Growth, hope, Patience, Purpose, Worth

Life in the Middle

Are you feeling worn out and weary in your middle age? Frustrated with the monotony of your quotidian rhythms? Longing for something more exciting than laundry, dishes and teen chauffeuring?

I’m with you friend. The daily “making of the donuts” can weigh us down when we’re grinding through mid-life. There’s a tension between the youth culture our society worships and the whisper of retirement. A gratitude for our own youth experienced while a frustration with the new weight around our middles. A sorrow for the body that once leapt with ease that now languishes when deprived of extra sleep. The longing for less responsibility to make margin for our own needs, but gratitude for a full life sandwiched between the younger and older ones in our lives. A discontent with less time to rewrite our stories, while grateful for more still.

While we might not be on stages or podiums, we are the ones building the podiums and making magic happen behind the scenes. We shape the lives of our littles, guiding them each day to make safe and wise choices that will help them lead lives closer to Christ. Lives that will help them lead the way forward when their middles are squishier like ours.

And Christ sees us. He sees the dirty dishes we dug out of our choking sinks, the diapers changed, the dinners made. He sees the hoops jumped through to watch games, the sleep lost to make costumes, the hours spent on selfless sacrifices.

And He agrees. He agrees with our sacrifices since they’re ones He would make Himself. He would do the servant’s jobs that no one sees or wants. He washed His friends’ filthy feet. And He took it to the next level as He starved in the desert, was arrested, beaten, burdened with the weighty walk of the cross, and allowed His flesh to be pierced with fatal nails.

Our daily woes pale in comparison to His incomparable sacrifices. They illuminate the importance of the humble middle-aged mama work we slug through each day. As you clean yet another teen-or-toddler-made mess, think on Christ’s humble cleansing of his friend’s feet on the night He knew His earthly body would be broken soon. As you lament another meal to make, consider Christ’s ravenous days in the desert. As you feel trapped in a body declining daily, lean on the gratitude that it can breathe unlike Christ as He languished on the cross.

So, my middle-aged warriors, although our stories on earth are half-way written, there’s so much more good to be reaped. Let’s infuse gratitude into each day for our gifts still retained and yet to gain. And let’s strive to see our lives though Christ’s lens, not a worldly one that would have us rewind. A lens that lifts up servants who sacrifice for one another.

He sees.

He approves.

He applauds you in following His servant heart’s lead.

Growth, hope, Overcoming, Power in Christ, Purpose

Obstacles or Opportunities?

How are you feeling about our post-pandemic world? Are you half-happy and half-stressed? Struggling to release the restorative rest of quarantine, while relieved to move forward into the distraction of pseudo-normalcy?

Honestly, it has been a bit of a bumpy ride for me, friends. The tension between under-stimulation and over-stimulation is real. But what I’m finding is that hidden under all my angst about the seismic shift in our daily lives, there are saplings of significant growth.

The pain and strain we survived made us raw. It stripped away the veneer we usually wear with the world to reveal our most primal desires, needs, and wants. At the time, it may have felt like a root canal with a blunt butter knife, but looking back, we’re able to see the seeds of progress…

The tears we cried turned into advocacy and action.

The anxiety we felt channeled into innovation.

The deprivation we despised transformed into greater gratitude.

The obstacles we overcame became opportunities.

Opportunities to see ourselves and our lives more clearly. To view relationships and kindness as essential, not just add-ons in our busy lives. But most importantly, to seek our Creator as our constant True North, not simply a safe haven on Sunday mornings. To let Him seep into the searing pain and bind our souls’ wounds as we mourned lives lost, schools closed, and events cancelled.

To remind us that when we are weak, we are strong. That in that moment, we were meek, but still blessed. That when the world threatened harm, God meant it for good.

And there it is. God’s promise to be our light in the darkness and transform what human eyes often see as hurdles, distractions, pain, and obstacles into a glorious gift filled with goodness and love. And for that, I am forever grateful to the One above.

Growth, Peace, rest

Run Your Race

How often do you find yourself snared in the comparison trap? Am I thin enough? Productive enough? Smart enough? Kind enough? Faithful enough?

I’ve found myself there more than a few times, friend. And I’m guessing that you have too based on the “Be Better than the Joneses” soundtrack that plays on many of our screens 24-7.

Comparison leaks into almost every part of our daily lives. Commercials tout quick fixes for our faults. Our neighbors’ newest addition makes us question our worth. Our children are measured at school and on the athletic field.

I’m not saying that all comparison is a bad thing. Sometimes it can motivate us to do great things in Christ’s name. If we see someone in need and we’re more fortunate, that comparison can lead to acts of love if we allow it to catapult us into helpful action.

That said, we do need to make an honest effort to prevent comparison from ruling our lives, choices, and felt worth. When we covet things like our neighbor’s possessions, looks, and accomplishments to the point of diminished self worth, it’s likely time to seek release from the comparison trap. At that point, we’re diminishing the value of Christ’s creation: us.

Plus, finding our feet caught in an unhealthy comparison trap can bring bigger problems if we allow the wounds it inflicts to infect us with things like exhaustion, poor health, and a bad attitude. These are all consequences that might just dim Christ’s light in us and slow our sanctification.

Perhaps to follow His lead, we might breathe as He did? His quick rest away from adoring crowds demonstrated that our earthly minds and bodies require rest to give their best to others. Time to connect with the Father and regain perspective. Time to replace comparison-gone-rouge and replace it with Christ-who-is-always-right.

Time to run your own race (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Not her race or his, but yours.

Your race, authored by the Master of the Universe, Chief Star-Scatterer, and Lord of Your Life.

So friend, before you count yourself out in the comparison game, see yourself through His lens and love your life’s custom lane.

Your crooked smile? Christ-crafted with care.

Your stutter? Made in Heaven.

Your smaller-than-the-next home? Provided by the One above. 

Friend, let’s make space to breathe, reconnect, and let Christ release us from harmful comparison. Ask Him to infuse His perfect love in and let go of lesser things! I’ll be right there beside you inviting Him to set us all free!

Boundaries, Growth, hope, Overcoming, Peace, rest, Self Control

Boundaries Make Us Better

Are you struggling with overwhelm? I’m definitely in it with you, friend! 

I’ve noticed a growing number of us struggle to keep up with the blistering pace of modern life. Technology has blessed us with convenience, but cursed us with hurried hearts. And combined with pandemic overload, we’re all swimming in a sea of sharks ready to attack our peace on a moment’s notice! 

One way we can prevent overwhelm is by creating boundaries. We can set boundaries with our time or with family and friends. Are you missing sticky notes from your paper planner or snapping at family and friends frequently? That might mean it’s time to set some boundaries in your life. 

“But how?” you ask.

Admittedly, it isn’t easy. When we set boundaries to protect ourselves, sometimes they encroach on or offend those around us. But that’s when we have to rely on God’s leading to help us navigate that inevitable tension.

He taught us that boundaries keep us safe and protect us from harm. He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). As branches, to thrive and produce fruit, we must be pruned to prevent overgrowth, disease, and death. We are also dependent on Him for our sustenance, as water and nutrients can only reach the branches via the vine.

So, for us to thrive and survive, we are meant to be cut back. Likewise, as Christ’s image-bearers, we are meant to mirror His example and prune our own lives. Clipping our calendar commitments might actually be an act of worship. Saying “no” to another invitation might be God’s whisper to spend more time with Him. Not responding right away to that text could give you time to pray about your response and better mirror His love. 

When the pushback to our limits comes from the loud world around us and even some well-intentioned people we love, if we put Christ first, we’ll find that standing firm is worth any temporary pain. If we cling to His life-giving love, perhaps we’ll see that the boundaries others might deride actually bring us closer to our Source, our Creator, and our Guide. And friend, that’s a cure for overwhelm we can trust every time, everyday. 

Growth, hope, Overcoming, Patience, Peace, Purpose

Go with Growth

Hi Friends! Thought I would share this little nugget from my instagram microblog with y’all today! I hope it helps heal your heart and brightens your day! If you like quick reads, feel free to follow me on instagram for more!

If we’re honest, growth is forged through trials. And trials are definitely not my jam. I’d rather run from the pain they produce than dig in my heels and persevere.

But our trials prove purposeful if we pivot from our present pain to the future strength we’ll gain…

Lessons learned.
Skills honed.
Connections made.
Love gained.
Prayers practiced.
Minds renewed.
Faith restored.

What if we begin at the end? If we see all the beauty and strength to be birthed from our pain first, perhaps we’d view our emotional labor with love?

Friend, in the name of growth, let’s walk together through the pain with God as our Guide. Ultimate Destination: Eternity. That’s growth more than worth the short-term suffering.