Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's not just my pants that don't fit...a blog revisited

Ever have one of those days when you get up and nothing fits? I'm not talking about just your clothes, but it's almost as if LIFE doesn't fit anymore. Nothing is comfortable, and you have no idea what has happened. Of course we can blame it on lots of things...stress, lack of time, lack of motivation, too much to do, lack of support, etc...pretty much what we blame when our clothes don't fit, but we know it's something more.

Lately, I've been hearing this phrase pop up in conversations more and more..."just don't fit." I heard it from my daughter as I watched her try to find her "place" at school, from a friend as she talked about how her daughter tried but just couldn't seem to "fit" with their youth group, and then I heard it from another friend about her daughter. Each girl is very different, yet if you looked at them you'd think they would 'fit' in anywhere. They have lots of friends, people who love them, etc, but they each feel as if they don't fit. Then it hit me....I had heard this same phrase in conversations with adult women about themselves! They were uncomfortably admitting that they just didn't feel like they fit in.

Wow. I can understand why teenage girls feel that way sometimes, after all - they are in high school (a place I truly wish I could somehow fast-forward my own children through!) But to hear my adult women friends say this too, well, it got me thinking. Evidently it's not just our daughters that feel like things just don't fit. So I sat and tried to figure out what is wrong.

I know that in today's society we are going in such a rush that we have little time to feel connected. We are all like a bunch of spinning tops, occasionally bumping into each other but rarely if ever truly connecting. It reminds me of my son's Beyblades. You wind them up as fast as you possibly can and then pull the zip cord to watch them bump furiously into each other and then back into the boundries around them. Eventually they run out of spin and fall helpless to the floor. I know I've felt a lot like I was spinning lately!

It also reminded me of something I realized during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, five years ago. While that hurricane brought huge devastation, it also forced us all to stop for a while...and to be honest - it was good. Before the hurricane we were all on treadmills going as fast as we possibly could go. While we might have thought about stepping off, we couldn't without falling flat on our faces. Have you ever tried to "step off" a treadmill at top speed? Plus, if we had - it would have done no good because the rest of the world was still on their treadmills! But when the hurricane came, it "unplugged" all the treadmills. We all stopped. Neighbors renewed friendships with neighbors, families spent time with families, we all spent time just being for a while. True, it was tough. We were in survival mode, but somehow we came through it stronger. Then someone turned the treadmills back on and we all started running again....side by side, but at a pace that didn't allow for conversation or friendships.

So, perhaps it is the pace of life that causes us to feel like we don't fit in...but I think it's really something more. I think, perhaps, it is a holy discontent within...that feeling that something is missing. We point a finger outward and try to figure out why we don't fit in our school, church, etc. just like when the clothes in my closet no longer fit I try to blame stress, age, even the washing machine (which must have shrunk them) but really it's just me. The problem isn't out there; it's inside me!

I heard it said that men find their identity in what they do, but women find theirs in being appreciated and accepted for who they are. We want to feel loved for who we doesn't matter if you are the head cheerleader or the artist or the athlete or the girl named most likely to succeed, or the girl who thinks she really doesn't have a niche. We want to feel special just for who we are. Deep inside, all of us feel like we don't fit until we find our acceptance in Christ. I'm not talking about's more than that. It is a sold out discipleship. A holy discontent with life that drives us to Christ to find our place in Him. It's that look from our Heavenly Father that let's us know we are special to Him. To borrow the words from a song by Jason Gray, it's got to be, " More like falling in love than something to believe in; More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance; Caught up, called out - come take a look at me now..."

So what's the point? The point is I think we're all pretty much in the same boat. We all have times we feel like we just don't fit but we never say it cause we feel like we're the only ones....but we're not. The woman next to you in the church pew or serving with you on the PTA or in line next to you in the grocery store - they probably all feel just like you. Why, I bet even those fancy movie stars and models feel that way! We are all just like those teenage girls in high school feeling like we just don't fit - that is until we find our place, our approval, our fit in Christ. Then maybe, just maybe, we realize we're all feeling the same way long enough to stop spinning and help each other find the way.

We're all in this together....know that at least one other person is truly praying that you find where you fit in Christ and the contentment of knowing your truly "belong". While I'm at it, I'll throw in a prayer that all your clothes fit a little better too - even your skinny jeans! Of course, that would take a miracle!

Never ended a blog this way, but I love you guys....we're all in this together. {hugs to all}

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My heart is heavy....

The past few days my heart has been heavy. Someone who was a part of my life and yet who I didn't even know has died. Robin Williams. His life and death has been on my mind at the strangest times. This afternoon as he came to mind once again, I remembered this blog that I wrote quite a few years ago. 

Robin Williams - you are missed.

Be forewarned...this one won't be a funny blog.
This has been a difficult week. A friend, a sister in Christ, was reported missing at the beginning of the week and found two days later - dead. While the local news broadcast that the body had been found, very little else was reported - which of course left room for more questions and rumors to abound. Was it murder? What had happened? How?

Some felt asking the questions was wrong. They urged to offer the family privacy, which is completely understood. However, the questions continued to brew....People weren't trying to be nosy; they were scared. In addition to dealing with the death of someone known throughout the community, there was a subtle fear linked to the unknown questions of "how." Mingled with their grief was a new element - fear.

People began to look over their shoulders as they walked into the local Walmart. Returning home after dark was no longer just an ordinary event. Going for a walk in the neighborhood somehow didn't seem as casual anymore. I, personally, even considered getting a tazer for protection of me and my family. I started going into full "mama bear mode", ready to protect my babies from some unknown killer.

Then slowly, it became evident that the unthinkable had happened. My friend had taken her own life. For whatever reason, she decided that she could no longer take part in this life here on earth, and she left. Why? I don't know.

After a week of worry, I realized there was no stranger who abducted my friend and carried her away from her family and friends. There was no burglary gone wrong. There was no crime. There was no murderer for us to hunt down and bring to justice. There was ..... nothing. While my thoughts about my friend's death made me sure there must have been a murderer that took her life, the facts said she took it herself.

Then today, a thought hit me. Maybe I was right the first time...there was a murderer, a murderer as old as time who has shown his work throughout the ages. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) He fires darts toward our minds in hopes they will somehow find a chink in our armor and fester into torture no man can imagine. Then, just like any other predator, he lies to us and swears us to secrecy...telling us it's our fault we feel this way, our fault that we are broken and fighting a battle inside, our fault we aren't perfect. Just like the predators we hear about on tv, this one come in darkest hours to further torment us and pull us deeper and deeper into his captivity. And his greatest weapon - silence. He convinces us that we dare not share our thoughts with anyone. He makes very sure he keeps us "alone". This killer doesn't come in the shape of a human, but he is a killer all the same.

I wish I had known my friend was hurting, wish I had known the battle she was fighting...wish I could have helped her before she was killed. We say soft words like "she took her life", but the truth is, she was murdered...murdered by the one who would love to kill us all. Why do I think the fight is any less real when the enemy is spiritual - a being without flesh and bone? Why am I not just as ready to hunt him down in his hiding places and reveal him for the monster he is? I know that one day he will stand before the Judge and face his judgement, but in the meantime I want to make sure he doesn't find a way to kill again. I'm pretty sure buying that tazer won't protect me or my family against this enemy, but I know where to find a weapon that will....I plan on using the same sword Jesus used - the Word of God.

Wish I had some funny words to share with this blog, but there are none. Instead, I think I'll go and sharpen my sword. Oh, and one more thing....I'm going to make sure I have someone who can fight along side me...and I can fight along side them. This is not a battle I want to face alone.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (Contemporary English Version)
If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.

Ephesians 6:12-17 (Contemporary English Version)
12We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day [a] comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. 14Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor. 15Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sometimes I run - sometimes I walk.....

I am a runner. This is something that my running "coach" always reminds me of. It doesn't matter how slow or how far I go, I am a runner; but today, at mile two, that was hard to remember. 

I started out for my run with the thought that I wanted to go at least 45 minutes today, and I was doing pretty good up to about mile two. That's when I started to walk..."just for a bit", I told myself. Yeah - right.

I'm not sure if it was the heat that got to me, I did sleep late and linger over that second cup of coffee till after 10. Maybe it was the 13+ hour days I've worked most of this week starting back to school. Maybe it was that my blood sugar was a little high - I'm thinking a Little Debbie snack cake wasn't my best choice for breakfast. Maybe it was, "gasp", my age. For whatever the reason, I started to walk.

I've been trying to "come back" to running for a while now. I used to be fairly fast - well, for me at least. I could run for 8 miles with ease. Heat didn't even phase me. Now, I watch people who started running long after me going distances that I can't come close to. (I tend to forget that these same people are 10, 20, even 30 years younger than me and actually TRAIN!) At any rate, it can be discouraging. So today, when my run turned into a walk, I was not happy. That's when it hit least you are still walking. You are moving forward.

Now I have to admit this thought was a bit funny. Of course I was still walking. I was two miles away from home! What choice did I have???

I think my life is something like my running career. At times I have felt the joy, the exhilaration of the perfect run. I am fast, my knees don't ache, my shoes stay tied, and I sprint across the finish line with ease - winning my age division (and not because I'm the only one in it!)

Then there are times when it seems like I just can't get it together. I start out okay but soon I'm slowing down, barely moving forward, wondering why I thought I could run this race at all.

Today it hit least I'm still moving forward. The finish line may seem so far away, but still I move toward it. My speed isn't nearly what I'd like, but every step takes me closer to who I want to be, and closer to "home."

I love those mountain top experiences. I love it when it all seems to be going right. I don't like moving slow....but sometimes that's the only way to keep going.

As long as we're here on earth, we have a job to do. Sometimes we will run. Sometimes we will walk. All times we move forward toward the cross of our salvation...

But I will admit, I like it best when I can run!

Philippians 3:14 (MSG)

Focused on the Goal
12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.