Friday, December 2, 2011

25 Days of Giving...Round 3

Today is day two of 25 days of giving. Day one was a bit lackluster. Boo and I had grand ideas to swipe Jay’s plan to give donuts and coffee to the construction workers building a home next door. Our plans fell apart. I wasn’t discouraged though. My first year doing 25 days, which was 2 years ago, I ran on my own steam. I committed to the task and, by golly, I was going to see it through. I had forgotten one critical part, asking God to come along. Last year I’m pretty sure I invited Him on my journey but I firmly held the wheel. This year, I felt lead to hand over the keys and hop into the passenger seat. As plans fell apart yesterday, Boo and I prayed that God honor our desire to do for others, that He give us eyes to see the need and courage and strength to meet it. With that, I let go.

This morning I had to run to the Meijer to grab some fruit for Jack’s hockey team. My heart was light and my spirit was soaring because I had just come from Jaysi’s where we had a great chat and some awesome prayer. I decided that I was going to buy a $10 gift card and hand it to whoever got in line behind me. As the checkout lady was ringing the card up, my heart started to pound. Who knew this giving stuff could be so exhilarating? A nicely dressed woman and perhaps her daughter began unloading groceries behind mine. I took the card from the checkout lady and turned to the woman behind me. When I am about to do this kind of thing, the doubtful thoughts try to creep in: What if she gets offended? What if she doesn’t need any help paying for her groceries? What if she just doesn’t understand what I’m doing? No way, Jose! I was not going to fall prey to that nonsense. I was going to give that card and not worry about the response.

I said to the woman “I’m practicing 25 days of giving and today I decided to give whoever got in line behind me a $10 gift card so here you go.” She just looked at me completely stunned. She said that she was just saying that she was over-budget and wasn’t sure how she was going to pay for all of her stuff. She was so overwhelmed. The absolute BEST part was that I was able to let her know that is was God who put her in the line behind me and that it was He who wanted to help her that day. She grabbed me in a big hug and praised God right there.

In His infinite wisdom and awesome ability to do ANYTHING He wants, He matched me with the person who needed to see Him today. He was able to confirm her faith and show her love and care through me. I was merely a vessel and I could not be happier to be just that. My greatest prayer is that, not just the next 23 days, but everyday of my life goes more and more like this.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Spinning Yet Rejoicing

It is so hard to see the bigger picture. It is impossible to understand why we have to hurt. Why people come into our lives and out of them. It has been quite a week around these here parts. It's been a week full of fear and anxiety, exercises in obedience despite discomfort, heartache, overwhelming joy and blessings. My head is spinning. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that staying in bed for a couple days didn't sounds mighty fine at this moment.

But I won't do that. I won't lay down. I will keep on trucking. I will continue to give God every day of my life, no matter how hard some of those days might be. I will make that choice because I am His warrior. In Him, I find the strength to carry on.

I will do this because of the promise He made.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I am called according to His purpose and he will make all things right. I will walk by faith and not by sight. No matter what the cost. Amen.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Reminders

My heart was yearning to talk to a dear friend this morning. This is one of the friends that I have neglected in the past weeks of my chaotic torment. Since the clouds of chaos have parted way to let the sun shine on the field of daisies, it was time to reach out to a girlie who frolics with me. What she had to share was changing.

Her cousin and family live in Joplin, Missouri. Enough said right there.

While one of the biggest, fiercest tornadoes on record ripped through their small town, this family of 8 (6 children ranging in age from teen to 18 months)huddled in the first floor half bath. They had no basement, nothing to get them underground. The twister leveled their home with them standing right in the middle of it. One wall of the bathroom fell in on them hitting the mother in the head, but then shielding the entire family from the horror happening around them. All 8 walked out without a scratch except for the bump on the head.

My friend confessed that she struggled with the all too familiar question for God "Why???". These are good people who love the Lord and care for others every chance they get. Why would God inflict such damage and destruction on people such as these. And then the truth of the matter hit her, he protected all that mattered...period. He did honor these people in the greatest possible way.

She told me that the latest Facebook update on this family included a photo of all 8 standing in front of the pile that was their house...smiling.

Blessing. That is what this conversation, this story was for me. A blessed reminder to hold onto only that which really matters. To give my time, energy, attention to the things that will go with me in the end. Because nothing else really matters.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Finding Peace in the Dessert

Life was hectic but my mind was even more hectic. I wanted to blame the chaos of my life on the crazy schedule. A schedule that, in large part, was created by me. Not only was there no peace in my day or in my home, there was NO peace in my head. My mind wrestled with meaningless chatter ALL DAY LONG. I would find myself waking at night to the sound of my own inane mental chatter…ugh. My life, my kids…let’s be totally honest, myself was driving me mad. Tears were always just below the surface. I had little to no patience for my children. As all mothers know, as soon as your children pick up on your impatience, they grow more persistent in their attempts to gain your attention, no matter what they have to do to get it. The fighting in my house was enough to drive anyone to insanity, but sadly I didn’t want to see that it was I that was creating the spirit of discontent.

Aside from the great sadness of feeling disconnected and disenchanted with my children, I was bummed at the lack of contentment I found in this new gorgeous home God had blessed us with. I was surprised that I could not find peace here. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God hand chose this house for us and but I couldn’t relax and enjoy it. Everyday felt restless and strained.

And then it all changed…

For my birthday, my only request from my hubby was a weekend trip by myself to Phoenix to see my mom and my sister. I knew all along that crazy, miraculous God things happen at my mom’s house. I guess my spirit knew that the time was right to take the big trip.

I won’t go into details but suffice it to say, it was just what the doctor ordered. I found my peace. I regained my center and was able to quiet my mind. The full realization hit me that no matter how desperately we want to hear God’s calling in our life, if we don’t shut up long enough, He can’t get a word in edgewise. A dear and gifted friend out in Phoenix told me that I will return a new woman and that I would spend my days “frolicking in the daisies”. A little frolicking is just what this Mama needed. To take a time out of busyness and schedules and just learn to be in the moment, this moment, the only moment that is real, is medicine for the soul.

I have been home for 3 hours. I have played with my kiddos, for real play, not the checked-that-box-now-can-I-do-something-else kind. I let my husband know how grateful I was that he blessed me with that time away. He was exhausted and drifted off to sleep. Then I happily, yes happily, put my children to bed. When they pulled the usual bedtime stall tactic of “just one more kiss”, instead of getting frustrated and telling them to go to sleep, I joyfully leaned in for just one more kiss.

Once the house was quiet, I grabbed my iPod and headed out for a walk. This new neighborhood is lovely. In the past few weeks I often considered taking a walk but instead opted to sit inside in my painful restlessness, a fact that now boggles my mind. There was no way that I wasn’t heading out tonight. I turned my Mumford and Sons all the way up and began my journey. First stop, the park at the end of the block. I had to find a spot to sit my butt down because the sunset literally took my breath away. Tears started to fall as I felt the overwhelming love that my father in heaven has for me. This homecoming gift filled my heart and soul to overflowing. It was all I could do to take it in.

So here I sit, renewed, restored, rejuvenated. The trick is going to be staying with it and not getting sucked back into the vortex that is life on this planet. Really, I prefer to try and stay out of the world and its grabby clutches. Here’s prayin’ all the good spirit growin’ seeds planted in the desert quickly take root and grow lush and fruitful. In Jesus’ name I pray AMEN!

Oh, and to any who are reading this, I HIGHLY recommend visiting camp Bethie Boo (Mom and Lindsey) if you are in need of a mind, body, spirit pick-me-up. There really is no better place! Book your weekend retreat now as space is going to become very limited when word gets out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Two Favorite God Phrases

Just thought I'd share the two things God tells me when I get all agitated by my own circumstances. You know, those sleepless nights spent tossing and turning over things completely out of my control.

He says "Shannon, Get over yourself and get out of my way!"

...and it always makes me chuckle.

"Thanks Lord."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

just me...thanks to Him

Why that title? Because it sums up who I am today. Short, simple, to the point. No frills, no fluff...just me. Just me is all I ever really wanted to be. Problem was that just me never seemed good enough. I wanted to add stuff, do stuff, impress people, be more. Thanks to Him, I have fully embraced just me. I love her, just as she is. God has allowed me to see her as He sees her. Made, from day one, with everything she needs to be more than enough. The closer I get to Him, the more just me I become. The more just me I become, the more I get to become like Him. Amazing really.

So here I am. With all thanks and glory to God, I get to go on being just me.