"Trying to forget my, feelings of love." Remember that song? There were several versions of this song about FEELINGS of love lost. Emotions are a funny thing, aren't they? They can float us high in the air, or bury us deep in the ground. And you know the saying, "You can't argue with feelings." :)
I read in a devotional this morning about feelings. Here's part of what was said:
"Many things stir my emotions: worship, silence, a kiss on the forehead from my husband, my son's belly laugh, the voice of a treasured friend. Most of the time, however, what awakens my feelings is less heart-warming; being misunderstood, driving on icy roads, sleepless nights, and customer assistance numbers that do not let you speak to a human.
Whether pleasant or painful, our emotions are in need of cautious and careful monitoring. Why? Because we live in a world that loudly proclaims, "What feels good, is good. What feels bad, is bad." And in such an environment we can easily confuse feeling with fact."
AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH!?!?!
Have you ever confused feeling with fact? Boy, have I been guilty of this! ESPECIALLY when it's something negative - or rather something I perceive as negative. I'm a very emotional person - I know that shocks some of you - ha ha!!! But seriously, when I watch movies, I put myself in the character's situations. When I read books, I find the character I relate to the most and I take on their emotions and challenges. When I hear stories, the same happens. When I listen to a song, YUP, you guessed it! Almost everything I encounter on a daily basis somehow affects my emotions.
Texts and emails are THE WORST! Do you feel that way? Do you ever catch yourself saying, "well, what did she mean by THAT!?" when you read a simple one line email? "Was she mad at me or something? Why such a short response?" Or possibly, "what's behind THAT statement?! Does she think I'm stupid or something?" Have you ever been guilty of projecting emotions onto others? Creating a scenario in your brain of what's happening and therefore confusing the scenario you've created with the true situation? Maybe she responded so quickly because she was about to get in the car and drive somewhere but wanted you to know your text or email was important enough to respond to immediately. Did you think about that? Or what if her child needed help at the moment she was sitting down to type you an email and she could only get out one sentence?
It's way too easy to confuse feeling with fact? And why is it that many times, we don't give each other the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like that? What is your initial response? Do you find it easier to believe someone was mistreating you or that there might be something about the situation you don't know?
What if we put some extra effort into giving others the benefit of the doubt? What if we put extra effort into understanding there are always at least two sides to every story? We might find that we get along better with others and even that our own emotions seem to simmer down a bit.
And to take it one step further, what if we spend more time reading truth in God's Word than constructing negative scenarios without having all the facts? I love how my devotional put it this morning, "Our safeguard in a world where culture and media seek to benefit by manipulating our emotions is God's unchanging Word. God's truth is subject neither to hormones nor to Hollywood. His Word is nonperishable, non-pliable, and eternally free of decay."
Again, AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH?!
What a relief!!! We know God's Word isn't affected by hormones - HALLELUJAH!! Nor is it affected by Hollywood's lures. It doesn't perish, it isn't soft like clay so just anyone can shape it into something else, and it does NOT decay!! That is powerful! That is strong! That's something I can stand on. When there are questions about emotions, how I should emotionally handle situations, I can run to His Word. When I need encouragement because of something I've created in my own head, I can run to His Word. When there is reality to the negative in my life, I can run to His Word. For help, for a safe haven, for advice, for comfort, for encouragement, I can run to His Word. It's alive and it's real and it's applicable to my life today.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statues of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. ' Psalm 19:7-8 (NIV)
Anyone up for a run? Let's make our first run in every situation a sprint to God's Word and see how that will positively change our lives!
Thanks for being you...
"So, is it just me? Please tell me it's not just me! PLEASE!!!! TELL ME I'M NOT ALONE!!!!...."
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever made statements like that...out loud? To God? To a friend or a spouse or a relative? I know I have. And what is usually the answer you get back??
"YOU ARE NOT ALONE!"
I know for me, I've asked these questions at different times of my life. I remember even when I was Elementary School age, I would compare myself to girl named Cori because my best friend Lesley seemed to begin liking her more. In Jr High I was was more aware of my appearance and felt awkward. In High School, despite all that I was involved in and all the friends I had, I still felt like I didn't fit in. I was very "successful" in school and I realized shortly after I was finished with school, that much of my identity was wrapped up in my accomplishments. Now that they were gone, who was I really? Who did I want to be? Am I able to make a difference? Do I really even matter?
Of course, life continued...as it always does. Have you noticed that life around us doesn't stop when we have a question or need to figure something out?? Wouldn't that be nice! If you are considering a job change or purchasing a new house, wouldn't it be nice if everything else around you slowed down so you could really focus on the decision at hand? Haha!! I think that'd be way cool! :) BUT, alas, it does not, and it did not when I was younger either.
During my early twenties, I married the love of my life, and 3 years later, we had our first child. Oh what joy that was! I LOVED being pregnant! I LOVED when I could finally feel my baby kicking around inside. I did NOT love all the weight I gained! UGH! But, to have that little boy - he still brings me such joy! A few years later, another baby. We didn't find out the gender of our first baby, but we decided we would find out for this one. We took Jordan, our son, with us to the ultrasound. The tech asked him, what is the baby's name? Jordan said if it's a girl, it's Emma. The tech asked, "What if it's a boy?" Jordan simply replied, "We don't know yet." Well, needless to say, the tears came streaming down my face when the tech said, "Looks like we have an Emma!" Oh, the joy! A couple of years later, another precious baby. This pregnancy was a bit different and I went into early labor at 33 weeks. I was put on bedrest and medication but that only held him off 2 weeks. One night, I realized I had not felt my baby move in quite a while. He had been such a mover and a shaker so it was quite obvious. It was late at night, I told my husband, we prayed and went to sleep. I already had Dr's appointment the next day, but I called in the am and they wanted to see me right away. Long story shortened, Carson was born that afternoon via an emergency C-section. He was in NICU for 6 days, but miraculously, everything the Dr's had seen wrong with Carson was gone and he was beginning to gain weight. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about motherhood was from my own mother. She said, "The first 4 months are the most self-LESS of your life." I thought then that she meant it would all get easier, but I think now, she really meant that those are the months you FEEL it more because of the transition to self-LESS-ness and motherhood. The other great piece of advice she gave me, "This too shall pass!" :)
I tell you this in hopes of you being able to relate. Maybe it's not with school and marriage and pregnancy and motherhood, but maybe there were other things in your life, GOOD things, GREAT things, and sometimes tough things that you can remember going thru. It's not always the bad things that cause us to get wrapped up in life. There are those seasons...I bet you already know them, and if you don't, you will probably get to know them at some point. You know, those "dry" seasons, the desserts. Desserts don't have to just be when things are bad or desolate, it can be that life is just dry. Maybe you feel unappreciated, unused, unseen.
I always wanted to be a wife and a mother - and by the time I was 30, I had been married 10 years and had 3 children. I felt so blessed!! I was living the life I'd always dreamt of. I was VERY involved in church, had a devoted husband and 3 amazing kids - and we were all healthy! So, now what? As fulfilling of a life as I was living, and it was fulfilling, I still had the "dry" seasons. The seasons that I began to feel unappreciated, or like I didn't really matter. I felt bad because, although I absolutely loved being a wife and mother, I felt there was something else on the inside of me. There was so much I want to do! I was fine to postpone those dreams for now, but would I ever get a chance to pursue them?
Is that just me? Am I alone? I daresay, no!
I don't believe we will walk desert-free until we are in the presence of Jesus. But I've come to realize, it's ok. :) His presence here on earth can help us through those times. At least now, I am able to recognize those dry seasons in my life and instead of trying to get through them alone, or beat myself up because of them, or listen to the lies that inevitably come, I involve my husband, my friends, my family...whatever it takes, and I allow God to navigate me though.
There is a wonderful book called Anonymous and it's written by Alicia Britt Chole. It was life-changing for me. She talks a good bit about Jesus' temptations in the desert. She refers to these seasons as a season of hiddenness. Here is a little excerpt:
"In each season of hiddenness, our sens of value is disrupted. Stripped of what others affirmed in us, we are left staring at our undecorated selves, wondering what makes us truly special.
Surely no one experienced this disruption more drastically than Jesus. He came from heaven to earth, voluntarily stripped of His glory. Yet He does not seem to question the value of His undecorated self. During His hidden year, Jesus clearly came to terms with what made him significant. Actually, that what was a Who: the God whose loves does not ebb and flow on the ever-vacillating waves of human perceptions.
What grows in anonymous seasons? An unshakable identity."
When we struggle with our own identity and purpose, when we are in dry seasons, or hiddenness, or living anonymously, as Alicia Britt Chole reminds us, "Father God is our only consisten audience. Others come and others go, but only He always sees. ...When no one else is interested in (let along impressed by) our capabilities and dreams, God is still wholeheartedly with fatherly pride shouting His love over us."
I hope and pray you realize you are not alone in this life and that you feel God's fatherly pride shouting His love over you always!
Thanks for being you~
Last night, I returned home from a weekend in Atlanta, GA. Several ladies from Slidell got together and went to a Women of Faith (WOF) conference. I knew about half of the ladies really well and the other half, not quite as well. I was friends with all of them, though, which made the anticipation of the weekend that much more fun.
Last week was a busy week for all of us. If you read last week's blog, you know public school started in our area last week and many of the ladies who went to the conference with us have kids in public schools. Some have kids who will start this week. One had been out of town all week and met us up there. A few had just recently accepted the invitation when others who had previously prepared to go had to back out. Needless to say, there was a good bit of hustle and bustle last week trying to get ready to leave. It's rather ironic to start a trip fatigued. :)
Most of us met at our church on Friday morning and we left at 8am. We had a 7 1/2 hr trip ahead of us, and traveling to Atlanta, we lost an hour. For me, the time spent with my friends outside of the actual conference was just as enlightening as time spent at the conference and even more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, the WOF conference was wonderful and in between time of wiping the tears from my face, I was scribbling notes on all the great points they were making. I'm not sure if I had more tears from crying or from laughing. But, if you have any good friends, you know that time with them is so special.
Do you remember your early friends? I remember my first friend. I didn't know at the time she was my first friend, but I remember her. I remember my first good friend in the neighborhood where I grew up. Then there's my childhood best friend, the close friends in jr high, the friends in high school. I can call them all by name - I remember many of their pets, their siblings and their parents. I remember the nicknames we had for each other, the laughter we shared, the sleepovers, the boyfriends. During that time and as I have grown older, friendships between girls changed. I began to see and feel the jealousy, the competition, the comparing, the gossip. Why is it that one of the most special relationships God gave us is so easily twisted into something that brings out the worst in us? Here are a few things that the Bible says about friendship - and there is SO MUCH more about it in there.
" Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul." - Proverbs 27:9
" Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down." - Romans 12:14
"If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care - then do me a favor; Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." - Philippians 2:1-4
(All verses from The Message)
I don't see anywhere that it says, "be jealous of the life your friend has, compare yourself with her and try to keep up with all she has accumulated, talk about your friends when they are having challenges, jockey for friendship positions with those with whom you share mutual friends, belittle the accomplishments of your friends..." And, while we wouldn't want to admit it, don't those challenges like to creep up in our lives? Why do we insist on comparing ourselves with other women instead of recognizing we are all unique? Why is it so easy to find ourselves jealous over the good big and little things in the lives of our friends instead of being happy for them? Why do we have to share in the gossip? Compete in every way possible? WHY!?! God gave us friends! He created friendship! The Bible even talks about being friends with God. We read how God walked with Adam, His first human creation. God created us for relationship with Him and gave us relationships on earth.
Why can't we just be happy and thrive in our friendships?
I enjoyed my weekend so much! I loved spending time with them over lunch on the way up, hearing stories from their past. It was so much fun sitting on the floor of the hotel room eating a quick dinner (that was brought to us by friends who already lived in Atlanta). It was hilarious to be frantically searching for the brownies that some of them KNEW I was coming back to their room to get - only to find out they had hidden them from me...they only let me miss the brownies about 15 minutes before they confessed and we all had a good laugh...at my expense! :) Sharing worship in an arena, running to get refills on Sodas together and sharing the bottomless popcorn bucket together, laughing together, crying together, passing tissues and gum and pens. Then on the way home, laughing because the girl in the back couldn't understand the girl in the front and we all kept misunderstanding each other - "She doesn't like gummies?" "What?! Who was talking about gummies!!!" As I type, I smile at all we thought someone else said that was NOTHING EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE to what was said. hahaha!!
Be honest - don't you want a BFF?? Isn't it a great feeling when someone calls you her BFF? Let's make an effort to be the kind of friend we long to have. It is an effort...and that's ok. Friendship is worth it!
As Max Lucado says in his book A Gentle Thunder, "Each ife is a book, not to be read, but a story to be written." As you are writing the story of your life, don't forget to "write" the memorable moments with your friends! Take time to make good friends...put in the effort to be a good friend. Make time for them...do things together. And when you have some good friends, don't let them forget what they mean to you!
I hope you know the blessings of true friends!
"Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for a friend." King James Translation"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." New Living Translation"This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends." The Message Translation
Thanks for being you -
WOW!!! August 8th!! My heart is racing!
Why is my heart racing on August 8th? My oldest son started Jr High today! My daughter started 4th grade today! My youngest child started 1st grade today!
Perspective is an interesting thing, isn't it?
My oldest son started Jr High...I remember Jr High! It was where social classes seemed to begin dividing up, where my skin started changing and a new daily goal emerged - to catch the attention of the cute boy. It was where I became more aware of my wardrobe and my hair, who noticed me and why, was I in the cool-crowd or the not-so-cool crowd? Was I gonna forget my locker combo? Would I be late for class? Would I forget something in class and look or feel like an idiot? Will I keep making good grades? ... WAIT! I'm old enough to have a child in Jr High?! ;)
4th grad - LEAP testing!! Changing classes for main subjects, not just library or art or music. Higher learning and more expectation. No older brother at the school now - she's the oldest there. The challenge of making her own imprint instead of trying to walk in her big brother's BIG footprints that he left at the school. Living up to teacher's expectations of her because of who her brother is. Making a name for herself not just being known as his little sister. Leading, not just following. Continuing to set an example for her little brother. I am the middle child - and oh the pressures I put on myself as the oldest daughter and middle child. While many of those pressures pushed me to excel, will she excel or withdraw? She and I are very different. When does the identity in children begin to get questioned, for little girls in particular?
1st grade! He's the youngest in our family, but will be one of the older kids in his class. Will he be a leader? He gets frustrated so often when he can't do something he think he should be able to do well. Will he get frustrated as he's learning? Will he quit? Will he be nice to the other kids and make friends? Will he be shy in class? Will he be too talkative trying to make others laugh?
It's funny to think about the challenges I remember experiencing myself, as well as the ones I now anticipate for my kids. It's also very interesting to see that some of those challenges remain similar all thru life. Social classes, keeping the eye of my husband, looking nice, being "cool," forgetting important details, being late, saying something that makes me look like an idiot, not knowing something I should know, following in others' footsteps, living up to expectations, leading, personal pressures, excelling at whatever I do, setting an example with my life, being younger than some and older than some, being frustrated as I continue to learn, making friends, quitting ...
Can you relate to any of this right now in your life? I remember hearing something about relationships when I was younger that stuck with me. It may be puppy love, but it's real to the puppy. These issues we face at different times in our lives are so similar and yet so different. To a 7th grader, at a new school, with a new schedule, and new friends, it may be simply daunting to think about forgetting your locker combination or worse, remembering it and not being able to make it work. As an adult, we look at it and say - just go ask a teacher for help. That need for help might represent something to that 7th grader that could possibly dent his self-confidence. How does it make me feel when I have to ask for help? Does it "dent" my self-confidence? Do I let that lack of knowledge or know-how affect how I see myself? What about social expectations? Fitting in, looking just right, comparing oneself to others, being younger, being older... what about all that? Does aging suddenly solve those issues? I would gently say - HECK NO! I've dealt more with those things as I've aged than ever before.
Perspective - You've probably heard that life is not about the destination, but rather about the journey. I can buy into that! If that's the case, then maybe we should all try to keep our lives in perspective. The issues we face today and the challenges we face today ARE VERY REAL. The issues our children face are VERY REAL to them. The issues our neighbor faces or the child we teach, or the family we come across at Chic-fil-A are VERY REAL. We shouldn't diminish them because we can't fully relate to them, or because we now feel OUR issues are bigger than theirs or worse or whatever. Have some compassion on others in this life. Life isn't always about how YOU are affected by something else but it CAN be about how you can affect someone else - both positively and negatively. Take your eyes off of your issues to help someone else thru theirs.
And, when it comes to your own issues, find some friends you can be real with, those you can share your challenges with. Someone who can help talk you thru some of your concerns. Friends who can remind you "this too shall pass." Your issues and challenges are real right now, but the issues won't be there forever. And they may not all be as big or bad as you think right now. Maybe there's something else at work in your life. Maybe there's a reason something is happening. Or maybe despite something bad happening, something good can still happen out of it.
Jonathan and I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of weeks helping our oldest son prepare for his newest adventure. We've asked all 3 kids questions about how they feel, what they are nervous or concerned about, what questions they have and so forth. The more we talk, the more we prepare together, the more we explore, the better they feel about starting the new school year. I'm still nervous for them, but they feel better. :)
So, if your heart is racing about something...
ENGAGE! Don't run away, don't diminish, don't crumble - ENGAGE! Engage in the lives of others. LISTEN to their story - they have one to tell. Sometimes their stories can actually help you thru yours.
HAVE COMPASSION! Recognize the issues in others' lives are VERY real - help them when you can! Take time for others.
SHARE! Share your story, share your faith, share your experiences. Take a risk - try to have a bigger perspective about this life and who's in it! Try to discover something new about your journey and what you might be challenged to do thru it. :)
thanks for being you ...
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