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Posts Tagged ‘Heart’

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There is something ever so delightful in purging. To rid our lives of ‘stuff’ that we no longer use or want seems to clean and tidy, not just our homes, but our heads.

A number of weeks ago I wrote about how I love Craigslist, having sold and purchased many items, just in the past two months.

This weekend was another of purging.

A well-loved, well-used trampoline from the back yard … with a sixteen inch rip down the middle. Every time I would look at that trampoline, covered in the tree needles and sticks that has fallen over the past three or four years, I had this ‘unfinished’ feeling. I knew that either had to spend the time and money to purchase a new trampoline top, or get rid of it. We decided to get rid of it. So, on the weekend, it got picked up by a young man who was planning to get it for his sister’s young kids (there were about a dozen responses to this free, ripped trampoline … maybe I should have asked for money for it). Now I look at the empty space it used to occupy … and smile. Another successful purging of the unneeded.

A container of ‘clear coat’ from the garage … never opened. Years ago, hubby and I decided to coat our concrete front stairs with a faux granite topping. I spent many, many, many hours slapping the granite onto the steps. It looked really nice, but we got busy and never got the clear coat onto the top to seal the ‘granite’ in place (and the way my hard work has chipped off would indicate how very important that clear coat is). So, just two days after posting it for sale, it was purchased and picked up. One less can to occupy the paint shelves in the garage.

Then an email late at night from a lady who is interested in the duvet cover and matching bed shirt. These used to cover our daughter’s bed, for a number of years, when she was switching from ‘little girl’ bedroom decor, to teen. Oh, I hope this lady will purchase them, and give me more space in my linen closet!

All of this purging reminds me of how many unused items occupy my (our) home(s). It also reminds me of how much more free of an existence a life with less can be.

Each time something leaves our home, I feel as though I breathe more easily, and I find myself looking around my home asking the question, “what else can we get rid of?” (this makes hubby feel rather uneasy).

Maybe it is a good question. Maybe it is a question that needs to be re-phrased, and asked with more pondering before we purchase it in the first place.

It reminds me of the following verse :

 “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth,
where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal.
Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven,
where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal.
For your heart will always be where your riches are.”
Matthew 6:19-21

So, maybe the question we need to ask is actually, where are your riches leading your heart?

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So the speaking engagement is done, I had memorized eighteen of twenty-four verses of Psalm 139, and not one rotten tomato was thrown … I would say it was a success.

After it was over, it was …

SO,

SO,

SO

good to get home on Saturday and have the time to write again! I thought I would go crazy for the past two weeks when I simply utilized guest posts and re-posts for this blog.

As I was preparing last week, I happened to hear someone on the radio talk about character, and who we really are … when no one is looking or listening.

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In the midst of my preparations the one thing that kept coming back to me was not how well I prepared for that speaking engagement. What matters is how I live when no one is looking. God will speak through my brokenness but how well do I speak through it?

I found it hard to pay attention to the trivia of my preparations, because I was pretty certain that whatever God wanted to be communicated would come through my lips no matter what I did to prepare. But how do I speak through my brokenness? What do I communicate, how do I live when there are no eyes on me?

When there are no eyes on me, except those of my Creator, that is who I really am … from the inside out.

Oh, my daughter went to the store and picked up a great dress for me to wear as I spoke, and she loaned me her denim jacket too. I had showered, done my hair, and make-up. I had prepared fully for what I wanted to say, and had my props. I had even asked my the special people in my life to pray.

But, at the end of the day, God already had all of the details covered.

More than that, He knew the status of my heart … the one place of preparation that mattered the most.

The event was good, and I felt personally good about my part, but what was best about it all was this message that kept me in check … that it is who I am, and what I do, when nobody is looking that is of more value to God than what I say and do in front of a crowd.

“Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24

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It was an exciting day in church when, one after another, three couple announced that they were each to have their first baby. The cheers rang out throughout the sanctuary. Smiles were wide and bright. A fresh sense of joy and elation surrounded the cloud of witnesses.

Each of the couples are healthy, educated adults, who will be fantastic moms.

It seems as though there is a baby boom of sorts in the circles of my daily life. There are baby bumps everywhere! It is as though pregnancy has reached epidemic proportions!

For so many of these pregnant women in and around my life, this is their first child.

When I speak with other ‘veteran’ moms about those who are expecting their first child, we share the same thought that “they have no idea how their lives are about to change.” This is the common response of those of us who are ‘veteran moms’, when we hear of a woman expecting her first child. There is such a sense of joy for those expectant moms, mixed a bit with sorrow. Not sorrow, because they are having a baby, but sorrow because they are losing an innocence that they will never have back again.

When ‘veteran’ moms hear of a first-time expecting mom, we try to flash back to the point of life that they are at. We try to remember what our book educated, dreamy-pictured, idealistic thoughts were of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. We try to recall how little we thought that our life, our marriage, out BODY would change.

But, once we pass through the veil to motherhood … there is no going back! The door is shut, locked and sealed. There is no ‘before’ life, as a mom.

Whenever I hear of a woman expecting her first child, I think how beautifully naive she is (no matter the books she reads, or the people she talks to). I think of how she is living in a state of the calm before the storm (although, for some, pregnancy is a storm in and of itself). I think about how, when she gives birth (or brings that adopted child home), she is not just laboring for the birth of her child, but she is also laboring for the birth of her new self, for she is about to be re-born, as a new creation … she is about to be … mom.

She is new because she will be different from the inside out.

She will think differently, spend her time differently, shop differently and prioritize every part of her life differently.

No longer will she be able to hear a child cry, and ignore it.

No longer will she be able to watch news stories about lost, or abused, or sick children and be able to forget it.

No longer will she hear of a lost child in a public place, and not help to find them.

No longer will she be able to not glance at a baby in a stroller, when passing by.

No longer will she see a woman will an agitated child, and not have her heart go out to the woman.

She will be changed, a new creation, like the one she holds in her womb, or her arms, a new life is about to begin.

And what an adventure-filled life it is!

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Within twenty-four hours I had been deeply moved, deeply honored, deeply grieved.

The source of my experience were my three children, and each had communicated the same desire of me … to spend more time with me.

I felt one main feeling … guilt. Guilt that they felt that they had been lacking in time with me, guilt that I had not made more effort. Guilt that there simply are no more hours in my day. This one heavily weighted me down as a mom, as I laid my head on my pillow that night.

For all three to actually come to me meant that this feeling of not having time together has been percolating in their minds for more than a few days, more than a few weeks. I felt awful.

The worst of this whole thing was that I knew they were right in saying so. For weeks, I have been thinking to myself, I feel like I need to be more intentional at spending time with my kids. The problem is, I only thought it, and, although good intentions are good, they are not good enough.

My mother heart was torn.

When, as a mother, you have failed, and you know it, it hurts. When you know others know it, it hurts even more. When your own kids know it, and express it … sigh … it feels as though you have failed at your most important reason for being.

Now that it has been a number of days since my three communicated this to me, and I feel a bit better able to see things in a more balanced, less pained way. My kids messages to me were not all bad, they were an … announcement, a wake up call, and it was one I plan to answer!

The first realization was one of success … my kids TOLD me what they were missing. How many times I have asked them to tell me their thoughts, their needs, and they did this.

The next was one of wake up. When our first daughter was born, I wondered, as I looked around at families, how a parent could evolve from the newness of baby love to not talking with their teen. I had made it a goal way back then, to not lose the baby love phase with my kids, and this goal needed to be revived … now!

The final realization was that I am human. This is something I know, but not something that my expectations of myself allow when it comes to my kids. But, I get caught up in the immediate of life. I get tired. I say yes to too many things. All that to say, I need my kids help in meeting the expectations that they have of me, and I have of myself in regards to how I love them. So, I have asked each of them to help me find a way to meet this mutual need. This is still in progress, but I expect that they will each send me a note, leave a post it on my mirror, send me a text, email or a FaceBook message to let me know when they need my time. And, I will make time for them.

In the meantime, I awoke on Mother’s Day with the iron in my soul that they would not go to bed feeling that they were lacking in time with me. So, after church, I informed them that they would be having lunch with me. We left church, and headed to the grocery store deli where we chose sandwiches and snacks. Then we four (no dad, and no one else … not even the beast) drove to a beautifully shaded park, ate our lunch, took pictures and laughed together.

It was so good to spend this time together, just us four. My heart felt full!

I am so glad that they each told me what they were missing, and that I had the unusual wisdom to hear their hearts with my own. Perhaps their outward cries, came from what my own heart was missing too.

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I remember hearing the above song about thirteen years ago, in concert, in Vancouver, British Columbia. I had taken our eldest daughter to hear the group Delirious perform.

We enjoyed our evening together with lots of singing, dancing and laughing. The highlight for me was when this song (Lord, You Have My Heart) was performed, and the crowd of attendees out-sang the group, and the group stopped singing, while the stadium packed full of people from all ages completed the song. It was, in all honesty, my most favorite concert moment of all time.

A few years later, that same daughter started at a new school (a Christian school). I remember hearing the elementary aged students singing this song, acapella, transforming their gymnasium into a piece of heaven.

The song has no magical qualities, and it’s greatest strength is it’s simplicity of lyrics and music. It is a song of confession, a song of commitment, a song of love.

Recently I came home from work one Friday. It had been a week of frustration, both at work, and at home. I was frustrated with … stuff! I sequestered myself into my bedroom, so as to not inflict my black mood on all around me. I lay across my bed pondering my week, allowing the numerous frustrations circulate through my thoughts, feeling more tense, more frustrated, by the moment.

Then it hit me, if I did not do something about the condition of my heart, I would spend my weekend poisoned by my own self pity, and, by Monday, my heart would be hardened.

I knew who had to do the surgery, but what was the venue? A walk (in the rain) or music? If you know me well, you know I would never choose placing myself in rain in order to improve my mood, so, music it was. I searched for ‘heart’ music, and there it was … Lord, you have my Heart.

As I lay across my bed, locked in my room, I listened, I sang … I listened again, and I sang again … over and over. I am not sure how long it took, or how many repeats of the song, or how many tears that fell as I submitted my frustrations to the one who wants to take them from me. Finally, the heart surgery was completed, and the prognosis for the weekend was looking much brighter.

Just like being at our daughter’s gymnasium, and just like standing at that stadium concert, I received a piece of heaven, in my heart.

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