When words fail

 

wordsfail

This is a post from last year. I’m posting it today in remembrance of my dear friends and their continuing struggle to come to grips with this loss.

 

Recently, good friends lost their son. This news brought everything to a screeching halt. All those things, once so important weren’t anymore. This is familiar. The struggle of wanting to do something and knowing there is nothing.

The funeral was Friday. Thankfully, my husband and daughter came along to show their support for our dear friends. Walking in the door and facing them, this broken family, left me feeling inadequate. What do you say to someone whose life has shattered?

We hugged them, cried with them and the only words escaping my lips were “I’m so sorry” and “I am praying for you”. The door to the outside world called my name. Thoughts of leaving the pain behind tugged at my soul. This wasn’t about me or my comfort. This was about being there for someone even though there are no words and no way to take away their pain.

Is this what the Bible means when it says bear one another’s burdens? Galatians 6:2ESV “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Throughout the week, the little voice in my head told me to stay away. It said, “They didn’t want me there. I was useless. Why even try? I would hurt them by being there.”

I remember times when I listened to that little voice. Times I stayed away because it seemed the most helpful thing to do. God showed me I was wrong. It was selfish. I was protecting myself not helping others.

When we walked in and saw their faces, it became apparent they wanted us there. They needed us there. Our mere presence was a comfort. It isn’t about us; it’s about God’s command to love one another. Love is uncomfortable and messy. Love is being there regardless of our feelings.

This quote from Nicolas Sparks, The Notebook sums it up.

“In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life”

We love one another by being there when it’s uncomfortable, when we don’t have words and when we know we can’t do anything.

God shows up in our weakness. When we humbly obey because we know it’s what we should do. God uses us best when we realize we have and are nothing.

What’s next?

Continue to pray and don’t forget about them. They may drop out, but we stay connected while respecting their boundaries. Remind them to ask for help and then ask God and those closest to them how we can help. Earnestly look for ways to be there for them without being overbearing.

We do this, not to make ourselves feel good, but because we love them.

We do this to let them know they are not forgotten.

We stand in the gap for them in prayer until they are able to do this for themselves.

This is what we do when words fail.

Please share ways you have been there to help loved ones cope with great loss. Please share ways others were there for you in times of great loss.

This entry was posted on July 3, 2014. 3 Comments

Small Things

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons by Tim Geers


Today my journey into rest continues…The biggest thing I’ve noticed is I’m starting to have time for some of the little things I’ve taken for granted for so long. Making a home cooked meal for dinner, cleaning up around the house, time to spend with family and truly engage, catching up on reading blogs I’ve missed, having flexibility in my schedule, time to nurse the migraine I had this morning and going into the jail again.

All these little things may seem small and insignificant, but isn’t it the little things that make life worthwhile?

Is my house in tip top shape? No. Did I make a gourmet meal? No. We will have leftovers a few nights this week and maybe a can of soup one night. (Oh, the horror!)

The point of all this is, slowly, I am starting to enjoy the simple pleasures forgotten in the pursuit of doing great things for God. I had spent so much time trying to help everyone with every need that I ended up helping no one.

We can get so wrapped up in trying to have a mighty impact in the world we forget the small things that have a huge impact in the lives of those around us. Things like making one on one time with our spouse, family or a friend. Going into the jail and praying with someone who’s lost hope and longs to see a friendly face and share a hug. These small things are greater works in God’s eyes most times, than the impact of a huge ministry. They don’t mean much in the eyes of men, but I’d rather have God’s approval in the end.

To have some of these small moments, I’ve had to say no to a lot of things. Saying no is not something I like to do, but as I read in a blog today “…if everyone got a yes, that’s just the same as everyone getting a no…” This is the thing to remember if you are a people pleaser like me. You just can’t say yes to everyone and expect it to work out well.

So in conclusion, I’m learning to enjoy the practice of saying no, so I can say yes to the important things that may not seem so important at times, but maybe down the road you may just realize how very important they were.

What things do you need to say no to so you can say yes where it counts? Do you struggle to say no?

This entry was posted on April 9, 2014. 2 Comments

Balancing Rest and Service


 

Rest has always seemed like a destination; a place you arrive when your work is done. The problem with this theory is the work is never finished.

In Pennsylvania, I started a cleaning business. Cleaning houses helped me earn a living and be home for my daughter when her school day was done. A habit of skipping lunch developed over these years. It was easier to work straight through so my day was over more quickly. What worked well in my business didn’t translate well into the rest of my life.

This habit began to invade every area of my life. Upon moving to Florida I found a regular job, they insisted that I take an hour for lunch. It was excruciating for me to take a whole hour of rest in the middle of the day. I searched for ways to fill the time, it always seemed to be too long, but not long enough to get anything of value completed. It had to be productive time, didn’t it?

What I didn’t realize at the time was that was the reason for a lunch break, to take a break from production. What a concept, taking a break, so you can come back refreshed and come in with a fresh perspective.

It’s the same concept in our lives. We are called to serve others in this life, but we also have to take a break from time to time or we lose perspective.

If our life is all about service and we never allow ourselves time to refresh, we are missing out on the big picture. We will soon run dry, trying to live life on our own power.

These are my thoughts today, as I allowed myself to take an afternoon nap and then proceeded to get back to work. It’s stretching me, learning to rest in the midst and then going back to work without throwing in the towel for the rest of the day.

It’s a practice I intend to continue until it becomes the norm. Taking advantage of those little moments when they come.

Do you struggle with taking a break and then getting back to work? What ways do you find to refresh in the midst? Please feel free to share your struggles and victories and thanks for stopping by!

This entry was posted on April 8, 2014. 2 Comments

Growing Creativity


The continuing saga of my journey into rest…

This weekend my journey went a little deeper. I’ve been taking lessons from my daughter in photography. A high school photography course awakened me to this art, but alas everyone was telling me I needed to be realistic and photography was just an expensive hobby. I listened…

Fast forward to the year 2012; in 2012 I stopped listening to the well-meaning advice others had been giving me about how to live my life and achieve success. My life changed on that day in March 2012 and it will never be the same.

This week, my daughter was getting so many compliments on her photography and I decided it was time for me to step further into the love I’d left behind. She offered to help me and we began.

The first thing I noticed was my need to wait until the perfect pose appeared before snapping the shot. Approaching this like any other task, the time it was taking weighed heavily on me. The voices came and reminded me there was work to be done; no time to goof off! It takes time and patience to take pictures, and taking pictures of animals seems even more difficult.

Becoming aware of perfectionism rearing its ugly head helped me to slow down and go with the flow of taking the pictures. It’s even fun!


Hope you will enjoy some of the shots I’ve taken and offer some constructive criticism if you’d like!

Have you given up a hobby you’ve enjoyed in your younger years? Is it time to unleash your creativity again?

Please feel free to share. Thanks again for stopping by!

This entry was posted on April 7, 2014. 6 Comments

The Voices


Another day of journeying into rest and the voices continue to ridicule me. This morning, the mountain of “to do’s” hovered overhead as I woke. The voices began…you goofed off yesterday and now you have double to do.

My body was pain free, so now it’s time to get to work, right?

Mentally going down the list of “to do’s”…quiet time, blog, compose a card, acupuncture appointment, pet sitting, etc. There are not enough hours in the day, look at your schedule for the next three days; you will be so exhausted, blah, blah, blah.

Hopping on facebook, I find encouragement and remember, “Hey, I’m pain free today!” That’s cause to celebrate.

Taking a deep breath, I start my day and remember this is where I’m supposed to be.

My thoughts stray to understand where the voices are coming from.

They come from childhood, unfair comparisons, un-healthy expectations and wanting others to understand.

Childhood memories come flooding back…stomach plummeting as I hear the car in the driveway. Mom is home, is everything done, was something forgotten or will it meet her expectations? Will she be happy, angry or indifferent?

The unfair comparisons I make of women around me. She works full-time and still finds time to take care of her family, put a gourmet meal on the table, and date her husband. Besides accomplishing all of that she still has time to make a difference in the community, and be there for her friends. Is she human?

The un-healthy expectations formed over years of trying to have it all. If I push myself the moment I’m feeling well, I only end up back in bed unable to do anything.

Then there’s the part of me, who wants people to understand. The perceived judgment of others is it real or am I making it up? Does it matter? Is it really any of my business what they think of me?

These are the thoughts haunting me every day as I strive to enter into rest. These are the real enemy, just thoughts that’s it, but thoughts are very powerful if left unchallenged.

So today, is another day, another small step toward reaching the goal of resting without guilt.

Can you relate? Have you wrestled with the voices and overcome? Please share either way. Maybe we can support each other on this crazy journey. As always, thanks for stopping by!

This entry was posted on April 4, 2014. 2 Comments

Journey into Rest continued…


So it’s another day, of journeying into rest. Today my struggle is scheduling rest first. This may seem easy to you, but this is probably the most difficult task I have ever undertaken.

The accusations fly in the background of my mind, screaming telling me this is wrong. It’s selfish to schedule time to rest. Rest comes after work is done; if and when work is done, then and only then have I earned the right to rest.

I recognize this is the voice that keeps me from resting. The relentless voice always in the background that keeps me from enjoying the moment before me at any given time. This voice steals time from me. How does it steal time from me, you may ask? When I don’t allow myself to be in the present moment and enjoy the rest that I so desperately desire it keeps me from refreshing and being present with the people in my life who mean the most to me.

This voice comes from deep inside me. This voice was birthed from a need to be liked and accepted. It has kept me locked in a cycle of putting others expectations of who I should be above my own, even above what God expects of me.

Today as I made a commitment to meet a friend for an hour, we talked about this journey and how difficult it was. I shared my experience yesterday about going to the beach and having the words flow. The thought that I should bring a journal or my computer and take that time to write had come to my mind, while sitting on the beach. She cautioned me about going to the beach and making it “productive time”. Again it showed me how difficult it is for me to just be. The verse in Psalms came to my mind. Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Could it be that by learning to rest, God can move through me more effectively?

So today a step is taken, rest goes on my schedule before adding any of the have to’s. My stomach began churning immediately. There is something inherently wrong with scheduling time for fun before the work has been scheduled. (the voice screams and stomps her feet) I cling to the hope that this process will become easier and easier and I will find myself being more and more effective for God in the long run. This process will also enable me to pour more of myself into my relationships. Relationships like my marriage, my family, my friends will all benefit by me walking into the process of learning to rest.

Can you relate to this struggle? Can you share a victory you have had in this area?

Please feel free to share your struggles and victories, and again, thanks for stopping by!

This entry was posted on April 3, 2014. 2 Comments

Journey into Rest


Well, I promised to share my journey into learning to rest and it is the second week of the journey. Let me catch you up on what’s been happening so far.

Our mastermind group met on March 19th to set our 6th month goals and have the group offer suggestions on how to reach them and gain clarity around them. This may seem silly, but it really helps to have an outside perspective of like-minded people helping you see things you may have missed. My goals were pretty clear; I’ve been working on them for the last two years, so they should be clear. (Insert sarcastic chuckle here)

It took me a week and one day to write them out and process them. Mastermind Action Plan for 2014 Here’s the link I’ve included to my goals, if you’re interested. After I wrote them out, they left my mind as the things on my “to do” list overtook my brain. Not to worry, our fearless leaders reminded me by first asking us on facebook what action we would commit this week to reach our goal and the second by texting me a similar question. No chance to hide, so I was forced to look back over my goals and decide what one action would be undertaken today.

Walking on the beach sounded good. Yeah, I’ll walk on the beach for 15 minutes or more, sounds easy right? In the world of perfect, it would be, but…

The mark was missed yesterday, but when I posted on facebook of my intention to recommit there was immediate encouragement from one of the leaders. She commented, “Way to recommit”. It doesn’t take much to keep me motivated.

Today I spent a glorious ½ hr. on the beach. Sitting there made me uncomfortable…sitting there doing nothing when there is so much to do. Ideas for three different books I want to write came to my head and all the things I wasn’t getting done because here I was goofing off. In the midst of this dialogue, the thought I had taken one small step toward achieving one of my goals gave me just a little peace.

Getting in my car and heading home, I realized the pain my body has been in all day was a little less and I was inspired to come home and write!

So that’s it for today, my little victory for this week. This victory would not be possible had it not been for this group and the support. If you think you might be interested in a little support and would like more information comment here and I will see you get the information you need.

Are you struggling to learn how to rest? Do you have some suggestions for me or for someone reading this post who struggles like I do? Please feel free to share either way! Thanks for stopping by.

This entry was posted on April 2, 2014. 2 Comments

A Great Loss

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons by smkybear


This week another young person I knew chose to end her life. We had lost touch recently and the conversation we shared last rang in my ears. We ended the conversation with the familiar words…we need to get together soon. This has been happening far too often and anger bubbles over within me. The knowledge that someone was deceived into believing this was the only choice they had brings discouragement like nothing else can.

My heart hurts for her, for her family and friends and for the loss of what could’ve been. This hits me hard because the memory of being in that same place is so vivid. I remember sitting in the hot tub with the razor and feeling an urge so powerful to leave. The voice I heard said, “They’d all be better off if you were gone.” Not long before my cousin had taken his life and seeing the aftermath of his choice is the only thing that kept me from believing the lie. I chose instead to call my aunt and remind myself why this was the wrong choice. My aunt didn’t know why I called, but it was enough to help me overcome and make the choice to stay. This choice was repeated many times over the next few years.

This memory brings questions of why… why couldn’t my young friend see this wasn’t the wise thing to do…why was she deceived into believing the lie…it goes on and on. These questions will not be answered; that is part of the heartbreak when someone makes this final choice.

If time travel were possible, I would travel back in time and share the story of God’s healing in my life. God’s love entered my life and took away the deception plaguing me for years. It was as if, God took my hand in that moment and gave me the ability to hold on one more day and then one more, one more and so on. It did not happen overnight, but today I have complete freedom from thoughts of suicide.

So today my prayer is this message will get out there, people will learn the truth and be set free and satan will be unable to steal any more lives. God gave us the answer in Jesus we simply have to choose to believe it!

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound,”

Jesus words…

Luke 4:18 “”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”

This entry was posted on March 7, 2014. 2 Comments

You Get What You Give

 

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons by  Caelie_Frampton

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons by Caelie_Frampton

There is a struggle overtaking me recently. It’s the struggle to help support others while creating and shifting in my own journey. A vision of walking a tightrope while a man eating lion circles below waiting for me to lose my balance is what I see.

It isn’t that I don’t want to help people, I do. I want to help everyone. There are many talented writers out there creating awesome, needed content. There are others stepping into ministries sure to have an impact in our community. How do you help them all? My struggle is further compounded by starting several new ventures simultaneously while endeavoring to dig our family out of debt.

The harder I try to stay plugged in, the more defeat settles in. Is it possible to help everyone? How do you choose? Someone will always be disappointed. Add to the fray, the fear those I’ve disappointed, won’t be there when I need support. It’s enough to drive a person to run and hide.

Okay, take a deep breath…focus. It is not my responsibility to save the world and support every person out there.

Several people who’ve worked closely with me say I resist rest. This is difficult to accept because I see others out there seemingly doing it all. They comment on every blog, on nearly every facebook post with heartfelt, real comments and still manage to create their own beautiful work, give back to the community, and take care of their home and family. This brings more condemnation.

With all of this turmoil broiling within, I hear the still, small voice… “Come be with me, and I will give you rest.” What does the “rest” God talks about mean?

This week God supplied a tool to help me set the foundation to move forward without exhausting myself. One of my mentors, Jenny Price, has offered me support by means of a mastermind group. Mastermind with Jenny is a six month process which begins with three goals you choose to work toward. It gives you a support group of like-minded people interested in changing their lives to keep you accountable as you move toward yours.

This process helped my daughter and I increase our business income significantly. It really works!

So this time, my first goal is going to be rest!

If you are struggling with a goal or goals and want support, contact Jenny Price at jenny@everydaylifeline.com for further information to decide if this may be for you. There is power in accountability!

Stay tuned as I chronicle my journey into rest

Hebrews 4

1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

This entry was posted on February 26, 2014. 2 Comments

You May Say I’m A dreamer

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons by MrJamesAckerley

The song Imagine written by John Lennon invokes emotions deep within me. You see for all of my life, I’ve been a dreamer. I’ve dreamed there was something more out there, something fulfilling, something greater. After years of trying to make my dreams come true, I surrendered to the author of my dreams.

The memory is vivid. Kneeling by my bed, broken and feeling abandoned, I finally uttered the words the one who planted those dreams in my heart longed to hear. “Please take my dreams. If they aren’t what you created me for take them and show me what you’ve got.” Many of you may have heard this part of my story before, but the journey didn’t begin there. Surrender didn’t come until lies planted deep within my mind years before had been revealed and replaced with the truth.

For years the struggle between wanting to live big and wanting to die had wrecked me. Something deep within me cried out for help and it came. God led me on a journey to healing by taking me to the source where many of the lies I believed had been planted. He walked with me to those places of deep pain, revealed the lie and brought the truth. This process destroyed several strong-holds the enemy had been using to keep me stuck. They kept me stuck in destructive patterns, stuck without hope, and unable to trust God.

No matter how many Bible verses I knew or how much I wanted to, belief eluded me because the lies were hidden deep in my sub-conscious. They were impenetrable to my efforts. People would say things like, “you just have to have faith”, or “God loves you.” This left me feeling more condemned. The little voice in my head kept telling me there was something wrong with me if I couldn’t believe.

Once the lies were removed growth became possible. The idea of God loving me didn’t seem so impossible anymore. This was the foundation God used to begin the process of true freedom in my life.

If you find a gap between what you believe and what you know or if you struggle to believe at all, I urge you to ask God to show you where to start. God says in Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Ask God to help you believe what you struggle to.

I would further recommend if you live in the Stuart, Florida area that you attend A Day of Transformation on Saturday, March 15th, 2014. This event is being hosted by my friend Stacie Buck and features other speakers to help you move toward truth. You can get details and register at http://www.diamondshapers.com/events/

Stacie and I have traveled similar paths toward healing. She uses her own journey of healing and self discovery as a teaching tool to help others identify the lies buried deep within holding them back from experiencing God’s best for their lives. She has written a book and a devotional which is being published next month; it contains valuable information regarding identifying the lies so you can receive truth.

If you can relate to the above experience on any level, I highly recommend you attend. This event could help you turn the corner and begin of a new life!

Further, I am offering a free ticket to the event and a copy of Stacie’s devotional Transformed: Scriptures for renewing the mind to one lucky winner. All you have to do, is share your struggle here as a comment on my blog and share it on your facebook page to be entered in a drawing to win. The drawing will take place on February 21, 2014, the day the early registration discount ends. Don’t miss your chance to win. If you’ve already registered, wouldn’t it be great to win a free ticket so you could bring a friend!

This entry was posted on February 12, 2014. 2 Comments