Beauty

I was looking over photo’s of days gone by and was amazed by the fact that in every aspect of my life and in each season, I can complain about something.

Life always has those twist and turns of good and bad times. What stunned me today was that back when I was under a hundred and twenty pounds, I felt so heavy. I hated my body and had little confidence. I stressed over what I ate and how I dressed. I was so shallow in many ways but in reality I had no confidence in myself or my worth. I was a mother of three boys and that was it. I did not stop to think who ‘I’ was only what I thought others wanted of me.

Women let me encourage you today! You are far more valuable than how you look, or what size you are , or even what it is you do with your days. And men let me just say, even though you think it obvious , that lady in your life can use encouragement. The world puts such emphasis on a degree, on your weight, on your style, being the perfect soccer mom or having the gleaming shining house. They do not see the worth of a woman based on the fact that she is a great creation.

I laugh now as I can see that fifty pounds heavier, still no ‘degree’ and a loving mother of three with a crazy busy house, that I have worth and I find value in it far greater than I had ten years ago.

Joy does not come because of the things we have done or how great we are. Joy comes when we are satisfied where we are at and looking forward to the journey of where we are going. When we know, that we are not finished or complete but a part of a great mastery of work. That the completion is far better than anything we could possibly come up with. Our only down fall can be if we let the world and where we are at; dictate what we become.

We are not finished yet, but have only begun. I do not care what the age, or where you are at in this life; there is a greatness inside you to be accomplished. Lives to be reached in new ways and  lessons to be learned. The season you are in is not your final outcome, only a part of your journey!

Join me this day in saying; hahaha world, if only you stopped and saw me for what I am. A great and mighty beauty ready to make a change. The world can not stop us, only we can. Let us agree to move forward in boldness a force to not be stopped in making the world see the beauty within.

Join me my friend in being joyful where we are at, confident in what we have become and know that we are not finished; it has all only just begun !

 

Laughter really is good medicine

I had a very long season of dealing with a very over stimulated undiagnosed child of obsessive compulsive disorder. I was exhausted in those days dealing with his constant bathing, hand washing, organizing and anger issues when things in his organized world were disrupted.

He would become overly obsessed when something exciting was going to happen and he could not be calm while he waited. He would get more and more aggressive as the event drew closer. We would hide trips and visits from him until the moment we were heading for the door.

Somehow he had found out about an event  he was very excited about and had fit upon fit that day. Angry outbursts, throwing things, arguing, and tearing things up. I was fit to be tied. All of a sudden with my boys in the middle of the room arguing, I decided to laugh. The laugh was completely fake and forced but laugh I did. All three of my children stopped and stared at me as if I had grown four heads.

Then my laughter was no longer forced, their expression cracked me up. I laughed and laughed and my sons outburst no longer angered me. They thought it was great fun to see mom laughing and all three of them laughed too. We laughed and laughed until tears came from our eyes. The boys got rather silly and started getting wild and I laughed all the more. It was a good moment, dare I say a God moment. The joy was filling the room. The tension gone.

There are many moments when I want to cry that I now choose to  laugh. Not because I truly find the situation funny but because I know laughter will bring about joy. I am not denying the existance of the problem, for we deal with it eventually. But I am allowing myself the tools to be equipped to deal with these issues in peace. I am looking at the situation and saying “you are not as big as you think you are.”

Challenge this day my friend: Laugh, bring about the joy and let your situation know that you have taken good medicine to deal with it!

Proverbs 17:22-

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

I do it for them

Let me start this post by declaring, it is not about me. This post is to declare that it is about them. The people in my life that have to deal with the me. Regardless of what I am going through at any point in my life; I am called to be a blessing.

I wake up in the morning and I hurt. I mean I really hurt , everywhere. I am so tired and sick from hurting. Each day I make an effort to rise not for myself but for the lives of those I may touch that day. I often have to repent of my attitude and my frustrated grumblings, but when I am not in the moment, my heart is to bless others. I must rise above the moment. Right now it is a conscious effort, my goal is one day not have to ‘think’ or make the effort, that it will come naturally.

If I live in only the existence of my body or my circumstance I will fail miserably at this life because frankly many of those days just suck. I have recently gotten into the pattern when others ask how I am doing to be vague with my answer or declare that I am blessed. I do not wish to share that I hurt very often.  I do not feel I am being dishonest in anyway, I am always truthful with censorship. It is not encouraging, uplifting, or even pleasant for others to hear that I am doing crappy most days.

My poor family as much as I desire to bless them each day, hear my complaining and my mood swings as I deal with the blur. I have decided this day to make a stronger effort to not subject them to that.

I am taken back to a time in my life when I was sick years ago. I needed to step away from everything back then that was important to me. I felt like I had no ministry and was teetering on despair  and then I remembered…there is no room for despair when I am a child of God.

God lead me to writing letters of encouragement to strangers. Offering friendship and prayer. I was so blessed in this season. Joy bubbled forth like deposits of rain. I even formed friendships with people that wrote back. A very dear friend that has blessed me far more than I ever could possibly bless her, was one of my greatest rewards.

To this day no matter how cruddy I feel I am always blessed and get a measure of joy when I do for others. When I rise and bless the children’s day that I work with, help my father or mother, when I have a listening ear for my own children, when I make a great dinner for the family, stand on the worship team and sing, make it to a baby shower, or even as exhausting as it is, grocery shop for my men’s belly’s these things are seeds sown that reap joy in the harvest.

Everything that I do can be done for the Glory of God and to bless others and my reward of joy far outweighs living in my moment. He gives me the strength to rise each day and He gives me the leading on how to bless. The touching of lives is not done in my own power, for in myself there is none. It is all about digging deeper than the me factor.  Because the me could never be enough.

These moments end. The life that is full of struggle will  end. Yet the seeds and the measure of joy that we have sown, will just keep overflowing from the the life we have given into others.

Blessings this day my friends and remember, deposit the joy into the life of others.

Zachariah 4:6-

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

Influence

 

When the boys were small I found them playing church one day in their room. They had lined all their stuffed animals to face them.

One of the boys was being pastor Steve Tipton, the other was pretending to be their grandpa that we went to church with. While the third had his play music set and was worship pastor.

Peaking through the door I stood and watched them for awhile and thought they were so cute and turned and left them to their play undisturbed.

Little did I know this moment of play would cross my  mind years later and have me evaluating; Who is influencing my life? The boys looked up to these men in their lives so much they were imitating them and pretending to be just like them. They had been influenced. And to this day I still see the influence of great men and women that have crossed my sons lives.

A very strong part of walking in a life of joy is to not be dragged down by people that cut you down, constantly complain , or ignore your existence.  These people will be in your life, I often catch myself being one of them and apologize for it.

This influence is everywhere and can be a great danger to a walk with joy if it is not recognized.  I do not need to let them dictate my joy. I do not need to imitate them. I can evaluate who brings life to my life and let those people speak into it. I can and will choose to be like those people that have joy and grace and mercy. That are not full of hateful words or indifference.

Who is it that is influencing your day? If you can not get away from them because they are a integral part of your life, can you not choose to say, I refuse to be like them?

We truly are our own person, however, often who we are around is what we can become. Be aware of the sources that are influencing your joy. Be proactive in who you want to grow up to be. I for one have not grown up yet but I am working on it.

Stand up and laugh out loud and say; this day is mine and joy will fill this heart and those that bring about death instead of life to me will not be my influence.

 

It is time to laugh at myself

If You know what it is like to have one of those weeks where everything feels like it is going wrong and you are so bone weary tired you want to just sit and stare into space, then you understand how my week had been going on a day of venting all over the family.

I come in from work and wash my hands in the kitchen and there are no clean towels to dry my hands. I looked in the drawer, no towel. I looked on the counter, no towel. I looked in the dirty clothes, no towel.

That was all it took for me. I had washed all the towels the day before and my family is notorious for getting into them each time they dry their hands and leaving them on the counter. Then they take that same towel and wipe up sticky messes with no water and leave them there. I was so frustrated that the family strikes again that I yelled at each one of them over the towels. Each one of them declaring they did not touch the towels and me yelling back that they were lying or mistaken because the towels were gone once again. I even yelled at my loving hubby.

There is nothing more frustrating to me than feeling like all my hard work is for nothing. I know this is the life of having a family but it was discouraging non the less.

The next day I was making my lunch and let out a burst of laughter. There in my pantry was clean folded dish towels. Towels that I had hidden  from the family after I washed them. The very towels I was upset over.

Thank goodness I have a gracious family and most of what I fume about is forgiven the second it is off my lips.

I had to laugh this day because as I saw the towels, I visioned God rolling His eyes during my tantrum. I must be great entertainment for Him much of the time.

We all have these silly stories that when we look back at them we can laugh at ourselves. Laughter is good medicine. It brings joy to the soul. I could choose to be embarrassed by my lack of memory or my tantrum or I can choose to look at the silliness of it all and allow this day to bring me joy.

I have decided it is time to laugh at myself and not take this life so seriously.

Things are not always what they seem

The words things are not always what they seem keep running through my mind. Those words take me back to a crazy time in my life when my boys were small.

I was a stay at home mom that home schooled my three boys ages four, five and seven and babysat as many as four other children at a time. I was active in our church, going to rehearsals, bible studies, and practicing hospitality by hosting dinners for other families at least twice a week. It was a crazy busy time.

One morning I had no kids to babysit and I had just injured myself so I was laying in bed. I heard my boys up and roaming around but I just lay still as I could,  hoping they would not know I was awake.

As I was beginning to think my quietness was working, I heard in the other room something heavy drop and that noise was followed a few seconds later by a small voice saying, “It was not my fault!”

Let me tell you at that moment I was fuming. My precious quiet morning had been spoiled and they were in there clearly doing something that they should not be doing.

I threw the covers back and injured or not made it quickly to the living room my anger mounting. Grumbling to myself’ ‘ How dare they get into mischief. Is nothing I am teaching them sinking in? Can I not get a moments peace for anything? I am SO tired!”

As I come into the kitchen my anger was quickened by the sight before my eyes. The boys had gotten into the purple grape juice and somehow managed to spill it all over the table, the white  walls, their clothes. Purple grape juice was dripping onto the floor  from the table and even off the top of the dogs head and onto her paws as she lay there under the dripping. She looked at me with her pitiful eyes and an expression saying, “I didn’t do it.”

My top was ready to blow. I was about to yell at the boys about the mess they had made, about how grape juice stains  and how they were not to get into the grape juice without asking! When a voice in my heart that I knew well had spoken to me.

“Stop!”

So I did, I stopped right there in my tracks and  still fuming asked, “why?”

There it was again that voice and this time it said. “Look”

So I looked closer. With the mess in hand they hadn’t noticed me standing there. My five year old was handing my four year old a towel. The three of them were working together to clean the mess. Just as I thought this was the lesson I was to see, I saw it. They had three half pieces of bread sitting on the table and three cups among the puddles of grape juice. It was dawning on me that every lesson I was working so hard to teach them truly was sinking in. Some more slowly than others.

When the boys saw me, they smiled. ” Look mama, we are having communion!” said my five year old with pride.

Let me tell you my heart was bursting and suddenly I was struck by how damaging my fuming could have been to those tender hearts. They were not being malicious, or bad. They were taking a lesson that I had taught them and excited to use it at home. They were sharing with one another and taking care of one another and I almost crushed their spirit.

Years later as I look back, I can’t help but relate this to other areas in my life. How often do I rush in and want the mess cleaned up, without looking at what good is coming from that very mess? How often do I not hear that voice that I once so clearly heard that day?

Things are not only what they seem on the first examination. We do not always have the whole picture, only what is stirring us and making us uncomfortable for the moment.

This is my challenge to my friends this day. Reflect back on some of the most frustrating moments. Were there times when the frustrating moments were all you saw and  glimmers of hope, life, joy, friendship or an outcome you never expected overlooked?

Sometimes we want to barge ahead and name it, claim it, change it or pray it away and we forget to see the work that is really being done.

Things in this life, are definitely not always what they seem.

And thankfully if there truly is nothing there except a big old mess, we have the back up necessary to clean it up!

Dream and dream big!

So in my previous post I had listed the most recent things that have weighed me down. Reflecting back I can rejoice that in hind site those things that have brought pain have left me stronger.

I have found out who is the faithful in my life and have met new people to bless and encourage right where I am at.

I have learned how to stretch what income there is and what I can not afford to do.  I take a deep breath and realize what I had wanted didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things anyway. The banks will get their money eventually, or not.

I can not complain too much when I have a warm bed and food in my ever growing belly. There are so many people struggling with far greater battles then my own.

The danger is when we get wrapped up in our situation and it is all we focus on. We do not take our head above the water to see the things that are going right for us or the people that have come along and blessed us.

We need to take the time and energy to dream. Dreaming of our future of how things will be. Dreaming of what we want to see take shape in our life. This brings about hope. A person with no vision in their life will perish. They will stay exactly where they are at forever or sink even farther in their own personal despair.

As Eleanor Roosevelt has said ”The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

So today I challenge you with this my friends; Dream, and dream big! Share those dreams with me and I will believe in them with you. Or write them down and put check marks next to them as you achieve those dreams. If you need to start with little dreams as I did, that is okay as you reach them you can stretch your horizon.

Their was once a time when my dream could be no bigger than just lifting my head in the  morning and facing another day. Now I look at each day with joy and my dream is to bring that joy to others.

Your time of trudging along in the trenches will come to an end and a new sunrise with hope will be right there shining. You can take a deep breath and say, ” I knew you were coming, for your light was my dream.”