so you’re going to want to park it for a few…

This has been on my mind for quite some time. I hear students and grown adults alike, who don’t understand their value here on earth. Too often we look to someone else’s talents, achievements, direction and assume that if we don’t have the same ambition, we just aren’t worth it. SO NOT TRUE!

There are days when we are down and quite frankly, those days SUCK! But you know what? You can CHOOSE the thoughts you allow to stay in your mind. I’ve shared that with my daughter a time or two but definitely have to remind myself often. We have an enemy out there who wants to take our joy and replace it with all those negative comments up there ^^^. And you know what? YOU HAVE TO TELL HIM NO!

Each and every one of us here on earth brings a certain unmatched charm wherever we go. We are all smart in different ways with the chance to make a difference in each other’s lives just the same. Here’s the kicker though —

1. We have to believe and know in our hearts that we’re worth it.
2. We have to CHOOSE to say NO to those thoughts that try to creep in and tell us otherwise.
3. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others because our journey is different than their’s.
4. We have to remember that we can have one of the greatest qualities a human can possess.

#4 is special. These two words were put on my heart yesterday out of no where. Many of you know how I work and so you’re not surprised to hear me say, it has to be from God. My faith has gotten me a long way, but it’s my process of being who He’s called me to be that has kept me strong.

Those two words — perhaps the greatest quality we can possess — HUMBLE CONFIDENCE. Having confidence is one thing because you can be confident but arrogant. You can be strong but ignorant. And you can be smart but not compassionate. Humble confidence describes a quality that allows us to see our strengths, to pursue using them, nurturing them, and using them for their intended purpose. Each purpose will be different, but it will be for the greater good. You may not touch thousands of lives, or you just might, but I guarantee it will be more than just about you. It’s never just about us. It’s never just about us and our chosen few. It’s about those that God puts in our path to learn from, you love on and to share with. He brings us people to help us through our ups and downs but when it comes down to it, we have to know how to reach out in our own strength and know that we DO MATTER.

Your uniqueness is what sets you apart from everyone else — from your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, siblings, parents, friends, etc. Of course you’ll have similarities and qualities that you’ll get from someone else you’re close to, but your skills, your desires, your direction is uniquely yours.

Don’t worry so much about 20 years from now — concentrate on what’s in front of you. Make the most of today and what’s next will come naturally. Realize that your strengths are there for a reason, even if you don’t know exactly what that is yet, and learn to walk with HUMBLE CONFIDENCE.

I, for one, am so glad to know you. I am so thankful that God put you in my life. Whether I see you every day or never at all, you did make some sort of an impact on my life or you wouldn’t be here. Know how important you are. Even if we don’t have everything in common or follow the same path, our paths did cross for a reason. We may travel together for awhile then wave goodbye at the fork, or we may be on a journey together that will take us through to what’s next — who knows. But I do know this…

You are smart. You are strong. You have purpose. Your life has meaning. It doesn’t matter who or how many like you. You are uniquely you and that is the best news! You will make a difference.

I want you to know how special you are. I’m praying today that this verse empowers you in your walk with humble confidence. Love you!

PEACE

In the devotion I was reading this morning, I immediately noticed the multitude of times the word PEACE had been added to the day’s reading.

From the shared verse (John 14:27) to the lesson, the word had been used 21 times.  At first count, there were 20, but something told me to look again…I found one more.

21 seemed relevant but I wasn’t exactly sure why.  So I looked up the significance of the number 21 in regards to the bible.  Needless to say, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for.  I don’t really know what I expected but since my word was PEACE, I thought I would find something a little fluffier than “exceeding sinfulness of sin”.  Another source says this:

“…the great wickedness of rebellion and sin.”  Later on saying, “…beginning a new level or effort that is sinful and disobedient against God.”

Guess I hadn’t expected sin and disobedience to somehow describe my discovery of PEACE.  Ah!  But in that sentence lies the very answer that God may just have spoken [to me] about this very message.

In John 14, Jesus was preparing his friends after their last supper together.  Perhaps one of the greatest things he reminded us is that we can experience a “sense of well-being in the midst of hardship.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do no let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

When I thought about what the Holy Spirit might trying to reveal to me, I thought of two, very important things.  Both have significant meaning to me at this very time in my life.

The first thing He revealed is that He has given me a Spirit of PEACE.  Amidst the turmoil in the world, I am able to have PEACE – true and total PEACE – in Him.  Any time I let the problems of this world affect my mood, I must remember this gift that He gave me in such a time as this.

Secondly, He reminded me that sin and disobedience do affect my PEACE.  Distractions and deterring from a plan that keeps me alongside Him strips me of the very PEACE He so graciously promised.

So now what?

God’s trying to tell me something and I really want to listen.  It’s like an old television show with the word of the day.  My word of the day is PEACE and I will carry it with me today, just like it was part of my outfit.  Then tomorrow, I’ll get up and do the same thing, maybe even writing a card and sitting it next to my bed so that the first thing I see in the morning is a note that says PEACE.

I don’t know if this message was just for me or if it’s meant for you as well but I certainly do believe that God’s PEACE is promised to us all. Regardless of your situation or the outcome, you have been given a PEACE beyond all understanding.  Take that gift and use it to set your mind free – free of distractions, free of disturbances and free from the disobedience that is bringing you farther away from your Heavenly Father.

I pray that today, you experience PEACE like you haven’t found in so long.

Faith Through the Flooding

This was a difficult time for many.  The flooding brought with it destruction, devastation and heartbreak.  For some, it wasn’t about displacement but inconvenience.  For others, it wasn’t about loss but about impatience.

At a time such as this, when one could choose to have an attitude of gratitude, instead, focuses were on the traffic, the cancellations, the things we weren’t able to do because of the flooding.  I just nodded my head as a lady referred to our “island” just as so many had done before…making a joke of it all, while all I could think about was how blessed I was to be one of those who lived on said island.

How quickly we forget about those in need when we have to take detours — when we have to sit in traffic — when we can’t do all the things we want to do but have all we could ever need.  Sure, I’ll admit that I was bummed about all the school days missed, but I prayed about the outcome and I know that God will come through in His way.

We made the most of our days together — enjoying free lunches out, getting caught up on some things, sleeping in a little.  My husband went to work in the city each day, despite the continued rumors that there was no way out.

People made excuses for their poor attitudes, shared in complaints, joining together to talk about how inconvenient this all was when so many have lost so much.

As the waters recede, I’d like you to take a few minutes to reflect on this past week.  Did you spend more time complaining than you did helping?  Did you feel more sorry for yourself than for those who truly experienced loss?  What have you learned that you can take from this week to share with the next generation?

Let’s stop complaining about the rainy days when they’re few and far between.

Let’s not focus on what is a momentary inconvenience when so many others are hurting.

Let’s take some time to give back when we can instead of staying to ourselves.

The next time you start to get frustrated and feel the need to complain, think about those who really have something to complain about.  Most of them aren’t wasting their time talking, they’re getting their hands dirty.  Maybe you should to.

Expectancy and Gratitude

I’m crying.  I mean really crying.  I’m a girl and it’s not the “typical” time when you’d expect me to be emotional.

What’s going on…

I just realized how incredibly thankful I am.  My tears are of gratitude.  It’s been SO long since I’ve felt like that.

I’ve been minding my own business, praying through things that used to frustrate me, praying while I exercise, listening to music that helps my mind stay focused, choosing the thoughts that I allow in my head.   I could go on and on about all the things that I’ve been working on lately, but we don’t have that kind of time.

This morning, I woke up, read the verse of the day and immediately started to get distracted.  Then I got out of bed, got on the scale, grabbed a cup of coffee, then got back into bed to write a few things down.  I left my job about 2 months ago to pursue writing and focus my attention on being the  woman, wife and mother that God has called me to be.  Since that day, just over 2 months ago, I’ve lost 15lbs and found my WANT TO right in the middle of my do I have to?

It’s been a whirlwind of emotions ever since then.  Some days I feel great, others I feel like I’m missing the mark.  But something felt different this morning.  I felt different this morning.

After I got up and made my daughter and I our typical breakfast smoothies, we laughed through our goodbye hug and she left for school.  When the bus came, she texted me (like she normally does) to have a great day but then she added something…

“Go stand outside, the birds sound really cool chirping so much!”

Well I didn’t go outside because I had some devotions to finish, but I did open the windows before sitting on my bed to read my morning devotions.

Afterward, I wrote in the two books that I write in daily.  One is a 5-year journal Aubrey gave me close to 3 years ago.  The other is a set of books I started when I met my husband 7+ years ago.  I’ve written one reason I love him each day since that very first day.

As I wrote this morning, a feeling of thankfulness came over me and I started to cry.  I wanted to pray then but all I could do was cry.

God urged me then to come here and write.  It has been so long since I’ve had (and followed) that urging.  He is so good to me and yet, I still fail to follow His lead, even at the smallest things.

I sat here for a moment and just cried like a baby.  My prayers of gratitude were my tears; something I didn’t even know was possible.

Oh how I want to stay right here, right now, in His presence with thanksgiving.  So often we walk right past the very thing He’s trying to show us.  We don’t listen when He’s calling our name.  We go our own way for so long that we begin to think our way IS the way.  Then, when we find the way again, things start to become clear.

Fear is pushed aside.

Self-control becomes easy.

Anger isn’t an issue.

Forgiveness comes easily.

Our minds are no longer a way for the devil to control us.

Gratitude is in the forefront and we truly experience things.

I am feeling the release of pressure and the gift of expectation.

The gift of expectation may not sound right but it’s so true.

Psalm 5:3 (NIV) says this:

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

The gift of expectation simply means that we are not to be worried about tomorrow.  We are IN today and we’re expecting that whatever God brings tomorrow, He’s going to see us through.

Think about it…

Consider it a great gift that God gives us; that we can lay our prayers at His feet and wait patiently with expectancy.

I want you to give it to God today.  I mean really give to Him whatever it is that’s burdening you.  Then wait expectantly AND with gratitude for however He answers you.

 

 

Go Back to Picking Up Starfish

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s what I read this morning at 4:15 am. Of course, I had to read on. What stood out next might surprise you.

“But somewhere along the line I stopped saving starfish.”

The fact that this particular sentence stuck out to me reiterated my need to be right here, right now in this very moment. I didn’t need an explanation of this sentence, I came to my own conclusion and it was very personal.

We are so distracted by the things around us that we are beginning to miss what it is that gives us what we need the most. We turn on our minds when we need them the least and turn our heads at what needs us the most.

We’ve become inundated with technology, ignoring its place in sociology.

Our time, which used to be a hot commodity, has been freely given to things that can disappear, that mean nothing, that will not make a significant impact on our lives or the lives of those around us.

The author of a book* that I’ve been reading on and off for about 6 months (yes, I get distracted and it takes me that long to read a 200 pg book!), really hit home with this chapter. I think you’ll see why here:

“Healthy parameters provide the structure, motivation, and insight to say no to the things that can harm what is most precious to you. But be warned. Establishing boundaries is not always easy. It means having to reject mainstream trends and expectations to be true to what you believe is in your best interest. It means having to to stand up for yourself and make difficult decisions that may not please those who want your time, energy, and attention. Yet by creating limits on the excess that can flow into your life at any given time, there is space to laugh, live, love, pray, play, and breathe. Establishing boundaries allows you to go to sleep at night knowing you did your best to protect your one precious life from the corrosive elements associated with worldly distraction and pressures.”

You see folks, it is all around us. Those distractions that you will argue don’t take away from your life, yet are allowed to each and every day. You want to pretend that by prioritizing, you’re actually doing it right, but putting things into place on paper don’t put them in the right place in your life.

Maybe it’s time for you to step back and look at the bigger picture so that you can see the tiny, intricate pieces that are put together to make it a beautiful masterpiece. You may not recognize some things because you’ve pushed them so far back that you’ve forgotten about them, or just don’t remember what to do with them.

It may not be starfish that you’re trying to save, but there’s something that needs your attention before it’s too late.

I’ll close with this, “What we breathe life and energy into will thrive; what we neglect and abuse will suffer.”stars

*Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distractions, Living Better, & Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford.

Is Being Comfortable Making You UNcomfortable?

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you didn’t know what to do next?  If you’re not a planner or someone who likes to have a schedule or at least a “to do” list, this might be somewhat hard to understand but follow me here…

Recently I have been out of sorts, mind wandering, not knowing what the next move was supposed to be.  I was simply getting by each day with no clear direction as to what road to travel or even if there was going to be a road around the next bend.  I waited, often confused and overwhelmed that I didn’t have more of a clue that I do.

Feeling like I was out of place almost everywhere I went, no matter who I was with, yearning for that comfort that I typically always had. I wasn’t unhappy, just *blah* and not really even sure why.

Aside from making better food choices, I started exercising with my family outside.  We went for walks, hikes and bike rides nearly every day lately and boy, did that feel better!

Then, as if someone hit me with a brick, a conversation with my husband made it all come together.  Ironically, we were feeling somewhat of the same way!  Although he doesn’t have the female hormones that make my brain somewhat questionable (yes, I will admit that!), he did feel kind of complacent and wondered what is next.

Ever since we met, we dreamed together, talked about our future and up until recently, had goals and a list of things we needed to do in order to reach those goals.  Although we haven’t reached them all, we are well on our way and fairly confident that what we’re doing, if we keep on keeping on, we’ll accomplish each of them right on time — God’s time.

That brings me to THE conversation…

What do we want? Why don’t we have clear direction?  What are we working so hard for every day?  It’s not just to work so what is it that we’re working hard to achieve?  For either of us, it’s not success.  We could care less if our names are in lights as long as we make a difference right where we’re at.

Then there’s the question of finances.  If we’re on the right path, saving and spending wisely, what is it that we’re going to do later?

We used to dream — a LOT! It’s not that we aren’t dreaming, we just don’t know what we’re dreaming about at the moment.  We’re going through the day to day, knowing that we’d like to have property, that we want to be further in the country, have cows, chickens and more dogs but what else?  For either of us, it doesn’t just have a happy ending in the grand scheme of things.

When we retire, or before that if we can help it, we want all of these things but there needs to be a purpose.  WE need to serve a purpose.  That’s where we feel that things have changed lately.  We know that we want our resources to help others and that, once we have this dream home on our dream property, that it will serve a purpose to help others but we just aren’t sure in what way.  We don’t know where to look or, for that matter, where to start.

That’s when he said it…those words that I didn’t realize I would dread.

“Maybe God has us here because he wants us to rest.”

“Rest?” I said.  “Neither one of us likes to rest.”

He knows as well as I do that even on the days we plan to do nothing, we end up doing things that need to be done.  It’s just how we are.  We can’t sit still.  I can think of only a handful of days in the 6+ years that we’ve known each other that we have actually sat down and watched tv or movies all day.  We just don’t stop and that’s all for good reason.  As much as we don’t like being busy, we do. We’re go-getters and I’m pretty sure that’s how God intended it to be.

If we want something, we work for it – or – we think about it and decide if it’s really a want, a need or something that eventually we’ll get over and wish we wouldn’t have bought.  We analyze only because we want to be sure that we use our resources wisely.  But most importantly, we have been in a place where what we are doing or planning to do is making a difference.

The unclear picture for our future as to what we’re working for and why is driving us both crazy.  But here’s the deal — maybe he’s right — he probably IS right.

We work so hard all the time for something that God just wants us to take some time to just be right where we are.  He wants us to chill out and be OK doing so.  It’s a lesson of sorts.

In the  meantime, while we are trying to find out what’s next, we connect with one another by simply knowing we’re on the same page, incorporating more prayer and being open to what God reveals to us.

When I searched the word “comfortable” of course a lot of things came up but a portion of this one struck me:

“However, sometimes comfort can be a stumbling block.  Sometimes comfort can rob us of our strength and dependence on God.  Think of a man who is so comfortable in his life with so few problems that he doesn’t do much of anything let alone worry about anything.  He relaxes and enjoys life.  He also becomes weak and dependent upon his routine and life.  So too the Christian who is very comfortable in his life, can also become weak and dependent upon the securities of life instead of the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with being comfortable, unless that comfort makes us depend on God less and cause us to become complacent about the lost around us.”

So this is where we are.  We may not be able to identify with the entire piece, but we are here, in this very paragraph, praying that God will show us what we can do with our future that will bring about change in others by allowing us to use our gifts as a blessing.

We really want to help people.

We both have unique skills in which to do so.

We have wordly dreams that we fully believe can play into the idea of helping others.

So what’s next?  Do we rest where we’re at? Pray for direction and a clear mind?

The end of that same devotional that I read summed up some ways that just might help. I’m sharing them with you because I don’t doubt that there are others out there feeling the same way.  As Christians, we aren’t supposed to simply feel comfortable for long periods of time.  We are supposed to step out of our proverbial box and do something — daily.

“…. pray to the Lord and ask Him to reveal your sins to you.  Confess them and do your best to repent as you continue to rely on His grace.  Second, read your Bible regularly and ask the Lord to apply to your heart what you read.  Third, ask God to put a desire on your heart that is in accordance with your spiritual giftings so that you may not only grow and edify the body of Christ, but also to reach out to the lost.  If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, that’s okay.  God will show you.  Fourth, don’t be afraid to take risks for the Lord.  Don’t be afraid to become a little un-comfortable.  Tithe.  Pray.  Intercede.  Read the Word.  Confess your sins.  Speak the gospel.

Remember, our life is not about our comforts.  It is about loving God, loving others, and spreading the word of God.”

I think the author hit the nail on the head for me when he got to the third part of his suggested prayer.  I know you may not be in the same spot as we are, but I guarantee we could all use a little prayer time to determine what it is that God wants us to do.  We sometimes focus so much on what we want that we forget to bring God into our dreams.

After all, He should be in the driver’s seat, don’t you think?

Next time you pray, ask God what He wants you to do then be patient and wait expectantly.  Sometimes He reveals a plan that seems far out of reach but I guarantee, whatever it is, if God is your driver, then you’ll always be right on track!