Thursday, June 30, 2016

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Heart

Today I had a diagnostic exam that I am supposed to have done every 6 months.  I have a surplus of calcium in my body (eyes, skin, teeth, etc., so it is only fitting that I would have it other places too). For me, this 2 hour visit has always been an inconvenience. Just something that needs to be done “just in case”.

This morning I was in the waiting room happily sipping my complimentary coffee, listening to Andy Griffith playing from the mounted TV and checking work emails. In my mind I could think of many worse ways to spend a Thursday morning. During this moment of solitude, a lady walked in with a definite look of fear in her eyes. She sat near me so I struck up a conversation. It turns out this lady was a breast cancer survivor. It had been 13 years ago. But her annual exam had shown signs of new trouble. This could be nothing, she admitted, but I could see in her expression that a flood of memories from past trauma was washing over her. I grabbed her hand and said I would pray for her. As I let go, another lady walked in and seemed eager to talk. Her mother had passed away from breast cancer and this lady had some things show up in a routine exam that were a cause for further testing. Then, another lady joined our huddle. She had already had her diagnostic, had seen a technician and was directed to change and go back to the waiting room. She seemed optimistic that this was good news, but the rest of us glanced at each other nervously. We knew this meant something else. I was about to ask the ladies if I could pray for them when my name was called. My time in the waiting room would be over.

As expected, nothing had changed for me, and I was fine to go until my next imaging appointment. Normally I just do a small “I knew it would fine, but always thankful” kind of prayer. But, this morning was different. What for me was just an inconvenient happening, might just be a life changing moment for others. How do I selfishly now go about my day as normal?

Every day I go through life so absorbed with my own happenings. I pray that the Lord will open my eyes to opportunities to do more than just hold a hand, but to really help people through their journeys. I am so thankful for a job/ministry where I actually get paid to show people comfort or connect them to others who can. But even still, how much do I miss because my eyes are too focused on me and mine to look out on others?

God was gracious to me this morning, and I am thankful for the reminder to pay forward the comfort that He has given me over the years. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says it better than I ever could - “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

Lord, please give me eyes to see, ears to hear, words to give and a big heart to listen.
Always Sincerely,

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tragedy and Refuge

Our youngest is 17 years old and today I thought about how he has never known a world without mass shootings and acts of terror. The Columbine High School massacre happened one month after he was born. I remember so clearly watching the news, rocking my infant and crying over the world that he and his siblings would be forced to grow up in. This was just an unbelievable tragedy. How could this have happened? Before the Columbine shootings I remember isolated incidents of rage, but something seemed to shift that day. I Googled mass shootings since 1999 and the number is staggering. What is even worse is that our culture has digressed from trying to comfort one another in our grief, to using these incidents for political gain and media viewership.

Our world is evil, and things are only going to get worse. This is not the time for us to look outward. We can’t fix evil hearts by banning certain objects or even by purchasing more of them. And even revenge on the terrorists won’t change the seemingly unbalanced scale of darkness in our world.

The answer has to be to look upward and inward. We need to look up to our Creator. Because of sin, there is evil in our world. The Lord is our only hope. And not just in times of tragedy. He is our daily hope and peace. He is our main source of comfort and our assurance. While we process our grief, in shock and disbelief, this is a perfect time to examine our own hearts. Life is fleeting, so, do I make the most of each day? Do I live for earthly gain only, or do I try to better mankind with my existence? Do I have love for my neighbor, or do I have judgment and hatred? Do I try assist the downtrodden, or do I live a life of entitlement? And most importantly, if today were my last day on earth, where would I spend eternity? We want to think we always have a tomorrow to think about it, but none of us are promised a tomorrow. God loves every single one of us, more than we could ever imagine. Evil would be stamped out if we truly believed this and turned away from the sin that tries to control all of us and leaned on the Lord.

We also need to remember that when any tragedy occurs, we are talking about real people, not just numbers. Every victim was someone’s son or daughter, or parents, or their spouse. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around what the parents of the Orlando victims are going through. We need to be respectful to their pain. This is not a time for politics or judgment. By evidence of my Google search today, tragedies like this can happen absolutely anywhere. At a church, at a school or even a quick trip to a local store. We have to keep the truth of the importance of human life and the importance of the next one foremost in our minds.

There is a song called Refuge by the group Finding Favor. I love the words, they are especially comforting when my heart is broken for the pain of the many…………………….

My soul, it sings to You
Oh God, You are my refuge
I will cling, I will cling to You
My shelter through the storm
My peace when waves of troubles roll
I will cling, I will cling to You

I could search the stars
I could swim across the seas
And never find a love
That's as strong as Yours for me - You are my refuge

Always Sincerely,


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My first post...................

Ok, I am doing it. I am starting a blog. I always have ideas running around in my brain and except for being pretty sure I am secretly being taped for a Japanese sitcom, I think that my 23+ years of experience raising kids has given me a few good things to say along the way.

Ever since I was 4 years old, I could not wait to be a mommy.  Growing up, when people asked what I wanted to be someday, a mom was always my answer. My husband, Ed (or Lovemuffin as I call him), and I started our family young. We were married when I was 20 and our oldest, Matt, arrived when I was 22.  I loved every minute of mommy-hood and I would have had 6 children if Ed (he is the realist) and our finances hadn't been a factor.  Now that I am worn out and weary from helping to lift off 3 adult chicks from our nest - I am thankful that we only had 3. But in my 20's, I would have loved to have given the Duggar's a run for their money.

Now, our youngest is 17 and about to be a senior in high school. The "mommy" days are over. Yes, I know I am still needed and loved (blah blah blah).  But I am no longer anyone's everything.  Don't get me wrong, my husband is the best and we love each other dearly, but I really hope he doesn't start to need me to cut his dinner up, hold his hand to cross the street, etc.  Any hand holding should be out of romance and companionship - not for his safety!  My affection for him has always been so different than what I had with the kids. I will admit it - I desperately miss being needed desperately.

All 3 of our kids are extremely independent.  Our daughter, Emily, is 21 and was married on May 20, 2016.  Yes, less than 2 weeks ago!  The wedding was amazing and I definitely plan to blog on that.  But, our little princess now has a family of our own.  And that one that made us parents at 23? Well, he has his own apartment, car and even a puppy of his own.  And everyone knows how the life of a Senior is, between girls, sports, work, church and school, there isn't much time left for mama. I know that I am loved and even surprisingly, liked.  But this view of motherhood is very different. I would not change it, I am thrilled that I have healthy children with thriving lives - I am just adjusting to the view.

Since this might take a little while for me to process, what better way for me to do so than to share all of my innermost thoughts, fears, joys, criticisms, laughs, etc., with people I have never met!  My hope is that my posts bring insight, humor, encouragement and maybe help me gain some kindred spirits - no matter what side of the "hood" you might be on.

Always sincerely,