Ho Hum… it’s the Eeyore Syndrome

pouty face

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building…” (1 Cor 3:9,) “For we, though many, are of one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:17) “Let no one seek his own, but each one seek the other’s well-being.” (1 Cor. 10:23) “For in fact, the body is not one member but many…” (1 Cor. 12:14,) “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Cor. 12:26)

When I was a little girl, my family started watching Walt Disney’s “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.” All of us together, daddy, mom, my sister Amanda, and myself, would gather around our television to stroll through the “Hundred Acre Woods” with Pooh, his friends, and of course, Christopher Robin. Over the years, through their many animated adventures, we got to know each of the silly ol’ bear’s companions (and their character traits) quite well. Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga and baby Roo, Tigger, Gofer, Owl, and lastly, <<sigh>> ho hum Eeyore. As Amanda and I grew, Pooh and friends followed along with us. Loving movies, music, and quotes – the four of us would often remark to one another over our “______” (insert character name here) behavior. For example, if I was being particularly bossy about something, my little sister might say, “Okay, right away, Rabbit” (although he is wonderful, generous, and wise…Rabbit can sometimes lean towards the over-organized, maddeningly meticulous side). Well, you get the idea.

The other day I was feeling a tad sorry for myself (something I usually work very hard not to do). The “ho hums” kind of snuck up on me. Suddenly, I was dragging about, head hanging low, feeling like the lonliest onliest one…  in the whole wide world! Haven’t we all done that? Caught ourselves shuffling about, sort of forlorn looking. Answering people in our bestest, gloomiest Eeyore voice. “Well… thaaaanks… for…noticin’.” Slipping into the Eeyore Syndrome is dangerously easy to do. Here’s the thing about it, though…. NOT GOOD! First off, it is negative and unbecoming. Second, it isolates us (in two ways). One – let’s face it… nobody enjoys being around mister or miss rain cloud for very long. Two – when we are rockin’ the Eeyore – we are (in that moment) totally self absorbed and thereby, create a disconnect between ourselves and the feelings of others. Last, but certainly not least, it is NOT true and doesn’t honor God.

All throughout the scriptures, God tells us (repeatedly) that we are not alone. We are not the only ones. In joy, in sorrow, in each season, in every life experience… we are not and never will be “the only one.” We are fellow workers, many, not one, – members together in Christ. This is not to belittle our own individual circumstances nor to deny our uniqueness. The Lord always cares about us  in His special – we are each created like nobody else – way. But, just because our lives aren’t like everyone else, doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone else. As Jesus reminds us in Matthew chapter 5, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust…” not just on us.

The next time we head into some of the not so “enchanted neighborhoodsof life… how ’bout we grab the umbrella, slip on our galoshes, and leave the Eeyore mantra alone.  🙂

Miracle Child

Chance - 4th

“The King’s strength also loves justice…” Psalm 99:4

It’s 9:30 p.m. The sun has long since gone to bed as I tip-toe into my oldest girl’s room to quiet her movie. She has already drifted off to dream land. When I glance over, my eyes light on Chance, now 8 years old, asleep on her bottom bunk. I lean over to scoop him up so I can deposit him in his own room (he has autism, among other things, as does my second son, and needs to be safely in his room before the house is “tucked in” for the night). As I gently lift his snoozing self, my back groans, my arms protest, and his long, lanky legs graze the floor. He has to take potent medication to be able to sleep. There’s no walking him into bed. I nearly plow  into the door as we cross the short (thank goodness) hallway and enter his bedroom. He is dead weight. I struggle to lay him down peacefully. Something suddenly, powerfully, occurs to me. How am I going to keep doing this alone, Lord? I mean, physically doing this for these four kiddos, but particularly for these two little boys who are quickly becoming not so little. Wow! Grief lump rises in my throat. Tucking his bright blue sheet under that sweet chin, positioning his stuffed otter, “Otty” where he can easily find it in the night, tears spring to my eyes. I don’t know what we’re gonna do God. I know You do, but I just don’t… my thoughts trail off as I hear music playing from his DVD. It is an animated Joseph, robed in his coat of many colors. He is twirling carelessly, unashamedly, out in the field. Hands stretched high, face to the sky, he smiles, and sings… “I am special. I am smart. I am somehow set apart. For I am a miracle child…” And I hear Jesus whisper in my ear,

“He is a miracle. My Chance boy, my Gage boy, whom I have entrusted unto your care for a time, they are my miracle boys. You cannot always see it. Yes, sometimes you catch a glimpse, but with your human eyes, your finite vision, it is impossible for you to fully understand and appreciate the miracle of who they are. Who I created them to be. You have to keep trusting Me. Keep leaning into Me. Have I let you down yet, precious daughter of mine? Have I even once forgotten you, forgotten them? Do you really think because they grow taller than you or stronger than you I won’t remember? When they have beards that need to be shaved and still need help washing their hair, will I not be there?”

“I am the miracle-maker. I am The King. And he is a miracle child!”

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I don’t know what miracles God has placed in your life that may not seem so miraculous to you but, He knows. So, maybe the next time you’re thinking “mistake” or “mess” or “misstep,” it may really be – a miracle!

“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:8

Rejected or Renewed

Stones at farm

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. ” Psalm 118:22

The religious leaders of Jesus day rejected Him as Messiah. They detested most everything about Him. In John chapter 5, we read of how they persecuted Jesus, rejected, denied, and sought to kill Him. Yet, the bible tells us He became the “chief cornerstone,” as God planned.

Have you ever felt rejected? At home, at work, at school? In a relationship or perhaps even at church? The sting of rejection causes our heart to burn and ache as if an allergic reaction has ensued. Sometimes the refusal delivers a slight smack, perhaps a little flush of color, and we dismiss it and go about our way. But others, it gut-punches our soul and we double over in pain. None of us are exempt from rejection. Nor are we immune to the lingering effects it can have on our spirit. So long as we inhabit this earth, rejection, wielding it’s axe of refusal, dismissal, and pain, will be a part of our lives. We cannot always avoid it. However, we don’t have to absorb it either. God has blessed us with the power of His Holy Spirit to fill up our insides. We are to be so soaked in Him, that absorbing rejection deep down into our soul is impossible. Think of it like this… Our spirit, our heart, our true essence is like a sponge. Our little God sponge spirit. When you sink a sponge into something fluid, no matter how big or porous or absorbent it is, it can only soak up so much. Once that sponge is full, it begins dripping right back out. You can’t soak up slick, black, stinky oil with a sponge that has already been absolutely drenched in the warm, clear, purity of water. It is impossible. Your God sponge spirit and mine are to be so immersed in Him that there’s no room to take in the dirty denials of rejection.

There will always be someone who doesn’t seem to like us. There will always be those who squash our ideas or belittle our attempts. There will always be times when rejection spills at our feet. But… God is bigger than always! He is Alpha (Rev 1:8). The first, the beginning, the Almighty. He understands how we feel when we’re rejected. How it hurts, angers, or confuses us. He is there – soaked up inside – for us to grab onto, to squeeze tight. If we let Him, He will wring out His Spirit, washing away the soiled sorrows of our lives rejections, releasing refreshment instead. What others have rejected, He will renew!

Dare to Hope

Hope

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

Summer wanes, fall nears, and I am slowly, steadily being renewed. Gazing towards the horizon, my eyes focus freshly on new things God has for me in the coming season. The musings and stirrings that have circulated within my heart for many years. It is a beautifully terrifying thing. Full of promise and purpose. Full of uncertainty and longing. Will this be the time, His time, in which these waves of hope crest and gloriously break forth? Is it worth risking disappointment to hope again?

My bible spills open to the Psalms. To David, friend of God – man after His own heart. David and his honest, passionate, faithful writing. Songs of sorrow and praise. Prayers of pain and strength. Sadness and joy juxtaposed repeatedly, as they so oft are in life. Over and over we see David crying out for mercy from the depths of his soul then, lifting his tear-stained face to sing out God’s majesties. Reading Psalms sometimes feels like looking back over the pages of my days. In the unfinished storybook of my journey, there are many of the same themes, needs, and blessings. Kindness, mercy, justice. Confusion, fear, relief. Rebellion, sorrow, repentance. Tragedy, pain, consolation. Redemption, promise, joy…

David’s God is my God, your God. We belong to Him. And the same Jehovah that lit his way there, shines here. The One Who shielded David then, protects us now. God Almighty’s grace and glory are in limitless supply. There is never too little grace nor too great a need. His glory bursts forth with eternal radiance. It is not dimmed, like tarnished silver, by the passage of time. If this is true and God is who He says He is, then and now, then His promises remain. They are as relevant, real, and powerful today, as yesterday.

“No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Oh how hope just oozes from that verse. Precious hope. How we need you. The hope of Jesus. The hope that God is here, with us. That He knows, sees, and cares about the secret stirrings of our spirits. A reminder that every single dream we offer up to Him, He carefully shapes. In His perfect, infinite wisdom it morphs into something surpassing all our original plans. More majestic than before. Driven by service to Him. Full of heavenly power. These dreams callings blow earthly desires right out of the water. This is the stuff of eternity.

Do we dare to hope? We must. Living sans hope (Jesus-hope) isn’t really an option. It’s like trying to breathe without oxygen. So, close your eyes. Talk to Him and… breathe.

“God Bless the U.S.A”

Miss you...

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

 

Independence Day is near. I decorated my house. My porch, too. Flags, pinwheels, stars ‘n’ stripes everywhere. Red, white, and blue abound. I readied the grill. Checked out the new sprinkler. Prepped the food – and remembered…

Sparklers, smiles, and sweets

Corn “on the cob”  (that dad always cut off the cob to eat) 🙂

Guys at the grill

Homemade ice cream

Porch swings and sprinklers and sunshine

Thanking God for our family, freedom, and faith

Ending the evening – loud laughter, claps, cheers; a fantastic fireworks display splashed onto the night sky

And daddy’s favorite “4th of July” song…

Have a blessed holiday weekend everyone!

Firsts

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“And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross!” Hebrews 12:1,2

As a child I used to think grief faded away like scratches or scrapes as they healed. The person that experienced the grief would always know it was there but, as time went by it would eventually vanish altogether. Of course, as I grew and began to have my own personal experiences with grief I realized that although God is faithful to help us along the journey, it doesn’t completely disappear until we get to heaven. Yes, it  is a blessing and relief to know we won’t always feel that terrible shock and crushing weight every day, all day – the way we did in the beginning. However, no matter how many years have passed, there are certain times when it’s suddenly upon us. Like we’ve been swept onto the Grief Express, bulleted back in time and soul to those first days. There are various catalysts. Certain seasons, the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, other special occasions such as births, graduations, etc., even particular songs, movies, or locations, but one that often goes overlooked… firsts.

I had a first in my life this past weekend. Perhaps a small, insignificant thing to some but, a wonderful, exciting, challenging, new thing to me. I ran my first race ever. Yes, it was just a little 5ker. No, I didn’t have the fastest time. But, it was all mine. Me and Jesus running along together. Making it up that ginormous, unrelenting hill. Wind in the face, sweat beading, shins aching we ran and ran. It was an amazing thing. I am a very new runner (only about 6 months) and I never thought I would be one. As a matter of fact, I used to tease my brother-in-law who has always been a runner (an awesome, super speedy one at that). I would tell him running for fun is nuts. “You run when you’re in danger or someone has threatened your life,” I would chide him. But, here I am – a runner. Not only am I running, I’m racing. God is so cool. Something I never thought I would do has turned into something I adore. I am looking forward to many more miles and many more races.

My running is not about anyone or anything but me and my Creator doin’ our thing. But, I have to say that on that June morning in downtown Kansas City at the Hospital Hill Run, something special happened. My brother-in-law, sister, mom, nieces, and nephew were all there. Billy and I had our bib numbers pinned on (he ran the 10k and came in first in his age division btw) and took a picture together. There were over 5000 runners and thousands more volunteers and spectators bustling about. The energy was palpable. The weather was perfect. Although I loved seeing my family cheer me on, sprinting across the finish line, and hanging that 5k finishers medal around my neck… my favorite part was the start.

The air crackling with elecrticity from all those runners. Music blasting, announcers calling out over the  loudspeakers, people shouting their encouragement, intensity oozing from our pores as we took our places at the starting line under the big blue banner. And right before the countdown begins, I hear a familiar tune blaring out across the sea of runners, flowing over the crowds. “The Eye of the Tiger.” Rocky music! That’s all it took. That one song and I shut my eyes for just a moment to see my dad. He loved that movie and of course, that song. I see him in my mind, shaking his clinched fist in the air, smilin’ big like all of Texas, cheering me on. For just a second I am overwhelmed. Feeling like I’m barreling down the tracks in that ol’ Grief Express and wishing so bad that my daddy was there for this first of mine. But, then the Lord tenderly reminds me that he is. Both my father’s, my heavenly Dad and my earthly one, the two of them, were there all along. So proud of me. So excited for their Melody girl. I feel wrapped up in joy, peace, love, and 5…4…3…2…1  RACE!!!

Looking forward to running with you on those heavenly streets of gold daddy Brad! I love you!

Transformation

 

Sparkler

“…We went through fire and through water, but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”

Psalm 66:12

I deeply desire to keep growing, serving, and obeying throughout my life. Hand in hand with Jesus, His fingers laced in mine. I want to be transformed. But, sometimes I’m gonna walk straight into raging “fires” along the way. As long as I live on this earth that isn’t going to change.  There is never going to be a point in this world where God says, “Okay, you’re perfect now. No more issues, sorrows, or fear. It’s all smooth sailing from here on out.” There’s a place for peaceful perfection and it isn’t life. It’s heaven.

We spend so much time asking God to save us from all our problems (not that there’s a thing wrong with asking – Paul did…). But, the hard truth of it is, God is more interested in walking with us through “the fire” than sparing us from the fires in our lives. True blessing isn’t just avoiding stress or pain. The real miracle is Jesus refining us. On our own, every trial in life feels like just another test. One more setback, heartache, or terror after another trying to burn our perception of  happiness at the stake. But, with Christ those trials become infused with Holy Spirit fire so the real joy that is Jesus in us can truly begin.

Have you ever seen a glass maker creating a beautiful masterpiece. Watched him skillfully turning the glass over and over as the flames swarm around. Instead of melting it into oblivion, the scorching heat stretches, shapes, and molds the glass into an incredible work of art. How does the master craftsman know when to remove the glass from the flame? It sings. A flick of his finger against it’s smooth surface and out chimes that pure, sweet sound… He knows when he hears it sing.

If we’re waiting to be at peace, to be happy, to be fulfilled… to sing, until the problems, disappointments, or losses of life are only faintly glowing embers – we are going to be waiting until we die. And waiting to live until your dead just doesn’t make much sense!

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