Serenity Amongst Worries

Embracing serenity
Embracing serenity

Have you ever been so focused on one thing that other things to do are neglected – they slip by unnoticed and undone?  If I get engrossed in a project, meals get skipped, bathroom breaks are forgotten- until it’s almost too late- and muscles become knotted because I forget to let myself stretch.  (Please tell me this isn’t just me!)

Since we moved from big city to small town in March, I’ve mentioned to my husband several times that I need to look for a church here.  I also say that I need to get a drain stopper for my younger son’s sink…I need to fix the window screens with holes in them…I need to work on my novel more.  Our attention has been directed toward getting the yard cleaned up and we’ve made progress…but it means other things are not getting done.  (I’m not Wonder Woman after all…but oh, how fun that would be!)

You might be wondering, “If you want to find a church so badly, how come you don’t get it done?”  Simple answer:  my shyness and social anxiety have been stronger than my desire to find a church.  Since my husband works on Sundays, I wouldn’t have him to lean on.  Yet, I’m not disciplined enough yet to study the Bible regularly on my own, so I really do need the weekly nudge to keep me motivated.  This has been my struggle for the last few months.

As we drove home from watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, I saw a church and commented again, “I really need to look into finding a church here.  I miss it.”

On Saturday, my husband called and told me about an ad on the radio about a generator for sale.  He looked at it and liked it, so I met him at the person’s house, checkbook in hand.  We got to talking to the people and it turns out they are part of the worship band at a nearby Bible church.  (Oh, we’re small town now, so everything is nearby :razz:)

Long story short, I’m going to swallow my nerves (and eat a light breakfast, just in case) and go to the church service today.  Everyone in town has been friendly, so I can only attribute my anxiety to leftover issues from my childhood.  I read through several Bible verses last night to try to calm my increasing worries.  (What if I get lost on the way…I don’t know where to take the kids…what if I run late and can’t find a seat…what if I find a seat, but it’s all the way in front…oh the list went on.)  I liked these two best:

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.  (Proverbs 12:25)

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

Today, I pray that God will replace my inner turmoil with serenity and ease my social apprehension so it is not a hindrance in seeking a new church home.  I ask that He banish my superficial worries so that my ears and heart will be open.

Do you have fears/worries that churn inside you?  How do you find peace?

New Day, Fresh Start

Sunrise:  Sheds light on the promise of change
Sunrise:  sheds light on the promise of change

The thing I like best about mornings is that each day is a chance to try out a new frame of mind, or do things a bit differently, based on wisdom gained from mistakes.

My last blog post ended up more “ranty” than I like- it was definitely influenced by my state of mind (which was greatly affected by the kiddos’ screaming fight waking me up early!)  By Friday night, I had debated about deleting that post, but I read a comment from someone that something I had written in another comment response helped.

That post will remain.  It’s part of my imperfect (mostly happy, but flawed) life. Perhaps others can find comfort in that.  I avoid rants because I like to keep things positive- that hasn’t changed.

I’m writing this on Saturday night, while I can still move.  You’ll understand that statement shortly.

Saturday morning, I decided it was time to get some much needed yard work done.  I also thought it would be a good time for the kids to practice teamwork.  For a couple hours, I worked solo, but then I got the boys helping.

It wasn’t all harmony though.  They began to fight (as they do 95% of the time.)  I told them that if they couldn’t work with me to get it done, the two of them would have to finish up on their own.  They stopped bickering- and fast!

To keep them distracted, I started singing:  “I love raking leaves, so put another bag in the pile now, baby” to the tune of Joan Jett’s I Love Rock and Roll.  They actually laughed (not sure if they laughed at the singing or the words, but does it matter? :))  Then they started making up their own raking leaves songs to the music they listen to.

My older son and I were able to put the hard feelings from the day before behind us, and in the process, we raked up fourteen bags of leaves.  My muscles already ache (yes, all of them) and my back and knees are stiff.

This is the reason I feel my age x 2
This is the reason I feel my age x 2

Now you know why I may not be able to move tomorrow.  But I will still find joy in the opportunity to grow in a new day, adding to the wisdom gained from my days before.

Like these pine cones, I'm still growing
Like these pine cones, I’m still growing

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. (Proverbs 24:16)

In Due Time

I exposed my soul

For you to see,

I trusted you

To make me free.

I shared my fears,

Set my worries at your feet,

Waited for your guidance-

God, did you hear me?

*

Child, I’ve heard your prayers,

I know your heart’s concern.

You dwell on silence,

Not my gentle whisper.

Trust that I act for your good,

As God your Savior,

Father in heaven-

In due time, I’ll answer.

Sometimes we have to just find peace in the quiet places,

02-09 Peaceful Places

Look for beauty in the unexpected,

02-09 Unexpected Beauty

Hold on through life’s twists and turns,

02-09 Life's Curves

And trust that our souls will be nourished.02-09 NourishmentCollage

Yes, I’m still dealing with my impatience :)  I wrote the poem as an imagined conversation with God, and His response to my continued lack of patience.  One of these days I might get it through my head, right?  I sure hope so!

Have a beautiful Sunday! (It’s not quite Sunday where I live, but I’m posting early, since I haven’t posted all week).

Moments of Peace

This has been one of those weeks that remind me of an ocean’s tide; how the waves crash into sand, recede, and then stretch across the beach again.  Guessing and second-guessing rolls much the same way.  And it’s just as exhausting as swimming against the current.

When I thought the stress, worries and big decisions would surely pull me under, something would come along and lift me up long enough for me to catch my breath and remind myself that God is bigger than all of it.

I found my first uplifting moment in my mailbox.  No, it wasn’t my mortgage statement or phone bill that made me smile – it was a package from Barbara at Purple Moose Gazette.  Get this – for her birthday, she randomly chose several people to mail gifts to…and I was one of them.  How fun is that?

Cool stuff from Purple Moose
Cool stuff from Purple Moose

A second uplifting moment came in my email box.  Nancy (Spirit Lights The Way) included me as one of seven finalists in her Writer’s Desk contest.  Voting began on Saturday and each person can only vote once.  If you have a moment, please click here to check out the entries and vote for your favorite.  I hope it’s mine (titled Look If You Dare) but if it isn’t, that’s okay – you’ve done your civic duty by casting your vote :)

Of course, there were hundreds of other moments that lifted me  up this week.  I think of them as God’s way of sending me a life raft when I’m too weary to swim.  These are blessed moments of peace in a world rife with evil and turmoil.  They are small things that work in a big way to keep me from being swallowed by our broken world.

I pray that everyone reading this has a heart willing to recognize their own moments of peace this week.  Maybe this image will help:

Take in the beauty of the day
Take in the beauty of the day

Signs

When faced with choices and decisions, I often pray and ask for some kind of “sign” to guide my actions.  A bolt of lightning or a burning bush would be obvious, but often I don’t see the signs…or I look in my rear-view mirror only to find that I missed them and there’s no U-turn opportunity in sight.

Sometimes, signs are just plain confusing.  If I don’t know where I’ve been or where I’m going, how do I know where I’m at right now?  That’s how I felt when I spotted this sign at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta:

Um...I think I'll just stand right here.
Um…I think I’ll just stand right here.

Other times, the context of the sign can provide unexpected humor.  This bait car sign tickled my funny bone because of where it was located:  the parking lot of a Cabela’s store.  Cabela’s sells all things outdoor:  camping and hunting gear – and of course, fishing bait :)

Who said law enforcement didn't have a sense of humor?
Who said law enforcement didn’t have a sense of humor?

And then there are the signs that I don’t know quite how to process.  Well, I won’t explain this one…I’d like to see what YOU make of it:

Sorry...I can't come up with an appropriate caption...
Sorry…I can’t come up with an appropriate caption…

When all the sign hunting gets to be too much, I close my eyes and find peace within.  I wait for a source of inspiration to nudge my soul in the direction I need to head.

01-27 Yield

Sometimes, signs are just something to read, not to live by.  It’s comforting to know that since the beginning of time, people have looked for ‘signs’.  It’s also reassuring to know that I’m not any blinder than they were :grin:

Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me. (Psalm 86:17)

“Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4)

Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” (John 2:18)

Have a beautiful Sunday!