Monday, June 23, 2014

For the day after it rains...

Days and days ago I found myself in a down-pour of life that left me drowning. Soaking wet and weighted down with the storm I was carrying around on my shoulders. Even when it stopped raining... I couldn't find a dry spot to land.

Living knee deep in flood waters can slow a person down. It's when the waters rise too fast and we find ourselves barely keeping our noses above the water line that we start to drown. The first drops of rain are never enough to scare us away. To send us looking for dry land or an umbrella or a boat to keep around... just in case. No, the first few drops usually just get our toes wet and if we've come prepared for wet feet...well, a person can surely walk around the puddles and get to where we are going.

But days ago I didn't notice the puddles pooling around me and soon my toes weren't just wet, but I was walking unsteadily against a current that was working hard to pull me under. And under I went a time or two. Enough to make me hold my breath and hope someone would come with that boat or that life-jacket or even a hand to pull me out for just another breath of air while I stumbled to set my feet on solid ground again.

Even in those muddy, thick...take me down and drown me waters...every so often someone would hold on to me. They'd grab my hand and let me breathe and back in I would go. Swimming, trudging water, drowning, and floating away down a river of hard days...doubt...discouragement...dangerous days that often left me uncertain of my next. It's really hard to see clearly when the flood waters have surrounded us and we don't climb into the boat while our souls are rebuilt.

The rain does stop.

The waters go down.

Dry land can be seen again.

We can not plant our feet on solid ground if we don't stop struggling to swim and notice when the sun comes back out. See that by using our strength to stake our new spot on the little piece of dry land, instead of using it all to just simply keep our heads above water...will better help us survive until its safe to go back.

It's what we do the day after it rains that matters. We can't predict the rain anymore then we can count our days here. Storms come and we find ourselves in deep waters. And we respond and live in a way that finds us surviving instead of outlasting the downpour that has drenched us.

The day after... I've done it so differently in the past. I've panicked. I've refused the life boat. I've looked away from the little island of dry land that could get me through another day well, instead of just getting through a day.

Just a few days ago, I knew the water was rising. Once upon a probably would have taken me with it. But after you drown a few times, you learn that when the rains can jump in that boat and head to dry land. You can stick all your people in that boat with you and point them to safety. You can prepare a place to hang out until the waters go back down and you can all head back home. You can grab that hand reaching out to help you to shore and know it comes as welcome as the sun in the sky after a heavy rain. You can quit swimming. You can float with assurance that your life is always going to find itself in a storm or two along the way. And you can choose to ride it out from the safety of even one little dry piece left over.

When the waters rise, we quickly realize what really matters. We grab what we really need. We save what has value. We carry with us what will carry us on after this day. The day after it rains, we should start with just that. Do what matters today. Grab onto what will make today better. Save what will change our tomorrow. Carry what needs to be held until you can head back once the water is gone. The day after it rains is for drying out...not drowning. Look for the boat before you are too deep to see the shore.

Monday, June 9, 2014

ahead, beside, or behind

It's the beginning of summer. That nudging promise I made back in January is slowly shifting from my narrow focus and drifting some place back to the side of life. Remember when the new year started and we all made new years resolutions or goals or promises or whatever you call them when the calendar says January 1? I remember. Sort of. Most days, some days. It may have been the long winter days that left me time to linger on that new imprint left on my heart...but as the days grew in hours of sunshine and time spent outdoors, I have let life distract me from His teaching to my soul.

Sometimes we see a dream for our-self and it is the people around us that show us how to get there. I wouldn't be surprised if someday when we all are standing before the King that I will look over and see my own people. My cheering section. My bleacher buddies. Because no matter what we set out to reach in life, most every time somebody is walking ahead of me, beside me, or is right behind me. And I almost always can just look up and find a place I can fill in.

Back in the cold Iowa days I took on the journey to find out what wearing love could like for me. It's been no small New Years goal... but perhaps more of a life long journey. New days, new years, new seasons, new places in life... I've yet to find a moment that is not showing me to wear love in a new way. A better way. Penciled in my notebook is pages of where...and why... but it is the how that I have struggled to write in. The "how" often keeps us from finishing the journey. We don't always know how to do what He calls us to. And lately I've learned that sometimes I just need to look around more and watch... For that hand full of people in front, besides, and behind me is usually some where on the how spectrum of doing great things in this life. Wearing love can only be great. He commands it and He models it and He teaches it. Many of my hurdles in life could be leveled if I could only learn the how more often of simply wearing love.

With the gentle summer breeze blowing in after a long cold winter, I have the windows open as well as my eyes. I see those around me. So many of them. Loving in deep, real, honest, and kind ways. I am encouraged to keep writing in the how-to's of this recent life-size dream to wear love well on my journey. I see so much good when I really look up and watch the hearts living close to me. I am inspired to love big and lead just the same. When the imprint fades, I simply only need to look around... for I can not deny the beauty that shines off the many people I'm living with.

I yearn to wear love as my best accessory in life. I'm blessed to borrow it from willing souls. I'm honored to share it as the days go by and the seasons change and the new years pass by. Today I'm reminded to wear love, for wherever I go somebody has already dressed the part. What a colorful life of good people He has created. Look for those around you today. Let them lead you, lead those following you, and brave the journey to love right where you are.

Friday, June 6, 2014

#FMFparty :: Hands

Trying a little something new here. As a reader and writer, I have several authors I love to follow around on social media and through my amazon cart. One of my newest favorites is a Mama...just like most of us. She recently released "Surprised by Motherhood" which you can buy here. Lisa-Jo Baker also hosts a little flash mob, but in writing style, each Friday. It sounds fun and challenging and I'm gonna dance with it this Friday! (Oh, and I would recommend her new book! I loved it and read through it very quickly!!)

If the hands of time could tell their story at the end of my day, I'm not sure I'd like what I sometimes see. We all wake up with the same amount of hours to use in a day. As mothers, we wonder how the hours in the day can be so long while the hours that make the year go always turn so fast. The truth is...I know the dailyness of diapers and dinner and dishes take up my time. I dress the babes and before I know it I'm already warming up the oven for that time of the day when we gather around saying grace and sharing a meal. Those hands move fast, but I take them slow so as not to miss the magic that happens in simply doing this life called motherhood. And some place between the morning and the night I lose some of those moments that tick away with the turning hands that never sleep...

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

If I had to guess, something is stealing your time. We've each been given the hours of a day to live life. To watch the hands of time turn in a way that brings Him glory. We start our day and end our day with moments worthy of His calling for each of us. Even as Mama's we can take the dirty and the do again's and the draining minutes of our day and make them count as our clocks turn and our calendars flip over to new years. The hands of time can tell a story of honor...and strength...and humility...and love...and discipline...and grace...and surrender. Our hands can show our homes that the minutes count and the people matter and what we do is accounted for. the palm of our hands when we choose for Him.