Monthly Archives: February 2015

ROAD MAP

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I can read a road map.

I can tell you which direction we are heading and road numbers. If we are traveling together, I will navigate you there. I’m great at it….

Remember when you found how to get from place to place was a Rand McAnally Road map? My grandfather was a genius at finding the quickest route to get where he was going. He knew the roads and the road numbers. He could tell you how to get anywhere in the state of Texas. Most people didn’t understand him or all the road numbers he would throw around.

I am just like him. I know road numbers and how to get to where I am going by the shortest route.

Well maybe, with the exception of being in a hotel. I get so turned around… My friend/co-worker Julie and I were in Tyler a couple of weekends ago for a basketball tournament. We would walk out our door and I would go the wrong way EVERY time. She laughed at me constantly. I swore I was great with directions… She still isn’t so sure of that.

Navigating roads and directions are easy.

Especially now, with GPS and Google maps on our phones. All we have to do is plug in where we want to go and it tells us every step to take. Easy.

Life not so much. My road map is different than yours. Mine was articulated and well mapped out, or so I thought. Turned out mine was littered with land mines.  Never saw it coming..

I’ve found that in life quicker may not be better.

The quickest way results in lessons forefeited. Or feelings buried. Or….you fill in the blank. Sometimes we reach a fork in the road and we have no idea which way to go. There is no navigation system which will tell us the way to go. I can’t just spout out where I want to go, or don’t want to go for that matter, and the GPS will tell me. Doesn’t work that way.

You could be single and wanting to be in relationship. Or you’ve just found yourself single after a long marriage. Your best friend has pushed you away and you don’t understand. Your parents are older and need help. Your children are lost and fragmented and you have no idea how to help them proceed. Maybe you lost your job or you are looking for a new one. It really doesn’t matter where you find life has taken a detour off the straight path called your life.

There is a great NAVIGATOR and His name is Jesus. His word is full of directions and answers to wherever you find yourself lost. It’s hard.

The only time limit I have is from this moment until I take my last breath.

 I have one such direction on a notecard in my Bible: Proverbs 4.25-27

“ Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”

This requires me to do my part.

See what lies before you. If a massive tree(or problem) has fallen on your path. I’m learning this.

Go over it.  However long it takes. I’ve realized I have time to learn. I want to learn this the right way, so I don’t repeat it.

Not around it. The danger with going around it is this: we get sidetracked, lured by things we have no business being sucked in by. It takes self-control. If I have Jesus in front of me, then my eyes are locked into His, then my path is safe. Don’t be in hurry to get there. Face the road. See the pitfalls. Avoid them.

Proverbs 2. 6-8

“For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him.”

He is our Navigator! He speaks knowledge and gives us understanding. He knows where we want to be. He hears our hearts. He knows we truly don’t want to go there or have to walk through that tough thing. Whatever that thing may be.

I only have one question for you. Have you taken a detour around? If so, its ok. I’ve done it. Listen.  I promise you He’s telling you…. You can hear and obey or you can shut him down(like you do your GPS when it takes you in a circle). There are no circles with Him. It’s your choice to go around and around. His path is straight.

Your help comes from the maker of heaven and earth. He knows your road and He has a map to  lead you where He needs you to go.

I’m praying for you. Hoping you will be courageous enough to go over it with your eyes fixed on Him.


IT USUALLY HITS ME ON FRIDAY

Remember the song from the 80’s,

Working for the Weekend

Everybody’s working for the weekend

Everybody wants a little romance

Everybody’s goin’ off the deep end

Everybody needs a second chance, oh

You want a piece of my heart

You better start from start

You wanna be in the show

Come on baby lets go

Yes, I realize I just gave away my age.  But, we sang it at the top of our lungs every Friday morning on the way to school.  It was the excitement of dragging main street, blaring your horn and hanging with your friends.

I love Friday mornings, I’m up and at school by around 7am provided Starbucks isn’t down to one expresso machine and makes me arrive 15 minutes late. High school girls Bible study is the highlight of my Friday’s! I get to connect with these girls as they lead us through their life verses.  I’m amazed they are being vulnerable and sharing their stories with each other. Developing trust.

It usually hits me on Friday.

What is it you ask?

I tried hard to have a crucial conversation with myself.  Be self-aware. It’s normal.  Everyone feels it.  Especially if you are living on your own for the first time ever.  I found myself rationalizing it away.

My good friend Crystal actually was courageous enough to write a blog post about it herself. She posted the day before Valentine’s Day.   She wrote it. I read it. I sobbed through it.  I texted her and told her thanks for being courageous enough to go there.  She texted back and said I was thinking of you as I wrote it.  (If you’d like to read it here’s the link:  http://t.co/f7KBQmbrIU ) The quote that stands out is this:

We need to sit with it for a minute and let it be real.” 

So I did. A week later. Friday night.

LONELINESS

Here’s how my conversation went yesterday evening:

Me: Today has been hard. Not sure why. Just a sad day. I’m glad to be home and in front of  the fire.

Friend: feeling alone?

Me: Not alone.

Me: Lonely

Me: Hate it

Me: It usually hits me on Friday (I was on a bullet point roll)

She listened and encouraged me. She just let me go……

Me: It’s ok. Just need to walk through.

Face it

Feel it.

Know I will survive it.

It cannot be fixedYou have to face it. Feel it. Walk through it.

You simply just want someone to hold you and tell you everything is going to be ok.  Please know, there are people I can call and make plans with.  Don’t feel sorry for me.  It’s where I am and you can’t fix it.

I have to walk through it.

If I don’t walk through it, how in the world will I be able to relate to you when you go through it?  By the way, walking through it is different for everyone. Please walk through it.  Someone needs you to.  YOU need to.

I have to face it.  

Yes, I have to see it, call it by name, and look it dead in the eye.

I have to say, “you are not going to win this one.”

Loneliness will not win. Once it has been called out, it no longer has a grip on me.  Hard to face. But harder, to stuff deep inside. The ramifications are enormous if I stuff. So I name it OUT LOUD. There’s a comfort in voicing it.

Whatever you do, don’t run from it.

I have to feel it.

It’s ok to cry.  It’s ok to be angry about it. Sad.

Just don’t get caught up in there for too long.

Being vulnerable is raw and scary.  The older I get, the less time I have to stuff and not deal. Let it out; it’s ok.

Give yourself permission. 

I’m learning not to put up a front.  Right now, there are a hand full of people who I can just be how I am at the moment. They read my 3am emails.  They pray. Why? Because they have walked similar roads.  They’ve chosen to be vulnerable with me. Not once have they shamed me because of how I’m feeling. They are trustworthy.

Me: Just for today, I am not going to be tough or strong. Going to let go.

Know I will survive: 

It’s funny when you are tired and worn down how everything looks like you are at the end of the world.  How do I know you will survive? The same way I do. Choosing to own it, going to bed and getting up the next morning. Today already seems brighter and yet the sun is not even ready to come up. You may choose to write about it, or pray, or open up to someone.

You will survive. You are not alone.  There is someone who has faced it and survived before you. Find them.

Just so you know, my boys surprised me last night and stopped by. Ordered pizza, sprawled out and just loved on me. Maybe they sensed how I was feeling, yesterday and decided to come love on their mom. Most likely, not, but I will take it.  It eased a lot of the pain and hurt I was experiencing.

The last words of my friend:

Girl. Let it out.

Just don’t go shack up!!! (Which sent me to the floor laughing so hard!!!!!)

In other words, don’t fix stupid with stupid. Don’t numb it with sin(ex. Shacking up with someone). You want to FACE your loneliness with obedience…I can only do this with the Lord’s help.

It’s Saturday, which means I made it through one more Friday. See there’s hope!!

I know you can too.


CONTEND

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You’ve fought before? Contended for something? Right? Doesn’t matter the circumstances, we’ve all had a moment when we feel like some injustice was done to us or against someone we care about.  Right? Surely, I’m not the only one.

I’m going to admit I’m struggling with this.

What do you do when a friend tells you not to defend her? Is it my responsibility or not? I realize there are no pat answers; pat answers are the easy way out.

Fight. Contend. Oppose. 

I’ve waged war within myself on this the last few weeks.  Pros/Cons.  Looked at every angle. Seen every side. Still don’t know what to do.

It’s the way God created me. A protector. A defender. It’s natural to me.

It breaks my heart to see someone hurt for being misjudged. My insides are twisted up. Burdened.

“DON’T MAKE ME COME OUT THERE!”

And yet, when I’m not clear, I do nothing verbally or physically.. Seems logical. Practical. Less threatening.

Here’s my thought: If you have been misjudged, lied about, slandered, demoted, gossiped about, or you’ve been thrown under the bus by someone, and you are dear to me…I want to contend/fight to the death. (this might possibly be a time where my mouth gets me in trouble) You see where I’m going with this don’t you?

When is it the right time to contend something?

I’m not sure the timing to be honest.

Psalm 35.1

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.

Psalm 35.23 

Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord.

Isaiah 49:25

But this is what the Lord says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.

Deuteronomy 1:30

The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes

Deuteronomy 3:22

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.”

I think I’ve gotten mixed up in something I have no business getting into the middle of. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve jumped in the middle of what God is trying to do. The above scriptures prove He is willing to contend for me. For you. Yes, you. I need to let Him. You need to let Him. His voice and action carry so much more authority, than my childlike temper tantrum.

It’s not my job. Not yours either.

It’s God’s.  You are in much more capable hands than mine. You see, you are worth more to Him than you can imagine.  Quite simply, He’s going to contend for you and on your behalf. He will take care of you. He will give you grace to go through. He will give you power in the moment.  Why will He do this?  Because you are His.  He has the authority to.

I’m protective of the ones I love, but my goodness, He’s so much more than me.

Please Lord, contend for those who need it this moment. Fight for them.


Band of Misfits

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His name was Charlie…..and he was the sentry for the Island of Misfit Toys. You remember the Misfit toys? Rudolf….

In the classic cartoon movie, Rudolf quickly realizes he doesn’t fit the “status quo” of reindeer; he begins the search for a group who will accept him.The reason Charlie was a misfit.. simple,he was a Jack-in-the-box. The status quo would have told him his name should have been Jack, but no. He doesn’t even get to choose to be a misfit, he’s just dealt that hand. In one of the greatest lines in the entire show, Rudolf speaks so wisely to Charlie, ” We are all misfits, maybe we can live here too!”

I’m a misfit. I have flaws, too many here to mention. If I were a betting woman, you have flaws too. Welcome to the club.

I’m surrounded by people who tell me they don’t fit. I love misfits. Why? Just like Charlie, I am lucky to have other misfits surround me and speak truth into my life.

God loves them and has a critical place for them in His kingdom to do work only they can do. I have a close knit group of friends. When I look at them I see a group of women who don’t fit in. We’ve been judged and put into a category or labeled: misfit.

Want to know why we fit together? 

God brought us together. Reason enough. But, He always has a plan. We created a non-profit to help those around us in times of great distress. Certainly not the only reason we are together, as we’ve chosen to live life together. God knew we needed each other. We would need voices of reason, when there was none.

I don’t fit. I am a misfit.

Recently, I attended the Catalyst conference, a conference for leaders of all ages. It had been dream of mine to attend this conference for over 2 years. It was outstanding!! AsI looked down the row to my left, I saw a row of 20 something misfits. From the looks of it, I don’t fit in that scenario, and to be honest, as I’ve gotten to know each of them better, they don’t think they fit either. But we have that one common denominator that made our row ‘fit’… Jesus.”

If I am completely honest here, I knew at the age of 18 I was called into ministry. Throughout my college years, I was a Youth Pastor and loved it.  At age 51 who does this? Well, I guess, I do.  I have a group of them I meet regularly with. We laugh, we cry, we glean much from each other. I know I learn more from them than they do me.

They are each trying to find their place to fit. They are learning to lead and to lead well. They are learning not to be jealous of each other’s gifts and talents. They are learning they lead differently and that’s ok. They are learning to meet the needs of these kids they serve and be their family outside of their family.

But, I’ve also heard all of them say, I don’t fit. They are being real and vulnerable. They are learning to trust. They aren’t afraid to voice their imperfections and confess their sin.

One of the things I noticed, is we don’t fit alone.

In other words, how can you fit alone? You can’t. God didn’t intend for us to fit alone. He created us to fit together.

Sometimes, it takes awhile to find where you fit. That’s ok.

I don’t think Jesus chose His disciples by looking for those around Him who were wandering aimlessly, most them were already established.  I’m not sure they fit until they met Jesus. Meeting Him, was the thing that fit them together and yet, not fit in the world.  They were misfits.

It will be rocky; this fitting together. It’s worth the risk and the vulnerability.

It’s worth the energy and the love and the grace.

 

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Oh man, I can totally relate. Uniqueness misunderstood. Let’s see some people through a different lens. See them for who God created them to be. Not be judgmental. Love…..intently and with fierceness.

The cool thing is, we aren’t on an island. We aren’t isolated and blocked from the world. We are right in the middle, reaching other misfits.