© 2012 Standing on Peace
© 2012 Standing on Peace
Well, those unfulfilled expectations snuck up and bit me in the booty. Again. And here’s some more transparency for you. It was a morning of self pity. And I couldn’t seem to shake it. It was a morning of the nasty word “defeat”. And it resonated all too well. It was a morning of where my word for the month “hope” was no where in sight. And I needed. to. hear. good. words. from. God.
After tries and tries of marketing my book in various ways I recognized I hadn’t talked with God about how He would desire for me to “get the book out there”. I felt a nudge from the Spirit a couple months ago to go about marketing in quite a strange, seemingly not productive way. When I asked the Lord what He would have me do with this stack of books that had been sitting for a year in my closet, I heard the phrase “One book at a time”. Hmmm….and after making sure the Lord knew how non grand scale of reach this would have, I obeyed. And I have been relying on Him. Each week. Asking Him, “Who this week, Lord?” And He has been faithful every week to bring a name to mind. And the Lord has been asking me to cook up His recipe; excluding my own “logic ingredients” and including many cups of “courage, humble, listen and obey ingredients”. And I have been absolutely amazed at how He is strengthening my faith and allowing me to “taste and see that the Lord is good” with these mini miracle cakes which come out of the oven each week.
So why am I in a state of self pity when from the paragraph above it would seem all is well? And I am glad you asked because I will tell you. One of the names I believed I was to send a book to was a famous female Christian author and speaker who I have followed and adored for years. Even though I peed my pants a little when I felt this nudge of the Spirit, I pushed through the fear. I wrote a lengthy letter to her and sent off the book. (This was even more of an accomplishment if you know me because you have never and probably will never receive anything from me if it is getting there by the post office.) There was hope, though, in sending this off. I thought to myself, “Yes, this is going to be the “one book at a time” person who will read my book, love it, respond to my letter to ask if I would come speak with her at her next venture. Good thinkin Lord!”
And so I got a letter in the mail today. With the return address of the above author’s ministry name listed. I literally held my breath as I opened it. But as soon as my breath was held, it was let out quickly with a breath of defeat. It was written by her “correspondence team”. A form letter. Lifeless words filled my heart as my eyes took it all in. And the “D words” settled down deep. Devastated. Defeated. Done.
I cried a little. Then looked to my God to support me in my self pity state. He was good to me. My devotional for the day talked about how self pity is not walking in trust in God. And if we feel self pity the thing to combat it is to give Jesus praise and thanks because we can’t have self pity at the same time as when we are thanking God. So I decided to do this. (Although it was more than hard.) And then I flipped the scriptures and said, “Lord, I need a word from you to give me hope and comfort.” And praise. God. Wouldn’t you know He was so good to have me flip open to the very scripture He gave me to send and write to the author I had just been so disappointed by. It was as if He was saying, “You heard me right, you are on the right track, be patient, I still have plans for you.” And then He went one step further-the Spirit highlighted the words “learned to acclaim you” in the scripture. I looked up the word “acclaim” in the dictionary and it means “to praise”. He said to my heart, “You are blessed today because you are learning to praise Me even when it’s hard-you just did that. The scripture doesn’t say “blessed are those who acclaim” but “blessed are those who LEARN to acclaim”. I am teaching you how to praise Me.”
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence Psalm 89:15
God continued to speak love into me as He as I flipped open to this verse:
Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us Hebrews 12:1
And if that wasn’t enough goodness of God to fill me with encouragement and hope, I put on a new work out DVD and had to smile as the instructor said, “Let’s punch out defeat this morning! Don’t quit. Finish the race strong!!”
So whatever you find yourself disappointed by, discouraged by, defeated by this morning, get off of the self pity train and jump on the thank and praise God train. Let’s finish the race strong because we KNOW His timing is perfect and His plans are BIG. Continue on in patience and perseverance the race with Jesus my friends and we WONT be disappointed in the end!
What can you thank and praise God for today as you “learn to acclaim/praise” Him?
What unanswered decision, defeat, disappointment, or unfulfilled expectation do you need to trust Jesus and fix your eyes on Him as you “run with patience”?
© 2012 Standing on Peace
Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. Proverbs 14:29
Ironically, as I am writing this, my daughter is pulling on my shirt, saying for probably the 10th time, Mommy, come on. Can’t you be done with that computer?” This situation was only one of the many times my patience was tested this week. (You would be proud of me. Even though I had plenty of “lacking patience reactions” this week, this one was not one of them. I set down the computer, responded to my daughter with, “How can I help you honey?”, attended to her present need, and then got back to writing these thoughts.)
Impatient versus patient moment #1-“Hurry up, come on, hurry up!” I caught myself yelling up the stairs, from the other room, and within sight distance to my six year old daughter. On more than one occasion. Truthfully, more times than I can count on two hands. And even though this was our typical before school “dance”, this week was different. I wasn’t perfect every day, but I was wearing a new “patience awareness hat”, and a calming, centering truth continued to run through my mind like a banner, “Love is patient”. And thank the Lord, many times, He helped me respond like He would, instead of simply reacting.
In those times of choosing to be patient versus impatient, it was freeing. I gave myself permission to Pause. Take a deep breath. Slow down. It didn’t mean I let my daughter not get ready for school. Or stay home from school. Or not eat breakfast. The “must do’s” stayed in tact. But my angry, yelling, anxiety driven, fast moving spirit and self was dialed way down. My posture and presentation was different. Amazing. I found it possible to “bear with her” in love.
Impatient versus patient moment #2-with God:
I visited a friend who had been sick for awhile. I was frustrated seeing her unable to perform her regular blessing others and her family due to her sickness. I felt compelled to pray for healing. I was disappointed when she wasn’t feeling completely better at that moment. On my way home I felt I needed to pray again for her and recognized that I am a “Do it now, Lord” kind of girl. And then if not, then, “Well, it’s now or never, so I guess that’s that” attitude. I felt a need to commit to praying for her multiple times, each day, for the upcoming week. I walked the walk of “Love is patient” in prayer.
Impatient versus patient moment #3-with car driver’s:
I was face to face with an oncoming car on a two way street. The street was hardly big enough for one vehicle let alone two. My first thought was, “I am further along the road than they are, they should pull over and yield to let me go by. My next thought was, “You can choose to be patient.” So I backed up, and backed up some more, until I was able to let them by. I won’t deny, the pride hurt a little when I succumbed while obviously in the right. But an opportunity to be patient presented itself and my natural instincts had to take a back seat.
Over this week, I recognized I so want others to practice patience, but I don’t do it myself. So, I guess you could say I am atleast more aware of my lack of patience. And with heightened awareness comes new growth. And this is where my hope is found.
I am thankful our God is a patient God. …Slow to anger and abounding in love. (psalm 103:8b).
© 2012 Standing on Peace
In this photo from garden above, there are three plants. It’s hard to see at this stage but I can tell you that two are weeds and one is a beautiful flower. If you leave the weeds, you will still get the flower. But if you try to pull out the weeds, the root systems are so close that you will most likely take the beautiful flower as well.
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”- Matthew 13:24-30
For me, mothering often feels like a field riddled with weeds. I try to tame my easy irritation and impatience, my strong will, my please-go-away self-centeredness, but just when I think I’m having a good day, something pops (usually around 4:30pm after school pick-up) and I lose my footing. In that moment, I feel hopeless.
In my heart, I know that there are beautiful flowers mixed in – my quirky sense of humor that brings laughter to me and my children, my affectionate nature, the way that I can see each of my children for who they are and not as I expect them to be. But these flowers seem scattered and smothered by the weeds.
And yet….The Gardener looks at the field of my mothering and knows the beauty won’t be lost even if the field looks overrun. He knows that the chaos of the weeds is just the enemy’s trick. It looks messy but the plants will survive and be gathered in. God is patient. He doesn’t take any chances when it comes to disturbing the good growth within us. Our fruitfulness and beauty are worth the wait – especially when it comes to our children.
Trust the harvest and weeding to The Gardner. Ignore the mess.
What are the weeds and wheat in your mothering? How can you focus on and be patient for the good growth even in the midst of the weeds?
Heather Fosth is her husband’s best friend, a mother of two dynamic, wildly different children(ages 10 and 6) and a sometime spiritual director. If given the choice, she would always be in her garden.
A COUPLE WEEKS AGO I HAD A TEARY MOTHER MOMENT. I have teary mother moments
often, (especially during February craziness, which I wrote on last week) but this one enveloped tears of joy versus pain.
After finishing our usual 30 minute clean up from breakfast, I
round the girls up to get ready for the day.
Our morning routine in a nutshell:
Knowing this morning would encompass all of the above battles and additional unexpected ones, I took a deep breath in. Then out.
Sadie grabbed my leg and said, “Hold me Mama.” I pulled her up to put her on my hip (I recognized
my baby is gettingheavier ) and we started up the 2 flights of stairs.
Then it happened.
Sadie turned to face me, laid her head on my shoulder and squeezed my neck with all her strength.
I pulled back due to her extreme closeness and I realized there was no way she was letting go.
I continued to fight her for a couple more s
teps and then gave in. It is at this place of surrendering my strength and will that I experienced the necessity of the relentless hug.
Relentless hug defined: Persistent, insistent, unyielding embrace.
A smile came to my face, tears to my eyes, and a weight was released from my mind, body and spirit as Sadie continued h
er death grip around me. I was caught up. In her arms. And every other agenda item for the day took a back seat.
I was caught up in the goodness of God to give me Sadie as a daughter. I was caught up in the grace of God to allow me to stop my everyday chaos. To focus on her loving embrace. To be thankful and present in the moment.
And then it was as if Sadie’s tiny hands were transformed into the large, strong hands of Jesus. This brought fresh tears to my eyes. To rest in my Daddy’s arms, is to know everything is going to be ok. Loved. Comforted. Content.
Just like I resisted Sadie’s hug at first, I also resist Jesus’ arms of love during my day. I resist and say,
I got this.
I’ll just have another cup of coffee and be fine.
I am too busy to look to You.
Jesus is extending a virtual, relentless hug to you right now. Stop resisting. Only close your eyes and release your burdens to Him. Now take in His perfect embrace.
“He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart…” Isaiah 40:11
© 2012 Standing on Peace
I wish I could tell you my “open palm” prayer revelation was my secret to staying in a place of peace. I would be a hypocrite if I told you so.
I had a second epiphany about myself this week: patience is not a virtue of mine. Not by a LONG shot.
If I’m cold, I want to be warm. NOW. So, I respond by immediately turning the car thermostat up to 82 degrees. If I’m hungry, I want my food to be cooked. NOW. So, I respond by turning the burner on high, even at the risk of completely torching whatever it is I am cooking. If I’m tired, I want to be asleep. NOW. So, I respond by (sometimes) skipping out on my responsibilities, in order to get into bed. (To get myself back to functioning again, I must go to bed at 8:30pm. Yes, you may have guessed I am a morning person.)
I can remember countless times of waiting in my life. I didn’t do any of them well.
Waiting… to be engaged to my husband. To be healed from my eating disorder. To be done with college. To be done being pregnant.
Waiting… for my babies to sleep through the night. For my husband’s traveling job to include less traveling. For the pain from losing my brother to go away.
Today is no different. I am waiting for answers and healing for my health. Our family is waiting for answers in regard to my husband’s job and direction. All answers that could literally mean huge changes for me and my family.
And I’m doing it again.
Flailing. Praying open-palm prayers. Jaw-clenching. Praying. Emotional eating. Praying some more. White knuckle-gripping my fists for control. Praying and opening my hands even more.
I’m finding it isn’t about remaining in a constant state of pure peace. I’m human. But it’s about what I do when the anxieties start to over-sweep me. Do I open my palms and continue to give it back to Him? Even if it means over and over again?
My husband and I were talking about this struggle for me to wait. He reminded me of something very powerful, yet so simple.
Our ability to wait on the Lord is one of the truest forms of showing our trust in Him.
I long to do this better. To wait and trust. In peace.
I am going to continue my open palm prayers and handing my worries over to God. Every. Single. Time. They arise. And I’m going to meditate on His Word.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6
Are you in a place of waiting too?
Waiting for healing? For direction? For answers? For relationship?
Do not be discouraged. We can learn and grow through the waiting. Even if it’s not what we want to do. And we can remind ourselves and each other of Isaiah 30:18,
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice,
Blessed are all who wait for him!”
© 2012 Standing on Peace