(#31Days) On Waiting

What are you waiting for today?

Me? I’m waiting for news on a house, my husbands new work schedule, a big family change and a potential work opportunity.

Waiting. I’m going about my day to day tasks but all the “if” questions swarm around in my head all day while I do them.

Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

I am waiting. I am partially yielded and I am not at all still.

In my waiting what is the state of my heart, body and soul? If I am really honest I am all action and no heart or soul.

My unwillingness to be yielded and still isn’t entirely intentional. I have lost focus. The first part of that stanza declares “Mold me and make me after Thy will”.

When my focus is on eternity, on loving unconditionally exactly where I find myself right now, on the things in this life that really matter, the hearts and souls and lives of those around me, being yielded and still comes naturally.

Yet, when I lose my focus and become selfish, I also stop relying on hope and begin relying on myself. Self reliance for any span of time is a bad idea. I am limited, finite, incomplete. 
And they I hear…

Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Called out of self reliance and into God-reliance the state of my heart and soul is restored. I find that the waiting continues but my posture has changed.

Sitting and still. Waiting without selfish expectation. Knowing that whatever happens here, in the quiet, won’t just change my day to day life but will change my soul.

#Write31Days

Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Adelaide A. Pollard

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

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Dear Friend and New Mom…

Dear Friend and New Mom,

Can I tell you I am over the moon for you? I want to come to wherever you are, bring you a warm cup of tea, hug you and gush, for hours, maybe days.

Gush about all these feelings over the miracle of life. The sweet smell of newborn, that first newborn mom meltdown that we all have, that moment where you cried for the old life and the one where you celebrated all that is new.

Don’t worry, I won’t, I know that doesn’t mesh with newborn life at all, but I thought you should know, you are on my heart and you are LOVED.

See friend, there are 2 things that are unique about you.

First, that you are my friend. This moment is beautiful because however I know you, regardless of the amount of time we have been friends or our physical proximity, we called each other friend that one time. There was a moment in time where you entrusted a part of your heart and life to me. To do so was a risk, but you did and now I want you to know I celebrate this new life, this miraculous moment, with you, wherever you are.

I celebrate with you because I love you. I love you for the woman you were when we met, the mom you have just become and for the amazing person God will call out in you tomorrow.

Second, you are unique because you are on the path of motherhood, one we walk together. Do you know how special that is? Not everyone walks this path. Some by choice and others not. Some get here easily and others not. But you, you are on this path. We are on this path.

There is something beautiful about the bond of motherhood. It seems to transcend time and personal history. It is a tie that binds us together in ways we don’t fully understand.

While unique to each mom, there is an unspoken language of motherhood we seem to receive at birth. That sorrow we share in the hard moments, the joy we share in the easy moments and the laughter in-between the two.

Friend and new mom, I can not express what your baptism into this season does to my heart towards you. I love you more today than I did yesterday and I am sure that this love with grow with each passing day that you nurture and love this new life.

Remember that. Remember that I love YOU.

I will bring you tea and gush with you (but only if that works for you). I will swoop in when I can and rescue you, maybe by entertaining the others in your home, throwing in laundry or dropping off yet another pack of diapers. I will encourage you with words and actions as much as I possibly can. You are being thought of, prayed for and I am holding you close to my heart.

Friend and new mom, remember YOU are loved.

Amidst 3am feedings where you feel both overwhelmed and deeply happy and the tears are coming. When the 14th family member has come to visit and you are thrilled that they all love the baby but what you really want them to say is ‘I notice you and love you too mama.’ At that 1 month mark when all the excitement has died down and you are deep into doing the day to day.

YOU are loved. I love you, just the way you are. Today, tomorrow, the next day and the next.

For Happy Days and With Love,
Rachael

Summer bleeds into fall…


I all the sudden feel like summer is bleeding into fall and while I knew it was coming I am just now noticing.

In just 3.5 short weeks we will be back on the school schedule. In just 4.5 more weeks my lovely community of moms will reconvene and I will find a new rhythm of study and prayer. In just 5.5 weeks I may not even remember what summer felt like.

This changing season has snuck up on me. I feel like this is also reflective of my personal life.

In the first 6 months of this year we have welcomed a new member to our family, I have stepped down from 2 jobs, my husbands schedule has shifted and our life rhythm has changed.

I am just now noticing our change of pace. More accurately I am just now yielding to our change of pace.

It is impossible to keep up the same tempo of work and not working, 4 kids instead of 3 and every other weekend with all of us home instead of spending all my weekends as a single parent.

I recently sat in church and listened to a sermon that spoke deeply about Ecclesiastes, the meaning of life and the beauty of God. Seasons.

Life happens in seasons.

When the seasons change we have two choices: See the change and move with it, ignore the change and fight against it.

I think I have unconsciously been fighting against the changing season.

Without thinking I have been holding tightly to what was.  I have tried to hold on to the working me. The commitment to being available and in the know and on call. The professional me that dresses for the job I want, schedules the children rigidly and constantly keeps on task in order to accomplish everything. I have tried to do with 4 kids what I did with 3. (While not impossible I don’t recommend this, babies need rest!) And then I wonder why I am tired, drained, unable to see the joy. Swimming against the current is hard work.

I see the summer ending and the fall on the horizon and am now choosing to move with the change.

I know deep down I can not do it all. It is obvious that I am no longer working outside my home and our family has grown by one. All of the sudden I am ready to embrace all that this season has to offer. I am putting on yoga pants and mowing the lawn at midday rest time. We are sitting on the porch swing just a few minutes past bedtime as we look for the moon. Deep breaths replace deep sighs and I begin to see joy around me.

I see God peeling away my former self and calling forth a new part of who I am created to be.

As this season comes I can’t claim to have it all figured out. I don’t have a big goal that will signify my arrival or completion of this season, I’m not even entirely sure what to expect. All I know is that I feel it.

Today I sit in grace. Change is coming. Watchful, attentive, willing to move with the season, not against it.

 

 

Linking today with Unforced Rhythms.

Empathy…the Gift that Keeps on Giving

by marfis75
by marfis75

I’m pretty sure at this point not a soul is reading this very long God Story that I’ve felt so inclined to pen. And if you are still here,  God bless you, you’re a warrior and friend.

In short…I asked, God spoke, I did. Thus this story (Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4).

I’m not sure whether to call this final part of the story a beginning or end. I guess it’s a little bit of both. It is an end to the thought that originated these last 4 posts and into this one. It is an end to some of my own personal testimony and story that I have never really written or told in full before.

It is also a beginning. It is the beginning of where I am now. It is my present process and purpose. It is the starting point for some life stories and God stories being formed and yet to come.

I am only beginning to see what and why and how…

I’ve come a long way from constant transition to an empathetic heart that keeps me up late at night (it’s 1:09am as I write this). I still struggle. I don’t do empathy perfectly I don’t even respond each time God asks. I find habits of transition alluring and easy and am not always able to stop wandering toward them.

But I’m trying. I’m starting by remembering.

Almost everyone I know, and definitely those I know well, I met because of transition. You see, when you’ve been through as many transitions as I have you can spot a person in transition from across the room. You can see it in their face, hear it in their words, sense it in their actions. You read it in between the lines of their Facebook posts and hear it during the breaths of their prayers.

And then I have a choice. Do I walk (or even run) the other way or do I engage. Do I become involved?

Ignoring is the easy thing to do. I can almost justify it. “This is their transition, not mine.” “Maybe God is trying to teach them through transition, I’ll just let Him do his thing.” Or “I managed just fine, so will they.”

Engaging is the hard thing to do. It means listening (often without comment or input) to someone as they try and work out their story, this is burden bearing.

It means that if God is using transition for a big change that maybe I’ll be involved now but post-transition I’m not needed, this is being a vessel, regardless of the length of need.

It means being fully who I am so the person transitioning knows they are not alone, even when I don’t feel like I have anything to give, this is being strong in The Lord for he gives life and breath.

Over and over again I’ve begun to engage. I’ve started to take the risk. And over and over again God has asked me to pour myself out only to fill me fuller than I was.

Several years ago I took a risk and colead a small group of parents with my husband. I felt inadequate, disconnected and totally not on the same page as the people in our group. I never felt like anyone was “getting it” when we first started, myself included, yet we continued on.

And what did God do? He poured me out. God just kept nudging. Call her, talk to her, say yes to her, sure you know your time with her is limited to the schooling her husband is in but ENGAGE ANYWAY.

And I did. And that mama did move away. But before she did God created a bond between us.

From afar, I have seen that mama add 2 more miracles to her family, be baptized into Jesus and love others in a way that is wider and deeper than even I can.

The mama who I was sure I had the least likely in common with not only became a survivor of her transition and thrived through huge transition but a friend. One who is a now constant encourager to me.

God asked me to pour out, to engage her transition, to live with her through it and in the end I was not tired or scared or hurt or lonely but FULL. Filled up with Spirit and love and compassion and I didn’t even ask for it! It was an unexpected gift.

That is grace.

No, it doesn’t always work out this way. I have followed God’s call towards people who have turned their backs or been filled and transitioned away or just weren’t interested in encouragement. Not every relationship is meant to be forever but I made a commitment to go where God calls and so I just keep pressing on when I hear Him.

I commit to engage those around me in transition not because I can or because it makes sense (I’m married with almost 4 kids – it’s not like I have endless free time!), not because it’s comfortable (short term relationships are hard and require quick and deep honesty, talk about uncomfortable) and not even always without fear (I’m human, I could really screw things up at any point!), but I engage because God gives us each a little piece of grace to pass on.

My grace is empathy in the midst of transition…He has wasted nothing of my past fears and failures but made it all His, all grace, all love.

In the end it’s all His. WE are all His.

So what keeps me up at night…what burdens me…it is you. It is the face of each woman that I sense is in transition, even if she doesn’t know it yet. It is your soul that God has etched on my heart.

And when God says engage…beware…I’ve gone all in. He is mine and I am His and you can be too.

Transitions and Empathy

Yes, I promise someday I will write about something else except transitions, that day is not today.

(And if you want to catch up, at your own risk, check here, here and here).

There’s this thing that happens when we go from knowing something to believing something. It is usually a process for this to happen. That seems to be God’s design.

He reveals something and we know it. It makes sense in some way. We “get it” on a very surface level. Yet as we begin to live out our knowing, we begin to experience it. We go from having head knowledge to having heart knowledge. We move from giving facts to telling stories. We go from knowing to believing.

I knew for a long time that God had a purpose for me. Yet only now am I beginning to see, understand and experience what it might be or where it might lead.

Because I have always been in transition I have always seen myself as an outsider. On the fringe. Not able to be included.

Since I have spent most of my life in transition I have also gained great skill, the skill of networking. Not networking in the business sense (although I was in sales for a time and realized I actually network well and would go far in a corporate environment where that was required).

I’m thinking of networking more in the sense of connecting. Since I’ve been on the outside looking in so often, it is easy for me to identify the need for Person A and Person B to make a connection. Person A has a need, Person B has a skill, connect them and voila! To be able to see the needs, skills and goals of those around me and be willing to connect is a great skill and can be very impactful.

However, when I am not person A or person B I have very limited long term involvement or impact. And while I am 100% sure that God uses this and blesses this and that I will keep doing it, I always felt like something was missing, that God was asking for something more.

God wanted me.

God wanted me to not just be a matchmaker of needs and skills but be a part of the match. I hesitated. If I’m going to be honest, I out right resisted.

Being part of the match meant more investment. It meant being more vulnerable. It meant slowing down to process. It meant relationships that needed pursing. People that needed love. It meant listening when I wanted to think and encouraging when I wanted to be silent.

But God is persistent. When we give God just a little, He takes a whole lot.

And the he gave me a gift, empathy.

You see, anytime I’ve done any kind of spiritual assessment I rank lowest in compassion and mercy. Almost ZERO. I know a man made quiz does not reveal the heart of God or mans soul but let’s face it – if for years you keep experiencing the same thing, you begin to accept it as truth. For me I just decided I didn’t have it in me to be merciful and compassionate so I would do the hard things for Jesus and leave the mushy Jesus things to someone else.

And then I began to struggle with transition, purpose and calling. In that time God reminded me that I was made in HIS image, HIS likeness and that nothing I had experienced would be wasted and he would make it something NEW.

I could have mercy and compassion. I did have a purpose. And because God wastes nothing he would use me right where I was, I had been given the gift I needed.

And Rachael the analytic, somewhat skeptic, realist, was given the gift of Empathy and God began to change me.

Transition MEANS Something…

By D. Sharon Pruitt
By D. Sharon Pruitt

Yep…still here…still talking about transition (catch up here and here). Just for a refresher here are some things we’ve established…

1. We are all people in process
2. Process and Transition are different
3. Personally, I’ve been a women of Transition (both by circumstance and choice)

Today I want to uncover this idea…my constant transitions have not been a waste.

My experience tells me that I’m not the only person that has sought (sometimes extreme) transition as a method of “change” and “growth”. A lot of us have.

Transition is fun, challenging, scary, intimidating and life changing. At its surface transition seems to help us achieve purpose and meaning. But transitions are hard.

Transitions are abrupt. They are big, they are often quick, they can be seen.
Processing is slow. Often small, frequently lacking in excitement and generally internal.

(Total side note: God uses both transitions and processing to work in people. It is just my personal conviction that he prefers his people to process. Noah followed God for 400+ years before building the ark, Paul grew for 3 years after his conversion before he became a missionary and Jesus lived for 33 years before he gave His life as a ransom for many…)

When I realized my own life was pretty much all transition and no processing I began to feel horrible about my life and sad about who I was. Obviously, it was my fault I didn’t have a childhood best friend, it was my issue that I didn’t have a place to call my hometown, I was the isolated one and it was my choice and my fault.

Yeah, NO. God’s grace and love is redeeming! He makes all things NEW.

Was I really going to be defined by my 6th grade past of not having a best friend (not if I believe that God WAS then and IS now)? Was my lack of roots in one location going to ruin who I was or how God saw me (not if I was going to embrace my real citizenship in heaven)? Was I going to wallow in loneliness because it was just to hard to start yet again (not if I believed that Gods people are members of a body).

All the sudden I began to see it. All my transitions meant something. They all had purpose. All those transitions gave me a skill, adaptation. All those transitions gave me eyes, to see others in transition…and that’s where you come in.

Testimony and Transition

So the other day I wrote this little piece on process and transition. As I’ve been reflecting on purpose and process and transition, I keep running into some of the same things. Things about me and my life. Things I have defined and things that I haven’t thought much about.

I thought it only fair since I started this thought process that I should keep thinking out loud and invite you along…

I suppose what is about to follow may be considered a testimony of sorts…right now for me, it’s just truth and yet scripture reminds us that truth is a testimony…so here it goes…

I’ve always been a person in transition. It’s just how my life has happened. Consider for a minute these things…

1. I’ve lived in 3 or 4 different countries and about the same amount of US States (depends on what you count as “living”)

2. The longest I’ve ever stayed In 1 place is approximately 9ish years, and that was in the last 10 years.

3. I went to 3 different high schools and 3 different colleges

4. I’ve gone to Christian School, Lutheran School, Catholic School and Public School

5. By the time we moved to our current home I’d resided at 5 different addresses in the last 10 years and over 30 different addresses through out my life.

I’m 33 years old.

When I say I’ve always been in transition, I really mean it. During my childhood my family was in ministry, in my young adulthood I was a wanderer and in the last couple years I’d say I’ve been a follower.

I’m 33 years old.

Somewhat ironically, I married a man who was born and lived in the same town until he went to college. Even then, he’s only ever lived in 2 other cities. He went to the same school, had the same friends and can even claim that his parents live in his childhood home. (As you might guess, he’s the more sane and stable of the two of us, one of the many reasons I love him!) I am constantly amazed that God chose this man for me.

Maybe it’s the fact that we are about to have 4 kids, or that I’m currently not working full time or that I’m just aging…but I’ve always struggled with the fact I was a woman in constant transition.

In my young adulthood my anger towards being constantly transitioning just led to more transitions! I went from job to job, college to college, potential career to potential career. I kept seeking satisfaction in the comfort of change and yet I just kept feeling empty.

I kept asking God “Isn’t this what you want? Aren’t I supposed to grow into who you created me to be? Doesn’t that mean I keep transitioning so one day I’ll hit the magic God Mark and be in the right spot?”

While these questions hold some truth they are not true, this is not God’s method. This is mans method. Keep transitioning and you will “find yourself”, “arrive”, “get there”.

God’s method of finding purpose does not start with me, it starts with God, quietly.

“Be STILL and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46)

Ponder for a moment a few translations and interpretations of this verse…

Cease striving and know that I am God…”
New American Standard

Be silent, and know that I am God…”
New Living Translation

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God…”
The Message

Do you see it? Do you feel it? We can not transition our way close to God or his purpose for us. For a moment, in the midst of our daily life of process, we must stop. Cease. Slow. Be silent.

Transition has a place but it is not meant to be a way of life.

We are all in constant process but that doesn’t mean we are in constant transition. Some processes are slow, silent.

This is a newer way of life for me. To stop seeking transition and enjoy and grow in the rhythms of process. And as I’ve begun to understand it, God has begun to speak.

And in His words, I hear YOUR name. I see YOUR face. And I am beginning to get a glimpse of what may be ahead for us both.