The Greatest Commandment

Love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Speeding Ticket

"Mam, I pulled you over for speeding. Is there a reason you were going so fast?"

Ummm... YEAH. I'm in a H-U-R-R-Y.

I'm ALWAYS in a hurry. Aren't you? (But this time, I was actually going slower than I usually do...) I was trying to keep up with someone, but they were going faster than I was... and the group of cars in which they were traveling was going faster as well. Somehow... someway... with about 6 cars in front of me traveling at a speed greater than 70 miles an hour in a 55 mph zone... that State Trooper decided that I was the one he would stop. (and this just HAPPENED to fall on the same day in which my insurance agent informed me that I would have 2 points drop off of my license in a couple of months... for speeding.......)

It really doesn't matter that the cars in front of me were going faster than me. It really doesn't matter that the cop could have and should have stopped someone else. The fact is... I was still going too fast. 70 in a 55. Yeah yeah. Blech.

The very next day, my daily devotion was on "speeding through life." God doesn't really want us to just speed through life, missing out on his beauty and gifts... but we do it anyway, filling every inch, every moment, with something. Something other than what He intended. SLOW DOWN. ENJOY YOUR LIFE. BE STILL. I thought about blogging about this topic that day, but just didn't have enough time. Ironic? Perhaps. But it really hadn't sunk in that day, or in hind-sight... at least as much as I think it needed to.

You see... when I got that ticket... my 3 kids and 2 others were with me. Since then, I have had constant comments from these non-licensed individuals regarding my speed at any particular moment. Normally, I would halt any discussion from my kids involving my driving, as what qualifies THEM to judge me?? The last few days, however, I have really needed that reminder to SLOW DOWN. My "lead foot" is something I have had since I began driving, and I suppose it has something to do with procrastinating, or filling in every spare inch of time with something, and constantly being "on the run." :) Regardless... I am actually having to learn to allow time in my drive each day to NOT speed. Weird? For ME, it is...

So here is where I am... today... when my speedometer hit 80... (i know...shhhh...), I PURPOSELY slowed down again... I took some time to FEEL what it feels like to go slower. You know what? It was uncomfortable. I didn't like it AT ALL and was rather annoyed that not only was I going to have to stick with this speed for awhile, but some people actually drive like this. I felt like a freaking turtle. Literally. I CAN'T DO THIS.

And then it hit me.

Maybe this is what God has been trying to tell me for some time now. "SLOW DOWN. But to do this... you are going to have to be uncomfortable for awhile. You can grow from this experience, but right now you aren't allowing any room for what this experience can do for you. You are going to have to feel the discomfort and start to understand yourself a little more in the process. WHY do you feel uncomfortable going so slowly? Facing reality can be excruciating... but I promise you that taking some time to FEEL it... and spending some time figuring out why it feels yucky... will be so beneficial for you in the long run."


So today, I drove a little slower. I didn't like it much. I did, however, take some time to admit to myself that while I don't like feeling like a turtle, there were a few things to gain from driving a little more slowly. More things to see... a more friendly atmosphere for those around me on the interstate... better gas mileage... and a safer driver to boot.

In real life, however, I can't help but wonder... and wait to see... what I have been missing. I will have to deal with some uncomfortable feelings in many areas... as I have been running at a top speed for some time now. Being busy is one thing, but flying through it all is another. My schedule will not change for quite some time... but the way in which I approach it certainly will.

In what way are you going too fast?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Hiding Place...

Sunday night I hosted the youth group's annual Super Bowl party. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to get everything on my "to-do" list completed in time for the party. The result? I had to break open "the hiding place." My house looked nice and tidy to anyone just walking through, but a little digging around would have quickly revealed my secret.

The Hiding Place

This got me to thinking... this is a rather impeccable analogy to real life. (at least for my life, it is...) There are so many things I keep cleaned up and tidy for the world to see, but like my laundry and clutter filled closet, if someone happens upon an unlocked door, they are likely to find things I don't want anyone to see. This is true for most, if not all people, I predict, but in this particular instance on Sunday evening, the thought that crossed my mind was this:

"What is in my hiding place that needs to be found?"

In a short study by Rudelle Thomas, I read, "When you are speaking the Word of God in your situation and nothing is happening, take inventory of your life." For me, that inventory is packed... no... tossed, pushed and piled, into my hiding place. My goal this week is to open that door and begin the organization process. I know that after all those teenagers left on Sunday I started pulling things back out of the closet. As usual, it took awhile to go through all of that stuff and get it put away... and I wanted to quit and go to bed several times... but once it was done I sure did feel a lot better.

What's in YOUR hiding place?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Miss Thang and her mighty specs...

So... Erin got glassses!! How adorable is that face? You can't tell from the pic, but her glasses are purple with cool little designs on the sides. She picked them out herself and is VERY proud and pleased. Turns out she's blind as a bat. Well... not literally. But I can't see through her glasses... which means they are stronger than my reading glasses. She really couldn't see!!

Today has been a long, long day. Last night I went on an impromptu trip to IKEA with a friend (thanks Alicia!) to find some organization stuff for Emily (who doesn't have a closet...). We didn't get home until about 1:30 in the morning, and then... thanks to the coffee I had on the way home... I was up until after 4. I was up again at 8 to get to basketball games, and the day has not ended yet. The youth group will be here tomorrow for a Super Bowl Party, and I have been cleaning the garage for a few days... which means I have a lot more cleaning to do before they get here. The problem is... I'm rather preoccupied today. Wanting desperately to make peace with a few people, but it's not really happening. Well... I guess I really don't know that, but it's not happening as quickly as I would like for it to happen. I worry a lot these days, and now I just have all of these relationship concerns on my heart and mind. I have been so scatterbrained while working, that I'm not really getting anywhere... so I finally just sat down to get some thoughts out. Why not? It's what a blog is for, right? I still kinda have some reservations about this "public journal" thing, but so far the best excuse I can come up with for continuing (other than the obvious therapeutic reasons), is that when there is a chance that someone might read it, I am somehow "forced" to be more kind, honest and real. Perhaps there is someone, somewhere, going through something similar...

So... as I sat down to blog a bit, get my thoughts organized so I can get back to work, whatever... my online devo popped up. Ironic? I think not. It's on patience... and coming out of the "dark." I'll include some of what I just read...

Wait. The psalmist simply says, "I waited." Waiting is not passive. Waiting is meant to be a time of preparation, a time of rest and healing,
  • To wait means to accept the pit. Isaiah 45:3 (NIV) "I will give you hidden treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."

Any time "LORD" is capitalized in Scripture, it means "Abba Father." This verse indicates that our Father has gone before us and in every dark moment or painful circumstance has buried a treasure or stored a secret. The only way we can find the treasure or learn the secret is to pass through that darkness. Some things cannot be learned in the light. To wait means to accept the pit, knowing it is for our good.

  • To wait means to admit there is a problem. Isaiah 40:29 (NLT) "He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak."

Emotional health begins at the point of emotional integrity with a willingness to say "I need help!" When clinical depression overwhelmed my life, my husband was the pastor of a large church in South Florida. We could choose to be transparent and real or we could sweep my struggle under the rug. We concluded that in order to be right, we had to be real. Dan and I shared my battle with the staff, the deacons and then with the entire church. Yes, we took a risk but learned an important lesson in doing so. A shared load is a lighter load. We were created to need each other.

  • To wait means to be still. Psalm 40:1 "I waited …" To wait means to hope in and look for someone or something who will rescue us.

    So much about God can never be known on the run. I was so wrapped up in serving God that I had failed to be wrapped up in Him. During those two years in the pit, I not only gave up every role of leadership, there were many times when I could not even attend church because of panic attacks. God taught me an important truth. He is more concerned with who I am than what I do. No one can take my place in His heart.

Be patient.

Wow. There isn't much more I can say right now other than wow.


I will finish with the prayer from the devotion... which is certainly hitting home for me today.

Father, I am so tired. I can't hear Your voice or sense Your presence in my life. My faith is weak and I need Your strength to go on. Right now, I am laying the broken pieces of my life at Your feet and counting on You to come through for me.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Month of Love

One would think that after 2 1/2 years, I would have sorted through it all and have a brand new sparkling life to show for it... but the reality is that while things are better... they are still incredibly trying, and almost unbearable at times. Broken relationships, frustrated friends, dwindling finances, stressed out kids, little time for self-care.... everything just seems so negative and overwhelming sometimes. Divorce isn't easy, folks... and I'll say it again for all of you out there who sometimes find yourselves thinking it's an answer... it's not.

Most of the time I feel guilty. Guilty about something. Someone (usually my children) is always being neglected, short-changed or abused by my stressed out self. It's tough always feeling like I'm letting someone down, but have resolved myself to the fact that my kids come before anything or anyone else... so everything else will have to wait. This week I have had 2 sick children... which compounds the stress of just normal, every day life. Two nights without sleep followed by a night of broken sleep is enough to make anyone go nuts, but I believe I took it a step too far. I have been so tired I have "looked" for any outlet in which I could project the stress. Friends, family, you name it. It's definitely not fair, but I can't change it now... and unfortunately these folks (who have been in the spot light before), are unwilling to deal with it anymore. So now I'm tired (because of my schedule AND sick kids) and stressed (same reasons) and now heartbroken because I let myself get to a place in which I couldn't appreciate the love I was receiving, thus causing me to lose it.

So... it's a month of love. February. It's been years, really, since Valentines day has been a day of celebration for me, but it always depresses me. This year, however, I have another plan. The three little people I made out of LOVE are going to get so much LOVE, they won't be able eat, breathe or sleep without thinking about how much they are LOVED. This doesn't involve money... as we all know (or should know), that money can't buy love... but TIME. The one thing I beg for from the people I love is time, and it seems that no matter how much time I get, I'm so flippin' deprived of this time, that I can't get enough. It's kinda like food, I guess. When people deprive themselves of the things they love to eat, it usually ends up in a great big binge. I'm like that with time... whatever time I can get isn't fully enjoyed because I'm thinking about either 1) it's about to end, 2) I need more, or 3) when will I get more. Stupid, I know... but it's how it is right now. So... because time is what I so cherish... and what my kids BEG for... TIME = LOVE. The laundy, dishes, house, homework, etc will just have to suffer because my kids are worth WAY more than a clean house.

Happy Valentine's Day... I hope you each receive the love you deserve.