Songs…they can be powerful and they can say it all!

I woke up this morning just praying I could make it to the kitchen.  Life without a wheelchair has been hard.  I am working with a company who will help me get a new chair, but it is a long process!  So I use my walker now, which I haven’t used in quite a while.   And one of my younger kids says to me, “Mommy did you take that from Great- Grandma?”.  Yes, I figured the 93-year old could get along fine without it!   It made me laugh and then, I felt sorry for myself.  Yes, I did.  I’m 42 and I don’t get around as well as the kids’ Great-Grandma!   And what about all these moms who ‘have it all?’. Why me?   Yes, I had my little pity party.   And then I went to my music.   What is it about music that can change our outlook?   First, I had to sing along with this… “I’m tired, I’m worn; my heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing…”. Wow!  That says exactly how I feel!  How did they know?  “I’ve made mistakes; I’ve let my hope fail.  My soul is crushed by the weight of this world.”  They captured how I feel!  They must have written it for me!   (Or we all struggle and need help!). But then…“but I know that you can give me rest, so I cry out with all that I have left”.   And as I sing this, my attitude is changing, and I truly am crying out to God…. “let me see redemption win, let me know the struggle ends, that You can mend a heart that’s frail and torn.  I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life and all that’s dead inside can be reborn…’cause I’m worn.”  Whew!  I turn to that song a lot!  But there are lots of others…“I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be.  I give up.  I’m not strong enough.  Hands of mercy won’t you cover me; Lord right now I’m asking you to be strong enough for both of us.”. How is it that all these songs describe exactly how I feel?!!?   I am not alone!   We are all in need of such help!  We just have different journeys we are on.  And one song reminds me of that…“I prayed for strength and I got pain that made me strong.  I prayed for courage, I got fear to overcome.  When I prayed for faith, my broken heart brought me to my knees.  I don’t always get what I want; I get what I need”.  And that is the truth…God answers prayers.  But He knows what we need and how we get there!  And the truth of the matter is, He always gives us what we need to endure it!….perhaps the strength to do so, or the help of a loving friend or maybe even a wheelchair!    I cried when a sweet friend called me and told me that she rented a power chair for me until my chair is ready and it will be delivered tomorrow!  Wow!  Perhaps,How great thou art!”. 

Standard

Do they realize their impact? Do we?

So today I had lunch duty at my kids’ school.  Now,  I certainly stand out (or I suppose “sit out”) in my scooter- which I guess I never thought about that saying.  I certainly never stand out!

Anyway, it was enjoyable to see all the kids, and sitting with my kids was special.  But, when the kids who are family friends, go out of their way to say hi and give me a hug, WOW!  It literally brought tears to my eyes.  Do they have any idea the powerful, positive impact they had on me?  Many kids are unsure of the scooter and wonder what is wrong with me.  The truth is, I enjoy it when they ask me.  Then I get a chance to talk with them and (hopefully) they realize I’m not scary or mean!  But for those who just make it natural to come and say hi and look past the scooter or any embarrassment attached to it, that is special.

It got me to thinking… we all have that power to have such an impact on people.  It could be people we know of, friends, complete strangers, anyone!  I thought about that while I was at the store.  Am I treating people in such a way as to have a positive impact on their day?  Even the people who may come across as grouchy or unloving — I don’t know what crisis they are dealing with right now.  Maybe they need an extra smile shared with them.  Maybe they need to feel God’s love, even if they don’t immediately see it as such.   And on the flip side, if we are unloving or unkind, we certainly have a negative impact.  What am I sharing?  What do I want to be sharing?

I’m so grateful for the kids who taught me this valuable lesson.  I pray the Holy Spirit  whispers a reminder to me at those times I most need it!

Standard

Sitting here on the front porch, it is a cool day, but the sun is trying to shine  and warm up our day.  On the one hand, I have such a longing, a longing to get out there and play basketball too.  I was once a decent player.  No I didn’t play on any organized  teams, but playing for fun was something I enjoyed and I actually contributed to my team.  And today, the team I want to contribute to is my family.  I want to be out there playing defense, scoring and having fun.   And here I sit.   So I guess I should look at the other hand.   And in it, is the joy of being able to cheer them on and watch,  and oh yeah, the little fingers of our one year old.   And yes, she wants me to go play “ball” with her….kicking and throwing the ball back and forth.  And today, just standing is tough.  I can hardly walk five steps, so I have to tell her no too.   And yes, it is a cold reality.  But then I give her a silly look and she laughs that precious laugh.   And ya know what, it is an amazing reality.   It is a wondrous thing how God provides these precious “love letters” just when I need them.  And how could I be upset for what I don’t have when I see what I do have?  I am so wonderfully blessed.  Maybe we have to be careful what we are focusing on …. So, what is my view from here?

It all works out. He works it out.

How much do we just miss?   Either that we don’t ‘see’ it or that we had it and no longer do?

Yesterday really challenged me with regard to this question.  My home electric wheelchair has not been working for over two weeks now.  I’ve learned, as much as I try to walk whenever possible, I really do rely on that chair.  What got me through yesterday was a selection from the book of Matthew (7:25-34) …

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?  Why are you anxious about your clothes?  Learn from the way wild flowers grow.  They do not work or spin.  But I tell you not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.  If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry and say, ‘what are we to eat?’ or ‘what are we to drink?’ or ‘what are we to wear?’   All these things the pagans seek.  Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness,  and all these things will be given you besides.  Do not worry about tomorrow.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.   Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

And in those moments when it was getting (in my mind) near impossible, I realized that, no, my Heavenly Father is holding me.  Even in the dark moments when I don’t have the strength (physically or faithfully) to ask Him to hold me, He just does.   Because He does love us that much.   What really caught my attention is that I did not search out a bible verse.   That verse just kept popping into my mind.  Now, probably a year ago, a very dear friend shared that verse with me.  I have always enjoyed and found comfort in it, but this was the first time I really felt the Holy Spirit putting it on my heart.  It got me to thinking.  Maybe when we are so weak that we don’t cry out to God, He sends His Holy Spirit to reach out to us.  And I wonder how often I am too preoccupied or too busy to take the time to listen?   My walking has brought me to my knees (literally, not always prayerfully, if I’m being honest) and to tears several times throughout the day.  But, the bottom line is,  I’m still here!  My husband is well and working and our children are safe and well fed and our home (even if messy) is warm and safe.   Funny, I always say I am careful about praying for patience.  I am unsure I can handle the challenges I will receive to learn patience.  But as I was on my knees, crying, wondering how I could do all the things that needed to be done, it struck me.  Perhaps my children and my husband are learning that patience through my struggles and my weakness.   (They don’t really have a choice!)  I have never thought how virtues and lessons could be learned through others like that.    I think I need to be aware of that.  How I struggle and how I handle those struggles may not be just for me.  And if my struggles can help strengthen even one other person’s faith journey, how could I possibly deny it?   But how could I have missed this for so long?   My wonderful husband always reminds me that the kids need my heart, not my legs.  Am I giving them my heart as completely as I should?  Am I helping them on their faith journey?  Beyond “Practice what you preach” and “Actions speak louder than words,” there is a truth, a challenge to each of us… we must not only keep our struggles to ourselves and not only use them to strengthen our own prayer life, but perhaps to strengthen someone else’s journey.   So in seeking the kingdom of God and in not worrying about tomorrow, maybe we are also called to journey with others, to do this together.  Even in the pain and struggle, we can, if we look, find someone we can help.  Maybe not in the way we usually view help (I’m particularly guilty of this — I want to be doing things for others — you know, cooking a meal, baking breads and treats, cleaning, etc…)  But maybe that is simply not what I am called to right now.  Maybe (as hard as it is for me to say this!), maybe my struggles and how I deal with them, is right where God wants me to focus.  And the beautiful thing is, He sends to me, those people that He has called to help with the doing.   And through their loving ways, He gets me through the days.  It is such a simple, yet intricate, way that He works.   How He sees to all these different details is amazing to me.  Beyond what I can comprehend.  But I don’t need to.  He just takes care of it.  He knows what we need.   And He loves us even more than the birds, the flowers…

Standard

Intentions…

I have a prayer binder that I use for my daily prayers.  It includes the people I do not want to forget to include in my prayers, special intentions that people have shared and so on.  I usually try to pray on the rocker in my older girls’ room after they have gone to bed.  What makes me feel so good is that they seem to find peace in me doing that.   Quite regularly, I am asked, “Mommy, are you going to pray in our room tonight?”   Tonight, as I prayed for so many friends and reflected on their specific journeys, I felt guilty.  Guilty because I have not been in touch with many of them in a while.  So often I feel I am dropping so many balls (forget “the ball!”)  I have the best of intentions, but they do not develop to anything more.   And I know the saying about good intentions…

So what are we to do if we truly cannot get around to what we would like to do?   Is escaping to prayer sufficient?  Is prayer that may never be known of, enough for those we are failing to keep in touch with?    I have been reflecting on this question and I need to rest my head on this …

2 Corinthians 12:9
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I would like to be writing notes to friends, calling and catching up, and so much more.  But I do also have to face my realities and in the end, I cannot do it all.  In the end, I will continue my prayers, and perhaps more importantly, I will do my best to rest in God.
Standard

It is good.

I always say and thank God that I am married to a good man.  (I am blessed.)   As I lay in his arms at night, I thank God for this good man.  When he leaves in the morning, one of the things I say is ‘make it a great day.’  When the kids leave, I always say to ‘Be good.  Do good things’.   This morning, dropping off the little kids at preschool, I added, “I hope your day is fabulous!”  and as it came out, I paused and thought about what I had said.

As I listen to radio commercials or see billboards, they love to highlight “awesome, extraordinary, exciting, fabulous”, and so on….

I recall a time many many years ago (early dating years),  my mom told me how excitement and fun fades away, but being with someone good, someone who isn’t always looking for excitement and is real and there in the ‘every day’ is what means the most.

So why all the need for the next best thing, the most incredible day, the most fabulous whatever?  When God created this awesome world and all that fills it, He rested and said, “it is good.”   Why are we searching for more?  What is wrong with “good”?  It got me thinking about the definitions of such words, and they really caught my attention…

Great:  wonderful;       Fantastic:  conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination;      Fabulous: almost impossible to believe, incredible;        Incredible:  so extraordinary as to seem impossible;      Awesome:  inspiring awe  (you get the idea),    but Good (I love this): morally excellent, virtuous, pious.

I think we all know this world is so desperately searching to fill a void, a longing..  And satan is trying to get our attention by the excitement, the impossible to believe…  When in fact, it is God, it is the goodness of the world that we all deeply desire.  If we take the time to enjoy His goodness and take the time to feel His presence, and stop falling for satan’s lies and empty promises, we will feel not only peace, but true joy.  And all is good … 

Standard

Taking for granted?

Today started pretty well … got up, snuggled with my husband, said my good morning to God, showered, got the kids moving with my husband’s help, and then …

It is so frustrating when getting dressed is such a huge ordeal.  Now, this is nothing new; I should be used to it, right?  Every day I have to take a deep breath and try to laugh with God as I take 20 minutes just to put on a pair of pants.  That’s not including anything else!  But this morning, it seemed harder than usual.  So as the morning continued and soon everyone was ready to go to mass, I pushed as hard as I could to get out the door and took all my frustration and anger out on my husband.  The kids, buckled and ready to go, waited in the van.  My husband came to help me in any way he could to get going.  And what did I do?   I snapped at him.   I treated him as if he were the reason I wasn’t moving as quickly as I wanted.  And he just stayed there, ready to help me in any way he could, extending his arm for me to hold to help me walk as we went to the van.  Why would I treat him like that?  He is my best friend.  He is the love of my life.  And yet, I treated him as if he were my enemy.  Luckily, in the van on the way, I realized how unfair I was and apologized to him.   And beautifully, he reached over and held my hand and winked at me and smiled the most loving smile.   Now he could have so easily held a grudge and given me a cold shoulder.  But, as he so often does, he showed me unconditional love.  And what a beautiful gift that was.  It got me to thinking … why do we so often treat those we love the most, the worst?  Is it that we take their love for granted?  We just know they will be there?

Is that how we treat God?  Do we take for granted that He will always be there for us and forgive us?  That he will always welcome us back with loving arms?   I pray that when I do that (because I know I do), I don’t take too long to ask Him for forgiveness.  And that every chance I get, I pray that I will praise Him and thank Him for the many blessings in my life.

And maybe, if I get better at that, just maybe, I will also remember to thank my husband, my family, and friends.   Because they are blessings in my life!   And while they are God’s gift to me, they have to accept into God’s plan, right?

Standard