we have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown to our family in recent weeks. times of plenty … times of want … most of us have walked through this in our lives and specifically in our finances. and let me say, it’s *much* more comfortable and pleasant to be in the season of “plenty”, being able to share and give to others out of the abundance God has provided us.

however, i am learning the beauty of receiving … as it relates to being deeply connected with others; sharing the truth of our situations and finding that not only can we often relate but that in that vulnerability and honesty, God can allow us to be the hands and feet of love to each other.

we were, literally, overwhelmed by some very specific needs met in the last couple of weeks by some precious friends. and as i stumbled in my awkwardness at being on the receiving end during one instance, my friend literally said to me, ‘don’t grouch!’ she proceeded to share that by giving, she is able to participate in a promise offered in God’s word:

Proverbs 19: 17 He who has pity on the poor lends to Yahweh; he will reward him.

she went on to say that she can’t see in the future, she can only see the past … and how God has provided. HE alone knows how her family’s needs will be met 6 months from now; for today, they are choosing to participate in one of His promises.

amazing.

another friend and i talked about the richness of really BEING the body of believers to each other; living out the richness of that honest and deep sharing and receiving … there is so much growing and learning and beauty in that. and we are called to unity! how easy it can be, to remain distant and separate, private in our struggles and distant in our relationships. i feel that we can miss out on so much. so, i am learning … and thanking God for the beautiful people He has placed in my life.

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i spent time recently with a dear friend who shared that after hearing from other’s about their homeschooling, or their spiritual walk, she can walk away feeling discouraged and doubting. she feels like she is not doing enough; not teaching the right things in the right way; not sharing her faith well or training her kids well in spiritual matters.

i heard her heart and feel like this area of comparison can rob us of so much joy …

and can’t we all relate?

for example, i know that when i spend time in the home of one who has darling decor, an eye for furniture and design; i can quickly think of how lacking i am in this area, how much “stuff” i “need” and how much design-savvy i wish that i had.

however, i am finding that another outcome often is:  i am INSPIRED! i come home with fresh motivation to clean out, organize, straighten up, beautify. =) in fact, i recently spent time in the home of a super-organized, neat, creative mama … and came home that day and tackled my laundry room! yes!

what if we could be encouraged and spurred on by other’s strengths, instead of so often falling in to discouraging comparison? what if i could hear ideas and progress about another’s mama’s homeschool and use her ideas as a jumping-off place for my own? and when another mama shares her heart about nutritional changes in her family, what if i celebrated and learned, instead of thought of how lacking i am in that area??

discouraging comparison can create distance; leave us alone and doubting, instead of united and uplifted. oh, that we would truly be spurred on by each other, encouraging and uplifting while celebrating the unique gifts and strengths of each other!

i have been grappling again with worry and fear about this baby; an area that i really saw victory over many weeks ago and am frustrated to be dealing with it again. and so, again i face the decision: faith or fear. i must choose faith.

in the midst of grappling with the issues prompting the fear, i have experienced the love of friends that is so impactful.  the love that looks like responding to the anxious text with encouragement, a word of scripture, some research and information, prayer.

and it occurred to me: how many times have i been on that end, receiving the desperate cry for help and not “GETTING’ the enormity of the stress and burden for that person?? yesterday, we were driving home from the beach on this gorgeous day … i am sunk in my worry/fear and realized: wow, other people are having a normal sunday right now. they are hanging with their family, doing their normal sunday stuff, and even still .. they are responding and reaching out to me.

LORD, let me respond as you would when i am on the end that is receiving the call: let me care DEEPLY and know that this thing, whatever it is and however “big’ it may seem to me, is BIG to my sister.

is it my mama’s heart that wants to protect my girl from disappointment?

i saw it play out vividly (albeit small-scale) this weekend: we didn’t have our usual friday night pizza night w/the neighbor girls (i was out running errands that afternoon; maddie and mike picked up fast food late afternoon; it was rainy and when i got home they were full, no kids were out playing, and i had preparations to do to prepare for hosting a brunch the next morning).

there was no crying and gnashing of teeth (ha!) but our girl was bummed; she commented about it not being our usual, fun friday night. she sat in her room, alone at her desk. things were scattered.

and because i am sentimental about routines and traditions i also felt that the night was “off.” in fact, this weekend has been a little upside down as far as our usual rhythm as a family.

but as i’ve thought through it; about how i cringe inside seeing my girl feeling let down, etc … i have realized: i had countless times of disappointment and letdown as a child (small and large scale).

and usually, there was no one to process, debrief, mitigate, buffer … i just felt it. sat with it. and i believe, i grew stronger and more of who GOD designed for me to be through it.

i want my girl to experience unpleasant emotions to provide contrast to the usual stream of joyful contentment that marks her life. i want her to have perspective, insight and above all, to rely on her Creator and Maker to comfort, guide and walk with her.

yesterday, i left my family during a sweet afternoon and went to the home of a near-stranger, to meet with other complete strangers. as i walked up the walkway of the home, and saw the women sitting in the front yard, i felt a little nervous … a little like how my daughter may feel in situations in which i insist she act bravely and venture forth.  great lesson for mama!! the funny thing is that i would not consider myself (at all!) shy; i love  people; love getting to know people and diving deeply in to relationship.  but yesterday i felt nervous and silly, walking up to this group of strangers!!

the sweet mama who invited me has opened her home to homeschooling mama’s and i have resisted going … i think because for the past year,  my cup has felt very full with the amazing women GOD has brought in my life, that are walking this homeschooling journey with me. but when i got the invite for this most recent gathering, i felt inspired to go. to meet other women; to be stretched and meet others who may be in a similar season.

and i am glad that i went! i sat next to a mama with whom i felt an immediate connection. i am looking forward to getting to know her!

it’s interesting; there are many, many homeschooling families in our area but there are “pockets” and groups that meet, that somehow don’t ever intersect. i am in one of those “groups” ( and am so thankful) but i am also glad to be connecting with others and would love to see the larger community come together … (co-op? =))

i love that women that i so love (and their kiddos!) were able to meet yesterday morning for a sweet time at the park. we celebrated a warm spring morning … finally!!

a major highlight: this nice guy let the kids line up and take turns throwing a frisbee to his dog!

nice throw, maddie!!

baby d, taking it all in ...

way to go, seth!

lori (awaiting baby's arrival any day!) with jess

lori and little abby

friends!!

freezing the moments

May 14, 2010

there have been a few times, in the past week, where time seemed to stop: i had my baby girl (10 years old!) on my lap, or laying beside me cuddling in bed, or under my fingertips as i gave her a tickle rub and we talked.

and i was struck: these moments are so fleeting. moments where my girl is comfortable bare and exposed, allowing me to massage and tickle. moments where i can still hold her on my lap (even though she insists she is too big, my arms still envelop her)!

i see evidence daily of her growing up;  her independence, her awareness of boundaries and privacy and who she is in the world. and i love it, and i thank GOD for this growing girl who is so thoughtful, tender, creative, expressive, sensitive.

and it is also bittersweet.

so yesterday, as we sat on the deck outside in the sun … mama, running her hands through her girl’s hair, twirling and braiding … daughter, talking and sharing and laughing … i chose to soak. to not let my mind wander ahead to the next “chore” or item on my list of things to do; but simply, to BE. loving life, and LOVING being mama to this angel gift that GOD has given.

( i browsed through some of the *thousands* of pics we have of maddie on the computer, and couldn’t resist posting these few)

and few months old and WAY TOO DELICIOUS!!

2 yrs old

6 yrs old, posing!... =)

6 yrs old - she looks so little next to me!