Thursday, March 26, 2015

Creating Space for Seasons for Dying, Living and Growing


I started this post awhile back and I did not realize it was published! I had some hits on it and now am ready to add to it!

Winter is over, Spring is here, we have lots of rain here in Maryland which is making it hard to enjoy Spring but nonetheless. I love seasons and I love to reflect on seasons from a spiritual point of view. I think there is a lot of symbolism in the way that nature works, in the way that the seasons change and I think God can show us some pretty cool things when we take a closer look.

It is so dang hard for me to try new things...writing comes easily because I can pour out my thoughts and say BIG things and dream BIG DREAMS, but then when I have to go out and say these things in front of people or share my heart face-to-face, I want to crawl in a hole.

I like my little safe world, but it is not a way to live.
I have blogged about this before...
It is a never-ending lesson for me and something I have to constantly remind myself- my walls do not protect, they prevent. 

For me, they prevent growth, they prevent ministry, they prevent relationships and they prevent change. I am thrilled to share that I am making progress. I am throwing off those things that have been entangling me, especially this idol of self-protection. I am allowing myself to be vulnerable more often than not. Sometimes I get hurt, but I'm still glad that I was able to open up. It is not an easy thing to do. We need to be careful.

I am becoming NEW, we all are, as we submit to Christ.

This year more than any year in my life, I have been living out loud who I am in Christ in a local body of believers and I am stepping out of the crowd and into the role God has for me and I am scared. I am scared every Tuesday afternoon as I prepare for Bible Study. Still scared of rejection, of not fitting in, of socializing (because this introvert would rather sit in a room and stare at the walls sometimes) ...

But as I have moved forward as a Women's Ministry leader in my church, I have felt something like a little bloom starting to grow that I have been waiting for. Something I did not think I would find this side of heaven. The Lord has been sowing something that was in my heart and it is oh so sweet...
...but I am scared to be new because the old me feels safer.

But the old me is tired, bored, stagnant, and selfish.

So, how can we be new and live out new parts of ourselves when we are SCARED?

We just do it.
We do it in community.
We do it with God's help.

And we do it by some hard choices- such as saying goodbye to some old parts of ourselves...for me- it is fear of being vulnerable and rejected in those moments...

I literally have to ignore some crazy big feelings that at times make me want to turn the car around and go home. I remind myself of the truth- that I am made for community. I am made for intimacy with God and others.  

The truth is that in order for us to live, some parts of us have to die.

I am not good at goodbye's.
I don't even like throwing away old sweaters that I am attached to, but eventually that old sweater?

It just doesn't look good anymore and sometime it starts to sag and feel funny.  And so I let it go and the funny thing is, when I start looking through my closet and throwing away the stuff that doesn't fit, that looks funny, that I don't need, I feel lighter and freer.

And I create space to grow... space for new things to put on that feel maybe a tad uncomfortable at first but eventually become the real me.

Winter is tough for me. I struggle a lot with feeling BLAH, depressed and overall it just feels kind of dark most of the time...But in the winter, I tend to slow down a bit and I am forced to reflect and I am oftentimes made aware of my intense need for the Lord once again and I have to get back to the basics.

Every year this happens and I think God knows what He is doing. He knows His people get busy and forget and He slows us down and sometimes we have things we have to bury things that need to die and sometimes we have things that need to planted in us, new ground that needs to be toiled, roots that need to be torn out....and then the wait is over and here comes Spring...


I love Spring- I love looking around at the dry, barren, hard, messy ground and seeing the buds popping up through the dirt, I love how the rain pours and life grows and flourishes all around us.

And I see that the Lord does this in me and He does this in all of us, whether it is your first time believing or you are approaching a new season...
 2 Corinthians 5:17- "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"

Here's to new things, saying goodbye to old things that just don't "fit" these new, beautiful creations we are becoming in Christ and here's to BLOOMING, right where you are.










 








Tuesday, March 10, 2015

After Work Memoirs and God's Amazing Grace

You know those days...
Work felt frustrating and meaningless, you come home and one of your kids just wants to play with friends and ignores your hugs, the other one whines non-stop..

...so being the Jesus-centered Mom that you are, you turn on the TV so you can ignore your growing irritation and your children's unsettled behaviors. Yes- you heard me right, this is what you do...and guess what? IT.DOES.NOT.WORK. DUH. 

BUT- you sit and you watch with them and you zone out.  

You  see everything around you that needs to get picked up and you start fussing at your kids for all their mess and you look at the bills on the table and your dog just threw up AGAIN and "WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING AT YOUR BROTHER AGAIN?" Comes spewing out of your mouth as...you...scream...at your son...

Hmmm...JUST. NOT. WORKING.

This was my after work victorious and beautiful act of mothering...I suck sometimes. For REAL.

So I tried again- this time I got cake (okay so maybe cake does not have to be the FIRST thing I do), and I got the Bible and I read and read and read to my boys. 

One of them covered his ears, the other one dipped his cake in his drink and fed it to the dog (thus...creating...more...mess) and although it seemed like it was not helping- I know God's Word WORKS, so I just kept reading...

Then...we played baseball, my boys laughed, my older boy shared with me some of his frustrations about his life- and I remembered how much he loved to be in charge so I had him teach me about baseball and he loved it- he embraced the coaching role and he seemed more positive. My little guy ran around throwing his ball into his mitt- happy and content...Progress...OKAY- I am getting there.

Then- it happens- I lose my keys- and I lose my mind. The car light is on outside and if I don't turn off the light, the battery will die. I yell at my kids to go to bed so I can find my keys and I feel like a GREAT BIG BULLY...I FIND MY KEYS.

 I apologize- my big boy tackles me with a hug, my little guy lays on my lap and smiles at me. 

SERIOUSLY- all this love,, for this SO undeserving Mama.

I hear that whisper...GRACE...it is quiet at first and then it is LOUD and then it EMBRACES ME and then I FINALLY RELEASE CONTROL.



So this is just one day in my messy Mommying...

I go to bed and check on my boys, they are sleeping angels.,,
..,and I am a failure, but I am not because I keep trying and I keep trusting and I confessing and I start over- EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Mercies are NEW. They are all that I have to cling to...and I have to give them to myself and teach them to my children...

Tomorrow is a new day Mama's.

I love you!

Liz

BELONGING

Christian Working Moms....

I get it- sometimes you feel like you just can't fit in-ANYWHERE. Stay at home Moms, Daytime Bible Studies, Homeschoolers, Career Women with and without kids, Ministry- I GET IT. You feel isolated and alone, left out. But YOU BELONG... 

Recently- God showed this to me in a powerful way. There was something I really wanted to do at my church and no matter which way I turned, I could not see the space to do it- work and home felt crowded- church felt like a puzzle and I was a piece that did not fit in. And THEN- God in His mercy used people, the BODY of Christ to show me how important I am to Him. Space was made for me and for the ministry I wanted to be a part of. Suddenly, people stopped and looked at my life and asked the question- "How can we meet you right where you are at?" And it MOVED me, it MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. My life and my schedule was not a barrier, it was respected and worked with and this process WAS A GAME CHANGER FOR ME. I BELONGED, right here, just as I am. And you sweet sister- YOU BELONG. 

So I get it...

You go to work, you work for God's glory, and yet- you ache for your kids...

You come home, you serve and love on your kids and yet you can't wait to get back to work...

You go to church and you look for someone who LOOKS like you, whose LIFE LOOKS LIKE YOURS...and it can be tough...

Work, Home, Church, no place truly feels like BELONGING...

But come close, and listen UP-

YOU DO BELONG- YOU BELONG TO JESUS AND YOU BELONG TO HIS CHURCH...

YOU BELONG TO JESUS IN EVERY ROLE THAT YOU PLAY

AND HE IS FOR YOU
HE IS LOVING YOU
HE IS POURING INTO YOU
HE IS PROUD OF YOU
HE IS CHERISHING YOU...
AT WORK
AT HOME
AT CHURCH





AND you BELONG TO THE BODY OF CHRIST.
You BELONG to the stay at home Mama's...the widow...the single woman, the woman in the row behind you, the woman in the front, on the side, they are your sisters and you BELONG to each other because of JESUS.


HE IS YOUR CONNECTION.

WORKING MAMA'S HEAR ME- NO MORE ISOLATION.

And there are SPACES FOR YOU to be WHO YOU ARE and to DO WHAT ONLY YOU CAN DO AT WORK, AT HOME, AT CHURCH...

IN ALL OF THESE SPACES.

BECAUSE...YOU...BELONG...

Love you!
Liz