These are crazy times we are living in. This morning I was certain I woke up in the twilight zone. Schools are switching to online instruction, sports are shutting down, concerts are being canceled. Even SAT testing is being postponed and there is hardly a roll of toilet paper sitting on the store shelf. Sometimes when everything is spinning out of control I ask the question where are you God and He shows me how His hand is gently guiding the circumstances in my life. Most people I know are exhausted. They have schedules that never seem to end. They are pulled in 17 different directions and they don’t have a single second to take a breath. As these distractions and other worldly contamination is slowly removed I believe people will start to hear and recognize God in the stillness that will come from these unusual circumstances. We are moving back to a time when our families spent time together and had heart to heart talks and we didn’t spend all our time driving from one activity to another. Remember a time when we finished clearing the table after dinner and then stayed there to play some good old fashioned board games? Welcome back to these times. We are returning to the things that really matter. We’ve lost ourselves, our sanity and our balance amidst these distractions and we didn’t even notice. Our priorities have been out of whack. People are now coming together in ways like never before because instead of being on opposing sides of a situation we are all in this together rooting for the same outcome. I believe God is working all things together for our good and He will use this situation that was meant to harm us and turn it around to bless us in unexpected ways. Look for the blessings! You can put your faith into this virus or you can put your faith in God. I choose God every time. He is in the stillness if you can see through this chaos. I will not live in fear but I will embrace this change and see the good in every second. My eyes will be on Him and not the local news. What are you going to do?
Is your well being and happiness based on circumstances and your expectations of what your life should look like?
As I sit here thinking about the past six months I have to laugh. Never in a million years would I have guessed that my husband would lose his job and my daughter would be sent home from a semester in Italy due to an unexpected virus. There have been other things too that are less than favorable but I have chosen joy despite our circumstances. If I focused on the bad parts I bet I could easily fall into a pit of despair but I put my trust in the Lord and I continually look for and celebrate the blessings. His hand is in all of it. Even the hardships and the disappointments. I remind myself to keep my eyes on Him and not what I see before me. It’s a choice. It’s choosing to overcome the battle of the mind by shutting the negativity down and not inviting it to live inside of me. There are blessings if you are looking but the question you have to ask is what am I looking for? You will find it whatever it is so why not look for the good?
Find joy in spite of it all. Sometimes we have to die to our flesh and expectations before we can see beyond ourselves but I promise the view from this place is a beautiful one if you dare to climb out of yourself and take a look.
Disappointment: unhappiness or sadness from the failure of something hoped for.
Disappointment doesn’t respond to tears. It doesn’t respond to logical arguments or talking about details. It doesn’t respond to the words…this isn’t the end of the world because for someone in this moment it feels like it is.
Disappointment does respond to empathy and encouragement and a silent supportive energy from someone who truly cares. Disappointment responds to time and allowing that space to prepare a place where peace will eventually settle in and that disappointment will lose its grip.
The disappointment will fade and you will find joy through the pain, in spite of it. You will not just go through the pain but you will grow through it and come out on the other side forever changed.
Life doesn’t always look the way we think it will. We have a path perfectly mapped out and in an instant that path gets ripped out from underneath our feet. Sometimes we have to pause and regroup until the world stops spinning and we get to step off of the disappointment and chaos that’s trying to keep us in that uncomfortable place. Reality is knowing that when one path leads to a dead end there is always another way. It may be hard to take that first step in the new direction but reluctantly we put one foot in front of the other and we start to walk. One step at a time, one day at a time until the disappointment is far behind us. Joy will come and this time will pass but until then we just breathe in this place of pain and we pray this heaviness on our heart starts to lift. Sometimes Gods plan is not our plan and we have to trust that He is leading us to a better place far better than we could ever imagine. He will see us through to the other side of this unexpected mess. It just takes a little time…
Sometimes we are in a constant state of busy and distraction. It’s easy to forget that our life has a predetermined set of days, hours and minutes. We get so caught up in the things that don’t matter that we don’t leave enough time for the people who do. Look up from whatever it is you’re doing. Eliminate the things that do not serve you and keep the things and people who do. Never withhold love or attention from someone because you are nursing anger or disappointment. Love them anyway and love them fiercely. One day you will wake up and either your clock or theirs will have run out. I wish we could pop in a magic battery to steal a few extra minutes we overlooked before. We get one chance to love people and one chance to be loved. We can never get the time back that we wasted but we can learn from our mistakes and make our time count. It’s time to step out of ourselves and let others know they do matter.
Saying goodbye is so hard but living without someone is even harder. Love people in a way that leaves an imprint on their heart and allow them to leave one on yours as well. At the end of our lives it won’t matter how many miles we’ve run or how much money we’ve made. What will matter is how much time and love we received and how much we gave with genuine heartfelt and powerful intensity. The kind that stays with us forever whether we are in this world or onto the next. So love fiercely and make each minute of your clock count. Time is a gift. Give it freely.
We have the power to cripple the people in our life but we also have the power to teach them to fly. I can do this with anyone who crosses my path. So many of us don’t know what love is supposed to look like. We want so much to be needed that we fall into a pattern of making the people around us needy. We gain this sense of purpose when we can fix things or save people from uncomfortable circumstances. We cannot even see that what we think is love is crippling the people we claim to love. Love is guiding and nurturing but it’s also teaching and encouraging the ones we love to walk on their own. How did I miss it before? Holding someone back is not love. Encouraging someone to be less than they can be is not love. Love is letting go and allowing people to be. Doing something for someone who can do something for themself is crippling. We have to understand love and recognize what it looks like. We have to define it, make a list and check it twice to know for certain whether our kind of love is crippling. It’s a scary thought but we have to look it in the eye and make the decision to grow the people we have in our lives. Are they growing , shrinking or standing still because of the way we are loving them? Tough question to think about but time to ask.
Sometimes our eyes deceive us. Isn’t it amazing how 2 people can see exactly the same thing, yet not agree on the way it looks? I realize more and more that the filter we look through determines what and how we see. Do you know anyone who looks through a filter of anger and resentment? How about someone who looks through a filter of denial? Blame? Resentment? Love? Gratitude? Thankfulness? Forgiveness? Grace? Jealousy? We can look at the same person through each one of these filters and the picture that is reflected back can be tainted in a good or horrible way depending on the condition of our heart.
I love this verse. Luke 6:45-47
People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. But out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words.
So today, ask yourself, how am I seeing people? What is the condition of my heart and how is that reflected by the fruit of my words? Don’t look at others and judge who they are, look into yourself and ask, how do the words I speak make others feel? Are you speaking words of love or words of anger and bitterness? Are you speaking encouragement or criticism? Love or hate? Stop looking at the person across from you and look into your own heart. Maybe you cannot see anything good about someone because your heart is ugly towards them.
When I can’t see something good in someone I pray that God helps me to see that person through His eyes. Lord, help me love them the way You do.
We have to stop thinking it’s everyone else even if people agree that it is. We can team up with others in a way that we see through the same filter. More than likely there’s nothing wrong with who you are looking at but everything’s wrong because of the filter you are choosing to see them through. Don’t like what you see? Change your filter and fix the condition of your heart then watch how beautiful everyone starts to look.
The older I get, the more I realize that life isn’t just a serious of coincidences. There has been a plan all along. Even when I couldn’t see it, there was a path lit before my feet guiding the way in which I should go. A long the way were lessons, people, relationships, joy and pain. Not a single person or situation was wasted. There was a purpose in every detail that not only prepared me for the upcoming season in my life but also kept me on a timely course.
I look back in awe as I replay how it all went down. There were so many blessings I missed because I had emotional ties to things, time and people. When it looked like my life was in total chaos, the only thing in chaos was my mind. We have to trust that there is a reason for every season. A time to grow, and a time to go. A time to laugh and a time to mourn. It will all make sense in the end so we have to surrender our need to control every outcome and trust that there is a gentle hand guiding us on the path we are on. The destination is bigger than we could ever imagine. Life is more that a single frame or a snapshot a long the way. When all the pictures are before us, the vision will be clear. Keep going and trust that the path you are on is the place you are meant to be. Look for the blessings a long the way. They are there, waiting to be revealed.
If I could go back to when my kids were little I would remind myself that the long days of diapers and feedings would quickly pass.
Through the teenage years, I would remind myself that the eye rolls and mood swings would soon be missed.
Tonight I stood at the window as my oldest backed down the driveway to go back to school. The tears never run out. They never dry up and my heart never stops yearning for those days we all lived in the place we call home.
I live a little different now. I don’t pray that time rushes by. I don’t rush a single day, especially the ones I have them both here. I savor the moments, and I look at them closely because of how quickly they change. My mama heart breaks a little more each time I have to let them go but I know they are not mine to keep. I pray God watches over them for their wings are still growing as they reach for the sky.
Enjoy your children. The good times, the bad times and all the chaos in between. Someday you too will stand at the window and watch them go. I promise you too will cry and you will remember these words as you walk away. Each day is a blessing and not a single one will ever look the same. Slow down and breathe them in because you never get used to them being away.
We have an option to succumb to weakness or lead by example. Sometimes it seems like life throws us a series of uphill battles until we grow tired and weary. It’s easy for discouragement to creep in until we wave the white flag and let out a defeated sigh as we choke out the words I surrender.
In this day and age, the ones called to lead are following and the ones meant to follow are leading. We have a responsibility to turn things right side up.
We can either sit back and watch things happen or we step into the calling to make things happen. Don’t get discouraged. Remain consistent and believe that your example is a seed. Keep planting and one day you will see a harvest!