inspiredness TM

Copyright 2013


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Winter in Spring

Crocuses

Sometimes these days–these spring days full of chirping birds, warms winds, pollen flying, cool spring rains–they can seem like winter days. When the soul is overflowing with the busy-ness, the mind is racing with lists, the body only stops for a minute to remember to breathe…breathe! One tends to forget that God is still there, in the midst of the clutter & the full schedules. When you finally get a minute to sit down you feel like you should be doing something more productive! Did I forget to text/e-mail/phone someone? Have I updated my Facebook status (and does it really matter)? Did I put that load of laundry in the dryer? Have I had a drink of water today?

It should be more simple than this! Last days of school should be relished (for moms & for children)…those last moments with friends, those last moments of a {relatively} quiet house with only 2 children. Submerging hands into God’s earth, digging and planting His harvest should be a joy & a means of escape, not an obligation to make your garden the prettiest on the block.

Right now, our garden sits…signs of new buds emerging, weeds quickly overtaking the ground threatening to overtake the delicate new growth. I’m finding my soul to be the equivalent to those fragile buds & the busy-ness of our lives the proverbial weeds threatening to choke out the promise of new life.

“make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)

My questions to you:

How do you manage your busy-ness?

How do you find balance?


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Turning fear into faith

I am a type-A, anal control freak…and I’m not afraid to admit it. But what do these attributes of my personality really say about me? I’m just plain afraid! I’m afraid of letting go of any control that I think I have. Afraid that if I do my world will come crashing down. As a believer, though, my confidence should be in the Lord, not myself. Where is my faith in Him? Did I just forget that God–the maker of heaven and earth–is much bigger than I am? Where can I find faith?

There are so many instances in the Bible where God showed the people His glory in the midst of impossible situations. He brought Jesus back from the dead!

A book that I’ve been reading takes a look at the issue of turning fear into faith. The author took the story of Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-32) as an instance when Jesus’ disciples let their faith override their fear. Several lessons can be learned from this story.

  • Obey fully– sometimes we don’t know why we feel God is calling us to do something, especially when it’s something that we might not feel compelled to do. We need to obey Him and trust that He has a plan and that we will be taken care of no matter what.
  • Accept God’s comfort– just because we’re obeying God doesn’t mean it’s not going to feel scarey…going into unknown territory isn’t comfortable for many people. Remember what it feels like to have a parent hug you and comfort you after a nightmare? This is what our Father is doing for us.
  • Keep a childlike faith– how many little kids are completely logical in their everyday thinking? Mine still think the bathtub drain will swallow them up if they get too close! As adults we take logic a step too far when it comes to obeying God…we rationalize why it’s not a good idea, why there’s no way that we can live the way God is asking us to live. God asks us to step out of our comfort zones in seemingly illogical ways but having that childlike faith in Him, that he will take care of us, can help us step out of those zones into the unknown.
  • Listen for God’s invitation– “Stepping out in faith outside God’s will is foolishness” (Savage, 2009). Listen to God, have a conversation with Him and hear His invitation.
  • Get out of the boat– Just as Peter took that first step out of the boat to walk on water toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29) we too need to get out of the proverbial boat and walk toward Jesus trusting that He won’t let us drown.
  • Keep focused on Jesus– When Peter took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink…this can very easily happen to us. Our doubts begin to surface and fear wells up in every crevice of our bodies when our eyes aren’t on our Savior.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. ~Psalm 16:8

  • Grab God’s hand– you may not feel His hand necessarily in the most expected ways…He might be reaching out via other followers or situations. He has amazing ways of sending us encouragement at just the right times.
  • Recognize the value of storms in our lives– It’s not easy for some to reach out in our darkest hours and it’s definitely not easy to recognize that there is value to these times. But these are the times when our faith has the potential to grow exponentially as does our intimacy with the Lord.
  • Respond with worship– Give credit where credit is deserved. Praise Him, thank Him, tell others of His works in you!

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” ~Matthew 14:33

Resource: Savage, Jill. Real Moms…Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009).


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Nightmares

As a child I can remember a few prominent themes that seemed to pop up in my nightmares. The death of my grandparents, who I would consider to have been my primary caretakers during my childhood. Being stuck in a dark basement (usually my grandparents’) surrounded by closed doors that would sometimes mysteriously open and shut. Being caught in a maze of sorts that at points would lead into the water always leaving me to fear that I would drown. I can almost see each of those nightmares as vividly as I could when I was young. They left me breathless and in tears then.

I’m not really into dream interpretation. I’m sure there is something to be said for the role the subconscious plays.

Was I afraid of not being taken care of? Was I repressing negative emotions? Was I feeling overwhelmed? The answer to all of these could be yes. And I can tell you right now, the answer to all these questions in the present day is a resounding “YES!”

So many parts of me want to rewind my life and have a do-over. I might not be able to change other people but if I could just change my response to them maybe things would have been better then and would be better now.

Would I be a different person today? Does it matter? God didn’t give me the life I wish I would have had. He didn’t make me the person I wish I would have been. And while I might not feel worthy and unconditionally loved in the eyes and hearts of people in my life, I’m beginning to realize that it doesn’t matter because I am worthy and unconditionally loved by my Father.

I am human, though…I struggle with valuing what other people think of me. I still feel extreme amounts of hurt disappointment in myself when I don’t measure up to expectations. Sometimes I let this hurt show but most of the time I shove that hurt into the basement behind a closed door. The only one that can see this hurt at all times is God and He still loves me. Only He has the power to open those doors.

Father, help me to trust that you are taking care of me even when the nightmares say otherwise. Keep working in me, open those doors that need to be opened and shut those that serve no purpose. Give me peace, calm my mind, give me clarity and focus. Let your will be done. Amen.


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On My Mind Today

“The only platform Christ ever came to was a mound at Calvary — a place to come and *die*…

He calls us to come and *die* … and if art is about applause instead of altar, it becomes ugly. I wonder if art is only art when it’s about an altar — because real beauty is always found in sacrifice.”~Ann Voskamp 

“Real beauty is always found in sacrifice”

Laying down yourself, surrendering yourself, your life, to Christ…every moment of every single day…therein lies sacrifice.

I remember to do this in times of hurt, trouble, despair…sometimes. I forget when in the land of plenty, when life is beautiful or when I’ve talked myself into believing it’s beautiful…sometimes.

There are those moments when the view takes my breath away and I thank Him.

Moments when the laughter peaks and has the great potential to shatter a heart of stone and I thank Him.

But mostly, in my busy world, my busy mind I forget. Forget that He is there, watching my every move, crying with me, bursting with the joy that I can be, calling me his beloved child…perfectly His, perfectly loved no matter my shortcomings.

Is this what grace is? Where do I find this? How can I be this to someone else when I can’t even define it in my own head?


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Walk with Him Wednesdays: Sacrifice

“The next 3 weeks, as we walk with Him towards Easter, might we consider: The Practice of Sacrifice. We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….”~Ann Voskamp

I thought I knew what ‘sacrifice’ meant when I became a mother. I filled my head with the idea that if I hadn’t taken a shower for three {or more} days that was sacrifice. If I fed my children before I even attempted to feed myself that was sacrifice. If I cleaned, cooked, played, read book after book before I thought of taking a break {and sometimes this meant just using the bathroom}…these were sacrifices.

Yes, it’s true…these are all sacrifices of sorts. But really in all these “sacrifices” I’ve sacrificed myself and led myself down a very rough road. A road that took me to the depths of depression, thoughts of suicide, feelings of hopelessness. I thought I could do it all…be “super mom.” And when I finally wore myself down to the very earth that I could no longer stand on, all the pretending I had done…pretending to have it all together…gave way and left me vulnerable.

Vulnerable is not a spot I like to be in. Being in this place means I have to trust…I’m not sure I inherently possess this…trust. I did it for a moment though, this trust thing. I trusted God…that He would take care of me through the people who were taking care of me. It took going to those ugly depths to trust Him.

I’m not as deep as I was almost exactly two years ago. I’m not crying every minute of the day. I’m not thinking of locking myself and my kids in the garage with the car running. I’m not afraid to leave the house, afraid that someone will see the ugly marks of depression on my soul. Praise the Lord for this!

But…do I truly know what sacrifice is?