Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Which Way is Up?

We all go through times in life when we feel lost. Lost for words. Lost of emotion. Lost and abandoned. Lost. Not knowing where we are, let alone where we are going.

Side Note: I say "we all go through this..." or something along those lines a lot, and with reason. You need to remind yourself that no matter where you are at, you are not alone. Someone has been in a similar place or is in that similar place currently. We can be defeated before we ever start when we convince ourselves we are alone. That is the cake to our pity party. You are not alone in this or anything you may experience in the future. 

I started watching a ridiculous and unrealistic comedy series entitled Unbreakable on Netflix. It may be completely unrealistic and preposterous in its story line, but it may seem even more preposterous that I am about to use some of its content in this blog post! However, I am. The main character Kimmy Schmidt several times asks another character, "Do you think you can make it through the next 10 seconds?" To which the other character always replies with, "yes."

"Perfect!" she says, "Now when those 10 seconds are up, start back at 1."

It seems pretty simple, but it's true. As Kimmy says, anyone can do something for 10 seconds. And after those 10 seconds are up, focus on getting through the next 10 seconds, and then the next 10 seconds, and then the next. No matter what you are experiencing or how lost you may feel... Lost in homework overload, lost in housework overload, lost in grief, lost in parenting, lost in heartbreak... You can make it through the next 10 seconds.

Have you ever been lost? I mean literally lost. Maybe on a car trip or a hike (yes, that has a story), but you literally don't know where on planet earth you are and can't find the direction you need to go. I have. Several times! In the beginning you stay positive. You give yourself pep talks and try to look on the bright side. But as time starts passing the frustration begins. Now you are wasting time. You just want to get back on the right path. When you still can't figure it out, the frustration moves on to real concern. Now in this stage there may be some tears shed. You feel so turned around that you feel like you are just stuck. Maybe you pull over or stop on the trail and remember the words your parents told you when you were a child:

"Now if you ever get lost, just sit in one place and wait for us to find you."  

The only problem this time is no one is looking for you. You know eventually you will have to get up and continue your efforts to navigate. When you find yourself in such a situation you will find something about yourself. Many times the most important thing you will find is you are stronger than you thought, and you can make it.

Whether you have discovered this yourself or you just have to take my word for it, You are strong. You are brave. You can handle this. You are not alone. You will make it through.

1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8... 9... 10...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Waiting for Answers

Last night was a sleepless night.

Maybe it was for you too, but for other reasons.

The sound of the phone ringing at that time is always filled with anxious and unsettling suspicion. Phones aren’t supposed to ring at that time. All is imagined to be quiet and at peace, for the night at least. But the phone rang. Again and again.

A familiar voice comes over the phone with news and a call to prayer. So we do. We pray. After all, God created us so He can fix us. Faith united. Faith multiplied. He is able.

“But is He willing?” we ask ourselves. Yes, He is willing. He already paid for our healing on the cross.

“But will He do it?”

My uncle left us. No, he didn’t leave us, he just beat us. In Christ, we are all on the same journey. We all have the same destination. Uncle Bill just beat us to that destination. He is at the appointed rendezvous, and we will meet him there.


“He is gone.”

(long pause)

 “I am so sorry, Eva.”

“God is still good.”

“Yes He is.”

Has there ever been such a short but lasting conversation? God is still good.
It seems to me the greatest feeling of loss may not come from some prolific person we watched in amazement. It’s not the powerful voice we reverenced. It’s the person that may not have attracted your attention by their presence, but someone you were always glad to have among you. It’s the person who didn’t claim to have all the answers, but someone you loved listening to. The person who was there all along and you expected it to stay that way.

Our loss is great.

There are thoughts that keep you awake, that seem too heavy to bear. The thought of the wife he went ahead of, the son and daughter he left behind, the grandchildren he loved. Everyone left with the same questions, “why?”  “What now?”

For me, it’s the thought of family without him. Is there such a thing? Post-Christmas rook games with an empty chair at the table. The sarcastic comments. The deep laughter. The jokes that I only caught onto when I got a little older. The encouragement that he offered me and the phrase he would always say before leaving a family gathering, “I’m proud of you kiddo.”

Yes, last night was a sleepless night.

Every time things happen that I don’t understand, nor want to accept, this song immediately plays in my mind. We don’t know or understand why, but somewhere down the road there will be answers.

Job 1:21
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Isaiah 55:8-13
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
12 You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Magnificent You.

Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance- but have you ever seen color and design quite like it?
LUKE 12:27 MSG

You were created in an innate beauty, handmade by God to be a vessel of love and grace. Without fear or fussing, you have an incomparable splendor in this world- and you hold a purpose, bright... bold... and all your own.

You are one-of-a-kind... You are God's design... You are filled with light... And you are here to decorate the earth with His glory.

Let this song remind you the simple but magnificent truth about who you are.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Opposites Welcome

One of the most beautiful and yet most bizarre things I have witnessed, and maybe you have too, is a sunny rain storm. I love rainy days. There is something that is so refreshing about a light rain, but rainy days can be interpreted as dreary, depressing days. It is very unusual for the sun's rays to break through the thick clouds on such a day, but when they do... wow. So amazing. Two things that contradict each other so sure do make the perfect combination.

Happiness and sadness. Laughter and tears. Joy and pain.

We would all agree, these are stark opposites. Each represent two things that would not commonly mingle together. Two things that hold opposite sentiments, one holding positive sentiment and the other negative. Can such opposites co-exist?

We all face each day knowing that it can be filled with great joy, laughter, and happiness. However, the same day can be filled with sadness, tears, and sorrow. It has all the potential to swing to either side of the pendulum. But the pendulum does swing both ways. But I want to propose and encourage you not to focus on the sorrow that will eventually follow joy, but to focus on the joy that will follow the sorrow. And more than that, joy and sorrow can exist together.

"To have joy in trials is not to deny pain. It is to recognize the fact that they can exist together. They can co-exist in the same way an expectant mother can go through the travail of birth and still have joy in thinking about what is to come. She has joy because she has the "right focus" as she considers this new baby that will be birthed into the world. In the same way, believers must have the right focus in order to have joy in their multicolored trials."
Know that you can carry joy through the trial you are walking through. You can be clothed in joy while facing sorrow. And here are some ways to do that:

Right thinking: Philippians 4:8

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Right focus: Psalm 121:1-2; 5-6

I look up to the mountains- does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.

Right focus: Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Whatever you are facing today and whatever you will face tomorrow, choose to have joy even in the sorrow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Attention to Detail

God cares.

He does. He cares deeply and He cares completely. Yes, He cares about every person, the whole human race in its vastness. To think, He cares for millions and BILLIONS of people is incredible! But I would suggest that this thought is even greater: He cares for you.

That is a profound statement and an almost unbelievable thought. The same God who cares for all 6 billion inhabitants of this planet zooms in on you, on your life, on your well-being and says, "There she is."

If you are anything like me you think, "Sure He cares about me. I know He listens to my prayers and cares about my future, the big picture for my life." You know what I am talking about... the big things. The "important" things. I naturally underestimate how much people care. I usually leave out unnecessary details to stories I share because, "they won't care anyways." I don't want you to get the wrong idea, I do not feel unloved or uncared for, but the little things aren't really attention-getters, and I feel like they are unimportant to anyone but myself. I have come to realize that I allow that to bleed over into my relationship with God. "Maybe those little details aren't important to God either. Maybe He doesn't really care that much either." 

"We may be willing to admit that life as a whole is subject to the overruling providence of God, but often we hesitate to believe that every detail of life is the object of His loving concern... Love refuses to believe that God is not interested in every detail of life." - J. Oswald Sanders

God cares. About every single, tiny, seemingly insignificant, detail of your life. He sees you. He takes notice of you. You are important to Him, and EVERYTHING about you is important to Him. No matter what it is you are holding on to, share it with Him. He already knows, but He longs for you to open up your hands and show Him the secrets cupped between your hands. He longs for you to open up the door to your life and welcome Him in. Allow Him to look around and make Himself at home. He doesn't need you to put a blanket over the tear in the couch, He wants to hear how that tear got there. Don't worry about blocking off the laundry room, He doesn't mind the mess. In fact, He is pretty good at cleaning up messes. Even the little things He cares for so deeply. Your feelings, yeah, He cares about those too. Your worries demand His attention. Your stress brings Him to your side frantically saying, "Let me help." He knows, but still He listens. He is a God of the details. He can handle the big stuff, but He still cares about the little stuff, why? Because it concerns YOU. 


Friday, March 13, 2015

Let's Talk

Today I am going to share a little on something that we are all faced with whether it be within our family or at work; any human interaction really. Conflict.

I have shared about conflict before, but I want to dive into the matter further if I may. So, let me clarify exactly what I mean. When I am saying conflict I am talking about when things are just not jiving between you and another individual. It may be creative differences, it may be miscommunication, it may be a harsh response; it could be anything that leaves you at odds with someone. That is the conflict I am talking about.

Now I have heard it said by many, "I hate confrontation," or "I'm just not good at confrontation." This idea of having a come to Jesus moment, or a venting session where you lay everything out on the table with people in order to resolve an issue would make anyone resent facing a problem head on. And it is that lack of courage that sustains the tension among friends, family, co-workers, whoever it may be, and results in insincerity and insecurity within that relationship.

Insincerity because you are not able to be honest and heartfelt because of unresolved issues.
Insecurity because your relationship is unsure and compromised with distrust and hurt.

Let's change the thought process. Let's have a conversation not a confrontation. It is that simple. Just start a conversation with reconciliation as the end game. When you start the conversation knowing that you want reconciliation you are much more likely to have success. Here's a few more things that will help ensure success:
1. Start the conversation, then listen.
2. Be determined to understand.
3. Always speak in love.

Someone once reminded me, "relationships are the only thing that we have in this life that will last to the next life." Relationships are forever. They are not like material possessions that will wither and ruin, unless we let them. Invest in something eternal. Start the conversation. Here's how you can start:
"Hey, let's talk."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Living Your Legacy

L E G A C Y .

Life is short and temporary.
What will your legacy be?
Live your legacy today.
Some thoughts I am sharing today over on the Kyrie Coffee blog. I would love to have you stop by there and check it out.

Are you a blogger who desires to inspire good, motivate change, and challenge the norm?
Are you open to being a blog affiliate and making regular contribution to a blog that has these same values? Check out Kyrie Coffee blog and see if it resonates with you. Then if you are interested send an email to kyriecoffeetulsa@gmail.com.