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, 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.

Connection, hope, Kindness, Patience, Peace, Power in Christ

5 Ways Patience Produces Peace {Giveaway}

Thoughts careen off the corners of my mind faster than I can capture them. What do I need to do tomorrow? What do the kids need from me? What is urgent and not? What is my husband’s schedule? What help do I need from my parents? What’s priority for work?

As I pull the covers up tightly, I beg God to stop my thought barrage so I can catch some much-needed sleep. To place me in His sweet embrace so sleep will soothe my shredded mind.

Does this happen to you too? Your day is done, yet your mind is mulling. You long for sleep, yet your thoughts flail aimlessly like the tentacles of an angry octopus…

This is when I try to seek God’s whispers of self care. To obey His call to rest and slow my pace. I ask my in-dwelling Holy Spirit to cover me with calm and patience so I can care for myself and others in a way that honors Him. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, it opens the door to great gifts!

The beauty of complying with this call is the fruit patience produces. Invite patience – this beautiful fruit of the spirt – into your life. Allow God’s timing to rule over the world’s. Even better – patience can produce another fruit of the spirit: peace. (Galatians 5:22)

You’ll be amazed at what can happen once patience, and then peace, prune back your excess thoughts and the anxiety that accompanies them.

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Here are five ways I’ve found patience can produce peace…

1. Inner peace – Inviting patience to preside over our lives produces an inner peace. It reminds us to take a breath when we feel anxiety and “rush-mode” coming on. To slow our thoughts and capture one at a time. To recognize that multi-tasking is actually a myth, as science shows our brains can truly only tackle one task well at a time. To forgive ourselves for forgetting the five thoughts that wandered into the wilderness of our minds.

2. Peace with others – When we are more patient with ourselves, we become more patient with others. We realize that the same thoughts racing an Indy 500 through our minds are running through everyone’s minds! That we all are desperately trying to catch up with our thoughts and that some just happen to escape the holding pin of our imperfectly human minds! That we all can be a little kinder and gentler with each other, knowing the battle we all face inside.

3. Clarity of thought – When we recognize our minds are treadmilling, our hearts are racing, and our breath is beyond its normal pace, it‘s God’s invitation to slow our thoughts, capture one at a time, and seek God’s grace to catch the ones that most honor Him, while leaving the others behind for now. Once our minds, hearts and breathing have slowed with God’s help, we find that He has provided us with a beautiful white space on which we can create His masterpiece. We enter a highway of thought motivated by His way, light and truth. One that is unfettered by the ways of this world but infused with the gifts God has for us.

4. Ability to hear God’s voice – Once we’ve accepted the call to clarity of thought in line with Christ’s, we’ve course-corrected our soul’s steering wheels, and we’re ready to ride alongside God. Clearing the clutter of our minds allows us easier access to our indwelling Holy Spirit, where we can curl up and let Him guide us down His path. Down a path where His voice shines brighter than any worldly worries coming our way.

5. Focus on eternal peace – When God’s voice is the loudest one in our minds, we’re sure to win. With His guidance at the helm of your heart, your guaranteed destination is Success Lane. Not success as the world would see it – but better – success that will lead us down the path to eternal peace. To a place beyond our wildest dreams where all the hurt, pain, and tears of this world are gone forever. Where peace abounds and love presides. Where hearts connect and divisions disappear. Where ultimate peace and patience reign.

Christ invites us to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 28) I’m in! Want to join me as we invite Him in to pace our race? Let’s embrace patience so we can seek His incomparable peace!

 

 

GIVEAWAY!

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Make a comment on this blog post or on any of my social media and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Into the Deep: Diving into a Life of Courageous Faith by my super sweet friend, Lauren Gaskill. The winner will be notified by Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Good luck!

About this powerful and restorative book: Be prepared to be inspired, moved, and empowered by Lauren’s message! She leads us through her real life faith struggles with unabashed honesty, humor and warmth. From times when she professed to have less than a mustard seed of faith to learning to fully embrace Christ with steadfast courage, she offers empathy, inspiration, scripture, and practical steps to deepen our faith walks so we can live out the courageous faith our hearts desperately need and desire!

Lauren’s ministry: Learn more about Lauren’s exciting work as the founder and President of the nationwide ministry, She Found Joy! I’m honored to have been invited to work alongside her and the talented She Found Joy team! We invite you to join us for one of our Ladies Night Out events where Lauren and her ministry team provide a special evening of worship, food, fun and fellowship! See you there as we cross the country to a city near you! In the meantime, tune in to our weekly Podcasts and get all the latest She Found Joy updates by visiting our Facebook Page!