Connection

Where I See God
Journal #24: Connection

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”  Psalm 119:45

With the school year schedule off, I’ve had plenty of time to process thoughts.  Summer has created a much needed slower pace for our family.  Dinners have been later, as evening meetings are minimal; family activities have increased with game nights, movie nights, and just sit around the table to talk nights.

However, there is one area I don’t want to slow down.  My time with God.  While I totally enjoy the extra time with my family, I’ve noticed that I’m not very peaceful when I leave God out.  Spending God time has to be a priority in my life. It is through this time with God I’ve learned some valuable lessons.

A number of faith pieces have come together in my life puzzle this summer. Pieces like a new understanding of trust, plus being able to see how God goes before me to prepare routes each day.  I’m experiencing peace like I have never experienced before.  More now than ever I’m seeking obedience with my Heavenly Father.  It’s refreshing.  Deep breaths are coming more naturally.  Joy is growing fruit deep within.

Truthfully, I’m not desiring to go back to the way things were when school starts back.  Curiosity of “Is this peace possible during the school year?” brings hope of living differently.

For that to be a reality though, I know there are things I’m going to have to give up.  This doesn’t mean becoming lazy, like some summer days imply; instead it will require truly evaluating everything I take on by asking God for discernment. Outside of my work what activities are most beneficial in serving God, my family, and my community?   Where am I needed, most effective, and joyful? Through listening, waiting and searching for God’s answers a unique connection is being formed.

I’m seeing God in connection. Connection flowing through work and living spaces. Connection in God’s word, in prayer, in relationships with friends and family, as well as in moments of slowing down to seek Him. Fast paced living may be necessary from time to time, but connection doesn’t thrive in that pace.  Nor does freedom. Nor does joy.

That’s the largest piece of my puzzle.  Finding out that as my connection with God increases, my freedom does, too. As does my joy.

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Through My Doctor’s Example

Where I See God
Journal #23: Through My Doctor’s Example

“Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.” Psalm 17:7

A week ago Tuesday my daughter turned in her first college application. The following Wednesday we ran around trying to get transcripts and shot records together to complete the process.  By that afternoon, I started feeling a little off.

Honestly, I thought my nerves had gotten the better of me. (My baby is applying to colleges.) That is until…

4:00 p.m.

I started throwing-up violently.  This lasted until midnight.

The next day the pain had shifted and my loving husband put me in the car for a ride to the doctor.

I felt rotten.

The doctor said it could be a bacterial infection, but he really believed it was an appendicitis.

My doctor is an amazing guy who truly cares about his patients.  He knew exactly the steps it was going to take to get me into surgery as quickly as possible. He started the process, before we even had the confirmation of a CT scan of what was going on.  From each step, as I rocked back and forth trying to minimize the pain, my doctor stayed ahead of the course.  By that same afternoon I was wheeled into surgery at our local hospital.  My doctor understood the timing.  My husband and I trusted him fully.

Recently my pastor preached a sermon on what it meant to trust in God.  She used a definition I had heard described for the word “abide”, but when she applied it to the word “trust”, my world forever changed.  “To lean into as hard as you can.”  To trust God is to lean into Him; to know he is going to stand firm despite my weight, pressure, fears and anything else. He will keep my feet from slipping.

After surgery, when I was feeling much better, I thought about how much I trusted my doctor.  I was in so much pain, I gave up all resistance and just let him do his job.  I also thought about how often I don’t do that with God.  I fight against him, or refuse to wait until his timing comes.  I wondered if I just leaned into him, if things would be so much easier trusting that he has taken care of everything.  This is definitely something I want to work on.

Right now, I’m super thankful for my doctor and the example he set for me.   …And, of course,  how much better I feel!

Heart Preparation

Where I See God
Journal #21: Heart Preparations

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23 NIV

My son’s wedding preparations have taught me a lot.

I wish I meant in preparing decorations, gifts, and rehearsal dinners, (like lasts weeks post of seeing God in the details.) That just isn’t the case this week. This week I really noticed how God has been pulling me out of darkness in the not-so-pretty areas of my heart while preparing for my son’s wedding. I had no clue how many of my insecurities would surface during this process.

Confession:
Emotion and bondage issues have triggered some needy areas out of my soul. Something as beautiful as a wedding has truly brought out the worst in me.   I’ve struggled with envy and jealousy these last few months from those who are more creative than I am. (I’m aware this is petty.) I’ve also been anxiety ridden over what other people think. These issues have nothing to do with the wedding itself or my son and his lovely bride-to-be. They have to do with me and have taunted my every move robbing my joy (and often the joy of those around me.)

It all boils down to this. God called me to be accountable for the places in my heart I refused to examine. The places I left in the dark for no one else to find. The places I put other’s opinions over His.   The areas I bowed down to my craving the need for acceptance of others. The dark places that scream for praise for myself instead of praise for God.

God is so faithful though. When I asked for forgiveness – He forgave.

When I prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23 NIV). – He searched and helped me find the areas I needed to confess. He then placed people in my life to encourage me in the areas that needed growth.

God even helped me find something I wasn’t even aware was there. The root of why I kept running to the bitterness of envy and anxieties of needing people’s acceptance. The root was a lie I chose to believe early on in the engagement.  Satan whispered it in my ear when my mamma heart was feeling not quite ready to release my son. To see him as the adult he is.

“You will be forgotten. You are no longer needed. The days of motherhood are almost over.”

I bought the lie setting my course to prove I wouldn’t be forgotten. Problematic since the course took me on a path to being remembered in ways I don’t want to be remembered by. Ugly ways of irrational behavior. A struggle for attention ensued.

And here is where God stepped in once more…

God gave me the verse, Exodus 14: 13-14 to pray. “Do not be afraid, Kysia. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. Amen.”

I stood still and chose to trust God. He remembered me. Now, He’s still delivering me from some of my people pleasing struggles, but much progress has been made.

It’s been really nice to focus on the happy couple instead of “needing to make sure I’m not forgotten,” too.

God has even given me joy through the process – usually after I’ve been called out, disciplined back into place, and shed a few tears. Joy has still shown up though.

Through joy God has shown me the beauty of truth over the ugly lie. The truth is if I keep trusting God and asking Him to search me, I can be confident that “he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) I am not forgotten. I am remembered and a work in progress.

 

In the Details

Where I See God
Journal #21: In the Details

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 NIV

My son’s wedding is two months away. I find myself lost in a bunch of tiny details. Attempted etiquette on rehearsal dinner invitations, what dress to wear, flowers and candles for the tables or just flowers. The list goes on.

I’ve been working on one project that has proven quite therapeutic for me. I love working with my hands, so I’ve been designing a collage of picture frames with childhood photos of the bride and groom for the rehearsal dinner. I found most of the frames at a second hand shop and am spray painting them to the colors of the wedding (thankfully, gold is one of the colors!)

Reminiscing though the photos has brought back memories of so many moments I had forgotten about motherhood. Wet with sweat little boy hugs, his love for playing outside, and him dressed as Buzz Lightyear for his three year old Halloween, to name a few. Memories that highlighted details from our family life here at Thorntonville. I’ve cried and laughed and cried again remembering this amazing journey God has allowed me to have with my son.

Details. God is in every detail. He was in the creation of my son as a baby, as a boy and now as a man. God was also with me as a clueless new mom of one, a not as clueless mom of two and has guided me through adolescence into their early adulthood years.

It is an amazing ride I am on. The good, the bad, the clueless and the not so clueless moments add together detail after detail to create this incredible journey. Life.

An Answered Prayer

Where I See God
Journal #20: An Answered Prayer

“Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again.” Isaiah 21:12

The doorbell chimes rang followed by a, “Knock, knock.” My daughter jumped to answer. “Mom, it’s for you!”

Walking in I was surprised but thrilled to see an unexpected friend from my growing up days. She greeted me with a warm hug and a big beautiful smile.

“I was on the way to K.C. and felt God detour me. Were you needing me?” She asked.

My daughter and I looked astonished at each other as I teared up. “Yep, I sure was!”

Last week my husband took his annual leave to go on a mission trip to Uganda. Things have been going really good, but around the half way point of these trips each year, I get in a funk just because I miss him. It’s petty, but real, non-the-less. He and I make a great team, which is awesome when we are together. But often, when we are a part, I feel a bit lost. So this last Saturday, I was in my annual “missing my sweetie funk.”

I had exercised to try to get endorphins going and taken my daughter out of the house to peruse the resale shops for vintage clothing, but the funk still stuck like an extra layer of skin. I had decided to try to wash the funk away. While in the shower, I just stopped to pray when I realized, I was letting Satan’s arrows pierce me. I jumped out of the shower, dressed quickly and ran to my daughter with my dripping wet hair. “We need to pray together right now,” I said.

In the prayer, I asked for forgiveness for letting things get to me. I also asked God in a moment of self-pity if he could just send at least one friend to check on me.

An hour and a half later, came the knock on the door. God chose not a local friend but one who lived seven hours away to drop in with flowers to cheer me up. We talked and giggled until 1 am. I was exhausted Sunday morning when it was time to get up and go to church.

Exhausted, but so very thankful!

A Lesson from My Mom

Where I See God
Journal #19: A Lesson from My Mom

“Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.” Psalm 86:16

Mother’s Day evening my husband prepared dinner (grilled tuna with snow peas and fresh spring rolls) while my daughter created Crème Brulee.  My son and his fiancée joined us for dinner and then helped clean up the dishes afterwards. Half way through the dinner clean up the garbage disposal stopped working due to a clogged pipe under the sink. I immediately got on all fours to work taking the pipes apart in order to dislodge the culprit. The pipes basically vomited shredded carrots, egg shells and coffee grounds on me once loose. Gross!

I was thinking later that night about the plumbing experience after we finished cleaning and played a game of Clue (my favorite). It was a fantastic evening, even with the clogged sink incident. In fact, I think it was good for my kids to see me capable of fixing the plumbing. In the chaos of the moment, I wasn’t a fan, but later I was truly grateful for the moment that has already become a family memory. Mom – the secret plumber.

This made me think of my mom.

I remember my mom sewing some of my Easter dresses. They were beautiful. She worked patiently to make them come out so pretty. She also worked diligently beside my dad planting peach trees and taking care of them through the years when my parents ran a peach orchard. I very seldom heard her complain. (Growing up, I sure complained working in that orchard!)  I have other memories of her faithfulness in serving at church by keeping the financial books after counting the offerings each Sunday, as well as, singing in the choir.

Steady perseverance describes my mom. She works continuously with a humble heart. A servant’s heart.

One of my favorite memories is a simple one though. I remember her sitting in the La-Z-Boy with her red hard bound Bible, still, content and focused studying God’s word despite chaos going on around her. That memory has impacted me greatly. The fact that even though her life was busy with a husband, three kids, a nursing/teaching college career, farm work and volunteering at church, she made time for Jesus. It wasn’t done in secret either. She sat in the den out in plain view, as if to share with us the importance of the moment. A very precious moment.

I didn’t understand back then what my mom was really teaching us. In fact, I often interrupted her. But now as a mom, I get what she was doing. Not only was she spending time with her Savior and refueling her life with God’s love, she was showing us how to.

There are many things I have learned through my years as a mom. Juggling different tasks, breathing through crisis, plumbing… However, when I learned as a child who to turn to on good days and bad – well, that was by far, my most valuable life lesson of all.

Mentoring

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Acts 2:26-47

Where I See God
Journal 18: Mentoring

“I’m excited about coming tomorrow,” the text read.

“Me, too!” I shot back.

The second Tuesday of each month we meet for one on one Bible study. Sometimes she brings one of her children, other times it’s just the two of us. We started a few months back and it has turned into one of my favorite hours of the month.

Since she wanted to get to know Jesus better, we started reading through Luke together, chapter by chapter. We always begin with sharing what is happening in our lives. It’s fun to hear the day to day antics from a mom with young children.  The time also allows me the opportunity to encourage her in motherhood.  She’s such a good momma, too.

Then we jump right into the scripture sharing where God spoke to us within the chapters we read or talk about the places words and illustrations were challenging.

We laugh, share concerns and yes we’ve even cried.

The fellowship during this time is rich and the friendship with her is such a blessing.

There is absolutely nothing complicated about what we are doing. We read verses and simply share our hearts. Yet – I see God every time we meet; plus, I walk away knowing even more of His great love. He shows up in scripture, conversation, prayer and fellowship. I see Him when in the gleam of my friend’s eyes when she catches on to something she hasn’t thought of before. When she shares, I, too, am encouraged.