Two words

Life is hard. So many aspects of this existence are challenging. The day to day stuff of bills, stress at work, weeds, dishes, and laundry can all tend to weigh a person down. And then on top of all of the “little” stuff like that, there is the big stuff. Relationships, emotions, self-worth…the “Why am I here” sort of ideas that can overwhelm. It is a challenge to maintain sanity at times, much less a positive attitude and outlook.

As I sit here in the quiet if the morning, I have to be real honest with myself and face some of the messy, ugliness of life. And yet as I face it, I almost feel guilty. I feel bad for not being “stronger” of mind. I feel selfish for focusing on me and how I just don’t like some of the trials and the manner in which they inconvenience me. But if I’m going to be honest here (and really, what’s the point if I’m not) I’m really struggling with some of the “big” stuff. Some of the stuff for which I have no idea how to “solve.” But as I ponder and wrestle with them, even as I type, I already know the answer. God must be in it. God must be the source of my strength. I hear his gentle whisper…uttering the same words to me He has said often. “Let go. Let me take this from you.”

Do I really believe that He is in control? Or is that just something that sounds good when I have no solution? Am I truly convicted of the fact that there is NOTHING that my God can’t handle, fix, change, or resolve? Is it just a convenient tag line that I speak when I say “Where God guides, God provides,”?

If I really get honest, I DO trust and believe that God is in control. I do. And as I feel that comfort envelope me as I sit here this morning, I am relieved and peaceful. I don’t have to carry the burden. I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. God’s got this. He will get me through the darkness and guide my way. I have to let him. I have to accept the reality that I may not ever know the why’s of certain situations…but that God is in the how and when. My role in all of it is to trust and obey. Trust that God is guiding, and obey when He directs me. Let him speak, and listen.

Two words….Trust and Obey. Wow. It’s really that simple…Trust and Obey.

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“Mom, I’m ready…”

Saturday morning. Springtime. Soccer season. It seemed just like any other normal day as my son and I set up our chairs and settled in, ready to cheer on Carty and her team. The sun was shining, the smell of fresh, hot kettle corn wafted through the air tempting our senses. Life was seemingly “good.” And then out of the blue, it got better! Zach turned to me and began a conversation (with 15 year old boys – that’s almost a miracle in itself somedays). He told me that he’d really been thinking a lot about who he wanted to be, and who he thought God wanted him to be. He said that he was tired of letting life get him down, tired of being depressed, and that he was ready…ready to change…ready to let God be in charge of his life…ready to be baptized. Those words were the sweetest words I could ever hear. I fought tears as I told him how very proud I was of him and how much I had prayed for him to see the bigger picture. We talked throughout the game about what it really meant to be baptized, and how it would change his life. We also talked about the fact that making the decision to follow God would not mean that life would instantly become “perfect.” Life would still be difficult at times, peer pressure would still exist, and “bad things” would still happen. He seemed to understand and said that he knew that he was sure about his choice. He was ready to live out the life God had planned for him.

Later that same night, Brian and I had the privilege of baptizing Zach. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life. I pray that Zach will always remember that decision and live by it for the rest of his life. And I pray that he will be an example to others around him. I will always cherish those words he spoke to me that day…”Mom, I’m ready.”

Somedays you’ve got to laugh

I have never been the type of person to believe that if I live my life a certain way that all things would be rainbows and sunshine all the time. That’s just not how life works. I am not perfect…but I try to live the way that I know I should. I try each day to become a better version of myself (thank you Matthew Kelly). And living life in a way that I remain true to myself and my beliefs feels good. I like myself a lot better when I’m serving others, speaking kind words, just overall content and at peace. But life is still not rosey all of the time. Life is not problem free. There are still bills to pay, family issues to deal with, work/school stuff to get through. That is called life. If I’m not careful, I could let the “life” stuff get in the way of my living. I have been guilty of that on plenty of occasions (even within the last week). I could get discouraged and scared and all those other emotions that like to try and steal peace and contentment…but why? Life is going to happen…and sometimes its not going to be pretty. If we know these emotions are coming, why try to fight the downs? I read recently that we should not fight the things we feel, but rather embrace and own our emotions for what they are. I truly believe this shifted my thinking. Instead of fighting the worry or fears, I have learned to accept it for what it is and go on with my day. It makes it a whole lot easier to get back to “the good stuff.” I used to be one to feel sorry for myself and my problems. It seems I was often hosting self-pity parties. I look back now and realize that I wasted those times trying to fight real emotions…when I could have just accepted them, and then moved on – with them – and kept on going. This change of thinking allows me to own my feelings, but not wallow in them. I have learned that I can carry those feelings around, but not let them weigh me down. I can be thoughtful about the way I’m feeling, as yet still find reasons to laugh. Have I mastered it….? No way. However, I have truly grown and come to a better understanding of myself and my life. Each day I become a better me.