Mar 30, 2016

No Satisfaction in Distraction

It happened again this morning. I awoke with focus and purpose, my plan to get back to blogging, to join in Leah's at The Loft today. And I'd made it to the shower when the thought that I hadn't taken the clothes out of the dryer hit my early-morning mind. So, I go to the laundry room, mentally kicking myself because I was going to HAVE TO iron now… In the laundry room, a million (ok, really two) distractions called to me: swim items from the gym now scattered around the room begged straightening and the cloths that were used to wipe up the water from a water bottle spill that were draped to dry in various ways over the laundry sink and faucet, begged me to check them and re-arrange them for drying so they could be put back out of sight. I did touch one of the towels to see how wet it was; but marched on with my laundry basket back to my room to get my computer and write. On the way, I passed through the kitchen, where once again, I saw *things* that needed my attention… I kept walking.

I am a visual person and going past *things* that need my attention, distract me. In today's world, we also have another distraction: media… I probably don't even need to go there. But, just to let you know, I struggle with media distractions too. And I am so getting distracted trying to type out a post about distraction!  Right now, I see a number by my messages icon.  It is not blinking or flashing; but it could be a distraction to me. It could be a friend wanting to go somewhere or do something or she could need me.  It could be that in my Pinky-and-the-Brain thinking, that I *need* to save the world. The struggle was and is real. I feel that:

I need to attend to the message that has just come in, instead of DOING the assignment I've heard from HIM.

And it was as I stepped into the shower that I sensed, in my spirit:

There is no satisfaction in distraction.

And I said back to the LORD, I hear YOU and I agree. And LORD, why do you start talking to me the moment I step into the shower?   I have no pen and paper here and I sure can't bring my media into the shower with me. As I type the words now, it seems like a no brainer to me - there are no distractions in the shower --- well there shouldn't be; but I have to be honest with you, there was a distraction in the shower this morning. Yes, it is Wednesday and I still had the spray bottle with cleaner and a brush to work on an area of tile in the shower that I had started on last weekend. Just being real here. I am struggling in this area. Even when I wake with a thought for a post, seemingly I can find new and even old distractions.  However, I did pick up the brush and start scrubbing while waiting for the water to be just the right temperature.  Then it hit me:

 I'd left a job undone, because finishing sometimes, just is not fun.

Ouch. Sometimes, the truth just rests on my heart and it hurts.  Doing what I feel called to do may not be as much fun as what is on the other side of the message icon; but I can tell you this I do know, there is no satisfaction in distraction. And without a doubt, HE has called me back to blogging, to writing, to listen and write down what I hear; but I have been so distracted.  I've been distracted by some good things too, some fun and enjoyable things. But when it comes down to standing before the LORD, the question I'm faced with is:

Am I doing the urgent or the important?

I feel like the LORD is even letting me see that in the fact that when I passed the hurdles of distraction this morning and sat down to blog, that the computer only has 12% battery charge. Knowing that the links would be at The Loft today, I should have charged my computer last night and been ready and fully charged for today.

How about you? What has GOD called you to do? Friends, (and I'm speaking to myself) we must do what HE has called us to do. How do you handle distractions? How have you gained victory over the urgent?

A friend gave me a book quite a long, long time ago titled: Freedom from Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles E. Hummel. I am committing to reading it this week. Here are a few highlights from the back of the book and that confirm it would be a blessing to me:

"Are urgent things so pressing that you don't have "inner time" to sort out what's really important?"
"How can you discern what God wants you to do?"
"Stay open to God's guidance in small choices"

So dearest LORD, as before the keyboard I sit,
The demands of life, I want to YOU, to commit,
Daily, I am faced with so many distractions,
And LORD, in them I find no lasting satisfaction.

I want to accomplish YOUR will, what YOU have called me to do.
Help me to the distractions to say: Go, just "shoo"
I want to do what YOU call me to do.

Sometimes, the doing is not fun.
But when it comes to Kingdom work, let me leave nothing undone.
Focus me LORD, straight on the goal
And let me, to YOUR plan, be fully devoted, and whole.

Continue to speak to me, and please allow me to see
What is truly important for me.
Help me to finish the good works that YOU start
And by YOUR Word and SPIRIT, please impart.

In YOUR precious Name, and by YOUR SPIRIT's power,
Victory is mine, this day and hour.

Mar 24, 2016

The Easter Tree / I know the end of the story

I think my enjoyment of decorating for each season comes from my mother's joy in celebrating holidays.  Each holiday when I was growing up, was very special to mom and was a reason for joy and celebration in my childhood home. I am blessed with so many good memories of my mother and how she made holidays special in our home. I remember many specific decorations we had for Easter, I remember making baskets from dough, coloring eggs (and hiding them!), new outfits for church and I also remember a bunny cake that we made every year!

When our girls were little, I wanted to continue the tradition of decorating and celebrating the holidays, and especially, the Holy Days.  In 2009, my sister-in-love shared a blog with me by the name of A Holy Experience written by Ann Voskamp. Her blog is lovely and inspiring.  Ann shared how they made a Passion Tree for the days before Easter Sunday.  The activity included daily Scripture, prayer, activity and art. Our girls were young and we immediately set out and made our own tree to commemorate the Easter season. If you have time, this post from Ann, details the hows and whys of the tree much better than I could say: How To Make Your Own Easter Passion Tree

Our children are now grown. The oldest, Audra, has been married two years! The youngest, Victoria, is a junior, pre-law student.  So, I do the decorating by myself. We still celebrate together! But, I miss the help of little hands in the decorating. There was so much wonder and delight in daily living and celebrating.  I am so thankful for the fond memories I have of the children growing up and celebrating Easter. The Easter Tree became a tradition in our home and one I will continue.   But this year when I started hanging each individual days artwork on our tree, I was so tempted to put all of them on the tree at one time!  I kept thinking: I know the end of the story!

It pained me to look at the artwork of the days leading to the cross and to know what Jesus did for me. For you. For the world.  But the hope that lives within me, reminded me that we know the end of the story! Some days seem dark and even lonely; but guaranteed, the end is going to be good. We have the promise of Scripture, the living, breathing Word of God, the example of His Son, the goodness of Our Father and the Holy Spirit.  Praise YOU Lord!  We know the end of the sad days.

I just found the beginnings of this post in my drafts folder from 2009… Never published…so here is a snippet I started years ago of our Easter Tree:

His story told in pictures, hangs on the Easter Tree.
Last year we had many little hands help us decorate our tree leading up to Easter.
We would read a devotional corresponding to the picture, then hang the pictures.
The final picture was on our Easter table with cloths neatly folded representing the cloths the Lord folded.

Blessed Easter, my friends.

Mar 16, 2016

Who Inspires Me / The Loft

I had to look up the word inspire and this is what stated:

verb (used with object)inspired, inspiring.
to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence:
His courage inspired his followers.
to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.):
to inspire confidence in others.
to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.:
to inspire a person with distrust.
to influence or impel:
Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does:
They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence:
writings inspired by God.
to guide or control by divine influence.

The first thought that comes to mind is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspires me. Never before has the battle line been so clear as recently, that either I am being inspired by the Holy or unholy Spirit.  Thoughts, words, actions and reactions are evidence of who inspires me. 

My pastor, Jim Price, inspires me.  He lives life with the love of GOD so evident. He is patient, gives kind and encouraging words and listens.  He believes the best about everyone.  Everyone. All the time.  I have seen him honor people, that in my opinion, did not deserve honor.  I have heard him bring out a good character trait in someone, when they weren't evidencing good.  I have experienced him speaking life over lifeless situations. I have witnessed his family loving each other and honoring each other in their words and actions. I have felt the personal encouragement from his fatherly advice.  He has the ability to listen to the Spirit of GOD and speak to your heart. Like, he's read your journal and knows the situation and speaks GOD's heart to you.  

My daughters inspire me.  Recently my oldest, Audra,  honored her younger sister, Victoria, with her words.  As a mother, my heart swelled in pride. She humbly gave credit and kudos to her younger sister. Audra is a loyal friend. She is a serving friend. In the last year, I have seen her make more meals for people than anyone I know! If she knows of a need, she is there, doing something about it. She takes people places they need to go, she baby sits for friends and co-workers when they need her to and she does not do it for money.  She has a servant's heart and hands. In areas where she has experienced a lack, she steps forward and makes others experience abundance in the area where she has felt lack.  She does not complain about the injustice, she goes the second mile to make sure no one else experiences what she did.  She is a world changer.

My youngest, Victoria, recently just flat out blessed me as a momma with her responses.  Her heart is in the right place. She is filled with the compassion of GOD for hurting people and watch out world, she is a leader and defender of good.  Her passion for her beliefs and communication skills are second to none.  I cannot wait to see what GOD stirs up in her. Her perspective is love and her life is giving out to each and everyone she meets. Her intellect is deep and her desire to help the hurting is so evident. She is a defender of the weak, and me-oh-my, can her words speak. She has honed her abilities under the corral of a good, good GOD. 

My daughters are pillars in the house of the LORD. I am blessed by the women they are and the bright future that GOD has in store for them.  It is going to be so good!

I have a dear friend (we will call her Pearl ~ she does not like her name shared because of her work) that is home from the mission field to care for her ailing parents. Pearl has set aside her own dreams to daily help her parents during a very difficult season. She is deserving of a medal. And I'm sure when she reaches her final destination, she will be well rewarded by GOD.

I have two mentors, Vicky and Cindy, that have been like Aaron and Hur to me. Tears spill over my cheeks because of these Titus 2 women. I pray you have a Vicky and Cindy in your life.  They are real life Jiminy Cricket's to me.  Time and space could not hold what these women have been to me; but like Aaron and Hur, when I was tired, they found a stone for me to rest on and then they stood on each side and held my arms up.

I am so thankful for those that inspire.
On this earthly journey, may they never tire.
Give them grace to continue to inspire and go,
And knowledge of You and Your love may they continue to show.

Thank you Leah for The Loft Link-Up!  Glad to join in today!  I'd love to hear who inspires you!

Mar 15, 2016

Press On, Move Forward, Continue

When the girls were younger, we spent many of our days at the gym, swimming laps in the pool. The years have passed quickly and both of the children have grown to adulthood and I miss them when I go to swim laps these days.  In fact, some days recently, I just haven't even wanted to go to the gym.   Two days in particular, I was sitting in my car outside the gym, totally dressed to go in and work out and just didn't want to go in and work out.  Eventually, I did go in and do my workout.

We started back to the gym in October (after a long hiatus - I did not make it one time during the two years my dad lived with us). And, I must admit, I love being there again. I've seen many old friends and I've made some new ones too.  I feel so much better after I go to work out. In the four months that we've been there, I've also gotten rid of 8.75 inches. I've also increased my muscle mass and am not as weak as when I first started back.

But do you ever start something, or start back to something and think: "My goodness, the staying with it is hard"? I've thought that. I've also thought that when I use to go to the gym, my girls were with me and it's hard to do alone.  I'm at the point that I'm finding myself making excuses not to go.  Now so far, I've continued going; but the point is, the journey is sometimes hard.  The will, the drive to do something you intended to finish, sometimes wanes.  The option to choose an easier way arrives or the opportunity to go back to how you were before presents itself.  Resolutions made in earnest, seem so remote and unreachable. You get to the pool, you swim a handful of laps and consider just backstroking… It was in this scenario that I heard the LORD speak to me to:

"Press On.
Move Forward.

And it was obvious, I couldn't do that while backstroking. God does not want me, or you, to go back to where we have been. HE wants us to continue moving forward in the lane set before us. It is easy to look at other people in other lanes and think their race looks better or easier than ours. Or to get distracted by all the pool balls and toys and parties going on over in the free swim area.  Or to wish that you were just sitting on the side checking your phones while the activity is in the pool.  Or how would the enemy rejoice if we just sat in our cars and never came into the water to swim?  Wow.  When giving up seems to be what your heart and flesh want, the Spirit breathes life and the ability to continue. Praise HIS Name!

So LORD, In Your Precious Name,
We, press on, move forward and continue.
Strengthen our spirits, minds and body, down to the sinew.
When tempted to quit or give up,
Draw us to drink from Your cup.
When the race seems long,
Encourage us to press on.
When we want to go back,
Help us realize it's an enemy attack.
May we continue.