GrOwInG uP tO bE a ChIlD

Celebration

Have you ever noticed how excited children get celebrating a birthday? Balloons, sweet icing all over faces, laughter, and bring on pin the tail on the donkey or any other silly game that will make us laugh!

Look into the eyes of a child, let that joy make you wistful. Let it make you want to splash in a rainy-day puddle, hold a balloon by a string, fly a kite, sing like a wild bird high up in a tree, or let a puppy lick your face with its soft pink tongue. Go ahead; get caught up in the wonder of living, without worrying. Celebrate, shout, and sing.

Tears

               When did we learn to hide our feelings? Why do we try? Oh, I know it’s no fun living life on your shirt-sleeve, but living life all bottled up just doesn’t work. Why do we, live life like a pop bottle, and try to keep the lid on when life shakes us up?

Yes, It takes courage to shed tears, it takes knowing we matter. Here on earth, we long for a tearless heaven, but maybe tears are a blessing wearing camouflage—a way we communicate beyond words. Pain and joy; these are uncontainable—why do we try?

Maybe children’s hearts are so tender because they haven’t learned how to keep all the fizz of life bottled up inside.

Honesty

Nor do children keep their feelings to themselves. When it hurts or doesn’t seem fair, they say so. When did we learn that it was not okay to feel deeply and know that is important? No, not all feelings are “saved and sanctified”… but our feelings tell us areas of our heart which need attention. And maybe that will mean our salvation and our eventual sanctification.

As I’ve prayer-journaled through some of my hardest moments as a wife, I have sensed God validating me, like a dear friend, helping me sift through feelings for the golden nuggets like—motivations, needing to forgive, needing to let go—instead of clenching so tightly to people and things I love. After all, a life of constantly holding our breath isn’t very fun, we need to exhale.

Play

When was the last time you listened to your inner child and obeyed that urge to color a picture, go running, read that favorite book, finish a page in your scrapbook, make a dress on your sewing machine, or just sit for a moment, and watch a bird? Who are we trying to impress being so serious?

In Ecclesiastes, it says that there is a time for everything—I guess that means, there is a time for play. Why not figure out what is fun again? (I’m saying this to myself too).

I remember as a little girl, growing up in the Michigan woods. Sometimes I took the canoe down the front hill and launched it into the wetland area that bordered our drive. I sat watching as frogs jumped and pollywogs wiggled. I picked flowers and chased butterflies. I dreamed of being an Indian princess or a frontier woman as my sisters and I designed homes from fallen branches.

And there was that special tree, with the horizontal branch just above my head. I would reach up and grasp it with my hands and work my way up the branch so I was higher off the ground, hold on tight and jump… like a bungee cord, it bounced me and I laughed and giggled. There was such joy in simplicity. I wonder where did that child-like heart go from us?

I think they’re still there, but we have to let go of the to-do list-lifestyle to find it. We have to let go of resentments, of frustrations, of tomorrows that might not come, and of people pleasing, and simply live today. Why not play with the puppy, sing out loud, listen to our favorite music and dance like you dream you could. And while we’re at it, why don’t we dance with our spouse more?

Love

Maybe my expectations for life haven’t all come true, but maybe the greatest dream is reality itself—a roof over head, a soft bed to lay in as I sleep, meaningful work, food to eat, and a family.

I marvel at the precious husband I have to share my life with, and the way he watches my eyes to interpret what I’m feeling or thinking.

As I grow older, I find myself wondering, when did we adults get so complicated? Why is what everyone else thinks so important? Why do we have to have a better home or garden? Nothing wrong with having fun and improving, but why do we compare our houses with magazine pages? If we hold our breath and never feel like we’re really living until we can get subway tiles in the kitchen, new carpet or wall to wall wood floors, we may wake up one day and realize we’ve held our breath too long and … what for?  Why not, like a child, just concern ourselves with loving and allowing ourselves to be loved by our Father-God?

Advertisements

Encouragment to Keep Going

Are you traveling a long road today? What is that particular trial you have found no answer for? Name it.

Does it feel hopeless? Need a little encouragement?

Sometimes we cannot see how God uses troubles in our lives until we take a step back.Do that right now. Stop for a moment. Catch your breath. Now look around you.

Look back down that long path you have been walking. Ask yourself what you have learned? How has God strengthened you because you refuse to give up?

God uses these long stretches to make us stronger. It’s called endurance or perseverance.

By the sheer act of continuing on that path God has laid out before you, God strengthens you.

It’s not so much the distance that matters, but the strength God has grown in you as a result of obeying, and keeping on keeping on.

Take the following verse to heart:

“…We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:3-5, NIV

Needing a hug

I was recently talking with the LORD in everyday conversation. “God I know it sounds silly or immature, but I need hugs…lots of hugs”.

______________________________

If you’re like me, you just sometimes need God to reassure you that he is there and he is able to take care of you better than anyone.

Maybe you think you can’t bear this place where you are right now. You want to cry. You want to scream. You want your life to come back, and you want the “want to” to come back to you. You want to feel love, the way you once felt it.

In those moments…when it feels too hard to cry. Let me encourage you to let down your guard. Go to a secret place…in your heart of hearts
and…Ask (Matthew 7:7).

Just tell God how you feel as though talking to a friend. As though he is right in the room. Ask God to help you know what it is you need. He has a way of helping us sort our feelings and figure out what’s at the root of the heartache.

I know it’s hard to let the guard down. But just tell him what you need and let the Holy Spirit interpret for you…

In that place where hope and fear collide, is a sacred place of faith. And when we reach out in faith, in honesty, God is there.

And God has promised that he will supply all yours and my needs through Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Have you let Jesus be your enough? Have you let him fill your heart to overflowing?

Draw near to God. Let him come near to you. Let him hear every hurt you feel. Let him see your tears. Give him the space and time to cherish you, to reassure you that every tear that falls down your face is seen by him. He is close to your crushed spirit, your broken heart.

Let yourself be loved… by a God who kept nothing back from you. Ask him to help you. Ask him for what you think you need. Ask him for what you want. Let him sift through your requests. Don’t try to edit your prayers, just speak to him. He knows you for he created you so he could love you as his own.

Here’s my prayer for you this Valentine Season:

“I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in…the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” From Ephesians 3 (MSG)

Needing a HUG on Valentine’s Day?

I was recently talking with the LORD in everyday conversation. “God I know it sounds silly or immature, but I need hugs…lots of hugs”.

If you’re like me, you sometimes feel like you need a hug. Maybe you need the LORD to reassure you that he is there and he is able to take care of you better than anyone.

Maybe you think you can’t bear this place where you are right now. You want to cry. You want to scream. You want your life to come back, and you want the “want to” to come back to you. You want to feel love, the way you once felt it.

In those moments…when it feels too hard to cry. Let me encourage you to let down your guard. Go to a secret place…in your heart of hearts
and…Ask (Matthew 7:7).

Just tell God how you feel as though talking to a friend. As though he is right in the room. Ask God to help you know what it is you need. He has a way of helping us sort our feelings and figure out what’s at the root of the heartache.

I know it’s hard to let the guard down. But just tell him what you need and let the Holy Spirit interpret for you to God…

In that place where hope and fear collide, is a sacred place of faith. And when we reach out in faith, in honesty, God is there.

And God has promised that he will supply all yours and my needs through Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Have you let Jesus be your enough? Have you let him fill your heart to overflowing?

Draw near to God. Let him come near to you. Let him hear every hurt you feel. Let him see your tears. Give him the space and time to cherish you, to reassure you that every tear that falls down your face is seen by him. He is close to your crushed spirit, your broken heart.

Let yourself be loved… by a God who kept nothing back from you. Ask him to help you. Ask him for what you think you need. Ask him for what you want. Let him sift through your requests. Don’t try to edit your prayers, just speak to him. He knows you for he created you so he could love you as his own.

Here’s my prayer for you this Valentine Season:

“I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in…the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” From Ephesians 3 (MSG)

 

A Sense of the Miraculous

sunrays blog picAlbert Einstein said that there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

I choose faith. It is the path of joy and wonder.

To choose to view the world as if nothing is a miracle, to me is to approach life with a pillow case over my head, asleep to the wake-up world God created full of sense stimulating beauty!

Since we live on a huge rock, suspended in the midst of nothingness.
Since we float, swirling through the galaxy.
Since the world is filled with complex life from a tiny micro-organism, to a seashell, to a massive whale…to a tree, vegetation we can eat, fruit sweet to the taste, birds which fly through the air, fish that swim…

Since we have these beautiful complex human bodies with all their delicate systems….
Since I have the deepness which can only be called spirit within me…
Since the Holy Spirit has proven his love over and over and over again to me…

Since I have seen answers to specific prayers answered, sometimes immediately and dramatically…

I see the world differently.
I choose to look at a puppy and marvel at its playfulness.
I choose to look at the seasons and marvel at God’s faithfulness.
I choose to look at the ordered world of plant and animal life and see too, that God can order our lives, if we choose to live according to his law of love…

I choose to see the world as a miracle…
I see life as a fearfully and wonderfully and lovingly created workmanship of a magnificent and personally present God.

I see a creator God who didn’t stop creating after he made the world. I see him active in the world, daily ordering and making beauty from chaos, something from my nothing, hard at work causing all things to work together for the good of all who love Him.

And the miracles continue all around us, every day, every night…all the time…God, wake me up, to the miraculous. God, help me rediscover the wonder of it all.

Thank you God for hard times…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s Thanksgiving time God, so I want to offer this short prayer. My life hasn’t been exactly what I dreamed it would look like. But thank you God,
thank you for pain.

I have learned the greater the pain, the more it broadens and deepens my life to contain that much more joy, more laughter, more peace.

Thank you God for moments of sickness, because they have made me pray for those whose sickness does not stop.

Thank you God for every moment where I have sensed a need or want, for through these needs, you have revealed how only you satisfy my soul with yourself.

I am thankful for loneliness so intense I thought my soul would break. For in loneliness I felt your heart for those you know deeply and love, but who do not even know you exist.

I thank you, God, for moments of hearing hard words, for they have opened my heart to understanding other people’s pain and needs more thoroughly.

Thank you God for “unanswered prayers”, because sometimes the things I think I want, you either deem not your best for me, or are not your right timing.

Thank you for your patience with me when I have been impatient. Your kindness when I have felt unworthy.
Thank you for loving me clear down deep to my spirit, even when my life felt so shallow, unimportant and undignified.

Thank you for challenging me with situations where I could see no light at the end of the tunnel. They made me stop and realize you are the light of the world. I need to stop looking down a tunnel of my own understanding, into yours.

Thank you for silence. In those moments when I longed for a song, you taught me how to write my own music.

Thank you God for the moments of deep sadness, for rainy days. You have taught me how to dance with you and to you and for you, and the sun will come shining through.

Thank you for helping me cry every tear, for tears soften the soil of my heart.

“Thank you”… these two words don’t seem enough to thank you for how you take the hard times in my life and redeem them… but none the less, thank you!

My Jesus, My Enough

“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.” ~Cavett Robert

“This is an important test of faith. This is where you persevere even when you don’t feel like you can go another step, because Jesus is your enough. He knows. He made you. Remember when you feel the urge to give up, look his way. Remember Calvary. Remember… heaven watches… you don’t always know it but you’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1)… breathless, awaiting your next move… your right response. Each word, each thought, each right intention carried out is a step of victory. You choose. Will you choose to let go of your baggage so you can hold on to God’s plan for your life? Can you trust it will be worth it? Can you let go of your dreams so God can give you something better than you can even imagine? Can you love God enough to lay back in his arms, in infantile trust and let him hold you?

In heaven you will receive your reward. Don’t sell yourself short. Keep in the race! Keep storing up treasures in heaven. Feel the beads of sweat on your soul? Feel the tears on your face? God sees everything that touches you. God sees every weary step of faith and the rhythm of your pounding heart.

Can you hear the applause of heaven yet? You are running your race. Don’t look at those around you and compare. Focus. Even though your feet slip and your body feels exhausted, hold out for your second wind… the wind of God’s Holy Spirit.

Just when you feel you may give in, this is the moment you let go of what hinders… this is the moment… you find you have wings for “those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31). Now go ahead (figuratively)… take that leap… the wind of the Holy Spirit will support you if you lean hard into it. Wings of faith fan your faith. Spread your wings open wide across this desert sky.” ~Tammy Bovee

Whatever faces you today… you have a choice… to redirect your focus heavenward… to persevere… to strengthen your character! Are you willing? Will you trust Jesus to prove himself faithful to be your enough.

May God encourage you today… as you press on, you will find God stretching you and reaching you into new depths of your life you never thought possible. In the process… you are becoming that person you always hoped you could “…mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4b).

Letting go of expectations to hold on to happily ever after.