Do you ever feel like a failure?

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You know,
those days where you want to lay down and quit.

This morning started to feel like failure.

I woke promptly, without an alarm at 5:30.

This surprised me since my husband had received a call at 2:30 and neither of us has been able to go back to sleep easily.

Yet as I lay there talking with the Lord I realized why I was awake so early.

Today is the first day of the State Track and Field.

Bell will be running today.

The bus is leaving at 8am for the two hour drive.

I wanted to be sure to get a solid breakfast ready for her as well as a lunch.

I thanked the Lord for my early morning and quietly snuck out of the room.

As breakfast prep was nearly finished my thoughts turned to lunch prep.

Shoot.

No bread.

There’s a sandwich leftover from yesterday’s lunch.

AWESOME!

I washed, peeled, and sliced carrots.

Coach said she needed some easy carbs.

I’ll bake muffins.

There’s no milk.

At this point my attitude began to degrade.

I thought about the 45 min drive to town yesterday when I could have purchased all these needed items.

I thought about my carelessness of not saving some milk.

I thought…

I’m still in control. Do you trust Me?

-sigh-

Yes, Lord, I trust You.

I stopped and confessed my sin of thinking this was all my own effort, of leaning on my own strength, of being willing to allow circumstances to hinder my morning.

I just stopped completely and prayed.

After getting my heart back to order, I told the Lord I trusted Him to guide me even in this.

Remember the crazy cake.

Hmmm….

Yes, it’s a recipe I received from a friend years ago, who upon hearing me explain I had not made a cake for one of our children on account of no eggs and no milk.

She had been so sweet about it and explained it didn’t require either and was easy to make.

Where on earth is the recipe?

It’s in your holiday binder.

I’ve never made it before.

There’s always a first time.

You’re right Lord!

So when Bell came in the kitchen her breakfast was hot, her lunch was nearly finished, and her mom was smiling.

I explained that as soon as the cake was done it would be packed into her lunch and she’d be set.

As we joined together to pray for her before she headed to the bus I could focus on the words without so much as a hint of failure.

On my own things go poorly.

But God never asked me to do it without Him.

How good it is to trust in the Lord.♡

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Roses from ashes

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That’s me!

The one missing a tooth.

My sister and I are sitting on our big brother.

It was one of our favorite things he would do.

When visiting on leave from the military he’d put on his suit and move the furniture.

Then he’d get down on his hands and knees and say, “Now get a good tight hold.”

I’d climb onto his back and stick my toes into his pockets.

I’d grip the back of his suit like I could hold on forever.

Then I’d laugh and say, “Okay!”

He’d jump and buck till I could hold on no longer.

I’m certain he was doing it carefully as I never got hurt.

Neither did my sister.

We absolutely loved it.

I remember on time my parents opening a package from him and inside was a framed fabric covered in foreign coins.

Another time he was on leave and my mom needed a sitter.

He gladly offered to watch us.

I remember him being in the kitchen trying to make us Campbell’s.

I kept checking on him since I was hungry and yet there wasn’t any soup heating.

Finally, he asked me where the can opener was.

I quickly fished out the only one.

He was puzzled.

“No Hopie, I mean the big can opener. This is a camping one.”

I shook my head and explained it was the only one I knew about.

He was surprised but made us lunch anyway.

I remember him asking my mom about it when she returned.

She explained that it was the only one they had.

It wasn’t long before he bought her a “big” can opener.

These memories are precious to me.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want and as much as I’d like to say I could go on and on with stories about my brother, I can’t.

I never really knew what happened.

Yet my childhood memories are all I have of him.

He cut all ties with everyone.

We have tried to find him.

When my dad was killed in a freak accident we tried.

When news that our sister (my older, his younger) was dieing we tried.

But to no avail.

Yet God was still working.

Recently, my oldest brother received word from our niece.

After battling cancer, our brother had died and she had spent more than a month trying to find him to tell him.

He got in touch with my mom and she contacted me.

I cried.

Pulled it together and called him.

He’s a great guy and I dearly love both him and his wife.

He got me our niece’s phone number and I called.

Since then we are getting to text.

She even helped me get in touch with one of our sister’s sons.

It has been wonderful.

I have praised the Lord for bringing our family back together.

I’m excited to see what He’s going to do next.

The photograph was sent to me in a text by my beautiful niece.

I had told her of my memories of her dad playing with me and my sister.

Her voice became full of emotion and said, “I’ve been going through pictures and found one of my dad with two little girls on his back and I wished I knew who they were.”

Through my tears I responded, “It has to be me and my sister. ”

Days later she sent me another text with a picture.

She asked, “Do you recognize this?”

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“Yes! That’s me.”

How much it blesses my heart to know our brother might not have kept in touch, but he did keep our pictures.

What beautiful roses have been growing from the ashes of missing years!

What an incredible love God has for us!

I’m forgiven!

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The ocean.

A beach.

It has been a place I’ve never grown weary of.

Possibly because I don’t live close enough to be bothered by the unsavory.

Yet the waves ever washing the sand bring to me a calm.

The rhyme and rhythm of salty hands polishing every stone as they pass.

In and out bringing beauty of foam and sting to the air.

Peace.

The ocean beating on the beach speaks so loudly of a God who set them in motion and constantly watches over all of His creation.

The constant washing of the waves brings into focus the way Jesus has washed my soul from the blacked death we call sin.

As I think on the miles and miles of coast, the depths of the ocean we know so little about, or take in the massive forms of the beasts who live there my heart swells.

In all His wisdom and grace and ability God created each cell, amoeba, and every grain of sand.

Certainly, I can place my trust in Him.

Surely, He is able to shoulder my needs and cares.

Definitely, He is my every need and the fullness of all I desire.

For at the bottom of all Jesus has forgiven me of my sin and saved me from living for myself.

He has renewed my life daily by teaching me through His word the joys of life to the fullest, not in position or possession, but in service and love of those around me.

In each day I can see His hand.

I can feel His love

and praise Him for His forgiveness.

Blessed be the name of the LORD!

Hidden beauty

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Weighty,

intertwining,

jumbled,

I managed to untangle limb after limb and drag them across the yard.

Two of our trees needed to come down and the task of starting to clean up was my object for the day.

These trees were large and therefore it was work.

As I rounded a corner heading back to the tree I stopped.

Just behind a fern.

Out of sight from the main.

Hidden and beautiful.

These little purple pansies, reminders of last Spring when I planted purple pansies in the same area.

We had snow again this winter so I had zero expectations of seeing a single pansy since I have planted that number this Spring.

Yet, there they were.

Hidden beauty.

I thanked the Lord for them.

Took a picture and went back to work on the tree limbs.

The thought of hidden beauty made me look deeper.

What other beauties have I been missing?

How have I passed over the beauty in those around me?

What beauty has God placed inside of me that I’m ignoring?

Thankfulness came to mind first.

Being thankful is such a blessing and yet I seem to miss it frequently.

Joy was next to peek out.

How often do I allow the busy to rob me of daily joy in Christ?

Peace and trust.

What amazingly beautiful gifts these are.

And how I want to be a lady who is full of both, the peace of God which passes all understanding and the trust in Him which puts to death fear and failure.

So the next time I pass the tree with the pansies, I’m going to let it be a reminder to pray.

Dear Father God,

Please help me to pay more attention to the hidden gifts and blessings all around me. Show me how to walk as a woman who is full of peace, trust, joy, and thankfulness. Help me to reflect Jesus to those around me. Thank You for the flowers, what a wonderful reminder!

Time change

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They weren’t open when I left.

It’s only been a few days.

The unfurled crimson has completely transformed these once spiky green stalks into beauty.

I’m so thankful for every bud and bloom.

I love flowers.

They seem so fitting today.

The sun is out.

The sky is blue with just a few puffs of whiteness to decorate.

And I’m reminded of how great God is.

How good God is.

How loving God is.

Only in Him can I find true meaning, fulfillment, and joy.

Only in these moments of stillness before Him do I seem to be able to drink in His awesomeness.

AWESOME

Only God is truly awe inspiring, because with every mountain peek or earth shattering waterfall which instills a sense of awe, He is the Creator.

With every sonnet and ballad and marvelous instrumentals we call Beethoven, Mozart, or Mendelssohn even in those He was the author.

Truly, there is so much to be amazed by.

Especially when times are difficult and life is overwhelming.

What a beautiful wonderful God!

Let all creation sing His praises!

One of those days

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Ever have a day when you feel like you’re the only one trying and everyone else is standing around watching?

Well, I can think of a few times I’ve felt at least like one of the few who were giving an effort.

Yet, it is a twisted view of reality.

As I stood watching Bell jump and then as I stood watching her run.

I was far from just watching.

My heart beats and my throat tightens when I watch our children competing or performing in some way.

I truly want them to do their best, no matter the outcome.

Yet, I am rarely sure if I’ve been able to transfer my passion to my child.

Does she understand how much I want her to be able to give it her all?

Do they know how much I love them and how little I care about the actual event?

Do they truly understand I’m proud of who they are not what they do or accomplish?

Honestly, I’m not sure.

Yet, with all of my desire to support and encourage my kids I’m forced to look farther.

How many people has God sent who feel the same way about my children as I do?

How many people in my own life are supporting and encouraging me?

No matter how much I might feel I’m the only one trying, it isn’t truth.

The truth is there are people all around supporting and encouraging.

The truth is: God is working continually to provide, train, encourage, and hone each one of us.

He’s not just watching from the sidelines, He’s in the center of it all, working our mistakes, our sins, and our troubles into opportunities.

Yes, when we refuse to listen to the “coach” we don’t preform as well, but He’s still speaking.

He’s still working.

He’s my leader,
my comfort,
my coach,
MY SAVIOR!

Grief

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Like this leaf, in which the chlorophyll has decayed some days just seem to be missing a key element.

I know it is because of the circumstances.

My work day began with news of my grandmother’s death.

This was compounded by a student having a really poor day.

When I returned home I felt more exhausted than usual, probably due to the emotional drain.

I love those kids at school and it hurts me to see them making poor choices.

I love my grandmother and although her health was fragile, which I was well aware, I’m sad.

Many good things happened yesterday and I was very thankful.

Sis and our wonderful son-in-law came by fora visit.

Earlier another friend of the family had dropped by for a visit.

Yet, I still struggled to find joy in my day due to my grief.

But I know it was there.

Even in loss there is comfort.

Even in trials there is guidance.

Especially in pain there is purpose.

The things that went well out weigh the things which didn’t.

I was able to get a card and candy bar as a birthday gift, thanks to the Lord reminding me and the help of the girls.

Thanks to the willingness of Sis, Bell found the gown she’s to wear to prom in a beautiful dress her sister owns.

Thanks to my husband’s job, he and I will be traveling on a much needed weekend together. He’s being sent on a training, but I get to tag along and we can spend the evenings together.

Most of all, thanks be to God.

As I walk through each day I can clearly see God working.

I can rest in His arms knowing He will carry me through.

How great and awesome is He!