Cathy Hester on Broken and Spilled Out Christmas Gifts | Pi… on ENOUGH? Tricia Thompson on Note to Self Tricia on Are You Looking For a Good Pla… Angie on Are You Looking For a Good Pla…
I’ve just received a brand new LOT of necklaces and magnets from the A+mazing potter!!! 🎉 What a perfect way to shop for the tween, teen, lady on your list. More pics coming this weekend!
Ever feel like you just need to come up for air? In the rat race of life it’s easy to forget the importance of O2. Oxygen, the life giving element that when deprived too long, can cause brain damage.
My life is full parenting, cooking, orchestrating calendars to sync for a family of six, meal planning, chore assigning, laundry juggling, and homework helping, just to name a few. Then there’s the other life of lesson planning, paper grading, professional development, certification updating, character training, teaching math, studying history and dissecting Bible lessons. Least I forget mentoring ladies, Bible teaching, speaking, worshiping, and blogging.
It’s challenging remembering to take care of ME. In the 80s a popular acronym in youth discipleship was “JOY= Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.” For years, it has seemed normal to put myself last. I think that’s fairly common for mothers to spend so much time taking care of the family’s needs that we forget to take care of ourselves, or feeling guilty if we do.
On airplanes, we are told in case of an emergency, “Put the oxygen mask on before helping small children.” Think about it! When we fail to take care of ourselves, we are in a sense, depriving others of life giving oxygen–not to mention what damage takes place to our own bodies.
Even Jesus stepped away and got alone to be with the Father. So, take a walk, sit alone on the porch, take a nap or spend some time in prayer.
Running out the door to work at 7:03am, I giggled at how this particular plant’s name is “prayer plant.” At the moment, it did look helpless and in need of prayer. Pondering the reason for its name I wondered if the sagging, green leaves appeared to be bowing.
The busyness of the day teaching; shepherding 27 students through a situation at recess that proved to be based on heart issues of greed and selfishness; guiding them to truth; explaining math facts; and practicing for the Grandparent’s Day program; I’d forgotten about the pitiful looking plant.
By the time I arrived at home, I myself was pitifully drained and wilting away. I’m sure the countenance on my face looked just like the prayer plant had at 7 am. Weary by 4:00pm, my daughter and I ran some errands that had to be taken care of before Friday.
It was 7:00 pm by the time we arrived home and we were TIRED! Unloading teaching bags, backpacks and bags from running errands, I looked in the kitchen to find this!
Teaching to an agrarian culture, Jesus often referred to the Christian life in terms of plants and soil.
“I am the vine. You are the branches. Apart from Me you cannot bear fruit.” John 15:5
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the sower. The seed that fell on good soil produced crop thirty, sixty and hundred fold.
How many times do I look like that plant did in the morning? Dry, wilted, useless, unattractive. When I am rooted in good soil, watered and well fed, then I am more alert and attractive to others who come in contact with me throughout the day.
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2
Recently I was catching up with a friend of mine who’s been through a lot. In August of 2014 her mom died and she surprised me with her strength as she spoke at the funeral. In the Spring of 2015 she found out that her father in law AND her father both had cancer. It was aggressive. Fast. In June of that year, her father in law passed on, and I watched the family and his church give him an incredible life celebration. Just four months later, my precious friend had to call 9-1-1 while caring for her father. He didn’t make it. His celebration of life was also a precious time.
Having taught my friend’s children, I was encouraged by the love and support the family had for each other and honored to be a part of the investment these grandparents made into the lives of their children. It has been a blessing to watch them grow into teenagers on the brink of adult life.
While catching up with my friend on the phone, she was sad to be preparing to sell her childhood home. After all, it had already proven difficult to sell cars and the family lake home where the family and grandchildren had played and relaxed for years. While she shared a few prayer requests with me she said, “But I’m okay. I just put on my big girl pants and keep going.” I said, “FRIEND! I get it and we all say that when things are tough to encourage each other, but sometimes the elastic wears out and you have to get new panties!”
Isn’t that the truth! And that’s the truth!
No matter how old we are or how difficult it is to bury a loved one, clean out all the necessaries involved with the estate, sometimes life it just rough and you need to go buy some new britches!
Matthew 11:28-29 says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Find rest today in Him whose burden is light.
My husband has always been a firm believer in seeing a loved one in the casket as it brings the beginning of an emotional closure to the loss. Ten years ago he “left the ministry” and both of his college degrees to follow his heart and become a funeral director.
It was hard for me because it was such a pay cut and he turned in his company car, laptop and cell phone. Having four children and wrestling with major post partum depression, I found the need for some counseling from a therapist.
The Hope Center has been a place of great comfort, painful truths, learning center and spiritual renewal. My counselor, James, would encourage me in his gentle and calming voice, “Now Audrey I know this has been difficult for you and maybe Bob won’t work there forever, but I’ve seen him in action. (Shaking his head in awe) He is really in his element. It takes a special person to be able to do that. I was there last week for a funeral and I’m telling you, this is where he’s supposed to be right now.”
Over time, I came to see just how true this is…especially this week. You see James died in an accident Monday. He’d retired last Spring to spend more time with his family. He was so kind when informing me of this that he even offered his cell number should I ever need a phone session.
My husband has been taking care of the many details involved in laying this former fire fighter, therapist, and soldier to rest. It’s been surreal for me to see this come full circle.However, it doesn’t feel like a complete closure of 360 degrees, more like 350 with a broken sphere that’s just missing the end of its rotation. I spoke with a few of my mentors about how I believe James would have been honored to have my talented husband in charge of this life celebration. They confirmed the truth that this is the beginning of a new season for me. Healing has come. Coping skills have been learned. Notes were taken, so many truths are written to be uses as a reference when old patterns creep in. But tomorrow. . .
On my journey through depression and retraining my brain from past issues, I’ve enjoyed helping others as we walk this crazy life in a world where our enemy prowls seeking those he may devour.
Today a friend said, “Tomorrow when your husband closes James’s casket, James is passing you the baton. Say, ‘I’ll carry the torch. Thank you for being the light. I’ll now continue the race and I’ll be a light.'”
I’ll go through a box of Kleenex tomorrow, but the new season has begun and closure is on tomorrow’s horizon and I look forward to saying goodbye. The flowers will look real though they will be dead. James will appear dead but he is living.
“Why are you trying to be a lighthouse somewhere else if you can’t even be a candle where you are right now?” ~Chris Adams
Every May when I take my students to Washington, D.C., we see many monuments and memorials. It’s my pleasure to point out, describe, and explain the meanings of each one and how it relates to what we’ve studied during the year. One theme is universal throughout the city: WATER. Still water that protrays stagnancy contrasted to moving waters, can be seen and heard representing LIFE.
The FDR memorial has four sections representing the four terms he served carrying our nation through The Great Depression. Fireside chats, bread lines, waterfalls and a statue of Mr. President in a wheelchair–something he never wanted to be photographed. Crippled from Polio, FDR would visit Warm Springs, Georgia for treatments that included running water that he said revived his legs. There are several moving water displays at this particular memorial. It reminds us of the truth that living water refreshes and heals.
What did Jesus The Christ say to the Samaratian woman at Jacob’s well? “If you knew the living water I have to offer you would never thirst again.” They called Jacob’s well the “Well of Living Waters” long before the birth of Christ. The spring that flows beneath that well FLOWS. It is not stagnant water that is drawn up by a Jack and Jill fetching pail, it is FLOWING FROM A FRESH, MOVING STREAM OF LIVING WATER. Those who visit Jacob’s well today can still drink from this refreshing water that never dies.
In one of the panels at his memorial, there is etched in bronze a mural of Mr. Roosevelt’s funeral procession. You can almost hear the dirge as you look at this artwork hovered over a still, pool of water. Stagnant. Still. Somber. Death.
Still water can also be found at the Pentagon 9-11 memorial over each marked flight seat, and at the WW2 memorial beneath the gold stars, just to name a few.
Each of our lives is a memorial that can be evident to all just by the way we think, act and live. The popular church camp song, “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prisoners doors sets the captive free. … Spring up oh well, (splish splash) within my soul, spring up oh well, and make me whole….give to me that life abundantly.”
As we buried my 92 year old maternal grandmother today, I reflect on the eulogy, sermon, graveside words, but mostly on her life. Gran was an only child who had four children. I too am an only child raising four children. Her list of accomplishments, service, and community activities were listed, shared, and reflected upon. It causes me to think and look inward at my own life. Is it stagnant and still, or FRESH AND LIVING?
Memories are like water: fresh, trickling, and sometimes unsurprising waves that flood the emotions of one’s soul. This day I’ve dreaded for YEARS, yet a celebration of life met with a resounding ‘It is Well’ reminds me that rivers of live bring living water. Living water that springs forth gives life. Life brings death, but death is only a beginning to the new life that floods once again soothing a parched soul with refreshing coolness and peace.
So we sing with authority a resounding “It is Well.” Every day we CHOOSE to be examples of living water that offers life, refreshment, flowing to others; or stangnant water that is slimy, mucky, and exemplifies death.
Choose life and chose to live it more abundantly. Now.
Leave a legacy.