WDIDT: Explored Broken #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?

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I’m a little bit of a skeptic. When the world seems to be yelling – do more – be more – live more – it can be hard to know who to listen to, what to read and where to go.

For some of us, we are grounded by grace. Yet, even then, we can find ourself doubting, confused, frustrated and sad instead of hopeful, excited and full of joy. It doesn’t mean we lack faith or even hope, it just means we are human.

Human. Broken. Saved.

An author who challenges me wrote a book that has just come out about being broken. I even had a chance to pre-read some of it. She asks what it is we are supposed to do with our one broken heart? Our one broken life?

Her encouragement is to live broken. To hold tightly to that grace we profess and continue to be a gift to people in the midst of our own brokenness. She says that by doing so we do 2 things. First, we give other people permission to be wholly themselves, as broken or whole as they are in that moment. Second, we heal together, we create and curate beautiful community.

Today I followed her around the internet as she gave interviews and shared her story.

As I stand in the thick of broken, I hear her words and am encouraged. This skeptic is still thinking it all through. Yet, this truth remains…

Human. Broken. Saved. 

Who challenged you to live differently today?

Saturday with 7

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Saturday’s…in America the day of rest before the day of rest. Saturday’s were made for brunch, sleeping in and casually catching up.

Until there are 7 of you. Then Saturday’s become about baseball, running errands, doing laundry and surviving.

Surviving the sibling squabbles that started before 8am, the to-do list that seems longer than the day and the internal voices telling you that everyone is having more fun than you are.

Until you reclaim it.

Reclaiming Saturday looks like running errands with one of the kids and making it quality time.

Reclaiming Saturday looks like sitting at the baseball field and calling it community.

Reclaiming Saturday looks like having friends over and making the most of every minute.

Reclaiming Saturday with Seven looks like counting your blessings (even if those blessings are crying constantly, leaving messes and following you around with non-stop chatter).

We only get to do today once, we might as well make it count, even if it IS Saturday.

Liking the “hard kids”

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Photo by Life & Peace Photography

To say we have been in a season of hard kids would be an understatement. Some day I hope my kids look back and see how much we loved them even when it was hard.

Yet, just because I am able to love them does not mean I am able to like them.

Hear me clearly, I LOVE my kids. I have an unconditional love for these little humans that live in this house. I do hard things with them and for them and don’t look back.

But just because I sacrifice and do hard things, doesn’t mean I always like it or that my heart is always in the right place. Sometimes I am just doing the right thing to do the right thing. It is matter of the will, not a matter of the heart.

In this very hard season it has not been enough to just do the right thing. A bit of tenderness was starting to fade when I looked at my kids and I desperately wanted to get it back.

I’ve been re-reading some underlined quotes from Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts and it has started to call me back into hope…

“I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”
Ann Voskamp

So I started a new practice, a new discipline.

Every day I am writing down 1 thing I enjoyed about each child that day.

This sounds relatively simple. Until of course you have a hard child, a hard day, haven’t had enough sleep, enough nutrition or you just can’t get your heart in the right place.

These moments I am trying to recall, to remember, aren’t grand but they are starting to make my heart more tender towards my kids, especially the hard ones.

I’m appreciating moments like a child angrily going the their room but choosing not to slam the door. A child quitting a game with their sibling instead of making it into a physical altercation. A child choosing to join us at dinner even if they were grumpy the whole time.

It isn’t a glorious discipline but perhaps by seeing a little joy in the dark places all our hearts will be changed.

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?”
Ann Voskamp

(#31Days) Learning to Trust

Trust

Let’s talk about the good things. The things we (whether we talk about them or not) that we really, really want.

Community. People. We are inherently relational as human beings. We need people. But not just anyone, we need community. People who listen, lift up and love us at our best and worst.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?  

Joy. Hope. Not just the feeling but the knowledge that there is good now and good to come. We begin the process of joy when we are grateful, say the good things out loud and share those good things with others.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?

Peace. Quiet. A moment where we stop and be where we are, who we are and see the grace we’ve been giving. Our choices play a part in peace. When we make wise, discerning choices we create space for more quiet and then more peace.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?

In this last month of sitting with the hard words it is easy to feel like everything is bad or hard or hurting. It isn’t.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?

I believe in hope. In grace. In redemption. In Jesus. I believe that God loves me, that I was created with purpose and calling.

What I know is this side of life can be hard. What I believe is that it doesn’t end at hard, that we live in hope because we are leaning on Everlasting Arms.

#Write31Days

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Elisha A. Hoffman, Anthony J. Showalter

1. What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
leaning on the everlasting arms;
what a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain:
Leaning, leaning,
safe and secure from all alarms;
leaning, leaning,
leaning on the everlasting arms.

2. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
leaning on the everlasting arms.
(Refrain)

3. What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
leaning on the everlasting arms.
(Refrain)

(#31Days) Disappointing

Enough Grace

I disappoint.

I disappoint family when I am not connected enough to what is happening to those I have known the longest and love the deepest.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

I disappoint friends when I don’t communicate well or accidentally exclude someone or speak out of turn.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

I disappoint those I am merely acquainted with when I don’t listen when we are briefly together or don’t kindly acknowledge them in a crowd.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

I disappoint myself when I don’t live up to my own expectations or follow through on a promise I made.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Recently I have been faced with my own failures, faults and shortcomings. As I’ve acknowledged them and tried to work through them I’ve learned something else about myself; sometimes I hold the acceptance and forgiveness of others over the grace of God.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

As we acknowledge our failures, ask for forgiveness and seek reconciliation we are partially dependent on the response of others. When I receive a neutral or negative or even no response from others, I let it eat away at me. I let it begin to define who I am.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

In that same moment I am also rejecting who God says I am. When we wholeheartedly follow the call God has for us we have to trust Him to work out the details. We have to trust him to heal our relationships. We have to trust Him to continue to change our hearts.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

We have to believe that Grace is ENOUGH! Grace, the unearnable gift! The promise of forgiveness and restoration not because of our submission or guilt or confession but because of JESUS. Because Jesus will always be enough.

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

As I continue to struggle to restore and repair and renew I rest in the hope that God’s grace is indeed ENOUGH!

#Write31Days

Your Grace is Enough
Matt Maher

Great is Your faithfulness oh God
You wrestle with the sinner’s restless heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

Chorus:
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Great is Your love and justice, God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along

(#31Days) Every Hour

Every Hour

 

I walked into the kitchen, looked at the counter and walked right back out. After a few minutes in the comfy green living room chair I pulled myself back up and went back in to face the music.

As I was standing at the sink I just kept thinking “sometimes it feels like I do the same thing over and over and over every single day”.

I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.

It’s true. Meals need made every day. Dishes need done every day. Clothes need washed every day.

I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.

Washing away I began to think about what a sacrifice it is to doing things repeatedly. My kids (8,6,3 and 1.5) don’t have a clue about the time it takes just to be their mom and keep everyone fed and dressed. It is one of the many reasons why motherhood can feel thankless in the early years (lucky for us they grow up and learn responsibility and begin to see the day to day with new eyes).

I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.

Then I began to think about God and how He says he is ever present. Always with us. Now I’m the one being thankless.

I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.

On the very practical side let’s just say thinking about being in my presence 24 hours a day, grace becomes a very real concept. I can be tired, demanding and just plain work. Yet God chooses us and chooses to be with us.

I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.

But really, what I thought about most, was gratitude. Who am I that the God of the universe would make himself constantly available to me? Who am I that more than being available he listens and hears and responds? Who am I that grace and mercy and love have been promised to me  even in the most mundane of my human moments?

I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.

Yet without it, without the Spirit of God alive and well, in  my life, I have nothing. These words could not ring more true for me today. And oh am I grateful.

#Write31Days

I Need Thee Every Hour
Annie S. Hawks, Robert Lowry

I need thee every hour,
most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine
can peace afford.

Refrain:
I need thee, O I need thee,
every hour I need thee.
O bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee.

I need thee every hour;
stay thou near by;
temptations lose their power
when thou art nigh.

I need thee every hour,
in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide,
or life is vain.

I need thee every hour;
teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises
in me fulfill.

I need thee every hour,
Most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed,
thou Blessed Son!

(#31Days) How Great Your Affections

Holding Hands

I was sitting in church rubbing my sons hair. It had been a rough morning. One where he woke up with crazy eyes and he hadn’t really recovered.

I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are

A man from our congregation stood up to give the call to worship and began talking about faults. He didn’t even call them faults he came right out and said failures. He went on to talk about how failures make him feel and yet how redeemed he knows he is.

I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are

I felt crushed. But not for me. I am well aware of my failures and also my redemption. My son is not.
My son is well aware of his failures, he is not yet fully aware of his redemption.

I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are

Since we were in church I didn’t break down into tears, but I wanted to. He gets it my son. He knows all the facts. But his heart, his heart is still young and unsure.

I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are

As I thought about these words I am hopeful. His young heart, his failures not final, all is not lost. As his mom I have the privilege to sit with him, pray for him, speak and live hope over him.

Some day I hope he understands these beautiful words fully…

#Write31Days

How He Loves
David Crowder

He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all

He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Oh, how He loves, yeah, He loves us
Oh, how He loves us, oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves

And we are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking

And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

Oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves all
How He loves