The Day After Father’s Day

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It’s Monday. The day after Father’s Day. You can breathe now. You made it. I know it was tough for some. For others, you just don’t think about it too much. I get it. Truly. So I thought I would share the prologue (at this point) to my book in the works, followed by a few thoughts afterwards….

To say that the relationship with my dad is peculiar would be pretty accurate. We do have one, I guess. It’s just…different. We don’t really talk. We don’t spend much time together. We no longer send cards at the Hallmark best times of the year. And yet, I know if I really needed to, I could call him and he’d be there. I could ask him for anything and if it was in his power to do it he would. So strange.

I’ve been so hesitant to write this book because I don’t want you to hate my dad or think poorly of him. I don’t hate my dad or think poorly of him. Our relationship, or lack thereof, just is what it is.

You see, I was born on August 3, 1965 into a marriage that probably should never have happened anyhow. But seeing as how my mom got pregnant her senior year of high school with my brother three years earlier, my dad did “the right thing” by her and so a shotgun wedding took place. And those of us who have lived much life know that if you ever do something because you feel you HAVE to and not because you WANT to…well it makes for a recipe of messy.

So they added another kid. Me.

And then divorced a short few months after I was born. My older brother and I lived with my paternal grandparents from the time we were 3 and 18 months. They provided everything we needed: food, shelter, clothing, stability, love. They were the best. And yet there was always this place within me that was searching. This place that seemed empty. I grew up never quite feeling like I belonged. Like I never quite measured up.

It’s hard to understand big people issues when you’re a little girl. The absence of my father wasn’t so much about rejecting me as it was about his needing to get away, far away; from my mom, from our small town, from reminders of mistakes made. I know that now….years later.

I also now understand why I cringed every time a pastor talked about God as my Father. But I’ve learned, my Father loves me. And I let Him.

This is my story of how I got there… 

Many of you get this. This searching. This yearning. This hole. Maybe your dad was never in the picture. Maybe he left by choice. Maybe he passed when you were young. Whatever the reason, those of us whose dad’s were absent growing up spent some time struggling.

It wasn’t until years (and some therapy) later that I began to understand the role of God as my Father. I was so tenderly stubborn to open my heart to such love. A love that is immeasurable and unconditional. I couldn’t fathom it.

I spent my entire younger life trying to be good enough (or bad enough) to get attention. I wanted to be seen, heard and loved by someone who simply (and honestly) didn’t ever really want kids.

The beauty of this story is it’s not new. The Bible tells us so. There are women all throughout this ancient script that discovered the love of the Father.

He sees you just like he saw Hagar in the wilderness after she had been rejected. (Genesis 16) He sees you in your wanderings.

He sees you just like he saw Leah whose father thought it took trickery for anyone to love her. Leah never measured up no matter what she did, until she turned her eyes on her Father. (Genesis 29) He sees you in your trying.

He sees you just like he saw the woman at the well…thirsting for something more than relationships gone wrong. (John 4) He sees you in your desperation.

He sees you just like he saw Mary Magdalene who had demons. In fact she had seven, which some scholars believe meant she was wholly possessed. (Luke 8) He sees you in your despair.

And so on this day after Father’s Day, breathe and remember…

You are seen.

You are heard.

You are loved.

You are valued.

You are adored.

You are treasured.

You are delightful.

You are beautiful.

You are you.

kw

 

Footprints and Paths

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I’m sitting here binge-eating Cheetos. I suppose doing so makes me feel like I’m getting away with something sinister. Tomorrow morning is my first day with a friend who happens to be a personal trainer. She is going to wear me out real good so the jokes going to be on me.

I’m wrestling with words today. Maybe in some weird way, crunching a Kool Kats snack will give me some inkling of an idea what to say to you. I think I’m stuck because I want to say soothing words, healing words, words that matter. It’s the week leading up to Father’s Day, which brings all manner of emotion.

There are those of you whose Dad’s are still around and you know them and love them. What an absolute blessing!

There are those of you whose Dad’s have passed away and whether those wounds of grief are gaping wide open or scabbed over, you still miss him. You wander down the card aisle willing yourself not to search for the one you’d give him if you could. Father’s Day brings with it a melancholy of memories, thoughts, smells, trips, clothes, and sounds.

I’m sorry. Sorry for your loss. Sorry for your sadness. Sorry for the hole left in your heart when he passed.

We wish that time would do what only God can…heal our hurt, soothe our soul and grout that gaping hole.

There are those of you whose Dad’s have passed you by. You grew up wondering why? Weren’t you pretty enough? Thin enough? Smart enough? Enough of anything enough? You wonder what was wrong with you that he didn’t want to be your Dad? Instead of feeling like a princess, you felt like a pauper. Unwanted. Unloved. Unseen. Unheard.

I’m sorry. Sorry for the years you weren’t valued. Sorry for the times you felt unloved. Sorry for the voice never heard.

We wish that people could do what only God can…love lavishly, value voraciously and hear your hearts cry.

I really wish we were sitting across from one another right now. Words on a page seem, I don’t know, too black and white, too bleh. But I’m gonna try the best I can…

I have no idea why things happen the way they do. Like why do some people get great dads and some people get dads who are, well, not even in the picture? Why do some great dads die way before they should? How do some people get past their grief and here you are stuck in a pit for so long that you’ve wall papered and painted? Why do some people still care what their dads think when their dad could care less?

I was walking down the driveway after a fresh snow had fallen and I noticed footprints everywhere. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to them. Big ones like a coyote. Hoofed ones like a deer. Small handprints like a raccoon. Large thumping ones like a rabbit. All hither and to. No rhythm. No pattern.

But when I looked from my second story window, I could see definite paths that were taken, trails that made more sense. Some led to the creek where the animals could drink. Some led to the field out back where they could seek shelter. There was a purpose when I changed my perspective.

I must trust that my heavenly Father is good even when things here are not. I need to believe that God is good at being God even when things are hard and I don’t understand. I have to believe that he knows the journey I’m on and there is purpose in the path that is mine.

He sees from a different perspective, from a different point of view. A view we cannot possibly understand most days. But I can lean in when the grief is great or when I need to know Someone is proud to be my parent.

I know these words may fall short of what you need, like clichés sprinkled with Cheeto dust. I don’t mean for them to. I can’t explain it.

I just know on the days when I let God be God, I don’t yearn for something that cannot be because He fills that gaping hole magnificently.

He sees you. He loves you. He hears you. He wants you. He cares.

kw

 

 

Speaking My Language

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My man and I  were on a flight coming home from visiting our daughter in New Mexico with a layover in Utah. My man has a fancy diamond traveling status and was greeted like royalty everywhere we went. Me? I got the pat down (or feel up) and treated like my mascara wand could give McGyver a run for his money on creative ways to land the plane.

“We” were Mr. Wright’ed at every turn. How was your flight Mr. Wright? Anything we can get you Mr. Wright? Would you like to bump up to first class Mr. Wright? (And he DID! But that’s a story for another day! He did meander to the back of the plane to offer me his dessert…) No wonder he likes to travel…

All of that would have been super annoying except that his status got me a welcome to the Sky Club Lounge any friend of Mr. Diamond is a friend of mine greeting from the woman behind the lounge counter.

I found us seats with the best view to people watch while my man got us plates of bread and cheese and me a glass of wine. (Mr. Diamond ain’t so bad after all.)

All settled in, I casually sipped my wine, nibbled on my snacks and critiqued the unsuspecting travelers. There was the lady beside me talking on her phone to someone who was obviously VERY hard of hearing. We ALL heard about her family member who was in the ICU and how she hated leaving her there etc. etc.

The lady in front of me, who’s back was towards me, was getting peeved at loud lady. Every time loud lady answered hard of hearing lady, peeved lady jerked her head around so fast I thought for sure it was going to snap off and land at my feet. Peeved lady would dramatically turn back around and aggressively pet her Shitzu who was failing its one job of being any emotional support to its master.

There I sat casually sipping and nibbling. Would you like another glass of wine Mr. Diamond’s friend? Don’t mind if I do.

Meanwhile a group of five women came in, sat down, took two sips of their drinks then decided they were late to their gate and left. Leaving behind full plates of food, bottles of beer and glasses of wine. Such a shame. Especially when the entertainment was so good!

That’s when I spotted him.

His nametag said Jean. He was a table busser and had come over to clean up late-to-the-gate-party-of-five’s-mess. This twenty something’s demeanor was quiet. I tried to make eye contact…not in a cougar-ish way but in a sucks to clean up after people kind of way. I’ve bussed tables….it’s a thankless job.

He finally did glance my way. I smiled. He politely nodded. (Maybe he had heard that I wielded a mean mascara wand and didn’t want to engage. Or maybe he knew I was a couple of glasses of wine in…anyhoo…)

He made his way around the lounge, cleaning tables, being polite and quiet. Loud lady and peeved lady had left. So I sat there watching Jean work. Something intrigued me about him. (As I’m typing this out, I realize how utterly creepy I sound…)

He never engaged in a conversation. He never interacted with the travelers. He simply went about doing his job. Until…

I heard, more than saw, a couple come in who were conversing with each other in French. Jean’s eyes LIT UP. His body language and whole countenance changed as he made his way toward the French speaking couple. He was grinning from ear to ear as the three of them conversed. There was energy in his step the rest of the time we were there.

Creepy lady (that’s me) realized something that day; we all need someone who speaks our language. We all need people who hear us, understand us, who get us. How foreign do we feel when we think we’re the only one struggling with something? How isolating is it when we think we’re the only ones who fight with our spouse or who have prodigal kids or feel less than sometimes? How alienating is it to think that other Mom’s never get tired or heat up a frozen pizza for dinner or hide ice cream bars to eat late at night after bedtime?

We need each other! It’s why I share real life on here. The thing I hear the most from women I counsel? It’s nice to feel like I’m heard. Not judged. Not fixed. Not shamed. Simply listened to.

To have someone speak your language, to walk beside you and get it, is the best gift we can give.

Au revoir Jean! Thanks for the life lesson! (And the wine!)

kw

 

 

 

In Light of This Weeks News

We’ve got to do a better job talking about this. The suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdaine prove once again that you can’t judge a book by its cover; you can’t simply look at someone and know what’s truly going on.

Money and fame doesn’t scare depression away. Status doesn’t give you immunity to mental illness. I’m not talking about just rich and famous status here either. The church (in general) often makes those who struggle feel less faith filled, less Christian. (Read more about that in an article I wrote last year… http://lookoutmag.com/offering-light-and-hope/ )

We’ve got to stop assuming we know someone’s story. If we truly got to know most people, we would be pretty surprised at the things they’ve gone through, the things they struggle with or the things they think about themselves.

We live in an age that has more ways of being connected than ever before. And yet we are the loneliest, most disconnected generation that’s ever been. We post what we want people to see. We’ve stopped talking (especially to those who think differently than we do.) We opt to show our lives in picture perfect posts instead of having real, live conversations.

I wonder if we really want to?

Would we rather just go about our own lives and not get involved? It’s easier, I suppose. To walk a rough road with someone is hard. To reach out and help someone who struggles with mental illness is sometimes awkward, as we don’t usually know what to say or do. Reaching out is a great first step. Telling the person you don’t know what to say but want to help is a start. Simply listening helps.

We’ve got to put down our phones (or the million other distracting devices) and start having conversations again, in person, around the table, on a porch swing, in a coffee shop, at a park…somewhere face to face. Put away your opinions and shock face and listen, really listen to each other.

Lord, give us the want-to. Amen

 

A Hallway of Doors Galore!

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Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. (Matthew 7:7NLT)

I’m not a very adventurous person. (My family is grinning at that understatement.) I (over) analyze the sweet bejesus out of everything so by the time I make a decision about something, having written out the pros and cons and what if’ed every possible scenario, I’m almost 100% sure I’m making the right one. Whatever it may be.

I’ve been praying for direction for quite some time now. Asking for doors to open or doors to shut. What I’m finding is it’s not quite as simple as that.

Sometimes the door shuts. The answer is no. You didn’t get the job. You received a rejection letter. Divorce papers are signed. The stick is negative. The prodigal is still prodigal-ing. The promotion went to someone else.

There is no mistaking the shut door. Even when you pound on it, shove it with your shoulder, beg the owner, it will not open.

Sometimes the door opens. The answer is yes, please, come right in and have a seat. Opportunity will be with you shortly. May I get you something to drink or eat? I trust the journey here was not too taxing.

 All is well. Life is good. You are at peace. You know THIS is what you are meant to do.

Black and white. Yes or no. Clear and concise. Plain and simple. Those are my kind of doors. No figuring out. No paralysis of analysis. No second guesses.

But what I learned is there may be a third option. What if…

You knock (ask), the door opens (answer is yes), you walk through (in obedience) only to find it feels foreign. You double-check the address. Yep. You wrote it down right. After all, you prayed for this open door for months now.

This was me recently. It was so confusing.

Did I hear wrong? Take a wrong turn somewhere? Go down the wrong hallway? Get off on the wrong floor? I can’t quit. I PRAYED for this door to open. And. It. Did.

But from the very first day of walking through the door, I had doubts. Not before mind you. Maybe it was just me getting used to new house sounds, the creeks and pops of the floorboards. Maybe if I gave it some time, the new surroundings would become familiar.

Deep down I knew. This wasn’t for me.

So I prayed AGAIN…

 Lord, I am confused. I thought you opened this door for me to walk through. Why am I feeling like this isn’t for me? Help me to understand.

 Here is what he showed me…

A closed door doesn’t mean it will stay closed forever. Sometimes it will. Sometimes it won’t. If it does, will you trust me? If it doesn’t, will you try?

An open door doesn’t always mean you back your U-Haul up to it and move in for good. Sometimes I open a door for you to walk through so you can see that is not the place I have for you. But because you are stubborn (the nerve!) and keep praying the same way, I opened this door so you would recognize the one I have for you.

Never underestimate what you are already called to do. Don’t run from it.

Will you trust me?

I had felt like such a quitter before he showed me this. This door wasn’t the wrong one. He had something to teach me at that particular address. Had I not walked through, I would not have learned the lesson. NOT trying at all because of fear of failing would have been the failure. I never want to be afraid to turn the knob, walk through the door and try what the Lord puts in front of me. I want to trust that my Father will show me if this door is the right one for me, if I am moving in or just staying for dinner.

NOT trying at all because of fear of failing would have been the failure. 

And then I ran across this from Paul in his letter to Corinth…

Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia. (2Corinthians 2:12-13NIV bold is mine)

Even a saint like Paul walked through a God ordained open door only to discover his journey was to be elsewhere. Whew…

How about you? Have you tried something you just knew you were suppose to do and then knew it wasn’t? Was it confusing? Maybe God was showing you more through that open door!

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

Always a Way

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There I stood. Pinned between the mower and fence. A little stunned and a whole lot taken by surprise. What just happened?

I’ve mowed that hill a hundred times so I didn’t think a thing about it as I was maneuvering our new (bigger) walk behind mower…the kind you squeeze one handle to lower the blade and the other to put it into gear. It took a bit to get used to at first and on occasion I wasn’t sure who was controlling whom but I had gotten pretty comfortable with it.

Therein lies the problem.

As I was hunkering down to come up the hill, my sweaty hand slipped off the handle just enough to send the mower into neutral. Neutral+hill=bad news. Suddenly I was wanning (not quite walking but not quite running) backwards down the hill and quick as that, I was pinned against the fence.

After the initial shock, I felt panic set in. My man was on the other side of our three acre lot mowing so there was no way he would hear me yell for him. Then it dawned on me, squeeze the handle. It was that simple.

Handle squeezed, gear engaged, I was no longer trapped.

God is no stranger to using parables as teaching tools. So what life lessons did I learn from this mowing mayhem?

1. Don’t get too full of yourself.

The moment I got comfortable, I got complacent. I stopped paying close attention to what I was doing and didn’t respect the power of the machine I was driving.

Sometimes in life, we think we’ve got a handle on things and let down our guard.

Maybe we got trapped doing a particular thing so we are uber careful to not let ourselves get trapped like that again. We pay so much attention there that we’re not looking here.

Or maybe we see someone we know doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing and we think to ourselves, I would never…

 Those are dangerous hills to climb.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV)

2. It can happen fast.

All it took was a simple slip of a sweaty hand off the handle and seconds later, I was wondering how I had gotten where I was.

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1Peter 5:8 NIV)

Interestingly enough a lion roars after it has caught its prey. Before the roar he watches and waits. Ready to pounce. Just like that.

That poor unsuspecting gazelle was enjoying her morning breakfast, not paying attention and suddenly she’s being served up on a platter as Leo’s lunch.

Peter tells us in this same chapter how to avoid the trap of the enemy…

Humble yourselves (v6) (see previous notes on not getting full of ourselves)

 ~ Be self-controlled (v8)  (worry about yourself…not what others are or are not doing)

~ Be alert (8) (pay attention to your surroundings, using all your senses)

~ Resist the devil (v9) (walk, run or cartwheel out of there but do what you must to resist!)

Don’t be a gazelle! (That one’s mine…not Peter’s. :))

3. Know there’s always a way out.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

 Notice it says when you are tempted. Not if. When.

We live in a fallen world. A broken down, busted up group of people are we. Temptation goes back to the beginning of time, in a gorgeous garden where there was nary a want to be had. And yet they were tempted. How much more susceptible are we?

But God tells us he provides a way for us. A way out. A way to not succumb. A way to not buckle under the pressure of a world gone wonky.  I don’t always know how he does it, I just trust he makes it available because he says so.

We have to have the want-to to choose the way he’s given. The better way. The way out.

Sometimes it’s complicated. I get that. But sometimes it’s as easy as squeezing the handle. Whatever the temptation, there is a way out. Always.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

One Letter Shy

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Meet Cohen. He’s learning how to write his letters and by stringing them together make words. He worked so hard on the “word of the day”…T-shirt…but came up one letter short, as you can see.

His teachers didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise so he stood proud for his picture and a new “word of the day” was shared. T-shit became a much repeated word through the hallways and around dinner tables. It made people LOL and get tickled to no end.

There’s another word that we hold up proud, smiling for the camera, acting like we’ve got it all together…

thumbnailWe boast of our busyness. The vibration of our vernacular becomes this when asked the question How are you?

 Busy.

 I’ve been so busy.

 Crazy busy!

 Work is busy. Home is busy. Life is insane.

 Sigh…

We wonder why we can’t get it all done. We wonder if there’s something more to this life than this pace we’re keeping.

Don’t get me wrong, with five kids who all played sports and who, at one time, were at four different school campuses, I get a fast pace. There are seasons of busy, but when spring turns to summer, turns to fall, turns to winter, year after busy year, something’s gotta give. That something is usually you.

Keeping up an insane pace and never slowing down will eventually affect the health of our marriages, the health of our families, the health of our households and our own mental and physical well being.

We are available 24/7. We are always connected via some type of screen…smart(?)phones, iPads, computers, TV, video games….all of which keep our fear of missing out at bay. Or does it keep the fear factor at an all time high as we are able to watch the news all day and all night, if we choose?

Did you know that we are struggling more and more to read and comprehend books? We are fast becoming skimmers of articles and get bored quicker now more than ever before. We can “ok google” something and get instant answers rather than spend (waste?) time researching it. Because we’re just too darn busy to do it any other way.

Being “on” all the time isn’t good for anyone. I realize different personalities thrive off of different paces…some faster than others…but we ALL need rest.

by the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work. (Genesis 2:3 MSG)

Rest is a gift that was given not a burden to bear.

Our bodies need rest. Our brains need rest. Our souls need rest.

So what do we do?

How do we slow down the PACE?

Like Cohen, we are one letter shy. A simple “e” inserted between the first two letters of pace gives us the word that is most desired….

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That’s great but what does that even look like?

#1. Turn off all things screen related (once you finish reading this of course…) for a designated time each day. Or give yourselves an allotted amount of time to check emails, social media etc. If your job requires screen time for goodness sakes stay off it when you get home. Don’t allow screens in your bedroom. That’s an area designated for sleep or…well you get the picture.

And the world won’t stop turning. 😉

#2. Meditate/be still just a few minutes a day. It’s a great way to clear your mind and retrain your brain to think more clearly. There are some great apps if you need someone to guide you…I use Headspace.

#3. Walk outside, put your feet in the grass, look up at the stars, put your line in the water or your hands in the dirt, get connected with nature, which also connects you with the Creator. Breathe in deeply; enjoy the simplicity of just being.

Nature itself is the best physician. (Hippocrates)

 Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. (Lao Tzu)

#4. Read a book. A real one. According to an article in Scientific American: evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done.

I love my kindle but sometimes a paper and ink book is just what my senses need.

#5. Have a real conversation with a real person. We’ve lost the art of conversing “the old fashioned way”…face to face. We’ve stopped the practice of sharing and listening, watching for body language and tone of voice, of seeing emotion on a face and the touch on an arm. Get a coffee or lunch date on your calendar and enjoy some time with a friend.

T-shit and I will be waiting to hear how you string together creative ways of inserting the “e” into your pace so you can experience peace.

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

 

 

Sharing My Chocolate Cream Pie

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Stepping out in faith and back from things, allows one to see life from a different angle. Like a mountain climber who’s reached the summit the view is breathtaking and clear. Instead of looking up at the task before you, you look out at the beauty in front of you. It was worth the work, the wait and the wonder.

Here are some things I learned in my four-month hiatus (with more to come I’m sure)…

1. Pounding on a locked door keeps you from noticing the open one.

 I was so very sure I knew which door I was suppose to knock on and walk through that I stood at it for way longer than I ever should have. I feel for Celia Foote in The Help when she rang the doorbell then stood in the bushes with her chocolate pie, peeping in the windows wishing, hoping, desiring to be let in, to be a part of the group. Instead of the rattle of a latch, she heard the prattle of laughter. She learned quicker than I that that door wasn’t going to open.

Stepping out in faith and back from things allowed me to see I can’t force anyone to open a door…especially God. It allowed me to see that door had become an idol…something I desired more than what should have mattered.

Closed fists pound. Closed fists can’t receive.

 Once I opened my fist and stopped pounding, a different door opened. Had I not stepped out and back, I would still be peeping in the windows with my chocolate pie.

2. Not acknowledging our emotions doesn’t make them disappear. It makes them fester.

 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until it gets buried deep down in my own marrow (and yours), It’s ok to say you’re not ok.

 Can I take it one step further? It’s ok to say what you need.

Saying you’re not ok and asking for what you need does not make you weak or needy or typical for a woman. Saying you’re not ok is one of the strongest things you can do. Asking for what you need takes hutzpah and heart.

When we don’t, we fester. When we fester, we eventually pop…usually in the wrong place at the wrong time with an odiferous oozing that’s plain nasty. Anybody out there?

3. Out of order love doesn’t last over the long haul.

 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’

The most important one is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31NIV)

The God of my faith is a God of order. I believe he put this verse in that order for a reason. We truly can’t love others or ourselves without first loving him with everything we have and all that we are.

We live in a self-centered society. If you don’t believe like me, look like me, act like me, think like me, dress like me I can’t possibly show you any kind of love (or mercy or kindness or grace or much of anything really).

I can’t tell whether we love ourselves too much or hate ourselves but either way, self-absorption or self-loathing creates a heart unable to love your neighbor.

Loving the Lord above all else allows us to see others (and ourselves) as made in his image. We see beyond the beliefs, looks, actions, thoughts and clothes to see people…Imago Dei…able to extend grace and mercy and truth and kindness.

Spending time with the Lord, creating space just for us, helps me keep love in the right order.

4. Life is too short to take my ball and go home.

 My very best friend since kindergarten is sick. Last fall she went to the emergency room thinking she had a bad gall bladder and left with a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis and a poor prognosis. For her, each day is a gift, one that she gladly opens. Each day is an opportunity to use the gifts and talents she’s been given and continues to share with her fourth grade class because she hasn’t quit.

I can’t quit either. It’s ok to step out in faith and back from things because we all need time to breathe on occasion. We all need a moment to be still, gather our thoughts and get our bearings but not for forever.

Part of me wanted to take the best of what I have to offer and say forget it. If the door won’t open, then I’ll take my gifts and talents and go home.

But then I talked with my best friend. The one who shared her crayons and didn’t laugh at me when I didn’t know my grandparents had ACTUAL names. The one who taught me that cows are nice, roosters are mean and how to sneak around the fairgrounds when you are there for 4H. The one who has been dealt a hand that isn’t fair and completely sucks but gets up everyday wanting it to be her best just in case it’s her last.

No. I’m not taking my ball and going home. I’m using the gifts that have been graciously given to me, sharing my chocolate pie with those who open the door and invite me in (and even those who don’t when love is in the right order. 🙂

I am thankful for what these past 4 months of soul searching solace has taught me.  I pray I continue to uncurl my pounding fists and open my hands to receive so I can in turn give back. I pray that I don’t allow feelings to fester. I pray that I keep the Lord in the forefront so I always see those I encounter each day through his lens and not my own. I pray that I make the most of each precious day given to me.

I pray these things for you as well dear reader.

Fiercely for you,

kw

 

 

More Joy in One Ordinary Day

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Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say. “More. More.” I have God’s more-than-enough. More joy in one ordinary day. (Psalm 4:6-7 MSG)

 That last line got me…

More JOY in one ORDINARY day.

I want to find joy in the simple satisfactions of every day rather than be always waiting, ever disappointed when the marvelous is mowed down by mere.

It takes extraordinary courage to find joy in ordinary days when the world is hungry for more.

It’s easy to do isn’t it? Chase after the massive monumentals; the bigger-than-life-itself stuff. The living with tomorrow in mind and miss the here and now. I don’t want to become so busy chasing after extraordinary that I miss the joy that comes with the ordinary.

I never want to tire of the wonder of an egg. How does a chicken make an outer shell with an egg inside? Not to mention the greens, blues and all manner of hues. And then there’s one yolk or two?

I never want to tire of the smell of sun-kissed sheets dried on the line. It makes for the outdoor to come in and my sleep so fine.

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I never want to tire of watching bees work to make honey. They take nectar from a flower and turn it in to something worth more than money.

The smell of bread baking and apple butter making.

Georgia peaches that travelled so far, line my shelf in wide-mouth Mason jars.

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Sunrises and sunsets and super moons that are blue, remind me each day to be grateful and true.

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Photo of this beautiful blue super moon is courtesy of Dianna Dickson 🙂

Old hymnals filled with songs I hold dear. They tell of grace and a cross and of Jesus who’s near.

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I want to notice the forget-me-not so tiny and small as well as those who feel like flowers on a wall.

The snow as it glistens like diamonds in the sun. The hoof prints of deer making a path as they run.

The smell of a babe as you rock her to sleep is a joy in one’s heart forever to keep.

Sitting on my front porch swing listening to the frogs as they sing.

The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest. (Thomas Moore)

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals as long as we don’t get so busy racing towards the next thing that we miss the victory of today. There is more joy in an ordinary day when we s-l-o-w down enough to notice. Chasing after slow is a bit of all right too.

It does take practice. And determination. And courage. It takes a certain fearlessness and fortitude to say STOP in a world full of clamor and commotion.

We are so wired by technology to always be on, always be involved, always be in the know, that it takes a literal brain reboot to enjoy (in joy) silence and solitude and God’s more-than-enough.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. (William Arthur Ward)

There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be joyful about, so much to be blessed by…in a simple ordinary day.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Like You Can’t…

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I woke up at 2AM thinking about the previous day. I had some minor outpatient surgery to repair some varicose veins. I woke up the morning of the surgery feeling pretty anxious. That’s usually not how I roll. You do what ya gotta do. Ya know?

Cosmetics aside, I needed to have this done so the blood could flow back up my leg freely.

We arrived at 5:30AM, got registered quickly and was sitting in a very quiet surgical waiting room waiting for the staff person to arrive at 6. The longer I sat the more I felt the need to leave. Fight or flight I believe they call it.

Thankfully I was taken back and prepared for surgery before “flight” happened. I decided to “fight” by repeating this praise song by All Sons and Daughters…

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

And all the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

…over and over in my head.

Ironically, I woke up from the anesthesia with the feeling that I couldn’t breathe. I looked at one masked face after another telling them with panic in my voice I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

All of them told me I was fine. I was talking so I was breathing.

It didn’t help.

I reached back for the nurse anesthetist who had told me in pre-op prep that if I had any problems to let her know and she would help me. She grabbed ahold of my hand, told me not to worry, put an oxygen mask on and told the rest of the team that I was having a panic attack. She then proceeded to give me some “calm down medicine” in my IV. Calm down medicine is like sitting under the poplar tree at my grandparents house sipping iced tea on a hot summers day…cool, calm and refreshing.

The irony and parallel that I thought of at 2 in the morning?

The irony…the fact that I was singing the lyrics about God’s breath in my lungs and pouring out praise and then “coming to” feeling like I couldn’t breathe!

The parallel…how many times has life punched you in the gut and taken your breath away? Like life is spinning out of control? No one is listening. No one is helping you. How often does the enemy try to convince you that God is not there nor does he care?

The enemy wants us to feel like that. He wants us to panic and hyperventilate and grasp at whoever will listen.

What do (should) we do instead?

Praise the One who can help in the middle of it. And then watch the devil be defeated!

I know. I know. That’s the last thing you want to do. It’s easier to focus on the situation at hand and not on the One who can handle the situation.

We want to march out with the white flag singing I surrender all to the very one who is taking our breath instead of the One who is Breathtaking.

King Jehoshaphat had an entire (vast) army coming at him…the Ammonites and the Moabites got together and ganged up on King J and his crew. Guess who led the army out to meet the “-ite” brothers? The praise and worship team! Check it out…

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever. (2Chronicles 20:21 NIV emphasis mine)

Because nothing screams victory in battle more than a bunch of choir singers.

It just doesn’t make sense does it? Shouldn’t we send out our elite soldiers with their battle ready skills and armor? There are people trained for this kind of thing. Keep reading…

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2Chronicles 20:22 NIV emphasis mine)

Notice as they began to sing…not before.

Apparently we aren’t the only ones confused by this war tactic…

The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. (2Chronicles 20:23 NIV)

So the next time the devil tries to knock the very wind out of you, leaving you to believe your Father doesn’t care, that your Dad isn’t big enough, don your choir robe, inhale a big old breath, exhale some praise and sing baby sing. It will confuse the heck out of him.

That my friends is the best “calm down medicine” this side of heaven.

Fiercely for you!

kw

PS Surgery went very well and according to my man, my legs look like I tried to shave them with a very old razor and no readers. You guys.