An honest reflection of me- in fragments. Imperfect- Grace Covered. Balance. Mom. Wife.
Nurse. Homeschool Teacher. Christ follower first. Second changes. Thankful.

Why You Don't Really Need Life-Group

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The house is hurriedly swept, papers stashed, candles that smell of cookies lit, laundry hidden away, dinner inhaled - dishes entombed, and coffee pressed. Creamer stands in rows like little soldiers flanked by mismatched cups awaiting orders, drink orders, on a white counter top.  While the Aztec candy bowl anticipates little fingers, and big ones too. It's a routine of hospitality and love.

We've visited each other in the hospital
Post babies and post surgery for cancer
We've been rocked by the hurt that happens with sin
And gently rocked each other's little ones to sleep
We've watched fireworks together
Thrown water balloons at each other
Shared our first Passover meal together
Rang in the New Year together
Wii boxed and Just-Danced our way to exhaustion
And eaten lots of BBQ together
We've shared our hurts, and held each other up when by ourselves we were inadequate;
Through the pain of miscarriage
The unknown of jobs lost
The draining emotion of cancer
Trying and tiring lupus symptoms
The uncontrollable cycles of OCD and anxiety
The loss of loved ones
Difficult pregnancies
And concussion dysfunction
We've put band aids on imaginary owies of toddlers
And bandaged our hearts following the loss of a relationship
We've written notes of encouragement and opened the Word together
We've prayed for healing, for sleep, for repentance, for jobs, for perseverance, for babies, for help, for wisdom, for understanding, for courage, for patience, for speech, for school decisions, for sanity,  to do what's right, to say no, to know when to say yes, and for forgiveness
We've held each other accountable and given each other grace
We've laid hands on friends leaving
And eaten lots of brownies - LOTS
We've laughed together
And Cried together
We've Listened to each other
Not known what to say
Sat in silence together
Conquered fears together
And challenged each other
We've shared stories, tools, talents, dreams, and time
We've made meals for each other
Raked leaves for others
Watched movies together
Enjoyed the lake together
Decorated for VBS and Fall Fun Fest together
And walked neighborhoods collecting food bank donations together
We've painted rooms, repaired dry wall
Moved furniture, and play sets
And babysat for each other
We've asked each other for help
We've worried for each other
And been encouraged by one another
We've shared joy, celebrated with each other because when someone you love is rejoicing you do too; Babies by adoption and babies by the other way
New jobs
Promotions at old jobs
The feat of potty training completion
And watching those babies grow up and choose to be baptized
We've shared in the difficulties of parenting, having in-laws, marriage, single-ness, work stress, and choices
We've trudged upstream amidst life's trials
And floated down river together, both figuratively and literally

When you spend once a week times nine years together the friendship that grew from coffee, a bowl of candy and brownies morphs into more.  Into family.  Because it's not about obedience or hospitality.  It's about the life that's lived in between the weekly coffee and creamer. The life that's shared. It's in the BBQ eaten and the movies watched and the girl's nights and the way they love your kids. It's in the way they listen, and how you feel comfortable sharing your needs and imperfections with them.

So when the floors don't get swept, and the laundry hangs on the couch instead of in the closet, and the creamer isn't standing at attention, they pretend not to notice, any of it - the clothes, the dirt, and the missing creamer. They move past the mess, hug you on the way to grab a mug and open the fridge to find the creamer.

So, you see - you don't really need a life-group
You don't need to give away one night a week
You don't need to be vulnerable or let people into your business
You may not think you need prayer
Or people to listen to you
Or people to be quiet with you
Truth is, Life-group doesn't make life easier
But it does make it better
And you'll have more brownies

I choose brownies,
And life lived in between weekly coffee and creamer
Because I do need it.

Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr

Psalm Series

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Beating heart, is it steadfast?

Blessed to be a part of the Psalms Series with Katie Reid

Today, I write in fragmented poetic lines and beg the question-
Do you worship?  
Is your heart fixed in direction, firm in purpose, resolved?
Join me in reading Psalms 108
And my blog post here at Echoes of My Heart - Deep Breaths: Psalm 108 Harmony of Grace

Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr

The Hand That Holds

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Twisting hair into braids 

Pouring the morning cup 

Interlocked - connecting one to another

The rough texture of his is familiar and comforting, always open and ready to hold mine
Or the way she takes her little version of mine, painted nails, soft skin, and lets me lead her
Or how on mine I write His Word

Because, somedays I know I won't want to keep going
And because everyday I need it
I need Him
When I am afraid, unsure, and feel myself sinking
Busy is easy
But I find my hands are strongest when they're still
Joined with his  
Folded in prayer

I need to remember when it's easy and when it's hard 
- It's HIS hand that holds me

"I will strengthen you and help you; I will hold you up with my righteous right hand"
- Isaiah 41:10

And so when He asks me to use my hands to glorify Him
To write the note
To twist hair into braids
To change diapers
To pour the coffee and pack the pb&j for the 8,965th time
To give and serve those in need
To raise in worship
To lead 
To hold onto another

I can 
I will
Because He is holding me
No task too small
No task too big
For these hands
This life
Is held up 
And Strengthened
By His Righteous Hand

Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday and on twitter at #fmfparty
Tonight's prompt - Hands
Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr

My Teacher The Past

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The events of the past can not be undone
There are days I wish I could undo them
And moments when we sit and laugh at the times of uncertainty
In our limited view we ask questions that need not be asked 
And we lack answers for the questions that require simple faith 

The bravest choice my parents ever made
Was to let me learn
To let me fail
To let me come to a place where I needed HIM
Unable to see the future they prayed for me, fought for me, and waited for me

HE knew the path I would choose
HE knew how I would hurt HIM, and avoid HIM, 
It wasn't okay, but HE also knew how I would come to need HIM
For in that place of sin, of failure of need
I would learn
Learn from my mistakes, and doubts and questions and lies
How HE had always been there and always would be
Learn, How I took Him for granted
How I didn't understand Him
Learn, How doubt isn't always a bad thing
But how ignoring Him always is
I thought there was something I could do to keep Him close or that my choices would push Him away - 
Turns out
HE is always the SAME
It's me who changes

The effects of my choices, and my learning are sensed in the now
I can not undo the sin
But Jesus has covered it 
And when I reflect on the person I was
I don't see the ugly choices - all I see is the learning
The grace
The waiting
The praying
The faith that was growing, and becoming my own
I was broken and conflicted
I am not anymore
But it's not because I'm special 
It's because I'm surrendered
Surrendered to a GOD who is always the SAME
And a miracle worker
And changing me
Working miracles in me

Living in faith isn't easy
But it's freeing
It's beautiful and covered in grace 
Grace that says
There is joy in the everyday, even the days void of happy 
There is a life of abundance I have planned for you - choose to breathe it in, hear my voice
There is forgiveness for your mistakes, because you're still going to make them 
Accept It
There is light to guide your steps - choose to take the road less traveled
There is a hope for your future - choose to see beyond this broken world

What have you learned from your past?

Linking up with #TestimonyTuesday

Holly Barrett
Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr

Favorite Reflections

  • I've been on a silent journey For a year, I explained the pain and weakness away, it was the gardening or hormones or in my hea...
  • Dear Baby Girl (you're gone) -- You would be five, but your body never was and instead you're just a beautiful soul I don'...
  • The word rolled off her tongue and I was frozen I couldn't have just heard what my brain is telling me I heard Not from her, Beautifu...
  • The house is hurriedly swept, papers stashed, candles that smell of cookies lit, laundry hidden away, dinner inhaled - dishes entombed, and...
  • Being a nurse was always where my heart was set So all the Sunday dinners I missed I can not regret Because caring for others' hurts, ...
  • There's orange shag carpet covering the floor Cards slide across the wooden table as kids make sound effects from behind the couch The...
  • My sweet sisters, You proudly proclaim God as sovereign and Lord and resign to His timing in so much of your life,  But, concer...
  • It's a mindless phrase I pray Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for this day But today A wife woke up to an empty place in her bed ...
  • To all the Mom's  Sacrifice comes easy at first, it starts with your body and then it's your sleep - until you realize it'...
  • I sat on top of a mountain The majesty of creation stretched before me Pairs of eyes gazed into mine With quivering knees A vulnerable h...