Monday, November 29, 2010

A Split Second

Today I had one of those "life flashing before your eyes" moments. Driving to pick up my kids from school this afternoon a commercial truck ran the stop sign and almost drove right into me as I was turning left in front of him. I screamed. I swerved. I am not quite sure how neither one of us managed to hit anything. There was no time for horns. And when it was all said and done we both continued onward as if nothing happened, even though something did. Adrenoline still pumping, hands quivering, tears filling eyes, I took a deep breath trying to pull myself back together. What could have happened, but didn't. The split second reactions that somehow saved me from impact. And I'm fine. Just shaken up. Reminded how it all can change in a split second. How everything we have, even our lives, can be altered, even gone, in an instant. Just one person neglecting to see a stop sign, a bad choice made, a missed step, or a moment of weakness. How there is a cause and effect to everything we do. That we cannot take back words said in anger, an attitude, or even a "first". There are no do-overs. Second chances and grace are a beautiful gift, but they do no erase what's already been done.

I know all about forgiveness. I believe in letting things go. Sometimes it's the very thing we need forgiveness for that is the catalyst for changing our hearts. It's the thing God often uses to save us. To bring us to Him.

So in this time of giving thanks; as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Emmanuel, the One who came to save us all; let us remember to appreciate all that we have, to not take people for granted, and to leave a legacy of love and kindness. That we would live our lives mindful of the choices we make. How one bad decision or even something out of our control, can alter all we hold dear.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanks Be

What does 3rd grade math, turkey apples, bible studies, turning six, and a camera have in common?

Well, they are all to blame (and more) for my blogging "sabbatical". Can't write a blog post when you aren't at home. And I can't say that just because fingers are touching keyboard that I have much to say. My mind is foggy, a whirlwind of activity and I'm having trouble thinking straight. The last few weeks have been really busy and I'm not sure that I like it. Busy just means you are too distracted to sit still. And after writing a blog post about being still I can't say I'm taking my advice to heart.

Thanksgiving is in a few days. A holiday that, unfortunately, begins the crazy Christmas season. Seems difficult to slow down when the rest of the world is amping up, but I'd like to make a commitment to try. I need to take a time out. It's my fault, you know. I'm the one over scheduling and now that my kids are in school full day it's easier to do. Skip lunch, run multiple errands, volunteer here, help someone out there. I have enjoyed all of the things I have been doing. It's just that I need to spread them out over time instead of trying to squish them all into one day.

It's all me. I'm the one who carries as much as I can in from the car so I don't have to make multiple trips. Who cares if I cut the circulation off in my hand or I look like a pack mule. You get the problem. Anyone else out there like that?

So whether you have too much time on your hands or not enough, I want to extend my warmest wishes for a happy Thanksgiving. That as we eat our turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, that we would sincerely remember with thankful and grateful hearts what God has provided for us.
"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations." (PSALM 100)

May I also recommend this book about Thanksgiving by Barbara Rainey that you can read together as a family.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Be Still

Do you remember what it's like to be still? Only the sound of your own breathing. Maybe the tick tock of the wall clock.

Have you ever sat still outside? In your stillness hearing only nature's orchestra; birds singing, the wind rustling tree leaves.

Sometimes I forget what it's like to be still. So busy I stop hearing the wind rustling leaves. Stillness sounds replaced by car engines, people talking, and screaming kids. There's always something to be done. Somewhere you need to be.

Do we allow the distractions so we don't have to be still?

Are we afraid of stillness?

This morning I sang at church. Well, correction...I tried to sing at church. I practiced many, many times without a problem. But this morning, in the middle of communion, I sang and tears flowed. I can't really tell you what happened. I wasn't having a rough morning. Nothing was really troubling me. But when I sang, the truth of what I was singing became too close to bear. I was overwhelmed by God's truth.

He is here. Be still, my soul, be still. Wait patiently, upon the Lord. Be still and know He is God. He is here.

You want to know what was wrong? I'm terrible at being still. I do not wait patiently upon the Lord. And I'm overwhelmed that He's here. That He loves me. That He takes care of me and my family. That I can see that He is here, in my life and in others'.

This is why I cry. The Holy Spirit reminding me of what I'm not doing. Reminding me of why I struggle so. If only I would trust Him and know that He is here. I mean really KNOW.

I want to be still. To stop worrying about what comes next or how things are going to work out. That I can be still and wait on God. To stop trying so hard to make things happen. Stop being so self-protective. Stop trying to do what only He can do.

May we all find a moment to be still. To hear the things that can only be heard in the stillness. To wait...patiently.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Are More - by Tenth Avenue North

Please watch this video. I promise you won't be sorry.

To turn off the blog music, scroll to the bottom of the blog and press "pause".


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Replacing "Ken"

As part of our marriage ceremony over eleven years ago, Adam and I lit a Unity Candle, symbolizing the joining of our individual lives. Times change, sometimes for the better, and there is a new "unity" tradition some couples are using that I think better represents this idea of "unity". Each taking a different colored sand, they pour their sand into a larger vase. And as the husband pours his blue sand and the wife pours her pink sand, the colors come together. Her sand mixes with his sand. And his sand mixes with her sand. Parts of her and parts of him come together in the vase. They fill in around each other uniting the best of both people. You can still see the pink. And you can still see the blue. But together, they are one vase of sand.

Marriage is hard. Becoming intertwined with another human being, someone who does things differently then you, can get complicated. Some couples may find it easier then others or some couples just aren't willing to admit that they have their moments.

We disagree. We get angry. We misunderstand, misread, make assumptions. We don't communicate our expectations. We assume the worst. We get defensive. We pout, withdraw, and grump about. This is married life. Thankfully, only some of the time.

So as God does, He has been using the moments of tension in our marriage to teach me some things about myself and about being a wife. And I humbly admit to you what I have recently learned.

I'm afraid.

I had this dream of what life would be. I imagined my knight in shining armor husband who loved me the way I needed to be loved. A "Ken" doll who would never let me down, would always put me first, and would absolutely and whole-heartedly adore me and only me.

A "perfect husband" doesn't exist. Just like a perfect Christy doesn't exist either.

A friend said to me the other day that at some point you just need to accept your husband for who he is, even if he's not the knight on a white horse you imagined him to be. Accept your husband. "You mean even if he doesn't..." Yes, accept your husband. "Even if he forgets to..." Yes, accept your husband. "But he promised he would and he didn't do..." Yes, accept your husband. Sigh!

So how do I even do that?

Love him. Encourage him. Stop telling him what he isn't doing. Stop trying to change him. Have faith. Pray.

This quote is so true. "Fear ruins our actions of faith."

God wants us to overlook an offense. He would rather we sometimes choose to "let ourselves be wronged or cheated" (1 Corinthians 6:7). I am all about fairness. But I was reminded today that although God cares about being just and fair he is also merciful, forgiving, loving, etc.

Our fears and our expectations that everything be fair, just, and the way we think it should be get in the way. Fears and expectations get in the way of love, the greatest thing of all.

Adam, please forgive me for not loving you the way I should. I am sorry that when I am motivated by my fears I criticize and pressure you. I love you and accept you for who you are today. I want to replace my high standard dream of "happily ever after" with something more attainable. My dream is you and all that you are. The good, work in progress man that God gave to me. Warts, scars, good, bad, baggage and all. God's perfect gift to me.

Your sand mixing with my sand. That's what I want. Forever.

Linking with…

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Excerpt from "Any Other Way" by Tenth Avenue North

I want to know who you are -
Even if you're falling apart.
Reach in and touch your scars
And all the shame you've kept in your heart.

Because it's not enough just to say that we're okay.
I need your hurt. I need your pain.
It's not love any other way.

Let's not pretend.
Stop your parade -
Trying to convince me that you're alright and everything's okay.
Do you even know Me?

Because I already know who you are -
And all things that kept us apart.
So reach in and touch My scars and know the price I paid for your heart.

A broken and contrite heart I will not despise.
Come as you are and I won't close my eyes.

Because it's not enough just to say that we're okay.
I need your hurt. I need your pain.
It's not love any other way.

Check out their "Any Other Way' video journal.
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