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

 

 

 

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

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.

 

 

Comfort Food

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Why is it the kids pick a dish involving your homemade noodles whenever you ask what they’re hungry for?

 My man asked me this as I was rolling out noodles for Johnny Marzetti, a family favorite for decades.

There is something comforting about combining eggs with flour and a dash of salt. Rolling them out then up, slicing them thin and spreading them out to dry on a cookie sheet.

But it’s more than that.

I get the recipe out every time. Oh, I don’t need it. I’ve made the dish so many times through the years that it’s been put to memory long ago. It’s more than directions on a card. It’s memories of the heart.

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Seeing that familiar handwriting reminds me of sitting around the old oak table at my in-laws. A table where we ate together, played games together, did homework (yes, I married my high school sweetheart) together.

I remember the pan she used, the apron she wore and the Saturday morning conversations we had as she whisked, mixed and rolled. My mother-in-law, Evelyn was solace for my soul.

As I’m whisking the eggs and getting ready to add the flour, I’m reminded of all the times I watched my Granny mix noodles together. When asked why she never measured out the flour she used, she told me you just feel of it and know when the dough is ready for kneading. I can’t tell you a measure because when it’s storming the damp air causes you to need more flour. You’ll get familiar with the feel the more you spend time making them.

 My Granny was a woman of simple means. A country girl from the hills of Tennessee who could make do with very little. There is something comforting about simple, isn’t there?

There is solace in that recipe card with stains from use, those handwritten words of direction and the memories from long ago. It provides comfort food for the body.

But these words on a page are like food for the soul….

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.

(He is my soul Provider.)

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

(He is my rest Giver.)

He leads me beside quiet waters,

(He is my silence Sustainer.)

He restores my soul.

(He is my soul Rescuer.)

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake.

(He is my steps Director.)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

(He is my Peace.)

(Psalm 23:1-5 NIV)

Like familiar writing on a stained recipe card this familiar passage doesn’t have to be looked up. Most of us have it memorized. But when you need to feed your soul it does one good to see and read the writ of old.

It provides, quiets, sustains and restores.

Like. Nothing. Else. Can.

I can’t explain it. I just feel of it and know.

Here’s to simple solace.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

My Year to Swing Easy

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There has been a misconception about my word for the year. Although solo and solace sound similar, their definitions are not. While solace means comfort it doesn’t mean quitting. It doesn’t mean stepping away from everything and everyone and go it alone.

That’s pretty much what I had in mind for the New Year. As I was explaining my word thoughts to my man, he said something about that being my go to…going into hermit mode.

Kind of made me mad.

But there is some truth to it.

I DO find great comfort in being at home. It IS an easy go to when the world is nuts or you’ve had a time with an off-the-wall person. I CAN talk myself into believing that I don’t need relationships with people “out there.” People suck sometimes. I suck sometimes.

This month I’ve read six books, put together two puzzles, watched two Netflix series of multiple seasons, written a little, napped some, lit candles a lot, went to church, cleaned out my pantry and felt like I was settling in to this solo solace thing quite nicely. People? Who needs them? And then I found this…

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It may not look like much to you but it’s my favorite ball marker given to me by one of my favorite golf partners and people ever. We don’t just golf; we do free therapy for each other, laugh, cry, cut up and act a fool. I had looked everywhere for this marker but couldn’t find it until it showed up in a spot I had already looked a hundred times before. Coincidence? Nah.

God teaches me in simple ways mostly because I can be pretty dense sometimes (or some may say mule headed.)

I love to golf. Not that I’m good at it but even on my worst day, it’s great to be outside enjoying the scenery, the company, and the fun. My aforementioned buddy and I decided to join a league where we bring down the median age to about 70.

I was a little nervous as I tee’d up my first ball and sure enough duffed my drive about 10 yards in front of the box. Next one was the same. What the heck?? So I asked my girlfriend what she thought was going on since she sees me golf all the time and we are fairly equal in skill (though she almost always outdrives me and beats me by a couple strokes…sigh…)

Her response: You’re trying too hard. Just get up there and swing easy like you do. Stop trying to kill it.

So I did. While I can’t say that every drive was straight and beautiful, once I started swinging easy it was way better. I was trying to impress these women, some of who have golfed longer than I’ve been alive. I was trying too hard and got caught up in playing someone else’s game.

This is the message God is trying to tell me. Stay in your lane. Be who you are. Stop trying so hard and play the game I’ve given you to play. But don’t quit. Show up. Bring your clubs. Tee up your ball. Swing easy. Watch Me work.

He says it better than I can in Psalm 46:10: Cease striving and know that I am God. (NASB)

Be still. Swing easy.

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In a world that screams “hustle harder” so you’ll go farther, it’s frowned upon to be still. Hustle (push or force one’s way; jostle or shove, be aggressive, beg; solicit) for your worth. It takes courage to realize that that is exhausting and do something about it. To be brave enough to step back, stay in your own story and stop trying to kill it.

On a side note and I’m sure just in case the ball marker wasn’t enough to get the point across, the first puzzle I put together had several missing pieces. When we don’t show up or try to walk in someone else’s story, there are holes that can’t be filled and the world misses out on seeing the complete picture.

So while I need solo time for solace because I’m wired that way, I’m not quitting. But I am swinging easy this year. No more hustling. Because I’m already worth it.

Fiercely for you,

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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