Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Paradox of Strength

I am continually awed by how interwoven the moments of my life can be.... and how such seemingly different events bring such a seamless lesson plan for my life.

Apparently, the current general topic is "strength" (ha, ha) ....

 I first began to notice this lesson being woven into the days of my life as I was watching TV.  In one scene, a dying woman was asked, "Where to you find the strength?"  Her reply comes, "We're women, honey. Strength finds us." 

 I smiled. 

That has been my experience, too. Strength has found me - over and over again - most often when I least expected it, and when I was sure I had none of my own.

And yet, in one area, I still hold tightly to every ounce of my own strength.  I stand with fists clenched, knowing full well that, ultimately,  this does not serve me well. 

And ever so gently, I am being reminded...

One of my New Favorite Songs is "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz.  My daughter introduced it to me (I love that!)

It is an "us" song, which is a new genre for me to dare to listen. It's a bit funny (to me anyway) that I'm so taken by it.  There are lots of people in my life, but there is no "us", as it is sung out in this song.  Yet, I listen and I sing.... again and again...

From time to time, different lyrics call out to me.  Driving home, the other day, it was the verse, "God knows I'm tough enough...". 

I laughed.

 Oh yeah, He does.  And He knows how strongly I fight this... this... WEAKNESS.


My "soft side".

Daring to dream and daring to trust.

And, yet, as the song replays I am reminded of His power being perfected in my weakness.  His power.  Love's power.

Unfailing Love and All-Sufficient Grace. The Power to move mountains and harden the hearts of Pharaohs....The Power to change the world ... and soften my heart.

The paradox hits me then.  I am not being "tough" or "strong" defending my heart. I'm being stubborn... and I am walking in fear, in disbelief, and not in His grace, and not in His love.

I've heard it said - again and again lately - "it is in the doing that we are changed".

May I remember the last of that verse: "For when I am weak, then I am strong."  May I walk on faith, let my 'thorn' be a reminder, and experience the sufficiency of His grace.

And in the 'doing' may I be changed.

"God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)"

Oh, and P.S.  I love a good sense of humor....

Album title:  "Love is a four-letter word".... hahahahaha

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

English Standard Version (ESV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, November 2, 2012

My story, Your plan

Though I have been silent here for months and months, God has busily been at work in my life and in the lives of those around me...

I cannot begin to describe everything that had happened....honestly, I likely don't even know "everything that had happened".... But i do know, my life has been changed....for the better.

My heart is softening, and i sometimes even dare to dream...


I can see Him using me and my story to minister to and encourage others. 

And that is the thing I love the most....being able to pay it forward...and in the midst of it all, being reminded again of how faithful God had been in my life...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Living the Dream"

"Living the Dream!"  It's my standard response at work, when there's too much to do, not enough time and what I'm really thinking is entirely inappropriate...

I'm learning, It may also fit elsewhere in my life....

"Dare to Dream" has been the challenge that has stepped forth again.  And, one, I must admit that I struggle with greatly.  Honestly, trimming the grass of my acre yard with cuticle scissors seems more feasible (and reasonable in my mind) some days.

Yet it won't leave me alone.  It keeps popping up here and there, so I tried to sit with it for a while.

What would I dare to dream?  For my house: Easy. Yard: Easy. Me: no go.

So I tried to sneak around the subject with myself a little bit.  Ask it differently.  "When was the last time I Dared to Dream?"

 Uhm.... Oh yeah!  I dreamed about being a mother and being able to be home with them.

And then I paused.

I'm doing that.

And there it was, in the back of my mind:  "Living the Dream!"

Indignant, I said out loud, "This is NOT my dream!"

Laura Story's song Blessings played on the radio:  "....Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops...."

And, what if I'm doing this "alone" so that I will more greatly depend on You?

Yet, still, this is not my dream.... I fall short in a million ways.....

And You step in  in a million and one....

You surround me with people who love me, support me, encourage me, challenge me, and point me to You.

You bring the perfect music to minister to me on any given day.

You cover me with Grace, Forgiveness, Love and a whole bunch of promises - none of which I deserve.

You step in at the perfect time, and speak through me, just the words I need to hear.

Like today, trimming the maple. (Yes, I talk to my trees!)  "I'm not doing this to hurt you...."


So, perhaps I am "Living the Dream".... and I just need to get myself out of the way, so that I can listen to the quiet whisperings that You have set in my heart, and melodies that surround my life....

So that I can open my eyes to the beauty that surrounds me, and have hope to see things yet unseen...

So that I can trust that You will lead.... and that it is safe for me to follow....

And so that perhaps, I truly can "Dare to Dream!"


Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Dare to Dream..."


We're going there again?

Uhm, well, yeah, You're right, we never really got past that...

Yes, but You remember what happened last time?

Yeah.  Figured You did.  *sigh*

So... You want to go back there?


Yes.  I know.  I know.

But.... what if....

Yes.  I know.... "trust You"...

"Dare to Dream"?  Must I...?

I don't know that I can.

I'm not sure I want to 'cause....

Yes.  I know.  I know.... "trust You"...

Monday, May 14, 2012

"I Think Love Does That...."

It never ceases to amaze me.... He jumps into the midst of a conversation, and with the very words I am speaking to another, He speaks to me.

"I think Love does that...."

I paused.... amused.

Yeah.... it does. 

Love does do that.

Thank You for reminding me!

Monday, March 5, 2012


"Courageous" and "Brave"

Priorities and Change

"Fears vs. Dreams"

Endurance and Perseverance

Quotes on Facebook and verses from my bible

Conversations with strangers and prayers with friends

Questions from others and questions from within.

All coming at me.  All at the same time.  All from different sources. All tying together.

I wish I had been writing them down.  With dates and times and sources.

'Cause it's funny when this begins to happen.....  I notice a few things that tie together, and a few other things, that - at the time - seem to go together in a separate and different way.  And then another piece will surface and tie the two seemingly unrelated parts into one in a seamless joining.

And what I want to do is sit....and be still....and observe - and be somewhat amused by it all.  Take time to receive each piece. Breathe it in. Examine it. Incorporate it.  Feel it. Live it.

But there is life in this world that needs addressing as well.  Kids to raise, a house to clean, a pile of laundry and a job or two...

I know the two are not mutually exclusive - and in the balance there is time to do both.... wisely balance the Martha and the Mary.  The urgent and the important.

But in this moment, that often seems elusive.

I pray that it will come.  That I will be shown the steps and the path.

I pray for wisdom and guidance.

I pray for the piece that will bring these two together.

I feel like it is coming...

I pray for balance.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sufficient Grace

So, as it usually goes, it's been a long and winding path, with bits and pieces collected along the way, that somehow become a whole, complete thought.... and a lesson for me.

It began mid-February.  I had noticed a tattoo in a picture (it's an occupational hazard after so many years working in trauma!) - it seemed to say "... the greatest of these is love", which - "coincidentally" - had most recently been a status of mine on Facebook.  It turns out my hunch was correct, it was indeed 1 Corinthians 13:13.  I thought at the time "Literally, writing love on his arm" - a reference in my mind to the non-profit movement I'd heard about a few years ago, "To Write Love on Her Arms".

Today, I checked out their website.  One of the links I found was promoting a new initiative coming soon, Fears vs. Dreams, which asks two very interesting questions:  "What is your biggest fear?" and "What is your greatest dream?"  I was surprised (and actually appalled) that I couldn't immediately answer either one.

As it often happens, the car is the place where He sits quietly with me and teaches.  I sat in silence and began my drive home.

My greatest fear.... hmmmmm.... (Do I actually have to *speak* it?)

I thought for a while, with different potential answers coming to mind.... "no, not that..."  But, I began to notice the pattern that was emerging, and the theme:  Being "enough"....which, of course, for those of you who know me, means so much more than simply "enough"...

 I shook my head silently.... "well, if that's all it is...."  Really?  My greatest fear is not being  "enough"? 

Problem solved. (Seriously!)

I will NEVER be "enough".


Not this side of Heaven.

And if that's all it is, there's no longer a need to fear it - I already know it. 

If only it were that easy.

But..., what I also know is that He is.

He is the "enough" that I want to be.

I think of all the ways I have tried to be "enough".... and all the ways I've tried to deal with the fact that I am not.

As I continue on, I "hear" Him say "My grace is sufficient for you....."

The tears spill from my eyes, as I think to myself, "Hold me, Jesus..."

And then a grin starts to form, as the rest of the verse comes to mind....

"...for [Your] power is made perfect in [my] weakness".

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stifling Joy

(Finally, FINALLY!  an opportunity to sit and write! YES!)

So many blog stories are collecting in my head, and funny, it's THIS one that demands to be written.  It is the newest, the scene witnessed only hours ago...

It's a work day, and I am in the cafeteria, standing in line, waiting to order some breakfast.  I notice a toddler and her big brother - himself probably five - walking hand in hand.  My Mom-radar goes off, and I watch to be sure they are walking with a purpose TOWARD an adult they know and not searching for one.

Then I see her (phew), not far off, and I hear her ask the oldest, "Did you take her?"  He nods.  Then to the younger, she asks "Did you tee-tee?"  I can barely hold back my grin and I look away as the young girl nods.  Her mother nods too.

And then I hear it.


It's not the mother - it's the girl.  I look back.  She is smiling from ear to ear and clapping her hands.  Joy.

I smile and wonder....   It's not that I want applause, or exuberant joy every time I use the bathroom, BUT...

I think about the process.  At first it's amazing and wonderful, and we celebrate.  And then, it becomes common place - OR we are taught that it is no longer a reason to celebrate.  Either way, we begin to take it for granted - or worse yet, stifle the Joy.

I watch the children at church, running, dancing and spinning, laughing - and I wonder when and why, as we become "grown-up"s, we lose that.  It becomes, somehow, "not appropriate".

But you know none of it is a guarantee. This day, this breath, or the next.  None of it.  I wonder how many things I have come to take for granted....

And I wonder, too... if I have been taught to be disconnected from Joy - or at least reign it in... if I can learn to see it again, and express it fully.

To dance in the rain and spin in the falling snow and run with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. To experience Joy in it's fullest.

Of late, some of my favorite moments have been sitting next to my boy-child, and letting him "swype-text" on my phone.  He wiggles his finger around on the screen, across the letter pad, and waits, expectedly, to see what word the dictionary chooses to display.  And then, it begins.  The giggling.

Uncontrollable giggling - contagious to the point of tears.  We laugh as the tears stream down our faces.  And, once able to breathe fully, he points his finger out again...