How many times have young moms been in the trenches and needed someone older to swoop us up in their seasoned survivor arms, hug us tight and remind us of the truth? How many times have we not cried out for help because we were ashamed to? Because someone along the way told us that asking for help meant weakness? Tired, worn out and frustrated mamas – this is for you.
Category Archives: perspective
In cleaning up my computer files recently I ran across this story that I’d saved years ago. I can’t remember why I saved it but apparently I liked it then and I still like it now. I’m still pondering this fresh start that 2016 has brought me. Peter’s story reminds me to be careful to not rush through and wish my days away, not even the hard ones or not so fun ones. I should like to savor the moments and the memories of each day. “I should like to live my life again as if for the first time…”
So we got to our little cabin in the woods on Sunday to bring in our 28th year of marriage. We made taco soup for dinner and began looking for a cheese grater. We’ve been on this search in cabins before. Apparently cheese graters aren’t used by everyone so they’re not commonly stocked in places we go. We dug around looking and looking. There was no cheese grater to be found.
I’m almost 50. Just typing that out seems so bizarre. Not that 50 is old but I don’t think of myself as being half a century old. But alas, ‘tis true. The wrinkles don’t lie. I don’t mind getting old. I like that my hands look like my mom’s. I like that I have stories.
“But God, this is not fair.” “But God, I don’t want to.” “But God, I can’t.” “But God, this is too hard.” “But God, what if they don’t love me back?” “But God, I don’t have time for this.” “But God, I’m so tired.”
No matter how bad our day is, our month, our year, our life… it could be worse.
Over my years and through my personal struggles, God has always been faithful to give me perspective. Even if I didn’t ask for it. But most of the time I did. I don’t take pleasure in knowing that someone is worse off than me. Not at all and quite the contrary. It brings me comfort to know that someone has gone through “it” and is still surviving. Still putting one foot in front of the other and stumbling forward.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
No one ever promises us that we will not have trouble, that life will be easy. In fact, we are told that we will have trouble and life will be hard. Even if you aren’t a Believer unless you had ridiculously optimistic parents, we are raised to know that we will face adversity in life. And if you had great parents, you were taught how to work through those adversities. But often an adversity comes that we just weren’t taught how to navigate. Didn’t expect. Didn’t choose. Didn’t want. And it’s bigger than big. Bigger than life. Consuming.
We humans are quite resilient. Our hearts can take on so much and still keep ticking as long as we have hope. You know this to be true because you’ve lived it. I’m sure you have. If you’re reading this, your heart is still ticking and you know what hope looks like. Maybe a glimmer of hope, maybe a truck load but we all know hope. We all have. How resilient are we anyway? To answer that question, look around you today.
Have you ever seen the movie Date Night? The Fosters, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, and are sitting at dinner playing “What’s the story?”, guessing the stories of those at tables around them. The problem with that is that they’re guessing. That has very little to do with perspective, but I use it as an illustration (maybe a bit lame but hey, I’m only on my first cuppa so just go with it) that we should take our eyes off of ourselves for a minute and look around. Look around and get involved with someone else’s story. Not their pretend story but their real story. Look around and get out of your own for just a few. Man, we can get so bogged down in our own muck, can’t we? All too often we can’t see beyond the end of our nose.
In my moments of being consumed by my adversities, some days God has put perspective right smack in my face but most days I have to pay attention and be looking for it. It could be the sweet face of one of our sponsor girls in Kenya. Talk about perspective. It could be having to strap my own kid into a full upper body prison of plastic and metal before bed while I go curl up in my comfortable bed to sleep. Perspective. It could be that couple who has walked through hell and back in their relationship or is walking through hell to get back but they made it or they aren’t giving up. That’s perspective. It could be knowing that right now, all over the world and right “down the street from me”, young women and girls are being forced to do things they probably didn’t choose to do with their lives and bodies. All the while I sit in my comfortable and air conditioned living room with our two dogs napping peacefully, sipping my coffee in peace and typing this up on my MacBook laptop with my feet propped up. Yeah, perspective.
My problems just don’t seem so huge when perspective is in play. Not that my problems, your problems, aren’t problems. Not that they aren’t very real and not that they still don’t need to be dealt with, but our problems just aren’t so overwhelming and hopeless when we see them through the lens of perspective.
How do we get to the place where we can be patient in affliction?
A big plate of perspective with a generous side of gratitude.
This is one of those times when I tell you that I’m not rockin’ the whole be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful bit. But can we lift each other up today? Offer each other a helping of our own perspectives? You pray for me and I’ll pray for you sort of deal? Can we lean into to the one who has promised us that He has overcome the world?
I sure HOPE so…
What is your perspective today? Please share in the comments. Let’s encourage one another.
Moms’ Night Out… I really enjoy this movie. I’ve actually watched it several times. Yes, the movie is a bit over the top cheeseballs in parts but I found it very entertaining and refreshing. This clip makes me tear up every time I watch it.
Gosh, we’ll just never feel like we’re enough will we? So we strive…
I watched a live chat between CeCe Winans and Priscilla Shirer (both AMAZING women!) where I heard CeCe Winans say something like this,
“Our believing (in God) should be everything. When it’s not everything, we can’t have joy in anything. There aren’t many smiles. Nothing else will ever be enough. There will always be a striving.”
Wow. Like jaw dropping wow…
Most days I long for rest from the striving. Striving has sort of become a way of life. To strive to be a better Mom. To strive to be a better wife. To strive to be a better volunteer. To strive to write this better. To strive to keep a cleaner house. To strive to eat healthier. To strive to keep friendships from falling apart. To try to please my family. To strive to make a dinner every night. To strive to…. It’s what most of us do in all areas of our life. We’re really good at striving. Not so good at resting. What would I do with my self if I wasn’t striving for something. And if I’m honest with myself, I know I’m striving because I’m not resting in God first.
And that is not simple at all nor is it helpful to anyone I do life with. Mostly myself.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 The Message
I recently made some homemade tandoori seasoning. It is made by placing all the ingredients in a hot pan and heating them all together for a minute or so to release the goodness. The recipe says “toss ingredients in hot pan… until each of the spices smell heavenly”. And oh it did! Then I took all of the heated spices and put them in my mortar and pestle and ground them together discarding the unwanted bits such as the cardamom shells. My whole house smelled like an Indian restaurant. That, by the way, is perfectly fine with me!
I went to church that same night and kept smelling my tandoori self. Having previously lived in SE Asia, it made me wonder if, to those I was sitting next to, I smelled like people I’d sat next to on the bus or MRT. Indian spices are so strong and permeate every fiber of your clothing and every hair on your head. It’s a wonderful but very strong aroma. And one which many do not necessarily care for.
So, as I sat there smelling like I rolled around in a tub of tandoori seasoning, I thought about how Jesus should permeate every fiber, ever hair. Do I smell like him?
After the bible study I asked the friend I sat next to if she could smell me. She said she couldn’t. I was actually kind of disappointed.
I rather like smelling like Indian food but I want to smell like Jesus more. Gotta work on that.
Lord, heat up all of my ingredients until I smell heavenly and then grind me with your divine mortar and pestle – discarding the unwanted bits. Permeate every fiber of me so I smell strongly of you. Amen
Does this take you back to your last eye doctor appointment? “Which one looks better, this one or this one?”
So, which one looks better? This one…
or this one?
Sometimes, for me, finding a different perspective is as simple as opening the blinds. Open up your blinds today. Don’t keep yourself all closed in. I know it’s tempting. I have a tendency to play it safe. Stay inside. Keep things closed. Not venture out, but if I don’t open my blinds I could be missing quite a view.
It’s a very dreary, downcast, winter day out there today but it still looks better than the closed blinds, don’t you think?
“Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Open My Eyes That I May See ~Clara H. Scott