Posted in Friendship

Oh, To Be Honest

Friendship, Friends, Snapshot, Girls

What if, today, when you ask me how I’m doing, I give you an honest answer?

What if I refuse to sugarcoat my response? What if I just put it all out there? My raw emotions, my hurts, my struggles, my disappointments. What if I don’t attempt to hide my fears from you? What if I allow myself to shed a few tears in your presence?

Would that make me a burden? Would you consider me high-risk, perhaps needing a little more of you than you’re willing or able to give? If you’re like most, you would be hesitant to ask that question of me again, fearing you would step into more “life” than you’re prepared to deal with.

And yet, wouldn’t it be nice to have that freedom? The freedom to be real with one another, to step out from behind our struggles? And in doing so, to find others standing there with us, smack dab in the middle of what’s ailing us … sometimes leaning on one another, sometimes holding one another up, sometimes just sitting there together waiting on the storm to pass.

What a blessing to find rest in one another. To trust that we’re accepted. And loved. And forgiven. No longer feeling the need to impress or pretend. Realizing it’s okay to be ourselves. It’s okay to not have it all together. It’s okay to be less than perfect.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

How do we go about finding this often elusive place of unity, of trust, of uninhibited friendship?

We begin the journey to oneness with a simple thread of small kindnesses, carefully spun together over time. A smile, a hug. A quick phone call or text. Showing up when it matters most. Sticking around when others don’t.

Then we choose to hit repeat, making a conscious effort to remain nearby. Willing to be inconvenienced from time to time. Willing to make ourselves available. Even though we’re busy. Or preoccupied. Or some days just really, really tired. We don’t stop.

We keep checking on one another. Loving one another. Forgiving one another. Slowly and intentionally building relationships – good, solid, healthy relationships. Seeking out those who will speak truth into us, who will hold us accountable, who will stand by us when everyone else bails – and resolving to do the same for them.

We invest in them. We commit to them.
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Until one day, we realize all those little, seemingly insignificant gestures really did make a difference. They took root and, somewhere along the way, they bloomed into beautiful, lasting friendships.

What a blessing to have such friends – and to experience the privilege in being such a friend.

May we all be that friend to someone today. May we intentionally seek out others who also need the freedoms associated with such a friendship.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Posted in Organization

Dealing with the Day to Day

keyboard and calendar

I used to be organized. Like really organized.

Everything had its place, and it was imperative that it all stayed in its place, or at least made it back to its place fairly quickly. I seldom went to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, or unfolded laundry in a basket. The floors were clean, paperwork was filed away neatly, deadlines were carefully noted.

And then life became busy.  Like really busy.

First as a wife, mother of two, and full-time job outside the home. Later as a stay-at-home mother of three, then four, then five blessings, topping it off with homeschooling, extra activities, and ministry. Whew!

I found myself in a whirlwind, feeling more and more frazzled, running dangerously fast, but never feeling caught up. So I did the only logical thing … I threw organization out the window.  After all, who has time for filing paperwork when there is seldom a spare moment in the day? No, it simply was not happening. Something had to give and organization became that something.

The crazy thing about it is this … even though I let those things go in a physical sense, the need to do them never left my mind. So, I’ve been constantly thinking about what I should be doing rather than doing it. And that, my friend, is exhausting.

As a result, I’ve began asking myself a few questions. Questions such as, “How in the world did I miss that event?” “Did I really forget to pay that bill?”  “Dinner? Oh goodness, I guess it’s sandwiches – again.”

Sisters, this is not a good place for me, and I’m guessing it’s not your favorite place either. When we fail to handle the important issues of daily life in a timely manner, we oftentimes end up in a panic, feeling like a failure.  What a stressful way to live! Yet, that is exactly where I’ve found myself too much of the time lately.

Quite frankly, I’m tired of being parked in that place.

I’m realizing I must take time to regroup, reorganize, and rethink my day to day grind. I’m not talking about becoming frigid and unflexible. I’m merely suggesting a more deliberate approach to life, living in a way that creates a peaceful, yet productive atmosphere within my home.

What are some ways you’ve found to relieve the stress of daily life in your home? 

  • Do you meal plan? If so, what works best for you?
  • Do you make lunches the night before?
  • Do you assign specific laundry days to your children?
  • Do you limit the number of extracurricular activities for your children, or stick to a limited number of hobbies for yourself?
  • Do you have a special day or time set aside to handle the mounds of paperwork or emails coming into your home?

 

 

Posted in Joy

Getting Intentional with Joy

flower

Have you ever found yourself longing for something more? Something new and fresh? No longer satisfied with going through the motions. This is where I found myself this past Christmas. I desired simplicity, yet beauty and meaning -in my décor, in the gifts I chose, in the millions of little moments leading up to that special day. I found myself in search of joy.

Joy. You know, the blissful, cheery gladness everyone expects to come by easily this time of year. Except with a bit more substance, a tad more meaning. The kind of joy that holds up even when my circumstances don’t -that shows up even when all is not perfect.  That’s the joy I searched for this Christmas. Chances are you hungered for it too, maybe knowingly, maybe not, but the desire for joy was there just the same.

Perhaps like me, you misplaced your Christmas joy a few years back and you’ve had a hard time finding it. You laid it down for a brief moment, only to have a tough situation, a heartache, or overwhelming grief rush over, quickly hiding it from view. So, you’ve continued on without it. Day in and day out. Holiday after holiday. Wishing for its return, but having no idea how to bring it back.

Eventually, you began to see glimpses of it shimmering beneath the rubble. You allowed yourself to crave its presence. To hope again. To look for beauty in the midst of the busy. To search for joy once more.

If this is where you’ve been, I pray you found and embraced a little joy this Christmas. I pray you uncovered bits of it with each ornament hung and every gift exchanged. I pray peace made its way into your heart as you sat through that candlelight service. I pray the meals you shared with family and friends brought you warmth. Yes, I pray joy was part of your celebration this year.

But if it wasn’t, dear friend, don’t lose hope. Joy is attainable. Even in the middle of imperfection, disappointment, and frayed nerves. It may require some effort on your part. It may mean dropping to your knees, asking God to fill your lonely, empty spaces. It may involve you choosing to notice the hints of goodness around you -even though they may appear tiny and insignificant.

As you take notice of the blessings sprinkled about your hardships, may your perspective begin to shift.  May thankfulness help you discover your joy once again, experiencing more of it with each new day.

My Challenge To You ~ 

  • Set aside a few moments today to think, really think
  • Jot down five things you are thankful for today
  • Thank God for those five blessings
  • Repeat tomorrow