Each Other (Day 5 Other)

As I was scouring through the concordance looking up verses that had today’s word prompt other, I began to notice two words that popped up quite often. Those were each other. There’s a lot we can do for each other and to each other…

Love each other.

My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12&17 NIV)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1Peter4:8 NIV)

Do ordinary things with extraordinary love. (Mother Teresa)

Open a door, smile at a worn out Mom, be kind to your waitress, show compassion to someone who’s slow, listen to a friend who is hurting, buy someone’s coffee. It doesn’t take much for people to feel loved.

Hold each other accountable. 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16 NIV) 

This one is a BOGO for each other to confess to and pray for. 

Forgive each other.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) 

This trifecta of kindness, compassion and forgiveness goes a long way to showing the world Jesus. 

Carry each other.

Carry each other’s burdens and in this way your will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 NIV) 

We aren’t meant to do hard things alone. 

Encourage each other.

Therefore encourage each other and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1Thessalonians 5:11 NIV) 

Bonus time! Not only do we get to encourage each other but we get to cheer each other on and celebrate each other by building each other up! 

***

Unfortunately there were a handful of foul fowls in the flock that squawked some broody business for each other. Check out what else we can do if we aren’t careful: 

Bite/devour/destroy each other. 

If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Galatians 5:15 NIV)

Another trifecta, only it’s a whole lot of ugly in one little verse.

Provoke and envy each other.

Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:26 NIV)

Let us not indeed. 

***

The way I see it, we have a choice to make today. We can either rip each other apart or walk with each other in love, holding each other accountable so we can be better people. 

We can infuriate each other or initiate understanding by talking to and walking through hard things with each other. 

We can be jealous of each other or we can spur one another on by celebrating one another’s gifts, cheering each other’s wins and being the loudest clapper in the group when one of us succeeds. 

We can build or we can bully. But we can’t do both.

Which each other group will you choose? 

kw

You can check out all the posts on my 31 days of writing prompts by clicking on this: 31 Days of Prompts and Circumstance

9 Ways to Listen Better (Day 4 Listen)

In a world with so much noise and so many opinions we’ve lost the art of listening. We are people who want to be heard instead of humans who want to hear. 

With that said, here are nine reminders for helping us listen better:

1.Listen with your whole self. 

Make eye contact with the person. No looking at your phone or the people around you like they have something better to say than the person sitting in front of you. Watch your body language. Are you closing yourself off or open to hearing what is being said?

2. Listen without interruption.

Let the person have the floor when they are speaking. To master the art of listening we need to put on hold the thoughts that come to mind until the person is done talking. Often times people don’t want to be fixed, they want to feel heard. 

3. Listen “actively”. 

Sometimes, in order to understand what you’re hearing you do need to interrupt, not to interject your opinion but to make sure you’re on the same page. For example you can ask questions like: “Are you saying that _____?” “What I heard you say is _____.” “Help me to understand this part better. Did you mean to _____?” 

4. Listen with understanding. 

As the person is speaking you can show them you understand by nodding your head or saying things like yes, ahhhh, mhmmm, okay. It sounds like so trivial but it’s important to let the person know you’re not a zombie or have fallen asleep or wandered off in your mind. 

5. Listen without thinking. 

This sounds dangerous doesn’t it? What I mean is try not to start formulating a response before you hear all of what they have to say. We cannot wholehearted listen if we are preparing our rebuttal/rebuke/recommendation. Don’t’ miss important parts and pieces because you think you know the answer. 

The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and disgrace for him. (Proverbs 18:13 CSB)

6. Listen without judgment. 

Nothing shuts a conversation down faster than feeling judged. How can someone listen to your counsel and receive instruction so they can be wise later in life (based on Proverbs 19:20 CSBif you can’t hear them without judging them. 

7. Listen mindful of non-verbal communication.

About 60-75% of communication is non-verbal. A lot can be said with no word ever being spoken. Watch the body language of the person you are speaking to: are they shutting down, closing off, not making eye contact, looking uncomfortable. Watch your own as well: are your arms crossed, are you looking everywhere but at your person, are appearing open to listening?

8. Listen in a good environment.

It can be really difficult to listen to another person with too many distractions around. Put your phone away, turn off the TV, find a quiet place to talk. By removing all the things that make it hard to listen you are relaying the message that you care and you want to really listen. 

9. Listen by looking. 

People watching can teach us a lot about the art of listening. Observe how they interact with each other. Watch their body language as they talk. Do they look at each other? Are their phones distracting? Keep a list of do’s and don’ts that you notice. If you’re brave you can ask someone you trust what your strengths and weaknesses are when you’re having a conversation. 

What if we all took to heart the wise words of James when he asks us to understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger… (James 1:19 CSB) 

The world would be a better place. Yes and amen. 

kw

This post is a series of 31 days of writing prompts. The table of contents with links for each day can be found here: 31 Days of Prompts and Circumstance

A Tisket a Tasket…I Forgot My Basket (Day 3 Problem)

There’s nothing quite like growing your own food. It brings such solace to one’s soul, such peace and purpose to drop a seed or two in the earth, covering it up with confidence knowing that soon a harvest would happen. 

Every single day I would visit. Sometimes twice (thrice?). Watching. Waiting. Hopeful. Obsessive. Posessive.

I started taking my basket with the belief that any day my personal little farm-to-table would burst forth with a bounty of goodness. I wanted to be ready. 

The routine continued…weed, water, watch. Weed, water, watch.  Day after day. Flowers were blooming that would soon produce gorgeous green beans, radiant red tomatoes, cukes for pickling, pumpkins for carving, zinnias for sheer enjoyment…

Until one day I noticed something was going on with the squash and zucchini. They looked, I don’t know, like I hadn’t watered them enough. Or was it too much? After a bit of research I found out the enemy was not my lack of watering but a squash bug that burrows itself in the stem of the plant rendering it helpless to absorb the water necessary for growth.  

The little devil himself!

Soon after, I discovered my once lush and green tomato plants looked like skeletons of spindly stems. Horned tomato worms were the culprits. The corn wasn’t growing. The pumpkins had big orange flowers with no fruit.

I came to the garden armed with hydrogen peroxide spray for the squash bugs, NEEM for the tomato worms and a calcium spray for the blossom rot. What I no longer carried to the garden? My basket. 

Hope for a harvest was quickly fading in the fight. Gardening is wonderful but hard work. So many enemies. So much effort. I was beginning to wonder if it was even worth it. 

There were some tiny green beans busting out but I was so busy battling the bugs that I hadn’t paid attention. Just like that I had four boxes of beans ready to pick! But where was my basket? 

Oh yeah. Empty of hope, I had left it inside.

***

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalms 5:3 NIV)

God reminded me that day in the garden that I had not only left my veggie basket inside but my spiritual one too. Just like I continued to visit the garden every day, I prayed and did my study every morning. What changed was my expectation. 

When I went out to the garden I went not wondering what was growing but what else the dang bugs had destroyed, who was I going to have to fight and with no hope of a harvest. 

I prayed every morning, laying my requests before him but wondered not with the expectancy of how God would answer but how long Wormwood would be allowed to worm his way in and destroy those that I love. 

I was tired of the bugs. I was tired of the battle. 

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14NIV)

Sometimes the hardest thing to do in a situation is nothing. You see, I believe there are battles we are to fight like squash bugs and tomato worms. But then there are times when we need to leave it in the hands of God and watch Him work. 

I did nothing but water the green beans. Otherwise they were left to their own accord. And do you know what? While I was fighting over here, they were going gangbusters over there. With nary a spray jug raised by me. 

***

God taught me that day, to fight the good fight of faith sometimes means being in the battle, getting bloody and squishing bugs and sometimes it means being still and watching Him work. 

One thing is required for both battle fields: I need to bring a basket filled with hope. 

Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20 CSB)

I’d better bring a bigger basket. 

kw

An Unexpected Gift (Day 2 Gift)

My mother-in-law was the most grace filled woman you could ever imagine. Always kind. Never a harsh word. She was one who would make extra at dinner and fix plates for the couple two doors down because he had had a heart attack and she didn’t get around very well. And not just one time but until they were back on their feet a bit…weeks later. 

So imagine our surprise when she opened her gift one Christmas morning with such a look of disappointment and disdain. With Nat King Cole’s timeless pipes crooning about roasting chestnuts over open fires, my precious mother-in-law asked my father-in-law if he had the receipt because he needed to return it. Tomorrow. First thing. She didn’t want it. She would never use IT. 

“It” was an Epilady. A description from their website says: Epilady revolutionized hair removal by inventing the epilator in 1986 and has been a leader in technology and innovation. Switch to epilation and never shave again.

I like Wikipedia’s definition better. It allows the reader to feel the essence of experience: an epilator is an electrical device used to remove hair by mechanically grasping hairs simultaneously and PULLING THEM OUT! The way in which epilators pull out hair is similar to waxing, although unlike waxing, they do not remove cells from the epithelium of the epidermis. (So there’s that…) (Caps and commentary are mine.)

Guess who found the receipt and went shopping early the next day? I do believe he found some gorgeous salt-water pearls….

I wish I could tell you the apple didn’t fall far from the tree but my man stepped right in his father’s footsteps when he hand made me a ping pong table….that he and his Air Force buddies spent hours playing on. It’s amazing what you can do with a piece of plywood, a little paint, some netting and sawhorses. 

Bless them both for trying. 

***

Some gifts are so unexpected that you don’t even realize what a gift it was until after some time has passed. 

Take pain, for example. I’m not talking about the pull-out-your-hair-Epilady self-inflicted pain. But the kind you don’t control. The past few months I’ve had a pain in my hip that radiated down my outer thigh to my knee. I tried the chiropractor. I got deep muscle massages. Essential Oils. Rolling it out. Nothing was helping. In fact I looked like a 95-year-old woman walking around. 

I finally went to see an orthopedic guy whose diagnosis was Greater Trochanter Bursitis and a tight IT band. The fix was a painful cortisone shot in my hip. You’ll be cussing me over the weekend but by Monday, you’ll love me. 

My pain would be worse before it got better. And boy was he right! 

So how is pain an unexpected gift? 

~ Pain let’s you know something is off. Whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual, when you feel pain, you know you need to address it. 

~ Pain makes you even more grateful when the it’s gone. I’m so thankful for pain free stair climbing, being able to put my sock on without being creative and walking/exercising….things I took for granted before.

~ Pain will make you seek out someone for help. In my case it was the orthopedic doctor but it could be a counselor or someone who has walked the road you’re on now. 

~ Pain will often draw us closer to God as we know He is the ultimate Comforter, Healer and sufficient Grace. 

***

Sometimes it takes looking at things from a different angle to see their benefits. My hip pain was a gift. The homemade Ping-Pong table gave us hours of fun. The Epilady…well two out three aint bad. (Guys, keep those receipts.)

kw

Why is This a Part of My Story? (Day 1 Why)

Why? It’s a question often asked in various ways: Why me? Why not me? Why now? Why not now? Why did this happen? Why didn’t this happen? Why do bad things happen? Why does God allow it? 

There have been a handful of things happen in my half century of living that have made me wonder why. Why is this a part of my story? You don’t have to know what those things are to relate to the wonder of why. I’m sure you’ve had a handful too. 

God has been gracious and used different chapters of my story book to help others, to connect with people and offer hope in their own journey. What about the other chapters? The ones not complete. The wonder of why-is-this-part-of-my-story.  Can I trust Him with the rest of the book?

***

The Israelites had many of the same questions after fleeing the harsh treatment of Pharaoh. As God as their guide they found themselves in a no win situation with the Red sea in front of them and the Egyptian army breathing down their backs, gaining ground every second. 

Their situation seemed impossible and they wondered why God would do this. Why would he free them only to lead them into a trap with no way out?

Why indeed. 

God did not lead them along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby; for God said, “The people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war.” So he led the people around toward the Red Sea along the road of the wilderness. (Exodus 13:17-18CSB) 

God knew they were weak from years of mistreatment. He knew they could not battle this army and win. So why doesn’t God just wipe out the Egyptian army. Stories had passed down from generation to generation about the mighty hand of God working through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

He wiped out the city of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned a woman into a pillar of salt. He wiped out the earth with a flood. He made the barren bear children.  

Where was He now? 

I think he wanted to show them a new thing as they began their journey into freedom because sometimes the best lessons are learned on the road of wilderness. 

Most will know the rest of the story. The Red Sea parted and millions of Israelites walked across on dry ground, escaping the wrath of Pharaoh’s army.  Speaking of which, God destroyed that army but in such a way the Israelites had never seen or heard tell of. 

God does some of his finest work in the world of impossibilities, when the odds are stacked against his people. He loves for us to be still and watch him show us his glory. 

***

Can I trust Him with the why when I’m facing the Red Sea? When the enemy is slithering with whispers of doubt and gaining ground on my faltering faith? Yes. Yes I can. 

He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. He is the same God that guides us on the road to the wilderness not only because it’s the best way but also to show us things we’ve never seen before. 

We need only be still and watch him work in our story. 

Can I trust Him? Yes. My faith has to be founded in the character of God Himself and not in the why of my story. What can look like a contradiction, I have to leave in God’s hands. I may not like the why. I may not understand the why. But I have a choice: either He is God or He is not. Either He is the same God that can part the Red Sea of impossibility or He is not. 

I’m choosing to believe. (Lord, help my unbelief! Mark 9:24)

Can I trust Him? Yes. I’m placing my why in His hands so He can do a new thing, something I’ve not seen before. You can too.  

kw

31 Days of Prompts & Circumstance

Hey!

Welcome to the table of contents for a challenge I’m participating in called:

There really is no pomp and circumstance just me sharing the Prompts and Circumstance surrounding my thoughts on that day’s word. It could be spiritual, funny, challenging, personal or all of the above. If you are signed up to get my emails then you will receive each days post in your inbox. If you are not but would like to be, I would LOVE that!! (there is a “subscribe to” on the sidebar)

Here are the 31 days of prompts with a link to each day as it is written, making it easy peasy for you to find all the words with the links attached:

Day 1 Why

Day 2 Gift

Day 3 Problem

Day 4 Listen

Day 5 Other

Day 6 Notice

Day 7 Same

Day 8 Gather

Day 9 Join

Day 10 Scared

Day 11 Deep

Day 12 First

Day 13 Reach

Day 14 Voice

Day 15 Open 

Day 16 Avoid

Day 17 Consistent

Day 18 Active

Day 19 Strong

Day 20 Tell

Day 21 Person

Day 22 Sense

Day 23 Need

Day 24 Different

Day 25 Wait

Day 26 Accept

Day 27 Better

Day 28 Test

Day 29 Practice

Day 30 Memory

Day 31 Enjoy

Thank YOU readers of mine for your support, encouragement and love as I learn how to serve you better!

kw

Top 10 Things I Would Tell Momma’s of All Ages and Stages

My motley crew from a couple years ago. Yes. We are Buckeye fans!

#1. Grace and Mercy need to be your very best friends the moment a + appears on the stick because I’m positive you’ll need them. Parenting is not for the faint of heart or the weak willed. Your kiddos will mess up. So will you. 

Apparently practice makes perfect because parenting gives you lots of it. Just when you think you’ve survived one stage, you wake up to find them in the next one. And the learning curve starts all over again. It’s okay. Grace and Mercy with a little forgiveness thrown in makes for great parenting skills. 

Grace and mercy are equally needed for the toddler who won’t let you pee by yourself as well as for the pimply-faced teenager who doesn’t acknowledge ever having had parents. 

#2. Do what works for your family. Stay-at-home? Work from home? Work outside the home? Breast or bottle? Homeschool or public school?  How will we discipline? So many decisions to make and everyone has an opinion about what you should do.

I’ve worked outside the home because I needed to financially but also because I wanted to at times. We homeschooled for a couple of years but mostly it’s been public school for our kids. While it’s good to seek advice from people who are ahead of you in this parenting thing, at the end of the day these are your people you’ve been given to protect, nurture and love. Trust that God gave them to you knowing you will do your best to do what’s best for them. 

#3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Period. It’s the sucker of joy and maker of exhaustion. We are all uniquely designed with different personalities and quirks, needs and wants, capabilities and limits, talents and gifts, and energy levels depending on the season we’re in. 

I know you may think organic is best but you can trust the Gorton fisherman every now and again and still be a good Mom. It’s okay if the last thing you want to do is crafts with your toddler. It’s okay if it’s the thing you love to do most. 

It’s okay if dragging three littles to a play date is like nails on a chalkboard. And it’s perfectly fine if that’s what works for you. If you think your teenager should work or if you think their job is to concentrate on school then great! Do what works for you and your family. 

#4. Disconnect from Social Media every once in a while. Please. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest…oh my word…so many opportunities for us to see just how very badly we’re failing. Often times I catch myself scrolling through everyone else’s perfect lives during a season of hard or lonely. Maybe you do too. I also find that during those times, I need to put my phone down and walk away for a bit.

Allowing yourself to disconnect from everyone else’s virtual reality let’s you live in the moment of your own. You can enjoy your family without comparing them to someone else’s. (re-read #3 above) A digital rest resets the wiring in your brain bringing with it gratitude, contentment and peace. 

#5. Have a support system in place. This can be a big group like MOPS or my church does a Mom’s group every Wednesday where the Mom’s of younger kiddos get together and learn from each other and a mentor Mom. They have play dates with the kids and nights where they get together without them. 

Maybe a bigger group isn’t your thing. I have a small group of women that I adore. We get together to laugh, cry, catch-up and check in on how the other is doing. It’s pretty laid back and just what I need for support. 

We were designed for connection. We need to know we’re not alone. So whatever that looks like for you, reach out and find your people. 

#6. Connect with nature. Go outside, soak up some sun, walk in the grass barefoot, look up at the stars, notice the moon, watch a sunrise or sunset, breathe in deeply, take a hike in the woods, dig in the dirt, rake leaves, look for wildflowers, skip rocks in a pond…do something outside. 

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. (Robert Louis Stevenson)

I think Robert was on to something. Connecting with creation connects us with the Creator. Connecting with the Creator refreshes, renews and rejuvenates. Try it.

#7. Connect with God. This doesn’t have to be set in stone. My time with the Lord looks way different in my 50’s with one teenage kid at home then it did in my 20’s and 30’s when I had five at home and was working. Our time with Him is more than a checklist, a study or specific amount of time.

Our prayer life can be anytime, anywhere. And yes, please Lord, don’t let me snatch them baldheaded today is considered prayer. As is dear God, help me! It’s not always on your knees, in reverence. Sometimes it’s in your car, in the thick of it. 

Connecting with God can simply be being aware of Him, watching for Him, feeling His presence, thanking Him throughout your day, having a still moment of peace because of Him, see #6 above, reading a verse in the morning and pondering it the rest of the day. 

#8. Find a rhythm for rest. God created the entire universe in six days, the seventh day He rested, not because He needed it but because we do. It’s His gift to us. What’s your rhythm?

Is it taking a nap? Do it! No guilt. No shame. Those dishes and dust bunnies will be there when you wake up or next week or when your kids are grown and gone. Take the time to take a siesta. 

Maybe napping isn’t your thing. What if you allowed yourself time when the kiddos are napping or after bedtime to indulge a little? Take bath with candles lit and your favorite book. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and look through a magazine. Curl up on the couch with your favorite blanket and book. Sit outside in the sun and do absolutely nothing! Eat chocolate or ice cream all by yourself…no sharing with anyone and completely out in the open. No closet dessert for you! (Gasp!!) 

Find a rhythm that works for you, and then do it. 

#9. Know you are not forgotten. I wrote a post a while ago to encourage you who are doing the mundane, the everyday, the simple acts that nobody sees or seems to care about. It’s to cheer for those who wonder if what they do day to day really matters. You’ve wiped noses and butts and feel stuck in a rut. Picked up toys and are tired of noise. You can’t answer another why or hear another cry. You show up to work all grown up covered in boogers and throw up. 

God sees you. 

God used a lunch packed with love, an ordinary, everyday task to feed hungry souls for His kingdom work. The same God that made a miracle from the meager will use you too! 

In the middle of messy.

In the middle of mundane.

He makes miracles happen.

You are not forgotten. (Click here for the full post.)

#10. Your efforts are not in vain! The first time my oldest came home from college he gave me a big bear hug and proceeded to thank me through out the whole weekend. Everything I made to eat was the best he’d ever tasted. His sheets smelled wonderful. The house looked extra clean. Thank you for doing my laundry. Thank you for giving me an extra $20. It didn’t stop. 

Kid number four is now in her junior year of college, first year in an apartment. She sent me this text just a few days ago: 

What you’re doing today is important work. I know it’s hard when you walk in to a Picasso of poop on the wall. Or when your surly teenager won’t leave his room and has the vocabulary limitation of fine. Keep going. It matters. You’ve got this! 

kw

Monday’s Grace: A Prayer for Momma’s of Littles, Teens and the In-Betweens

God reminding me of his very presence through a sunset behind my house.

From Psalm 61:1-3 (CSB)

God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. 

Remind me Lord that I am heard and listened to. I am seen. I am loved. I am known. I am yours. 

I call to you from the ends of the earth…

or the bottom of a mountain of laundry or in the pick-up line at school or in the middle of another sleepless night because the baby is crying or while waiting for my new driver to get home and he’s late or while I’m at work feeling guilty about not being home or while I’m at home feeling guilty for not helping financially or the many places my mind goes. It may not be the ends of the Earth but certainly some days from my wit’s end. I call to you Lord…

…when my heart is without strength. 

Because being a Mom is the most exhausting, exhilarating, gut-wrenching, joyful work with all the feels there is. My heart overflows with love and laughter one minute and is broken the next. It’s a roller coaster of hormones and a labyrinth of emotions. 

I confess to you I am weak and tired. Renew my strength for this day. Not tomorrow or next week. But today.

Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy.

Help me to remember, Lord, that YOU are my strength on which I can lean, a rock on which I can stand when I feel wobbly, a place to go when I don’t know what to do or am at wit’s end, a safety net I can fall into. 

The enemy wants nothing more than for me: to be worn out and weary which leads to poor decisions, to compare my circumstances with others and be disappointed, to be so busy that I can’t find a moment’s peace, to wonder in the midst of it all if you care.

Bind the enemy, Lord.

Help me to remember to stay connected to you, to look to you, to listen for you, to cry out to you. Show yourself in small ways, Father, as I go about my day-to-day. I’ll be watching for you as you watch over me. 

In Jesus Name

kw

Coming soon: 10 Reminders for Momma’s

3 Things You Can Do When Life Keeps Happening

Let us not grow tired of doing good…(Galatians 6:9CSB)

But what if I do? What if I am? 

Life doesn’t always happen tsunami style. You know, one big catastrophic event that knocks the feet right out from under you. With tsunami’s, people expect you to take some time to recover. To take a moment to breathe. Seek rest, wisdom and solace. 

Sometimes life sends wave after wave, not all of them bad but even good things can leave you a bit off balanced. For example we finished our basement, a wonderful, exciting thing but having someone in your house hammering away for nine weeks can be a bit unnerving. 

Add to that some health things with my kids, starting a bigger-than-we’ve-ever-grown garden, my middle daughter and her family moved in for a few weeks as they transitioned to Wright Patt, one kid started his sophomore year of high school and one moved home for the summer then moved into her first college apartment. 

Did I mention our hot water heater began leaking (in our newly finished basement) and needed replaced? Oh and all the cars had something happen to them that needed fixing beyond what my man was able to do….cha-ching!

All the while, “normal” life goes on…my man still travels all the time, and there’s groceries, cooking, baking, cleaning, mowing, weeding and laundry because we need to eat and not go out in public naked. 

Wave after wave….keeps you struggling for balance, trying to catch your breath, nothing catastrophic but the salt in the wound still stings. 

Maybe you’ve had seasons like that too? Maybe you’re in one. What can you do? Here are three things I did (and do) to keep my head above the waves so I could breathe: 

1.) Get rid of the guilt. 

I have a handful of friends who are reeling from recent tsunamis. Devastating cancer diagnosis. Death of a child. A divorce from the blindside. All horrific things. So every time another wave would come, I would feel guilty for being tired, stressed and overwhelmed because none of my waves measured up to what they were going through. 

It is true that there is always someone going through more than you. That doesn’t negate what you are experiencing. Nor the need for self-care. It’s okay to ask for help, take something off your plate for a season, say no, rest, realize you can’t keep going when you can’t see for the salt water in your eyes. You need to…

2.) Recognize Your Limits

Tired writers write tired. And I was. I love to write. It’s a way I process things. But I was putting undue pressure on myself to perform. I have no real deadlines (for now 🙂 except for those I create to keep me on track. I was talking to my English professor daughter about struggling to be creative and that I felt like I sounded grumpy…not the message I want to convey. She reminded me of all that I had going on and how that can affect creativity. That’s her quote above.  I needed to take that off my plate for a short while so I could catch my breath.

If you’re in a wave-after-wave season, what can you let go of? It won’t be for forever…just long enough for the waves to settle and balance to return. Recognize your limits, stop telling yourself you should or shouldn’t do this or that, offer yourself grace. Period.

3.) A Rhythm of Routine 

There are some things that were non-negotiable for me during this particular wave-after-wave season (or ever really). 

Bible study, prayer and being still.Every morning I spent a bit of time to work through a Bible study (No Other Gods by Kelly Minter), pray and simply be still. It’s where my help and strength comes from. I can’t explain it. I just know it soothes a searching soul. 

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. (Psalm 27:7-8 NIV)

Gratitude. I wrote down three things in my journal that I was grateful for every day. Lest I sound super spiritual or whatever…some days were a stretch, some days I had to ask the Lord to show me because I sure couldn’t think of anything. And He did. 

It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful. (Ann Voskamp)

Sing praise songs. This is, in part, how I fight my battle. King Jehoshaphat was preparing for this huge battle that was on the horizon. He did three things: Sought the Lord for wisdom (2Chronicles 20:3), prayed a prayer of gratitude for who God was and what he could do (2Chronicles 20:6-12) and he sent the singers out ahead of the soldiers…wait….what? 

Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of his holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for his faithful love endures forever. (2Chronicles 20:21CSB bold is mine)

And guess what happened to that vast army that came against the Israelites. 

they were defeated. (2Chronicles 20:22)  

There’s something to be said about singing praises to the Lord in the presence of one’s enemy. 

It’s not easy when life keeps knocking you down. But we can rest easy in this: when the wounds still sting from the salt water of wave after wave we can be assured of the balm of grace upon grace. (John 1:16)

Hallelujah and amen. 

You can do this. Keep seeking His face, stay thankful and belt out those hymns of praise like you’ve won the battle. Because we have! 

kw

Read Monday’s Grace: A Prayer for the Worn Out and Overwhelmed here.

Monday’s Grace: A Prayer for the Worn Out and Overwhelmed

A foggy morning on the OBX before the sun rises.

You tell us to come to You if we’re tired and carry burdens beyond our ability to bear. So here we are, bowing before you, letting you know that we have indeed grown tired of doing good. (Galatians 6:9) 

So what now?

We confess to You that our schedules are overbooked and our souls are underwhelmed. 

We confess to You that we’re exhausted both physically and emotionally. And dare we say spiritually as well. 

We confess to You that it feels like the next thing that breaks may be the thing that breaks us. 

We confess to You that life has become a series of one foot in front of the other, simply getting through the day. No peace. No joy. 

We confess to You that a busy day has turned into busy weeks and here we are months later wondering why we’re feeling depleted and defeated. 

We confess to You that somewhere along the way we buried you under the busy. That we lost site of you somewhere between the loads of laundry and running from one thing to the next.

So what now, Lord? 

Come to Me…here we are, schedules in hand, hearts laid out, weary souls at your feet. 

Take up My yoke…we admit that the enemy sure makes this sound even more burdensome but we will trust You, Jesus, when you tell us that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Show us what this looks like in the practicality of our days so we can find rest for our souls…just as You say.

Learn from Me…help us to be ever aware of Your teaching, of Your nearness, of Your very presence. Teach us Jesus how to be connected to You in such a way that come what may, there is peace. 

Just a few minutes later of the same morning on the OBX.

Remind us Lord that we are not the sum of what we do but Whose we are. Help us to stop in our busyness and notice You in the small ways You show yourself. Help us Lord to find sacred in the simple.  

Amen and amen.

(Here is the post that goes along with this prayer: https://kimwrights.com/2019/09/19/3-things-you-can-do-when-life-keeps-happening/