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 astounding...life 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.

From the Bloggy Beginning

This is blog number 3 for me. I began to share my voice and life with the world Tuesday November 28, 2006. I posted the following entry two days later. I remember the day it went "live". I considered deleting it. I was embarassed that I shared such a personal inner struggle. Frankly, I was surprised that I let it out. I guess it was time to begin my journey on the path to my destiny... the path to meeting, face to face, the One who created me.

I just finished watching Oprah this morning and, as usual, she has me thinking about things. The show was about women becoming themselves. At the start of the show I felt very confident that I had completed much of that journey very early on in my life. I thought about how my experience getting pregnant at 18 and having my son Jack pushed me to become more of who I was meant to be. In that experience I learned to listen to my own inner voice and I learned to listen to God speaking to me. I transformed from this people pleasing girl that never wanted to stand out into a self-aware woman who had to do what was best for herself in that moment or else my life would be altered (for the worse) forever. I am so thankful for that challenge because through it I realized that I was strong, intelligent and worthy. In that time I found my own worth which had been missing all my life. For the first time I was able to validate myself and I no longer sought it from outside places.

One thing that many of the women on the show said is that becoming yourself is an ongoing journey. I feel that I am at another point in my life now that is calling for me to grow. This time it is a bit less dramatic, thankfully. My life is in order and I am ecstatically happy with where I am and what I am doing. I have a beautiful husband who adores me and I adore him, I have 4 of the most wonderful children and we are in the process of growing a new business. I think the feeling of contentment in my external life is spurring on the awakening and urge to grow my internal self. Because I am not preoccupied with issues in my life, my soul is stirring and I am able to feel it.

I believe that the next phase of my personal growth is moving beyond fear. It is ridiculous to say but I am afraid to move beyond my fear. My fear has been my friend throughout my life. I am trying to determine exactly what the fear is but I have a strong feeling that it includes a fear of rejection, not being good enough, making a fool of myself and most importantly my power. At my core I know that I am immensely powerful. I hold so much personal power that it terrifies me. I have felt for so long that there is something I am supposed to do with this life I was given. While I know that I have already done many things, there is something else that I am afraid to acknowledge. It feels like a pandora's box and once I open it, I will never be that same. While my soul is crying out for whatever is in that box, my fear tells me to leave it alone. What should I do? I know that the box will be opened soon because the stirring is louder and louder everyday. I am only 28 now and I can't imagine ignoring it much longer. How do I move out of fear and into embracing what I truly was meant to do? How do people like Oprah step into their personal power so readily and confidently?

I had so hoped that no one would stumble upon my revealing post but someone did. Thank you, Lord, that she did because she left me this amazing quote.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson