Saturday, July 25, 2015

Happy Miracle Anniversary!

It is worth noting that today is my two year anniversary from being pronounced a miracle.

I just laughed out loud.

The truth is I had a health scare two years ago that lasted approximately four months and ended two years ago today when the doctors announced my latest blood work normal (not me...the blood work) and stated that they had ZERO explanation for what had happened and then used the word "miracle" to describe it all.


Thank you God. I raise my hands even now to God for it...I am THAT grateful.

I have had some medical mysteries/issues in my adult life that have shocked, hurt, and in the most painful of cases had me close a door to having children. I don't talk a lot about any of them. In fact, I can probably count on two hands how many conversations I have had about any of them...until the last one. There I was in the throws of a spiritual meltdown/awakening/Come To Jesus period including an upcoming trip to Haiti (my first) and WHAM! God sets my butt down and starts spinning the ground underneath me....round and round and round. For the first time in my entire life, I got vocal and public about not only what was happening to me, but in asking for prayer. Like, please GOD, if you love me...pray for me...because I am at the end of the rope with no knots left to tie. None. Nada. Zip.

I found it ironic that today was my anniversary date (that memoir app will be the death of me) and that I had not remembered (you can't even scroll ahead on that memoir app...what is up with that???...actually a pretty cool/good thing) it. I mean, I remember it, but I did not realize today was the two year anniversary....until this morning when it popped up (literally) on my phone.


...and me all having woken up at 6:30 a.m. (on a Saturday #forthelove) and doing an hour long Bible study with Lysa TerKeurst (which also popped up on my unaware). Again, at 6:30 In. The. Morning.....On. A. Saturday.

....and I started laughing out loud.

Because last night I had done a post on my writing page (FB) about this being my spa weekend of restoration and how I was all in flannel pjs (air on 71), essential oils percolating, freshly made bed, new book, yada yada yada....and I am passed out (from the Eucalyptus fumes I am sure) at 10 p.m. and wide awake 8 1/2 hours later...because God said, "Surprise. I have decided to plan your day." I know this because when I woke up at 6:30 a.m. (don't worry....I will get over it in a second), I rolled over and looked up and asked him WHAT in the world he was doing??? Hadn't he gotten the memo from me last night that I was going to sleep in????

God. What a comedian.

How about you and I spend some time together this morning? You, me, a cup of coffee...and a few surprises I am going to pop up on your phone that have you RUSHING for your Bible at 6:45 a.m.

Who am I to argue with God?

Don't say it.

More laughter.

Two years ago as I stumbled out of the doctor's office in shock, a song by Brandon Heath came on...called As Long As I'm Here, and I listened to it on repeat the rest of that day. I hope you will take the time to click on the link (link in song title) and listen to it. If you haven't had your own "touch the tip of Jesus' cloak moment" as I have nicknamed mine, then you are more than happy to meditate on mine...a relatively healthy girl suddenly is pronounced unhealthy and rushed in and out of multiple doctors, blood work every other day, a biopsy/surgery, numbers climbing (not good), and on and on for four months until THIS...


...and just like that, I am okay.

Say what????
"Someday I will pass to the great sky above and the first thing I'll ask is how well did I love..."

I could NOT get it out of my head.

I think in some ways that song is what haunts me (in a good way) every single day.

" gave me the heart and the time I would need to find you and make it back home..."

I cannot not do better....or die trying. Seriously. Die. Trying. Why? Because clearly I am supposed to be here. YOU are supposed to be here.

God has been MORE than patient with me. More. Than.

How well did I love? How well DO I love?

Big questions for a Saturday that was supposed to be spent relaxing and having my body beat on (aka deep tissue massage by the masterful Gail).

What are you grateful for today? Where has God turned around in your life and said, "Go in peace, and be freed from your suffering." {Mark 5:34} Did you? Did you go in peace? Are you still suffering?

Jesus loves you. Jesus loves me. He is telling us to keep going. We aren't done yet. I am not done yet.

That, THAT is redemptive living breathing grace, and I am so grateful for it. I also hope I am getting a little better about living it and giving it...Every. Day.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Love Letter To My Friend

Dear Friend,

I know you believe that all you have been praying for is lost, but that is a lie...from the enemy. I need you to repeat after me, "That is a lie. That is a lie from Satan."

I know the world seems crazy right now. Lots of opinions and hateful words. Family members warring against each other on every form of social media available to them. Unfriending or defriending. Who knows what it is anyway. You wonder do I even use my voice? Yes. You do. Now, more than ever. Your gentle but firm voice with its wisdom and love is needed, desperately needed; especially now.

I know you are sitting in your home praying, probably at this very minute, to a God you love asking, "What if?" and you wonder if he is still listening. He is. I promise you. He is.

I know you might have lost a son or daughter, and you are wondering what that means for your family? How will your heart go on? Where is God in this? God is with you...even in this sorrow and loss.

I know your love is gone. Words said. Hearts broken. The future, your future, forever altered. Where is God in this you ask? Will you ever laugh again? Smile? Love? Yes, yes, and YES! God will get you will take time; give it the time it deserves.

I know you are searching for time with your family. In between the to do lists and practices and VBS. Where is the time for PLAY? It is there. God is in there too. He is giving you permission to rest. He gave it to you, spoke of it in Genesis, and he is reminding you of it now. Let him show you how; he will.

I know you are headed into surgery this week and wondering...will this be the silver bullet? Will I really feel better? Will I ever feel like myself again? Where is God in this? God is here, and you will. I promise.

I know your life is going jobs and new towns and new adventures. Is it right? Wrong? Crazy? Probably a little yes to all, but you will be fine. God has surrounded you will love and support, more than you know, and you will be great!

I know that the bills are coming at you faster than the income and it feels like your health, your family, your finances, your dog...everything...EVERYTHING is up for grabs by the enemy. God is with you, and he will provide for you...and your family. Trust in him...even there in that icky space of money where so many of us are uncomfortable.

My sweet friend. I love you. I am here for you. I am praying for you. I am looking for ways to be intentional with you and for you. To love you well. I know the world is spinning faster and faster. I feel it too. I grow weary. I long to hit pause. I am learning how to, when I can, and lean on others when I cannot. Lean on me now, as I know I have and will lean on you again very soon.

Isn't that life? The dance of leaning in and on others whether in embrace, anger, hugs, handshakes, or love. We are strong for others and then they are strong for us. It is only when we are completely isolated from the acts of leaning that the enemy can take us out (literally or figuratively) and so we must be intentional in our allowance of others to love and lean into us and in return give ourselves permission to lean on others when our own strength is gone. Isn't that how we love each other well?


I wrote this post a week ago, but did not publish because I just thought who am I to speak to all of this?! Then I had nephews texting me Friday wanting some Aunt-time, a business partner needing some business time, a friend whose son passed away, another traveling for a long-overdue vacation that I hoped to see, birthday parties, illness, weddings, lost dreams, and I prayed and took the one physically closest to me and the one God was pushing me to be the most intentional to/ I worked late and took care of business and then I threw some bags in the jeep...and drove to my family....leaving others in the dust.

There will always be items on the list left undone, people left waiting, choices between priorities, and there is NOTHING you can do to change it. This is LIFE. 

If I am to be more intentional with others, and I am determined to be, then I must also be intentional in acknowledging that there will be people and things I just cannot get to or serve well. *Deep Sigh* 

There will also be people and things that I am not meant to serve...well or otherwise. *Deeper Sigh*

Dear Friend, you are me, but even more by a faithful God. I will fail you, but he will not. Lean into his love and mercy to find ALL that you need...which will allow everything else in your life to be gravy and frankly ENOUGH.


Your Friend

A friend made this graphic in a group I am in, and frankly just that alone made me cry. Part of this I took from a Rumi quote and some from a line in my favorite childhood hymn...I say it all the time I guess it is becoming my "thing"....mainly it represents to me the heart of TRIBE and what we all need to remember in being intentional with others. 

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I Am Okay (& So Are You)

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am okay. I just had my first genuine smile in two days.

*Deep Sigh*

First a disclaimer....I wish I wasn't hotwired as I am. It troubles me (not just you) that I take on the happenings and struggles around me as if they are my own. It troubles me too when my mind spins out, and I have little to no control over my thoughts. It troubles me too when the tears come from deep caverns inside my soul out of nowhere and for no apparent reason. It troubles me too when I feel myself shutting down as I turn my phone off, lock my door, turn all messages on do not disturb, dim the lights, light a candle, and curl up under a quilt. It troubles me too when even words with God become strained and inaudible. It troubles me too when I can't write, color, read, or even watch a movie because everything hurts, illicits pain of some sort. It troubles me too when Gail works on my weary muscles and I hurt worse after than before because every nerve ending is tender and on fire, and I end up contorted for hours afterwards in pain as her magic slowly works its way through my muscles. It troubles me too that even after learning and studying more about what makes me tick, that I cannot control any of this OR even predict it. It troubles me too.

I want to type that this has been a hard few weeks, but since I seem to be typing those same words EVERY week maybe I should try a new approach...clearly I am in a season that I am just now recognizing. I don't have a cute name for it (YET!). I don't know when it really started or nary a clue when it will end. I do know that it feels more brutal than any I have experienced thus far, and I am a little thrown by that as I have had some real doosies this past several years. A girl kinda wants to raise her hands and ask, "More God?! Really?!?!?!"

What I am hoping to document here today is a touchstone so that as periods come again (that look and feel like the past few days), I will recognize them and relax into them because at the end of the day....I am okay.

First, I need to remember that I am a child of God and no matter how far out of sorts my heart, mind, body, and soul feel...he is right there beside me and in it until the end.

Second, stop fighting it. I am a problem solver by day and therefore feel an intense need to be one by night. Have a problem, let Heather fix it. I like that. Hell, I love that. It is my thing. I have to face it, when I am in that "space" (lets call it a space until I can find something prettier to call it), I can't fix it. No. Matter. What. I need to simply let myself feel all of the feelings. All. The. FEELINGS. It is okay, and I will be okay.

Third, I am not a bad person because I need to be away from people for a few hours, days. I need to get over all of the GUILT I feel over it. Those who know and love me, will understand. Those who don't, what do I care?!

Fourth, some people might call what I go into a depression, it isn't, though it carries a lot of the characteristics, but who cares if they do?! I don't. I did, but now I don't. If I am or it is, I have excellent company as a lot of great hearts and minds struggle with depression in various forms. I am not ashamed that I feel depressed when the world feels heavy around me, I would be more worried if I did not as this world is hard and would have to be heartless to not internalize some/any of it.

Fifth, this is not a statement on my family, friends, or tribe as I was prone to believe for far too long. It doesn't matter if you have a great family or a dysfunctional one. Many friends or one. A faithful tribe or none. You are hotwired as you are from birth, fired like steel by your environment, and pounded like the waves by the ebbs and flows of life. The only person who can control you is YOU and God...and let me just state here that the fact that I still am challenged (and will probably be to some degree the remainder of my life) does not in any way diminish me or my God. In fact, the truth is that it is because of God's good and faithful work in me and frankly, my allowance of such work, that I am able to write about this here today. That the "spaces" last only a day or days and not longer. God is faithful to me and is teaching me more and more about who I am and how I work....and all of that helps. God has done a good work in me, and I am eternally grateful. I once believed the lies that I just felt too much and something was wrong with me, and slowly I am learning to love my oversized heart, my deep thoughts (from a shallow mind...LOL), and my BIG feelings about everything from a Hallmark ad to Haiti to an employee who is struggling....because to me it ALL matters.

Sixth, Jesus loves me. God made me. The Holy Spirit "gets" me. In the end, the trinity is all I ever really need. There is a lot of hope and peace in that for me.

Seventh, joy comes in the morning. Psalms 30 promises us that. I trust in that. I live that. I can testify to it as it happened to me...again...this morning.


So how do I know I am okay...because last night when I could barely move due to back pain and was still completely in the midst of the "space" that I had occupied for a couple of days, I went searching for good words. I have a Pinterest board entitled Faith Begins & Ends w/My ❤️, and I have learned to go scroll through it when I feel this way...and last night I saved a few of them knowing that while there was no overt JOY in the moment then, I had faith that there would be...tomorrow or soon. One of the ones I saw, read, and saved (IN FAITH) to my phone last night was this one...

...and there you have it. Because the morning did bring me word of his unfailing love. My back pain was eased. I felt touches of joy. I knew the veil was lifting.

The Bible teaches us that David was a "man after God's own heart" so even though Psalms has some of the most wretched lines cross-stitched in with the most breathtakingly beautiful ones. Even though David wrestled with himself and God on a regular basis. Even though David sinned TREMENDOUSLY. Even though...God loved him. God. Loved. Him. God restored David and David loved God....with his whole, messed up, deeply flawed, slightly erratic (am I still talking about David) heart.

What does David's relationship with God teach us about our own? What does it teach me about my own?

David is a gift to me. David's words and laments and praises feel familiar and raw and honest in the face of a world that shocks me...Every. Day. A world that hurts me. Shames me. Wrecks me. Tortures my heart. David's words are a balm to my weary soul that still questions my own worthiness to a God that gave all. To a world that doesn't wholly know him. To this broken person who meets broken people in a broken world...Every. Day. A person who dreams of loving others as she has been loved by Christ. A person who fails LARGE daily. A person who loves too much. A person who feels too much. A person who finds beauty in the growth right alongside the pain in it.

God loves me. This I know.

There is a beautiful song entitled In Over My Head (Crash Over Me) by Jenn Johnson/Bethel Music, and I have provided the link {in the song title} to the video with lyrics so that you can sit somewhere quiet and let the words wash over you and deep within your soul. I want to be clear that even in the midst of a season or "space" that I play music (like this) that I am trusting is speaking to a deep place inside of me even when I am feeling NOTHING of it on the surface. This, THIS, is one of those songs. The words...PERFECTION. I think, I know, that one of my biggest challenges in life, in my walk with Christ, in my walk through this world with my need for control. It is the space deep inside of me where the enemy, to be frank, has me by the proverbial nuts. To say that I am better today would be the understatement of the century, but in that same vein I must acknowledge that the wound where it originated, this need for control, is so deep and rooted that it will not and cannot be dislodged over the course of a spiritual season. It will remain my Achilles' heel for the foreseeable future. To acknowledge that, is another forward motion in growth; I am truly grateful for it too. I do know that I will conquer it as God has promised as much, as I promised him that I would continue to hit my knees and repent when I felt it coming on...again and again. ;) #bless

So....where do we/I go from here?

First, I am okay. Second, I am troubled too when THIS washes over me. Third, I feel the lessons that God is teaching me in these challenging spaces and seasons that he is seeing me the good parent he is. Fourth, while I reside in a broken world, I am loved by a perfect father, and my faith is solely in him...and only him. Fifth, I know that in all of this, he is birthing a unique voice in me. I have resisted it for so long, I feel now I could/should have predicted the painful birthing process for it.

Bottom line...I am not going to be fully satisfied this side of heaven {neither will you}

...and that is okay. I am okay. {You are okay.}

God...come do whatever you want to...I am I dive into the wave that is crashing over me...Today. Tomorrow. And every day after that...this side of heaven. Amen.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Gift of Romans 5

So what does that really mean for me? for you?
I am wrestling with Romans 5 this morning. Hell, who are we kidding?! I am just wrestling.
I dream for a day when the wrestling will stop, but deep in my heart I know that day will arrive soon enough and it will be my first day in heaven...and it will be glorious. Until then, I am walking this earth, this broken world, full of broken people, inside this broken person...Wrestling. With God.
On a morning where you are having tough conversations with people about stuff like race, justice, giving, etc., Romans 5 can wreck you and your heart. We "rejoice in our suffering"??? Ummm...not there yet...not there on most days...during most trials.
We throw around words like justice and grace and reconciliation, but what do any of us really know about any of those things? Truly?
I am asking.
I am asking because I am naïve on these topics. Have I read a lot and asked a lot of questions and listened? Yes, yes, and yes. But do I know? Know?? I do not. I am just learning to understand the depths of the issues that plague or nation and our world. I am just beginning to grasp that one article, great idea, or good person is limited on the impact it can make in these causes. I am just beginning to understand the pain.
I still find myself wanting to be understood as I wrestle with these topics....and I hear God whisper, "Seek first to understand..." and the tears burn on my face. I am selfish. I don't understand, and I don't feel understood. "Keep going." he encourages.
See, for me, justice and reconciliation is forcing me to comprehend my own salvation through Christ on a deeper level, and let me just say it is unpleasant, at best, and horrifically terrifying at it's worst.
Today, I actually heard him whisper, "You still don't understand how much I love you." and I don't.
*Ugly Crying*
In the past two weeks, I have used the phrase twice that you have to understand the darkness of hell to fully appreciate the grace of heaven. I believe that...more and more every day. I believe that because I see/feel God showing me my own darkness and how destructive it has been and continues to be in my life...and on the flip side how much he loves much he believes in me...the depth of his grace that he offers me...well, it is opening my heart.
I struggle with my own prejudices towards others and those towards me. I struggle to reconcile what is true about me versus what I have been told is true about me (i.e., what I believed was true about me).
So what can I learn about reconciliation (in all forms) through my own reconciliation with Christ? Well, to be frank...a lot. God and I have had a relationship since I was 13...he has known me my whole life...and certainly our relationship has deepened over the past several years, but in all of that do I really comprehend the reconciliation that is mine with God through Christ Jesus? I am ashamed to say I do not.
So....if that is true, than the rest of the story is that I don't fully understand reconciliation in the world's sense whether we are talking about race, warring nations, women's rights, generational poverty, etc.
...and with that last sentence, I felt another shackle fall from my shoulders.
A shackle of defensiveness and expectation that I am supposed to "get this" or "know this" because I am not.
These are tough times to live on this planet. There is so much good, but there is also so much bad. There is so much to do, but then there are the needs of my one little family or community or business. It is hard and overwhelming at times to know what to work on. I feel like I am caring too much and doing too little. The desire to crawl in bed and stick my head under the covers...for forever...crosses my mind more than I am comfortable admitting to. In the age of social media and 24/7 news, I/we are inundated with information and thoughts and opinions and perspectives and pain...and sometimes it is simply TOO much. Too. Much.
This morning, God took me to Romans 5 like the gift-giver he is and said, read this...remember this...remember me...remember you and me....remember the work we are doing in your heart??? Any of this ringing a bell? I am smiling as I type the last part, but the truth is that God sasses me sometimes, and I deserve every bit of it.
I have BIG feelings. I love BIG. I have a deep desire to learn and do better. Sometimes I get heart gets overwhelmed. Sometimes God has to bring me back to center and remind that at the end of the day, it is about me and him...and if I will just focus on that...focus on him...the rest of it...well, it tends to fall into place more easily, make more sense, and bless my heart...I find some perspective.
If we are "helping" the world and not going to God as our fuel source, we are going to end up weary and dry. Sometimes it is simply asking him, "God where are you in THIS?" and waiting for him to answer...because he is in THIS. He is all of this. He is with us. He is with me.
There is this amazing song on Hillsong United's new album Empires called "Here Now (Madness)" (click link for You Tube video). Last night driving to the airport to surprise my nephews, it came on, and I suddenly started crying. It was coming from a deep place (you know those tears), and I asked God what is this? Something new that I have to give up to him...and I suddenly remembered the prayer at the end of Chapter 2 in Tozer's book (see photo below).
"...I come trembling, but I do come." and "...Thou mayest enter and dwell...without a rival." Wow.
I do come God. I do. Trembling from head to foot. Broken. Eager. Earnest. Hopeful. Thank you for reminding me that you are here. You are here now. It makes no sense, but this is grace. This is YOUR grace. Let me lay face down at your feet and drink again from its goodness. I forget that it is there for me. I forget how great and deep my own need. I simply forget. Wash over me. Once again.
What do you need to give up? What is God asking of you that you are resisting? I feel him challenging me in deep and new places. Is he challenging you too? Please share. It is important for us to be a tribe encourage each other. Growth sucks. No doubt. It is also the door to greater joy. Greater love.
Here now. Let us hear him. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

God, Tribe & Pinterest - The Trifecta for Renewed Dreams

In the past three weeks, I have gravitated between panic and elation as I had some stark realizations about my future. I am surrounded and counseled by people MUCH smarter than myself on top of which I have been gifted a tribe of people who speak real truth into me with TONS of love...truth that is both beautiful and hard.
The concept of tribe is real people. Get one. Find one. Cultivate one. Game. Changer.
I digress.
Earlier this week I finally just came unwound with one of my tribe about the panic and elation I was feeling and how I felt like it was suffocating me, and she proceeded to tell me about this concept she had been humans are always what if this or that but mostly worrying and thinking only the worst...what if we converted that to what if God provides this or opens this door? The idea is why are we giving all of this what if power to the devil instead of to God? Why do we believe the bad before the good? The worst before the best?
The concept has proceeded to BLOW. My. Mind.
So since that conversation a handful of days ago, I have spent the hours that I can't sleep (UGH! Insomnia!) playing the what if game with God. When the days have gotten hard at work, I have found myself daydreaming. This morning, as I sat in bed with a cup of coffee at 6 a.m. (on a Saturday for the love...why can't I sleep???), worrying about stuff that happened last week and what is coming up next week...suddenly I went out to Pinterest (I gravitated there last night to create some new boards ;)) and started dreaming again...What if God?
It is the most amazing thing!!!
Then it hit me, I had stopped dreaming.
*Deep Sigh*
I mean deep dreams....not the dreams like I hope the company hits $ this year...or I hope the cabin sells...or I hope my doctor check-up goes well this time...or I hope I finish this purge goal by the end of the year....or I hope I get my to do list done today/week/month/quarter/year....

I cannot stop laughing and crying typing this out.
Dear Lord, how long have I been dead inside?
Thank you Pinterest.
In the age of Pinterest, you can create boards and pin ideas and likes and loves and dream electronically and go back to it and learn about stuff you once loved or have never loved before or just see what is possible out the big, BIG world.
I don't think my happiness in this moment is as much about any one particular new/old dream, as much as it is simply the fact that something deep inside of me is being unearthed...something old, something idea that there is a moment in my future where and when a door will open, and I can do ANYTHING. God will be there as the ultimate wing man, and there is going to be an adventure. The one I always dreamed I would have, but life with all of its responsibilities and bills and brokenness and ick got in the way.
What if God...?
I am not a very good blogger because I don't challenge people or engage people the way I hear/read that I "should" with this format, but today...I am. I beg of you if you are reading this to ask yourself, "What if God provided this? Gave me this? Opened this door? Showed me this? Healed this? Fixed this? What. If.???
Give your heart permission to dream again. The deep, good stuff.
God is waiting for you there. Right. There.
For help with this concept, check out this book...Living from the Unseen by Wendy Backlund paying particular attention to the chapter "Fix Your Eye" which starts with 2 Corinthians 4:18 "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Day I Found My Life

Hillsong United's latest album Empires dropped today. Do yourself a huge it....Now.
I had pre-ordered so I woke up to an alert this morning on my phone saying it had been downloaded to my phone. Fist bump to God; thank you.
So I spent six hours of windshield time today listening to this album...over...and over...and over. The only song I had heard was "Touch the Sky" and it remains my favorite on the album (so far) along with a song entitled "Here Now (Madness)" which is just breathtaking.
I digress...
If you have been reading my blog lately you know that I have had a bit of a writing slump the past couple of weeks due to some wrestling happening between me and God which is most definitely a result of some work he is doing in me. The catalyst was a dinner a couple of weeks ago that basically set a timer on something in my life that I was not equipped for....I will write more about that later.

The main point of this post is to say that we can't shy away from the work that God is doing in our lives. Good, deep, precious work. I had a six hour conversation with a young woman this past weekend, and I was stunned again at how the young believe that a Christian walk is a cake walk or should be or they must be doing it wrong if it isn't?!?! That is a lie. The same one that I bought into at that age (and for two decades after that), and it has to stop. I was driving home tonight talking with one of my tribe and we were just speaking deep truths into each other...the battles we are in spiritually....the lies we are rebuking....the promises we are learning to believe...and the whole thing top to bottom, the full breadth and depth of our conversation was just so dang HOPEFUL. Thank you GOD!
That hope-filled coversation literally drove me home.
When we hung up the phone, "Touch the Sky" started playing as I was running to the bathroom and before I could get my hands dry, I was racing to my laptop placing the song on repeat....because of one line..."...I found my life...when I laid it down..." and the tears and laughter that erupted simultaneously from me....
Let me be the first to admit...the past four years have been BRUTAL. When I share the beginnings of my story from four years ago, it starts with the day I hit my knees and then laid flat out on the floor...for a long, long time. So when you hear the line, "I touched the sky when my knees hit the ground," let me be clear...I only can witness in hindsight that I did exactly that on that Sunday afternoon. Sometimes we have to lose our life to find it, and the finding doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. God heals you and reveals to you in the days and years, in the seconds and his time. He is healing me today...this instance....with the words and truths he sends to me via others. Truths that show me who he is, how he sees me, my purpose, and yes even work we have left to do together.
The past two weeks I have just limped along emotionally and physically unraveled by a simple truth that I am on the cusp of living without a plan...and then that there are promises being revealed to me that are REAL....and that strongholds in my life of doubt, my lack of value, shame, etc. are being not broken, but oblitherated.
If God is real, then what???
The question that has haunts me (in a good way) is still being asked and answered as I lean into a deeper healing than I have ever known. I am 44 years old, and the truth is that I have never, ever, EVER been this healthy - emotionally (or frankly physically). My relationship with God that remains a work-in-process has never been more secure, and I say that humbly as he and I just completed a tiny drought where we didn't talk for several days.....I say that because I recognize and acknowledge him as 100% soverieign in my life. Period. My goal is to operate my life with God as 100% soverign, and that is quite the task. I am just humbled and grateful to be at a place where I can be raw with him, and frankly others, about it. There are more days than not where I question my value, if I am making any progress....but the days where he gives me confirmation that I am on the right path are getting more and more frequent.
The truth is that I really didn't have a life four years ago. I didn't know who I really was or what I really wanted or what I needed...I was a mess. The best thing God ever did was allowing the rug to be yanked out from under me....the truth is I might never have dropped to my knees on my own; I was pretty good as a half-ass Christian. Today...I don't recognize this life of mine on most days...some days (like one that happened this weekend) shock me so that it takes another whole day to recover and wrap my head around it...and then God sends me an angel (like yesterday morning) who holds my hand and says, "I have never (in over 20 years) seen you like this...Amazing." and it is like a kiss from God on my cheek to say, "See baby are is okay...we are doing good work...I have you. I. Have. You. Keep going." and I do...somehow, I just keep a God I can't see, but that I feel all around me, in me...loving me.
The truth is the song is right..."...I found my life the day I laid it down..." and I am simply never going to be the same....and the work continues....and it is hard....and it is worth it. I wouldn't give up the work of my heart and soul for anything...I told someone this weekend, if your relationship with God is off...everything else in your life is going to be a mess. That was certainly true for me, and every day now is about the work of nurturing that relationship with the God who made me, who saved me, and who resides in me. I found my life when I finally laid it at his feet.
The real mystery lies though in the not knowing how my life will unravel...
Life without a plan. Who knew?!?!?!

A book my friend read passages me...while I drove home tonight. Check it out. Good. Stuff.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Time To Fight...For Love

I got tired.

As I am prone to do, I committed to a LOT of stuff including three weeks straight of consecutive travel. Yikes! Though I wouldn't trade any of the experiences for anything in the world, I was reminded these past two weeks home that when I do stuff like that...there are repercussions.

The past two weeks back in the office have been brutal. First, there was a pile of messages, e-mails (yes! even when you check them constantly daily from the road), mail, reports, to dos, employees that needed some face time with the boss (read that as mommy), follow-up from the travels, and the list goes on.

There were the piles at home...luggage to unpack from four different adventures, laundry, mail to go through, bills to pay, a refrigerator to clean out (nothing left in there worth anything), grocery store, errands, a new home that is still being organized, oh and don't forget the continuing saga of my three year purge that confronts me head-on every time I open my front door. Yikes!

So for the past two weeks I have begrudgingly gone into the office every day in full-on survival mode to make it through the daily barrage of whatever fire exploded that day. I would come home at night (most after 8 p.m.) and proceed to pass out. Cold. Though the sleep nightly was restless (not good). My past two weekends you ask? I played those well - hermit-style - as by the time I made it to Friday night, all I wanted was my PJs, my bed, and Netflix (not necessarily in that order).

I couldn't even write.

*Deep Breath*

I have packed up my laptop every night for two weeks and sat it next to me on the couch or in bed and gravitated between staring at it blankly and averting my eyes from it in shame. I had nothing or too much. Who knows? Who can tell?

I have watched an obscene amount of Jane Austin type films and BBC re-makes. Let me just say that at some point that stuff messes with your head. I have seen at least two seasons of Friends which has perfectly satisfied any lingering doubt that I am getting old. Thanks Netflix! I have caught up on all three of the shows I care anything about two of which are officially over this season so my television-obsessed hours continue to dwindle (that is a good thing). I have read more articles (not books) than I can list...I seem to be on Inc. and Entrepreneur overload, not to mention the blog articles I have been reading. It is like my brain is starved and wants more and more. This all doesn't seem too bad, but it is...because my brain has been overstimulated for 16 hours a day. I know this because it is not my first rodeo, but we lie to ourselves and say this is good stuff we are gorging ourselves on. Yup!, but too much of anything will kill you...even water.

So for the recap....I had three AMAZING weeks of new experiences, learning, travel, friends, work, etc. I crammed them all within the shortest span possible. I came home and compounded my exhaustion by over stimulating myself for a couple of weeks while going about my daily packed routine. I got further behind in my daily chores (read life). That lands me to a three day holiday weekend. Everybody caught up?


Now it is time to fight.

Say what?!?!?!

I could feel it coming on yesterday, but last night sealed it....It is time to hit the brakes and re-group. Enough. I have a LOVELY routine that I developed in January of this year #restorationJanuary that did/was working beautifully. I had a glorious plan. I was implementing that plan. It was working. It is time to whip it back out, dust it off (along with the rest of my home), and get back on it. I am looking at this three day weekend as an opportunity to set the reset button. Sure! I would rather be hanging out with family and friends, going to the lake/river/creek, cooking out, etc., but I would MUCH rather get my daily LIFE back on track so that I can return to being a highly-functioning (oh who are we kidding...a functioning) member of society.

I am a creature of habit. I love routine. I highly dislike dysfunction (the irony of it in my life is laughable...go ahead and laugh heartily here). I like schedules, planners, and to do lists. I like a clean, organized home. I like music, books, and writing...and I need a little bit of all three every day. I like it when God and I are in our conversation zone....meaning I talk while he listens and then I get very quiet (yes it is possible) and my space gets very quiet (read that as no stimuli) and I listen...for instruct me, love me, remind me...of who he is and who I him and him in me. I like breakfast...every day. I like brunch on Sundays. I like need eight hours of sleep. Good sleep. Not the kind of sleep where I fall asleep to Netflix on my phone next to my head (oh good grief I hope confession is good for the soul). I like my Bible to be the first and last thing I read every day (not text messages that tell me of the latest catastrophe in my little world and our big one) or FB posts or the number of e-mails that came in overnight.  I love being present and available to my friends, my family, and my tribe. I love simply being present.

I woke up this morning after the craziest night of dreams EVER because former President Bush (41) at dinner with all of his grandkids in an Alice In Wonderland type house is just about the wackiest experience...and I might need to cut back on the sleep-aid. That said, I woke up determined to reclaim the life and routine of my life that I love so much....that allows me to be present in my life...Every. Day.

I love that people ask me all the time, "How do you do it all?!" I don't. I shuffle stuff. I hideout in my own home to catch up on sleep. I break appointments. I miss appointments. I reschedule appointments. I don't return e-mails/text messages/VMs timely. I let laundry build up meaning sometimes I wear dirty clothes. Dust bunnies take up residence and then my home. I forget or simply don't send thank you cards or birthday cards or any kind of cards. I pile up things at my front door that need to be returned, mailed, gifted, donated. I let people down....all the time. I let down myself...all the time. I feel guilty a lot for all of the things I just listed. I am human. It is the hardest thing about me and my life. I am human.

Stop the bus. I wrote that last part, Lauren Daigle's How Can It Be came on my iPod. (I have imbedded the link to her YouTube video. Enjoy.) The timing of God is perfect, and he certainly gave me this song just now to remind me as I am completely laying out my shame in this post that he has already and continues to plead my cause. Whatever that cause is. Whatever. It. Is.

There has been a lot of great coming together (Ann Voskamp's ISIS post and challenge via Preemptive Love and IF) and great shredding (Duggar Story) amongst just the "Church" not to mention those that view themselves as outside of the Church this week in the media. So I think it is a good reminder for me this one who tends to "over feel" whatever is happening "out there" in the world, that whatever the highs and lows, whatever the ickyness, whatever the pain...God has already overcome this broken, messy world, and he stands firmly with me, with you, with the person who doesn't even believe in him, with the member of ISIS that is killing people who claim and love God, with the person who sinned 12 years ago, with the person who was sinned against, with the sinner from today, and the one who will sin tomorrow, to the one who appears to never sin (but does as we all do). God stands with and for each of us. Why? Because he loves us. Because he has hope that each of us will turn from hate to love. Because he craves community and conversation with us. My sin of ignoring and putting God in a box for two weeks while I tried to recover from my over-indulgence by myself was and is no greater sin to him than anything else I have done or anyone else has done. I turned from him, if even for a moment, as I tried to "handle" it on my own. Like. An. Idiot. I change ALL the time. Like the wind. My God. Our God NEVER EVER CHANGES. I can run my race and wear myself out and throw myself on the ground in exhaustion, but I am never alone. I am never truly so far outside of God's reach that he cannot restore me. I am struggling with this week. I am nothing if not opinionated. I have LOTS of opinions, but I feel God wrestling deep within me. See this through my eyes. Not yours. *Ouch*

So here in the throws of my own sin against God as I have put him in a box...and yet to fully repent of that I might add...he has used this week of angst in the "world" to teach me, humble me, and help me to break free from the grasp of my own selfish mind to see him...and others more clearly.

"Stay in your own lane pretty girl." - he whispers to me.

Damn. The tears.

There is so much happening in our little lives and in the much bigger world. We...I...cannot operate (read that as function) well in either without the ever-present grace and wisdom of Jesus. Without him, I over-think and over-react to both the big and small stuff. I get caught up in my own head (read that as often my ego). I get lost in the "what might have beens" and "what could be" and forget the blessed beauty in and of the moment. I judge. I. Judge. Myself, others, and yes even God. Forgive me.

This morning I lay it all down at the foot of the cross of Jesus...once again....and I repent...and I stand up...and I fight. I fight for God...however that looks in the moment...whether for myself, others, the underdog, the sinner, or for God himself. I fight for the balance I need in my daily life. I fight for the love I so desperately need to keep in my heart AND in the center of my life. Where there is love, judgment has no breath.

My tribe calls this my "Wonderwoman" bracelet; it was a gift from an artisan in Haiti.

There is a time to catch our breaths. There is a time to fight.

I woke up this morning reminded that my time to fight (again) has come.

Break time is over.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)