Friday, May 18, 2012

My mama....

In light of celebrating Mother’s Day this past weekend, I have been thinking about mine.  I was blessed with the most caring, giving, strongest mother a girl could ever ask for.  Sure, she is soft spoken and doesn’t like to tell grandkids ‘no’, but looking back over my childhood, I have grown to understand that strength comes in many forms.   

My dad was killed in a tragic boating accident 15 years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!).  If you knew my dad, you know that he had a very strong personality.  He could be loud and boisterous and was very confident in his opinions.  These are not necessarily negatives; I’m just trying to paint a picture for you.  I loved my dad dearly and never doubted for a second that he adored me.  He was a very hard worker and never understood the whole idea of entitlement that we see so frequently today. 

Growing up, I always saw him as the strong one.  My mom and dad’s personalities were polar opposite.  She too, was an extremely hard worker, but her tone was always soft, and I think that is often misunderstood for weakness.   

After my dad died, I think many people expected her to fall to pieces.  She never did!  Don’t get me wrong….she was sad and missed him terribly.   But, she did as she always did.  She picked up the pieces, she took care of the things that needed taken care of, and she supported everyone else as they struggled through a very difficult time.  She never made excuses, she never wallowed in pity.  She just kept going.   

It was at this time that I realized just how strong she was.  I was then able to look back over the years and see her quiet strength holding things together and moving things forward.  Though the rest of us would have little fits when things didn’t go our way, I don’t ever remember her giving in to the frustrations or irritations of raising 3 kids and giving it her all. She is amazing.  She is an amazing mom and an amazing grandmother.  My kids are blessed to have her…and they know it! 

Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; is not proud; is not conceited; does not act foolishly; is not selfish; is not easily provoked to anger; keeps no record of wrongs; takes no pleasure in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. ~I Corinthians 13:4-7

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me so abundantly through my mother.  I am so thankful that I have had the privilege of being her daughter.  She has set an incredible example to follow.  She loves with all that she is, and I couldn’t have chosen better had I had a choice.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bellhop, anyone?

OK, here’s my first attempt to get a little deeper. I was so very convicted to get the kids’stories written, I couldn’t really focus on any deep thoughts…just writing the words “deep thoughts” has me wondering if that is a relative term. What may seem deep to me, I guess, could be very surface level to many. So, no judging on the depth of my deep thought,!

Now, I will get to the point.  I often have these visions that unfold in my head.  I think it is God’s way of talking to me and showing me things, because, after all, He created me and knows just how my little brain works and what a visual person I am.  I need to see things to truly understand.  I need to see the big picture before I can focus on the details.  Several years ago, I was in a not-so-happy place.  I was really struggling with my anxiety issues (at some point I will go deeper into those days).  I felt the weight of the world on me.  Not just on my shoulders, but over my entire being.  That’s when I had this visual unfold for me.   
I pictured myself as a tourist.  I was carrying all of these bags.  I had some over each of my shoulders, I was carrying some in my hands, and I even had a couple sitting beside my feet.  I was standing next to a taxi outside of a hotel with all of this luggage.  I was tired from the travel; worn down from the weather (it was rainy and gloomy in this fictional place).  The taxi driver was of no help, and I was staring at the walk way to the door of the hotel.  I gradually began lifting all of the bags, trying to juggle them without falling over.  I was scooting one with my foot as I made my way to the doors.  I struggled and shuffled my way to the front desk only to be told I had no reservation.  The taxi driver had left me at the wrong place.  Ugh!  I felt so exhausted and beaten down.  I still received no help from anyone in the hotel.  I shuffled and dragged myself and my luggage back through the front doors to catch another taxi.  I flung each piece of luggage back into the car and slumped into the backseat as we sped away to the right place. 
So we arrive, I get out, again with no assistance, and I drag all of the luggage out of the car.  I shuffle and scoot into the second hotel, make it to the front desk, only to be told, yet again, I was at the wrong place.  Seriously!  Can I catch a break??  Is there no one here to help??  I pick up the weight of the bags and drag myself back outside to repeat the scenario all over again.   The bags are getting heavier as my weariness increases.  Back in the car, I melt into the backseat, and we were on to the third hotel.  
 This time, when I arrive, it’s different.  A man gently taps on the door.  I open the door and step out as he offers his hand.  He offers to help with my bags.  He won’t let me carry even one.  He takes the weight of all of my baggage and walks along side of me.  He opens every door and guides me right to the front desk.  I check in.  He carries my luggage up to my room where it is stored away out of sight.  I offer to pay him and he says, “No thanks!  It has already been taken care of.  Enjoy your stay and don’t hesitate to call on me for anything.  Nothing is too big or too small!”  And with that, he closed the door. 
Wow, this is what Jesus wants to do for us.  The payment for all of our baggage (sin) has already been taken care of.  He wants to carry our burdens and guide us through life.  No sin is too big or too small, He died for each one.   
I can’t tell you how much lighter I felt as this story unfolded in my mind.  At that time in my life (and many other times since, unfortunately), I was trying to carry all of my burdens by myself.  I often times find myself handing over my baggage, just to take it back and shuffle through life unnecessarily all over again.  I have an ever present help in Jesus if I will just allow Him to be in control.  Why do we insist on shuffling through when 'it’s already been taken care of?’