A Blessed, Hot Mess

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17

 

There are days where it feels like a struggle to exist.   In those days, there is too much going on, or the worries are piling up.  However, when we are in the midst of difficult, we need to remember God is still in control and there is a lesson to be learned.

 

The enemy likes to attack Sundays before church.  Here are some instances that have occurred in my family:  no one wants to get out of bed, and then the family is running late,  getting dressed is like attempting a common core math word problem and breakfast gets dropped on the floor or stains a shirt.  Oh, joy!

 

I was having one of those Sundays, where there was no flow.  It had been a few weeks after my concussion, and I still had vertigo episodes.  While I was still recovering from the issue, my father started having excruciating pain from back and hip problems.  The stress was building up, and I was being to feel it more in my body.

 

I was trying to listen to the worship music at church, and I was sensitive to the sound and had to leave the sanctuary.  As I walked outside, a woman I knew saw me and said hello. She could tell I was not feeling well. I told her about my vertigo and my father’s health issues.  The woman said, “well aren’t you a hot mess?” For some reason, that upset me hearing that. It was not her saying it, but how I was sharing all of my problems and giving that impression that my life was a hot mess.

 

Our negative words and thoughts produce adverse outcomes.  Words can be life or death. Even though these problems I was facing were temporary, I was still blessed.  I had so much always to be grateful for though I felt terrible and worried.

 

There have been some bad experiences in my life.   But those experiences have helped out someone to avoid them.  Some of these failures have become our most excellent teachers, and through our sufferings, we find Christ.  In our worst days, we can remember that God loves us. That is the best thing in the world. Allow that to change your negative bias into a positive one.

 

Lesson Learned: God loves us even if we feel like a hot mess.  We are more than that to Him.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for only seeing the bad in my life.  Thank you that those times are temporary. Let healing and restoration take place in all areas of our lives.  Help us see how blessed we are so we can help those in true need. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

You Just Never Know

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement.”
John 7:24

Everyday, we are in contact with the public. Sometimes we have pleasant interactions. Other times we do not (especially when we drive). In the times the interaction is unpleasant you just wonder, “Geez, what is wrong with them?”

In my neighborhood, I have become friends with the morning dog walkers. But some of the dog walkers are the neighborhood gossips. Unfortunately, I get the run down of neighbors and their issues. One lady in particular was bad mouthing another neighbor, who is a good friend of mine. It was hard to hear it and I tried to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible.

I contacted that friend and asked her is everything was okay because I hadn’t seen her walking her dogs in the last few days. She told me a heartbreaking story and I could tell she was overwhelmed. Basically, she was having marital problems due to his husband’s addiction and he had to leave home to seek treatment. They have a child under the age of 1 and she worked full-time, plus she had her 2 dogs and could barely get out to walk them herself.

So, the neighbor who was bad-mouthing her, had no idea of my friend’s current life status and was sore about my friend being curt and seeming to try to leave when they were talking.

How many times when someone has an attitude and you think, “What’s their problem?” Or “Why are they acting so weird today?” They could have lost their parent, spouse or child. Their financial situation could be in distress or have major health issues to deal with. The list goes on.

We shouldn’t be a doormat to abusive behavior, but sometimes in certain situations, we should have grace when someone is rude. Most of the time when I have shown grace, they have apologized afterwards.

In this season of the holidays, let grace be the present we give out the most. You just never know what someone is going through.

Lesson Learned: Instead of taking things personally, try engaging rudeness with grace instead.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for those going through hard times. May they cling to you for strength and comfort. Help us recognize when people are suffering and hurting. Show us ways to help them out. Forgive us for making blanket judgements. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Speaking Up

“Pay attention to yourselves!  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,”  Luke 17:3

 

Confrontation…one of my least favorite things.  My usual mode of operation is to not say anything and ruminate over it for days, even months.  I feel like the character, George Costanza, from the television show “Seinfeld” who would have that zinger of a comeback,  two hours after the argument.

 

After seven years of saving, I decided to remodel our kitchen.  The idea of spending thousands of dollars, hurt my husband but he knew I was not happy with our 35-year-old kitchen that falling apart.  He told me I had free reign over the decisions of the remodel.  I hired a contractor and he began the work.  

 

There was a hiccup on the first day of the remodel.  The cabinet company delivered the wrong color painted cabinets.  But since it was pretty close to the color I picked out, I decided to deal with it.  I asked for them to refund me the price I paid for painting the cabinets and they did.  After that, the remodel was went well and even on time.

 

We were nearing the end of the remodel and the backsplash was going up on the wall.  I had spent a couple of weeks, looking at samples and deciding what I wanted.  The backsplash was going to be a stone material, which the contractor had never used.  

 

The day he was starting the installation of the backsplash, I was at a Girl Scouts event with my daughter on a Saturday.  For some reason, we never discussed the color of the grout.   Instead he asked my husband what color would he like for him to use.  My husband told him that he could decide and began working on the backsplash.

 

The contractor’s wife came by to check out the progress of the kitchen.  My daughter and I came home and we walked into the house.  His wife was saying how great things were looking and I told her how happy I was with everything so far.  I walked over to the kitchen and saw him putting a sand colored grout on the back splash.  My heart sank into my stomach.  I wanted a white colored grout.  There is a big difference in those colors.  

 

The anger and frustration welled up inside of me.  I walked out of the kitchen and went upstairs and screamed into a pillow.  My thoughts were, “great now I am stuck with this color forever, but wait…why should I have what I want?  I knew I would walk into that kitchen everyday and hate it if I didn’t say anything right then and there.”

 

After I calmed down, I walked downstairs and told him “we should have discussed the color before hand, but I am not happy with this color.  I will not be able to accept the color and I need something to be done.”   He looked over at the hours of work he completed and started getting mad.  His wife said, “she is paying for a new kitchen, it matters to her that she gets what she wants.”  He took a deep breath and said, I will scrub out as much as I can now and then think about how to fix it and come back on Monday.  

 

On Monday, he began using the white colored grout.  But the stone absorbs a lot of the sand color.  He decided to water down some white paint and roll it over the backsplash.  He fixed it and it ended up being better than I could have expected.  The funny thing is, when people see the new kitchen, the usual first comment is how nice the backsplash looks!

 

That situation seems like an easy one to speak up on, but how about those times when it isn’t easy?  Like when your child is making bad decisions.  Someone is being abused and they are continuing to live in that situation.  You hear gossip about a person that you know isn’t true.  There are times, when standing up for what you believe in is important and necessary, especially in today’s times.

 

Lesson Learned:  In truth and love, standing up for what we believe is necessary.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, give me courage and strength to speak the truth.  Show me how it to be done in love and grace instead of judgement and condemnation.   Forgive me of things I do that are wrong and things I am unaware.  Give me the right words to say and may your justice prevail.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

We Have a Friend in Jesus

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24

In this age of Social Media, the more likes and views you get, the more important you appear.  Facebook friends, Twitter and Instagram followers, etc.  means the higher your value.  I look at my Facebook friends and the number seems high.  Yet, I could probably count on one hand the number of friends I really have in my life.

A friend of mine went on Facebook and vented about her bad day.  She was completely left out of a work function.  Everyone was included except her.  She is one of the most giving people and always goes above and beyond for a party or project.  As she knows, one isn’t invited to everything, but this was a blatant attempt to make her feel bad by a troublemaker in her office.  One could feel her sadness and rejection.  I am sure her self-worth took a hit that day.  It would have for me too.

There is an “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy was feeling forgotten by her husband and friends.  It was her birthday and no one seemed to remember.  It turns out they were planning a surprise birthday party.  She was so distraught that she went walking for hours.  Lucy ended up in a park and a group of people, called “Friends of the Friendless”  came marching through, literally marching band and all.  They asked her why she was sad and decided to make her their friend because their goal was to make sure no one felt lonely.  She marches down to her husband’s night club, where the party was planned, to show him her new group of friends.  And as “I Love Lucy” episodes happily end, she sees the surprise party and forgives all.

I wish there was a group like “Friends of the Friendless” to appear for us when we get hurt or rejected.  Sometimes, we feel like the only ones in the world that aren’t included.  However, we really do have a friend in Jesus.  Honestly, though it sounds ridiculous since we can’t see Him.  But we need to invite His presence to be with us at times of loneliness.   In turn, He will provide a person in our lives to comfort us.  They usually say just what we need to hear.

That friend, who was jilted by her co-worker, had a flooding of comments to that post.  Some people told her how much they love her, others warmly threatened this jerk.  The enemy wants us to feel isolated and rejected.  We end up feeling so lonely, we retreat in our misery and find it hard to come out of it.  Thankfully despite her vulnerability, she reached out and let people know she was hurt.

Lesson Learned:  When we are hurt by people, may we seek comfort in the loving arms of the Lord.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, in times of rejection, help me to find your love and peace.  May the arrows of affliction reflect off of me.  Thank you for creating me uniquely.  Surround me with people who are my true friends and family and remind me how loved I am always.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Empathy versus Knowing

“So then, as we have an opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  Galatians 6:10

 

I want to fully understand a situation before I move on to the next thing.  This can be both good and bad.  For the good, it is so I can be helpful or encouraging in some way.  The bad, is that I will ruminate over it until I can come to some conclusion.   And in turn, I want for others to come to an understanding when it comes to my situation.  Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

 

The first several months of my daughter’s life were extra stressful beyond the usual adjustment of being a first time mother.  I was lacking sleep and had postpartum depression, and my daughter’s health was in question.  The feelings I had were anger and anxiety.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t very nice to a lot of family and friends and they were not understanding and took it personally.

 

My husband and I took our daughter to visit the specialist and I could feel I was coming down with a UTI (urinary tract infection (sorry for the TMI)).  I felt horrible and I was in a lot of pain.  It was a late Friday morning and I knew I needed to get to an urgent care before the masses would enter at 5:00 p.m. or I would be stuck there for hours.  But when you have a baby, you can’t just drop everything.   Finally, it took 2 hours before I could leave the house and take care of my needs.

 

I made it to the urgent care and thankfully only had about a half and hour wait.  It was confirmed that I had what I thought and he wrote me a prescription.  The doctor seemed to know I was not doing well besides the obvious reason I was there.  He asked, “how are things with the baby?”  I burst into tears and vented for about 5 minutes.  He sat there, not filling out my chart or looking at his watch, he really listened.

 

The doctor said,  “I know what you are going through and it is hard.  I promise you will adjust and feel normal again.  But don’t expect others to understand postpartum depression, especially if they never had it.  It is time for you to take care of yourself and your baby and those insensitive people will get over it.”

 

There are situations that people get wrapped up in life and you wonder why would they feel the way they do or get involved.  But they do.  Some mothers get postpartum depression.  It isn’t because they have nothing better to do, it unfortunately happens.  Just like when you have anxiety and people say, “just relax”.  Well, no kidding, I didn’t think of that…here’s the thing, we don’t want it either!

 

Once I let myself understand why people didn’t get me, I concentrated on what was necessary; and that I would treat others the same way when it came to a situation I didn’t understand.  I was at a bible study at church and saw a friend that seemed to be missing in action.  She had a cast on her broken ankle and was in the middle of a bitter divorce.  She explained the situation and the timeline of it.  I thankfully, have never been divorced or hopefully ever will.  But I let her talk, just like that urgent care doctor let me do.  

 

I gave her a hug and told her that if she needed anything, I was there for her.  She texted me later that day and said, “thank you for letting me vent.  I just needed someone to listen and not tell me what to do or that I was doing something wrong.”  There is always a time and a place for advice and guidance.  But sometimes, we don’t need help, just to be heard.

 

Lesson Learned:  Let’s listen a little more than we talk and try to be empathetic instead of knowing.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I know you hear me, especially in my times of need.  Help me to be that for others when they need to be heard.  Show us what I need to focus on and not be distracted.   In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Meditating on What The Lord has Already Done

Blog Post #91 Meditating on What the Lord Has Already Done

“Let your roots grow down into Him. And let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught. And you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7

There are many times the Lord has carried me through tough situations and brought me to the other side of it. In the throws of life’s battles, it is difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel. I forget all the good He has done in my life. It seems that I have a “what have you done for me lately” attitude towards God.

My friend shared with us, some of the troubles she and her family have been dealing with in the last year. I had no idea this was happening. It was horrible and she is so anxious and stressed that she can barely move some days or want to get out of bed. She is a lovely woman who give a lot of herself to others but she is suffering in this trial.

We all wanted to encourage and pray over her. One friend looked at me and said,
“I believe the Lord, wants you to say something.”

“Uhhhh, get back to me,” was my nervous reply.

I began to ask the Holy Spirit, to please give me a word for this dear friend of mine. Thankfully within a couple of minutes, I had a word from the Lord, for her.

I told her,
“The Lord wants you to remember all times He brought you through the difficult and traumatic events. He wants you to remember these things, to comfort you while you go through this trial and that He will take care of you and your family.”

In the midst of hard times, I forget He has already conquered the world. Instead, I try to do things on my strength, not letting God do it for me. It is a burden hard to bare.

Sometimes when people have asked me for encouragement and comfort, I end up hearing a word from the Lord for them, it applies to me as well.  How efficient is the Lord?

Lesson Learned: Remember all He has done, especially in the difficult times.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all of the times you have carried me and brought me through to the other side. Help us remember all you have done. Protect us during these difficult times and give us wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Sharing the Same Thinking

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  Ephesians 4:2

 

There was a nice Facebook post that my friend shared about flooding the Internet with Art instead of political posts.  People are getting so sick of over-shared opinions.  As it is always dangerous to go on social media and talk about politics (or anything controversial), right now  Social Media seems like a war zone.  It seems however, no one can be civil.  No one can share an opinion without it being shoved down one’s throats or being told they are wrong.  I think my husband was right in never getting a Facebook or any Social Media profile.

 

The same goes for me being a (wanna-be) Minimalist.  When I began this journey to live a more simple life and without a lot of unneeded stuff,  I was on a rampage to clear out the clutter.  Yet, my husband and daughter have no problem with having stuff.  My parents are the same way. They love new gadgets.  They also love buying things for my daughter.  Of course Grandparents are known for buying too much for their grandkids.  However, my daughter was starting to expect this from them.  

 

I was telling (more like complaining to) a friend about all the stuff grandparents give their grandkids and how I wish there was a better way.  I have suggested experiences and lessons for sports/art instead of toys.  But those requests seem to fall on deaf ears.  Then my dear friend said something that was heart-wrenching.  She went on to tell me, how she was feeling the same way.  Her mom would send her kids random things-knicknacks, stuff that was cute but not of any real use.  But then her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and those gifts stopped.  She said how she would rather deal with the clutter, than know her mother can’t remember her own  grandkids.   

 

In that moment, I realized while I can passionate about something, but I can’t expect everyone to share the same opinion as me.  Sometimes displayed passion can make the subject more intriguing and change someone’s mind about it.   I believe in being a living testimony.  People need to see how one has changed for the better and to share it with others.  But if someone doesn’t agree, I can’t tell them they are wrong.   I have to keep living by example.

 

Lesson Learned:  Love and pray for people always even if they don’t believe what you believe.  Love changes, not shame.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for pointing out the spec in one’s eye when I have a log in my own.  Give me patience and compassion for people.  While this world will always have disagreements with one another, let God’s justice prevail and goodness and love seep through.

Everyday is a good day because I know Jesus!

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalms 23:1

The Holiday Season is in full swing, so I should feel joyful and love.  Instead, I want to avoid everyone and everything.  I am feeling very grinch-like, not to mention sick with an ear infection.  All I see are problems and people’s rudeness.  The invite to my pity-party should be arriving to you all shortly.

The last couple of weeks, felt like one bad day after another.  I donated a goat to World Vision and thought that would lift my spirits.  But instead, I saw more causes to donate to and how I don’t have enough money in the world to fix them all.  

Another day in the building I work in, I held the door open for 5 different people.  Not one thank you.  Instead, I got bumped into by 2 of the individuals and completely ignored by all of them.  

Really?  I thought the holidays brought out the niceness (fake as it may be) in everybody.  

To top it all off, I saw a customer at Target, swear and belittle an employee over something the customer misunderstood.  He got personal and nasty.  It was horrid.  My daughter heard every word.  I wanted to hug that employee and punch the customer.  But instead, I remained complacent and got more sad.

It is hard to feel any joy at all when times are difficult and uncertain.  During clean up time for my home, I was folding a blanket and I cried out to the Lord.  

I said, “Jesus…please come back now.  I know I am more fortunate than others, but really…these days are difficult for so many, it is so overwhelming.”  Then a beautiful thought crossed my mind…

“Everyday is a good day, because I know Jesus!”

Even if the day seems bad all the way around, there is something in that day to be grateful.  I may not have had one good thing happen all day, but I know Jesus and He is my Savior.  He knows all I go through and God is a good, good Father.

It is perfect timing that the New Year is coming…it is time for a good reset.  That is something Minimalism has taught me.  Clear out in my life the things that are holding me back and not living the way God has for me.   

So, when I get in the car today, I will turn on that all day long Christmas song playing radio station and sing it loud, even if “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is in my head.

Lesson Learned:  I am thankful everyday because I know Jesus.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I am thankful that I know you.  Thank you Jesus, for being my personal Lord and Savior.  Thank you for all that you have blessed me with and carried me through.  Lord, let your love pour over this world.  Let people know, you Father God are all we need.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Putting the Toothpaste (Words) Back in the Tube (Mouth)

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat of its fruits.”  Proverbs 18:21

Children can sometimes be too honest for their own good.  We want them to tell the truth, but only when they collect all the facts and are familiar with the situation.  Many times, children want to be involved in the conversations we have with others.  And many times, children lack impulse control and say something that makes you want to crawl in a hole and wait until the smoke clears.  

We invited my daughter’s friend over for lunch and a playdate during Thanksgiving Break.  My daughter was so excited to have her best friend over at our house.  When my daughter has a friend over, she wants to show off and talk about all the things that go on in the house.  

We were driving up our street when my daughter says, “My daddy may be asleep in his underwear, so don’t look.”  Thank God I was the only one driving on our street because I stopped in the middle of it.  Nervously, I said to my daughter’s friend, “I can assure you that won’t be happening.”  

I thought about it and knew exactly why she said that.  When our daughter wants to come into our bedroom in the morning, we have to make sure we are decent.  One time, I told her that she needed to wait because daddy needed to get dressed for work.  I didn’t further explain anything but I guess she assumed he was always in his underwear.

I told my husband what happened.  He was mortified.  I told him about the toothpaste story.  He usually rolls his eyes when I tell him these stories I read on Facebook, but this time he offered his travel toothpaste as the example.

After her friend went home, I told her we needed to talk about what she said in the car.  I had her sit down at the table and told her to squeeze out all of the toothpaste.  She looked at me with a quizzical look and starts to squeeze it all out.  She smiled as she made a pile of toothpaste on the napkin.  When she was done, I asked her to put the toothpaste back in the tube.  She asked, “How can I do that?”  I replied, “Because you can’t, right?”  I told her when we speak, we can never fully take back what we say.  Even if we were wrong in what we say and we apologize, people still remember and wonder if they can trust us again.

I explained to her that what she said in the car was not something you talk about with people.  And sometimes people look for opportunities to use the words that we say as a way to get us in trouble.  My husband told her that this also goes for sharing personal information with people.  One day we can be friends and then in a few years the friendship ends and they have all of this information about you that they can now talk about behind your back.

Our daughter apologized.  I think she overwhelmed by the lesson but she got the message.  I realized I have squeezed out the toothpaste once too many times myself.  These past few months with the U.S. Election process a lot of people have shared their comments and opinions on social media and have squeezed out all of the toothpaste.  I have heard people say they blocked or unfriended people because of some horrible comment.  They may never speak with them again.   Was it really worth it?

I told our daughter, if I hear her start to say something she should not, I will gently tell her “toothpaste”  and that will be her clue to stop.  I think we all need that reminder!  Words we say truly do have the power of life and death.   

Lesson Learned:  “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” I think that’s how it goes and you can keep all of your toothpaste too.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for speaking out of line and hurting others.  Gently remind me when the “toothpaste” is being squeezed out.  Holy Spirit give the right words to say to encourage or help others when they need it.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

What is My Legacy?

“Praise the Lord!  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!  His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”  Psalms 112:1-2

Today, I was feeling sorry for myself (again).  I caught a cold over the weekend and my husband was away at a conference.  One of the appliances in the house overheated and every noise in the night woke me up and caused a sleepless night.  Wah…Wah…

I drove my daughter to school and walked her to class.  It was raining and cold and I felt like I was about to pass out.  A friend saw me and walked over towards me and I put my hand up and barked, “I’m sick and my husband has been out-of-town.”  She gave me a concerned look and said, “feel better!”.  I immediately felt guilt of not being able to force a smile.   She definitely didn’t see Jesus in me in that moment.

As I was driving home, I was listening to the radio.  There was a story of a 38-year-old woman who died of cancer.  She wrote her own obituary before she died.  In her obituary, she thanked the people in her life that she loved, she apologized to those who needed apologies and listed her joys and regrets.  The D.J. said that was an amazing legacy.

Legacy?  Isn’t that for Presidents, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates?   However, I realized we all have a legacy. But legacies can be good or bad, so what will mine be?  

My Legacy to be aligned with God’s will

For people to feel Jesus when they have an encounter with me

My writing to help people feel encouraged or at least not feel alone

 I want my husband and daughter to know how much I love them.  

So far…my legacy isn’t molding into what I want it to become.

When I came home from dropping off my daughter at school, I walked my dog and noticed my neighbors left their garage open.  I called her to ask if I had her permission to enter the garage to close it for her.  She said yes and said, “You truly are a God-send!  You always watch out for us and we appreciate you so much!”  I thanked her and continued on my walk.  I realized that simple action is apart of my legacy.  

My intent is not wanting to pat myself on the back for every little thing I do for someone.  You do want to make sure you are making a difference somehow.  During this election time, we see so many social injustices brought to light, like sexism, racism, and environmental disasters.  There is so much you want to stop or help, it is overwhelming.

This starfish story says it best…

poem-2-starfish

Lesson Learned:  Develop your legacy, even if it only affects a few or a lot of people.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this life you have given me.  Forgive me for relenting in first world problems and not seeing the greater picture.  Help me discover, who you want me to reach in life.  Show me what causes you want me to spend my time and energy on.  Forgive me, when I get frustrated if I do not see the progress or appreciation in my legacy.  This is all for your glory.  Help me to realize that I don’t need to be wealthy or worldly powerful to make a difference.  Whether the difference I make is small or large, I give you all the glory.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”