I haven’t blogged in a long time. For me, writing is very close to my heart. In brings me in touch with who I am and it helps me make sense of the world around me. When sense can’t be made, it allows me to at least express my emotions in the midst of chaos. I don’t know why I have not blogged. I have thought of it every day. Everyday. My confidence in writing has been kidnapped. My ability express my thoughts temporarily hijacked. I have felt like I have had nothing to say…nothing worth any “value.” This morning, I believe I may have turned a corner. Why am I afraid? My words, my writings are me. They are my thoughts and emotions and ideas. And yes that leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed…but that’s ok. My words have value because they are mine. They may not come out in the most eloquent manner – but according to who?
Over the last many months, I have found such a treasure in reading Ann Voskamp’s words. She inspires and challenges and pretty much blows me away with every sentence she pens. And while I am so thankful for the time I spend reading her thoughts, and for the peace and joy her words bring, I have allowed her words to make me feel like I just can’t write. I have said it jokingly often that after I read Ann’s beautiful musings, that I will never write again. She can make doing dishes sound poetic! But those little quips of mine actually became my reality. I have let comparison kill my desire to do what I love. I will never be a great writer. I will always be…just me. But that’s got to be okay. I love writing. It makes my heart happy. It brings peace to my soul. I can’t allow myself to be shut down because someone else does it so much better. I have to learn to turn those feelings of inadequacy into feelings of inspiration. My thoughts are important – if to no one else – to me. My desire is for my writing, in a way, to be a form of worship to God. I can’t let any feeling of “less than” hold back that desire.
So here I am…typing furiously, tears flowing, convincing myself with my own words that its time for me to write again.
The house is quiet, the coffee is hot and filling the air with a “comfortable” aroma. The date at the top the page reads July 24th. Summer is speeding by…moments like these will be packed away soon for another season. Bible study has become my favorite part of each day – but especially int he summer, when I’m not really on a schedule. On a summer day I can dig into the word and get lost in my study time – not having to worry about getting ready for work, for being on time, the day that lies ahead. I can let the word lead me from one subject to the next, as prompted by the Spirit. To me it has become beautiful time of discovery. About my God, and about myself. I am so grateful for these quiet moments in the morning spent with my creator.
As we pulled into the driveway and began to unload our bags, I already wanted to go back. Back to Happy Church, with its big yellow smiley-faced sign, and it’s peaceful setting, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of eastern Kentucky. But even more beautiful than the mountains are the people. It’s funny…I always say I’m not much of a “people person” but I do believe that God is changing me into one. And I am becoming attached to the very special people that I spent time with this weekend. God is pushing me out of my comfort zone and asking me to step out in faith. And I thank him immensely for the nudge. While in Breathitt County we got to visit with our friends Randy and Janet and meet new friends, Mike and Connie. They all work/serve at Happy Church and are all amazing, obedient people of God. We cooked out with some families from the community, sat around the campfire and sang songs and made s’mores, played cornhole, and just relaxed. And began to build some great relationships. Sunday morning Brian and I got the chance to lead worship and walked away so blessed from that experience. It was a spirit-filled time with new friends and with God truly moving in that place. In a county that is one of the poorest counties in the nation, there is so much pain and sorrow and hopelessness. But there is also so much to be Happy about, there are so many blessings and God is working through the lives of several dedicated servants. Children are hearing His word, they are signing songs of praise, they are learning to live their lives with His guidance, and they are being loved like Jesus would love. I’m praying tonight about what Brian and I can do to help in some way to support that Happy effort. I’m praying that God gives me a heart to love on people more every day. I’m praying for our friends in Breathitt County. And I’m praying a prayer of thanksgiving for our time there.
Brian and I have 5 kids. Three teenagers. One tween. And one still young enough to like us. The four older ones love their music. Brian and me…not so much. Sometimes I feel like that old person I swore I would never become…recalling the good old days when music was real music. But I have to say…some of the stuff our kids tend to want to listen to is just garbage. Since we married a few months ago and are all now sharing one house we have laid down guidelines about what will be acceptable in our house as far as music and movies. The kids have not bucked us – too much. Our approach was not to yell and scream and just simply tell them we don’t like the music. Rather we have tried to make them really think about what the lyrics in their music represent. The lesson to them has been what you put into your mind is what you eventually begin to think on and speak. Garbage in, garbage out. This thought process isn’t just for our kids, though. We as adults are also bombarded with so much. Constant information, images, status updates,and tweets feed our brains. They help shape and determine our thoughts. And it can be very easy to let all of that noise infiltrate our hearts. In 2 Corinthians, we read that “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” I believe that Satan uses the veil of this constant noise to keep us from seeing God and a better way for ourselves. However, if we allow that veil to be removed through God’s endless grace, then we begin to see things differently. And then, we eventually become what we behold. “But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” As we live with our sights set on God and his glory, we change. Our minds are renewed, our hearts are changed. About 6 months ago, Brian and I got rid of a lot of the “noise” that was feeding us in ways that we knew weren’t reflecting the Lord and his will for us. The change has been amazing and we have drawn closer to each other and to God in our daily walk. We pray daily that we will be able to influence our kids to learn to take in less of the world and become new creatures in Christ. After all, you become what you behold.
There are many nights that I lie in bed trying to slow my mind down so that I can catch four or five hours sleep (at best). It often proves to be a difficult task for me to shut out all of the thoughts, to do lists, worries, and responsibilities though. But last night, it wasn’t my mind racing that I battled. Last night I was troubled beyond the typical clean ball uniform, crazy practice schedule, grades due worries. Last night my heart was full…full of anger and hurt feelings and resentment. I am human and as much as I fight those types of feelings, they attack me still. And last night they weighed so heavily on my heart that it was nearly too much for me to carry.
Too much for ME to carry…
So why am I trying to carry it alone?!?
Why is my need to be in control so strong that I don’t allow God to carry my burdens for me? Jesus tell me to come to him with my heavy burdens and he will give me rest. He doesn’t want me to struggle through life – or even through one night – carrying a load that is unbearable. I get so frustrated with myself for carrying around feelings that I know are not…good and right (for lack of better words). And so I shared my feelings and concerns with my amazing Godly husband and did my best to sleep.
When I woke up this morning and prepared my mind and heart for my daily walk in the word, I was “guided” to Galatians. To this passage in Galatians “16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” In this case, my sinful nature was my thoughts and feelings of anger and resentment. But if I let the Spirit guide me that sinful nature…those ugly emotions become this…”22But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control.”
Personally those sound like much more attractive traits to be carrying around. And the Spirit is in me because of God’s love for me. I have to get out of the way and let the Spirit lead…it comes down to my stubbornness and control. I am not capable on my own to rid myself of the sinful ugly stuff. I don’t have to be strong enough to do that because God IS strong enough.
I am so thankful for the gentle voice of the Spirit that guided my heavy heart this morning. I’m no longer carrying so much of the heavy ugly stuff…but rather I am letting the Spirit lead me as I learn to produce a new, more appealing fruit…and it’s much lighter to carry.