Lessons in Loaves and Fish

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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

 

 

 

 

My Iris Rogue

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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…

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

 

 

Crying Harder Than It Hurt

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Ironweed closeup.

I’m not sure what happened. One minute I was reaching to turn the garage light on and the next minute I’m bouncing my way down the wooden steps, making sure to hit all four of them with my rear before landing on the concrete floor.

I sat there in disbelief for a few seconds. After doing a quick inventory to make sure everything was still connected and not broken, I curled up in the fetal position on the dirty garage floor and cried. Sobbed really.

I was crying way harder than it hurt. Oh sure, my butt was going to have some serious bruises but for a woman who has gone through natural childbirth not once but four (out of five) times this seemed a bit extreme.

Yet I laid there. In the dark. On the cold floor. All alone. And I wailed.

It wasn’t the bruises on my bum but the hurt in my heart that was causing this wave of emotion. The previous 18 months had demanded that I be brave. Commanded some colossal courage. Life can take you through those seasons sometimes, can’t it?

So often during that year and a half, I had held back tears and choked back any real emotion because there simply was no time for it. They came out that day…spilling over into the dust of the garage floor….

Job change, a renegade kid, death, loss of friendships, moves, being alone, loneliness, grieving what was, facing the unknown…bullying me, taunting me, daring me to give up. Whispering to me that only the weak cry uncle, only the weak cry at all.

Such a lie.

Somewhere along the way we (Wildflower Warriors) have convinced ourselves that we are invincible. Until we’re not. Then we wonder where it went wrong.

King David was a slayer of lions, bears and giants. He fought battles like a boss, killing tens of thousands of his enemy. He was confidently courageous, powerfully potent, gallantly gritty, undaunted, unafraid and handsome to boot.

Until you read the Psalms….

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. (Psalm 4:1)

The daring distress.

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. (Psalm 5:1-2)

Sighing: to let out one’s breath audibly, as from sorrow, weariness or relief.

Warriors weary.

I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. (Psalm 6:6)

 Warriors weep.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:1-2)

 Warriors feel forgotten.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

 Warriors feel fear.

That’s just five verses from five different chapters. All throughout the Psalms David emotes. Unabashedly. And it’s okay. In fact it’s more than okay. It’s necessary! Otherwise you end up crying harder than it hurt.

In those times of demanding distress, weariness and weeping, feeling forgotten and being afraid, David is honest about how he’s feeling. He goes to the One who can make a difference. That’s what fierce warriors do.

Courage can be found when I cry out to God from a cold concrete floor. He can take the mud I made from the dust and the tears and give me eyes to see healing in the hurt, goodness in the grief and hope in my heart. (John 9)

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

It Starts With Me

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Are you okay? I asked the woman as I approached her.

Yeah! I was already having a bad day. Then THIS happened!

My man and me were headed out for a matinee when we rounded a curve to find a woman standing in the ditch crying, her hoopty of a car obviously broken with the tire pointing 90 degrees in the opposite direction of which she was headed.

She was beside herself sobbing so I did the only thing I knew to do in the moment…I asked her her name then gave her a hug.

I pieced bits of Nikki’s story together in between the Lucille Ball like sobs and stutter breathing. I began to see that her car wasn’t the only thing broken. She had just dropped her boyfriend off at work when she got a call from her daughter that the daughters boyfriend had stranded her in a parking lot in Sharonville with her one year old who hadn’t eaten yet and was crying because he was hungry. Mom can you please come pick us up?

She didn’t have the money for gas to drive all the way over there but you can’t let your kid be stranded. What else could she do but go pick her up and try to figure out how to get some food for the baby. And then this happened. She started sobbing again.

 She had called her Dad who was mad that she was driving to Sharonville. She called her brother who was trying to get over to help but wasn’t sure when he could leave work. She couldn’t call her boyfriend because he would go back to jail…(I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to know.)

Her husband had left her nine months ago for another woman and had accused her of doing drugs. She assured me she wasn’t and even showed me her arms…see, I don’t have any needle marks.

 She didn’t know where they would stay tonight because not only was this her mode of transportation, it was her home when work was scarce and dresser for all she owned.

My man was standing in the background, taking it all in, letting me do what I do…listen and soothe, comfort and calm. He is a fixer of things not necessarily people so his mind went immediately to what it would take to get her car fixed.

I know what some of you are thinking. I had those thoughts too. This woman was a hot mess of broken down and busted up. Her life was a domino of poor choices. She fit such stereotypical molds that it would have been easy to tell her to get her act together and walk away shaking my head in disgust. To say, You made this bed…

 As her story continued, I prayed Lord let me see her as you do…. made in Your image.

 It’s easy isn’t it? It’s easy to let skepticism replace compassion, to let animosity blind our humanity. Cynicism crowds out sympathy. Indifference becomes our go to instead of grace. This world is wearying with want. It’s easy to allow our hearts to harden.

Compassion…a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering…has to start somewhere.

I could get on my soapbox and get all up in your grill here…guilting you…I mean…

We could talk about how many times Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw people hungry and sick. How he fed and healed them without asking how in the heck they got there.

We could talk about how Jesus met the woman at the well and saw more than someone who had been married five times plus a live in. Or how Jesus stood in the middle of the circle of Pharisees with the woman caught in adultery daring the elites to throw the first stone.

We could talk about Jesus explaining to the disciples that when you feed, clothe, care for and visit the least of these, you are feeding, clothing, caring for and visiting Jesus himself.

We could. But I don’t want to sound preachy and I sure as heck don’t have my act all together. Compassion is a condition of the heart and Lord knows my heart is deceitful on the best of days.

It IS hard. We AREN’T Jesus. People ARE a mess. This world IS broken.

But it has to start somewhere.

I believe the timing was divine. We were given an opportunity to choose: the gavel of judge and jury or the cloak of care and compassion. We may not always get it right but we chose the latter this time.

Todd looked at me and I at him, knowing we were supposed to help her get her car fixed. So he did what he does best and started making calls to some of his connections (my man knows people…)

I gave her another hug and whispered in her ear, We may not be able to fix everything that’s broken but we can at least help you get your car fixed.

The look of disbelief and relief was worth the cost of the repair. I have no idea what will happen to Nikki, if she will continue to tip over the domino of poor decisions. But I do know this, she needed someone to cut her a break not cut her down.

No. I can’t fix everything but I can do this one thing. I can show compassion.

It starts with me.

Fiercely for you!

kw

PS Ironically we missed the movie we were supposed to see. The Glass Castle is a true story about a family who moved often because of bill collectors, lived in their car when necessary and struggled to survive. We traded reel life for real life that day.

We Were Made for More (Part 2: Warriors)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

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I turned 52 this month. If you’re 32 that seems old and if you’re 72 it seems pretty young. It makes me reflect. With the average age of a woman’s life expectancy in America being 82 (ish) I have 30 more years. Morbid? Maybe. But that reality is what drives me to want to live as was originally intended.

The word God uses when he creates woman is often translated helper or helpmeet, giving it more of a domesticated flair like hamburger helper or homework helper or meet-your-man-at-the-door-with-dinner-ready-helper. While there is nothing wrong with marriage and managing a household, if we leave it here we leave out a whole slew of women.

What of those who never marry, never have children, are now widowed? They are still women. Did God leave them out? Make them less than? Has their value dried up with age?

Not at all.

The original word for helper is Ezer…

The word ezer appears in the Old Testament twenty-one times—twice for the woman in Genesis 2:18 and 20, three times for nations Israel turned to for military assistance when they were under attack, and sixteen times for God. Whenever ezer appeared—for the three nations, obviously, but also for God—it was always within a military context. God is His people’s helper, defender, deliverer, sword and shield.

God’s daughter’s were named after his very own nature and character….a strong helper, defender with sword and shield. God didn’t create woman to be an assistant. She was created from the get go to be an equal, strong and powerful force, an ally to man. A warrior.

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Sadly, however, we went from badass warrior to just plain bad with the crisp crunch of an apple (or so it’s portrayed in all the pictures.)

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We’ve been living in the shadow of that tree ever since.

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We were made for more.

It’s time for fierce Ezer’s to rise up to our original intent. To be what we were meant to be…strong and powerful women who fight for the good of the kingdom, who battle beside our brother’s for good. To be an ally. It’s time to step out of the shadow and into your calling as a warrior.

The shadow of that tree brings with it words like: insecure, gossips, illogical, emotional, afraid, can’t be trusted, high maintenance, catty, victim, damaged, not worthy, unseen, unlovable, unheard, hateful, mean, terrible friend, loud, too emotional, too fat, too thin, too ignorant, too strong, too weak, too pretty, too ugly, too soft. Too much and yet never enough.

We were made for more.

Being an ezer is more of an ethos then it is a vocation. It’s more about knowing who you are because of Whose you are in whatever role you are. It’s about understanding that you are made in the image of Almighty God who sees you, loves you and hears you. You are a woman of valor, strong and powerful not because of anything you do but because of who you were created to be.

Ezer women are:

Leaders like Deborah who led Israel to victory over the Canaanites when no one else would. (Judges 4-5) Many of you are leading your families, providing for, nurturing and loving your people because no one else would. Many of you are leaders in your workplaces, ministries and as volunteers.

Fighters like Jael who destroyed a great warrior with nothing more than a tent peg through the temple because he meant to harm her people. (Judges 4) Many of you are fighters, doing what you must do in order to survive, in order to save your people from harm. You are capable, creative, and clever.

Risk takers like Rahab the prostitute who agreed to hide men of God with the assurance they would save her and her family from destruction. She left her life of prostitution and would later become the mother of Boaz who married Ruth (another Ezer) who became a part of the lineage of Jesus found in Matthew 1. Many of you leave a life of less than to become something more. Risking everything you’ve known for something different, better.

Ezer women are:

Tender like Mary the mother of Jesus who spent her time rearing and nurturing the very Son of God. Loving, praying for, feeding, disciplining, training. Many of you are staying home to raise up the next generation of difference makers.

Tough like Esther who had the courage and grit to go up against the evil ways of a man who would see her people destroyed. Many of you are doing all you can to look evil in the eye and not flinch. You stand strong, unwavering in the face of ugly to save your brothers and sisters.

Doers like Tabitha in Acts 9:36 who was always doing good and helping the poor. Many of you work tirelessly for the least of these…those who are hungry, naked, or in trouble…often quietly and without fanfare. You just do.

Faithful like Anna who spent years looking for the coming Messiah. Widowed at a young age she never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. (Luke 2:37) Many of you have spent countless hours praying for your prodigal friends, spouses, kids, for answers to hard questions. Worshiping even in the unknown and unanswered.

All Ezer women.

Powerful.

Strong.

Warriors.

May we know them.

May we be them.

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Leave the shadow of that dang tree because…

We were made for more.

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Made For More (Part 1 Wildflowers)

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I was walking a country road by my house earlier this month, praying through some things and thinking about some of my girlfriends and the things they were experiencing…fun things like new babies and grandbabies, a booming business, retirement, a new job, a quiet season of life. Hard things like a cancer diagnosis, aging parents, prodigal kids, divorce, accidents, worry….

As I was rounding a bend in the road I began to notice all the flowers blooming. They were in the fields, along side the road, beside a creek bed. They were blooming everywhere. It didn’t matter the terrain or the circumstance, there they were, standing tall and strong, flowers blooming with beauty, just simply being.

There’s the lovely grace of this one…

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…called Queen Ann’s Lace. You will notice these on roadsides and in fields. From a distance they all look the same but upon further observation each one has its own distinctness, a delicate uniqueness.

Queen Ann’s Lace is actually from the carrot family and has a long edible root. When we are each being our distinct selves, bringing our varying looks, gifts, talents, personalities to the table we can not only feed off each other, we can feed others as well.

Imagine a world where women aren’t competing to be like each other, comparing and envying, backstabbing and putting each other down, gossiping and ganging up on each other, insecure and unsure. Instead of feeding others we devour each other. No.

We were made for more.

Women were meant to come together, bringing with us our unique selves so others can see fields of beauty and grace, the same but different and after having spent time with us, people walk away hungry no more.

We are like the wildflowers….full of beauty and grace.

Then there’s this gorgeousness tucked in here and there among fields of weeds…

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…Tall Ironweed…the name is descriptive of her height and stem…tall and strong so she can rise up above the weeds and bask in the glory of the sun bringing the beauty of her color to the area around her.

We were made for more.

Imagine a world where women rise above, bringing beauty among the weeds. Imagine a world where women grow strong in the Word so they are confident in who they are and Whose they are so they no longer compare themselves to each other but bask in the beauty of who they were created to be bringing color to a dank, dark world.

We are like the wildflowers…full of strength and dignity.

This little blue flower can be found almost exclusively beside the road…

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…Chicory blooms in the morning but wilts by noon, losing all her color. Not to worry she’s back the next morning blooming as bright as ever. Her roots can be roasted, ground and used to flavor coffee or as coffee itself. Cars pass her by without nary a glance.

You see, often times we (women) have days that make us wilt by noon (or sooner, yes?), having lost all color and feeling as if we blend into the background of dishes, diapers and daily grind.

We were made for more.

Even on our wilt-iest of days, we know that morning will come and with it new mercies and new blooms. We know that when life is hectic and busy and everyone is passing us by…we are not unseen. Our Father sees us and even when our blooms are wilted he will use our roots. Roots that are grounded in Christ bring the best flavor to a world who needs to taste grace and truth, mercy and love, wholeness and healing.

We are like the wildflowers…full of hope and flavor.

I was walking our property when I spotted this gem…

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…the Orange Jewelweed who at first glance seems to be hanging from nothing. Looking closer you can see the delicacy of the connection it has to the main stem of the plant. Juice from the stem of this plant will relieve the burning sensation you get from a Stinging Nettle plant.

Everyone has gotten burned by a “Stinging Nettle.” Our connection to the stem…ahem…Vine (John 15)…is crucial for healing. You may feel like you are dangling dangerously close to losing your grip…it’s ok…don’t let go, that tiny connection is all you need to remain in Him and connected to the One who brings relief to the burn. Staying connected allows healing, healing allows growth, growth allows fruit, fruit allows others to see Who it was that applied the juice that healed the burn.

We are like the wildflowers…delicately connected to the One who heals.

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So many of you who will read this are like these wildflowers: full of grace, rising above, tall and strong among the weeds, feeling the wilt that life can bring but you keep getting up the next day blooming, and staying delicately connected to the Vine.

Just like the wildflower, you have no idea of the true beauty you exude by simply being you…you just are. The world could use more Wildflower Women like you….with grace in her heart and flowers in her hair. (Mumford and Sons)

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

PS It’s giveaway time!! Sign up to receive this blog via email…all new sign ups will be put in the drawing. Already signed up? Great! Simply share this post on your social media page and let me know you did. Or you can tag 2 Wildflower Women in the comments section of my social media pages. Anyone who comments below will also be put in the drawing.

What’s the prize? Beautiful linen satchets filled with calming lavender from Emory James Fine Linens.