Any long-distance plane trip seems to have free seat-back entertainment anymore, but I prefer to spend long flights taking advantage of unadulterated reading time. Case in point, last week I finished two books, a rarity for me these days. One of the books, Coming Clean: […]
I’ve run a couple marathons. Done some triathlons. Sat silently next to friends whose spouses passed away way too early. I’ve been up all night night-after-night with sick kids, put beloved animals to sleep, stayed behind to sell houses when my husband’s job transferred him to other […]
We’ve all been there. You might still be there. Today. This minute.
You’re hoping for something, but you can’t even begin to comprehend how it will ever come to fruition.
You want to have hope. You need to have hope.
Hope itself is something that almost needs to be inherent if you’re in the lowest point of the valley. Oh, you know in your heart and soul deep down that there’s always hope in any situation.
But finding that spark of hope is hard.
Living that belief can require having the faith to move mountains. And I’ve never seen that happen.
In your head, you know that there’s always hope for the situation that’s troubling you, but in your heart, that hope feels hidden.
You go through the motions:
You pray. You read your Bible hoping for the Word to jump out at you. You try to visualize a future with a positive outcome. You share your heart with your small group so they can pray for you. All good things.
Still… you waver. You doubt.
You go for a run. Eat another muffin. Lose yourself in a book. Go back to bed. Watch a reality TV marathon that makes you feel like your life is quasi-normal. After all, you don’t need collagen in your lips to stop aging because it’s already happened, or a night on deserted island eating a wild pig you slaughtered to make you face your wildest fears.
You’re living them.
You’re desperate for something to change. The situation gauge is stuck on empty and the nearest station is a long long walk by foot. In the dark.
That’s how I feel sometimes. And I’m definitely one of those glass-half-full kind of people.
But when we cry out to God – because He is our first, last and only option – even if we can’t articulate our need for the Hope that He offers, He knows.
He knows what we need before we do.
How do you pull back that curtain then, and find your “lost” hope?
It’s really just as simple as calling out to Him and asking for hope.
Boom. Done. He’s got it.
How do I know this?
Because he told me so. He told you so too.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Deuteronomy 4:29 says “…from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
And Psalm 34:4 says “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
All you have to do is ASK.
Ask for hope.
Ask for faith.
Ask for more of Him.
Because I promise you, that even though I don’t have all the answers, I do know the answer to one thing…
Jesus is all the hope you need.
Somewhere, buried in the foundational concrete in our home, is a shoebox size Rubbermaid container. And in that container is a Bible. And highlighted in the Bible are these verses: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise […]
That’s the quote on the front of the card we’ll give to our daughter later today. It’s her birthday, and while she is home for the time being, I have a feeling it won’t be for long. She’s our youngest and after a brief journey where she learned to stretch her wings a few months ago, she’s home until the wind pulls her up and out yet again.
And so we’ll celebrate. Whether she’s here or she’s gone, we’ll celebrate. We’ll celebrate the miracle that she is, for truly she is one.
We’ll celebrate a life that’s enriched ours and others’ lives as well. We’ll celebrate the laughter, the learning, the happiness and the joy she brought with her the day she was born. We’ll celebrate the frustration, the uncertainty, the fears and the weariness that also arrived the day she was born.
How can you celebrate one without the other?
How can a life be complete without the peaks and valleys of emotions and experiences that teach you how to “count it all joy”?
The older I get, the more I learn to celebrate all of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, the miserable, the joyful, the contentment, the silliness, the sadness, the frustration, the oddness of it all. The older I get, the more I understand that there is a plan far bigger than the plot of earth I see from where I stand.
If there is anything I would wish for my daughter on her birthday, beyond the usual happy birthday wishes, it would be that she would learn this too.
But learn it sooner than most people.
For there is an undeniable serenity in trusting the living God. Trusting Him with ALL of it.
I live in a very rural mountainous area, and the other day I was driving on a road that had no asphalt. Steep dropoffs with no guardrails. No signs even, looking for a particular house out in the middle of nowhere. I had no cell service, no GPS, and I was as lost as lost could be. Even following the directions that had been given to me, I was close to irritation and defeat because I was lost in a place where no one would even know to look for me. Still, I followed the directions written down, as that was pretty much all I had to get me where I needed to be.
Usually, if I’m tense when I drive, I turn the radio off. For some reason though, I had a local Christian station on, and the DJ read the scripture of the day:
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20
Honestly? I’m pretty sure that was the word I needed not only at that moment, but ALL the moments of my life. Following the instructions written to my destination, within 5 minutes I was there, and the journey’s end was almost too stunning for words.
Maybe it was because each bend or fork in the road seemed to lead me further away from where I wanted to go, when I arrived, I was in awe of the beauty at the end of my journey.
Maybe it was because each bend or fork in the road seemed to lead me further away from where I wanted to go, I couldn’t comprehend that they were taking me exactly where I needed to be.
Today, I celebrate each bend and fork in the road of my life, so intertwined with the life of my birthday girl. I celebrate the bends and forks that will inevitably take her near and far. Up and down. Through hardships and through triumphs.
May she learn to trust Him in all things.
May she learn to celebrate in all things as well.
Lately, I’ve been having some conversations with friends and family about, well… friends and family. If you’ve read my previous posts about my prodigal, you’ll understand that he weighs heavy on my heart. Despite giving the situation to God, it feels as if someone’s left […]
I normally shy away from bringing up issues that have the potential to cause dissent. Things that might be deemed politically correct, or “too” religious, or accepted by the wider culture we live in. Except, the other day I was out running errands, and while waiting in line, the tabloids in the check out area exulted the “good news” of our new ability to “change” ourselves to what we think we should be. I’d rather not even think about it anymore, but there were 10 year olds looking at the same magazines I was, and it disturbed me.
Enough to step out of my comfort zone and write about it. So… here goes….
Bruce, or… Caitlyn Jenner.
Does anybody want to be who God made them to be anymore?
If someone can “self-identify” with someone other than what they grew up as, does that truly make them someone else?
I honestly don’t know. I do believe there’s always room for grace, even if – especially if – we don’t understand or agree with a different viewpoint. But can we fundamentally orchestrate the change we envision by ourselves? And I’m not talking about modern medicine here.
I know that when I was younger I fantasized about being anybody other than the nerdy, shy, skinny kid I was. And over time, I’ve (semi) overcome these things. I’d like to “self-identify” as a charismatic person that puts everyone at ease, but really, at my core, I’m still that nerdy, shy person who probably makes others feel more awkward by my silence than I would hope.
Just because someone wants to self-identify as something outside of the walls of a given profile or at its worse, stereotype, are they a new creation? Just because you religiously apply spray tanner or get an operation to enhance other-gender characteristics, aren’t you really still the same on the inside? Weren’t the experiences you had growing up unique to that kind of specific life?
Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner may have always wanted to be a female, but he/she likely didn’t grow up playing with Barbies. His/her mom probably didn’t “let” him/her iron the handkerchiefs and linen napkins as “practice” for his/her own home. He/she may have wanted to dress in ladies’ clothing, but he/she never had to suffer the embarrassment of having the bust of a prom dress taken in when it was obviously way too large. He/she didn’t experience that weird timing that happens when a bunch of females all live in one building, creating a petri dish of hormonal craziness about 10 days before, well… you know. How can you say you’re a woman when these things have been left out of the equation? (May I just say that typing all those he/she and his/her is exhausting? But, he/she still has… parts… so he/she can’t really be both genders. I’m trying to be sensitive to the situation, but it’s all so very confusing.)
Rachel Dolezal may have drawn her earliest self-portraits with the brown crayon and not the peach one, but she I doubt she endured the time-consuming discomfort of having her hair corn-rowed as a young girl. Even changing her appearance to that of a cafe au lait color, I’m skeptical that she fully inhabited the “black experience” in a way that the majority of the African Americans grew up living. Did she grow up hearing ancestral horror stories of plantation life? Or perhaps an inspiring tale of an aunt or uncle who participated in the civil rights movement in the 60’s? How can you identify with a culture that struggled for centuries while you’ve only endured that same struggle in a much smaller fashion for a fraction of time? Instead of your whole life.
How can you really be someone or something that you don’t have a lifetime understanding of? Is it really as simple as changing your skin color or facial hair growth?
When I was 7 years old, my parents took me to the Rose Bowl, and we stayed in the Ambassor Hotel, where Bobby Kennedy had been shot by Sirhan Sirhan. I don’t remember much about the hotel except that everyone seemed to make a big deal about it being the hotel where Bobby Kennedy had been assasinated. I do remember however, that when my dad was checking in, I noticed a very strange “woman” in a blue suit and hat. I remember asking my mom why that woman looked so odd. I think I must’ve said it rather loudly (as 7 year olds are wont to do) because she immediately shushed me and told me we’d discuss it later. I don’t know that we ever did discuss it later, because there were so many plans for the entire Rose Bowl weekend and likely, the trip to Disneyland, the Rose Parade, the San Diego Zoo, etc… took precedence over the weird woman in blue.
I tell you all this because that was my only experience with someone trying to be “someone else” out in open daylight, so to speak, until really, my mid-20’s,
That’s not the case these days.
With a 24 hour news cycle running in the background on our TV’s, computers, smartphones, on the front pages of the tabloids at the grocery check-out, kids don’t have the same luxury of being naive even into their early teens. Eight year olds know about transgenders.
They have to think about this stuff, and question it, because it’s inescapable. Not like me, who had the leisure of mostly forgetting it all those years ago. The only reason I still remember it is because it was out of place. Kind of like that song on Sesame Street – “one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…” Today, the way society views it, it’s supposed to be normal, this reassignment of the parts of ourselves we don’t want to be. Because it’s supposed to be normal, it’s seemingly made its way into every part of culture. Places where children can’t be protected or naive about such things anymore.
Shouldn’t kids be busy just playing and imagining instead of learning about how someone “self-identifies” as other than what God intended them to be?
One thing that became clear to me the moment I became a parent was that I wanted my child to have a childhood. By that I mean that I wanted them to play in blanket forts, go outside and get lost on their bikes for hours. I wanted them to explore the woods behind our house with our dog, surreptitiously read under the covers after lights out, and laugh – and make me laugh – at really stupid jokes.
I didn’t want them to have to think about mortgages or being afraid to open their mouths because saying the word “jazz” might have racial connotations. I didn’t want them to have to think about the sexual identity of someone because it was everywhere all the time. Why couldn’t they just be kids watching cartoons on TV instead of having a sexual agenda pushed on them by the Disney Channel?
Why do kids have to be exposed to these things at an age when they should just be worried about the monsters under their bed or whether they’re going to be able to get their homework done in time to play before dinner? You know, like, well… kids.
Do they have to – need to – wonder or worry about being growing up to be something they weren’t born as? Shouldn’t they spend their growing up years learning to be the best THEM they can be?
I may not be a Harvard educated “somebody,” but surely common sense should count for something these days, especially when children are involved. Why aren’t we teaching our kids that only God can make a new being? We may be able to change the external packaging, but on the inside, our soul was, is and will always be the same. Unless… God, who created us, changes us.
How to Climb to the top of a Mountain without Plunging to your Death – Or, Pay Attention to your Surroundings
I can’t say that I claim expertise status on this one, but I did recently hike in Zion National Park to the top of Angel’s Landing, which has had its share of deaths, so perhaps I can at least make the case for a little experience instead. When […]