Thankful Before (Questions to Consider: the Purpose)

IMG_0777

I’m not going to say there is a purpose to everything. That just seems so cliché and cold to say to the one who has lost a loved one or to the one whose marriage is falling apart or is living in the wilderness wondering if she will ever get out of there.

I don’t know the purpose to why bad things happen or God’s timing on things. What I do know is God can take everything we experience…every hurt, every painful thing, every dry time…and make something good from it. Every. Single. Thing.

Here’s the question: Can we thank him before we understand the purpose because, let’s face it, some stuff we will never understand this side of heaven. Can we thank him before we see the good that he makes from something bad?

Hard questions to consider for sure. But boy when we come to the place of being thankful in all things, it sure changes our perspective, our attitudes and our worship.

 Sunday November 12           Read John 11:1-43

 Monday November 13           Read John 11:1-16

Have you ever sent word to Jesus, letting him know (praying) about a situation?

Has his response ever seemed like he stayed where he was two more days? (A “delayed” response to your request.)

How did/does this make you feel? About the situation? Towards Jesus?

Tuesday November 14          Read John 11:17-37

 What was Mary and Martha’s reaction to Jesus when he “finally” showed up?

What was Jesus’ reaction to each of them?

Is it okay to be completely honest with how we’re feeling, sharing our disappointment, anger and grief with God (or even towards God)?

What “I AM” name does Jesus use here?

Wednesday November 15              Read John 11:38-43

 What does Jesus thank God for in verse 41?

For whose benefit and for what reason does he do this?

God hears our prayers. God answers our prayers. Sometimes his answers seem delayed but maybe it’s so everyone knows Who it was that was working in the midst of your request. Just something for us to consider.

Thursday November 16         Genesis 1:1-31

 Switching gears a little today. We saw in John 11:25 that Jesus is the resurrection and life, bringing the dead back to life. God is All-Powerful. His word can create something from nothing.

Spend some time today paying special attention to what happens every time you read And God said…

Consider this: Maybe you have something that seems hopeless and you feel helpless. A relationship that is dead. A job. A marriage. Etc. If God spoke into existence all that he did out of nothing, he can surely speak life and hope into your situation…that something that you lay at his feet.

Thank him today that he hears you and that he can speak life into whatever you are facing.

Friday November 17            Read Ezekiel 37:1-14

 Who does the setting in and leading around the Valley of Dry Bones?

All of us experience dry times spiritually. Often times it’s of our doing but sometimes the Lord actually leads into that valley. Verses 13-14 gives us a clue as to why.

We cannot know the beauty of the mountaintop if we’ve never experienced the depth of a valley. A valley is something meant to be gone through not lived in.

Listen for the Breath of Life to breathe into you.

Saturday November 18         Read Proverbs 18:21

 Our words have the power of life and death.

How do you use your words towards others?

How do you speak to yourself? Your family? Your friends?

This week has been one of thanking the Lord before we understand the purpose of the thing we’re going through. Can you thank him in the I don’t know why? Will you thank him in the I don’t understand the purpose? Can you thank him while in the valley of dry bones? Will you use your words to bring life to others and yourself?

I know it’s hard to be thankful in all things, in all situations, with all our words. But if we practice thankfulness before knowing the purpose, we will get better at it!

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons in Loaves and Fish

fullsizeoutput_2da
My version of loaves and fish! Hey! This post is all about being thankful for what we have! 🙂

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. (John 6:11 MSG)

The need is great. The resources limited. The people are hangry. You are tired with very little left to give.

I’ve been there. Oh, it wasn’t on a hill but in my home. It wasn’t my belly in need of food but my soul. I was depleted, wrung out and I wasn’t sure how much I had to give to feed the need. What I did have sure seemed liked leftovers and not enough. You too?

When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do. (John 6:5-6 MSG)

The stretching of our faith doesn’t happen when we’re full and on fire. It happens when you have nothing left to give, the grief is great or you have no clue what to do.

Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.” (John 6:7 MSG)

Philip gets it. He gets being tired and not having enough…the disciples and Jesus had come up to this place to rest a bit. They had been serving and seeing miracles happen, healing and hope were given and people believed in Jesus.

My reaction is much like Philip’s when I’m tired. I can only see the vast need and not the Provider standing right in front of me. The last thing I want is to be stretched in my faith. Can’t you just fix it already, Jesus? Because I’m in no mood and I have no clue.

 We see the impossibility of making a way instead of the Way Maker.

One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.” (John 6:8-9 MSG)

 I get Andrew too. There always seems to be a but in my offering to Jesus.

 I know You can fix this but…

 I know You can help me but…

 I know You can feed this need but…

 I know You are my refuge and strength but…

 I know You can do all things but…

                            …that’s a drop in my bucket for a problem like this.

 Anybody?

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.

He doesn’t scold. He doesn’t criticize. He doesn’t reprimand. He shows them what can happen when we place our “not enough” in the hands of “more than you can imagine.” Needs are met. People are fed. Souls are at rest.

Jesus showed the disciples (and us) what happens when we give thanks for the drop in the bucket …God can use it to feed the masses (or your family or simply you.) He meets your need.

When we give him what we have, he gives us what we need but not always what we want. Wait, what?

I wonder what the people thought they were going to get when Jesus raised the bread and fish in thanks. They had just witnessed miracle after miracle so he could have easily turned those loaves and fish into T-bone steaks grilled to perfection, a baked potato loaded with sour cream and butter and a decadent chocolate dessert!

He spoke more than that into existence for goodness sake!

For example: I can give him a broken relationship and I need him to fix it. I know how the need should be filled (of course!)…I want him to fix the other person. Instead he gives me peace through the storm…something I desperately need. That peace then becomes something I want. Something that, oddly enough, satisfies that need deep down in my soul even though I didn’t get exactly what I asked for.

When we give him what we have, he gives us what we need and that becomes what we want….all ate as much as they wanted.

When we give thanks in the not enough, it becomes more than enough when put in the hands of More Than You Can Imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Have a need? Lift up that loaf and fish, thank God before he provides and see what happens!

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

In Between the Before and After

We have been busy around here! Lots of pictures to share and of course a thought or two about some life applications. I am loving the new look. We went from dark earthy tones to a light bright farmhouse feel. It was a ton of work but very worth it. Makeovers usually are.

One comment on social media was that they didn’t think our “before” looked bad. And I suppose it didn’t but it was time for a change, an overhaul, a new do.

Funny thing though when you start moving things around and getting ready for something new, you find out exactly where you don’t clean much! You also don’t realize all the things you had let go through the years and had simply become used to seeing them.

You discover cobwebs and dust bunnies (and stink bug shells!) you didn’t know were there. We had to tear things out, rip things up, mud and smooth out some areas, move furniture from one room to the other and back again.

We ate on the couches that were in the kitchen while we were waiting for the carpet in the family room. Then we had to eat in the family room when we had the kitchen/dining area torn up.

We don’t want to talk about the messy middle though do we? We want this…

thumbnail
Family room before
thumbnail
Family room after. The curtains were a DIY using drop clothes from Home Depot! #likelinen
thumbnail
Sitting area before
thumbnail
Sitting area after
thumbnail
Dining/kitchen area before
thumbnail
Dining/kitchen area after
thumbnail
Kitchen area before
thumbnail
Kitchen after
thumbnail
Dining area before
thumbnail
Dining area after

Without seeing this…

thumbnail

thumbnail

thumbnail

thumbnail
We kept stacking stuff in the music room that will need to be put away too!

thumbnail

But it doesn’t work that way.

Life is like that too. You aren’t doing too bad. Your “before” looks okay but you’re ready for a change. Then the moment you start in, you realize that one thing leads to another that leads to ripping out something over here and tearing up something over there. Then there’s mudding the holes left behind and smoothing them out.

We want a rock star body with no sweat equity. We want peace from our past without dealing with it. We want to kick a habit without it being hard. We want to start standing up for ourselves without hurting anyone’s feelings. We want to be different but don’t want to have to change anything. We want an “after” without the messy middle. It’s not possible.

My friend Terra says it this way, What I’ve learned from intense transformations of both places and people: the before is rough, the after is beautiful, but the place in between…that’s when it’s ugly.

This place was a fiasco for a while. I was so ready to get things put back in order and looking good. More than once I wanted to quit because I was tired but I had to keep going, keep working at it and not give up in the middle of the messy. Today, I’m sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace as I type. And it feels so good!

Don’t you give up either! Your “after” is going to look fabulous!!

Fiercely for you!!

kw

Thankful Before (Questions to Consider: the Provision)

IMG_0777

There is always something to be thankful for…

 We hear this mantra a lot, especially this time of year and it’s true. There IS always something to be thankful for. Even in my toughest seasons I could muster up something for which to give thanks….some days it was that I opened my eyes or had breath…but it was something.

It’s also pretty popular to take each day in the month of November and write down what you are thankful for. Lots of social media posts give a shout out of thanksgivings. Nothing wrong with that since there is always something to be thankful for.

 But what if…

There are several times in the gospels where we see Jesus give thanks not for something but before. He prays and thanks the Father before the provision is given, before the prayer is answered, before the cross is experienced.

Wow! Talk about upping the thankful game!

Do you have something you’re praying about? Do you have a need that you’ve been on your knees over? Do you long for a breath of fresh air and new life in a relationship, job or maybe even yourself? Is there a season of life you know is coming that’s going to be tough?

Maybe you’ve been begging and pleading for answers with nothing but silence. What would happen if we began to thank God ahead of time for answering our prayer? What would happen if, instead of begging, we asked and immediately began to be thankful before the answer was obvious?

What have you been praying for? What answer do you need? Ask for it, pray about it then everyday from now until the end of the month thank the Father before he answers. I can’t wait to hear what happens!

For the rest of this month we will be looking at those three encounters, learn from them best we can and challenge ourselves to be thankful on a whole different level.

Let’s get started with this week’s readings and questions to consider:

Sunday, November 05       Read John 6:1-15

Simply read the encounter and ask the Lord to give you fresh eyes to see and ears to hear what he would have for you.

Monday November 06       Read John 6:1-15

Think about the different reactions to the need that was in front of them…

Philip said…

Andrew said, here is this but…

The little boy did…

Can you relate to any of these when there is such a great need in your own life or when Jesus asks you to do the (seemingly) impossible?

Tuesday November 07               Read John 6:1-15

How many loaves and fish did the boy have to offer?

Was it enough on his own?

Was it enough when given to Jesus?

Was does this tell you?

Wednesday November 08          Read John 6:1-15

How many loaves and fish does Jesus have when he gave thanks? (I know…duh!…but hang with me.)

How often do we think we don’t have enough so we don’t offer what we have?

Thursday November 09              Read John 6:1-15

What does Jesus do as soon as he gave thanks?

Do you trust your Father enough to hand him what you have (measly as it may seem), thank him for it then “distribute” it to help feed others?

Friday November 10                  Read John 6:1-15

Think about an area that you have a need, something that your resources simply are not enough on their own. Don’t think about just money but about relationships, jobs, contentment, health etc. Write it down.

 

Saturday November 11               Read John 6:1-15

Spend today simply thanking him for the provision from yesterday’s area of need. Each time it comes to mind, thank him for the provision. Each time you catch yourself worrying about it thank him for the answer.

The same God who turned the measly into the miraculous is the same God you are asking today. The same God who fed the masses on a boys’ mere meal can take your not much and feed the need.

What if we prayed like Jesus, thanked like Jesus, trusted like Jesus and served like Jesus…before.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November Calendar with an Attitude of Gratitude

IMG_0777

There’s lots of cliché’s that surround having “thankful” be the theme for November. I mean it is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving…giving thanks for family and friends, food and fun, oh and of course God and his goodness. And while it’s not rocket science, it does make a difference when you purposefully set your mind to be thankful. (If you rolled your eyes, huffed and puffed or shook your head…maybe you need it the most…just a thought. 😉

I have been researching and reading lots of verses on words like thanks, thankful, thankfulness and thanksgiving and I’ve discovered something: It’s hard to be angry and thankful. It’s hard to be discontent and thankful. It’s hard to be prideful, hateful or arrogant and be thankful. It’s like thankfulness is a light that outshines the ugly in us.

Maybe you’ve had a tough year and the last thing you want to do is be thankful. For what? you may be asking. Maybe you’re angry at God or the holidays are hard or you’ve lost someone you love. I get it. I also know that it is in those moments, when it is the hardest, that it is the biggest blessing as well.

According to Amy Morin from Forbes magazine, gratitude is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. She goes on to give seven scientifically proven things an attitude of gratitude does which includes improving physical and psychological health, increases mental strength and empathy, better sleep, and decreases aggression (Lord knows we could use that in the world about now!).

What do we have to lose?

Here is your calendar of scripture reading. Simply click the link and the calendar will be downloaded to your device.

November

Because of the busyness of the season, I wanted to keep it simple so there will either be a handful of verses to read or we will hang out in the same passage for the entire week with questions to consider each day. You can choose to read more or the entire chapter if you would like. You can choose to write out the answers to the questions or simply think about them throughout the day. You can choose to do any of the activities listed…or not. Every Sunday you will get your questions to consider for that week.

So grab your Bible and journal and let’s get started! I thought we could do a little warm up these first few days and stay in the book of Colossians where there is something about thanks in all four chapters. (All questions are based on the NIV version of the Bible so some words/wording may be different.)

November 01: Read Colossians 1:1-14

~ List 3 friends you are thankful for.

~ List a person who has been your “Epaphra’s”

send them a note of thanks.

~ List 3 friends you will pray Colossians 1:9 over for the month.

 

November 02: Read Colossians 2:1-12

~ What is Paul’s purpose? (verse 2-3)

~ Does someone you know need encouraged today? Do it!

~ What are we to continue in verses 6-7?

~ Is your thankfulness overflowing? Attitude check here.

 

November 03: Read Colossians 3:1-17

~ There is much to be thankful for in these verses…

~ Write out/ponder on as many as you can…for example…

I am thankful for…verse 1 that I have been raised with Christ.

 

November 04: Read Colossians 4:2-6

~ Lots of “be’s” in these…

be prayerful, watchful, thankful, wise, graceful…

lots of questions to consider…

~ Which of these “be’s” do I struggle with the most?

~ How do I act towards “outsiders”?

~ Do I make the most of every opportunity?

~ Is my conversation seasoned with salt or simply salty?

I want to hear from YOU! Either comment on the blog directly or join the Facebook page Kim Wright Writes. What was one takeaway from this weeks readings?

Happy Thanks Giving!

Fiercely for you!

kw

My Iris Rogue

thumbnail
Apparently there is some confusion around here about what season it is. I have an Iris that’s blooming. It’s fall in Ohio which is not her normal bloom time of spring. But there she stands, in the weeds, at the wrong time of year, petals blowing in the crisp fall air, being gorgeous. My Iris has gone rogue.

To “go rogue” means to cease to follow orders; to act on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction

Not to be confused with an Irish Rogue which, according to Urban Dictionary means: The act of giving the finger to anyone who has ticked you off. ( I won’t give you the example they used. Let’s just say it had to do with road rage.)

We live in an Irish Rogue world right now. Flipping the bird (yelling, screaming, name-calling, road rage, social media shaming etc) has become every day conversation for a lot of people. Right, left, conservative, liberal, believer, unbeliever…doesn’t matter…we have all sunk to the Irish Rogue method of communication.

Since this seems to be the norm, let’s go rogue…Iris Rogue. Let’s cease to follow orders of this world, which has become ugly and speak words of encouragement instead of words of strife and conflict. This Iris didn’t listen to the “rules”, she busted out a bloom in her off season.

If you are a believer in Jesus, the Bible says some things about “out of season” answers:

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1Peter 3:15 NIV bold is mine)

 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season: correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2Timothy 4:2 NIV bold is mine)

What does it matter if I can answer all my Bible study homework questions while sitting in class (in season) but then go out into the world and be harsh with my answers and tone (out of season)?

We have a reason for our hope but no one will listen if we go Irish Rogue.

Be a bloom, not a butt.

If going rogue means acting on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction and the common comeback is laced with sarcasm and cynicism, going Iris Rogue means being the one who stays calm, cool and collected in a conversation….

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1 NLT)

…especially when gentle answers are a rare find these days.

Words matter. People matter. The words we say to people matter. We have an opportunity to rise above the weeds, to bring beauty to the boorish, hope to the hurting, and peace to pain. But we can’t do that if we’re shouting to be seen.

Going Iris Rogue is listening more than needing to be heard. Seeing more than needing to be seen. It is practicing the art of being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19 NIV) Not everyone needs our opinion.

Go rogue…ask them to tell you more. Find out why they think or believe what they do. Instead of you’re an idiot! try that’s interesting. Instead of reacting with anger (the expected reaction) respect their opinion. After all, it is just that, an opinion. And it’s theirs.

No one has persuaded anyone of anything with harsh words. We want to attract, not attack. Heck, they may even ask you the reason for your hope. The reason why you reacted differently. The reason why you listened without becoming angry. What an opportunity!

Be a bloom not a brute.

In a world gone Irish Rogue, be an Iris.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

Beware the Naked Man…

naked man.jpg

While this quote makes me smile for some reason, it’s so obvious that a naked man offering an item of clothing is ridiculous. You can’t offer what you don’t have. Neither can you trust someone who does so.

Social Media perfection is much like this African proverb because you can’t be what you aren’t which is perfect. If she sounds too good to be real, she probably is. If he sounds fake, he probably is. Everyone you see as you scroll through social media wakes up with stinky breath and struggles with something.

While we certainly don’t want to air our own or see everyone’s dirty laundry, this obsession for perfection is sending us down a path that is harmful.

The Direction of Perfection

The perfect picture. The perfect post. The perfect persona. The perfect plate. Pinterest perfection. We have become a culture that is consumed with the appearance of perfect.

The direction perfection sends us down is the slippery slope of self-absorption. Perfection, or the appearance of, becomes the idol we chase after. An idol is anything that either disproportionately consumes your thoughts, actions or resources, or that take your eyes off of God.

If we’ve set our eyes on the prize of perfection, constantly hustling for picture perfect, are we really winning anything? Or have we lost our way?

Beware the naked man who offers directions for he has no place in which to keep a compass.

The Deflection of Perfection

My three-year-old grandson has the art of deflection down to a science. He gets in trouble for something or is being asked to do something he doesn’t necessarily want to do and he immediately changes the subject or diverts attention to something else.

To deflect is to bend or turn aside; turn from a true course or straight line. It is a coping mechanism people use when not wanting to reflect on the reality of something. It’s used as a shield so others will not see one’s true nature.

The deflection of perfection is seen when we draw attention to the good and wonderful things we are doing while never acknowledging any bad behavior. If I can get you to stay focused over here, you won’t pay attention to what is going on over there.

Be wary of anyone who is always put together, always very spiritual sounding, always talking about the good things they do. It could be the right hand is distracting from what the left hand is doing. No one is perfect.

Don’t buy a shirt from the naked man.

The Deception of Perfection

Somewhere along the way we’ve exchanged the idea of striving for excellence with having to be perfect. Excellence leads to great and honorable things. Perfectionism leads to fear of making mistakes, paralysis of analysis, and feeling judged.

One energizes. The other criticizes.

masquerades as light

The one who masquerades as an angel of light has invited us to dance with him at the ball of perfection. We waltz with worry over others liking the real us. We foxtrot with fear that others will find out what frauds we are. We do the hustle to be heard and the salsa to be seen.

But at the end of the night, we’re exhausted. Our feet hurt from shoes we never should have worn and our mascara has run under the mask we’ve put on to hide our true identities.

Beware the naked man who asks you to dance because, well, that’s nasty.

When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver. (Brene’ Brown)

Either get in the driver’s seat or get out of the car but let’s stop driving down the destructive path of perfectionism by being brave enough to simply be ourselves.

Fiercely for you!

kw

The Greatest of These

fullsizeoutput_2c7

I sat in a hotel room in Nashville lamenting the previous six weeks to one that was much wiser than I. My grandmother had died, my man had changed jobs and my daughter had gone completely rogue…all in the course of about ten days. This was the fall that fell.

You’ve got to find a way through this. Your daughter needs you right now. You have to see past your own hurt and anger. I know it’s hard but she needs you to love her.

 Surely she didn’t hear what I had said. Love her? After the stunt she was pulling? Are you kidding me!

Fast forward several weeks and many arguments, groundings, things taken away and tears. I asked an acquaintance of mine who was a former addict but was now in social work what her mom had done during her most difficult days. Her answer? She loved me through it. Even on my ugliest of days my mom saw in me what I could not and she showed me by loving me.

 Did I listen? No. How could I? I was so very angry. My heels were dug in. She WOULD listen to me OR ELSE! Loving her was the last thing I wanted to do.

Two more times from two different people came the advice to love her.

Sometimes the very thing you refuse to do is the exact thing God will ask of you.

We were having another shouting match. I followed her to the bathroom (the bathroom for Pete’s sake!) and was screaming (not for the first time), Your behavior is bullshit! You are tearing this family apart!

 (I’ve never pretended to be a “shiny” Christian on here, only real. I wish my real was prettier and wrapped with a big bow but this was my reality for many months.) Until….

My daughter turned on a dime, looked me square in the face and said, You are being exactly like the very people you are trying to protect me from. You are no different.

If words could leave a handprint, surely I would have had marks across my face. The truth to her words shocked me to silence. She was absolutely right. I had become a venom vomiting, maniacal mom who was bitter not brave, hateful from hurt not helpful, unforgiving, unloving, angry and afraid.

Was she rebelling? Yes. But this isn’t about her. It’s about my response to her….which completely sucked.

Dr. Luke shared these words of Jesus, The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 NIV bold is mine)

My mouth was pumping out what was in my heart which was full of anger, hurt, bitterness and fear and was a reflection of the words I spoke (screamed.)

Grace could not be heard over the volume of my voice and the wound of my words.

We both retreated to our rooms that night and I knew what I had to do. The next morning after she left for school, I went into her room, got down on my knees like I had done so many times during this storm but instead of praying for her to change, I confessed….

I poured out my anger, bitterness, fear and hurt. I confided in my Father my inability to see the girl he gave me through the fog of fear, the inability to love her like I should because of my own anger and hurt. But that I knew he could love her through me and I was willing for him to do that. I asked him to change me, to create in me a clean heart.

I got up off my knees that day with a peace like I’d not known for many weeks. My situation was no different but I was. (You can read more about that day here… https://kimwrightwrites.com/2016/10/06/saving-face-or-amazing-grace/ )

Things slowly began to change between us. She began to confide in me more and I began to be able to see her with compassion and love once again. I could see that she was hurting and confused. I don’t want this to sound prettier than it was. It took a lot of conversations, counseling and God interventions to heal but heal we have.

Paul says in 1Corinthians 13:13, But for right now…we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (The Message)

 I can have all the faith and hope in the world but if I can’t love someone who’s actions are unlovable, what’s the point?

The Message says it this way, If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. (1Corinthians 13:2)

 In other words I can teach a Bible study, attend church, listen to Christian music, be faith full but if I can’t love my neighbor who may be different than me, believe different than me, act different than me, look different than me…What. Is. The. Point?

Why share this now? I can’t help but look around and see the venomous vitriol being spewed from every single direction. Name calling, hurtful words, anger, hatred. I get it. I really do. You want more than anything for people to listen. You want them to see your side of things. So you speak louder. But learn from my experience: screaming that someone’s behavior is bull crap or following them around (literally or via the internet) roaring your opinion does not change anyone.

Only love does that.

Love allows for grace to be given and truth to be spoken. Love allows for safe places and soft landings even when we don’t always agree. Love allows for difficult conversations and differences of opinions. Love allows for change to happen. It’s the greatest of these.

And it starts with me.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Much and Never Enough

too much not enough

The what if’s got me this past week. Every time I sat down to write, I waged war within. The cursor blinked, I stared. Tapped out a sentence or two then hit the delete button. The cursor blinked, I stared. Hands on the keys, at the ready, to knock the socks off my readers.

Crickets.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty of thoughts. I always have blogs in the queue that I’m working on. I tried different ones on different days. I tried funny but funny falls flat when funky is the feeling. Moving to morose was, well, gloomy. I wrote and erased an entire novel. Or so it seemed.

After a few days of that I decided that I needed a change of scenery. I cleaned. I mowed. I walked around outside (and took more pics of fall wildflowers.) That’s what I do when I need to do some figuring out of things.

IMG_3914

Here’s what I came up with:

Nothing crushes creativity quicker than comparison.

 The thing of it is I wasn’t comparing myself to other people. I was comparing myself to the last few posts I’d written. The Wildflower Warrior concept has resonated with so many of you! I’ve loved every message, text, note and art design. You all get it! We were made for more!

This may sound weird but I began to put so much pressure on myself to perform perfectly, to give you, my readers whom I adore, exactly what you needed to read, to resonate with ALL of you EVERY time, to watch the number of reads, shares and likes beat the previous post. I froze.

Pressure to perform perfectly paralyzes productivity.

While I want to continually hone the craft and sharpen the skill of writing, always improving, I cannot compare what resonated with my audience yesterday to what I’m working on today. It kills creativity quickly.

IMG_3952.JPG

I will be too much for some.

My style isn’t for everyone. For some I’m over the top. I’m too simple or hippy or farmy. I mean who compares women to wildflowers and warriors? Lessons from nature and chickens and weeds? Seriously? And the whole Jesus thing? Enough already. Is that really how you think? You are too much.

So when I sat down to write this past week, I found myself wanting to water it down, making sure I wasn’t too much of anything for anyone. But being something for everyone leaves me left with nothing for no one because I’m exhausted trying to fit in a mold I wasn’t made for.

Yes. I will be too much for some. It’s okay. I’m hoeing my own row. The seeds planted there will produce the harvest I was meant to grow.

IMG_3889

 

For others I will never be quite enough.

Sigh. Oh the words that whirl around in my head on this one!

Who do you think you are? You’re seriously going to push publish on that? No one will like it. No one will get it. You’ll never be a real writer.

 There’s more but you get the picture.

Does anything crush creativity faster than trying to measure up to the critics and complainers, the killjoys and commentators that have nothing nice to say?

Sometimes this is me in my own head. Sometimes this is me speaking for you before you’ve had a chance to read what I’ve written. Sometimes it really is people to whom I will never be enough.

IMG_3917

As I’m typing this, I am reminded of an excerpt from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech on April 23, 1910….

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (bold is mine)

While I may never be enough for some, I want to be brave enough to get in the arena anyhow.

Maybe you get it, this too much and never enough. Maybe you wrestle with it as well. Let’s dare greatly and keep creating, even if we’re too much for some and not enough for others.

IMG_3933
Me being me…no makeup, outside, taking pictures with Macey because she needed to go to my thoughtful spot too. 🙂

Be you. It’s what Wildflower Warriors do.

Fiercely for you!

kw

When You End Up in the Ditch

IMG_3876
The Cup Plant known to collect rain water in her “cups” that can be used for drinking water in emergencies. She can be found in ditches along roadsides, offering us a cool drink perhaps?

I had been asking Mom for gas money for several days. While I had been watching the needle move towards E, it didn’t really dawn on me that I would run out of gas…oh to be 16 again…until my car sputtered to a halt on my way to school one morning. My sister and I were able to push it off the country road enough to not get hit.

Fortunately for my siblings and me, my then boyfriend, now husband (awww…insert heart emoji’s here) took the same route to school, saw us stranded and pulled over to pick us up. There’s nothing quite like piling in to a ’67 VW with rusted floorboards. But at least his tank was full.

Later that day, I got scolded pretty good by my stepfather for parking in the ditch at the wrong angle. Wait. What? I guess gas couldn’t get to the carburetor because of the angle of the car….or something like that. (To this day I have no knowledge of any of this…I couldn’t even spell carburetor just now!)

I wish I could tell you this was the last time I ended up in a ditch. But, well, life happens, tanks run out, and there you are, parked at a wonky angle in the ditch. I’ve learned a few things through the years….

When you’re running towards E you have to go to a resource that can help you. The logical place to go for gas money was my Mom. This is usually true. What I didn’t know is she couldn’t give me what she herself didn’t have…money for gas. I kept waiting. She kept putting it off. I ended up in the ditch.

Sometimes the actions (or inaction) of others are what put you in the ditch. Had I realized there was no money for gas, I could have caught a ride to school with said hunk of a boy mentioned above.

How many times have I gone to someone who simply did not have the know- how or wherewithal to give me what I needed to prevent me from ending up in the ditch.

I just kept driving.

When you’re running towards E you have to pay attention to the signs. It was naïve (foolish?) of me to think I could just keep going and going and never run out of gas. There were red flags…like the needle that kept creeping closer to empty. My truck today has a signal that lets me know when I’m 50 miles or less to empty. (And believe me, I head to the nearest gas station because that beep makes me panic a little!)

How many times have I ignored signs and red flags and beeps and just kept going? Oh, hello, Mr. Ditch. We must stop meeting like this. I had no clue we’d be together again so soon. Oh wait. Yes I did. I chose to ignore them!

 I just kept driving.

When you’re running on E you don’t get to choose where you park, you just land where you run out of gas. It’s almost always not in a convenient spot…

Sometimes it’s in the hospital because you’ve ignored your body’s symptoms. Sometimes it’s with a counselor because you’ve ignored your feelings and thoughts. Sometimes it’s in divorce court because you’ve ignored warning signs in your marriage. Sometimes it’s because of someone else’s actions or lack thereof. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a store and you start crying for not any one thing but a million.  And you can’t stop.

We just keep driving.

IMG_3861
The Bull Thistle…completely dried up…just like us when we “bull” our way through and keep driving.

No matter the reason, no matter the how, no matter the why, we have a Rescuer. He doesn’t look at us and think You idiot. (Though he may shake his head on occasion…) He looks at his children with compassion. He doesn’t ignore our cries from the ditch…no matter how we ran out of gas, no matter what angle we “parked” the car…he hears us…

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

 Oh. My. Soul!

IMG_3881
Chicory coming up THROUGH a crack in the road. 

He is the Resource that never runs out. He is the One with all the answers. He is the Fuel that fills my tank. He is the Nemesis to my enemy. He is the Light that shows the way. He is Breath when I cannot breathe. He is.

He is the Lifter of my head when I’m weary. He is the Hearer of my heart. He is the collector of my tears. He is the Helper in times of trouble. He is Firmness under my feet. He is the Rock on which I stand. He is.

He Rescues. Redeems. Restores. Amen.

#ezerstrong

kw