Being Lonely

This blog post by Lysa T. has rumbled through my feeds and emails these past weeks.  At first, it was just the headline – “If you ever feel lonely, read this.”  That initiated a skim, but not a reading.  Then, it appeared in my Facebook posts…I read a little more and thought – wow, this is more than just your normal “you are lonely, trust in God” post.   Still, though, it took one more pop up in my email for me to sit and read.  And absorb.  The line that began the deep dive:

And the great thing about gathering with people you just know you’re going to bond with is that they will get you. Really get you … like on the level of having inside jokes that makes every conversation comfortable and delightful.  I couldn’t wait to be with these people…

I have been there – exactly at that point – and had the same type of thing happen – being so alone amidst the many who were supposed to KNOW you were feeling lonely and be your BFF, right?  And then later on in the story, she says:

I wasn’t just in this place (feeling rejected) at the dinner that night. I’ve been in whole seasons of my life where, though I had people around, I felt quite alone in my calling.

20141216_LysaBut then there is hope, and as usual it is all about perspective.  What if I view this time differently, as Lysa says?

There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to look past being set aside to see God’s call for her to be set apart.
Oh Lord – is that how you’d have me view those seasons?  I have been through those, been on the other side of those seasons, and I know there will be more ahead.  They are hard.  Lonely.  Full of doubt and questions of your calling and gifting – especially when it seems my unique gifts don’t fit in the normal box what those around me have (or so it seems).  But, Who created me?  Who made me with these giftings and gave me my calling?  Who made me unique and designed me from my mother’s womb?  And if it is the same Who who walks alongside me now, it makes little sense to doubt Him now.  Rather, wouldn’t it make more sense to lean into Him, trusting Him, asking for His comfort, as He is the great Comforter.
I’ll end with the wisdom that Lysa T shared in her blog on next steps when you are feeling this way.   Take the time to read her whole post – it is well worth it.  Thank you, Lysa, for sharing.

1. Look for the gift of being humbled.

Proverbs 11:2b reminds us that “with humility comes wisdom” (NIV). In this set apart place, God will give you special wisdom you’ll need for the assignment ahead.

2. Look for the gift of being lonely.

This will develop in you a deeper sense of compassion for your fellow travelers. You better believe when I walk into a conference now I look for someone sitting alone and make sure they know someone noticed them.

3. Look for the gift of silence.

Had I been surrounded by the voices of those people I was so eager to meet that night, I would have surely missed the voice of God. I’m trying to weave more silence into the rhythm of my life now so I can whisper, “God what might You want to say to me right now? I’m listening.”

I know it can be painful to be alone. And I know the thoughts of being set aside are loud and overwhelmingly tempting to believe in the hollows of feeling unnoticed and uninvited.

But as you pray through your feelings, see if maybe your situation has more to do with you being prepared than you being overlooked.

There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to look past being set aside to see God’s call for her to be set apart.

Dear Lord, help me see the gifts hidden in this season of loneliness. I’m believing today that I’m set apart, not set aside. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 15:16a, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you.” (NLT)

– See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/if-you-ever-feel-lonely-read-this/#sthash.1oM2S0Ac.dpuf

20 years of cards

Back in 1997, I read an article in Martha Stewart Magazine about Christmas cards.  They had all sorts of ways to display the cards you receive.  One that I thought was fantastic was having a long wide ribbon display the cards of that year.  I began that year by going back to our first year of marriage/Christmas together – 1993 – and have done one ribbon every year since. That makes 20 ribbons to display this year.

It is so fun to look back on the cards and see how art has changed, designs have changed, and even to see signatures of folks who have since passed.  In the beginning I would have to choose the most important cards (i.e. family cards) versus the pretty ones.  These days, I seem to barely get enough cards that aren’t the photo cards!  Maybe one day I’ll acquiesce and add in photo cards.  But, for now, we are still doing it the old fashioned way!  (And the funny part – I can’t take a picture of all them anymore because they don’t fit on one wall!

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13…

Our daughter turned 13 yesterday.  I knew it was coming.  I’d talked about it for a while.  But, the reality struck yesterday when the day of celebration was over.  I am the mother of a 13 year old.  I, the one who remembers exactly what I was doing/saying/writing/thinking when I was 13.  I, the one who still doesn’t have it together, yet am the mother of 13 year old, so shouldn’t I have it together?

For some reason I thought I’d be ‘over’ some of the issues I still have as a mother of a 13 year old – you know, peer acceptance, fitting in, looking the right way and not being a dork, not to mention the parenting side of worrying about money to pay for the things needed for a growing child.  Does this mean I’ll be plagued by this for a long long time still?  Ugh – I hope not.  And ugh, I hope I don’t transfer all of that to my children, but somehow, someway, I am afraid I do.  I want to transfer confidence and grace, I really do.

So, now what.  13 years of trying and I still don’t have it together.  Sure, some things are better, but I still have a long way to go!

One thing I do know, though, is that my Savior doesn’t give up on me, nor does He give up on our children.  His mercies are new each morning; His strength will carry us through; He goes before, beside, and behind me; and I can trust Him.  He is a good God.  So, I will continue to turn to the Source of my salvation, the Source of my being, and the one who created and designed me and each of my children for a unique purpose.  And, I’ll throw in a bit of chocolate along the way.  😉

30 Seconds

We have been watching some of the Winter Olympics.  The skill, the dedication, and the amazing physical prowess of so many of the athletes is stunning.  The thing that gets me every time, though, is the thought of how much time, energy, money, effort, sacrifices, and sweat have gone into their one shot at a medal.  How many things have they sacrificed and put off for a simple, yet complex, 30 seconds of the ‘performance of a life time?’  And, I always wonder when it is done – when the Olympics are over, do they ever wonder if it was worth it?  Do they ever regret sacrificing so much for 30 seconds of their life?
Then, I take it a bit further – how much time do I waste in the nonsensical earthly things that don’t matter and continually push away a time to chat with my Creator?  How much emotional and physical energy do I waste on the worrying and the fretting and the posturing and the puffing ‘up’-ing and the ego bossting that gets me no where.  It causes me heartache and headache, and all the while my Heavenly Father is waiting for me at the end of my exhaustion and selfishness, simply asking me to rest in Him, wait on Him and have the best 30 seconds of my life.

Heart

Little known fact about me – I’ve had heart surgery (darn, now I can’t win any of those 2 truths and a lie contests….).  It was not open-heart surgery, rather it was an ablation for a condition I had had since I was a teenager (called PSVT- paroxyl supra ventricular tachycardia).  I digress, this post is not about those details, but about a gift a sweet friend made for me after my surgery.

We were put together in a woman-woman mentoring class.  We met each week at Caribou Coffee to discuss “Journey of Desire” by John Etheridge.  She was younger than me, even though I felt pretty young at 29…..and she was a wonderful designer.  We talked much about life, marriage, dreams, goals, and, inevitably,  my surgery.  After I recovered  and was well, she came to Caribou with a purse for me (if you know me at all, you know I love purses/bags/totes, etc.) .  She had designed it and inside had sewn a verse for me-

“I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.”  Psalm 119:32

I think I cried, or at least I know I did on the inside, but was tough on the outside to not share that much……I was amazed at how much meaning that verse had to me now that my heart was free…no more worries, no more fear, no more anxiety.  Rather, I could run, literally, and my heart was free.

The simple joys of a friend who listened.  Somehow, I don’t think she knew what an impact that would have on me.  How many people in my life now do I really listen too and know their story?  How many people do I nod, uh-huh, and laugh with, yet 3 minutes later I could not tell you what was said.  Simply said, I need to listen more – really listen.  And who knows- maybe someone’s heart will be set free.