Friday, November 28, 2014

dear daughters, what to be thankful for {thanksgiving 2014}

My dear daughters,

I don't want Thanksgiving to be a single day of the year. I think it's a wonderful holiday to truly reflect on the thanks we have given through the 12 months prior. But giving thanks is a way of life, a daily habit we need.

I hope and pray that your dad and I are instilling true gratitude in your lives, although I'm not quite sure you get it yet. Although today Miss Rose learned from Auntie Robin that because she had a meal in the last 24 hours, has a roof over her head and her family has at least one vehicle she is in the top 10% (I think that's the number) of the nation.

Girls, you may not have everything you WANT, but as you look back on your life you will see that you will have all that you need. And the list of things you need doesn't contain the latest technology or wheeled toy or doll that looks like you. 

The true blessings of God come in the form of family and friends who fill our lives with life and color.  Stuff is just stuff, but the true value of life is found in our people and the God who's grace is lavished upon us daily.

I pray that you have your people. I pray that we, your family, are your first people. But we are not all you need. I pray in years to come, you are blessed with dear friends from all the seasons of your life. And with the advent of social media, you'll probably get to keep in touch with them too, if you want to.

Joy is friends spending holidays with you from out of town. Happiness is seeing your children play with the children of your friends. It is the close friendships your children share with cousins and the friends who have become family. What a blessing to call my sisters and my brother, my sister-in-laws and my brother-in-laws among my closest friends. Contentment is exchanging text messages with friends near and far.

Every good and perfect gift comes from God and he does give us the desire of our hearts. May the desires of your hearts my sweet girls, be for family and friends who are always on your side, who are your home team, your safe place. Without each other, we have nothing.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up...a cord of three strands is not easily broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's not that I'm lazy

For two years now, many of my mental to-do lists and projects to complete have started with the words "when I graduate from nursing school..." There was no time or mental energy to take on projects, to organize or do things around my home that I have pinned on Pinterest. Come on, I know I'm not the only one with a few hundred (or thousand) pins of things I have yet to attempt. But doesn't stop me from pinning more. 

I have been done with school for more than three months now. For the first time in motherhood, all three of my children are in school and a few days a week I have several hours to myself.

The empty walls in my house scream to me that they want the cool prints and frames I have pinned. The cluttered closets want to be organized. The kitchen counter perpetually piled high with papers from school, mail, and other paraphernalia is a thorn in my side. Drawers and cupboards need to be wiped down and put in order once again.

The truth is, I have done nothing. Well, I don't call working full-time, keeping up the daily life of the house and raising 3 kids nothing. But I've done no extra projects or tasks.

Some days I feel guilty. And disappointed in myself.I wonder if I'm wasting time and why I'm so unproductive. A voice whispers that I'm lazy.

While the day will come when I will tackle these projects, I believe right now I am choosing the one thing that is most important. I am saying yes to what I truly need and saying no for now to adding more. It's not that I'm lazy, but my priorities have nothing to do with outward appearance or the satisfaction of checking things off my two-year-old to do list.

The days I am home and not sleeping after a nightshift, I spend a lot of time with Jesus and a cup of coffee. Usually it's my second cup of coffee, the first being consumed while making lunches (the bane of my existence). I am amazed by how quickly my devotional time passes. Lately, I could easily spend 2-3 hours soaking up the presence of God.

I have found myself identifying in a new way with the Psalmist when he says "as the deer pants for water, so my soul longs for thee." I just want to sit with Jesus. To talk to him and journal. To read His word and words he inspired in others. So I turn on my Bethel Music Pandora station and pour my heart out before the Lord and let him pour into me.

My heart's desire is to hear the voice of God and to do His will in every area of my life. I was reminded recently that knowing God's voice requires time spent with him. Understanding what he's doing in my life requires knowing him more.

This is where a good portion of my "extra" time is spent. And I don't feel guilty about it. Much like a dating relationship, true intimacy and deep knowledge of the other cannot come without the passage of time and a quantity of time spent together. In many seasons I have focused on quality time with God at the expense of quantity. But both are required. And I am so enjoying my time with the lover of my soul.

Slowly but surely I see what he's doing in me. I am more confident of his voice. I am trusting him more. I am more patient and calm. More of Jesus just makes me want more of him.

This season is about finding a new rhythm and He is the composer.

Friend, don't feel guilty about what you aren't doing--if what you are doing is more important and you have chosen what is best in this moment. The true goal in life is to know Jesus and make Him known. No pin on Pinterest trumps that. What is God calling you to focus on right now? Don't let anything, no matter how good it seems, distract you.

I do look forward to the day I actually get prints on my wall and have curtains in my kitchen (although after 6 years strong of none, I feel like I need to stay strong in this trend--sorry neighbors).  All of the things on my project list are good things. But they just don't seem to be what is important right now.

We need Him more.

I need you more, more than anything. 

Parts of these reflections inspired by The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst.