Isn’t it Ironic….

As you know, my daughter is 16, soon to be 17. She is smart, loves to laugh, pretty, and naturally athletic. And she is also completely self absorbed. But, you know what? When I was 16, soon to be 17, so was I. My cousin once told my mother, “there is nothing as self absorbed as a teenage girl.” I tend to agree. I have been considering my own mom lately and how she must have felt during my teenage years. All I can say to her is that I am truly sorry.

Let’s face it, we can look at the juxtaposition of a mom and a teenage girl and see that God truly does have a sense of humor. Look at hormones alone. A teenage girl’s hormones are surging, while a middle-aged woman’s are decreasing. The result is a little bit of crazy crashing into each other. (Oh my, our poor husbands!) And come to think of it, a teenage girl’s body is developing and in it’s prime physically; while a middle aged woman’s body is drooping and each morning brings aches and pains anew.

My daughter is standing at the beginning of her journey and I am realizing that I am most likely halfway through mine. Each day my focus is on her and her focus? Well, it’s on her too! (Ha! At least we have that in common.)

Okay, reality check folks. Comparisons of any kind steal our joy and all of this nonsense really doesn’t matter either. It is merely yet another season of life. And it will pass and most likely pass way too quickly.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1‭-‬8 NIV)

So, I have come to the conclusion that I will lean into God’s Word, enjoy the beauty in the irony of this particluar season and keep moving forward in love! We are about to celebrate Jesus’ birth and we can have as much of His joy, love and grace as we want. It is a free, pure gift from our Father. For every season.

Oh, and I will definitely call my mom in the morning and tell her that I am sorry once again, and giggle with her about my own self absorbed days and tell her I love her, which is a blessing in and of itself.

Be joyful!

Oh Christmas Tree…

Christmas season is in full swing. Like many others, I typically love this time of year! I spent the day cleaning, doing laundry and thinking a lot about Christmas. Honestly, I have been feeling a bit disconnected from the wonder and joy of the holiday. I don’t know if it is life or hormones (or both); but for some reason I am feeling a bit blue.

I just sat down in front of my Christmas tree, the room darkened from the incoming storm outside and realized that God was once again trying to get my attention. Sweet whispers, “you are blessed. I am light. Take my yoke. I’m still here.”

Consider the lights on your Christmas tree tonight. Have you ever noticed that those lights bring warmth and hope into the room? The lights of the tree are an open invitation to linger, relax and stay a little longer.

Jesus is the Light of the World. And He enteted the world as a baby in a lowly manger to save us. His light is an open invitation to linger, relax and stay a little longer. Jesus brings warmth and hope into our hearts. On such a day as this. Pure radiant glory! We are not alone! Consider His light!

I wonder if you might be feeling disconnected too? If so, I pray that God speaks to your soul today, reminding you of His presence. And I encourage you to look at those Christmas tree lights with complete innocence and abandonment. Jesus is calling. Can you hear Him?

Be joyful!

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29‭-‬30 NIV

I am an Adult…

I was struck by something significant this year on Thanksgiving day. I was busy in the kitchen for the second day in a row and it hit me, I am an adult. I know this sounds crazy; especially being that I am 46 years old and have hosted family Thanksgivings in my home for several years now. But, the thought truly stopped me in my tracks. When did this happen? When did I become responsible enough to prepare Thanksgiving? In fact, when exactly did I become so responsible in general?

You see, it seems like just yesterday that I was a kid in my Aunt Mary’s kitchen, watching her prepare her famous Thanksgiving dressing. I was completely unaware of the responsibility circling around her. The thought truly never crossed my mind as I watched my Aunt that I would host Thanksgiving in my own home for my own family one day.

That same precocious child who always dreamt of being a mom never considered the responsibility of motherhood. It never occurred to me that I would one day fumble through the teenage years, making difficult decisions about another human beings’ future with the weight of that responsibility often making me weak in my knees.

I am an adult. When did this happen? When did all of this responsibility show up? Who in their right mind would put me in charge of Thanksgiving? Does God really think that I have what it takes to raise a child?

The smattering of grey hair, the fine lines around my eyes, the awareness of time not just marching but sprinting on baffles me. When did I become an adult?

You see, often God is preparing us so efficiently that we don’t even realize the significant changes occurring around us. We are so busy with the task of living that we don’t pay attention to the shifts in roles and responsibility. And when we are children, we definitely take for granted all the things people are doing to keep our lives moving along. We have no idea that responsibility even exists.

It’s no wonder that Jesus tells us to approach the kingdom of heaven like little children. You see, children are not tainted by the weight of responsibility. They admire heaven, Jesus and the world around them with innocent abandon and blissful faith.

So, maybe the realization that I am an adult was God’s way of whispering to me to let go and approach life like a child. Maybe it was his way of assuring me that I can handle it all by remembering that I am simply a child being guided by her Father. The responsibility is actually His and my role is to be an obedient daughter, faithful and trusting.

When did I become an adult? Well that happened all while I was yet a child in my Father’s eyes.

Be joyful!

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2‭-‬3 NIV

Small Annoyances…

I’ve been dealing with a few small annoyances lately. You know, those things that creep into your life that are subtle; but, find their way into your daily thoughts and in some cases force you to change your routine.

The first of these annoyances has been my heel. I have a bone spur the size of Texas in my right heel and something I did a couple of months ago irritated it. I’ve had to make adjustments to my teaching schedule at the gym and have been working with a podiatrist. (By working, I mean receiving cortisone injections in my heel, ouch!) Oh and I have to make reasonable shoe choices. Y’all, I am sick of sneakers! I made the choice of walking in my boots this past weekend in a Boot Walk fundraiser in memory of a dear friend of mine. It was an easy walk, just over a mile. Turns out that was not the wisest of choices. My mom has lectured me twice, as well as said podiatrist. My heel is again agitated. Annoying.

Two of my closest friends have recently been diagnosed with life changing diseases. Both are amazing woman, strong and brave. But, they are facing new normals with their health, along with that comes fear, helplessness, change in habits and new routines. They are both present daily in my thoughts and prayers. But, I find their situations annoying. Especially for them.

It’s the time of year where the “to do” list grows longer, the days seem shorter and my time seems stretched, making most days feel like a marathon race from the minute my feet hit the ground. Again, if I am honest, I feel slightly annoyed with this too.

Yet, in the midst of these small annoyances, in the midst of life, God sends fresh reminders to look up, reach out and slow down. You see, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. (Priscilla Shirer, Gideon). Small annoyances are part of the human experience and many times God uses those annoyances to grow us to be stronger spiritually.

The pain in my heel has allowed God to connect me with some amazing women for a bit of an easier workout, walking and then talking over coffee. God has used my friends working through health issues to remind me to value my own health, as well as value each and every moment I have with them. My growing “to do” list comes from a happy, highly active and involved family, which I spent years hoping and praying for.

When faced with annoyances, we are faced with a choice too. We can choose to be annoyed or the opposite: pleased. Being pleased over annoyances comes from trusting that God is good and the absolute best teacher. Look up, reach out and slow down!

Thank you Jesus for life’s small annoyances. Help me change my focus from these annoyances back to you, allowing you to grow me stronger in my faith. Help me embrace annoyances during this human experience and to be pleased. For I am a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

Be joyful and less annoyed!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2‭-‬3 NIV

Blue Jean Baby….

The little old man came to live with us almost a year and a half ago. His most adored and prized possession also made the move, his Harley motorcycle. He named her his Blue Jean Baby. His relationship with this bike remains his longest and most cherished. My husband ordered a new battery and for the first time in seven years the Blue Jean Baby revved it’s engine.

As I sit here watching my husband engage with his father over that bike, it makes me sad. You see, his father traded a relationship with him to run the roads and pursue the world of gambling. In that pursuit, he gambled knowing his extraordinary son.

Now, at the age of 69, he finds himself living with his son being cared for, guided and protected by him. He has sustained strokes, making relationship more difficult at this stage of his life. Oh and the motorcycle? Well, he hasn’t been able to ride it for years now. It is simply an item collecting rust and dust. No, the picture unfolding in front of me is anything less than endearing. How many times in life do we place things in front of people? How many times do we try and fill our deep need for God with things that leave us empty? And how many times do we wander through our lives avoiding what God has in store, missing rich blessings along the way?

The Blue Jean Baby reminds me that things should never replace relationships. More imporantly, things should never be placed before our Father in heaven. When we get our priorities out of line, we remain God’s priority. He sent His Son, Jesus so that grace and hope remain front and center. And lets be honest, God does some of His best work when the prodigal son comes home! Because of Christ, the sadness of the scene is replaced with love and hope. My husband has clear priorities. He loves the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength, which is why the little old man is here. And God? Well, God sees them both. And loves them. And He sees and loves you too!

Be joyful and prioritize!

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:11‭, ‬22‭-‬24 NIV

Sunshine….

An amazing thing happened yesterday in my part of Texas: the sun came out! It’s just so amazing how something as simple as a sun shiny day can refresh your soul, lighten your load and put a little pep back in your step.

Now this particular day of sunshine came after days upon days upon days of rain, which made it even sweeter. I literally felt lighter yesterday and full of hope.

My husband and I took the angel dog for a walk this morning and now I am sitting outside with the sun warming my face. What a simple pleasure this Saturday after depressing rain.

And that’s when I heard God whisper, pay attention! My light is always around the next corner. I will not allow the rain forever. Just hold on. My SONshine will warm you. He will refresh your soul, lighten your load and put a little pep back in your step. He will make your steps lighter and renew your hope. The rain is temporary; but, the Son lasts forever!

Be joyful!

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
Psalm 119:116 NIV

Change.

I’m going through a season of change right now. Shifts in my time, redirection in my focus, and God’s silent whisper that something new is on the horizon. Change. If we are honest, it isn’t always our favorite word. Change means to make or become different.

When we really break it down, we are in a constant state of change. From the moment we enter this world, change infiltrates. Our bodies grow, our minds advance, emotions ebb and flow, and hormones shift. Education, employment, marriage, family and the aging process marches on making us different, day in and day out. We are, simply put, always becoming.

Some seasons in life feel more full of change than others. And often God pushes change along that is needed for our own good, which is exactly where I find myself right now.

If I’m completely honest, this season of change is stirring up something else too. Fear. Fear of the unknown. And I find my myself asking questions: What if the change isn’t necessarily better? Isn’t it better to stay here in what I know? Different isn’t always better, right?

Then, it occurred to me. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8 NIV). He is a good Father and He requires that I relinquish control completely to Him. His changes are necessary. His changes are not temporal. They are eternal and life sustaining.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16‭-‬18 NIV

Change. It is a fact of life. But, we do not have to face it with fear and uncertainty. God’s truth stands unwavering for us in every season of life. Our Father is steering our becoming to something perfect and complete in Him. As my husband just reminded me, change is evidence of growth!

So, I say, bring on the change! My hope is secure in Christ. And fear, well fear is just a liar!

Be joyful!

May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you. Psalm 25:21 NIV