Friday, August 31, 2012

Change Can Be Fun If You're a Butterfly

Change can be fun if you're a butterfly. IF you're a butterfly.

If you're not yet a butterfly, it may be hard.
 
And if you're all together not a butterfly, it will probably also be hard.

This past week at church and Bible study we talked about the passage in John where a Pharisee named Nicodemus was talking with Jesus and Jesus talks about how to see the kingdom of Heaven. He responds that you must be 'born again.' 
Though this phrase is so often overused in our culture today, we see the reason and the real meaning behind it in the Scriptures, that Jesus talks about being made new "born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."

Honestly, I could see myself at some point in my life being as confused as Nicodemus appeared, as he said, "How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

I think about the butterfly and how the it changes from what it once was earlier in its life cycle.

So often in our lives we see change in purely the physical or surface level means. This can be good but it wasn't what Jesus was talking about for us.

We need a cure that is beyond our capabilities. We can't be transformed without the Spirit.

I think about change and sometimes I cringe, because I know change is can be difficult. Change happens on so many levels and sometimes I haven't always been able to see it. Sometimes, I later see it, but what God is doing is not always visible and I often  just want to SEE it like the change like all at once you see the butterfly and you think AHA it's there and it's beautiful and wasn't that easy.

But God is up to something. He makes the butterfly with the purpose just like He makes you and I, with a purpose, knowing it will be hard but beautiful. Hold on when you can't see the change happening.

It's there.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday with some great ladies!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Music Journey

Over and over God seems to have something to say to me through music.

Does this ever happen to you?

It's just another reminder that He loves me and the lengths He still goes to show me that even in everyday moments.

The other week I was driving in my car and it was the end of what had been a tiring few days. I was thinking that maybe I couldn't be used by God during this current season in my life for some of my passions and things I'm working on because of some of the more difficult areas that seem to keep hitting bumps and struggles.

Then, in about two minutes, I came to the realization that I am human and am going to experience struggles.

This doesn't mean that sometimes I want to be stronger than that.

BUT, sometimes, my most real moments with God come when I've just hit the end of my own strength, realizing that it's foolish to think I can use my strength to get anywhere on my own. 

To date, God uses a variety of means to bring this message home to me. Yet sometimes, He pretty loudly uses music.

At the very moment I had turned the radio station and the host said "and you can text the word s t r u g g l e" to ---------whatever their number is, they had just finished playing the song "Struggle" by Tenth Avenue North.

Just when I just openly prayed and asked God 'was there any purpose in the struggling . .'

I know time and time again that there is. Romans 8:28 tells me that God works all things together for good. Even when we don't know how now. Even when we want to have understanding; we get to trust. We want clarity, but we get peace.

Interestingly, the wives of two of the band members have a website dedicated to honest/real discussions about the struggles of women and girls. Check out agirllikeme.com

Here are some other tracks I've had on the playlist:

Barlow Girl

Never Alone - Maybe it's the instrumentals or the passion you hear in their voices, but Alyssa, Becca, and Lauren know how to play.


Sara Groves

Twice as Good - Her music gets me every time. Great video.


Laura Story

Perfect Peace

Laura causes me to think on Scripture..that He is the one who keeps me in perfect peace...
as my mind stays on Him..Isaiah 26:3

Monday, August 20, 2012

Multitudes on Monday: 132-140

132. The reminder that "we don’t live in pursuit of a better life it’s the blessed life that’s in pursuit of us." - what Ann says today.

 We are chased by grace. Goodness. Mercy.

133. "It is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

134. Mom coming to NC!

135. Hanging out at the B.field ...always good times.

136. Ohio fab friends who know me and love well. And call from however many miles and lives away.

137. Still the fun and cuisine of Aladdins .

138. The gift of waiting out some things in life.

139. A weekend to slow.

140. Songs by Jason Gray and his album A Way to See in the Dark.

"Good to Be Alive"

Linking up and looking at the blessings on this Monday.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The (Back) Stretch (Five Minute Friday)

“Are you stretching?” Chiropractors have asked me for years. You mean it’s not enough for my (literally) straight back to just keep coming here to get fixed up and hope for the best? In a sense, I feel like there are parts of me who gave up on the concept of stretching long ago. I still do it but I confess I often forget. I think of other things that might help my body first before stretching. Often, like other aspects of life, when things hurt, you want to do whatever you can to help yourself.

When it comes to pain I so often think of how stretching can be part of recovery but it can also be part of preparation.

There are several different definitions for stretch. One is : Be made or be capable of being made longer or wider without tearing or breaking.

Something is happening here. Can you almost picture it?? This thing or maybe me or even you is being made different, longer or wider because of the stretch, the pull, the movement that yes, might not be fun at first and it takes holding on when you want to let go in 3.5 seconds but remember holding on does not mean you will tear or break. The stretch can take it. Let it happen.

It is also defined as  to draw out or extend (oneself, a body, limbs, wings, etc.) to the full length or extent (often followed by out): to stretch oneself out on the ground.

So yes, you are taking yourself from the state it was once in and expanding it a little.

Do it again.

If you need to bring a little curve to your back or your life.   

Linking up with other ladies for Five Minute Friday fun on this Saturday on the topic of
S T R E T C H !

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wreckings


Wreckings, Callings, and Compassion

It was a pleasure to read a book that shared so much of my sentiments on suffering and just how real and raw pain really is. In “Wrecked,” Jeff Goins notices that we all share a common ground; maybe we’ve heard too much or seen too much, been hurt or in pain, or seen this in others.

But that out of this God was in the business of moving “in Budapest but also in Boston.”

Jeff points out it takes a “deep, reckless faith that confounds the world” to share in its suffering. This is being wrecked, he says.

I sped through this book, not in the this-book-reads-too-fast kind of way, but I just had to keep going. It spoke to my life and my work and my heart, as if to sigh with relief that no, I’m not the only one who feels struck by the way community can infiltrate your life and how the cost of what you give up when you work with people is somehow totally worth it every time, and that you end up learning more from others each time you make a connection, and of course, the simple things, like commitment can be hard.

I love how Jeff distinguishes between how “you  can’t stay wrecked forever; you eventually have to move on. Choosing to do so may be the greatest wrecking we experience.” Meaning, there is a difference between being wrecked and experiencing compassion for others. Wrecked can be an awakening, but really, it is about us. It is something that happens to us. Compassion is about others, Jeff explains. You have to dig into what counts.

Goins talks about doing work that matters. He talks about how sometimes work you have to do and work you are meant to do can be difficult to sift through, that both can exhaust you at times, but in a sense, he challenges readers to really listen in and focus on what is your calling and to do the work you are supposed to be doing.

There are  many not only challenging but also encouraging parts in the book that I think can speak to people right where they are, in the midst of not only continuing to find where God has placed them, but with reminders to persevere and stand firm in the calling and purpose He has given to them. Sometimes, it does take wreckings and different encounters and experiences to surface various pursuits God may have for us. I believe that it does take grit and often times suffering along the way to see a little more clearly that thing that we know is “worth doing.”

As Jeff says, “the challenge in pursuing a true vocation is not to wait for the thing itself – that will lead to procrastination – but to train yourself in the art of making commitments. Because we don’t know when we’re going to fall in love, all we can do is prepare for that moment. The same is true for your calling.”

We won’t always have precise clarity, but we can have trust in God along the way.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Playing it Safe



Some assignments in life require more than a season to come to fruition...They require blood, sweat, and tears before you see the harvest. This could be a job, a class, or a relationship, but we all eventually face a decision that requires something that costs us dearly. We want to hold back, to minimize our losses. So we play it safe, which is stupid. Because this is precisely where we grow - when we have to.


- Jeff Goins, in his new book, Wrecked

Friday, August 10, 2012

Connect

It's another Five Minute Friday day! Linking up with Lisa-Jo and others.

GO:

It’s been an odd sort of Friday of connecting in a lot of unusual and also fun ways. I feel more extroverted than usual today. Some days I definitely sense introvertedness, but not today.

Perhaps at your job or in life, Fridays feel like just another day, or perhaps you can stop a bit and remember why you do what you do. Perhaps you can do that more than just once in a while or more than once a work week, but if you’re like me, maybe Fridays bring it all together for you somehow.

Perhaps Fridays are also when you write without thinking too hard or do something else with a little less pressure. Maybe Fridays remind you that you don’t have to get it perfect all the time, and you can laugh a little.

Maybe you do some dance moves in the office (hypothetically - no questions asked ;)) or connect with people in new ways.

Maybe Fridays remind you that no matter what, life and God are still good.
STOP

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Multitudes on Mondays 123-131

For a MONDAY
remembering,
All. Is. Grace.

123. Olympic fever
124. Birthday celebrating, and
the gift of life. Sounds simple, yet so amazing to think about.
125. Crazy stories for the book and friends to laugh with me.
126. Tennis on a sunny day.
127. Websites that encourage me.
128. Getting to be Aunt Julie.
129. Even the rain.
130. Nighttime swimming and seeing the dark blue clouds.
131. Some days are like that.

Linking up with A Holy Experience

Here/Hear

"They always said the exact things that deep down you already knew, would never admit, and most certainly never wanted to hear.”  ...on kids.
Cecelia Ahern, A Place Called Here

Kids are honest. Unapologetically. At times brutally.

What seems to happen to a lot of kids as they get a little older is this covering up though. The honesty and openness are not given away as freely. You have to work for it, to hear what it is they have to say.

I believe conversations are a doorway into the world of youth. Sometimes, though, conversations and communicating looks different than we think. It can be hard to break through for a lot of reasons, in part because of where individuals may be in their development. Here are a few ideas for enhancing communication if you live with, work with, or are invested in youth:

1. Spend time getting to know them and their interests.
Everyone has strengths. Once you know what they are you can keep building on them. You have to get to know the person to find out who they are and what they are interested in.


2. Find out how they learn best.
 Are they auditory learners, visual learners, tactile learners? This may influence how they communicate and how they respond to people.

3. Listen
Listen. And listen some more.


4. Recognize their creativity and uniqueness.
Appreciate that everyone is unique. Find out where their creativity lies. Don't try to force what isn't there. See what they naturally gravitate to.

5. Give them materials and mediums to express themselves.
Do your kids work with their hands or build things; will they create artwork if given the chance? Can they express themselves through writing or making music? Encourage them in these pursuits.

6. Be a communicator yourself.
Model and demonstrate what healthy communication looks like.


How do some of the changes and advancements made in some areas of communication affect youth as they grow up?

How can we continue to hear and invest in kids and the challenges they face?

*This post was inspired by Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday. It took me until the end of the weekend to blog but I went in a little different direction from her topic of "Here." Thankful for the ladies at Five Minute Friday. Here's to forging ahead into another week!