Life · Thoughts

…Gentleness and Self-control.

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last wrote; I also can’t believe that I’m not coming with a funny / embarrassing story for my first post back in so long (there have certainly been many).

Instead, I come as an attempt at self-soothing, as lately I find myself walking around with anger and frustration in my heart that I can’t even pinpoint.

All the amazing blessings in my life (and trust me, they’re abundant) are being lost in this emotion; a black hole in the pit of my stomach that swallows them up. That sounds dramatic, but I’m afraid that’s just honest. I’ve felt like I couldn’t even take a full deep breath lately.

This morning I remembered a video I watched recently where Priscilla Shirer dives into the fact that the Devil is not only real, but is actively at work tempting us, planting frustrations in us, placing doubt in us, stirring up our emotions, toying with our relationships …scheming against us. She paraphrases the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 by saying “Come on y’all, pull back the curtain and let the enemy know ‘we’ve got our eyes on you.'”

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” – Ephesians 6:10-11

…The Devil and I had a talk this morning. Or rather, I insisted the Devil listen to me. I will not be toyed with any longer. I will not have the strings of my emotions pulled. I will not allow myself to feel overly angry with the people I love. I will not let my frustrations at work overshadow the joys of my life. I’m done with the Devil, the enemies, the negativity, the self-doubt, and uncontrolable emotions.

Not only am I exhausted by it all and at the end of my rope, but I am God’s child. I am a women of God. I am a reflection of God for the people around me.

Now let’s be real. Those are some bold statements and while I am all of these things, I’m also “only human” (one with God by my side, but still). So, where do I start?

While Priscilla Shirer’s sermon goes on to talk about Ephesian’s reference to the 6 Pieces of Armor, I’ve decided to start with the Fruits of the Spirit.

When I feel frustrated, emotional, angry, unreasonable… I’ve vowed to slow down, to take a deep breath, to remind myself of the qualities I want/have; the qualities that God claims; the qualities that I can use to fight the Devil’s interferences in my life…

“But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23

When a client has me stressed and is being unreasonable…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

When I feel disappointed with decisions/actions made by others…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

When I start picking apart my relationships…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

When I start picking apart myself…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

 

I am committed to being stronger in the fight. The curtain is pulled back and “I’ve got my eye on you.”

 

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Life · Uncategorized

A stepping stone…

This week was not ideal.

Long story short, the company I love and work for lost the pitch to keep the business in my area.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt; that I didn’t take it really personally; that my eyes don’t hurt from crying/trying not to cry; that I don’t feel a little betrayed; that I’m not angry, disappointed, and a little scared.

Leading up to this pitch and Co-op vote, I found and lived my every day repeating this prayer:

God, I know I am impatient, so prone to worrying, to giving up, to losing hope. Help me to rest in Your promises today. In this season of waiting, renew my joy in this moment so that I do not miss Your presence in this place. Thank You for being with me and for never giving up on me. Thank You for always working for my good and for Your glory even when I can’t see. In Jesus’ name, Amen

It’s a good one. A really good one for me, as I have a bad habit of throwing myself into a worry or stress and neglecting to recognize the light and blessings all around it.

“In this season, renew my joy in this moment that I do not miss Your presence in this place”

My joy. His Presence. In this moment.

Here in this place. Here in this situation.

For my good. For His glory.

From here, I vow to focus on three things:

  1. God has a perfect plan for me; a beautiful plan far beyond my comprehension and likely so much bigger than anything I could ever dream up. I’ve been reminded of this on repeat over my last 28 years. I’ve cried over an embarrassing number of things that, looking back, were stepping stones on the way to something much more amazing. God has a plan. And I will trust Him to see it through in me. I will be open to His guidance and I will not doubt His direction for me.
  2. My people … (pause: thankful-crying) … my people are amazing. In response to my bad news yesterday (and really in response to my stress levels leading up to it), my people overwhelmed me with love, encouragement, support, “we‘ll figure it out”s, leads, comfort, prayers, and in one case, tulips and icecream.  I’ve said it a lot that I have terrible luck – and it’s true that wild and sometimes unfortunately things are often happening to me – but having the people I do in my life; people I love and who love me (and so well), easily makes me a very very… very lucky girl. Luckiest in the world, really.
  3. Perspective. Hurricanes are crashing into islands; crushing homes and changing lives. People are being diagnosed with Cancers. Others are starving. Families are watching loved ones suffer. Women are losing children. Children are losing parents.  …I lost a job/business account… How so very lucky and blessed I am that this is my “suffering.”

Thank You for always working for my good

and for Your glory even when I can’t see.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Stories

Faith at 40,000 ft.

Truth: I’ve been gone so long that I couldn’t remember what I had named this blog – couldn’t remember what email address I used, what password I chose… none of the usuals worked …I started worrying I was turning into my grandmother, who couldn’t remember her password even if her password was “password” and was written on a sticky note on her desk. (I love you Granne… I don’t think you read this but if you do… well, you’ll forget.)

So, I jumped through the “Contact us” hoops and here I am! I fought my way back in.

Life is going so disgustingly amazingly well for me lately, there’s not enough wood in the world to knock on to talk about it so I won’t. I will say, mom is always right.

A good quick story instead?

My new (too good to be true) job includes some traveling (which I looooove) and a few weeks ago, I flew to Lexington, Kentucky.

On the way back home to Richmond, I sat next to a 40ish year old man on his very first airplane. Originally, I was annoyed. He was slightly larger, I had been delayed all day, had been sitting in airport floors, and I just wanted to shut my window and read my book.

And honestly, that’s what I did for the first 30 minutes. I’m ashamed now, knowing that this man had never seen the Earth from 40,000 feet and my being a brat deprived him of that as we ascended.

As soon as this man turned to me though, I could feel his positive spirit. He told me about his family; how jealous his kids were that he was flying as no one in his family ever had; about his job and his church and how he was flying to Chicago to pick up a truck to drive back down to Mississippi. I threw my window up (a lesson in how spoiled I am and how thankful I should be) and invited him to lean over to take pictures… which he very quickly did, with more excitement than a kid on Christmas.

We hit a little air pocket and he looked over at me with a little panic on his sweet face and so I said, “No worries! Happens all the time! Haha, I think we both know we’d get to go somewhere better anyway though” (y’all know my heaven-obsession). He agreed, repeating that he was God’s man; he always knows who he belongs too, who he’s with, and where he’s going. We talked about that for just a few minutes before I went back to my book and he back to admiring the plane and the window view.

About twenty minutes later, the young man in front of us turned around and said, “excuse me, do y’all really believe all that stuff?” And before I could say a word, this sweet man beside me, on his very first flight, leaned forward and said, “Brother… let me tell you…”, locked in and didn’t so much as glance out the window again as he beautifully shared the reassurance and love found in his (our) Faith to this young man.

ALL the tears.

God is SO good, am I right?

 

Quick thoughts

Tossing and turning…

Ughhhh, I can’t sleep.

For the last two hours, I have been staring at the ceiling; racking my brain, reliving conversations and events, tearing myself apart, and challenging God; telling Him what I want when He knows what I need.

Do you ever feel like you’re fighting for your Faith? Like… I KNOW God is with me. I KNOW He has a plan for me. I KNOW He goes before me. I KNOW he will not let me down. And I KNOW He is on my side.

…but honestly and shamefully, sometimes on nights like these when I should easily and trustingly give it all up to Him and go to sleep; I don’t. Instead I lie awake hurting and doubting Him and His plan. I know it’s terrible and I know it’s a waste, because I know – and I know I know – all of the above things and that when morning rolls around I’ll feel more grounded and be back on track.

…the devil sneaks around at night. That’s what I think. Planting insecurities and doubts in the darkness. He has a hold of me tonight …he had a hold of me tonight…

Because I know my God is here.

I know He is always here.

I know He has a hand on my shoulder.

I know He is guiding my life.

I know I am loved and blessed and in good hands.

And I know that these nights end.

And that the sun will come up tomorrow.

And He will still be here.

Despite my arguing with Him for the last 2 hours, He will still be here.

Forgiving, all-knowing, all-seeing, unconditionally loving…

  

Get some sleep …I’m talking to myself but you too! Sweet dreams.

Life · Uncategorized

Another cheesy “Dear Future Husband” post…

Dear Future Husband,

Here’s a few things that you should know… if you’re going to be my one and only all my liiiife(just kidding).

Really though… I miss you. Is that strange? To miss someone you haven’t met yet? It probably is but I do. I wish I could explain it.

I don’t really know where to start in writing this to you – only because there are so many things I want to say, so many things that have happened, so many things that make me who I am, so many things I want to share with you. Really I want to be with you now. I want to hear your laugh (warning, I’m pretty hilarious). I want to feel at home simply because you’re around.

Right now, specifically, I want to be comforted by you.

What about that, is that strange? Haha, wanting to be comforted by your future person?

You should know that I write this to you a little heartbroken again -okay, like pathetic can’t eat, can’t sleep, sick-feeling as soon as I open my eyes,  “little” heartbroken. I’ll bounce back, of course, but dating is so hard, isn’t it? Do you hate it as much as I do? I hate it, hate it. I’ll never understand why it can’t be easier… more honest, more reliable, more genuine, more intentional, more selfless. I’d love that; I like you – you like me, let’s watch TV and bake cookies or something equally lame and sweet and be in complete fearless bliss.

I’ve “wasted” time (the future me who knows you will say, “it wasn’t a waste, I understand now!”) dating guys who haven’t been nice to me, who have led me on and let me down. I’ve dated guys who have made me question if I’ll ever find you, if you’ll ever find me, if you even exist at all.

I’ve done a pathetic and embarrassing amount of crying through it all (you’ll learn I’m a crier)… and agonizing and worrying and stressing and doubting… I’ve been impatient and I haven’t trusted God the way that I should. Honestly, I guess I haven’t trusted you the way that I should and for that, I’m sorry.

At the end of every “relationship”/dating disaster, I’ve begged God for you. “Where is he? Why do I have to wait so long? Why does my wait hurt so bad? Send him to me! Make this stop!”

At which point, I’m sure God laughs at me; knowing exactly who you are, and where you are, and what you’re doing, and at what point our life paths meet, and why they haven’t yet.

I know He’s working on you like He’s working on me. And if you’re anything like me… well, I just know He’s had His work cut out for Him with me…

I’ve given Him hell, kicking and screaming, to learn important lessons. Slowly but surely though, with a lot of backup from a lot of amazing people, I’m learning them. I imagine that by the time we meet, they’ll be a solid part of who I am and I guess they’ll be a part of the reason we work. And I get that.

I’m learning how to be more resilient. I’ve been kind of a wimp leading up to this point.

I’m learning not to take anything for granted.

I’m learning how to really appreciate other people; their time, love,  dedication, needs, and spirit.

I’m learning how fast time goes by, and to embrace the people and things in it before it’s too late.

I’m learning that family is what really lasts.

I’m learning that there are some things that you just have to let go of. And that that’s okay.

I’m learning how to put my self-worth in real things instead of tangible ones.

I’m learning not to put my happiness at a finish line.

I’m learning that I like a little space – but I like to have a little reassurance in it.

I’m learning that I’m a hand-holder. Sorry.

I’m learning how to be patient. Okay, honestly I don’t know if I’m actively learning this one or being forced to learn it but I’m learning it. Very reluctantly.

I know that there is value in my wait, in your wait.  I know that God has planned you for me and me for you and that He has us on specific, intentional paths that will one day join. I like to think that you wonder about me and that day like I do sometimes.

In these tough parts, when I’m craving your presence, I remember that you’re out there… doing your thing, becoming who you’re supposed to be, working your way towards me. I’m comforted by the idea that when I meet you, all the feelings I thought I had for others won’t even compare and that I’ll appreciate you even more for it… and that that whole, “everything happens for a reason” thing will prove itself true.

I hope that during your tough days, it crosses your mind that I pray for you. I pray that you’re happy. I pray that you’re healthy. I pray that you’re surrounded by good people. I pray that you’re enjoying your life. I pray that you’re proud of who you are. I pray that you’re strong and resilient. I pray that you pray. I pray that you know you’re not alone. I pray that you have faith and confidence in who I’ll be to you one day. And I pray that you can fix things… because I can’t fix anything and I’m always breaking stuff!

I don’t write any of this to nag you or rush you or worry you. I guess all I’m trying to say is that I’m excited to meet you. I can’t wait to tell you how amazing you are. I can’t wait to make dinner with you (because you know, I only learned how to cook in my last couple of years) and buy you Christmas gifts (I love Christmas) and fight with you (sorry, I’ve never really fought with anyone so it might as well be someone I know is going to stick around) and meet your family (oh my gosh, you’ll love my family, they’re the best)… I can’t wait to laugh with you, and cry with you, and learn with you, and grow with you… I can’t wait to finally know you and to turn to God and say, “Okay, okay, I get it! This is why I had to wait a while, I’m sorry I gave You such a terrible hard time. It was so worth it.” And I know it will be.

Yours,

L

(ps. I think it’s adorable when grooms cry. Just sayin.)

Quick thoughts

It’s dark under there.

Today I climbed under my desk. It’s always tempted me. The little corner back there. After my Unhinged post yesterday, I drafted a post about adult temper tantrums. And about how sometimes when I’m having a tough day, I have to put my hands flat on my desk and remind myself that I’m a grown up and that I can’t crawl under it to escape. It’s been beckoning me ever since because I’m on day 3 or 4 (or 8 or 9) of “tough day.”

So I did it. I just decided I had to know if it’d be as comforting as it looked.

And you know what, it kind of was. But then I realized that I’m almost 27 years old, that I have a career in my studied field, that I’m healthy, that I have a lot to offer, that I have an overwhelmingly amazing family, that I have more genuine/loyal/loving friends than I can even count, that I have the unconditional love of the Creator of Life who has personally planned a life for me and who walks me through it every second of every day… and that I’m having a relatively good hair-day.

So, I reached back up on my desk, under deskgrabbed my phone, and took this awkward little selfie to look back on as one of my low-points; sitting under my desk selfishly acting like I have more things to escape from than things to be living passionately, devotedly, aggressively, faithfully, and excitedly for. Silly me.

I’d love to effortlessly live each second of the day remembering all of this. I don’t (yet). I can go from 100% confident and trusting of my life path, to nearly-hyperventilating over things that may not even happen; paying for hurricane insurance in the desert “just in case”.

I’m working on it. Slowly but surely and with the help of lots of patient and forgiving people (who probably secretly want to strangle me) and a God who listens to me repeat myself over and over again. But “we’re” working on it.

I’m not going to let myself crawl under my desk again. Unless I need a nap. It is pretty dark under there.

Life

Unhinged.

This one’s a little personal, which I’ve avoided doing because I don’t know who in my life is reading this badboy but… carrying on…

Part of who I am is this cheesy person who has written down random things about my life; prayers, thoughts, stories, etc. since I was in the 4th grade. Haha, at that time it was in a Winnie-the-Pooh diary and the majority of my entries were about a little-player-boy named Peyton. Somewhere between middle and high school, I started a private LiveJournal. My first entry there (as I have it opened in a tab right now) was on January 18th, 2004 and it looks like I was really really pissed at a boy. Haha, I was 15 years old.

I kind of retired writing anything personal in that format only about 5 or 6 years ago (that’s a lot of writings) but it was then that I picked up writing down my prayers. I find that my mind wanders when I pray – I’m working on it, my God deserves better – but writing them down has always kept me focused. It’s also been kind of life-changing to be able to go back and read the things I was talking to God about; asking Him for, thanking Him for, begging Him for, whining to Him about, praising Him about, crying to Him about… I’d suggest it really; writing them down.

A lot of these past prayers make me laugh, some of them make me a little embarrassed, some make me thankful that I didn’t get what I wanted, a number of them are a comfort in reminding me that life goes on, and a few of them I can still feel strongly enough to make me cry. The number of times I’ve been lost and then found, lost and then found… lost and then found… is dizzying. I guess that’s the story of our lives… it’s certainly the story of mine, at least.

I’ve been unhinged lately. That’s the best word for it, “unhinged.” I’ve a little forgotten who I am; forgotten all the things that make me up and the amazing number of people who pour into me. I’ve not been the person other people need me to be. I’ve not been the person I need me to be; or the person I am. I’ve let undeserving things and unnecessary worries shake my world up and I’ve repeatedly given things up to God only to snatch them right back. What’s that quote? …forgive me

I turned to previous written prayers to find a little balance. These are all kind of old. Haha, which makes me laugh a little, because it’s such proof of life’s way. To be clear, these are the “selfish” portions of my prayers but this is what I need now…

God, please help me to remember my life; the life You’ve given me. To remember every part and role. Help me to not get wrapped up in small portions and to trust that everything is a part of Your plan for me. Please help me to leave things in Your hands and to enjoy the little things in life. God please help me to show appreciation, to shine Your light, and to be the person other people need. Thank You for planning my life and walking me through it. Thank You for Your unconditional love, when I very rarely deserve it. Thank You for the people in my life- an abundance of people who I can turn to and rely on. 

God, help me to be better. Help me to be more faithful, more confident, more relaxed, more trusting, more “cool and calm.” Help me to be myself; my very truest self. Help me to enjoy each moment of the day, each person in my presence. 

God, please calm my crazy heart and anxieties. 
I KNOW that You have a plan for me. We go over this all the time. I know that everything that happens in my life is leading me toward something You have laid out for me. I know that You will not leave me or let me down. I know that I am on Your path. I’m confident that Your plan is better than anything I could imagine.