inspiredness TM

Copyright 2013


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What is time?

The-Passage-of-Time

The following comes from the mind of my amazing husband, Mark Sole. He posted this tonight as a status update on his personal Facebook page but he frequently posts similar things to his public page, Mark Sole – Life On Fire.

What is time? Is it a measuring stick to complete our appointed tasks? Or is it a collection of instances, or memories? I believe time can stand still. I have seen it, felt it, witnessed it. The most common occurrence being when I hold one of our babies as they fall asleep. It is an escape, really, from this world. For an instant, there is nothing else. Only HEARTBEATS…and BREATHING. Maybe the creak of the rocking chair. So warm, safe, comforting, and loved we both are in that instant.

Some of us do not have pleasant memories. This world is messy. Some moments, time can stand still in the pain, suffering, rage, anger, depression, and hopelessness. Even though you may not believe, I believe for you, that there is a loving Savior standing right there with us, in the midst of the hurt.

I have been reading a lot lately. Mostly personal development, leadership development, and health. My reason is simple, I want to be better at what I do. I want to get deep into people’s lives and love them. I want change to burst forth from their hearts. I want to show them that walking the narrow road is not easy nor am I perfect, but I want them to do it WITH me. I am on a quest to continually create ACTION in my life and my family’s life, so that we may love others more. But all the leadership books, all the motivational speakers, all the audio and seminars cannot trump the most important thing I hold on to…God‘s promise to us found in the Bible.

If you want to see what love really is, it is action. Because in one instant, God’s son, Jesus, died, in our place, out of love for us, so that we might trust in Him and live. LOVE became ACTION. I know many of you do not feel the same way I do. You do not believe this really happened, or what really happened that instant. And that is OK. BUT what I do know it this. Even though we may operate by time, and “time is all we have.” GOD has more than that. And He wants you. And He is knocking. And He will wait for you to be ready.

I truly love everyone. I believe we are all created in the image of God. I also believe God has a very specific plan for all our lives, and how He uses TIME may be different for you than for me. I know there will come a time, when you will open that door, and take that chance to let Him in. I don’t know when it will be. But I do know that in that moment of pain, hurting, suffering, anger, frustration, and hopelessness, He will be there. He will NOT fail you. And time will stop. And Love will feel like two things…

Heartbeats…and breathing

 


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Finding your rhythm

We are constantly hearing the word ‘rhythm’ in our world these days. “Have you found your rhythm?” “What does your daily rhythm look like?” “What is the rhythm of your home?”

rhythm: movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements ~Merriam-Webster dictionary

You may not even realize you have a rhythm but essentially every time you wake up you begin your rhythm for the day! Our routines and rhythms ebb & flow like that of the tide or the back & forth of a pendulum. One day you may feel very in sync, like everything is going exactly as it should which may bring you to a calm, centered space at the end of the day where you take a deep breath and think, “Ahhhhh, everything is as it should be!” Other days, especially for those of you who are parents of young children, you may feel like there is absolutely no rhythm whatsoever because the chaotic nature of what is going on within your household! But I assure you, there is even a rhythm on those days…your pendulum just might be on the “upswing” more often than not!

The challenge I am finding as of late is how to urge that pendulum back toward center when it’s been on one side or the other for too long. I could try my hardest to control situations and rope in my kids and husband, pushing them back toward center but if they are constantly resisting I only exhaust myself! Is this where God comes in? Afterall, I am not the one in charge of my life and the lives of my family members…He is! So maybe when I’m feeling as if my day has been sitting on either extreme side of “center” I need to truly take myself back to my center…God. A moment of silence…praying, listening, thanking…even it if it is really only 5 minutes!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light. ~Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)


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Where do the homeless go…

 

if they don’t have a home?

This is image is from Mobile Loaves & Fishes (mlf.org)

 

How many of us look the other way when we see a homeless man or woman holding up a cardboard sign on a street corner? How many of us wave a homeless person off when they are asking for money? How many of us assume we know what they’re going to use that money for? How many of us pass judgement on these brother & sisters in Christ? I’ll be the first to admit that I have and I’m still working on only exuding love for the people who wander the streets.

How many of you have really gotten to know a person without a home? Where are they from? What’s their story?

I have a couple of friends that have–and are presently waiting for this man with whom they’ve spent hours of beautiful time to pass from this earth. This is a link to another blog (a friend of my friends’) that describes the rawness and the beauty of what they are going through.

Please take a moment to read this…I promise you won’t regret it!

Tall Monastic Guy–Holding the Tension: befriending Ed

 


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Multitudes on Mondays: Two Simple Words

Thank you.

I have vivid memories of my parents telling me, “remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ Noell.” To that I would usually roll my eyes…I know, I know.  My father was {and is} pretty insistent on the thank you part of the message. He made sure to give me that stern, disapproving look when I would forget to express my gratitude. And even now, I’ll catch him doing this with my kids, his grandchildren.

After my parent’s divorce when I was about 7 years old and after seeing strangers stare at my developmentally disabled brother anywhere we went…I stopped being thankful for many things and I started being bitter and angry. What was it that I did that made my parents split up? Why can’t I have a “normal” brother? Why did God make me chubby? Why, when other kids’ parents are picking them up from school do I have to open the car door to see my grandpa…every.single.time? I would begin wallowing in my own self-pity and wishing my life to be different. Sitting in my room with the door closed I would read and read and read…taking in all the good things of others’ lives {fictional others} and wishing them to be my own.

What good has all this ingratitude given me? A life full of anger, regret and misery. The depression has always been floating under the surface and when I had my children it roiled up with a vengeance. It manifested itself in rage and hate {mainly for myself and for my ever-so innocent babies}…and really, things that I would never want to experience again. By this time I had been a believer for a good 3 years…why wasn’t I immune? I was constantly looking for answers.

Did I not pray enough? How much therapy and medication do I need before I feel “better”?  Maybe if I read every book on the topic of depression I would find the answer. It never happened and if it did it was a very temporary solution to a debilitating problem. I was willing to try anything at this point.

Gratitude.

When we stop seeing reasons to give thanks, we stop thinking there are reasons to live.

~Ann Voskamp

Oh, how true this is!

I can see the look on my father’s face when I thank him…for the cup of coffee he just bought me, for the time spent alone with him by the river fishing {and not catching a darn thing}, for just sitting there in silence while we have breakfast. His face softens, his eyes begin to sparkle a bit. And all I said was…thank you.

If this is the reaction of my earthly father what is the reaction of my heavenly Father when I thank Him?

 …[A] new study suggests that helping teens learn to count their blessings can actually play an important role in positive mental health. As gratitude increases, so do life satisfaction, happiness, positive attitudes, hope and even academic performance.

~U.S. News

Give thanks! When I fail to see and recognize all the ways that the Lord has blessed me I fail to glorify Him and my life begins to lose meaning. I’m not saying the cure for debilitating depression is to simply say “thank you” but I know that when I say it and mean it the light starts to shine through the dark, luminous cloud of despair.

Dark can give birth to life, suffering can deliver grace, the ugly can be beautiful. God transfigures everything for His glory

~Ann Voskamp

What I am thanking the Lord for today….

#52 the energy to get through 48 hours with my kids, without my husband

#53 a little girl dressed as a furry animal

#54 those amazing sleeping babies

#55 a big brother loving on his littlest sister

#56 an amazing smile

#57 a refreshing and very yummy breakfast

#58 endless lengths of railroad track on my craft room floor

What are you thankful for?


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Out of the Mouth of My Babe

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“Daddy, can we get in the car and go see Jesus?” said one adorable 2 1/2-year-old little girl, who I am happy to call my own.

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If only we could all be this innocent and really, just not know any better! Wouldn’t it be nice to hop in the car {and not worry about having enough gas!} and drive, knowing that your destination is a glorious place where you will be taken care of and loved absolutely unconditionally? Truth is, lately I have been feeling like this…can I just get out of here and be with my one true Father…only it’s been more out of desperation and sadness than out of happiness and hope.
When things get hard in my little world I shut down. I get angry. I feel like my Father has left me to fend for myself…much like my earthly father had done when I was a child. He always turns things around, maybe not always to my liking and not in my preferred time frame, but He always shows up again and reminds me of His love for me. So why do still doubt, why do I still hesitate to trust?

Oh, to be a 2-year-old again.


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Temper Tantrums

(Originally written May 17, 2012)

This has become the common look in our household and not just from Gracie but from just about every member of the family (myself included).

I’m constantly asking myself what is causing these crazy, emotional outbursts. Am I doing something wrong as a mother? Am I  not paying enough attention or giving the wrong kind of attention? Is it due to exhaustion? Maybe it’s a hunger thing? Just a stage? Is it simply because the kids haven’t mastered certain communication skills? Oh, I could over analyze this subject for days, months, years.

The more I think about it, however, the more I realize that even as an adult I have “temper tantrums.” They may not be the classic throw-yourself-on-the-floor-and-scream tantrums but they are emotional outbursts of another kind. I might pout to myself, I may literally bang my head against the wall when I’ve had enough {as I did the other night}, I may be so hurt and angry that I can’t stop crying hysterically.

Toddlers typically throw tantrums in order to express fear and anger and according to Freud, tantrums may be a subconscious way of the tantrum-thrower to force a punishment on himself as a way to put his sense of guilt to rest (Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL9) p. 257-58). It’s also suggested that tantrums {at least in toddlers} are a result of a blow to the person’s inflated self-image (H. and I. Goldenberg, Family Therapy (2007) p. 172).

I think all of these postulations are valid and definitely true for me when I throw my “temper tantrums,” what about you? Do you ever feel like the world is out to get you, that things aren’t going your way and they never will? Do you ever feel embarrassed or humiliated by your failure and lack of perfectionism? Have you ever gotten caught doing something vengeful, spiteful to someone because you were hurt by that person? Do you ever wish that someone would just slap your hand for the sins that you’ve committed so you wouldn’t feel so bad about having committed them? I can probably raise my hand to all of these {and more}. These are “perfect” reasons to throw an adult-sized temper tantrum!

So go ahead…pout, scream, shout, bang your head on the wall {literally or figuratively} and as bad as it sounds, yell at God. Give Him your anger, humiliation, sadness, guilt, feelings of worthlessness…give it all to Him! Guess what? He won’t slap you on the hand or put you behind bars or disown you as His beloved son or daughter!

I have loved you with an everlasting love…

Jeremiah 31:3


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Comfort Zones

by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Where are your comfort zones? Are they centered in Christ? Or do they center around having all the control to yourself? Do they center around fear, worry and unbelief that the Lord won’t pull through for you?

For most of my life…okay, all of my life…I have known nothing more and nothing less than the comfort zones that hold me in a place of worry, fear, mistrust, unbelief, and total self-control and control of others (and my environment).

The fear of failing has always been one of my central comfort zones. What will people think if they see me fail? I will feel utter humiliation, embarrassment, and I know I’ll be a let-down. I won’t try again because I don’t want to fail again; I don’t want to go through the stomach-wrenching emotions again. Even as I write this my heart is racing and my insides feel like they are about to come out! Why would anyone want to stay in a comfort zone when it’s not a comfort?! Because stepping out of those boundaries means you have to do something uncomfortable, something foreign and something scary. Some people thrive on the adrenaline of doing things like this but others, like myself, can only see the failure in it all and that scares me to my bones.

Something that is helping me to reframe my thoughts on fear and failure is a bit I read from a book titled “99 Things You Wish You Knew Before…Stressing Out!” by Lauren E. Miller. Lauren has spoken at my MOPS group a couple times and has such an inspirational story and a strong, healthy presence.

#47 Failure is a perspective

Did you know failure is simply a label you use when you don’t get certain desirable outcomes in life? When something happens in life that you feel is insufficient or falls short of your expectations or assumptions of how it was supposed to be, from your perception, you often label it as failure; this can lead to “less than” feelings about yourself or others.

If you can watch for this in life and choose to observe yourself making these kinds of choices (to label undesirable outcomes as failure), you give yourself the opportunity to reframe into a positive. Whenever you choose to reframe any negative response into a positive, you open yourself up to creative solutions.

Often you say to yourself, “I can’t do that!” This automatic response instantly aligns yourself with your experience of failure. How about saying, “I just don’t know how to do that yet, but I have the confidence in my ability to learn.” Words are powerful to help you link to your God given strengths and abilities to overcome.

Part of moving through those moments in life that you label as “failure” is to practice the prayer of serenity. “God grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to accept the things I can the wisdom to know the difference.” Any time you resist what is before you, you set yourself up for remaining stuck in life. Yes, you will remain in a place of emotional paralysis each time you do accept the things you cannot change…

Know that whatever label you chose to define a situation in life will directly affect the outcome.