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Nothing like coming back into your classroom after a long day of teaching and wondering if anything you did, said, or taught made a difference…and then, then… seeing this. It encouraged me to the core, especially when it came as a sweet message from a little guy whom I have heard say, “too hard”, “I can’t”, and “I won’t” so many times. (And the one whom I have had to ‘redirect’ quite sternly and emphatically so very many times.) Yep.  Made me smile just about like the drawing.

Holding on to the truth that even when we wonder if anything is making a difference (as parents, spouses, teachers, coaches, mentors, friends, ….people…), well, we gotta follow the same advice we give….to try, to press on, to make an effort, to do what we can, to take one step at a time, to be patient with ourselves, to….Hope.  Yep. Gotta hold onto hope even when we feel like saying “I can’t”, “I won’t” or “too hard”…  We never know who may be listening and taking it to heart. (Maybe sometimes who we may least expect…) Yes, holding onto hope is  a good thing.

Blessings ~

H

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:23-25

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…:

Philippians 4:13

DSCN2239So, my son and I went to Verizon today. I usually dread it because of the wait time, but it was only a 15-minute wait tonight, so I just walked around and looked at the oh-so-upgraded phones that dwarf my little iPhone 4s (which I am a proud carrier of by the way.) Anyway, as I looked at one of the phones, it was kind of in the case catty-corner and so I tried to straighten it, to fix it….

Wrong move.

I soon saw flashing lights and heard an awful alarm sound.  Oops.  Big oops. And then I saw a man running around the store looking for the turn-off-the-alarm-key.  And then I raised my hand and smiled and said that this phone over here was the one ‘ringing’. Ha. He waved back and did not look in the least bit concerned that I was a threat to his phone or to him. (Maybe I should be offended by that, but I so was not…)

Now years ago, I would have been ultra-embarrassed and possibly mortified by setting off an alarm in the store. The running-around-man finally found the key and he smiled and said, “No worries. It happens all the time.”  And maybe, that’s part of the reason why I wasn’t embarrassed. (Well, I was a little embarrassed, but not totally mortified.)  Maybe it was partly because I have made enough mistakes  (they ‘happen all the time’) to know what are those mistakes to stress over and what are those to just laugh at myself about and move on.  We all got a good laugh (yes, at my expense), and thankfully within about 3 minutes, we moved on.

But after the fact, I did decide that I would no longer browse the phones, but would rather choose to sit with my hands to myself  and wait. I think it was a good choice, as no other alarms went off in the meantime. (That’s the beauty of making mistakes…learning from them!)  But as I was sitting there I kept thinking about the whole propensity to fix things.  Sometimes we moms get in that mode of ‘fixing’. Fixing collars, fixing hair, fixing this, fixing that, (even catty-corner phones).  Sometimes we wives do as well. Trying to fix an unwilling ‘fixee’ might turn out to be a dangerous path. Depending on who is or is not wanting to be fixed, it can really backfire. A lot. I can remember a dear mentor of mine joking (sort of)  with her husband in her strong New York accent  “You’re not my Holy Spirit…” And that’s the bottom line. There’s a readiness factor in being fixed. Sometimes pre-mature fixing only slows the process and builds resistance.

So here’s my two cents. Sometimes, it’s so not my place to fix things or people. It’s my place to observe, to see, to pray through, but to not try to wade into the waters of fixing things that aren’t mine to fix. It can create lots more chaos. Sometimes that chaos might involve damaged relationships or enablement of wrong patterns, or heeding off natural consequences that would be the best teacher.  And sometimes trying to fix things might create chaos that comes with alarms and bells and people running around crazy trying to undo the ‘fixing’.

So, my two cents says, that fixing things that I am responsible for…am all for it.  But when it comes to fixing things that other people are responsible for, well, maybe it’s best to sit back, pray, and keep my hands to myself. We all have our own paths to walk…and our own mistakes to learn from. Take it from me and my little trip to Verizon.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S.  There may be some of you who were concerned about Tanner’s embarrassment or mortification factor. He handled it just fine. Am thinking he’s had some practice with not being embarrassed by his mom’s blunders (although this was the first one involving flashing lights and alarms. oops…I mean it was only the second one involving alarms and lights …there was that speeding ticket…). My little blunders have helped teach my teenagers to let it roll…and Grace abounds 🙂

P.P.S. And of course, there are definite times of helping, fixing, and aiding…but one thing I always need to remember is to make sure I’m working on fixing the stuff in myself before I try to fix the same issue in someone else. Walking alongside and mutual encouragement /accountability is a lot different than “fixing”.  Like Jesus said in Matthew 7, we’ve gotta make sure we have the plank out of our own eye before we try to take a speck out of another’s. Humility can be a huge advantage when the time for fixing does arise. My two (more) cents.

 

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Anxiety. If you listen, or scroll, or read for any amount of time these days, that word will most likely pop up pretty quickly. Worry, anxiety, depression…these are battles  of the mind and heart that so many face in their lives. About a month ago, I was dealing with a lot of worry about a current situation in our lives. I couldn’t see how things would play out and it was really eating at me from the inside. It was pretty all-consuming, and I was making bold attempts to not feed the worry (cause yep, as I’ve said ad nauseum, “What we feed grows…”), but I was having a tough time. Worry seemed to be winning. But then, then… I read this quote: “Faith is rest, because it believes the work is done.” (Dan Bailey).

I stopped.  Rest.  I’m not sure why it hit me so incredibly hard, but it did. I smiled big.  Faith, belief leads to rest.  Not just rest like a nap. Rest like a quieting of the heart’s hamster wheel of worry. Rest like an ability to be ‘all in’ in the moment we’re in because we’re not pondering what the future will hold. Rest like a holding out of our empty hands instead of wringing them in anxious waiting. Rest in the soul that allows me to go all out in the daily stuff of life. Rest that says, “You’ve got this” not to me, but to the One who really does. God has got this.

He knew what would come before I did. He knows what is to come. And He’s right there in the middle of it all. When we take those situations, heartaches, worries to Him and lay it down, we make room for Him to do what we can’t. When we trust Him with it all, it frees us up to be wholly devoted to Him in the big and little stuff of our daily lives.

We are much more present living life with the people in our midst, working hard, loving well and reaching those in our world, when we’re not so busy trying to keep the world spinning…or worrying about it not spinning.  So, “Faith is Rest”.  Trusting is Resting. That’s been my new ‘go-to’ when worry crops up. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting.  When fears for my (adult) child crop up.  Trusting is resting.  When the uncertainty of future weighs on heart and mind. Trusting is resting. When my friend and her family were in a car accident yesterday and her neck was fractured. Tears were flowing, but my heart was knowing that God is in control and because of that I can trust Him with her and her family. Why?  Because trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. That’s what I spoke to my heart.  Truth. And Truth sets us free to rest in our hearts in situations that are difficult, trying, even terrifying.

If I believe God is who He says He is, I can trust Him with it all.  And the cool thing is?  He can use it all. For our good, For His Glory, He can use it all as we lay it at His feet. We put our spinning worlds down, and He, the Creator of All, can get our wobbly worlds back in sync.  When we put our worries into praying with faith, knowing that God can use it all, we put the reigns back in the hands of the One who Loves and Knows and sees beyond what we ever could. He’s a bit more adept at spinning the World than I am. That sun comes up every single solitary morning whether I see it (or worry about it!) or not. Just saying.

So, when worries crop up (daily, hourly, even momentarily!), am learning to speak truth to myself…to remind myself that I can trust God with it all.  Trusting is resting in His Sovereign Will, in His undying Love.  Trusting is Resting.

Blessings~

Heather

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.”  

Romans 8:26-28

P.S. ( Always, right?  Sorry!)

Romans 8  I have  to include the link to whole chapter of Romans 8. It is so incredibly rich on any given day, but it is especially full when battling fears. No condemnation. He works all things for our good. He loves us. He has provided.  Yes, rich words and Truths indeed that can fill the heart that needs to remember who they trust and why they can rest.

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“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Matthew 6:26

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I planted some seeds in a pot today. The pot has seen so many flowers through the years, but most times, they’ve been the  pre-grown kind I just pick up at Wal-mart and stick in a pot. But these?  These little seeds are going to take a little time to grow.

I took out the little hand shovel and dug a hole, put some seeds in and for now will wait to hopefully see some little sprouts grow. Impatiens seeds (for those who are  not so very ‘patiens’…) takes only about 21 days to germinate.  So, it won’t be long until we see the sprouts break the surface of the soil and begin their debut. I’m so looking forward to seeing these simple little carefree beauties bloom.

And do you know what?  When they start to flower and bloom and fill up that pot…they won’t be daisies or tulips or lilies.  They’ll be impatiens. That’s what I planted after all.

Because what we sow is what we reap.  Not always right away. Sometimes there’s a short germination period, and sometimes it takes years and years to see what we’ve planted  reach the surface and bloom.  But the principle stands….what we sow, we reap.

Daisies beget daisies. Verbena begets verbena. Willows beget willows. Violets beget violets.  Impatiens beget impatiens.

And…much more importantly…Kindness plants seeds of kindness. Hope breeds hope. Lies beget lies and distrust. Love multiplies love. Stealing multiplies voids and needs. Yep, what we sow, we reap.  Not always right away, because, yes, even with these, there can be  years and years of waiting (or dreading depending on what we’ve planted), because like seeds, the way we treat people are seeds sown that may take a little time to germinate.  But, what we sow we reap.

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Am thinking I’m glad that I like impatiens. I’m glad (hoping) that I will see the beauty of that sow~reap principle before my eyes every day this summer.  Why?  Because I want to be reminded to sow well. To be diligent about planting seeds that will reap a harvest that blesses others and honors God. A harvest that gives. And I want to be diligent about tossing the seeds and actions that I don’t want to multiply in my life or in the lives of others. I definitely don’t want to be multiplying negative stuff. The world is full of enough of that.And it definitely takes diligence and honesty and tenacity to see the yuck in my own life. Gotta see it before I can toss it. And I’ve gotta plant the good stuff before it will grow.

Here’s to reaping what we sow, and sowing well because we know that daisies beget daisies, verbena begets verbena, and impatiens beget impatiens. Am hoping that this summer my pots will be full of impatiens…and my own little world will be blessed by the harvest that comes from the seeds I choose to plant in my life and the lives of those around me. Yep ~ am so thankful for the reminders that these little seeds gave me today…hope you are too!  Happy Planting, friend.

Blessings~

Heather

“Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.

Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD,

that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”

Hosea 10:12

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Wordless Wednesday

Sorry …adding a few words to ‘Wordless Wednesday’… In a world that clamors and stammers and hammers its own…am thinking it’s a good thing to…keep a quiet heart. It’s a good thing to step back and process. It’s a good thing to kneel down and pray and …keep eyes and heart focused and centered. It’s a good thing to hold what we know to be true. “Love justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with thy God.” Micah 6:8

P.S.  I’m just not very good at “Wordless” Wednesday and “Silent” Sunday.  Got too many words in my head and thoughts in my heart that just want to spill out on to the page. Sorry. Kind of.

Blessings~

Heather

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On this Thankful Thursday (actually, it’s finally being posted on a Saturday…better late than never..)… I’m thankful for flowers (weeds) by the side of the road that beckoned me to stop and breathe for a few minutes.

I’m thankful for the sun on my face and the wind through my hair. I’m thankful for the solid ground under my feet and vast sky beyond the field and the awareness that like those flowers (weeds), I’m pretty small in this vast, vast world.

I’m even thankful for the stressors that push us to find the respites. And for the respites that sometimes show up in unexpected places, like roadside ditches where a few little flowers (weeds) are blooming with a beautiful sunset in the background.

I’m grateful for the truth that  when we’re fully-alive and fully-living and fully-putting-ourselves-out-there, well, there will be pain…and heartache…and uncertainty and struggle.  There will be loss, and hurt, and defeat. But there will also be victories won, big and little. There will be muscles made and skills honed and fortitude grown in the struggles if we don’t lose heart, if we don’t give up. That’s the key isn’t it? To not lose heart?  To keep on keepin’ on.  To keep on putting one foot in front of the other…

I’m thankful that one of the very things that might help us to not give up or give in or lose heart could be as simple as a phone call, a letter, an I’m thinking of you text, or a glimpse of some roadside flowers (weeds) that glow in the mellow tones of the sunset on a warm March day.

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I’m thankful that although sometimes stopping and breathing and taking in the sunset might take moments from our days, it adds energy and hope and light and joy and value to the rest of the moments of our day because, those moments of taking it all in? They help to process, to see things in a different light.

I’m thankful that my children (who happen to be adults ) whom I adore are living and pushing and stretching. And even though it is so incredibly difficult to watch at times,  I am thankful for the growing pains, the casualties, the falling downs and getting-back-up and the tenacity and compassion and gratitude that can result from those moments. I’m praying that they always have hope to get back up in a world that is pretty good at pushing down.

And I’m hopeful that irregardless of how many times my  kids fall down and need to get back up,…I’m hopeful that they will be those who help lift up, not push down. That they will be little respites to those in need. That they will love because they know they are so loved.  A lot of people don’t know that to the core. I pray they KNOW it, and live it out of the love that they have received. Not just familial love.  Supernatural, all-consuming love from the God who knows every falling down, every gift, every scar, every fabric of their being. The God who Loves them and knows them to the core…and calls them to know Him more.  He’s the Ultimate lifter of our heads, of our hearts, of our hands.

God’s infinite, all-consuming grace seems so clear and present in these little snip-its of time that I take to see it. It is mine to show up and open my eyes to see and hears to hear and heart to just feel….and He always shows up.  Sometimes in flowers. Sometimes in weeds. And sometimes it’s not about what they are, but just about how I see them in the Light of grace.  And it’s a bit ironic that I often see those things more clearly on tougher days because on those days?…On those days I am aware of my need, and I’m looking, seeking, knowing that I need to take time to find the reminders of grace. What we seek, we often find.

Oh, and am thinking that more than anything…in this crazy, chaotic, rushed and so often angry world where the ground doesn’t seem so stable and the future doesn’t seem so clear?…Well, knowing that He sees us in a different light and loves us through it all and beckons us to dare to LIVE a life counter to so much of what we see….that knowledge beckons me on to know that regardless of what I see to the left or the right, He’s with me  in the middle of it all. And sometimes all it takes to be reminded of that is to take a few moments to stop and see.  Yes, what we seek we often find. When we see things through the eyes of grace, there’s very little room for seeing weeds as anything but beautiful, beautiful flowers.   And the cool thing is that in Christ, God sees us through eyes of grace. Kind of like looking at us and seeing it all, but treasuring us as a beautiful flower. Knowing that we are loved like that can change the perspective on any landscape we face…be it on mountaintops, valleys, or roadside ditches.

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Blessings ~

Heather

“We love because He first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

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Sometimes waiting is hard. It just is.  But it’s a lot harder when we focus on what’s not there rather than the beauty that is.  Take this little branch for instance. It’s there.. Dormant. Sturdy. Barren. Little buds are just starting to  form. And pretty soon, it will be covered with leaves and the branches will be barely visible for all of the growth of the leaves.  But it will still be there…it will be the foundation that’s been there all along, the structure on which the delicate blooms sprout.

Maybe one of the sweet benefits of waiting for what is to come, is just being aware of what is…and seeing things as they are. Because sometimes the greatest foundations, the ‘bare bones’ of the structure of our lives are only recognized when all of the fluff and growth and answered prayer isn’t there…yet. Sometimes waiting in the barrenness of winter is such a good thing. Gratitude grows in the waiting. It grows in the winters of our lives because it has to search, to dig deep, to see and be thankful for what is…and still hope for what will be.

 “But as for me, I will look to the LORD;

I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

 Micah 7:7

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