The dogs I live with are so nervous. They know something is happening but they don't know what it is. There are boxes everywhere. Jason is busy. They are in the habit of sleeping most of the day, getting excited when Jason comes home, and then going to bed pretty shortly after that. I think some of their stress is because they are tired. They HAVE to get up and follow Jason when he leaves the room. He is leaving the room a lot as we are making all of our preparations for Tuesday.
We spent a couple of nights at my nieces house because her daughter was there with the baby! I got some squeezes and some play time. She is so precious. She is also out of her routine and rhythm. She is nervous because she is not sure what is going to happen next. She has to follow her mom and dad when they leave the room. It is very nerve wracking!
It is change. It is different people, routines, time zones, and all they seem to want is to know what is going to happen next. Don't we all?
As we are in a season of change, might we be fully present in the moment we are in? Might we accept the changes, lean into them, and find ourselves blessed beyond measure. Lyra-the baby discovered while we there that she did not have to follow her parents around. She got a lot of new love and attention from all of these new people. She began to enjoy being with all of us and she learned how to flap her arms around and make bubbles! It is a very big deal to make bubbles to a 2.5 year old. She discovered something new that she would have completely missed out on had she been clinging to her parents.
Her comfort zone expanded and we were blessed by this. Let us expand our comfort zone so that we are right on the edge. That might become the new center of our comfort zone and then we can stretch some more! That sounds like faith, love, and mercy to me.
Much love always,
PS I think the dogs are not interested in any of this. They want to be near Jason!
I got to spend my nights at Annual Conference at Morgan’s house. It is so nice to be with people I love and not in a hotel. I got home one evening and was looking for a snack so I opened the refrigerator and found some peanut butter. They like organic stuff, so I decided to give it a shot. It was pretty good as far a peanut butter goes. The next evening, I decided to enjoy some more and as I was, Morgan walked in the kitchen, looked slightly horrified, and said, “Uh! That is the dog’s peanut butter!” Just as I was pulling the spoon out of my mouth.
Several thoughts went through my mind. Do the dogs lick out of this jar? How sick am I going to be now that I know this? And, Why isn’t it labeled?
Morgan responded with: They do not lick out of it, nor do I put a used spoon in the jar. You should be fine. And, I usually label it but since it is just the 2 of us, I don’t need to since we both know.
I had not even asked these questions out loud and yet she knew what to say.
This was a moment of insider versus outsider knowledge. It made me think of how often we use insider language to talk about faith, church, and Jesus.
Where can we label something so someone else doesn’t end up eating the dog’s peanut butter? Figuratively, of course.
I recently remembered an article I read about pain. There are people in the world who do not feel pain. This is different than the natural red heads who need more pain medicine. This is people who don't feel pain. Doesn't that seem like the goal? It sure does to me. To be able to live life with no physical pain. Until, they pointed out that little kids break bones and have no idea. Adults have an appendix rupture and have no idea. The things they have to do to make sure their bodies are not injured is a full time job!
In life, it seems like our goal is to not feel any pain. Or at least to keep our children from suffering from emotional, spiritual, mental, and even physical pain. It often takes physical pain for a child to learn their limits. It takes emotional pain to understand that words hurt. It takes mental pain to learn how the world works and what our individual part in the whole system is as well as our part of whole.
Why are we so interested in not feeling pain of any kind? The Bible tells us there will be suffering. Then, when it happens, we are shocked! We are not exempt from pain as followers of Jesus. We will suffer. It is in the dealing with the pain, the healing, the lessons learned that we are able to walk with others. We can empathize. We can pass along our lessons to help others as they recover. We can learn our limits and encourage others as they learn theirs.
Rather than avoiding pain, which for those of us who can feel pain, maybe the full time job that we have, might we recognize that it is part of being human. Reach out for healing. Learn our lessons and help others when they suffer.
Unless that hurts to much?
As I write this, it is Wednesday afternoon. We have received the time of arrival for Jason at the hospital. The surgery should be 2 hours later.
My prayer for us is the one I often pray in choir. Lord, we have done our part, now we trust you step in and show us how it is to be done. It will be glorious.
We do our part and know that God will show up and it will be so much more than we ask or imagine. We stand on the promises of God and claim the victory over this surgery, recovery, and new way of being.
Jason has prayed, consulted, and he trusts that this is the way that will allow him to be able to move forward, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
We thank you for the love, prayers, and support.
Will you covenant with us and claim this victory?
When Jason came in and told me that his surgery had been scheduled, I was speechless. Only for a minute! We had been talking, he told me he was getting a call, he came in, said it was scheduled, and I was speechless. It seemed in that moment that nothing had changed, and everything had changed.
Suddenly, our plans were thrown out and new ones made. Suddenly, we had the conversations that were anticipated but not so soon! Everything and nothing had changed.
Isn’t this the way it is with God? You have a new insight, a new understanding, a moment, and everything and nothing changed. Your life is still exactly the same and completely different.
It is the moment of the positive pregnancy test. It is the moment the phone rings and someone says, “Hello”. It is the moment you cannot go back to who you were just one minute before.
I have a handful of moments that have left me speechless. When I got my words back, they were not always prayerful, or even to God. Many time it is only after many words that I find myself talking to God. My hope and prayer is that as I continue to grow in my faith, that my first words are to God.
Praise. Lament. Wonder. Worry. Joy. Grief. Celebration. Loss. Love.
In all of those big moments, we are closer to God than we might even know. Let us grow so that we are ever more aware.
And, I might need to remember that sometimes words are not necessary. Silence is filled with more than words. It is true communion.
The storms continue to show up. We have measured over 5.5 inches of rain at our house since Sunday night. I love the occasional storm. It is kind of like a snow day. Everything slows down. Plans get moved or cancelled. A good cup of hot tea and a book are just what was needed.
4 Days of storms-now I am a little annoyed. The dogs don't know what to do with themselves. Have you seen my hair? This much humidity is not good for anyone. Doing anything requires extra thought. Plus, the windshield wiper situation is frustrating. Either it is not raining enough to keep them on at a steady pace or it is raining so hard they can't go fast enough.
Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.
When I first started praying, I had a printed-out prayer that I prayed, on my knees beside my bed, once a day. I so worried about doing it wrong that I thought this prayer would cover it all. As my prayer life has evolved, I have found that I spend less time asking God for anything. I spend more time listening and simply being present with Jesus.
Now, I receive what God has for me. It seems to be working out better for everyone. Now, I pray with a good cup of hot tea, a book, a journal, a song, or silence. Wherever and whenever. I discovered that I can pray anywhere any time and I will never cover it all. Thank God! It is a living breathing relationship.
The storms of life show up. Annoyingly so. So does Jesus.
As a young person and into my adulthood, I was scared to death of thunderstorms. I would call my mom to come get me when I was in high school and I had a car that I drove. It would be left in the parking lot until the storm was over. I worked in a day care when Jason and I first got married. I would call him to come hang out with me if it stormed and I was there alone. Many times he would show up because he knew I was scared. After all the children had gone home, I might have work to do and he would have to come and sit with me.
I live with a dog that is scared of storms. When the storms came through this week, I heard the loud rolling thunder, I got up immediately to go give him some medicine to calm him down. Before the thunder had ended, he was at my door, scratching. I talked to him as I made my way to the kitchen. I completely understand his fear. When he is outside, standing under this tree makes him feel safe. What a nerd. Even when it is not in bloom, he stands under it and thinks he is safe. Bless his heart.
But, I get it. I get the need to feel safe. To feel covered and if I do this the right way, storms will not do damage in my life.
We know this is not true. The storms come. They roll in when we least expect them. They roll in even when they are expected.
I had talk with myself about 15 years ago and said-Self, you are not longer afraid of storms. You will pay attention to them and do what is necessary to prepare. But, you will not be afraid. Respect them, yes. Scared, no.
Surprisingly enough, once I did that, I found that I could roll with them. Now! I enjoy a good thunderstorm. I also have my shoes and helmet ready if there are tornados.
When we walk with Jesus, the storms may roll in unexpectedly. I remind us all-that Jesus is not surprised. Jesus is with us and when we stay close to him, we can and do find our way through the storms.
I guess my question is: What do you do the makes you feel like you can control the unexpected storms in life? Is it truly working for you? Or do we need to look to the one who stills the storm and trust in Him?
I have a couple of plants I keep alive. Some of it is dumb luck and the rest is the plants will to survive. I know that it is time to replant them. They need new soil and I need to knock out some of the roots. They can get so bound up in their roots that they can't live.
Interesting. I talk about having shallow roots that are wide. I have moved my whole life. Some of you have hardly ever moved.
Both have their merits.
As I think about repotting these plants, it makes me think about the roots that I need to remove. Even in my shallow rootedness, I have things that hold me back. Things that won't let me flourish.
I also have some pretty shallow ones that I need to let grow and get a little deeper.
Plus, there is something about fresh dirt, good water, and a little love that even makes my plants happy!