Archives for posts with tag: Worry

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I’ve been making bird feeders again.  “For today” feeders is what I like to call them.  And here’s why…  In the past year, the phrase “for today” has become one of my favorite, favorite phrases. I’ve always appreciated the saying of “One Day At a Time. This quickly became, “one moment at a time” when I was a young mom to more little ones than my arms could hold.  (Our third son was born when our oldest was 2…and by the time our oldest was 8 years old, well, he had 5 younger siblings…no twins…just a little visual for ya to see the necessity of the MOMENT thing.) There were so many needs for the moment. I needed grace for the minutes.  I loved the phrase, “grace for the moment” and repeated that to my heart too many times to count. And there was, grace, that is…and miracle of miracles, we survived and even had our sweet familial blips of total thriving. Thankful for all of it.

So that was then. Fast forward 20 some years and I still so hold on to the grace for the moment phrase and truth. But in the past year ‘for today’ has had deeper meaning for me. A year ago this month, my family had the privilege of four of us spending a week together at a center in Georgia.  Willingway works with those with alcohol and drug addictions.  I am the wife and mom of two people I adore who struggle in this area. Big struggle.  Big consequences. Big fears. Big losses.  I could lose a lifetime worrying, wringing my hands, planning for things that never even occur. Or bemoaning and becoming bitter over things that have.  But it’s a battle in which the victories and the losses come by the choices in the now,  the momentary choices  today. That’s something that I’m learning…and a little visual helped it sink it further.

In one of  our morning sessions at Willingway, a woman named Hope led our family group.  She reminded me so much of what my 22 year old Hope might be in 20 years. Both Hopes are unashamedly feisty, determined, compassionate, beautiful, and bold.  Hope, the counselor, gave a great little picture that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.  She was talking about the need to live in the now. (For the full effect of this, I ask that you do try to visualize it, as it adds a dimension to the story, ha!) She stood up, and said this:  ” If we keep one foot in the past, worrying over regrets of what we did or didn’t do…” (and with this, she stepped her left foot to the far left…), “and then, add to that, that we worry about all the the things in the future that could or couldn’t happen tomorrow, next week, or in the years to come…” (and with that, she slid her right foot to the  far right and squatted a bit…), “then ALL we do is crap* all over today.”

Yep.  But she didn’t say “crap”.  And we laughed…and I teared up through my laughter because I so got it. I literally could’ve cried buckets at that moment because the realization of what she was saying was like a lightbulb to my heart. Yes.  We can lose today so easily. Especially when loved ones are struggling. Especially when we are struggling. I mean, we’d have to be crazy not to be consumed with worry over what has been or what will be, right…? Not necessarily… Because worry just makes things worse.  We so miss the moments in the now when we’ve got one foot in the past or one foot in the future…or both. Worry of what was or what will be eats up, consumes, the now. Life can get pretty full when we’re doing well, but when we add the chaos that addictions and wrong thinking to the whole mix (along with the dominoes that follow..), well, moments, days, weeks, years…can be eaten up in fear, worry, and a focus on loss…

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So, when I came home from the week in Georgia, I thought a lot about what Hope has said and so aptly demonstrated. I prayed and thanked God for today so many times. I thanked him for the big and the little and the hard and the good and the in between and tried to trust for today, for the moment.  It was Spring time and the birds were flitting and flying around..and added a whole new dimension to the lesson I so needed to live. I remembered what Jesus said about provision…and to consider… consider the birds of the air…  Consider…look at, think on. The verse says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”  Matthew 6:26.

I thought about daily need, daily seed, provision for today. Even in the midst of a lot of struggles through the years, I’ve seen God’s hand of provision more times than I can count… I’m so aware that He can open doors that we never even knew were there. He can provide in ways we never imagined, and He can bring people into our lives at just the right time who we’ve never even met.  So…that’s when I started making bird feeders…not that have seed for a week or a month or a season, but food for today.   At night or in the morning, out goes a handful of seed…

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and then…they come…

the quiet and serene…

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…the sassy…

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they come two by two..
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…and they come in all kinds of weather….

and when they come, they remind me that for today, I have what I need. For today, I can do what I need to do one step at a time. For today, I am thankful. I love how Jesus spoke to worry and said (still in Matthew 6) and said, “Let today’s own troubles be sufficient for today.” Yeah, there’s usually plenty to handle for today. And the great thing is, that it sure is a lot easier to handle when I’m not trying to conquer the past and the future at the same time.

Yeah, I can learn a thing or two from birds. And I am …learning that is. (Side note) As I’m writing this, the two mourning doves are on the deck, one in the feeder, and one underneath. They really seem to have this “for today thing down…always together, never in too big of a hurry, (unless I get up to take a photo of them, then they’ll fly and coo in a heartbeat!)  And I’ll spare them. But here’s a photo of them taken this morning.   Yeah, they seem to have the for today thing down. DSCN2976.jpg

Maybe one day, I will as well. But I’m not going to worry about that, right?  Because for today, for today, …there’s provision and grace for today.

Blessings,

Heather

(“For Today” feeders can be purchased at Gifted:Local Artisan Gift Shop and Supply or can be ordered via pm on Facebook )  I love doing special orders with a theme. Am happy to mail them as well.

Blessings for today ~

Heather

P.S. Gotta share a favorite song here…Live It Well <3.

“Live It Well” by Switchfoot

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  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?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6: 25-34

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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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Consider…

 

Silent Sunday

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“Pray with your eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”

~Oswald Chambers

Yep.  This is a reminder to myself.

I hate to be a broken record, but here goes… we have lots of transitions going on in our home with one son going to college on the coast, one daughter moving to the mountains, and one son moving to Sweden…all within a 2 week window (which occurs simultaneously with me going back to teaching after a nice long summer.  In fact, three of those four things all happen between August 14th and 15th.) So, there are lots of details and checklists to be dealt with. In the midst of it all, we’ve seen lots of answered prayers and doors open and I’m thankful…I really am.  But today, I lost sight of the big, for the little.

With all of the good going on, I still found myself this morning just worrying, agitated, fretting…all the things that Psalm 37 (which I have been camping out in this week) says NOT to do, I was definitely doing.  Even though I so know better, I just couldn’t get out of this frustrated funk I was in. My to do list was growing instead of getting shorter, because it seemed that each attempt was met with more challenges, almost like clicking on a link on the computer and having it open up three more windows. I had done all I could with some things and was waiting on responses, so my hands were tied and my frustration was just growing.

I finally decided to run some errands so I could check some things off the list, and that’s when it just hit me…there were lots of inconveniences in the day for sure.  Lots.  But the bigger picture?  It made all of these small little things seem so minute. My little list of things bothering me is a reality, but so not significant in the big scheme of things.  The inconveniences are just part of life.  But how I handle them?  That isn’t insignificant or small.  It’s pretty big.  These little things shape and mold us… Again, gotta give a great Oswald Chambers quote.  He said, “The mount is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something.”  It’s as though these little things, the good and the bad and whether we handle them well or terribly,…they shape us, they grow us, they make us.  They are not just little insignificant things in our day…they lead us somewhere.

So here’s the thing regarding mountains and molehills.  Seeing mountains in the distance with wide open spaces and seeing how big and beautiful they are help us keep perspective.  Majestic huge mountains are a reminder to me of how big and beautiful God is.  He created mountains…can He not handle my little molehills? And molehills?  Molehills are kind of  symbolic for me of just feeding on worry.  Moles are rarely seen….they quietly burrow, causing destruction in their path.  If they aren’t dealt with in a matter of time, they can cause a great deal of damage. So it is with worry. Moles, are like me focusing on the worry, the agitations, the little things that I so can’t control. In the same way that driving up a long mountain road and then catching a view of the incredible skyline of rolling mountains is something I’d prefer to have as my view, looking down at the ground at the ground crumbling underneath me is not where I want my perspective to be. I’d prefer to see mountains instead of molehills in this analogy. (Oh, and you know, when someone is looking down at their feet, others tend to look down to see what they’re looking for…  I’d prefer to keep my chin up and eyes out with hopes that wherever my kids land, their focus is not on the molehills in their lives, but on the mountains. )

So, it was a day for me to hit the reset button on my little attitude flying around.  Thank goodness I did.  The rest of the day has been quite a bit better.  I’m trying to focus on God and His provision and things to be thankful for (and there are a thousand)…and praying through the rest. I remember the days of having daily pow-wows with my kids to help with ‘attitude adjustments’, and today, I definitely needed a pow-wow with myself.  Thankful for re-starts, new beginnings, and the fact that tomorrow, I get a chance to wake up and start again.  And tomorrow, after I read Psalm 37 for the 37th time this week, I think I’ll couple it with Oswald Chambers’ quote:  “Pray with your eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”

Blessings ~
Heather

Photo taken in Toluca, North Carolina…after a storm…July 26, 2015

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Here’s a thought:  in the same way that moss will often fill in the gaps between trees and rocks, God so often fills in the gaps, the voids, in our lives.  I think it’s all a matter of not letting other “fillers” in.  Like for instance, when there’s an ache, a loneliness, a need that we try to fill in a way that is not in God’s timing, it seems as though the void or the chasm grows.  But when we bring our aches, our needs, our pains to Jesus, He has a way of filling in the gaps in a way that may not look like what we had hoped, but that is so much bigger and better and a long term fix rather than a short term band-aid.

“Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  (Psalm 37:4)  That verse is often interpreted to mean that God will give you whatever you want.  But the want, the desire, the pursuit?  That first needs to be God.  To delight in God and His ways, His agenda, His will.  But the cool thing is is that it seems that as we delight in the Lord,…we choose to pursue Him, that that long lists of wants that are pretty daggone temporal, fade away.  God fills in the gaps with His presence and becomes the glue that makes those voids fade away and makes us whole.  Not fragmented pieces of this or that pursuit, but whole.

Life is full of voids.  Full of them.  But how cool is it that  God can fill each and every one with His plans, His purpose, His presence.  I am trying to recognize and get the “fillers” out of my life with hopes that more  and more, little by little, what God intends and what I intend walk hand in hand.  This walk of faith is full of uncertainties, but the older I get the more I see that He waits.  He waits for us to come to Him.  Sometimes in His severe mercy He even creates voids to help us to see our need for Him.  Would that we would come to Him right away with those voids.  Just like a little child that knows to cry out RIGHT when something happens…instantaneously!  Seems the older children get, the more the wait time, and the more the weight and the void, created by trying to do things totally on our own when we need a hand. Would that we would run to God RIGHT away with our needs, our voids, our brokenness.

A few ramblings as I’m choosing to be thankful and hopeful and seeking Him with the many many needs that I see in my life and my children’s lives.  These years of the teens and twenties are so not easy…a million transitions.  But God goes before us and He picks up the pieces behind, and He walks with us in the midst and will fill in the gaps.  Praying that for my little world today.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S.  The youth pastor preached on Psalm 37 on Sunday.  It was so good. The psalm says 3 times, “DO NOT FRET”.  Do not fill your voids with worry, agitation, fret.  We are to trust, delight, commit, rest.  Hmmm.  Psalm 37 is a really good read if you have time today!  I know I’ll be filling some of my time with those words that I so need to read again.

Photo taken in Banner Elk, North Carolina

July 2015

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