Oh So Good

We all say and know that God works in us and changes us, but sometimes it takes me by surprise.  This week I start a new job, which means I should be a nervous wreck. But I’m not.  I’m at peace.  I’m sure some butterflies will come crop up as it really approaches, but right now, the evening before?  Peace.  All encompassing peace.

b866b0e2def3ef046be2521adef9df7eGod is always good.  But He is changing me as He always will if we let him.  I know this, but when I can point to it in a specific way – it is incredibly humbling.

Now, don’t get me wrong – the struggle is real still.  Just this week, I spent 40 minutes sitting in my car after arriving somewhere, fighting my social anxiety to go inside.

But tonight, I have successfully surrendered to His peace and it feels oh so good.

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O Sing My Fiery Soul

While I want to burn for God, that isn’t the blessing, the gift I’m most thankful for in this moment of unknown.

 

God made me innately fiery.  It is wrapped up in compassion and a natural tendency towards diplomacy, but the depth and passion I feel about things is undeniably fiery.

 

What God has given me lately is peace and calmness, not just in presentation or the outside ~ but to the depth of my soul.

 

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The Juggler’s Hour by Judith Clay

Normally, this would be a season of stress and anxiety.  Virtually my entire life is made up of balls in the air, with no idea of where they will fall.

 

Yet, I sit here, calmly, waiting to see God will direct their paths instead of stressing about how I can bring them safely to the ground.  This is so unlike me, so unlike my anxiety prone nature.  It truly is a gift in this seasons of tumultuousness.  

 

I know God uses both of these seemingly opposite sides together.  He will use my peaceful interior to give space to an all encompassing fire.
I can’t wait to see where it catches!

-S

Chaos and Rain

Its raining, and I’m cold and tired and the house is asleep, except Sissy Bug and sleep isn’t an option…so its back to my Father I go (and coffee).chaos and rain

There are 100 things I could be doing (and about 100 more I cant with a bug in my arms). I’ve had to stop myself twice, distractions come easily.

Lots to do and yet only one priority. One thing will bring me peace. One thing will bring me rest. One thing will allow grace for the day.

One thing: my Lord.

When my home is quite literally chaotic I tend to internalize the whirl wind and mess, leaving me in snapdragon mode.

My external environment only has this power when I allow it. And since I’m just plan tired I’m choosing a slower pace.

I choose internal peace, even if I can’t muster an outward reflection of that peace.

I choose to try my hardest to put others first. To not step on toes even if I do have a better (different/more effective) way.

When chaos strikes I tend to take control, but the harder I try to control the tighter I feel. Because I never really have any control and when I lay that truth down in the morning, in every moment of rising tension, I am capable of exhaling grace.

I get to choose whether or not to let the storm inside on this rainy morning.

Not today.

-J

Prosperity has its Pitfalls in Progress

“Prosperity has its pitfalls. It can make us fat and dull, turning us into people of mediocre faith”

This has always been one of my fears. I’m not sure why because God has always felt perfectly comfortable pouring on the hardships (be it brain surgery, AIDS, financial downfalls, cross country moves, long distance husbands…I could continue).

Yet, while I’m aware of the hard times (and was mildly aware growing up) they’ve never felt that big, or hard, or scary to me.

I think that’s why ‘prosperity’ scares me. Sometimes I feel like surely a ball is going to drop and life is going to get real hard.

Paying no mind to the fact that we’ve failed at juggling years ago.

It’s a testament to my parents faith and love. They are spiritually ambidextrous. Faithful in the good times and bad, love flowing and life living through the easy and hard.

And hard isn’t so hard when you have faith and family.

Hard times come, and come, nothing is ever smooth sailing for our family. Althought that is a common misconception due to all the love.

Then again, maybe its not, because nothing is too big or too hard when you’re not alone.prosperity and pitfalls

I’m not praying for hard times, I don’t have to, they will come or I will manage to make them myself.

I do pray for the ability to be spiritually ambidextrous To learn to live in the valley and peaks with unwavering faith and love.

Mediocrity isn’t an option.

-J

My Heart is Overwhelmed

The past few days have been very hard for me.

The realities of major life changes are piling up and feeling heavy. Sleep is a nymph, passing in the night; sometimes stopping- often not.

And the hormones of baby girl just keep pouring out.

In the words of Willy Wonka:

“There’s no earthly way of knowing

which direction we are going.

There no knowing where were rowing

Or which way the rivers flowing

Is it raining, is it snowing

Is a hurricane a-blowing

Not a speck of light is showing

So the danger must be growing

Are the fires of hell a-glowing

Yes the danger must be growing

For the rowers keep on rowing

And theyre certainly not showing

Any signs of slowing”

Unfortunately that seems like a fairly accurate descriptions of my feelings this weekend (prayers appreciated for the passengers).

Then dawn, after a particularly rough night this verse landed in my lap:

When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I

Psalm 61:2

heart is overwhelmedIt is perfect. My head is not overwhelmed. I have full faith in my decisions that have led me to this foggy place. I have full confidence in my cognitive abilities to navigate out.

I acted in faith, God is with me. He will make it work better than ok…He will use this for <GOOD>

My heart though, my heart is currently very overwhelmed!

The emotional toll this season is requiring I was not prepared for.

Life is heavy, I am tired in every sense of the word. I need help.

My heart was overwhelmed, my heart IS overwhelmed.

But I’ve found a simple peace amidst the raging chaos in meditating on this psalm:

“when my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I”

The rock, the foundation, my secure step ,a solid place to rest a minute: my Lord.

Notice it doesn’t say IF your heart gets overwhelmed. Saying yes to a life based on faith WILL produce an overwhelmed heart at some point…so will the consequences of old (and new) nonfaith yeses…

I’ve never truly meditated on a verse before. Never really understood the internal power one verse can have.

In the midst of my wild, God brought me this gift, this piece of wisdom, and I will cling to it.

Too often I’ve received and ignored parental advice. I’m getting too old for that and seeing too clearly mom and dad know best. So to this verse, this piece of wisdom from my heavenly father I will cling. I will return to many times a day.

In un-utterable prayer and in wordless praise I repeat my psalm and give my overwhelmed heart some rest.

-J

Neon Jesus

I’ve thought deeply on the idea of Sabbath a few times in my life.

I love the idea of a special day set aside to celebrate and give thanks to our Lord.

It’s probably why I love Valentines Day so much, an entire day to say thanks and I love you to those most important in our lives!

But I’ve never found a way of keeping the feeling of Sabbath, of sanctuary and thanks and resting in my Lord’s hands longer than noon.

During church, when I sing and sway with my babes curling into me, I give glory and glow in His presence, overwhelmed with His obvious presence in my life, in my lap.

During services, I take notes and am contemplative, soaking up knowledge and forming more questions.

Then we head home…and my blood pressure begins to rise one idiot driver at a time.

And I’m hungry (hangry), and the dishes are dirty, and the meal isn’t ready (or is overly done), and the dog puked, and my babe is defiant, and I step on a Lego…

Serenity is gone.

Does my worship, my thanks, mean anything if I can’t hold onto it for longer than a few hours? If I’m so easily swayed into ugly?

I need to pray more on this, come up with some actual ways of accessing the deep peace and joy and gratefulness I do have for/with my Lord.

This morning I went to Target (shocking I know) and I picked up one of those really kitschy religious candles with different saints and brightly copied religious images on them.

(I love them in a bold, bad kitschy sort of way)

neon jesusAnd this week, in the afternoon, when it’s that cranky hour, when the peace starts slipping and I need a snickers (I’m not myself when hungry), I’m going to light that candle.

And with the golden flicker of flame against my neon Jesus, I’ll say a pray.

I’m actively pursuing peace. I’m choosing gratitude and finding real life ways to remind myself of it.

And ok, that’s not a Sabbath solution, but just maybe some days it will help.

And it’ll be worth it for the someday

-J