Am I Enough?

It was the end of 2016 when I heard the whisper for the first time. It was a whisper that began to be repeated and confirmed in the days leading up to January 1st 2017. I had once again been given my word for the year: TRANSFORMATION.

To be honest, I thought for sure the transformation was going to be physical. I mean, how many years have I made that same New Year’s resolution to lose the weight?! I was starting the year with an injury that had reappeared in mid-2016, but I now had a great physical therapist and felt like healing was inevitable. Perhaps this was the year? Welp..it’s December 31st 2017 and I’m here to say…nope! I still have quite a ways to go for my weight loss transformation.

It wasn’t the transformation I thought it would be, but it was the transformation I needed.

Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

I remember one morning this year I was getting ready and God spoke so clearly to me. He tends to do that in the bathroom. It might seem like TMI, but honestly, it’s a time that the world seems still, I’m alone, and I’m having my first conversation of the day.  I think He just knows His girl so well…He knows that I’m having a million thoughts of what I need to do most days, and as I go through those thoughts, I’m usually asking Him, “What about this?” or “I should pray for that, huh?”

Anyway, this was on a Monday and I woke up from a dream that left me in tears. You know those dreams that take your breath away. Feel so real that the emotion is still there even after you open your eyes? Well, it was one of those bad boys and I quickly went into a temper-tantrum with Him. “Why God?” “When God?” “How much longer, God?” I mean, it was every “Are we there yet?” back-and-forth between a parent and a child you’ve ever heard.

Then I heard: “Am I enough?”

My first inclination was “Get behind me Satan! That is not my thought! Of course I’m enough! I’m the daughter of a King! The apple of His eye! I am wonderfully and fearfully…”

Oh. Wait. Hello, conviction.

“Am I enough?” It wasn’t a thought I needed to take captive about myself.  It was a question FROM Him to me. It felt like the record scratched.

“Am I enough? Am I enough while you’re single and waiting? Am I enough in your 2-hour drive? Am I enough in that car that is one rain from becoming a convertible? Am I enough when you have many around? Am I enough when you are so lonely, it physically hurts? Am I enough if you are never someone’s biological mom? Am I enough if your last day on the job is today? Am I enough when you’re betrayed? Am I enough when you have plenty? I know you have questions, Gena, but in this place of obscurity you are going to fully come to understand that I am enough. Not everyone gets to understand it in that way.”

I knew instantly that this was part of the transformation. To fully understand and take hold of the fact that my entire purpose here on Earth is to “get” that. To really, really get that. God is enough. He’s enough in my valley and He’s enough on my mountaintop. He’s enough while I’m single, and He’s going to be enough when I’m married. He’s enough if I never have a biological child of my own. In a world where most people are trying to fill the great big gap, “what-is-my-life-for” question with anything or anybody…I get to answer, “God is enough.”

And bam. Transformation. It doesn’t mean I’m not ever going to question again. Or feel sad again. Or feel disappointed again. Nope, I’m sure those times will continue because shoot…life is rough sometimes. It just means that I have this safe harbor to pull into when the seas get rough. A place where I go when the world gets too much and I’m gently reminded I have everything I need. The simple fact is that when emotions subside and circumstances are what they are: Yes God, You are enough.

Today’s Forecast: Reflecting on my year of transformation.

Silver Lining: God is enough.

What I Learned About “Scary” Santa

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I came across this picture and laughed to myself as I made a connection I’m not sure I had ever made before. You see, I grew up deathly afraid of Santa Clause. I’m not sure if it came from some scary Santa story my brother told me, or maybe it was just the creepiness of a dude showing up in our house in the middle of the night. I would not even walk on the same floor of the mall as Santa! And the one year my Dad borrowed the company Santa suit to surprise me Christmas morning…well, I guess he had to tear the beard off because I lost my mind when I answered the door only to find Satan…I mean Santa…standing in front of our house. I loved the one special gift Santa left each year that was wrapped in some different paper or had my initial painted on it with glitter (because surely it was from him and not my parents…Mom would NEVER glitter paint our packages!) But anytime he made an appearance…forget it…I was not having it!

This is literally the only picture I have of myself as a kid with “Scary” Santa. Looks like I’m nervous…but I’m not crying. And why you may ask? Well, what I do remember about this picture that even my Mom doesn’t remember is what happened before it was taken. That blue overall set with the matching  turtleneck was a little snug. So snug that my pants ripped the moment I jumped on his lap! Now thankfully, nobody else noticed that this happened, and it was close to the end of the day so I’m sure I just tied my jacket around my waist. But perhaps THIS is where my fear of Santa began!

It’s interesting to think that there was fear associated with the first Christmas. I mean, how could the birth of our Savior elicit fear? But a few years ago I watched The Nativity Story, and it was one of the first times I really connected with what Mary and Joseph went through. I mean if anyone had a reason to be fearful, it was Mary, who found herself pregnant as a virgin in a time where her fiancé could execute her for being so. And could you even imagine the amount of emotions that Joseph must have gone through at that time? Both had to believe that they were visited by angels and instructed on what their next steps would be and they had to choose to obey. I am sure that they had heard, or maybe even been witness to, a woman executed for cheating on their betrothed. Yet, instead of connecting that past experience with their current one, they chose to have faith and believe that they did not have to fear. They had to believe they heard from heaven and they had to have faith to endure. What I also love is that heaven knew how they were going to feel…and they weren’t shamed for it. Instead, messengers were sent to remind them, “don’t be afraid.”

The connection I made with my “Scary” Santa incident is that one instance may be the reason I never wanted anything to do with him. Maybe I wasn’t really afraid of him. Maybe it was just the memory of him and, what could have been, a very humiliating day. Maybe I was more afraid that I’d jump up on his lap again and possibly rip my pants in a way that everyone would notice.

It made me think: Are there areas in my life that I am letting one past experience create fear in a present one? Do I let fear keep me from experiencing life because of that past experience? Have I “walked-the-top-floor-of-the-mall” in hopes that I would not have to face the fear head on?

If I’m honest: yes, yes and all-the-way yes.

Many have said that “fear not” is written 365 times in the Bible. I’m not sure if that’s true (I’ve never counted), but what I do know is that it was said a lot. And it was said by Jesus. And if it was said a lot in the Bible, and said by Jesus, then I know that it’s somewhere I want to be. A place where fear does not paralyze me from living my best life. A place where fear doesn’t stop me from opening up to new people or new situations. A place where fear does not control my decisions based on past heartbreaks or disappointments.

Today’s forecast: Memories tell me, ” Don’t do it, you  might split your pants again.”

Silver Lining: Heaven tells me “Fear not! We know a pretty good Seamstress.”

The Weight of Invisibility

The first time I saw the musical Chicago was on the big screen. I remember hearing the words to “Mister Cellophane” and just having an all-out ugly cry moment:

“Cause you can look right through me,

walk right by me

and never know I’m there”

 I felt like I had been singing the exact same words in my head on repeat for several years. Mister Cellophane understood what it felt like to be invisible and those words summed it up perfectly for me.

This year, I wanted to get serious about my health. God had given me the word “transformation” for 2017, and I was quite certain He meant a physical transformation. I knew part of that would mean finding a new doctor. It has been years since I had a real physical. It seems I had been able to bypass them somehow with the doctor I was seeing for the last 2 years. He was nice, sure. But other than referring me out for an injury, he’d often dismiss any questions I had about my overall health. And of course, losing weight was the answer to all my questions anyway.

I can’t speak for every overweight individual, but going to the doctor hasn’t always been on my top things to do. I always think about wanting to lose weight BEFORE I go in…even when that’s the #1 reason I’m going in in the first place. The dreaded moment where the intake nurse starts moving that part of the scale to the right and I say “Nope, you can move it over some more.” I have been pretty much humiliated at times by well-meaning doctors who take out the BMI scale to show me how I’m way off the charts, then lecture me on how many calories I should be taking in to lose weight. Not to be ungrateful, but I’ve been dieting since I was 9 years old, I could probably teach a class on it! I didn’t want a lecture, or to be made to feel like a fool…I wanted someone who would actually see me and know that there’s much more to my weight issues than not knowing how to count calories or read package nutrition labels. So often at this heavier weight, I have felt “seen through” or “seen past” much like Mister Cellophane. A sort of invisible object that is a part of the backdrop of many life scenes, and often overlooked.

Feeling “seen” hasn’t always been a problem.  As a young child, I remember people stopping my parents to tell them something complimentary about me. Sometimes I’d get teased about it, so I never really took it as a positive, but rather unsolicited attention. I actually wanted to stop being noticed. I started feeling uncomfortable hearing teachers say, “There’s just something different about her.” At some point as I got older, it manifested this need to constantly be “on” in my head. And when I wasn’t able to meet my own expectations of myself as a young adult, I began to do whatever I had to do to be prettier or more well liked. More “seen” if you will. But I often found myself still feeling invisible and overlooked.

This sense of not feeling seen hit an all-time low after having my heart broken in my early 20s. Years passed, and I began to build a wall around me. The wall of weight helped me to explain away the invisibility I sometimes felt. When I feel invisible, it is easier to blame the wall that I’m behind. It’s the excuse for every unrequited crush, for every party I’m not invited to, and for every promotion I’m not extended. It’s the reason I’m “so awesome,” yet I’m never awesome enough to be set up with your friend. The crazy thing is the wall that I held as the barrier to being “seen” was self-inflicted. A continual cycle of feeling the weight of invisibility that I myself created.

It took me until June to make the call for an appointment with a new doctor. I had been given her name years ago, but never made it to her office. I had read a lot about her being kind, and wanting to really know her patients, so I decided to give it a try.

I’m so glad I did.

Within minutes of being in this doctor’s office, I could tell it was going to be different. Her intake survey even seemed to be a nice “Hello, Who are you?” We sat and talked for 45-minutes about everything from my medical history to my reasons for being there to my faith. Yes, we spoke about God and my calling and how the Holy Spirit could be my help through this. It was clear that this was a divine appointment and that this doctor was different from any others I’d seen. This doctor actually saw behind the wall, and started to speak to who I could be. It felt like a hug from heaven…God’s way of saying, “I see you – it’s time.”

The thing is, I know in my innermost being that I’m not invisible. I’ve been gently courted by God who has been so gracious in helping me slowly peel away to the root of the issue. He’s such a good Father, letting me know it’s time to face some things, and at the same time, allowing me to learn more about Him, how much He loves me and probably most importantly, how He sees me.

I know that I am loved, cherished, purposed and highly favored. I’m a daughter of the King and the apple of my heavenly Father’s eye. He has seen me all along.  So now it’s time for my soul and body to line up with what my spirit knows. It’s time to break through the false wall of protection I’ve allowed to go up. I’m done believing the lie that I’m not seen by God or that He has forgotten me. Perhaps instead of being invisible, I’ve just been hidden in the field for such a time as this. A transformation has certainly begun to take place. I’m just realizing that the transformation had to first begin in my heart.

Today’s Forecast: There’s a pretty big wall in front of me.

Silver Lining: My God’s pretty good at tearing stuff down.

 

 

 

She’s Single…Bless Her Heart

This past week at church, my Pastor gave a great message which included an example that made me chuckle. He explained that where he grew up in the south, you could turn any insult into something that sounded less like an insult by adding the phrase, “Bless his/her heart.” For example: “Man, she’s put on a lot of weight since high school…bless her heart.” Or, “He is dumb as a doorknob…bless his heart.”

You get the idea.

On the way home from meeting up with some friends, I started thinking about the fact that at my age it seems like an awful lot of people could describe me as, “She’s single…bless her heart.” Like being a woman at this stage of life and single is an insult. The reason I can say that with some certainty is that I remember my 25-year old self thinking the same thing about the older, single women in my life. And I can’t lie…sometimes it feels like an insult having to say out loud that I’m “still single.” Definitely painful during this time of the year. Or national holidays. Or that dreaded bouquet toss at weddings. Especially if they play “All the Single Ladies.” I mean you might as well “bless my heart” right then and there.

I can easily start down that slippery slope of “How did this happen?” The problem with coming to that question is there really is nowhere to turn for the answer but to blame myself. Something I did or didn’t do or somewhere I did or didn’t go.

But the upside of being this age and single is I’ve also been privy to seeing a lot of my friends and family manage the “being single,” “being married,” and sometimes “being divorced.”  None of these seasons are easy, and they can all feel like an insult at times. In fact, during all these seasons I’ve heard people say, “How did I get here?”

So where does that leave my blessed heart? Well, it leaves me today with embracing where I am and remaining hopeful for what’s to come. You see, I am certain that I will be married someday. God has put that desire in my heart, and I am made for it. I remind myself of the day that I heard Him say “I’m preserving you for someone.” And I know I hear His voice. (Because…hello, who else would use those words?!) I have to sometimes remind myself more of that on days like today where I wish I had a partner I could call and talk to about the breakthrough in physical therapy. Or about how afraid I am about my Dad’s upcoming heart procedure. Or about the cricket I hear chirping and am praying is not in my room. (I hate crickets…they’re like beige roaches that you can hear.)

But I digress. Being single is not an insult. It’s a season of preparation for what’s to come. I’d like to believe I’m like a really fine wine that is aging for just the right palate. Or a steak marinating for just the right barbecue. God’s working through me and in me for just the right man that will come at just the right time. If you’re reading this, and single, and feeling insulted by it…I pray you will take heart. In fact, take your blessed heart and get to praying for your future mate.

Today’s Forecast:  I’m still single.

Silver Lining: Bless my heart.

The Doorway Effect

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Have you ever had a great idea, or remembered something you needed to do, and walked to the next room to divulge the great idea or execute the task, and completely forgot what it was?

Yeah, me too.

All. The. Time.

Why did I come here? How did I get here? What was I supposed to do when I got here?

Some will blame it on age. Others will say they have too much on their minds. But this experience of arriving somewhere only to forget why it is you went there is common. I’m happy to report that scientists say there is actually a psychological explanation behind it called the “doorway effect.”

The “doorway effect,” also known as the “location-updating effect,” is the idea that our brains actually forget things when we pass the physical threshold of a door (also known as an “event boundary.”) Researchers found it didn’t matter how hard subjects tried or how much they paid attention, as soon as they passed through a doorway, they were more likely to forget the task they were given. Moving from one environment to a new one causes the brain a lot of activity, so it purges “old information” obtained in the original place. In one article, scientists Gabriel Radvansky explained, “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away.” It’s your brain’s way of getting ready to take in the new environment so that you can better understand what’s going on around you.

This is great…unless you really needed to remember that thing you walked into the other room to get!

I’ve walked through an awful lot of doorways this year. I moved for the 4th time in five years. I started three jobs. I quit three jobs. Some were planned. Some were mistakes. Some were unexpected. And this was all with 2 months left in 2016. Believe me when I say that there were many times this year I’ve asked myself, “Why am I here?” and “How did I get here?”

There have definitely been some doorways I’ve walked through that I was more than happy that my brain forgot what had happened in the old environment. Holding onto the information from the “old environment” certainly would not have served me well in the new place

The good news about all of this is that we can actually train our brains to remember what we need to remember. Scientists say that we can counteract the “doorway effect” and breakthrough an “event boundary” by repeating the action we need to take, or announce what we are about to do, when we are walking through the doorway.

My prayer is, and will continue to be, that I walk through doors only God opens for me. In addition, as I continue to learn my purpose and His will for my life, I want to remind myself as I navigate from place to place so I don’t forget what He’s already told me He wants me to do. I have found myself in new environments and have completely forgotten (or maybe disregarded) what God has already shown or told me. This has resulted in me learning the hard way that I’m in the wrong place. I know too well how quickly I can move from room to room, caught up in the tasks of life and distracted by busy-ness. When I do this, I tend to lose memory of what I was being told to do at the onset of my journey. If I know what God has purposed me for, and I continue to repeat the actions I need to take, I believe I will be better able to remember what it is God is calling me to do.

Today’s Forecast:             Sometimes I forget things.

Silver Lining:                     Sometimes I’m supposed to forget things.

 

What I Learned From Jack Bauer

I have a confession to make.

I have been binge watching 24.

A good friend was obsessed with this show. On my 31st birthday, she tried to talk me into staying home and watching her CD set of season 1 (there were no smart TVs)  instead of going to the all-girl Vegas trip I had planned. I thought she was crazy to think I’d watch that over the Thunder from Down Under (Yes, we went…it was so awful. And please note, this occurred a few years before I rededicated my life to Christ.)

But now I get it. As soon as I hear that heartbeat like noise come over the TV that materializes into an asystole type EKG sound (aka flatline,) I know Jack Bauer is about to whoop some butt. Jack Bauer is a trained assassin/super hero and the show is a non-stop hit of adrenaline. As I’ve now found myself binging into season 3, after having watched Jack’s heart being stopped during a torture scene, I asked myself:

  1. Will Jack Bauer ever find true love again? I’m a total chick and I think he needs a good hug.
  2. What am I doing binge watching this show? Well, halfway watch as I find myself closing my eyes through most of it.

I’m about to be really honest. In some ways I feel like my heart has accidentally stopped after a torture session as well. Like Jack, I feel like I’ve walked through my own battle field. Disassembled my own bomb. Maybe even helped save a soldier or two. And just like him, I wasn’t sure who I could trust or what was coming around the next corner. My life has changed almost as many times in the last year as his life does in 24 hours. And if you don’t watch the show…that’s a lot.

But the truth is, I don’t want to be like Jack Bauer. Sure he’s brave and he kicks some major butt…but he is so tormented. Tormented by his past. What he’s seen. Who he’s lost. The decisions he’s made. How this has all affected his daughter. And that’s the very place I do NOT want to find myself: tormented. Who cares if you kick some major enemy butt if you come out the other side all sad and tormented about it? I don’t think the point of winning a battle is to come out the other side with your heart in asystole.

Asystole is a state of no cardiac electrical activity, with no contractions of the myocardium and no cardiac output or blood flow. A lot of times you see it on TV followed by the paddles coming out to shock the heart back into rhythm. But from what I’ve read, that’s not how you really bring someone out of asystole. The treatment for asystole is usually CPR being administered with a shot of adrenaline.

Maybe I’m drawn to this show because it literally keeps me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. The thing is, I know this dude lives (for at least another 5 seasons) so my expectation is that no matter what, he’s going to be okay. But just coming out the other side of something breathing is not enough. If we find ourselves in victory over the battle, but still fighting a war in our hearts…well, I think the result can be asystole…in our hopes, dreams, faith…everything.

And that’s where I find myself today. In a place of real need, but still with an expectation that everything is going to be alright. And I know as I work on some heart issues, God will meet me there and breathe life back into these dry bones. There is this electrical pulse that is just waiting to be revived. I need the adrenaline to be shot back into my veins. For a sweet and filling breath to pump through my lungs and cause life again in my hopes and dreams. And Lord, I don’t want it to come from anyone but You!

So if you find yourself in that place, my friend, hold tight. Help is on the way and it doesn’t have to take 24 hours to get to you or me. There is tangible help just waiting in His word and just one touch from Him brings healing to the heart. We just need to take a minute to stop fighting the world, and perhaps, take some time to forgive ourselves and those around us for what the battle brought out in all of us. Maybe just like Jack Bauer, we all just need a really good hug.

Today’s ForecastHeart rhythm seems to be a little flat.

Silver LiningGod is so much better than CPR.

My Achilles Heel

I kind of knew during my move this year that I had done it again. Or should I say, overdone it again. As each load was taken to the new house, I could feel my heel getting weaker and weaker. No one ever has time to be hurt. But I really, really didn’t have time for this again. I was unemployed, but thankfully insured. Since I was starting a new job in a few weeks, I figured I’d go in and have it examined, and maybe get some really good shoe inserts. However, the doctor had me in a cast faster than I could run…err…hobble out of there. He was certain it was a tear, and confirmed that they didn’t treat it properly. So I would be starting my new job with crutches and a reminder of the pain I endured last year.

Any time someone asks me what I did to my foot, their response to “it’s my Achilles heel” is pretty much the same. I get a grimace or a shaking of the head and a confirmation of how long it takes to heal. It’s both comforting and painful all at the same time. They feel my pain, but also remind me of it.

The Achilles tendon is the thickest in the body. It’s responsible for a lot of things like pointing your toe. Let’s just say it takes a beating, and when it’s torn, it hurts in every movement you make with your foot. The other parts of the foot and ankle start to overcompensate for the fact that the Achilles is not functioning right. It eventually effects your knees, your hips, and your walking movement. If it goes too long torn, or experiences too much stress on it, it will rupture (completely tear.) It’s a strong part of our body, but even the strongest part of the body can only take so much.

You’ve probably heard someone say, “It’s my Achilles Heel” when speaking of something that is their weakness or downfall. It comes from the Greek myth of Achilles, a great warrior who survived many battles. According to the myth, it was prophesied over him that he would die young so his mother took him to a magical river that was supposed to offer the power of invulnerability. She dunked his body in the river, but missed the area of the body she held onto when dunking him: the ankle. Because of this, it was believed it was the only weak area on his body. During a battle, he died from a poisonous arrow that hit him in that very spot.

Interestingly enough, at the same time that this physical hurt reared its ugly head again, I started to realize there were some other old hurts that were giving me problems. And just like the injury I had experienced in my tendon, the hurts I experienced in my life had not healed properly. When the poisonous arrows came flying at me, I unfortunately let some of them land.

And that’s where I find myself today. Still in the middle of the battle. Still limping a bit. Still wondering when this will pass and whether I’ll ever walk the same way again. Still wanting to know the best course of rehabilitation. However, in the midst of not knowing much, I know one thing for sure: when my body was submerged in the water, it was submerged completely. And although I’m experiencing some vulnerability and exposed areas in my life, I believe as I learn to surrender those things to Jesus, His strength will become apparent. Thank you Jesus, that I don’t have to fight this battle alone. Thank you Jesus that when I am weak, You are strong. Thank you Jesus that you are my healer and that your Word will continue to wash over me and give me life.

Today’s Forecast:  June gloom with a chance of raining arrows.

Silver Lining: Another chance to experience God’s healing.

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day…to Me

It’s not what you think.

It’s the eve of another Mother’s Day and I’m trying to figure out a way to celebrate the woman who has made the biggest difference in my life.

She loves me.

She teaches me.

She dreams with me.

She sees the best in me even when I’m not able to see it.

She is my biggest fan and encourager.

She prays for me.

And I thank God for her. I’ll take her to dinner and give her a card that, I hope, expresses how much I love and appreciate her.

But as I’ve gotten older, Mother’s Day has meant something else to me. I’m single and have no children of my own. And I’m over 40. You see where this is going…

I love and adore the women in my life who have become mothers. I’ve went with them to buy the test and have celebrated alongside them when the stick said yes. I’ve thrown baby showers (really cute ones, if I do say so myself). I’ve been one of the first aunties to welcome their little humans into the world at the hospital (it’s a miracle, for sure…but WHOA!). I’ve encouraged them to keep being the awesome mom’s that they are when they’ve only had 2 hours sleep and their nipples are bleeding (It’s probably TMI, but the struggle is real y’all). However, in the past few years, my heart has sunk just a little when I can’t stand during ‘that’ part of the Mother’s day service at church.

So why is it a happy Mother’s day to me this year?

No, I’m not pregnant. But I am expecting.

I’m expecting that God is going to continue to work this thing called motherhood out through me.

I can love.

I can dream.

I can see the best in others when they don’t see it in themselves.

I can be the biggest fan and the loudest encourager.

And I can definitely pray.

I’m expecting that I’m going to begin to see that, although I have not bore a child of my own, I can still be a mother.

So happy Mother’s day to every one of you wonderful and fabulous women who are teaching me how it’s done.

Happy Mother’s day to the one I call Mom (or Ma, most the time).

And, happy Mother’s day to me.

Today’s Forecast: Not a mom.

Silver Lining: Can still be a mom.

A Good Report

 

The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the body healthy.

Proverbs 15:30 (NKJV)

Ever feel like the sparkle in your eye has been snuffed out? Like no matter what the angle you tilt your head, or the lighting you put yourself in, or the amount of coffee that you drink, or sleep that you get…you look in the mirror and you can see that your eyes have been through it?

Yeah, me too. For about a week in March, it was hard to believe the sparkle was there.

In the midst of ending my job, packing my parents, moving them and searching for a job…my dad had a medical mishap. He went in for what was supposed to be a routine procedure. Unfortunately, the nurse made a ‘mistake’ and the last month has been a nightmare for my parents. When they should have only been looking forward to moving into their new home, they had to worry that my Dad’s health was in jeopardy. After more doctors’ visits than anyone should have to go through in a year, let alone a month, the “c” word was used. Within a week from moving into their new home, my Dad was undergoing body scans.

I am happy to say, we have a good report. His kidney is just fine! Praise the Lord! It was the news that we all needed, especially my Dad. I could tell when he walked in the door after the appointment, with donuts from his favorite place in hand, that the good report had made his bones healthy.

But I have an even better report. I realize the sparkle never left my eye. It may have “felt” snuffed out. But praise the Lord that my feelings don’t dictate my faith. Thank the Lord I have friends who have come alongside me and reminded me that our God is a faithful and loving God and that no matter what the report is, God is still God. In the midst of chaos and a lot of not knowing, He knows my every thought and need. He sees me. He comforts me. He will bring me through it all, just as He has at other times in my life.

And that is really the lesson I’ve learned from this. What am I going to do in those times of life that the sparkle feels like it’s been snuffed? When the job doesn’t come in time? When the boy breaks my heart? When the friend disappoints? When the test result isn’t what we prayed for? Because I realize as long as I’m alive and on this Earth, those times are sure to come.

What am I going to do? I’m going to get in the presence of God. I’m going to tell him how I’m feeling and lay it down at His feet. I’m going to get with those people in life who feed my faith. People who are pursuing their God dreams. People who follow through with what they say they will do. People who are fighting the good fight, getting knocked down and then getting right back up for the next round because they know that they know that God has their back. I’ll pray with them. I’ll dream with them. I want them in my corner because they are the people who remind me of that sparkle in my eye, because it reflects from the one in theirs.

Today’s Forecast: A good report.

Silver Lining: Realizing a bad report can’t steal my sparkle.

Move It In For Victory

There’s a cheer we used to do in high school:

M – O – V – E

Move it in for victory!

It wasn’t my favorite cheer. There was always some teenage boy making some vulgar move in the stands as we chanted it. It was obviously used while we were on the offense, and very close to a touchdown.

I thought about the cheer as I finished unloading the last boxes from my most recent move. I have to say the most recent, because I’ve moved 4 times in the last 3 years. Needless to say, as I sit amongst a kajillion boxes that still need to be unpacked, I don’t quite feel like I’ve ‘moved it in for victory.’

This is not a move I would have chosen for myself. The last 3 months preparing for this move have been challenging. I’m not moving to a house I’ve purchased, or an apartment I get to decorate. In fact, I’m having to part with a lot of my “things” because of the lack of space. I’m not moving because of a new exciting job or opportunity. I’m moving my parents who are older and pretty worn out. Dealing with health concerns while trying to help them coordinate and pack has been exhausting. And now I’m living in a place that feels like it’s far from most everything I considered home for so long.

However, in those quiet times of the night, while I lay in a bed that’s been in storage for a year surrounded by newly painted walls and unfamiliar sounds (or lack thereof…it’s quiet out here in the suburbs!) I am reminded of His care for me. He prepared me for this part of the game by letting me know it was coming and letting me know when it would be happening. It’s like He stood on the sidelines of my life for the last year, and called out the plays. All I had to do was listen, execute and trust the ‘Coach,’ while not leaning on my own understanding of the game. And what makes this different from being 4th and goal during a football game is that if God’s calling the plays, I know I’ve already won.

Thankfully, God’s given us the ultimate playbook. He’s shown us through the lives of people like Abraham what happens when we are obedient to His instruction to move. Abraham was told to leave everything he knew: his country, his people, his father’s household and was promised that he would be blessed in doing so. And boy was he (and the world!) because of his obedience!

So if you find yourself in a season of life that feels like yards away from the win you’ve been waiting for, I encourage you to move if and when He says to. He’s the best coach, quarterback and tight end you’ll ever play with. If you are in alignment with His will for your life, you will be guaranteed the victory.

Today’s Forecast: Another move completed.

Silver Lining: One move closer to where I’m supposed to be.