A Not-So-Ordinary Day

It’s hard to believe that it’s already January 22nd, isn’t it?

Time passes too quickly sometimes. Which is why I am thankful that because of Jesus, every day is like New Year’s Day. Because when I falter in my sense of where I’m going or what I’m doing, each new day is a new day, a new beginning, a new New Year’s Day.

Today is one of those days.

One of those days when I wonder if this year really will be better than last year.

One of those days when I wonder if I’m hitting the mark.

One of those days when I wonder what I should do to make today matter.

One of those days when I question what I am meant to do and who I am meant to be.

One of those days.

And then God whispers to my heart. He reminds me who I am. He reminds me whose I am.

He reminds me that I am His and that He is in control and that I am where I need to be.

He reminds me when I look at my two little girls that I am doing important work.

He reminds me when I start my day with Him that He is all I need.

He reminds me when I sit and watch the fire in our fireplace that life is already good. That I don’t have to wait until tomorrow or next month or next year for things to get better.

When I rest in Jesus, when I trust Him with my day, my life, my heart’s desires, things are the best they can be on this side of heaven.

When I surrender all of me, peace surrounds me and I can see the blessings that are mine. I can delight in Jesus and when I do that, I discover delight in the ordinary moments of my day.

Emptying the dishwasher reminds me of the plenty I already have.

Sweeping the floor reminds me that we have not only have a house, but a home.

Making another meal reminds me that we have the daily bread we need today.

Playing with my girls reminds me that I have been given the opportunity to leak Jesus into my girls’ lives. Into their hearts.

Seeing my husband pull into the driveway at the end of the day reminds me that I have a partner on the journey. The journey of parenting. The journey of dreaming. The journey of delight we are offered through Jesus.

God makes my ordinary extraordinary.

And when I forget that, God reminds me. He whispers to my heart. And, as long as I’m willing to listen, He will always remind me that He is all I need. Whether it’s January 22nd, April 27th, October 21st or December 27th, He is all I need.

And that, that is more than enough.

My Someday Has Come

Today is my someday.

You know the day to which I’m referring. The ambiguous day we refer to when we think about the things we’re going to do. The things we hope to accomplish. The things we wish we’d made time for that we promise ourselves we will do. Someday. Some day.

Well, today is that day.

Someday, I’m going to accept myself for who I am.

Today is that day.

Today, I shut down my pretentious, perfection-seeking inner critic. I helped her pack her bags and I kicked her to the curb because she is not welcome in me any longer. She has done her damage and today I chose to listen to the Truth. In that already vulnerable moment, I stopped and I prayed. I asked Jesus if he wouldn’t mind speaking just a wee louder today than usual. And then I repeated his words.

I am beautiful. I am incredibly fearfully and wonderfully made. I am complex and intelligent, sometimes fragile, often fierce and I am a daughter of the One True King. Not someday. Today. That is true today.

Yes, maybe I weigh more than I used to, more than I want to, more than a friend. Yes, maybe I am not as young as I was and I feel more my real age than I want to. Yes, maybe I don’t have a closet filled with new clothes or trendy styles.

But I am me. And I choose not to keep waiting for someday to acknowledge how amazing I am. I choose to see me through the eyes of the One who created me. As well as through the eyes of the one who married me.

Someday, things will be easier. We’ll have more money in our bank account. Our girls will be older and able to do more for themselves. We’ll have a fellowship of the heart with a small group of like-minded warriors and believers. We’ll be more sure of our dreams, our goals, where we’re heading.

Today is that day.

Starting today, I refuse to continue waiting for something that isn’t going to happen. Because it’s never been about the somethings. It’s always been about the someones. About Jesus. About me. About my husband, my girls. My family. My friends.

Make this your someday by focusing on the someones, not the somethings.

Make this your someday by focusing on the someones, not the somethings.

Let’s face it, things don’t get easier. Not really. They change. And we experience peaks as well as valleys. But, even so, the peaks are not any easier than the valleys. Not really.

In fact, they may be even harder. More challenging. They require much of us.

Life requires much of us.

In this life, there are challenges. Difficulties. Trials. Injustice. Heartbreak. Sadness. Life is not easy.

But that doesn’t mean that it is not good. That it is not worth celebrating. That it is not a gift.

That the life we have is not easy or perfect does not mean we should focus our eyes on someday.

We should focus our eyes on today. Today we can celebrate the moments we are given. Today we can be thankful for the joy-filled laugh of our child, for the hands that prepared a meal to share, for the smile our spouse offers from across a room.

life is good

Life is lived in the moments. In our todays.

Not in the somedays.

As part of my one word focus on moments, I refuse to spend this year wistfully dreaming about what life might be like somedayI believe that as I choose to live in the moments I am given. As I create moments with my girls and with my husband. As I treasure the moments I have with the people I love.

I believe that someday is already here.

In this moment. And I thank God for that amazing gift.

In the Heart of the Battle

My husband and I are participating in a reading challenge. Perhaps you’ve seen the hashtag #emptyshelf or you follow Jon Acuff. If not, basically we cleared two shelves of all books and kitsch in anticipation of all of the books we will read this year.

I’m just about finished with my third book. (I should mention that the challenge started before the New Year because when you’re #awesome, you don’t wait for the New Year to start doing something #awesome).

My third book is the first book my husband read. Waking the Dead, The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge. It is a life-changing book.

So much of what Eldredge has to say resonates so incredibly deeply with my heart it leaves me breathless. And I am excited that my husband has read it, too. Him for the second time. If he were not feeling so awful with sickness right now, I am pretty sure that I would be chattering non-stop with him, sharing questions and ideas and insights and yearning and joy.

Why?

Because the heart is good. The heart is not deceitful or wicked or evil. The heart is good.

My heart is good.

My heart is good because it is now the dwelling place of God and God cannot dwell where there is evil.

But it’s more than that.

It involves story. And it involves community. And it involves fellowship.

The story we are writing every day. The community that surrounds us if we seek it out. A fellowship of the heart that bands together a group of people with grace and love.

A fellowship of the heart.

A fellowship of believers who will go where many will not. Into the raw, naked truth of who you are where they will see you as the glorious image bearer that God created you to be (and remind you of that when you forget). They will fight with you in the battle against the enemy. They will fight for you against this enemy of your heart. They will be your band of brothers (and sisters) who will follow you into the fray, like Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli do for Frodo.

As Eldredge painted a picture of small, intimate groups of believers who come together in life, my soul stirred.

A group that knows and loves one another intimately.

A group that prays for the worst fears you harbor.

A group that prays for the warfare the enemy continually tries to inflict upon your heart through people and circumstances.

A group that knows your story and does not judge because they know your heart is good. That it has been redeemed by Jesus.

A group that breaks bread together, laughs together, cries together, plays together, goes on mighty quests together.

I had this kind of group once. In Boston. It is amazing how such a group can inspire you to live so fully alive that you bring glory of God. But that is what we did for each other.

And I miss that.

I have missed that for thirteen years. I have sought it out, that intimacy and that fellowship, but it has been more elusive than I thought it would.

But, as I read this book, I heard God whisper to my heart, to my soul, to the very essence of who I amsoon. you will find it again soon.

This is something for which my heart yearns. This is something that my soul craves. This is something my marriage needs.

The idea that my husband and I can find a fellowship of the heart. That we can be surrounded by willing warriors who will fight beside us in the battle to free those whose hearts remain captive. That we can be a part of a fellowship that will take on mighty quests for the sake of strangers we have never met.

This is what stirs my soul and awakens my heart.

This. A fellowship of the heart.

Just a Moment

It’s New Year’s Day. The first day of a new year and yet.

It feels like any other day really.

It’s another day of being a mama to two little girls who are full of life and energy and uncensored joy.

It’s another day of wondering what to make for breakfast, what to make for lunch, what to make for dinner.

It’s another day of checking the bank balance and whispering prayers that are laced with fears I don’t want to acknowledge.

It’s another day of wondering what to do with all the stuff that sits in piles on the table, on the floor, on the bureau.

It’s another day of wondering what to do with all the stuff that has piled up in my mind. Again. Since only last night.

But, it’s not just another day. Not really.

It’s not just like any other day.

Today is a new day. To heck with the new year and what goals I want to accomplish.

I will take today.

I will take this new day and I will be thankful. I will be mindful. I will be joy-filled.

I will be at peace.

Eventually.

Because honestly, I started this day miserable. I started this day already claiming defeat. I started this day overwhelmed. Overwhelmed mostly by choices and desires and ideal ideas of who I want to be and become in 2014. Overwhelmed by what I want to do in the year ahead. Overwhelmed by all the things that are already competing for my time and attention.

Recently, I joined a few different groups, online communities of people who are amazing dreamers and builders and 30-dayhustlers and 500-word-a-day writers. And their striving and their journeys and their success intimidate me. Because I feel like I don’t measure up. Because I feel like I don’t fit it. Because I feel like I’ve wasted time, wasted days, wasted months, wasted years.

Wasted moments.

Moments. The word itself reminds me to stop and to breathe. To be. Right here. Right now.

When I reflect on my life’s journey so far, I don’t truly believe that I’ve wasted all of my time. But I also believe I can do better. And that my better isn’t a reflection of anyone else’s journey or goals or success or dreams or hustle or life.

My better is about where I am right now. This moment.

As 2014 approached, challenges and goal-setting and talk of changing the world flooded my thoughts. And I got caught up in all of it. Because I want to do all of those things.

But I’ve finally come to realize only today, that this year is not when I will do all of those things. Truth be told, I’ve done some of those things already. As a college instructor of freshmen writing classes. As an interim youth director for a church youth program. As a Compassion International child sponsor. As a number of things to a number of people along my way to today.

But this year, it’s not about changing the world out there or about mentoring or encouraging students and young people and others out there

No. It’s about changing the world in here. It’s about mentoring and discipling and encouraging the people who are right here. In my home. The ones who share my life, who share my days, who share my moments – my family. My husband. My soon-to-be six-year-old artist and explorer. My soon-to-be four-year-old compassionate helper and doer of good deeds.

So rather than a list of goals and dreams, I’ve decided that I will focus on a word. One word. It’s something a lot of folks do each year, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do. But I’ve never made it through a whole year focused on one word. I think this year will be different. I think this year my word resonates deep in my soul.

And having finally shrugged off all the ideals and self-initiated comparisons to any and every person to whom I have even the slightest connection, I feel at peace. I feel energized. I feel ready for the year ahead.

I feel ready for the moments that I will have and share and create in 2014.

Yes. I am ready to focus on Moments.