Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Through Eyes of Faith: Purses and 2014 and Letting Go

Through Eyes of Faith: Purses and 2014 and Letting Go: I love purses.  I love going to Taiwan and finding beautiful, lovely purses.  I love walking into a store and spotting a wonderful purse.  I...

Purses and 2014 and Letting Go

I love purses.  I love going to Taiwan and finding beautiful, lovely purses.  I love walking into a store and spotting a wonderful purse.  I love receiving purses.  In fact, I actually get giddy with excitement when someone gifts me with one.   So  consequently, I have a few of them.  I have a rubbermaid bin of purses that I have in my closet and I periodically change my purse out for a different one.  Some time ago,  I was looking at the bin and thinking that when I bought another one,  I would have to get rid of one.  And I have some that I can get rid of.  But it’s really hard to do so.  I have a few that are worn,  they really don’t work as well as they used to and they are definitely older than ones I usually use.  But I have kept them even though their usefulness has worn out.  Probably because I have so many memories attached to that purse or those purses.  Purses to me are like stories,  stories of trips to Taiwan or cruises or tours through New York.  They remind me of struggles I have been through or victories I have wrought.  They remind me of tickets held or beautiful notes from loved ones slipped in to one of the pockets.    They are like pictures, memories if you will.  But all the same,  I have to let go if I want to add a beautiful, more useful purse; if I want to feel the delight of smelling new leather  and seeing shiny accessories hanging from the purse; if I want to feel my heart beating faster as I put the purse on my shoulder and feel the way it tunes in with my body as I walk.

And I think that our lives are like that sometimes.  Sometimes we let our lives get so full of what is not useful to us that we don’t allow those things in that will free us or make us happy.  Sometimes,  we need to let go of that hurt or that worry or that fear,  in order to free our mind for the better things of life.  Sometimes we need to let go of that job we hate in order to find the job we love.  Sometimes we need to let go of bitterness in order to leave room for the freedom to find a new home in our mind.

Maybe it’s not a bad thing that we need to let go.  But maybe we need to simplify or streamline something in our lives.  Maybe we  have to just simply to let go of the good to grab ahold of the best.  

 A few months ago, we sang a song  in Church.

"Only You"

Take my heart, I Lay it down
At the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I'm letting go
I lift it up to You who's throned

And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I'm leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything

And It's just you and me here now
Only you and me here now

You should see the view
When it's only You

 Sometimes it is hard to let go.  Often it is painful.  That is our stuff.  Those are our memories.  Those are our dreams.   Those things are a part of our life.  But sometimes,  ever once in a while we need to let go so that we can make room for what really needs to be in our lives. 

It’s risky to let  go.  It’s daring.  Maybe you will regret it.  Maybe it will lead to unfamiliar territory.  Maybe you will hurt.  Maybe you will find yourself in a broken place.  Letting go is messy.  It’s unpredictable.

  Maybe, just maybe...

There are so many questions; so many variables. 

But we need to choose - with trembling hands,  to grab ahold of the courage that it takes to let go.  In 2014,  let’s leap into the new year,  without that which bogs us down,  without that which makes our lives more complicated than it ought.   Let’s give ourselves freedom to be what we need to be - to do what we need to do.  Let’s let go.

 What do you need to leave behind in 2013? What do you need to let go of today?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Leaving 2013

As 2014 approaches,  I have realized that 2013 taught me some hard lessons.   I wanted to share them with you. 

First of all,  I learned that I am an emotional eater.  I always knew this but didn’t know the extent of it.  At the beginning of the year,  I worked so hard to lose  weight, to be more fit and to be healthier.  And I was gaining ground.  When my father in law got sick,  I simply didn’t have time for the 1 1/2 hours I was putting into exercising and instead of reaching for the treadmill,  I didn’t have the strength to make the right choice - I reached for that piece of bread instead.  When you are an emotional eater,  you eat for comfort,  you eat because that seems to be a safe place,  you eat because you just don’t have the strength to make another decision about the 5 precious minutes that lay before you until you have to dive into the next thing in your day.  It doesn’t mean that you are lazy.  It doesn’t mean that you are not self controlled.  It doesn’t mean that you are inferior.  It means that you need to re train your mind as to what comforts you; what refuels you,  what energizes you.  For me,  I realized that I not only liked exercise and physical activity,  I NEEDED them.   I needed them to put me on the path of intention.  I needed to them to stay my focus.  I needed them for energy; and for comfort.  I also need art and reading and painting.  So the next time,  I feel like I don’t have time  for this,  I will remind myself that I can’t afford to let those things be shoved to the shelf - even in the name of sacrificing my time for others or for family.  Because in the end,  when I do the things that help me emotionally,  I am becoming a better woman for it.  I am becoming a better mom and a better wife, a better pastor.  I have to schedule time for these things in my week.  Its how God made me and the thing I learned the most this year, was to accept that part of my life and let it be ok for me to have some ME time. 

I learned that numbers mean too much to me but that’s  for another blog.

I learned that in the midst of pain and sorrow and tragedy,  I needed the comfort of my friends surrounding me,  carrying me through when I felt I couldn’t walk anymore even though they were limping themselves.    We needed each other desperately in this season of our lives and we have grown stronger, better and closer because of it. 

I learned that in this next year,  I want to write. I learned that I can navigate the dangerous parts of my life when I write.  I can sort things out in my spirit when I put it on paper.  I have been encouraged and spurred on by so many of you,  my readers, to write a book.  So that’s exactly what I am going to do.  (Thank you for that.)

I learned that you will never know when you will breathe your last breath.  And those things that are really important to you will be the things that you are glad that you did. I learned that  you need to search your soul and find what those things are.  And then you need to use that as a template to live an intentional life.    I don’t want bitterness and hardness and pain to have any place in my heart and in my mind when I am spending these precious little moments that I have on this beautiful earth.  I learned that regret shouldn’t share any space in my heart.  Hate shouldn’t taunt my mind,  hate of any kind,  threatening to steal my days and my attention.

  Even the Bible says that our time here on this earth is like a wisp - it’s like a vapor - spend it wisely.  Spend it lavishly but spend it intentionally.  Spend it with those  that you would love to be remembered by and with.   Move on from those who do not honor you or respect you or encourage you to live a good life.

The biggest thing that I learned from this year is that God’s grace carries me through.  When my friends don’t have the strength to do it anymore, when family is too weak to link arms and when I am just too weak and small and frail to do the journey of the day - He comes alongside of me and He sends me a scripture or a story or anything to help me through the day.  The scripture “His grace is sufficient” rings in my ears almost daily.  Because it is.  And He is.   This has been a tough year.  It started out with me puking in the new year,  followed closely by Dylan getting sent home from England and then it really went downhill from there.  There were so many painful things that happened this year that is not even related to my father in law dying.
But I am starting to realize that as much as I hate pain,  it is a part of life and it is okay. 
Pain is okay,  because pain means that you are alive,  pain means that you are real,  pain means that you haven’t blocked up your emotions and you are letting yourself feel the happiness as well as the pain.  Pain is okay,  because sooner or later,  you will feel that freedom of a painLESS season  and when you do,  it’s deeper, stronger, lovelier because you have known what it is like to be without.  You will have understood what it is like to try to put one foot in front of the other when you feel like you are walking through molasses.  You gain a new appreciation for the beauty around you.  You grab ahold of those wonderful seasons because you remember what it’s like to crave them - to be without them. 

I learned this year that I am weaker than I thought I was which made me stronger than I ever thought I could be.   When I was able to embrace my weakness,  when I was able to be honest about where I was in my life and in my journey even through the weakest parts of my life,  I found that that sparked a strength and a vitality in my spirit that I never knew I had.  It enabled me to draw on a strength that I had deep deep down in the belly of my being and to walk on - knowing that the next day I will still be here; knowing that the sun WILL shine on the darkened skies again,   I WILL still be loving God,  I WILL still be believing in life, I WILL still be celebrating the beautiful moments of my journey.    That strength,   my friend,  doesn’t come from being strong all the time. It comes from being weaker than you ever thought possible and still walking forward. 

As I leave 2013,  I will be glad to say good bye to a year that held a lot of pain.  But I have to recognize that I will  never again be the same - in a good way.  The lessons I learned this year are what have made me who I am today.

 And I dance - no, I leap into 2014 and I believe that there is a whole lot more laughter waiting for me in the coming year!