#NOCOMPAREDARE: My Business

This month Mary & Martha has challenged women to a “No Compare Dare”.  It is a timely message for me.  And as I have followed others within the company, consultants, and their customers in taking this dare, I am reminded how quickly we as women can become discouraged or defeated by the simple comparison game.  Satan knows his way into our lives, and all too often we allow him to take hold.  I am guilty.

I Peter 5: 8-10 says, ” Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings, and the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you suffered a little while, will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” NIV

In my organizing business my partner and I spend time working with our clients regarding their time management.  One of the things we try to impress upon them is the importance of being aware, self-controlled.  It is important to know how time is spent, to know how one wants to spend time in order to meet goals, and then make adjustments.  Life can’t be lived on auto-pilot.  Discipline and self awareness are key to being organized.

One would think that because the above is such a part of my “message” to clients I would not struggle personally with the comparison issue, but oh how I do.  In fact, even just yesterday I allowed satan a stronghold in my life, my business. Yesterday I lost two clients (one lost her job the other decided to sell her home in lieu of getting it organized) and had a potential client decline our services in favor of another.  When you are a young business, still building, those kind of things seem HUGE!  Immediately I began comparing- to others in the organizing business, to friends running their own businesses, etc…  The thoughts in my head became negative and self-defeating.  Did I lose the jobs because I failed to be alert?  No.  Did doubt, fear and discouragement set in because I failed to be alert?  Yes.  I allowed my thoughts to wander and instead of focusing on what was true, bowing my knee in prayer, I opened the door for satan to begin his whispers.  I didn’t resist.  I didn’t keep my thoughts on the truth.  Fortunately I have within my circle women who hold me accountable. In one simple text a dear friend, and business owner I admire snapped me back to reality.  Her words were not harsh. They were simple and straight forward.  They were spoken in love and with authority.  In that moment I became aware.  I suddenly became alert, seeing what I had allowed to happen.  I didn’t just snap out of it.  No, when we let satan in, he’s hard to remove.  He isn’t some little pussy cat, no he is a roaring lion.  He is on a mission.  No, it takes faith, it takes strength and fortitude to make him leave.

My business is my #NOCOMPAREDARE focus.  How do I keep satan at bay?  The same daily disciplines that keep me focused on the truth, on my priorities.

  1. Rise early and let His word (scripture) be the first thing to enter my mind.
  2. Sit in stillness allowing His word, His thoughts to permeate my mind.
  3. Pray for His will.
  4. Pray continually, with all thanksgiving.
  5. Be honest with my sphere of influence so they can hold me accountable, speak truth into my life.
  6. Be alert throughout the day to shifts in my thinking, my mood…

I dare you.  I know you struggle.  We all do.  The comparison game.  It’s so easy.  We are bombarded with messages, with visuals via Facebook, Instagram, television, radio, stores, friends…  None of us is immune.  It will happen.  We just need to be alert, to capture the thoughts before they take hold, remembering that satan is the author.  Let truth prevail.

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Battling Failure

It is Monday.  Yep, it is a Monday.  I had big plans for today.  A great blog post, clean house, some advanced cooking for the week completed, research for an organizing project…  Big plans for a big week.  Instead, I literally got knocked off my feet and my day derailed at 6:00 a.m.

I have two dogs.  We have a love hate relationship.  Most days I love them, but Monday and Thursday when I am cleaning and handling home maintenance I hate them.  This morning, the cute white one, decided to attack the front window with vengeance and bark her head off.  Now mind you, I had yet to get my first cup of coffee drunk.

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I ran to the window, sandwich bread and knife in hand, to politely “shoo” the dog away from the window.  About the moment I took my last step toward the window, the “lovable” black and white, thirteen year old, I guess now partially blind, dog decided to join in on the barking chorus and lunged straight through my legs.  The leg already in mid air was propelled into the air forcing my other leg up off the floor.  Sandwich bread and knife went flying, as did the rest of my body.  I have a bulging disc in my neck which I am acutely aware of.   In a moment of panic I decided it would be best to try to twist my body, as if at this age I have any control, and land on my side so as to avoid any further neck injury.  I have no doubt it looked as ugly as it felt.  I landed instead flat on my side, elbow and knee slamming into the hardwood floor.  My neck popped as I tensed the muscles trying to keep my head upright.  All I can say is that in an instant I became aware of every muscle in my body.  Throbbing pain.  I really didn’t want to cry.  I wanted to fling two dogs out the window.  Instead I cried. Mostly because I had fallen and couldn’t get up.

Have you ever been there?  That moment in time when something bad happens, a mistake, a misspoken word.  You go straight to negative, angry, bad.  The hopes of the previous moment are gone.  Your confidence, your strength.  It flees. It so often amazes me – how quickly I can go from good to bad, how quickly I can begin to feel like a failure, the one person who can’t get it together, get the tasks done, spare the moments for the friend, laugh, find time for the hobby that feeds my soul.  Been there?  How is it I can get there so quickly?

I have battled the pain all day.  Truth be known I have battled the ugly thoughts all day – not about the dogs, not about anyone, just about me.  I have battled the urge to give in, to declare defeat.  I have battled the tears of physical pain, mental fears and heartfelt hurts that Satan so quickly reminds me of in these moments.  But I chose to push through today. I didn’t get it all done.  The exercise meant to help me push back on the infringing age 50 got set aside.  I could have stopped and stayed right there.  There have been times I would have.  Frankly it is easier.  It’s not beneficial though.  No, giving in to the fear of failure, the lost hope, the darkness never helps.  How do I push through?  I focus on what I can do.  It wasn’t a lot today, but it was something.  I made those calls to friends I knew were struggling needing a word of encouragement.  I read back through the cards and notes I keep in my “special box”, words of encouragement from friends,clients and acquaintances.  It’s hard.  Pushing back, pushing through takes strength, commitment.  The pain is still here.  The tear still appear in an instant. But, the darkness is lifting.  The lies brought on by thoughts of failure I are pushed back.  Truth sets in.  It slowly heals, like a salve gently pouring over the wound.

Friend, if you have had a terrible, no good, very bad day, stop and regroup.  Remember who you really are.  You are here for a purpose.  Mistakes will happen.  Falls will occur (let’s just hope not brought on by a dog).  You learn.  You keep going.  It will hurt, it will be hard, but you are worth it.  You were made to make a difference.  You were made in God’s image, His child.

I am probably going to hurt more tomorrow.  And I have a feeling I am still going to be thinking negative thoughts about these two stinking cute dogs.  But the darkness of failure has passed.  I’m learning.  I’m gonna keep going.

“Love Idol” by Jennifer Dukes-It’s Impact, My Thoughts

If you are a recovering perfectionist like me, I highly recommend “Love Idol” by Jennifer Dukes.  It was an easy read.  It grabbed my attention in the first few paragraphs.  Not just because I am a recovering perfectionist, but I am a woman.  A woman who seeks to serve God with all my heart, mind and body and yet feels like I miss the boat all too often.

“Love Idol” was a fresh perspective.  I have never thought of how my drive to seek approval, perform (do for others), maintain order etc… as idols.  Yet Jennifer Dukes’ analogies were dead on.  Not only that, but she very openly discusses the impact these “love idols” can have on our families, especially our daughters.  It’s not just the perfectionist tendencies, ALL of us have “love idols”.  For some it may be more about holding one’s self out as the nurturer, playful woman who puts others above tasks, chores, performance.  It can often even be our service or ministries.

An idol is anything that captures our hearts, our minds.  We begin to think more of those things than we do God.  As we focus, our efforts become more about our ways, our plans, our thoughts than His.  I know, stings a little doesn’t it!?!

I recommend this book.  In fact, mine is on loan right now to a young mom.  It is an easy read, but a thought provoking read. You could get through it in a day or two, but I recommend taking it chapter by chapter and pondering.

My take aways:

1.  God continues to use writings, friends, music to remind me of the need to slow down, step back.  I absolutely will not find God in the hurried days of a cram packed life.

2.  I am uniquely gifted and created.  He has a purpose for me, one He will allow me to fulfill if I watch and wait.  Life is full of seasons, and in due season my gifts and talents will be used in various ways and in differing amounts.

3.  There is no doubt our families come before our service, our ministries and our work.

4.  The comparison game is dangerous and deadly.  Too often, I am comparing myself to my own too high standards, not so much to others.  I need to release those self-imposed standards.

If you are interested in the book or learning more about Jennifer Dukes go here:

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/love-idol/

Not Enough

I looked at my husband through eyes filled with tears.  “I can’t do this any more.  I have nothing-I only hear the message, ‘You are not enough'”.  In that moment I felt drained.  I honestly felt like any ability to extend grace, love generously, even think, was gone.  I had two discontent teenage daughters pecking at me, I had not been able to take care of something my husband needed done, I had received a message I wasn’t spending enough time with my mother, I had not called my mother-in-law and thanked her enough for Christmas (according to my father-in-law), I was behind on laundry, I was out of groceries, and my business had not met my expectations for the month.  The day before I had also received a call asking that I take a large leadership role in a ministry engaging women in our state.  While I desperately wanted to serve in this way, to engage again in ministering to women through a structured ministry, I knew beyond question my answer at this time was to be “No.”  It wasn’t what I wanted the answer to be.  In fact, I wanted to ignore what I knew to be true and say “Yes.” I was disheartened by the clear direction to say “No”.

It was a melt down  moment.  There was nothing my husband could do.  There were no “Sorry mom” statements big enough. There was no deleting the messages.  The only way to say “Yes” was to act in disobedience.  With wisdom my husband simply took the girls on to their respective activities, never saying a word.  And I, well I was left to fall into a puddle of what felt like complete overwhelm and despair.

Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to talk to God.  I didn’t know what to pray.  Yet, I didn’t want to be angry.  I didn’t want to feel defeated.  Joy.  That was supposed to be my word for the year.  Only weeks into the new year and Joy felt like a universe away.  As I sat there motionless, empty, 2 Corinthians 12: 9 began to play through my mind.  “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect (complete) in weakness.”

I am not enough.  That is the truth.  I can not do it all.  I can not, in my own strength, be all I need to be.  I am not enough.  I am not complete.  There was nothing to do in that moment but to release the emotions and lean into His grace-grace that is sufficient for me.  A part of obedience is not only doing the stuff, but it is the letting go and leaning in.  It is the acknowledging.  It is the accepting.  I am not enough.  The message didn’t need to be defeating-that’s what Satan would like.  The message simply needed to be an accepted truth that would prompt me to act in obedience, leaning into Him, His grace, allowing Him to complete me, to strengthen me.

” I am not enough, but His grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.”  That is the message I need to let run through my mind.  That is the truth.

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Slaying the Worry Dragon: The Weapon of Choice is Simplicity

Worry is my sin.  That sin I so long to rid myself of, yet find myself battling daily.  I can justify it, yet there is no justification.  I can condemn myself, yet there is no condemnation.  Like Paul of scripture, I ask myself, I ask God, “Why do I do the things I do not want to do?”  It is the nature of our lives.  We all have that sin-the one that becomes our daily struggle.

As I seek to slay the worry dragon I have come to realize simplicity is the key.  For those of us to whom much has been given, much is expected.  Yet along with the much, are things, mindsets that cause us to stumble in our faith.  With good upbringing, strong family ties, come expectations.  We are pushed and we drive ourselves to exceed the financial status of our parents, to exceed the educational levels of our family ancestors, to go beyond, do better.  We call it the American Dream.  Yet, all of that places our mind, our focus upon achievements and things.  Maybe it is my age, maybe it is wisdom gained with age, but whatever the cause, I find myself desiring to do less, be less.  I’d like to return to the days of my forefathers.  Days of gardening, hands stained by dirt, body aching and tired at night.  Days of family gatherings crowded into small, quaint homes. Days of giving beyond means and ensuring family and neighbors have plenty.  The simpler life.  Not an easier life, but a less complicated life.  A life in which things could not take hold, because things were not aplenty.

My scripture reading this morning was in Matthew.  The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount.  If one read only those passages, one would understand who Christ is and how as Christians we are to live.  It becomes clear the weapon for worry is simplicity.  In the midst of the abundance around me, the busyness, the striving, the rush to carry out good deeds in the “spirit of Christmas giving”, God speaks to me yet again through the women I hold dear at Christian Women’s Job Corps.  Women who live a simple life, yet lives complicated by messy families, consequences of poor choices, health issues…

They can not undo their past.  None of us can.  Many of them born into pasts they could not control, inheriting trouble they never asked for/deserved.  Most hurt as children, used as adolescents, and exposed as adults.  Difference circumstances, different hurts, different lives, yet one thing in common.  Each making the decision, finding the resolve to choose to do something different.  Each choosing Christian Women’s Job Corps.  Each seeking to learn about Christ, put Him first.  Each finding joy in walking away from the complicated towards the simple.

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One has walked away from all she owns/had: home, belongings, man.  She has faithfully come soaking up the teachings of the pastors during morning devotion, the words of scripture during Bible study, the life skills taught by women whose lives have been easier than hers.  She has rejoiced weekly in the smallest of victories.  She has taken every word taught and believed it.  She has professed and proclaimed scripture in the midst of battle, believing it would drive Satan out.  She has accepted help with graciousness and humility.  She has found a new home, new friends, new life.  Things, accomplishments, are of consequence.  She has no bed, yet shares with all how well she is sleeping.  She has humble means, yet can’t wait to share. She has seen God provide.  She does not worry for her future.  She trusts.  She trusts Him, the Great Provider, the Healer, the Lord of Lords.

I am humbled when in her presence.  And as I sit in my abundance, clinging to my worry, I am convicted by her life and His words in Matthew.  The words come alive through her story.  Simplicity.  It is in the being, the service done in “the secret place”, the honesty, the letting go, the living life together.  Simplicity slays the worry dragon.  Her days are filled with trouble, enough trouble to fill a lifetime.  She takes each day as it comes, too many troubles to worry about tomorrow.  “Sufficient for the day it its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:34 NIV  She lives the scripture.  I long to live the scripture yet my demons are a complicated life, full of too much.  The too much brings the worry, the striving, the lack of faith.  God brings her into my life, not that I may serve, but that we both might be served.  We love one another, we teach one another.  I share my abundance, she teaches me out of her lack-lack of things, lack of knowledge.  We experience Him.  We experience true worship.  We find each other.  We find ourselves.  In that place, He finds us, we hear Him and know His presence.

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Beauty in the Brokenness

I have been in the midst of preparing a session for a women’s conference.  My topic is “WMU & Women’s Ministry: Incorporating the Two and Bringing Women Together.”  It’s really about leadership and reaching the heart of women.  I love the array of information available through other blogs, Lifeway, Family Life etc…  I also love the incredible women of faith God has placed in my life full of wisdom and incredible leadership qualities.  Most of all I love God’s Word, the Bible.  I love the way He takes a story and breathes new life into it as we seek to find wisdom and words to share.

God spoke to me through the stories of Mary and Martha.  Two incredible sisters whom Jesus loved and spent a good deal of time with.  Their home was often His resting place.  This time through though God opened my eyes to the strengths and weaknesses of each.  Mary didn’t spend enough time taking care of work/duties, but Martha didn’t know when to set the work/duties aside and enjoy the moment. Both, however, clearly loved the Lord.  They believed in Him.  They trusted Him.  When their brother, Lazarus, fell sick, they didn’t hesitate to run straight to Jesus.  They didn’t hesitate to ask for his healing.  They didn’t hesitate to let Jesus hear and see their raw emotions.  And Mary, with her sensitive spirit and obvious gift for discernment showed the depth of her understanding when she took the alabaster jaw of fine perfume and shattered it at Jesus feet, using the expensive oil to wash his feet in an act of pure humility and sacrifice.  They got it.  These two sisters understood who Jesus was.  They understood His significance and they gave of themselves freely to worship Him.  They didn’t let critics stop them.  They weren’t concerned with what others were doing.  They didn’t spend their time at the city gate or the water well talking about how well they knew Jesus, when He was visiting next.  Their focus was on Him.  Their focus was on serving Him, worshiping Him.

As I have pondered their story and thought about how important it is for us to just be real, to let our broken hearts, spirits, dreams, bodies… be an offering to Him, I have realized how foolish it is, and how often I seek to hide my flaws, mistakes, fears, from others.  We all have them.  We are all fallen sinners living in a world full of heartache.  Yes, we also have victories, strength, talents… but most often those are developed through trials.  We are able to connect, to use our whole lives (the brokenness and the victories) to be a testament.

Having spent the bulk of my childhood and formative years living in Japan, I loved this picture and message.  I am more beautiful because I have suffered damage and have a history.  You are more beautiful because you have suffered damage and have a history.  Let’s share those stories.  Let’s be real.  Let’s honor one another’s stories by being faithful to respect each other’s stories.  Let’s allow each other the opportunity to have our own story, not try to create the same stories.  As women God created us to be beautiful, to create beauty.  Be beautiful today.  Embrace the damage, your history and see the beautiful person it has created.

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful” – Billie Mobayed.

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold.  They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful" - Billie Mobayed

No Looking Back, No Looking to Tomorrow-Just One Simple Step in Obedience (and When the lesson is wait)

Posting a second time.  Today’s struggle. Media!

Living in Brokenness continues to be my theme.  I can’t express enough the freedom I am finding each day as I embrace the truth that God’s fragrance spills forth from me as I leave myself broken at His feet.  It is that moment in time when head knowledge meets heart knowledge and you wish you had gotten the lesson earlier!  As I embrace this truth, let it sink in and remind myself moment by moment to leave the shattered pieces of the alabaster jar, refrain from “fixing”, I am free to pursue obedience in the moment.  It doesn’t mean there are no plans.  It just means that the plans, the steps of obedience are leading me to His purpose for this moment.  I no longer have to look back dragging with me all the regrets or things to be fixed.  I no longer have to look to the future trying to figure it out and do what I can “in my power” to make the puzzle pieces fit.  No, instead I only have to obey the promptings for this moment, knowing He has a plan.  He has already ordained my days.  By keeping my eyes on Him and releasing all that He has already forgiven, wiped away, I can simply do the task of the moment, trusting the small steps in obedience lead to His master plan.  I am free to enjoy the journey.  I am free to rest in Him.  I can experience the joy of hope, true hope that comes only from trusting enough to live in the present.

Keeping my mind filled with truth is a step in obedience I need to take.  I read scripture daily and spend quiet time each morning reflecting on His word and in communion with Him.  I still lack.  The days get busy, I feel pulled, the emotions rise and Satan gets a foot-hold in my mind.  Oh, the battle begins, and too often that pesky devil wins.  I have long known of the use of affirmations-those little pep talks promoted by Zig Ziglar, Gary Keller, and others.  I know those have value, but God has impressed upon me I need Spiritual Affirmations to recite daily.  I am beginning the process of finding 50 scripture to rephrase into Spiritual Affirmations.  I am going to put them in a bound index card holder and carry them with me.  I have begun my journey placing one of Emily Burger’s (www.emilyburgerdesigns.com) scripture based prints called “You’re An Overcomer” in a frame on my vanity counter.  It is the beginning of daily reciting Spiritual Affirmations to fill my mind with truth and have an arsenal of His words to combat Satan next time he makes a move on my mind.  My heart is sealed.  Christ sealed my heart with His blood for all eternity the day I accepted Him as my personal Savior.  My heart belongs to Him and Him alone.  My mind, well my mind is mine.  He grants me freewill.  So for this moment, my act of obedience is to gather His truths, make them personal, recite them and commit them to memory.

This blog post spoke to me as I am on my own journey.  It seems I am coming out of a desert experience, 3-4 years of waiting.  I hope this will give you encouragement in your walk-especially if you are waiting.  When the lesson is wait.

A Year Ago: The Inspire Conference that Broke Me

I have spent the last few months preparing to lead a breakout session at Inspire 2015.  A year ago, this very conference was the site of a HUGE God moment for me.  It wasn’t the event.  It was a simple act of obedience on my part and on the part of every other woman who made a choice to be present.  Inspire is a simple conference.  Just one day-not even a full day.  It is just a day for women of faith to gather and share their stories.  Yet the simple impacts.  The sharing of stories draws us to REAL life, REAL hearts, REAL faith.  

I was coming out of one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  I was disheartened by the church.  I had been struggling with my own striving.  I was in the midst of changing my reactions to my relationship with my mother and others in my family impacted by depression, loss, anger.  In all honesty, life hadn’t turned out like I had planned or hoped.  There were moments of self pity-asking why and then letting myself stay there.  I longed for intimate friendships and a renewed sense of purpose, yet I held back, kept walls, kept striving instead of seeking.  

The weeks preceding Inspire I had been inundated with letters, email, phone calls from young women in my own church hurting, feeling isolated, left out.  A friend and I had been struggling to bring a ministry to fruition, facing daily setbacks.  No one from my church was attending Inspire.  I knew some working on the event, but…  I woke up though that Saturday morning and knew I needed to go.  It was outside my comfort zone.  I would be walking into a conference where women would be gathered with their friends.  I would be walking in alone.  I went.  I sat on the end of a pew near some lovely older ladies.  We shared greetings and then settled in.  I chose my breakout sessions-wanting desperately to attend the one my sweet friend and sister in Christ was leading, but feeling drawn to a different one.  Moment after moment i was faced with the choice to be obedient to the Spirit’s prompting or do what I wanted.  At lunch, the large room full of round tables I spotted another young woman sitting alone.  I asked if I could join her.  She was on the committee planning the event, but she too was there alone.  She wasn’t feeling overly confident and shared how she felt a little like the “unpopular girl” on the committee.  Oh, the sting we can so often feel when we work with women.  For a moment I felt discouraged.  Was there no escaping the hierarchy women seem to feel the need to create?  Did the church and women’s ministry and women’s missions have to look like the the world?  I fought the disappointment and discouragement.  Instead, I shared.  We shared. Lunch became an opportunity to speak truth to one another, to value each other, to laugh, to live.  

God is always at work in us.  That day He finished one work in me and began a new work.  That work is still being worked out as I learn to live life differently, no longer striving, but broken and poured out.  I want to live being transformed, knowing I am not finished, He is not finished.  I want to be laid bare that His fragrant Spirit spills out.  Below is the post I wrote the day following Inspire 2014.  My prayer tomorrow is that He is present again for all those stepping out in obedience.  My prayer is that those attending my breakout see not who I am, but who I am seeking to be, the One I cling to as I grow in His likeness.  

Broken-Going to Live That Way

I am a church girl.  Born and raised.  Long line of preachers and missionaries in my family.  I myself a preacher’s kid and missionary kid.  I’ve never strayed from my faith, never questioned my beliefs, never doubted my salvation.  But this weekend, I attended a women’s conference in my town and experienced one of those mind altering/heart impacting moments.  That moment when head knowledge becomes heart knowledge.  The kind of moment you want to document, journal about, make note of.  The kind of moment Henry Blackaby calls a “spiritual marker”.

I am a woman of faith.  I believe and know that Christ is the Son of God, that He suffered and died on the cross to cover my sins, extend His life giving grace.  I believe that once He has sealed my heart through salvation, it can never be unsealed.  I believe the Bible to be His holy word.  I believe it to be the extent of His word.  I believe I should live out His word and His example.  I seek to do just that.  But sometimes, I seek to do that too hard.  I struggle with the hardships, the disappointments, the tragedies of life.  I know He does not cause them, but rather allows them.  I know He does not seek to condemn me through loss or pain.  His word says there is no condemnation in Him.  I believe He uses those moments to teach, discipline, and strengthen.  But, I still struggle.  I want to fix it all.  I want to make sense of it, see what He is doing.  So that’s what I have done.  The deeper the pain, the more fear I feel, the harder a friend falls, the harder I work to pick up the pieces and fix it all.  I attempt to fix it doing a lot of really good spiritual things that I know are not wasted.  I study His word with new intensity.  I pray.  I continue to fellowship with other believers and I lean into them for wisdom, counsel, prayer, and friendship.  I journal, I read spiritual books.  And in the midst of all that I learn, and I see growth.  The cycle though continues and it can leave me overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling inadequate, feeling broken.  That’s just it though!  I am broken.  Bad things happen-loved ones get sick, loved ones pass away, the economy crashes, business declines, children struggle.  This life is a jumbled up mess and little if any of it is in my control.  But He doesn’t want me or need me to try to fix it.  He just wants me to acknowledge where I am, that I am broken and need His guidance, His strength.  You see, when brokenness meets brokenness God is glorified.  That’s the moment He frees me.  It is His.  He has already redeemed me.  He is already pleased with me.  I am His.  As I sat and took in the bible lesson, I felt like scales were dropping off my eyes and I was finally getting it, not just part of it, but getting the whole idea.  My mind went to the story of Mary, sister of Lazarus, and her breaking the alabaster jar to let the fragrant oil run free onto Christ’s feet.  It was her greatest offering.  I am just like that.  His glory is kept contained until I break.  But when I break, when I leave the pieces alone, that’s when I can be a fragrant offering.  That’s when His glory and Spirit are released and I can just rest in Him, just rest knowing all I need do is be obedient-just do the next thing He asks of me.  No more trying to fix, trying to make sense-just resting in Him.  My thoughts no longer need to be on what I can do, developing a plan to restore or fix, but my thoughts can be solely focused on His word, which is truth.

I am still taking it all in.  I am thinking of scripture after scripture I want to go back and visit, read again.  I can’t contain my hunger to just be in His word.  My prayers these past few days are not begging prayers.  They have just been prayers of adoration, laying before Him the problem, the request and then listening.  I know I am going to struggle.  My personality is one of order, planning, fixing.  I will fall.  I will be tempted and I will give in to temptation, picking up the pieces, but I am praying daily He quickly convicts and reminds me how good freedom in Him feels.