Do you ever really wonder what happens behind the scenes? The picture shows a moment in time but the script behind that moment is sometimes too painful for words. We all have struggles. There are unspeakable disappointments and hearts that have been broken to pieces that come together in a single moment to portray that second we decide to stand in faith and expose ourselves in the middle of a horrific storm.
We lay ourselves out in a moment and we hope for better times, healed hearts and restoration in our family, the world around us and in every part of our lives. We do our best to paint that smile on our face.
The next time you see a picture, look a little closer. See the joy but notice the worry on a face you didn’t see before. Look for humility in the face of a heart that’s fighting to stay proud. Ask God, how can I pray for these people today who struggle just like me? Be kind. Be a voice of encouragement. Be a safe place in a world who wants to hurt. Be quiet in a moment where the situation just needs your commitment to peace. Never use words spoke to you in confidence to hurt the person who told you or anyone else. Be committed to love and extend forgiveness in every situation you can. Let your hearts desire be to protect and NEVER intentionally harm others. Hurt people hurt people and healed people are a conduit of healing for others. There’s always a choice. Know there is so much more behind the scenes than what you see.
I woke up feeling unsettled. I try every single day to look past the ugliness but it follows me and taps me on the shoulder. Look, here I am! Today
I will continue to have faith in Gods Word. Only He Gets to define how I live and how I treat others. Society is not the gauge to measure myself against. Respectfully, the opinions of others hold little value. I will never tell anyone how to live or respond to the difficult challenges we face in these times. I will not join in with the spirits of accusation and intimidation. The devil will never use me to be his mouthpiece. Imagine if God showed judgement the way we do toward one another. Nope! We serve a loving God who is full of grace even when we do not deserve it. He does not berate or stalk or bully. He simply loves us whether we follow the path he has chosen for us or even when we choose a different way. He is faithful. He loves us in spite of it all. He loves us because love is who He is. There are no conditions to receive His love. He is the example.
Today I am reminded that when I feel discouraged I need to lift my eyes up. When the voices start to overwhelm me, I need to find a quiet place to hear His gentle whisper. I hear Him even now. Do not be conformed to this world. Guard your heart and mind and stay the course in spite of what you see.
You do not have to invite everything in that knocks on your door. You are the gatekeeper of your home and you get to decide what you allow in and what you need to kick to the curb. Put these things where they belong. Guard your door.
Have you ever tried to use one container for vinegar and oil? No matter how much you shake it or how quick you flip the bottle to pour it out, it’s the oil that’s always on the surface. It’s almost the way people are divided today. No matter how much life tries to shake us to come together, there we sit in the layer that feels most comfortable. Today there is a call for people to be that place in between. It is that place where love stands against hatred, peace stands against hostility and grace and mercy stand against punishment and retribution. It’s where forgiveness stands against bitterness and anger. It’s easy to look at someone else and define that layer we think they belong in but today be willing to look at yourself. Are you willing to be the bridge? Will you keep shaking that bottle regardless of how impossible it looks for those layers to mix? Who are you in your own family? What do you bring to the table? Bring the same, get the same. Bring to the table what you want to eat. You reap what you sow so sow something you want to reap. The power is in you. God is calling you to bring the change. How will you answer the call?
One day we woke up to a world that had changed. We had become people who became offended when something was not the way we expected it to be. We thought life was a drive up window and believed it was our right to order the world up the way we like it and riot and throw tantrums when we didn’t like what we saw. We have become a society of selfishness and entitlement. I want it now and I want it the way I think it should be. Will this offend some of you? Sure and it should because we are created for a purpose that is greater than our own selfishness.
I believe this is a time of redefining who we are. Who are we when we cannot control the outcome or manipulate the circumstances? There is a refining going on and I believe some of us will rise out of the destruction as warriors and leaders as others will continue to grumble and curse this new way of life. I am here to say get up. Pick yourself up and rise to the occasion. Be an encourager and lead people in choosing to have a good life in spite of the situations we face. Our circumstances DO NOT DEFINE US. Grace and perseverance and steadfastness will get us through. Your perception of this time will lead to triumph or downfall. Who are you when things are uncertain and you cannot control a single thing going on around you? You are not helpless and things are not hopeless. You are an overcomer by the blood of the lamb and the words of your testimony. So what will your testimony be? What will your role be in these times where you have been hand picked to make a difference in the times we face. Will you lay down and surrender or get up and fight with the strength and peace that comes only from God? I choose to fight. I choose to be happy and at peace and live a good life in spite of what I see. I will make the best out of everyday because my kids need that and the world needs that too. I will get up and notice everything to be grateful for. I will not focus on what is lost, I will focus on what I do have. I am not a victim. On days I am discouraged, I will press on and I will encourage others to do the same. This is the fight of your lifetime. You can grumble or you can choose to live. What are you going to do?
I remember how exhausted I felt when my kids were younger. There was always something to do and even when we were home it was laundry, homework, projects, chaos. The one thing missing from our lives was quiet and downtime. Life was like a merry go round that just kept spinning and I wanted to jump off. Day after day it was the same thing until we fell into bed exhausted preparing to do it again.
For me and I imagine for others, this time at home has brought a sense of peace I haven’t known for a long time. I see it in my kids and my husband. The freedom that comes with taking a pause from the demands of the grind are more valuable than what we have left behind. It has taken us back to simpler times before everything and everyone became too busy for the things that matter.
I hope that you are in a place of peace despite this pandemic. I pray you are being transformed back to your true self before the world told you who you had to be. We don’t have to keep up with the Jones. We don’t have to put our kids in every year round sport. We don’t have to work so many hours that not one is left to even fit in a deep breath. This is a time of change and transformation like we have never known. Fall into in. Embrace it. Things will get back to normal but in this house our new normal will be redefined. We are never going back to that…
The sun came out here for the first time in 8 days. I’m counting my blessings in little things like a few hours of sunshine. How is everyone holding up? We are all in these unsettling days together so I wanted to reach out and just say hi and see how everyone is holding up. There’s nothing better than a community that stays connected. Blessings to all!
I remember when we put our daughter on the plane on January 6th. She was flying to Rome by herself to study abroad. My mamas heart was torn as she walked through security and disappeared from our sight. We told her to expect the unexpected and stay calm through the things that didn’t go the way we meticulously planned.
We had no idea that those words would lead to her coming home early and unexpectedly due to a virus no-one thought would reap so much havoc.
I find myself repeating those same words to myself today. Flow with the unexpected and navigate through the murky waters. It may seem dark and scary and certainly may not look the path I started on a few days ago but I will keep walking one step at a time into the unknown until my feet feel grounded. This is a new norm and I will approach it boldly. I love this particular verse and it seems so fitting for the times we face…
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
I do not know what tomorrow may bring but I do have enough to focus on today. I will count my blessings as each day comes and keep moving forward in whatever way that requires. This too shall pass but for now it is a time to be still and wait for the storm to pass.
As so many sit in fear over the thought of isolating for 14 days, I sit here by the bedside of a little boy. He doesn’t get to go to school like other children. His momma can’t do the things we take for granted like run to the store, take a long shower or lay down to take a nap. She can’t go out for lunch or on dates with her husband. They are isolated all the time. Isolation has become their new normal due to medical issues. Somehow, someway they have become lost in a world that looks the other way. Imagine if a few weeks of being trapped in our homes causes so much turmoil and angst, how a lifetime of quarantine and seclusion would feel. My heart hurts knowing how much we are failing people right in our own communities who have been crying out for help that never seems to come. I urge you today to reach out to the people who need you to look at their situation and offer whatever services you are able to give. How do they continue to go on when family and friends look the other way while they drown in their situation. It’s time to surround them with love, with help, with any kind of support we are capable of giving. Once you look it’s almost impossible to look away. It takes a village and each one of us is part of that village. Will you do your part?
What you invite in will make itself at home.
Guard your heart and mind and distance yourself from bitterness and negativity.
Be a light. Be an encourager.