Happy Birthday?

I received a notification for a birthday reminder on Facebook, today. I don’t think that person is on Facebook very much. But, I have their phone number. So, I decided to send a “Happy Birthday” text message instead. Seemed more thoughtful. However, after they thanked me, they ended with, “it’s just another day, another year.” And my heart hurt. As I reread the message for clarity, I couldn’t help the sadness that overtook me each time I explained to myself that this person felt that they weren’t worth celebrating. 

Sure, I’ve had birthdays that I longed to hear from someone that was no longer a part of my life, but, I’m able to say those thoughts were fleeting and drowned out by all of the other well wishes and love I’d received. How sad for this friend of mine, that there wasn’t one person that was willing to give her the chance to instead reply, “my birthday was great!” And how sad that if and when they were given the chance, they didn’t seize it. 

As I searched for the right words to say back to her via Google, I have to admit, as much as I love google, it failed me. I couldn’t find a single quote, article, or blog that explained why a birthday wasn’t just another day. So, I decided to write it myself. To say to my friend (and maybe you) why it’s more than just another day and another year. 

1. Sometimes, when I’m not sure of the look I’m going for and the mirror won’t agree with me, I run into you, and you take the time to stop, smile and look me in the eyes and say, “Hi, beautiful.”

2. Sometimes, when I’m beating myself up about something I’ve done or said that I shouldn’t have, I see you and you say, “Hi, precious.” Even when I don’t feel very precious. 

This lets me know that you understand. You must know what it’s like to feel ugly, sometimes. Inside and out. How else would you be able to make it your life’s purpose to give a brief yet meaningful smile and compliment? 

Take the time out today, to ponder who you are to those around you. And in case that is too difficult a task, (after all, if it were that easy you’d do it all the time, right?) then I will tell you. You matter. The world and the people around you are better because of the big and little things that you do. Even the people you don’t know but, pass on the street. You’re worth celebrating. Every single day. Someone held on because of you. 

Advertisements
Standard

Do You Know the Cost?

Studying a book about leadership and obedience to God, my mom posed the question: Do you know the cost?


Every week I come down with the Monday morning blues. I thought it was just me, but I’ve heard other people express it. It’s not because the weekend is full of fun and Monday is just a reminder of the long work week ahead. But, because Monday reminds me that time is passing. A new week is starting and I’m not prepared, and before I can catch myself, I’m thinking of everything in life (or the prior week for that matter), that I have not accomplished. The day changing into Monday represents, to me, time moving forward, whether I want it to or not. And since I like to have control (sometimes…just a little bit), Mondays are just that something I can’t stop, avoid or control.

There are things I want for myself so badly that it physically hurts. I even have it all worked out in my head how I would like to obtain them. But, having them would mean turning my back on God because, even though I don’t know His detailed plan for my life, I know what He doesn’t want for my life at this moment. And to be honest, to answer the question, no I don’t understand the cost. If I did, Mondays would be easy for me. And I wouldn’t have a tug of war contest with God at 5:40 a.m. every Monday morning. 

So, I can’t honestly say that I understand the cost and all that it entails…that’s too big for my tiny, ever racing mind. And because my pea brain can’t grasp the magnitude of the cost, I trust the One who does know it all. The One who knows that I don’t really understand the cost, but gives me the chance to do what He says even though my flesh cries out, daily. I don’t know the cost, but I know it’s important to God. And because I love Him and trust Him, I do it, hurting and afraid.

 

Standard

Are you looking for love?  You already have it!

Monday night class at our church started off as classes for ministers in training. But, over time, it became an in depth studying of God’s word and our personal lives. This group varies in age, title, interests, etc… But, we all share one thing in common. A thirst for more of God by any means necessary. We have become one another’s sounding board, confidantes, cheerleaders and accountability partners, promising to do our best with God’s help to leave none behind. 

Last night’s classroom discussion was, “What makes you nervous?” Everyone rambled on about their fears and doubts and we all found that most of what causes our palms to sweat and lose a bit of courage are all one in the same. 

My daughter (11)  and nieces (14 and 17) have, over time, moved on from sitting at the outskirts of the classroom while their moms learned, to being the first in the room to ensure a good seat at the table. 

On the drive home, my daughter started reliving what we had just talked about and the things that caused us nervousness. Then with a sudden change in direction, she said to me, “are you ever nervous you’ll miss something?” I said, “yea but what do you mean?” She answered, “that you’ll miss a sign from God.” I didn’t wreck the car, but the flood of emotions I felt at the mere questions could’ve caused me to. I was still intrigued, and told her, “yes all the time. I was gonna say that as one of my nervous things in class. That I am nervous and worry about whether I’m doing what God wants me to do.” I asked her to give me an example of what she meant.  She thought for a minute then said,  “like the one time we were driving and it was raining and we were talking about rainbows and what they meant. And then all of the sudden we saw one in the sky. But, what if I had missed it? What if I was sleeping or something and didn’t get to see the rainbow?” Before, I could bask in the amazement of her insightfulness, she pointed out that it was my turn. She wanted an example from me *gulp.* I thought for a minute and realized I wanted to be honest and real with her about it. I told her in my past relationships and last relationship I felt like I missed God and what He was trying to show me. She said, “well maybe you didn’t miss it. Maybe it came eventually.” (Yes, those were her exact words). As I was trying to keep my composure through her last revelation, she still probed for more details… *gulp* She rambled off questions….how? What made you think that there were signs? What are you looking for? So, I steadied myself and gave her some examples, then I told her, honestly and frankly, that I am looking for someone who knows God wants them to be with me, who loves her and loves me and takes good care of us. And as if God whispered in her ear, and had been doing so all along, my little one asked me (as if it were rhetorical), “Can you just be happy with the half of that?” Afraid to speak anymore, but still wanting to completely understand, I quietly said, “how?” She sighed and explained, “with just the ‘they love me and they love you and take good care of us’ part?” Thinking I knew what she meant, I said, “ohhh so the next person that comes along as long as they love us and take good care of us that should be enough?” Careful not to leave any gray areas, she answered slowly and clearly, “you already have it.”

“WHERE?!” I whined. Secretly hoping this wasn’t going to turn into a conversation about her father and I being together. For the last time that night, she shut me up and quieted my thoughts. “Our family. They love you. They love me. And they take good care of us.” Sigh. “What I’m tryna say is, you’re looking for it in a man. But, you already have it.”

For some reason, I needed this brought to my attention. And it came from the one I brought into this world! Shame on me. Love is love. And it’s too precious to be taken for granted or to come with guidelines of where it should come from. God has sent me love every single day of my life, something not everyone can say, and I dismissed it. Not because I didn’t want it. I wanted it very much. I needed it. I even appreciated it…some. But, in my own, careless way, I was telling God it wasn’t enough. And He was asking, “Can you be happy with just the half of it? If you never get what you want, can you be happy with what I’ve given you?” For the first time, last night, I told God (and myself) YES! Yes, I can and I will. I am richly loved. By this wonderful family He has entwined me with and more importantly, I am loved by Him. So are you. 

Standard

The Good, The Bad And The Selfish

A few months ago I decided to challenge myself to be more giving. It started off being a rewarding experience. But, shortly after, I was faced with two observations. 1. It hurts when you are giving and they don’t pay it forward. Takers. It hurts when you come to the realization that some people are simply natural born takers. And observation 2. It’s the season of giving. So, when faced with the opportunity to buy gifts and help those less fortunate, I was excited to shop and make this holiday special for them…until the someone less fortunate was someone I didn’t particularly “like.” Someone…to be honest, I didn’t think deserved it. Someone who lies to me day in and day out, instigates, and is all around just not a nice person. You wouldn’t want to help them either, so you understand me, right? And I shouldn’t help them, amirite? No, actually I’m not right. You know what God showed me? That I STILL have so much to learn. He had me give to the selfish, to show me how to not be selfish. You see, I was giving, still expecting something, even if it were a thank you, I was looking for a return. And when my expectations weren’t met, I became the selfish one. And to my observation 2, when I tried to call the whole thing off and excuse my not helping by saying this individual wasn’t deserving, God lovingly asked me, “What if I did that to you?” Ewwwww. That hurt. Know why? Because I am certainly not deserving of all that He gives me. Daily I fall short. And what does God do? He keeps loving on me. So, in my attempt to be more like Him and less like me. To love much because God loves me much. I’m going shopping.

Luke 7:47

Standard

Goodbyes are hard, but they’re necessary.

Yet, another lesson from my daughter, Micah: Last week her school community was shaken by the sickness of a child. We didn’t know the details, but in the mornings on the way to school we would pray for him. But, sadly, he died on Wednesday. We don’t know what happened.
When I picked Micah up from school her brown eyes were bigger than usual and her posture let me know something was wrong. I asked her how her day was and she sighed and said, “It was ok.”
Like a routine, I said, “Ok? Why was it just ok?” She told me what happened, as she kept staring at the letter that her principals sent home to the families of the school children affected. Micah talked about the memories from the previous year and how some of her friends cried at the news. I asked her if she cried, too. She said, pretty simply, no. I was a little shocked. “Why? Weren’t you sad, too?” She said, “It makes me sad. But, it just happens. People have to die.” I had just told my sisters earlier that day in a completely different conversation that goodbyes are hard but, they’re necessary. And here my 10 year old was living it out for us to see!
At 10 she understands God’s promises in a deeper, far better way than I do in my 30s; that when the inevitable sadness strikes, we can be confident of these truths:
1. Not to worry, the Lord is near to the broken-hearted. ~Psalm 34:18
2. God really is a God of comfort. ~Matthew 5:4
3. Even though it hurts, God is in control and knows better than we ever could. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Standard

You ARE Good Enough

Here’s my lesson for the day. “You ARE good enough.” I remember one of my students who came into the classroom after the school year had already begun. She was, I guess what you’d classify as a “less popular” girl. She was quiet and reserved and didn’t seem to really fit in. Anyway, I had these novels that we were reading. Although, I had enough for each student to have their own, half of them were newer while the other half were worn and ripped. So, I gave the “they’re all the same speech,” and hoped everyone would be cooperative. But, I noticed when another student passed them out one day, she gave her friends and the “more popular” kids the newer books. Of course this new girl received an older one. I felt bad. I knew she probably felt bad, too. But, she just came up to my desk and said, “may I use some tape to fix this?” And started taping up her book. There’s so many lessons to be learned in that.

You can make the decision each day to decide to be defeated…OR that you are good enough. What does God say about you? Because He would never say that you aren’t good enough for Him or His best.

Zephaniah 3:17 – “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Standard