Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Gift of Hope

I was challenged today to look at the practice of hope.

This challenge could not have been timed more perfectly. For life feels a confusing mix of hope and hopelessness. These days when one stage of life is ending, and, yes, another beginning, but....we in our short-sightedness cannot see the picture of the new life. For us it is simply an unknown.

Life is looking very much like a series of heart-wrenching disappointments. For just when we begin to breathe normally again, another comes and takes our breath away.

Indecision, uncertainty....they weigh heavy. I feel my age, and more.

In the midst of this, I find a germ of truth buried within my soul. Hope.

It is this that allows me to wake up each day and move forward. It is this that keeps me from shutting down. As badly as I want to pull the covers over my head and shut out the pressures, there is a tiny bit of hope within that causes me to think that maybe this is the beginning of something better.

Hope is like that. A beautiful gift given to us by our Heavenly Father Who must take us through the trials, but Who never leaves us without this gift meant for us to unwrap.

No matter how hard it becomes, you will always have hope, for you are His.

Look forward, Child. If you could see, there would be no need of hope.

Continue to hope.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Introduction To Gratitude (Ann Voskamp)

For those who have followed me into this quiet place for any amount of time, you will know that I do not generally use this space as advertisement. Today, however, I need to share an opportunity with you and felt it deserved a post of its own.

We all have people and situations that inspire us in our own lives. Ann Voskamp is such a person for me. Her writing touches my heart every time I take the moments to visit. Her purpose speaks to my soul....Finding beauty in the every day through a heart of gratitude.

A farmer's wife, a homeschooling mother, a sinner saved by grace and a writer with the heart of an artist. Ann is the person I would most like to meet and visit over a steaming cup of coffee.

Her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are, is her story of gratitude. CBD has listed this book as their special deal of the day. It is an unbelievable price of $8.49...Today Only!

I believe this author is worth investing in. Her gifts of expression point me to the face of my Saviour each and every time I visit her writing.

Take the time to check it out and take advantage of this deal. Who doesn't like a deal?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life's Words

There are times that words cannot adequately convey the thoughts and feelings of the heart. I doubt that they ever truly capture the intensity of feeling we as humans experience. There is, however, little we can do but use the system of communication already in place.

Life, in all it's complexity, is expressed as well as possible, one word at a time.

Life, for a mother, is lived one day at a time. Intense emotions are set aside as the pressing needs of those who depend upon us are before us. We feel deeply, but we see and remember that our feelings are less important than the daily needs of our children.

They must feel secure, even when we feel insecure. They must be protected, even when we feel under attack. They must be provided for, even when we feel abandoned. They must feel loved, no matter what.

This is the life of a mother. To do less, would be to abandon the life to which we are called. And yet, this so often results in our own lonliness and sense of isolation. Our hearts ache for comfort and connectedness.

Oh that we would remember that there is One who holds us when we feel insecure, protects us when we are under attack, provides for us always and loves us, no matter what. He is our Example.

At the end of the day, when their needs have (hopefully) been met, I sit and attempt to express the feelings held in through the day using feeble words and imperfect phrases. The words are weak, but the emotions are universal. Because of this, I know that every other mother can understand the truth herein.

We hold ourselves together for them, but we must express our feelings or die. I feel sadness, but feel perfectly blessed. I am tired, but know "His strength is perfect". I am anxious, but know that my God, my Lord, will not leave me destitute.

My day is over, but tomorrow is another.

"I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me." Psalm 3:5

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Beauty

In the beginning we are attracted by the beauty of the babies. Their perfectness draws us to them, and our God-given, mother-sense kicks in. As newborns we soak in their softness and their scent. What mother does not lay her face in the infant hair to absorb the aroma and feel overwhelming mother-love for this little bundle of perfection?

Fast forward 18 months and we realize that the soft, sweet-smelling stage came and went and we are left with rough, stinky and....well, lets face it....sometimes just plain evil.

Everything we envisioned motherhood to be falls away and reality takes over. That could be why so many mothers cannot remember those years when questioned later by those same children.

"What was I like, Mom?"

Uuummm...Cute, I guess. Yes, I know you were cute.

"But what was my first word?"

I'm pretty sure it was Mama. Yes, that's right...quite sure it was Mama.

"What did I like to do?"

Well, you liked to...play.

"Play what?"

On a very clean, quiet day sometime during your childhood we sat and calmly looked at books and we smiled and laughed and could have been in a beautiful picture on someone's wall.

[Oh, don't be silly....you liked to play in poo. Paint doornobs with desitin. Smash flies on the window. Jump in mud and smear it on my steps. Paint the table with spaghetti sauce. Eat dried up "raisins" from the rabbit cage. Flush all the clean toilet paper down the toilet until it plugs, but leave piles of used TP lying around the toilet. You liked to play with bugs/worms and creatures of all disgusting types. Yes, its coming back to me now.]

No, it doesn't take long into our journey of motherhood to realize that the beauty we love can easily become buried beneath the reality of motherhood. The perfection we long to create for ourselves and our families is missing, and we suffer with guilt.

Maybe, just maybe, the beauty isn't as far away as it might seem. Maybe, in the midst of the stinky, disgusting life of a mother are moments more beautiful than words can express.

During the muck of life, those children bond to us in ways that they will never bond with another human being. There is no one else that will go through the stinky parts of life with them and love them still.

An unexpected hug, a quick uplift of eyes full of appreciation, a moment of quiet with just two and a story....these cannot be measured. They cannot be planned. They can only be experienced.

That is my beauty.

"Lord, open my eyes to the beauty of being a mother. Please don't allow me to be so distracted with the ugliness of life that I miss the unbelievable beauty all around me. Thank you for all that being a mother means. Thank you for my children."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Woman's Standard

There is a standard to be met....for each of us who reaches for the goal of the virtuous woman. The woman we know our Lord longs for each of us to be. While we may laugh at each other's stories of ineptitude, for we all have them, we should be sobered to realize the enormity of our task.

The stories we share should not simply be an anesthetic to our own failures. Dwelling in guilt would be wrong, but patting each other on the back and accepting less than our best is also wrong.

As we gather together in church, Bible studies, jobs, homeschool groups and just as friends over coffee, may we encourage each other in the work. Yes, remind ourselves that we are not alone in our situations, but also assist each other as we reach to do better tomorrow.

Our standard should not be the status quo. Accepting less than our best is to diminish the value of the job the Lord has placed before us. Let there be among us, standard-bearers. Those who dare to strive for excellence in their homes. Those who are willing to pick up after days of discouragement and do better tomorrow. Those who are willing to block out the clamor of society that says something "has to give" and it might as well be our homes. Those who are willing to reorganize priorities in order to better reach for the standard.

Women of God, laugh together, cry together....and hold each other up to the standard He has placed before us.

Our families will excel as we give them our best. We will be more content as we meet His standard for us. And most of all, our Lord will be pleased as He sees our lives transformed into His likeness, for never was less than His best given for us.

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Prov. 31:10

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2:5-8