Monday, February 29, 2016

Toilet Paper Shares the Love of Jesus




I love how often God shows us that He isn't limited to words--or our best laid plans--to get His message delivered to those who need to hear it. This is the story of how God used a roll of toilet paper in a ziploc bag to share His love.

When Molly Scott of Cumming, GA, began facilitating a women’s small group from Browns Bridge Church in August 2014, she knew that one of the suggested activities for building community was finding a way to serve together. After discussing various opportunities, the group determined they wanted to help seniors. So Molly went to the county’s senior services department. There she met Jim Yarbrough, who oversees volunteer efforts.
Jim mentioned during their conversation that of the 200 seniors in the county who qualify for Meals on Wheels, 40 of them were categorized as high risk. Molly remembers Jim’s heartfelt concern as he said, “I don’t know how they make it each month. Many of them are homebound.” As their conversation concluded, he said, “Those people sure could use your support.”
I'm guest blogging at onQ today. Click on the link to read the rest of the story...
http://onq.qplace.com/2016/02/toilet-paper-really-sharing-jesus/#.VtRt6ZMrLMU

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rest

Sunday. I'm not sure how you spend this day each week, but for me, Sunday is a day of rest. At least that's what it's supposed to be, in theory. Well, not in theory, actually, but in practice.

I'm having trouble with the practice.

I'm not someone who rests well. My husband has perfected the art of the nap, but that's not really the kind of rest I'm talking about here. I don't naturally gravitate toward being still, although I'm not a person who always likes to be moving. When I know the goal is rest, I squirm. I'd be an excellent subject for a scientific study on restlessness. It would be interesting to see how many times I am up and down from the couch when I'm attempting to read a book. This past Sunday, I'd wager it was more times than a toddler at the dinner table.

I don't know why I have such trouble resting. Maybe my brain doesn't know how to be idle. I'm not a daydreamer. Maybe I'm trying too hard. My wise friend Donna says that when we are striving, we are not resting. While I know that's so true, most of the time I still find myself striving to rest! (The irony of that is not lost on me.) Sheesh.

While I was sitting with this dilemma, a fragment of a verse came to me. It might contain the beginnings of my answer. The psalmist said, "My soul finds rest in God alone."

Therein lies the rub.

I've practiced resting on Sundays, remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy (to quote the Ten Commandments), for as long as I can remember. But haven't been seeking rest for my soul.

How do I find rest in God alone? Other translations of this verse use the word "wait" for "rest." In order for my soul to find rest, I must wait with God. Again, I ask, how? With over 2200 Sundays of practicing under my belt during my 49 years on earth, the answer still eludes me.

Maybe how is the wrong question.

What comes to mind when you think about rest? 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Silencing My Easy Button

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I'm a firstborn daughter of two firstborns. I'm married to a firstborn and am the mama to a firstborn. You might say perfectionism is in my genes.

I've long joked that I abdicated my role and let my sister take all the firstborn tendencies I didn't want, but the reality is that while I may not feel the need to be perfect, I have wrestled with perfectionism's evil twin, approval, for a long time. A long long long time, folks. I'm tired of trying to measure up.

Can I get an amen?

Nothing pushes my approval easy button quite like Lent. If you're not familiar with the annual practice, it's the 40-day period before Easter when Christ followers choose to identify with the sufferings Jesus endured while being fully God and fully man during His 33 years on earth. I haven't studied Lent, but from what I understand the precedent for this is the biblical account of Jesus' 40 days of temptation by the devil in the wilderness. To show that they are willing to suffer, Christ followers choose to abstain from something that is a source of temptation or distraction. Like chocolate.

Perhaps now Fat Tuesday makes more sense.

Fast forward to the first of this month. It came to my attention that Ash Wednesday was Feb. 10. (WHAT? Four days BEFORE Valentine's Day?) I felt very uncertain about participating because I was very certain that I was feeling a bit lost, exposed, vulnerable, fragile, numb, and detached from myself. I was beginning to hear a whisper in my head, and I knew I needed someone to tell me the truth about myself.

The whisper? You're a poser. What makes you think doing Lent will incline God to tell you anything? God only speaks to the really spiritual people. Sure, you can write, but what makes you think you're an author, let alone an editor?

I wasn't being fooled, but that wasn't quieting the hissing voice of the accuser who was tempting me to believe those lies about myself.

So, even though I didn't feel up to trying to measuring up, I signed up. I didn't promise to give anything up. I only told God that I would pray one prayer every day for the entire 40 days:

Search me, O 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

In years past--the approval years--I've not wanted to know the truth about myself, because I thought I didn't need to hear God confirm what I already knew. What I'm discovering is that His words to me are a lot different than I expected them to be. Yes, He's showing me my offensive ways, but He is also leading me into truth. I'm learning--or relearning--how to see myself the way He does.

Forgiven.



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Things I Do and Don't Miss About Starbucks

It has now been one week since I worked my last shift at Starbucks. As I begin to adjust to life "after," here's a list of things I do and don't miss.

Things I Miss
+tracking the mid-night sky--the moon cycles and constellations--as I drove to work
+watching through the cafe windows as the sun painted the sky pink
+feeling productive before most people were starting their work days
+interacting with customers
+laughing with coworkers
+sipping a $6 drink that didn't cost me a penny
+giving away my weekly free pound of coffee to others

Things I Don't Miss
+getting up at 3:45am
+smelling like coffee--my clothes, my skin, my hair, my purse, my car
+hathead
+struggling to stay awake between 3 and 6pm so that I didn't disrupt my sleep cycle

I'm thankful to report that freelance work from existing clients has come to my inbox unsolicited this week. It has helped me embrace the new reality. I'm off to Chicago next week to investigate a new opportunity that has been percolating (pun intended!) for over a year.