Category Archives: advice to self

Enjoy the Moment

Dear One,

Right here, right now.   If I could give you one bit of advice, based on everything I know about you, this would be it:

“ENJOY THE MOMENT”.

If I could, dear Seeker, I would take you for a  long, slow walk just before sunset and have a conversation with you much like the one I had with someone yesterday and remind you of the simple things.

I know you want to trust God.  I know you’re tired of being stressed and fearful and feeling responsible for a future that you really have no real control over.   You believe that the LORD is Sovereign; so…

“The path of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.” Isaiah 26:7

Relax

Take a deep breath.  You’re alive.

Don’t let disappointments and frustrations control your day.  Days may feel long, but life is short.

  • Internet connections will run slow.
  • Computers will crash.
  • Health will come and go and come again.
  • Appointments and deadlines will be missed.
  • Events will be cancelled.
  • Kids will break things.
  • Appliances and vehicles will break down.
  • Traffic will back up and you will miss a turn.
  • Things will be misplaced.

It’s going to be alright.  You already know it: God is on His throne, and you are not.  Do you really think any of those unexpected-to-you, no-surprise-to-Him, things can thwart the plans of the Almighty?

Even “big deals” are not “big deals” unless we make them into “big deals” by forgetting about our bigger than we know God who made all things.  And, if what’s on your mind seems like a big deal to you, it’s time you put things back in perspective and relax. 

God can handle it.  He has offered to take all our cares if we cast them on Him:  off your mind, off your back, and on to his.

Don’t be shocked by these not so strange and unusual happenings.  It is what it is, and it’s not the end of the world.  He’s got it covered.

  • Things are just things. 
    • Things can be replaced, if they even really need to be.  Most things we can live without, and often living with them makes our lives simpler.  No “thing” will last forever, anyway.  And, remember, “nothing (no-thing) can separate you from the love of God”.
    • Appointments can be rescheduled.  Plans can be altered.  And, you’ll never know what you really missed/avoided by an inconvenient divine intervention.  Commit your day to the LORD, interruptions and all.
  •  People are just people. 
    • Kids will be moody and grumpy and disrespectful every now and again, just like you were when you were in the “still becoming” season of life.   (By the way, you’re in a “still becoming” season of your own.) 
    • Spouses will say things that can be taken the wrong way.  (Whether they meant it that way or not, they need to be graced and forgiven, just like you do for your own “speak before you think/pray” comments.) 
    • Friends will irritate and offend.  (Need I mention how this proverbial shoe fits you, too?)
    • You are just a person.  And, if you’re replaying something from yesterday, ask forgiveness or forgive yourself, or let it go if that is what needs to be done.

So, whatever has a tendency to upset your day, look up and say, “Thank you.”  Maybe it is an opportunity to build your character or your faith, but maybe it really shouldn’t be a big deal at all.  Maybe it’s just something you should let go and over look.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”  Proverb 19:11 (ESV)  … and I would add that faith makes us slow to fear, and it is also glorious to overlook an inconvenience or interruption or a disappointment, choosing to trust the LORD instead.

“Above all (NLT “Most important of all”), keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)

“Bear with each other” (NIV)  “Make allowances for each other’s faults” (LNT)  Colossians 3:13

 

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18

Rejoice

Your blessings far out number the things that you are calling “not a blessing” at the moment.  And, in the brilliant light of tomorrow, you’re “not a blessing” may wear a new label.

And, in the meantime, thank Him for the obvious.

“In everything give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Like one of my favorite old Evie song my parents played when I was a wee thing said, “Just be thankful for the good things that you’ve got…  The good things that you’ve got are for many just a dream; so be thankful for the good things that you’ve got.”

“give thanks for everything”  (NLT)  “always giving thanks for all things…”  Ephesians 5:20 (NAS)

Start thanking Him, now, in this moment.  Out loud, on paper, or in your head,… always, all through the day, for everything.   This is the secret of contentment and really living in and enjoying the moment.

  • for stained carpet, wobbly tables, leaky faucets, squeaky doors, pealing paint, …  find the beauty and the blessing in it, remember the memories made and the people you made them with…
  • the old neighbor with the long-long stories, for the town gossip, the kid with the runny nose and holes in his shoes, … for all the interesting people in your world.  Every book, every movie, and every life is better with unique and well-developed characters. (I’m thinking of Anne of Green Gables’s  Marrilla and Matthew Cuthbert, and Rachel Lynn, and Anne Shirley, of course.)

A bit blurry picture, but a favorite moment of my evening.  We stood silently for quite a while watching the doe on the middle of our wooded path.

P.S.

I thought you might like to know that I was on the receiving end of this conversation, and though Handsome’s words have been expanded upon by the Holy Spirit in the past 24 hours or so, the core wisdom and truth of his message to “enjoy the moment” are probably applicable to all of us women.

“ENJOY THE MOMENT.”

Tuck that away in your heart.

Slow down.  Look around.

This is where the LORD wants you to live… right here, right now, in this moment.  Trust Him.  God’s will for you is more than just enduring life.

He has yesterday and tomorrow all under His Sovereign reign, and He really does have “the whole world in His hands”… that includes you and me, sister…and your itty bitty baby, and my not so little 6’4″ baby

…and the doctors, and the politicians, and the teachers, and the bankers, the soldiers, the college professors, the tech support, and the UPS man,  everybody here, and everybody everywhere.

Knowing God is in control means we really can enjoy life, every moment, every day, and in every season.

It’s the enemy, not your heavenly Father, that would want you to shroud your spirit with gloom, worry, anxiety, fear, bitterness, doubt, insecurity, anger, frustration, hatred, resentment, tension, strife, or any other unsettling emotion that would smother your faith or douse your joy.

Remember who God  is, enjoy Him and enjoy this moment with Him.

He is “I AM”, living and ever-present.


Dear Seeking Friend,

If you’re reading this, I am praying for you.  May you remember that you are safe and secure “in Christ” and nothing can take you out of His hand; so may you rest peacefully in Jesus tonight, wake up refreshed  in Jesus tomorrow, and walk in abundance in Jesus all through the day.   May you see the handiwork of God all around you and hear the heavens declaring the glory of God when you look up.  May the Holy Spirit quiet your heart, calm your spirit, help you to slow down, and enable you to view your circumstances with an unhurried gaze.  May you have a twinkle in your eye and a happy expression as a result of your Heavenly Father’s love and the hope of eternity in your heart.  May you be a source of contagious blessing to others as you choose to enjoy your moments, one by one.  And, may you find yourself enjoying a divinely appointed walk with the LORD and hear Him say to you the words you are most needing to hear.

Keep Seeking Him… and enjoy the adventure, moment by moment.

Silence

The world is blanketed with silent snow.

My world, usually bustling with activity and life, is quiet and still.

There is an appointed time for everything…

a time to be silent and a time to speak…”

Ecclesiastes 3

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There is a time to ponder, to listen; a time to not be the teacher, but instead, the student, a learner, the seeker.

We don’t always need to be witty or clever, entertaining or profound.  Not every question needs an answer, nor every comment begs our reply.

And, not every thing we learn is meant to be shared.

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(If, by chance, it has been a while since you have last been the seeker, then by all means, hold your tongue.  Without time spent alone with the LORD seeking His face, there is slim chance that you have found anything of Divine wisdom or eternally profound worth imparting.) 

LORD, keep us from voicing a “wise in our own eyes” opinion.

Help us to be still.  Be silent.  What’s to hurry us except our pride?

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We want to be patient and humble and then to speak, not just when the LORD has given us something worth saying, worth hearing, but also when He has made clear the appropriate time and place.

Until then, our words only add noise to the chaos. 

  • Wait. 
  • Seek. 
  • Pray. 
  • Listen.   

At the right time, “the time to speak”, when our words are those of true wisdom, understanding, and peace, then our “conversation will be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”.  Colossians 4:6

None of us are an expert on everything.  Everyone is superior to us in some area and knows more about something than us.  If we are listeners, we can learn from everyone, even if it is just a lesson on what not to do.

Let’s challenge ourselves this week to be better listeners.

“Be quick to hear and slow to speak…”  James 1:19

Fill Me Up Again

leaves are falling

fall leaves chipmunk c

my favorite season is the shortest of all

fall leaves 02

the calendar says autumn doesn’t end until December

fall leaves 10

but when trees are bare, I feel an emptiness as I wait for the blankets of snow to hide the nakedness of the earth

fall leaves 04

I’ve walked this path before… on the verge of vulnerable, tottering the precarious edge of the “in-between” of fall and winter.

fall leaves 08

As if a sneeze could sweep away all good habits of seeking, quiet-times, and long walks as the colors dissolve into a twiggy grey and shades of blasé.

fall leaves 06

“Be alert.”

“Be on guard.”

“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

As I look back at pictures of brilliant color and then glance out the window and see the fade beginning, I sense His warning.  “Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation.”

fall leaves 09

It is the tendency of this devoted seeker and prayer warrior to coast at this time of year rather than wage her annual fight with sloppy, discontented, and impatient thoughts, needing “the next thing” (holiday, house guest, hunting season, book, project, event…) to be content. (What a lie I “fall” for!)

fall leaves 13

I will not choose distraction over devotion, solitaire over solitude.

fall leaves 05

[Evie’s “tree song”, as I called it as a tiny tot, plays through my mind (in bloom, in green, in full color, and in stark charcoal contrast on white); I was made to seek, standing tall and strong wherever I am, in every season.]

fall leaves 07

and, I pray…

the same prayer I’ve prayed since September 1st,

fall leaves 14

“Teach me contentment,

Show me how…

to be ‘at rest’ as I labor

to be at peace in the ‘in between’

to be filled with You in the emptiest lull of ‘in the meantime’

to see the beauty in the ‘in process’, making slow and steady progress

to not say, ‘when such and such happens…’ or ‘if blah, blah, blah…’, ‘then, I’ll be thankful, then I’ll rejoice, then I’ll be happy’;

but instead, to enjoy You now,

to give thanks for the gifts of moments, people, life, challenges, growth, character development, sufficient grace, and little things, even laundry and dishes that are blessings piled up,

to weigh significance from an eternal perspective and insignificant the light and momentary suffering.

You’ve told me before.

Remind me of ‘the secret of being content’.

Let not this middle time be emptiness.

Fill me up,

and fill me up again!”

fall leaves 03

I’m typing this for you, Dear Seeker, as an opportunity to remind myself of “the basics of seeking” that keep me from slipping down the rapid decent towards apathy and neglect of my soul that leaves me feeling distant from my loving Savior.

The Basics of Seeking

  1. Show Up  (Don’t wait. I drop to my knees, wherever I am, even right before my children sometimes, and pray.  Starting right here, right now is the turning point, not waiting until “I have time” or the house is clean or tomorrow morning… now!)
  2. Pick a Time and Place  (Time:  My times are first thing in the morning, towards the end of the school day when my kids are finishing up their independent work, and again right before bed.  —  Place:  It helps me to “recreate” and bring new beauty to my cozy corner.  That could mean gathering all the books and papers that have accumulated, choosing a few favorite pens to place in a mason jar, lighting a candle, or trading out quilts and pillows for more seasonal colors and fabrics, etc.)
  3. Gather Your Tools  (Bible: choose a translation, Notebook/Journal: be ready to write down what you learn and key verses the LORD impresses on you.  Hymnal or collection of lyrics of favorite songs: I encourage you to start a collection if you haven’t already; Psalms, poetry, and songs speak to the soul.  Other Items: Place in a bag or basket, or organize on a small table or bookshelf, any other items that you may use in your time alone with the Lord:  pens, prayer lists, Bible Study guide or reference tools, or a devotional, etc.)

I do not do the same thing every single day, but in each season I develop a basic daily routine that makes my time with the LORD an ever changing, yet simple and familiar gracefilled dance.

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October 10th, tomorrow, is another special day for God and me.  (Every month, I have a prayer day; generally I plan them for Jan. 1st, Feb. 2nd, Mar. 3rd, etc…)  Why not plan “a day/afternoon with God” of your own?  Look at your calendar and schedule a “date” with the LORD.  (Sunday afternoons are a favorite of mine for planning extra down time to walk a little closer and seek the LORD.)

Seeking Simplicity

I know all Amish folk are not the same,
but the ones I know, I love.

 

A couple weekends of going without a curling iron, enjoying media free evenings of talking and singing, gathering together in lit rooms, snuggling extra close to my daughter to warm-up our winter bed, finding my way to the bathroom by cell phone light, riding extra cozy with six in a buggy, shaking every woman’s hand at Sunday meeting, dusting off my German to translate sermons and songs, sitting on long row benches, sharing an after-church meal, staying up way-too-late singing favorite southern hymns at a Saturday night sing, dressing plain for true Sabbath on an at home Sunday, meeting countless immediate family in the respectful rotation of adoring visitors coming to see and stay with Mummy (the matriarch of the family), picking mint for a fresh pitcher of tea, running through pumpkin fields, shopping in bulk for dry goods, visiting a couple widows, ordering yards of fabric for quilting projects,…

have taught me that I need to

…talk less.

…say more.

…laugh more.

…love more.

…work hard.

…sleep well.

…sing while I cook.

…sing while I scrub floors.

…sing while I pull weeds.

…sing while I do laundry.

…don’t be in a hurry.

…enjoy my guests.

…enjoy my family more.

Family…
love my family.

Are we so different?

This was oldest son’s first day to mow around our house. He’s cut flat-land grass for his grandfather, but never our lawn. He has dreams of driving the tractor across our fields like his father.

We’re not big-scale farmers, but we’re country… gardens to plant, fields to mow. And what country boy doesn’t long to have a job… “a man’s job” as my boys say, “get outside and do some real work”.

Life can seem so complicated.
…as complicated as I let it be.