Favorite Things…Tuesday: I Needed to Calm Down Edition

I had a Favorite Things Monday: ROAR Edition that was just about ready to roll, then I just couldn’t.

Yesterday, all the noise reached a max volume for me. The finger pointing, name calling, self-righteous soapboxes, assumptions…you name it.

I wanted to rant but then I feel like the problem. I don’t exactly have a solution but that wasn’t it.

It was not just politics. It felt like it was in everything.

How you raise your kids. How you vote and how that TOTALLY TELLS ME WHO YOU ARE. How you eat. How you don’t care. How the season premier of the Walking Dead affected you. What you should do instead. Who you should vote for instead. What you should watch instead. Read this book about parenting instead. Get it right, instead of wrong. Hashtags and sharing don’t change minds, hearts or accomplish anything. Yup, I’m looking at you #justsaying #truth.

Remember life before the internet? I barely do. I do just enough to be able to tell my kids how good they have it. Information and connection is great until it isn’t all information and we aren’t connected.

Remember life without all the noise? It’s hard to remember.

Remember that we do have some control over the volume? I needed to.

Driving home yesterday…and what felt like a good 4 hours before I finally felt like I was calming down, I laughed at myself.

I was ranting about self-righteous soapboxes, then realized I was going to tell you, dear reader, what I prayed.

I have written about David’s prayer in Psalm 139, a few times. I think it’s one of those crazy prayers. Sort of like Isaiah’s, “here am I, send me” or the bold and audacious New Testament prayers. Jesus praying in the Garden is the big winner but this one always gets my attention.

I can’t even say that I was so offended, because I wasn’t. I was annoyed and tired…and maybe a little hungry. Other than pray and eat a snack, I had no other solution for how I was feeling.

So I prayed the scripture I have had memorized since I was 12.

Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, Oh God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there be any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

Instead of getting annoyed by noise, I needed to stop and ask God to do in my heart what I could not. I need Him to quiet me. I needed Him to show me. I needed His perspective. His grace.

I needed to calm down. I think I am ok now.

For all of us in desperate need of the perspective shift, you are in good company today. It is possible and we won’t find it looking at ourselves.

We got this.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Things Monday – Pictures and the Whole Story Edition

I am a big fan of and believer in a whole story. Don’t just show me a crowd, tell me how it got there. Don’t write a book about something without telling me how it came to be. Tell me the good times, the hard times, why something makes you laugh when everyone else is quiet. Tell me why something makes you cry and what triggered it. Tell me where you came from, what you have been through and how you are standing today. Tell me where your strength comes from. Tell me about how you were faithful when it broke your heart. Tell me about the song, the book, the non-profit, the for-profit, the church that started as a dream. Tell me about how you failed, succeeded and how they all made you who you are.

Pictures can do me in. While there are plenty of fancy favorites, the candid shot can be lots of fun.

Here are a few worth celebrating.

October 14, 1989 was a great day.

These two… They just celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. TWENTY SEVEN YEARS! I was 7 when they got married. When I was in bible college, a speaker talked about how two people coming together in marriage is supposed to change a family for the better. This didn’t come as a surprise to me. These two have set quite the example.

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It’s not because they have modeled perfection (because no one does), but because they have modeled standing side by side. The good times and the bad. The beautiful and unimaginable. The trusting Jesus and standing together. Matt and Rhonda…the real MVP’s.

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Also, thanks to them, I expected marriage to be a lot of fun.

 

October 14, 2010 broke my heart.

It has been 6 years since we lost my cousin Kevin to a hard fight with cancer. I had never lost anyone close to me till this. I didn’t know my heart could feel that way. I can still hear the way he would call me “Chantilly”. For the record, no one is allowed to call me that. There was only one. I still see or hear things and know exactly how he would have responded. It makes me laugh and want to cry. Cancer sucks, but it doesn’t get to win.

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This past Sunday.

I love the picture that Tracy got of Ray and I. It looks super sweet and on purpose. Reality? I was giving him a hard time about how he was attempting to pacify my request for a picture. True love.

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Then he preached a really really awesome message.

Here is more photo reality.

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Life can be so weird and so difficult and so good and sweet and this can all take place on the same day.

The whole story. Not just snap shots but what they mean. Bring it! Don’t be scared. The whole story points to all that Christ came to redeem. It points to what makes you who you are. It all matters.

 

 

 

Favorite Things Monday – Date Night Edition

Our weekends tend to move at warped speed this time of year. I’m not mad about it. It’s the time of year where you can still be outside and it’s still pretty warm by noon. The sun sets a little early, cooling everything off at least a tiny bit. The madness doesn’t come from any holiday stress. It’s the full stuff of life.

This weekend ended with a date night. After an awesome Sunday morning, Ray and I went out for lunch and enjoyed the afternoon. I never regret a Sunday afternoon nap. Even when I wake up not knowing what day it is and my ears feel fuzzy, naps are not something you regret.

I laugh at what became of our evening. ACL was still happening downtown, so we decided to stay a little further north. What started as dinner plans ended up with us at Trader Joe’s and enjoying dinner at home. I’m not even sorry. Sometimes the perfect date is a night out and others call for a night in. I am a quality time junkie. My love language: quality time, words of affirmation and coffee. When life gets crazy, time is what makes my heart happy.

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And yes, Duke had to be close by. He’s a food mooch and tends to be that thing watching you eat.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this weekend was a favorite.

Sunday morning just plain felt special. From the moment Erica prayed before worship practice, there was a special calm and the presence of God was so real. Our time of worship on Sunday was precious and powerful and I didn’t want that to end. I love what God is doing.

Our world feels so chaotic. Hurricanes hitting fragile nations and our own coast, clowns, fear, loud and angry, loud and disgruntled, finger-pointing, politics and elections (Jesus. Take. The. Wheel). All. The. Noise. It’s all too much. Or is it? I mean, it is. Don’t get me wrong, it all is. It’s too much, but it is not the boss.

When the mess seems big, remember that our God is bigger and the peace that surpasses understanding is real.

 

 

Favorite Things Monday – Discouragement, the Fight and Soccer Mom Problems

Monday. We meet again. I loved every bit of this weekend. It started with family and ended with a living room full of women from church.

Today’s post is where I have been. Grateful for where we are and what God is allowing me to see and experience in this season. I wholeheartedly believe and know that the best is yet to come.

How is the hard thing a favorite thing? I get to talk about it and it doesn’t win.

Confession: As of lately, discouragement hits me like a freaking freight train. This started just before the first week of the school year. It comes out of the blue and honestly, I don’t know why. I am a big believer in shaking off the dust, take it to Jesus and trust Him, let it go…

Until it wouldn’t shake.

This appears to come out of nowhere. After writing a blog post celebrating 5 years or a really awesome Sunday morning comes as a surprise.

I know where this comes from. I know the truth. The truth doesn’t change with my feelings, but this feeling was sneaky and different.

The discouragement still hits like a freight train.

Then some perspective happened…

Confession: I am that Mom. More specifically, I am that soccer mom.

Last week, Sophia had a game. This is not out of the ordinary. What appeared to be out of the ordinary was that the other team’s families got to our field early and was spread out across our field in tents (like it was some sort of family gathering). Most of the time, you stick to a side because of common sense…and courtesy. It appears as if they try to keep us in one little area while they spread all over our sideline (because they were, they totally were).

While the other team’s families weren’t yelling anything wrong, I had issues with how they “encouraged”. The encouragement went a little more like “ get your shoulder in there”, instead of “play aggressive”, “you got this”, “go team go”. I failed to mention that these girls were much larger than our girls and their shoulders sat quite a bit higher than ours.

I’d had it. While yelling is one thing, trying to psych out my girls with their less than encouraging banter wasn’t going over well with me.

I went full on “that mom”. You come at my girls? I’m gonna be the loudest voice. Whether or not Sophia was on the field, those girls were going to know that I believed they could do it.

I got smack in between two family tents and yelled, cheered, jumped up and down, told them that they were faster, told them they had this, called them by name and I didn’t care who was looking. At one point, I seriously considered busting out with the chorus of ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’ at a few individuals. We play them again this season. You guys might wanna pray for me. My friends said I was showing my dominance. Come at me, my voice will be louder.

Our girls won.

The perspective hit the next day. 

Where was my fight? What was I doing to combat what was going on inside of me?

There is a lot of fight in me. I have fought for a lot of things. Purpose is worth fighting for. Sanity is worth fighting for. My family, my church…come on, now. 

How dare I take what was going on in my head and my heart lightly…

I fought for those girls. I wasn’t going to let someone else’s hater talk distract them from playing the game that they were going to win. I wasn’t going to let another voice be louder than mine. I wasn’t going to stand by and let someone else them get discouraged…

So my fight… And I do mean fight…

Sometimes I need to get loud. I need to remember who the boss is and who is not. I need to remember where I fight from and what I fight for.

Ephesians 6:10-12 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 

The reality is that we win. The fact is the fight is real. The truth is that the battle isn’t mine but the Lord’s and I am well equipped. Apparently, I needed another reminder and God had a way of using U-11 select soccer to remind me of the fight in me.