My Right Now Life

learning to fully embrace this moment and fully live right now…


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Get Out of the Boat!

A while back, a friend told me about something she had heard on the radio.  As she flipped through the stations, she caught the tail-end of a conversation.  We don’t know who it was, or even what program it was on.  The voice came through the speakers in her car and asked, “When Peter decided to hop out of a fishing boat in a storm and walk on the water toward Jesus, which of his feet was harder to get out of the boat?”

My friend said she thought this message was for me.  Turns out, she was right.

Because I was in the middle of a storm.  It felt a little like the ship was going down.  Everything I was comfortable with and felt secure in was being tossed around, much like a ship in a hurricane.

And yet, I heard Jesus calling to me, “Come.”

As in, “Come to Me… Trust me… Just take a step.”

I thought about the question asked by that pastor.  Here Peter is, in a boat in a storm, and he thinks he sees a ghost out on the water.  When he realizes, it’s not a ghost, but instead it’s Jesus, Peter gets this crazy idea.  It sounds almost like a dare, a challenge:  “If that’s really you, Jesus… then tell me to get out of the boat.”

How many times in my life have I taken the same approach with God?  In my doubt, in my fear, in my pride… I’ve said it, too:  “If that’s really you, Jesus, then tell me to do this crazy thing that makes no logical sense.”  Because in my heart, I’m thinking there’s no way that crazy thing can happen, and God would never ask me to walk on water (or quit my job, or end a relationship, or get help for that addiction, or a million other crazy things).  And yet at the same time, something in me actually wants to do the crazy stuff for God because I want to know that God can be trusted.  I want to watch the miracle.

I think… God can use a heart like that.  The heart that just wants to trust, even if on the surface it is stubborn and prideful.  For me, my stubborn pride is just the outer veneer of a heart that really just desperately longs to do the impossible so that I can tell others how God is changing me.

I wonder if that’s what Peter was thinking, too.  I wonder if Peter really longed to see God do the miracle, and his “dare” was just an indirect way of asking Jesus to do something big.

Jesus did.  He simply said, “Come.”

Ok – so it’s one thing to say, “Ok, God.  I trust you.  And if you want me to leap out of this boat and do the impossible, I will.”  But DOING it?  One leg out, then the other… That’s a whole different animal!

So which one of Peter’s feet required more faith to get out of the boat?  I think it could go either way, but for me, I think it’s the second foot.

Because in my own life, I’ve had countless moments of bold courage where nothing was going to keep me from doing that crazy thing.  Nothing!  I’m going to kick that habit, work on that issue, tackle that problem in my own heart… But then when I throw my first leg over the side of the boat, it gets wet.  I realize it really is just water and it’s impossible to walk on water… In my human-ness, I pull back. My humanity says stay in the boat!  I recoil.  All my courage disappears.  I start thinking maybe I need to just stay where it is safe and comfortable.  Even in the storm, when I think the ship is going down, I still tend to believe that the chaos of the boat is safer than going out on the water toward Jesus.

And yet… I know that I cannot live my life with one leg in the water and the other in the boat.  Jesus never called me to safe and comfortable.  Jesus calls me to surrender, and that means ALL of me.  Both legs.

Slowly (sometimes it’s painfully slow!), I swing my second leg over the side of the boat, and I feel my weight shift as I stand up on the water.  And that bold courage I had?  It melts into sheer dependence.

I imagine Peter standing in awe and amazement as he watches the waves crash around his legs.  I imagine him slowly looking up and meeting the eyes of Christ with his own.  Oh the wonder he must have felt in that moment!  I also imagine him realizing his own weight.  His sin, his baggage, his story… When he thought about how heavy it all was, he started to sink.  And yet, Jesus said “Come.”  As long as Peter focused on Jesus, he stood.

As I stand in the water, it is no longer about me or my own strength.  I’m not strong enough to hold my own weight anymore.  The beautiful part of the story is that I don’t have to be!  Jesus took all of my weight on the cross, and I am feather-light when I choose to become completely and utterly dependent on Him.  Sinking comes when I focus on me, but as long as my eyes are on Christ, I stand.

This New Year, I want to live on the water.  In both calm seas and storms, I want to be brave enough to get the second leg out of the boat!  But more than that, I want to learn the kind of bravery that only comes from a place of sheer dependence on God.  I want to allow Christ to hold my weight, as I boldly focus on taking steps toward Him.  It is through “second leg faith” and raw dependence that I will become truly BRAVE.

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Fill

GO.

Fill.  I could use me some of that.  I need to be filled.  Am I the only one?

Life is draining.  Kids and jobs and relationships and to-do’s… not to mention the struggle in my own skin as I walk through my own healing journey.

Sometimes I feel so… empty.

A few weeks ago I sat in a room full of kids at a vacation Bible camp.  The large group leader was talking about God’s love… how it’s limitless and pure and free.

I watched as she reached for a pitcher of water.  She then poured that water into a smaller container.  As she slowly poured, she talked about how God’s love is like this water… pouring out onto us if we can just be open enough to receive it.

As she continued to pour the water, and the smaller container filled up, I noticed the kids were still.  Their big eyes just watched the water pouring out.  Nothing could distract them.

And then it happened.  The smaller container overflowed. It poured out into a shallow tray. At that moment, the kids all smiled.  Some laughed out loud.  I noticed a huge smile spread across my own face.

Because God’s love makes us joyful.  His Love not only fills my emptiness (which in itself is amazing!), but then I overflow.  And when I am full of His Love to the point of overflowing, it spills out all around me… into those very things that drain me.

My kids, my job, my relationships, my to-do’s… and yes, even that healing journey.  All of those areas of my life are touched… and healed… by Love.

If I can just be open to receive it.

STOP.

 

 


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Five Minute Friday: Mighty

It’s FRIDAY!!  Time for Five Minute Friday.  Don’t forget to check out the link-up.

Today’s word: MIGHTY.

GO!

 

Mighty.  Having great strength or power, especially for one’s size.

Mighty.  Like that boy named David who goes out to defeat the giant Goliath.

Or like the little boy who battles cancer.

Or the little girl who fights for survival in a house of shame and secrets and lies.

Mighty.

Great strength or power.  Especially for one’s size.

It is GOD’s great strength AND power in me that makes me mighty.

My own strength gets me nowhere.  David knew he had God with him.  But I think he also knew he had God WITHIN him.  He tapped into THAT strength, and the giant went down.

The thing is, David didn’t even have to be strong on his own.  And yet, so often I think I do.

I think my might comes from me.  I have to be strong enough.

But that’s not God’s expectation.  God’s expectation is that I am actually not so strong.  But He wants to BE MY STRENGTH.

David was a little boy with a rock.

But our might isn’t in the rock.  It is in He who is within us… the ROCK.

It’s HIM who is mighty.  And it’s HIM who makes me MIGHTY.

 

STOP.

 


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Heard

“But Mom!  He…”

She’s 5 and she wants me to know what her brother did.  She wants me to hear her side of the story.

I take a deep breath.  “I know what he did.  But we are talking about what you did.”

Again, she replies, “But he…”

My 8-year-old is trying to get his side of the story out, too.  It’s a war of “who started it” and the volume increases.

I wish I would have prayed and listened in that moment.  Maybe it was the fact that we were in the grocery store and I was preoccupied.  Maybe it was the attention we were drawing to ourselves.  I don’t know… I just wanted the sibling fighting to end and for there to be some kind of peace until we could get out of the store.

Sometimes I’m human and I miss the real issue.

Later I remember the fighting that broke out in the cereal aisle.  I choose to pray and I choose to listen.  I know they just wanted to be heard. Their argument was very real to both of them, but I think, more than anything, they wanted to know I was listening.

And I wish I would have held them both close and whispered the words they needed most in that moment:  “I hear you.”

She is 5 and he is 8 and they want to be heard, and I am 30 and I’m not so different.  It’s not always about who is right and who is wrong.  Sometimes it’s about whether or not my voice really matters.

Because when I was a child, many times it didn’t.  Abuse and lies and secrecy and shame:  those things can silence a soul pretty quickly.  As a kid I was silenced, but as an adult I scream.

Sometimes I scream and I flail and I wrestle, not as much in the cereal aisle as in relationships and in my own skin.  Sometimes I try so hard to make sure someone hears me.

“Do you HEAR that it hurts?”

“Do you SEE what he did?”

Sometimes I need someone to say those 3 words to me.  “I hear you.”

I’ve tried this approach with my kids since the day in the cereal aisle.  I’ve pulled her close and affirmed her feelings.  “I hear you.”  I’ve stroked his hair and wrapped him in my arms.  “I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

They relax in my arms.  Somehow tantrums die quickly when we know someone cares about how we feel.  Somehow the things we are so upset about seem much smaller when we know we are heard.  And when we know we are heard, and we are loved, it makes it easier to work through whatever that thing is that has us so upset.

And as I do that for my kids, God does that for me.  That’s the thing about God.  He’s a good Dad.  He doesn’t miss the real issue like I so often do.  He knows my tantrums are likely about more than what is seen on the surface.  And He longs to pull me close and wrap me in His arms and whisper those words to me.

“I hear you.  It was wrong.  I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

Those words comfort my kids.  And they comfort me… those words are balm to very deep wounds.

I can stop flailing and let Him hold me.  When I know I am loved, I don’t need to struggle.  I can rest.  I can be present with the God who hears me.

RIGHT NOW, in this moment… I am heard.


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Five Minute Friday: Crowd

{It’s Friday!  Actually, it’s Saturday where I am, but Friday got away from me somehow!  But it can still be time for Five Minute Friday, right??  The rules are simple:  A one-word prompt.  5 minutes of focused writing.  No editing.  And then we link up here to see what God has put on hearts all over blog-world  🙂 }

Today’s (yesterday’s) word:  Crowd

GO.

Remember that woman who had the blood disorder?  The one who fought through the crowd to get to Jesus?  Every cultural standard said she shouldn’t have been there.  I would imagine that every person she touched as she fought through the crowd knew it… I’m sure SHE knew it.

Some days, I don’t need to fight through a literal crowd of people to get to Jesus.  Some days, the voices in my head are enough of a crowd.

“Who do you think you are?”

“You can’t…”

“You aren’t enough, remember?”

“You are damaged, broken.”

“No one wants you here.”

And yet, in the middle of all of that noise, that chaos, that confusion… there is Jesus.  Jesus, who not only speaks truth, but HE IS THE TRUTH.  And if I can just get through the crowd of voices to HIM…

If I can touch even the edge of the garment of the TRUTH…

He meets me there.  Every time.

“My child.  YOU are enough.  You can.  I love you.”

And the crowd goes silent.

STOP


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Five Minute Friday: Willing

{It’s Friday!  And that means it’s time for Five Minute Friday!  The rules are simple:  A one-word prompt.  5 minutes of focused writing.  No editing.  And then we link up here to see what God has put on hearts all over blog-world  🙂 }

This week’s word:  WILLING

Go.

Sometimes… the way things work out just makes me shake my head and say “Really, God??”

And I just sort of throw up my hands in surrender and say, “Ok, God… I get it!”

You may have noticed that I didn’t do FMF last week.  The word was “choose”… and I “chose” not to…

And so it’s 2am when I see the prompt for today:  Willing.

Ok God… so sometimes I am just not willing.

Sometimes I am not willing… sometimes I choose not to.

I don’t know why.

But I do know that God works his best miracles through people who have willing, surrendered hearts…not necessarily those who are most qualified, most “put-together”, the ones with the best resumes.  God works his absolute best miracles in those who are willing.

So… today Lord… help me be willing.

STOP


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Still… (For When the Winds Blow – Part 2)

So that flag at the top of the flagpole, the one feeling tattered and torn?  Yep, she needs this today.  You too, maybe?

She tries to hang on and she tries to stop flailing.  She even tries to stop the blustery thoughts that whip her around and tear at the threads that hold her together.  She is so afraid that she will be rejected or abandoned that she tries desperately to hold on to anything that makes her feel secure.

Maybe in all her trying, she is forgetting the most important thing.  She doesn’t need to hold on.  She needs to be held.

(Casting Crowns has a great song about this very idea:  “Just Be Held”)

She is held.  The flagpole is secure.  And it’s not going anywhere.  It holds her.

If she remembers she is loved, she can rest.  She can stop flailing and simply rest in His Love.

She forgets sometimes, but she can be still.  She can be still because HE is still:  He is still on the throne.  He is still faithful.  He is still a good father.  He is still loving her… and will always be.

That’s security.

If He is Love, then Love is in his very essence… and Love is in His presence.  And this Love is strong and powerful and secure.

The wind is no match for His Presence.

He can quiet any storm.  And He can quiet her.  He quiets her with His Love (Zephaniah 3:17).

As she takes a deep breath, the winds subside, and she feels herself relax into the security of the Flagpole.

She is held.


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Five Minute Friday: Small

{It’s Friday!  And that means it’s time for Five Minute Friday!  The rules are simple:  A one-word prompt.  5 minutes of focused writing.  No editing.  And then we link up here to see what God has put on hearts all over blog-world  🙂 }

GO:

Small.

It’s how I feel sometimes.  Like in the grand scheme of the universe… planets and stars and galaxies.  Even in just the one planet we live on, our little corner of the universe… billions of people and places and fish in the sea and animals roaming…

I am so, so small.

And yet God cares about me.  And you.  He cares about every blade of grass and every feather of every bird.  And He cares about every single one of us.

The God who holds every single star in place in the sky cares about every hair on my head. He deeply cares about every detail of my life.

The God who is so vast and big and indescribable takes care of me.

He doesn’t think I’m small.  He doesn’t think I am insignificant.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  He thinks I am infinitely more important than anything else on his agenda.  You too.  He thinks that way about each one of us.  It’s a wild thought…

STOP


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For When the Winds Blow

This winter has been relentless!

Snow and ice and cold air… this “Arctic Blast” has taken its toll on nearly everyone I know.  The general consensus is that spring is not coming soon enough!

Isn’t it funny that in December winter seems magical and enchanting (who doesn’t dream of a white Christmas?), but come January (and now well into February), winter is just annoying and exhausting?

For me, the wind might be my least favorite part of winter.  It’s just cold… bone-chilling cold.  The way it tends to swirl around and change directions make it seem unpredictable and fickle.

Those of us with control issues don’t like unpredictable or fickle. Continue reading


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Icicles

It’s been several weeks ago now.  I was sitting in my car with some time to kill because I was early for an appointment. Just the day before, a pretty significant snow storm rolled through, but that storm was gone now and all that was left was cold air, sunshine, and a snow-blanket on the ground.  I don’t know what made me notice, but the sunlight was hitting the mirror on my car door in just the right way and drops of melting snow sparkled and shimmered. I watched as the snow melted into drops of water that swelled until they couldn’t hang onto the car anymore, and then they fell to the ground.  Drop after drop formed… the same way, with the same result.  Continue reading