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Silent Sunday

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“Ring the bells that still can ring…forget your perfect offering

there is a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in.”

Leonard Cohen

Wordless Wednesday

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So, Mother’s Day is a sweet one. Memories kind of fill the air on this day as we stop and remember our moms, and being a mom, and the mom-figures in our lives. And it’s a day to celebrate the incredible gift that it is to be a mom and to have a mom.

But…this year..am especially aware of so many who have an ache right around now. That ache is a  pit-in-the-stomach, ache-in-the-heart, kick-in-the-gut kind of feeling that comes from the void of knowing that their mom is no longer around.

So, I just wanted to share a card that I made for a friend of mine whose wife passed a little over a year ago.  There are very few words to fill the huge void that grief can create, but, sometimes, just being remembered can help fill the voids. So, to my dear friends and loved ones who have experienced the deep loss of their mom or wife or loved one, and it makes Mother’s Day sting, well, just wanted to share that you’re being remembered today.

And, I want to thank you as well. Because through watching others grieve the loss of their moms, and say the words, well, I’m so reminded to cherish the day. To cherish our loved ones. To say the words, embrace those we love, and make the most of the time we do have. Because each day is a treasure, a gift. Even the days that we grieve. Am thinking that the ache of grief and loss, and beauty and gift and of what we have lost can walk hand in hand. Am hoping that the beauty of the gift of who she was in your life outweighs the ache for you today… and that you can remember her with a smile and laughter and tears that cleanse. I have a feeling most moms would long for that for you. Just a few thoughts on this Mother’s Day…

Blessings,

Heather

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“…now faith is confidence in what we hope for,

and assurance about what we do not yet see.”

Hebrews 11:1

I love that verse. And more than that, I love the truth that faith is about what is unseen, but…there are signs all around that can be seen.  Just like Melanie’s reflection in the water, I can see in part…I can see her feet, but there reflecting in the water is the confirmation that there’s a whole lot more to the picture than what I can see.

Praying today for eyes wide open to see the ‘reflections’. To see the signs that point to the truth that God is who He says He is, and that what is seen with our eyes, is only a teeny tiny part of our reality.  Am so  mindful of people going through some really tough  things, and am hopeful that they catch glimpses of the beautiful truth that God is so very present even when we can’t see Him. We might not see Him face to face..but we sure can see signs of His goodness, His truth, His Presence all around. Praying that the reflection of who He is becomes so very visible to those who need to know that they are not alone. It just takes a little tweaking of the vision, a little determination to see beyond what’s seen. It just takes a little faith.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part;

then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  

1 Corinthians 13:12

Blessings ~

Heather

The Daily Post ~ “Reflecting”

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Wordless Wednesday

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After a quiet Sunday morning of taking my time to drink my coffee, read, pray, even take some photos of a few things on the deck and blog a bit, I went out to the car to leave for nursery duty at church and saw…not one, but TWO flat tires. And I’m not talking questionable or just a little low on air. I’m talking F  L  A  T.

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And I felt a bit deflated for sure. More than just a bit.

And the thought hit me that I better walk around the side to see if the other two were flat as well. Relief. Phew. They were both good. Am guessing I ran over some glass or something on the left side. Anyway, moving on…

So, I asked my husband if I could use his truck, (he said, ‘yes’…and I was proud of him because he didn’t say a lot of the other words I thought I might hear…) and I left, and only showed up a few minutes late for nursery duty. I got to care for some sweet little ones and then went to the worship service, and sang songs and heard lots of words of truth and encouragement.

And I’m home now and I’m trying to focus on the good things to be thankful for. I mean, I  had a truck to drive home right? Or, I could’ve been in the car when we got two flat tires. Or…even worse, Tanner could’ve been driving. And having gratitude for things can be easy to list, but sometimes, sometimes it’s tough to feel.  And honestly, that’s where I am…

I’m still feeling deflated…And it’s so not about the tires.

Flat tires are a teeny-tiny inconvenience…a small thing. But it’s a teeny small thing on top of lots of other small things and a few really big things. One on top of another pushing the air out of yours truly. And I’m just being honest that I just feel like that so very flat tire.  And my husband kept saying, I’ve never seen “two flat tires” like that…and it felt as though he was implying that someone had intended to give me flat tires, like I was on someone’s hit list or something. And that didn’t help me either… Neither did “discussing” some of the other challenges we’re facing. And the deflated part of me started filling up with hot angry fumes that were so not helping.  Then I said words that I wished I could take back and it would’ve been better if I had used the words I thought my husband might say this morning, because mine hurt a lot more than a few cuss words would. Yep.  Deflated is a pretty appropriate word. And two deflated tires were pretty symbolic of two not so encouraged people.

BUT….BUT I love that there’s a place I can go with all of that. One that I can turn to. Yes, Triple A will get a call today (soon), but aside from some short conversations and niceties, all they can do is help me get those tires fixed or drop it off somewhere that can help. But they can’t fill up that void when life kind of sucks the air out of us, or just ‘sucks’ period. We all go through times like that.  No matter what our walk of life, there are times when we just need to be lifted up a bit, filled up a bit.  The irony for me is that often the ‘lifting up’ of my heart, emotions, is determined by what or who I’m ‘lifting up’ in action. Yep. That’s the truth.

Because life does get hard. In waves. And some of the hard is just life and some of the hard is our consequences. And some of the hard is in our control and some of it is  so not, but is in the hands of those we’re doing life with. For the good or the bad, for better or for worse. And so many people say “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  Well…I can’t find that anywhere in my Bible. I read, “Because he has set his love upon Me, I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he has known my name. He shall call upon me and I will answer him in trouble.” Psalm 92:14,-15  It says “IN TROUBLE.”  I read about how the Lord is our help THROUGH struggles, WITH Him. And I know with certainty that God HAS allowed so much in my life that was WAY more than I could handle. I mean, case in point, we had a 2 year span when we had 6 teenagers in the house at the same time. These six teenagers were not visitors, mind you… they were living there because they are mine 🙂  It was way more than I could handle at times, but was God with us THROUGH it? YES. And another thing. My husband would be the first to say that a lot of his choices have brought a lot of heartache…aches that were way more than I could ‘handle’.  Nope, I’m not a “God-won’t-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle person. I”m a “What-God-allows-He-uses-and-walks-with-us through-it-ALL” kind of gal.

And He does. And He has.

So that. That is what I will focus on. He is who I will lift up…and guess what?  It helped to lift me up for sure to focus on what’s true rather than what I feel. I sat on the deck and read… and was happy to see that the coffee cup that I chose this morning pre-flat tire awareness, was this one.  Hope.  Good thing to focus on.

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And do you know what else is cool? This morning, the verses I read were from James 1.  If you’re familiar with James 1 you might smile a bit right about now.  Yep, I read about ‘counting it ALL joy’… and persevering when things aren’t so great. Funny. I had even taken a photo of the Bible reading this morning.  I loved the way the light was shining on the page and me and my so analogy-driven self was thinking how that Light was shining on the words on the outside, but were so lighting me up on the inside. (Yep. My grandfather called me ‘sappy’ for  a reason.)

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And here’s another PRE-flat tire awareness photo that I took this morning…

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And do you know why I took this one?  Because it’s such a visual of needing supports. The Mandevilla plant my mother-in-law gave me would be flapping and flying in the wind or grounded on the cement if it didn’t have supports to cling to. Kind of like me. Triple A, the Word, friends and family, my church, and my God…boy do I need supports in my life. Maybe that’s a flip side of days like today… I’m so aware of my needs for supports and am not quite as Ms. Independent as I may seem. I need people. I need God. I need Triple A. A lot.

And here’s another photo I took PRE-Flat Tire. DSCN5248

This cute little chickadee actually was still for a bit which is not a small thing. Because these little birds usually flit about like crazy. Birds have been a constant reminder to me lately of how there’s provision for today…this moment. (Matthew 6:26). And I’ve needed that reminder.

So, I guess I’ve needed a lot of reminders today. And that’s the cool thing…they were right in front of me even before I realized I needed them.

And I sat on the deck and got my eyes of me and my little pity-party and saw some cool things…DSCN5255

Some vincas from a sweet neighbor…

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DSCN5256…and here’s my absolute favorite tea cup bird feeder. The wind had gotten a hold of our umbrella and actually turned over the table with the pot that held this. But it’s a reminder that even our favorite material things don’t last. Tires. Cars. Tea Cups. They are the stuff, the temporal stuff. They don’t last. Gotta focus on what does. Yep, another good reminder for me.

So, I sooo hope that you could not relate to any of this…that your life is going awesome with very few blips in the road and that you’re thinking that my flat-tire-catalyst for a confession of deep need is totally foreign to you. But for those of you who may feel a bit ‘deflated’ today…am hoping that me reminding myself of some things might encourage you a bit as well.  Remember the mandevilla (we need supports, like each other), Remember the chickadee (there’s provision for today), and remember the broken tea cup and flat tires (the temporal is just that- short-lived…let’s hold on to the eternal, let go of the stuff…)  And, when we feel ‘deflated’, there’s one we can go to to fill us up. Remember the God of all hope. Paul said it bestin Romans 15:13…”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”    Yes.  That. That is like air in the tires…like breath to my lungs, like hope to my heart.

Keep Pressing On ~

Heather

p.s. Will probably be blogging about the analogy of keys and locksmiths tomorrow because guess who (me) forgot to tell the Triple A guy that we can’t lock the car… cause the key doesn’t work externally…and so I’ll probably be getting a call from the tire place at around 8 a.m. or so saying they can’t get in the car.  Yep. There are lots of analogies for a blog on keys and locksmiths. Stay tuned 🙂

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“Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would have settled in silence. If I say, “My foot slips”, Your mercy O’ Lord, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”

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“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.”  

Psalm 40:5

Silent Sunday

 

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Bloom  (Taken in Old Salem, Winston Salem, North Carolina, May 5, 2017)

So, when the word “spent” is used as an adjective instead of a verb, well, it doesn’t have the best connotation. It alludes to being used, depleted, …spent.  When we say that someone is ‘spent’, well, we’re saying that they’ve given and people have taken and they are depleted, done, spent.  And yes, that tends to have a negative connotation.

But recently, I’ve been looking at that concept from another angle. Maybe being spent is not such a bad thing. Maybe, just maybe, we are meant to be spent. Meant to be spent? Yes.  Not in a self-made-martyr kind of way that draws attention to self and exhausts to the point of being use-less, but in a ‘leave-it-all-on-the-field’ kind of way that empties one self out, letting in no regrets.

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…one bloom rising above the masses…

So often I have more regret over what I have not done rather than what I had. I regret the half-hearted attempts that breed half-hearted results. I regret the phone calls not made, the letters not written, the songs not shared.  (Oh, and I know a certain someone who presently has almost 400 un-finished, un-shared blog drafts…yikes.) I regret the good-intentioned, never completed things that go by the wayside. I regret the wasted use-less time that often empties me rather than fills me. I regret the things I supposedly have “learned”, even spoken, but have not yet truly applied. I regret the not taking time to look in the eye and ask the questions and say the words and get in there in real and tangible ways.

Being spent for the right things has a way of crowding out the wrong things or fillers in our lives.  Weeds don’t grow where flowers are blooming, where other seeds are planted. Being spent for the right things also has a way of filling up…motivating, encouraging, inspiring not just me, but hopefully those around me as well.

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It is only when a flower sheds its beauty in full bloom, full array, the last hurrah before the petals fade, that the seeds are formed. A flower in reserve is a flower with no blooms, because once the unfolding comes, the petals will fall off. Yes flowers that save, conserve, reserve, would merely be un-bloomed buds. But as we hopefully learned in elementary school science, flowers produce seeds. So blooms not only color our world in the now, they hopefully reproduce…and multiply the beauty shared.

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Poppies in a Garden in Old Salem, Winston-Salem, North Carolina May 5, 2017

And the beauty shared?  I loved that it comes in  all colors, sizes, and shapes that make for a beautiful bouquet. When one stops to see, to really see, they can’t help but behold the beauty. Yep, we all have different ways to be spent for our world… And I’m thinking it’s not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

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So here’s to being spent. Yep, spent in a no-regrets-kind-of-way that makes our pillows soft and our sleep sweet knowing that we did what we could …that day. And here’s to knowing that even when mistakes are made, that they are to be learned from. I love that flowers are seasonal…and perennials get a chance to bloom and re-bloom over again…to be ‘spent’ over and over again.   To be shared over and over again.

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Jesus knew a thing or two about being spent. Not on futile things that are so temporal. But on being spent for life-changing, mind-blowing eternal things.  Am thinking Christ-followers should too.  A few thoughts (and reminders to myself) on being spent from a garden of blooms somewhere in the middle of North Carolina.

Blessings ~

Heather

“This is our time on the history line of God. This is it. What will we do with the one deep exhale of God on this earth? For we are but a vapor and we have to make it count. We’re on. Direct us, Lord, and get us on our feet.” –Beth Moore

 “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” –Mother Teresa

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” –Jim Elliot

 

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