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Archive for March, 2014

It was difficult to not stare.

He and she,

sitting across from each other at the restaurant table.

She looking straight ahead, but eyes focused to his left and beyond him.

He looking straight ahead, but eyes focused to her left and beyond her.

It was as though they were complete strangers.

alone together

She and he

both looked to be in their sixties.

He looked rugged, like a cowboy, the Marlboro Man personified.

She was impeccably dressed, her hair and make-up perfectly arranged, as though she never had a bad hair day.

Their matching wedding rings told me that they were together,

though alone in that togetherness.

alone together

I have been noticing,

no studying,

couples who would appear to be in the next phase of life from where I am,

from where hubby and I are currently.

When I see a couple who look to be of the age of empty-nesters,

I have to work hard to not stare.

You see I am studying with purpose,

because in the blink of an eye I, we will be there,

and I need to have an idea of what is to come,

of what I need to prepare for,

of where to set our plum line for the future to come.

And, what I saw in that restaurant,

in the staring off glances of the Marlboro man and his impeccably dressed Mrs,

was a couple who was

alone together.

Sure they shared a table, and he paid the bill, but that is where their ‘together’ ended.

I’ve been thinking about them ever since, wondering what they looked like sitting at a restaurant table when

they had teenagers with them,

or chatty kids,

or tough to sit still preschoolers.

Did they have something to talk about when they were

celebrating a birthday,

an anniversary,

or after just finding out that they would be parents in a few months?

Did they look off into the distance when they were

first married,

or dating?

When did together start to be alone? When did alone accompany them together?

More importantly,

how do those of us, not yet there, prevent being

alone together

in our futures?

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20140329-151747.jpgI admit to being a creator, a builder, a dreamer.

What I am not so good at is persevering through the process, enduring all of the preparations, and keeping focused when the unexpected pops out of nowhere.

I am the sort of person who, when painting a wall, is so excited to get it painted, and to hang that new picture, I just want to roll the paint on the center of the wall, place the nail, and hang the picture … then do all of the edging.

Patience might be a virtue, but it is not one that I possess naturally!

The guest post today is about dreams, vision and the ‘in between’ time when we are simply having to spend our time prepping that wall, before we roll the paint on.

The post, called In Between Vision and Reality, is written by Stephanie Bryant, who is the co-founder (along with Holley Gerth) of (in)courage. In this post she touches on something that I think we all have experienced … how to live ‘in between’ the dream and the vision fulfilled.

“I remember having a dream so real I cried uncontrollably when I woke up. We had been trying to have a child for years and in the wee hours of the morning while I slept, God gave me a moment with my daughter. Wrapped in a soft pink blanket, I soaked in her full rosy cheeks, pink pouty lips and slick dark hair. I could feel the weight of her body in my arms and the rhythm of her breathing against my chest.

This might be nothing to you but I had never dreamed about our family. I couldn’t imagine what our children would look like. I hadn’t had names chosen since third grade recess.

I woke up to what I thought was a dream, trying my best to cling to the vision that I thought was reality. It was a reality . . . just not yet.

I had to be awake to realize the dream – a vision really – was a promise from God. He was giving me a glimpse of things to come.

Three years after the dream, I held my daughter. She was the reality of the hope in the God-given vision. And yes, she looked just like the sweet girl I held that night years ago but this time I was living wide awake in the dream.

Long before that I was a young marketing professional working in publishing. I had a burning passion for women like me to know God better, together. I prayed and worked and talked about it to anyone that would listen. Job changes, moves and new friends only fueled my passion for such a time as this. I knew God was calling me to create something for the hearts of women. Years later, after meeting Holley and working at DaySpring, we laid the foundation for this beach house that God wanted built for you. (in)courage was born.

Those are usually how the stories go. We read memoirs and blogs and watch a five-minute montage of an Olympian’s perseverance that won the gold for their small unheroic nation.

We see others living the dream. They made it. In the victory of others, we are encouraged just as we should be.

Hindsight is always sweeter. It’s easy to look back and see where God intervened, the arrows pointing the way. But the future doesn’t belong to those of us that are passionate about our dreams. The future belongs to God.

What about when we’re struggling with the In Between?  How do we live in the now?

We’ve already waited and worked and waited longer for the fruit to come and yet it doesn’t. No signs of even a bud, yet we know spring always blooms after winter. We sense a calling that is beyond our doing. We pray, knock, wait for the door to open. We knock again.   

We leave the door and knock on others. We question ourselves, our motive, our ability. We wander. We wonder about His grace, our understanding and His will.

Yes, without vision the people perish. But those carrying the vision sometimes feel like they will die if they don’t birth what’s growing inside of their souls. We can only carry the vision full term with extreme patience and perseverance.

In Between is where most give up. It gets really hard. There’s a lot of work to be done on our parts, too. Sacrifices are always made when you assumed there wouldn’t be any. In Between is not about waiting for the vision to happen but being a part of the process.

God can be silent after a time of great revelation and clarity. Even the resilient are weary and look small. Endurance feels like it began years ago and today is the last-ditch effort to just hold on to some resemblance of what we are called to do.

In Between is when the complaining and whining can get really loud. Almost wishing away the gift of being apart of something bigger than ourselves just for a few moments of relief to ‘normal’ life.

Vision is not of our own doing. We are mere vision carriers.

This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT)

We don’t cast the vision. We can only live it, allowing God to unhinge the hooks and fling the nets wide.

Vision is of Spirit not flesh and blood. Each piece planted in our hearts is looking backward to the garden, encouraging us heavenward.

Vision is not about completing a task or an assignment, but with steady courage living in faith the God-led adventure, daily.

The In Between is eternity and it is now.

Take heart and look for arrows pointing to the pieces of vision fulfilled in your life. I watch my daughter sleep knowing just as God fulfilled the vision He planted for her to be born into the world, He will fulfill this new passionate vision for His Kingdom through my life.

Relish the In Between for that is life.

 

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It’s coming to an end …

Spring Break 2014 is just hours away from ending, and Monday morning we re-unite with our schools, our workplaces and the ‘regular’ schedule.

But, don’t let your heart grow weary … there are only about twelve weeks until Summer Break (not that I’m counting 😉 )!

It is now also about halfway through the season of Lent. We are halfway in our own giving up of something to share in His suffering. We are halfway to understanding the loving sacrifice made for all of humanity.

The most viewed post of this week was one of my weekly reflections on the subject of Lent. In  Week Three of Lent, we are reminded of a young men, pedestals, hunger and the difference that the Word can make.

Also this week were :

Gods Not Dead
(the movie, and the freedom to choose)

My Lighthouse
(a new song to tap your foot to)

Blessing of Boredom
(a little downtime and how it fed my momma soul)

Words of Love
(words that say love)

Blessings to you this day,
Carole

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How would you define love?

My grandmother defined love as a couple who could drive for hours without having to speak to each other.

Most teens would define love as words of affirmation.

Words

Love

Whether an excess of them or an economy of their use, words have a great connection to how we show love, receive love and live love.

Hubby and I vacillate between the two, at different times of day, and different days of the week.

Words are a powerful expression of how we feel, what we think, and what we plan.

If someone hopes for a future relationship with another, words need to be true, thought-through and said.

Words can make us feel loved, they can make us know we are loved.

There is a love story, written long ago, that continues to define how very much we are loved.

It is one, written by our Creator, to us, for the purpose of guiding our days and for knowing of the depth of love He has for us.

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home

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Boredom is not something that I have much experience with.

Not many women who have a husband, children, a job and a house (or any one of the aforementioned) know boredom from experience!

I also avoid boredom …

My (undiagnosed) ADD (attention deficit disorder) makes boredom painful for me. To just sit can become an experience in inner frustration, that can spill over to all around me, resulting in fidgeting, deep and heavy sighs, complaining, and a depressive mood.

Earlier this week … I was bored!

(imagine music from Psycho now)

I was sitting playing a game on my iPad, and I was, uncharacteristically, bored …

until …

I heard the voices upstairs.

The younger pair of our kids were

together

chatting happily

drawing and painting

like they were friends.

After a week and a half of spending time with friends, time with technology, time with … moi,

they have become bored enough to

find the blessing in each other.

This was a moment that they might not cherish.

This was a moment that they will probably not remember when they are adults.

But,

because I was bored,

for just a moment,

I will remember,

and my heart, my mother heart, was filled and fulfilled to witness friendship between my kids.

What a blessing boredom was for me.

 

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Everyone’s seen it!

Have you seen it?

That video that has been shared and re-shared on every form of social media.
The one of the young man who was seated on that pedestal
seated so very high …
high enough to cause a commotion
when he slipped

he fell

as though he had been positioned there for that very reason

To fall

As though he, and all the gifts endowed in him by his Creator
were taken up to the highest of heights
so that those
who padded that seat for him
who padded it with the currency of this world
who padded it with all that this world calls satisfying

could watch how all that had padded his seat

weakened the foundation of his life

causing him to fall.

His reminds me of another story
of another young man
with great gifts
and great purpose

but

this other young man
he had always walked in the presence of his Creator
he always lived with His Father’s Word in His heart

and so

when he spent some time in a desert place
with no friend nearby
with no bread to fill his hunger
with no place to rest his head

he was surrounded by evil

by temptation

but he did not give in
because
though before him
were the things that would feed his physical needs

He knew they would starve His soul

And so
when temptation came His way

His physical weakness was His strength
because He had nothing to fight with
but the Word of
his creator
his sustainer
his father

So he lay himself aside

for the Creator to speak

This account, from Matthew 4, is what Lent is to represent.

It is one of laying ourselves aside,
so that the Word
the work
of our Father might become more important than

US

And, that young man
placed up on the pedestal
and encouraged to believe that he could have it all
in his own strength …

maybe we who follow the One who was tempted in the desert,

ought to offer up prayers for this young man
rather than ‘shares’

After all, in the words of John Walton :

“He’s just a young fella,
hardly experienced with living”

“Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.

The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”

For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”

Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”

For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”

“Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’”

That completed the testing. Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”

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Ever been to an East Coast kitchen party?

Not me either, but when I first heard the song, “My Lighthouse?, by Rend Collective, I felt like this was definitely a kitchen party song. I was stomping my foot and looking for objects from a wooden spoon to a toaster to keep the beat along with the artists making music.

The sound and style takes me back to my East Coast upbringing. Maybe it is because the group comes from the land of green and leprechauns … Ireland.

“My Lighthouse” reminds us that Christ is our beacon through this life. Like a lighthouse on a rugged shoreline, His light, if our eyes are fixed on Him, will guide and direct us “through the storms.”

Check this out … and see how long until your tapping your foot, toes and fingers.

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