Monday’s Musings — At a Loss for Words

Just re-posting an older writing from 2013. I’m going through some things, and I truly cherish those who have taken a moment to reach out to me to offer me their gentle kindness… and their hope.

Hope Surrendered

This has happened to me more times than I care to remember, and I know it has also happened to you:

Someone is hurting through their circumstances. You know it, and you have no idea what to say to them. So, you don’t really say much of anything.

When we’re at a loss for words because of the hurt another is experiencing and we choose to say nothing, we fall short of providing hope to them. The simplicity of a few words to tell your friend or acquaintance they are being thought of can lift them up. Saying nothing does nothing.

After going through my own devastating hurts in the last few years, I’ve experienced this from the other side, also. There were many times I’d run into someone who knew bits of what I was going through, but they’d skirt the topic, avoid me completely, or just stand there acting…

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Monday’s Musings — NO Coincidences

The Bridge Builder

There are no coincidences. None.

There just aren’t.

In a life built on faith, there is always a reason. Always.

We don’t often understand the fullness of the incidence or of the reason, but just because we don’t understand, does not mean a reason does not exist.

A friend introduced me to this poem several months ago during a women’s Bible study. We were studying Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, and on pages 55-73, Ann takes us through a lesson about bridges. Ann cites this poem on page 71 of the Study Guide, but I say that “a friend introduced it to me,” because until my friend Sarah read it out loud, I hadn’t really “read” it while studying it. Sarah is a poet at heart. She’s a writer, but also a poet. She’s been blessed to see, experience and re-tell her own stories through His poetic lens and license, and when she read it to our group, I closed my eyes, and I “got it.”

Today, my son brought this to me to begin working on it as a recitation during his homeschooling speech class. The photo of the poem is from his textbook.

A coincidence? No … a God-incidence.

I had to have seen this poem a few years ago when my daughter went through the same curriculum and speech class. I had to have seen it at that time. Why didn’t I recall it from back then? I’m pretty sure I didn’t recall it, because God hadn’t spoken it into a part of my heart until Sarah read it in our small group time. That’s when it spoke to me.

It spoke then — that day in our small group, but I didn’t do much with it. I oooo-ed and aaaah-ed with the rest of our group about the meaning and the depth, but I’m not sure it really intersected with my heart at all in the days, weeks and months that followed.

In my church yesterday, the pastor gave a message about being “good soil” from Jesus’ parable in Luke 8.

There is a lot in common with bridge building and being good soil.

With a heart filled with gratefulness to Him, I can say  — because of Him — I am good soil. I’m grateful our Lord has given me a heart willing to be good soil, and I’m also grateful for all of those who have uprooted thorns in my life, pulled weeds, tended to my soil, nurtured it, planted the Word in it, and have spoken into my life at some point along the way.

The last few months have found me struggling with the task of perseverance in my life. I’ve been called to persevere through some tough stuff, and it’s been wearing on me. The soil message was one I needed to hear. It reminded me that the tasks to which He has called me have a greater purpose He wishes to bring about. Yes, some of this is about me, some of it is about the others it involves, but the soil He is turning and the bridges He is building have a purpose for which He has not fully revealed to me.

Happenings in our lives are woven together by the Master. Nothing is allowed to occur in our life without first passing through His hand. We’ll never know the reason for much of it, but when we can see glimpses of how He is weaving His story into our lives, it should awe us to no end.

So when I struggle with perseverance, and when I happen to hear a message at church on Saturday night about the storms of life, and then I go to church on Sunday to hear a message about soil, and the storm and soil messages are reinforced on Monday by a bridge message, it is NO coincidence. It’s Him speaking something into my life that He wants me to hear.

I recognize His presence and His weaving in the circumstances of my own life, and I recognize them in His calling on me to persevere through the storms, to maintain good soil and to continue building bridges for His purpose and for His will.


Monday’s Musings — Weak Stems

TomatoStems.HS

I didn’t know.

I didn’t know that failing to put a fan in the greenhouse would give me weak stems on my tomato plants.

I bought an 8′ x 6′ greenhouse this winter from a warehouse club. I figured it would give me an easier start at gardening this year.

For the last few years, I’ve grown my tomato plants from organic seeds. The process was an eyesore in my family room for a few months … the shelving, the 30 containers, the grow lights… The seed starting was supposed to have been easier with a greenhouse.

I bought the greenhouse figuring the set-up in the basement would give the tomatoes a room of their own, and it would provide an environment where I could increase the heat and humidity to which they were exposed.

I started 30 tomato plants and 15 pepper plants from organic seeds in organic soil, and I put them in the greenhouse. They all grew.

I didn’t know I was supposed to put a fan in the greenhouse to simulate gentle breezes.

All of my tomato plants now have weak stems.

Weak stems weren’t something I dealt with when the seedlings were in the family room. I guess the air from the heat vent nearby was always enough to keep them moving.

My tomatoes are now outdoors getting acclimated to the weather, and they’ll go into the garden this week since the nighttime temps are finally resting in the 60s. They have weak stems, but I’ll plant them deep into the soil, I’ll baby them, and I’ll have expectant hope for them to thrive.

Sometimes I really dislike the winds I have to come up against in my own life. I’m fine with gentle breezes, but the winds … I feel as I could do without them.

Winds…you know:  challenges, problems, frustrations, heartaches.

As much as I don’t like the challenges, they have made me stronger. Without them, I’d probably be weak — much like my tomato stems.

But, I’m not weak; I am strong.
Someone has planted that within me.

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Monday’s Musings — Fun in the Mundane

Carpet stripes.HSA smile pushed my cheeks upward after chore day this past week.

Perfect stripes marked the carpet in the library.

Even a few days later, I still almost don’t want to cross the rug to go grab a book from the shelves.

Chores can be a chore — especially for teenagers — but, I can’t help but wonder if my son was smiling just a bit as he decided to mark his work with perfection and have some whimsical fun while doing his chores.

Chores can be a chore for me, too.
The mundane of the everyday work can get in the way of serving my family.

Priscilla Shirer, in her Gideon study by Lifeway, tells us, “Today’s tasks–even the most mundane of them–are often preparation for tomorrow’s calling.” She goes on to say, “God is teaching you faithfulness, diligence, and integrity through every task.” (page 47)

Perhaps I need to have more fun with my own chores. How about you?

 

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Monday’s Musings — A Shelter Pup, Me & the Safe Place

Maya sitting in a chair watching baseball on Saturday
Maya sitting in a chair watching baseball on Saturday

My youngest son had a baseball scrimmage on Saturday evening.
I decided to take along our dog, Maya.

She’s a shelter pup.
She’s a shelter pup we adopted just over two years ago.
She’s a shelter pup who, we believe, came from an abusive situation.

Maya doesn’t like riding in the car.
Maya doesn’t like men.
Maya doesn’t like men wearing hats.
Maya doesn’t like little girls.
Maya doesn’t like people she doesn’t know.
Maya doesn’t like other dogs.
Maya doesn’t like paper towel rolls, cords of any kind or objects which look like bats.

Taking Maya to baseball activities can – obviously – be a challenge.
So why do I take her?
I want to help her to overcome some of her fears in a safe way.

She is a wonderfully perfect dog for us at home; it’s just when she comes into contact with these things that her nervousness, fearful growling and hesitancies occur.

Maya is part German Shepherd and part Chihuahua (…uh-huh…go ahead…you can ponder that one for a bit…). At home, she’s all Shepherd…she smells everything, she’s a fantastic watchdog and alerts us to anything going on in the house, driveway or yard that isn’t in her view of 100% normal, and she’s loving and protective. However, should something outside her view of normal persist, should she encounter one of her fears, or if we take her out of her environment, then the yippy, growling, shaking and fearful Chihuahua comes out in her.

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I can relate to Maya. I like my home environment. My things are where I want them, my thoughts are where I need them, and my routine is mostly mine. I’m like a Momma Shepherd at home, but I’ll let doubts and hesitancy flare up when I’m away from my comfort zones.

I’ve had to deal with new people and new situations a lot over the last few years…many of which I would never have imagined or have chosen. I’m not a hermit by any means, but I can get a little nervous when I’m called to step out of my comfort zone, even if it is in a safe place.

Sometimes I wonder…
What will others think?
What will they think of me?
Am I up to the task?
Will I be good enough?
I cherish when there are others near me who know me and who can help me walk through hesitancies or challenges.

Through my own challenges, I’ve found comfort and confidence in a few close friends, but mostly, I’ve found my strength in the Lord.

I’ve had to repeatedly tell myself that if He has allowed me to walk through this season of my life, then He will be with me. I’ve found comfort in His Word and in knowing He will be my shield, my strength, my comforter and my defender. He has, and — despite the challenges of life — my joy has overflowed as a result of His presence.

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That’s what I have to do with Maya. When she’s shaking and staring at me with that “I’m so afraid” look, I need to be a good master by helping her to confidently walk through the hesitancies and by helping her to safely (for her and for others) deal with her fears.

She knows she’s safe when I’m near and when she can sit at my feet,
and I know I’m safe when He is here and when I can sit at His feet.

 

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