For Our Daughters

Our middle girl turned 15 on Sunday. I can hardly believe it. Our oldest girl turns 20 in two weeks. In December, our youngest turns 14. This is for each one of them…

Slow down, slow down,
my Butterfly —
I know you want to soar
Your wings grow bolder
every day
and stronger than before…

Slow down, slow down,
my Butterfly–
the world’s not black and white
so let God’s wisdom
lead the way
and fuel your graceful flight

Slow down, slow down,
my Butterfly —
soak in God’s love… refill.
Don’t overthink
the simple things,
take time to just be still.

Slow down, slow down,
my Butterfly —
and let me hold your hand
for just a
little longer…
one day you’ll understand.

I know, I know,
my Butterfly —
God gave you wings to soar.
Keep growing bolder
every day
and stronger than before…

I know, I know
my Butterfly–
God’s got you in His sight
He’s wrapped you in
his wisdom and
ordained your graceful flight

I know, I know,
my Butterfly —
I need to just be still
and know that God is
guiding you,
wrapped in His perfect will.

I know, I know,
my Butterfly —
God holds you in His hand
and loves you even more than me?
One day I’ll understand.

But still, slow down,
my Butterfly,
I know you’re gonna soar.
‘Cause every day
you’re bolder,
braver,
stronger than before…

— Donna Earnhardt, August 2017

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Cross posting: SATURDAY NIGHT MUSINGS ON FAITH BY AN IMPERFECT PERSON

I originally posted this to my Facebook page. I felt like I should share it here as well. I wrote it late Saturday night (4/25/15).

********************

This is what I believe — even when I can’t see it…

I am a firm believer that God is in control. Yet I also believe that He gives man free will. It is a dichotomy, for sure. I still believe both statements are true.

There are times that I make a choice that I think is the right one — yet it turns out not to be the best. There are times that I make the absolute right choice — yet others don’t — and their choice affects the outcome of my choice. And…

there are times I make the wrong choice… and it’s not pretty. Ever been there? You’re reading this, and you’re human. So I’m guessing the answer is a big ol’ YES.

We mess up. All of us. But grace… God’s grace! It is a powerful thing. A good and inexplicable thing. And mercy? Something I can’t grasp, but am so thankful for.

A dear friend reminded me of this faith-truth today:

God is for me.
He is not against me.

I have experienced His grace. I have experienced His mercy. I have experienced His forgiveness… and continue to do so every day.

There is a verse that sustains me, no matter the circumstance, that sums up free-will and God’s sovereignty for me…

26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:28)

—–

He is working “it” out — whatever “it” is — for something good.
And the outcome might not look like what we thought it would.
But He will do what He has said.

This I believe.
Even when I can’t see it.

‪#‎latenightmusings‬

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

No, I don’t speak Français.

I don’t even think that I Écriture it correctly.

But I can translate, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” thanks to google. Here you go:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So the more evil there is in the world, the more of God’s power and Grace we need to stand against it.

This is true. It has always been true.

And no matter how much things change, this statement will always be true.

We must be a voice for the voiceless.

http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/overview

 

 

 

Love, Crochet and Boogers

I like Pinterest. It’s fun. It’s cool. I could hang out there for hours.

But I will never be at the “Pinterest-Perfect table”. Not for crocheting. Not for cooking. Not for marriage. Not for parenting. Not for housekeeping, writing, running. Not for anything.

Let me explain…

Sidenote: Be prepared, this is one of the longest posts I’ve written in a while. Go get a cup of coffee. Maybe a blanket. Shoot, you might want to order a pizza. And – if you get to the end and think it is an anti-pinterest post, read it again. You missed the point. Anyway, I digress. Back to the post…

***********

Recently, I started a new crochet project, and I was really, really excited!

I had new yarn, just the right needles and an idea that was going to become reality.

This, my friends, was going to be PINTEREST worthy. It was going to be pinned again, and again, and again… and I was going to be able to point to my project and say, “THIS. This is how you do it, folks!”

But about halfway through the crochet project, I saw that I’d messed up. There were holes in places that were obviously not where they were supposed to be. And I didn’t know how to fix them.

The yarn didn’t look like I thought it would. And in places, it was thinner than it should be.
I also saw that it was taking a lot longer to get my project finished than I had originally thought. I was getting tired. VERY tired. I started to give up a few times on the hot mess I had created.

It was not the perfect project like I’d planned.
***
Often, we look at life like I did my crochet project. We look at it as something that will turn out exactly as we imagined. Something perfect. Something that will transcend time and space, begging poets and musicians to write about us. It’s like we want to point at our marriages, our friendships, our jobs, our children and say, “See? We did it right! Perfect!”

It’s as if we want our life to be Pinterest-worthy so we can show the world how perfect it is. And if our little project goes viral? Well, that would be okay, too. Right?

Wrong.

Families, marriages, relationships, jobs, children… they can’t be framed, put on a shelf, or folded up in just the right way to parade in front of all the other people at the Pinterest-Perfect table.

Truth be told, if you look under that “Pinterest-perfect” table, there are wads of gum and boogers and other stuff stuck underneath, hidden from view. We hide the boogers with pretty, but fake smiles and dissuade folks from looking behind the curtain, lest they recognize the mess that is most certainly underneath the ribbons and bows. What if someone else were to recognize their own mess in our hot mess?

Relationships are hard. Jobs are hard. Parenting is hard. It all takes work. So why do we pretend that it doesn’t?

For example – marriage. Chances are, you are either married now, have been married, or know someone who is or has been married. So take another sip of your coffee and let’s talk about that topic for a minute…

Let’s be honest — marriage doesn’t always look like some steamy romance on the orient express. Sometimes it is pushing through the dirty diapers, late night arguments and early morning blahs. Sometimes marriage looks like a super-messy kitchen, rolling coins to buy groceries and trying really, really hard to sleep when your spouse’s snores have obliterated a small country.

Sometimes marriage has the excitement of a roller coaster, a day at the beach or a day hike along your favorite mountain trail. It is a snuggle on the couch, a kiss on the forehead and a whispered, “I love you” when you need it the most. It can be like your favorite t-shirt. The one with all the holes that you wear as often as possible because is it your favorite t-shirt ever. It’s got holes, it needs a good washing… like I said, it’s your favorite. Yeah… you know the one I’m talking about!

Some days, marriage can look like a stroll  in the park or a game of MarioKart followed by a chocolate shake from Dairy Queen. It can look like spring cleaning and listening to the oldies, with an impromptu dance in the kitchen. Or it can look like sitting in the same room, mad as fire, refusing to talk until the other person apologizes. Yeah… it can look like all that.

The good, the bad and ugly… marriage has it all.

And unfortunately, sometimes the mess is just too much. And in those instances, sometimes there are too many holes — and they are just too big. And sometimes, there is too much ugliness… and not enough love. And if the bad outweighs the good, sometimes marriages (like all relationships) can unravel past the point of repair.

But I don’t know anyone who enjoys going through that.  It’s hard and it hurts. Many people I love have walked that road — and it was not an easy one to travel. And I, for one, can’t throw any stones. Can you?

Because much like Pinterest, marriage is often full of fails. But it’s not just marriage. It’s all relationships. We can get caught up in ourselves and how our lives look to outsiders instead of focusing on how to love each other better.

We are a society full of people who need the Lord’s grace, mercy and forgiveness more than we need anything or anyone else… but we aren’t always willing to admit that. And why? Because we would have to admit that we aren’t perfect.

But life is not a project. It is an intimate journey that has to be walked in honesty. Marriage, parenting, friendships, jobs… you name it… we have to walk it together. And we have to decide not to be afraid to be real about the mess under the table — the gum, boogers, holes and all. That’s the only way it will work. It’s the only way we can grow.
***

As for that crochet project I started? It’s for my Pookie Bear. He asked me to make a small cover for him to put in his truck on cold days when his legs get chilly. It is complete now, and he loves it.

And guess what? It’s still not perfect. It’s got holes in places it shouldn’t. It doesn’t look like I thought it would in my head. And I’m pretty sure it’s lopsided.  But… 

It was made with love – and love covers a lot.

As for that Pinterest Perfect table? It doesn’t really exist. Not for marriage. Not for relationships. Not for jobs. Not even for a craft project that looks perfect to everyone else’s eyes.

Fuggetabout it!

Instead, we need to get to know the One who loves us in the midst of our imperfections. And He has set a table big enough for everyone…. with our boogers, holes and all. Pull up a chair. There’s plenty of room. He’s got you covered.

1 Peter 4:8-11The Message (MSG) 7-11 Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
I Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

REVOLUTION

REVOLUTION HAS COME
which side do you choose?

our world moans and groans
under the weight of “progress”
while our trees die from acid rain
and our rivers, once teeming with wildlife,
are suffocated by our excess

The future of our world,
our children,
are abused, silenced and tossed aside
like pieces of trash
with no value

Yet piles of true waste
are upgraded and “upcycled”,
and valued more than their original costs

but God sees His children
They are not hidden
from Him
He sees their plight
and their despair

Revolution has come
which side do you choose?

The God of the universe
sees
and hears
and knows
Even that which is done in secret
in secret meetings, with whispers and
bloody promises

God sees.
He knows.
And He is not pleased.

God is not moved by the cud of rhetoric
that rolls around in the mouths
of seemingly high-powered politicians,
Those that seek power,
that yearn for it,
more than they yearn for Him

He is not impressed with the
never-ceasing speeches
from the leeches
that suck the life
from our nation
and chain the lives of the
their brothers and sisters…
the ones they claim to protect

They would do well to remember
that they are God’s children
and He is a protective Father

REVOLUTION HAS COME
which side do you choose?

God’s ways are not our ways
His thoughts are not our thoughts
His Power has no bounds
His truth, mercy and Love
strikes down wickedness
and strips it of every disguise,
disintegrating mountains
into dust

There is no one who compares
No one who rivals His great deeds
The One True God

And yet He, the God of the Universe,
sees His creation…
and is moved – NOT by the words of those who
believe they can change His mind with their
perfect posture –

But rather –
He is moved by those
who humble themselves
before Him
seeking His forgiveness,
His direction,
His mercy…
believing and knowing that His promises are true
and His Love is everlasting

“But God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong…”

A young girl
A manger
A baby

REVOLUTION HAS COME
Which side do you choose?

Mountain Top

(courtesy of morguefile.com)

We all like to get to the  top of the mountain. We love the exhiliration of reaching the goal, feeling the refreshing wind on our face and knowing we are “there”! 

But it’s easy to forget about the climb that came before we reached the peak.

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that my family and I have been hiking quite a bit this year. Most of the hikes have been in the mountains of NC and TN. Some hikes were easy, no effort needed. Some were hard, but worth the trip. Then there were the hikes that left me breathless and almost positive I was going to die right there on the side of the mountain.

Life is like that, too.

There are paths we take that are easy. Not much effort required. We just plod along taking in the scenery and keeping our distance from anything that seems to be too consuming.

There are paths that are hard. They make us think. They require our concentration more than usual. The paths are not as neat as we’d like – but we still make it to the end of the journey with all our brain-cells intact.

And then…there are the paths we take that leave us wondering if we’ll make it out alive.

Those are the paths that can take us higher and draw us closer to where we need to be…or can bury us in our tracks.

And the way I see things, the outcome all depends on who we have with us on our journey.

When my hubby and I hiked Linville Gorge, I thought I was going to have to spend the night in the gorge and wait for a helicopter to come scoop me out. Really, I crumpled in a heap and wept. Then, in a fit of self-pity, I said to my hubby, “Go ahead – I’ll catch up. I just have to rest for a while.”

Did he go on without me?

Nope.

Matter of fact, I think he was a little insulted that I even suggest it. “Are you crazy?” he asked. “You don’t EVER leave your hiking partner. Period. So you can just get that out of your mind.” Then he waited for me, encouraged me and helped me up.

See where I’m going with this?

God has said, “I will NEVER leave you NOR forsake you.”

If God is our hiking guide AND hiking partner on this journey of life, then we KNOW He’ll never leave us behind. He doesn’t grow tired and give up on us. He doesn’t leave us on the trail to rot in our misery. He lifts us up and carries us.

Looking back, I can honestly say I was ecstatic when Sean and I finally climbed out of Linville Gorge. Granted, I was a little too tired to do a backflip, but I could BREATHE again! But as happy as that moment was, I don’t ever want to forget how hard the climb was. If I do, I’ll also forget the lovingkindness I was shown by my hubby during the struggle.

And if I forget the struggles and hard climbs in other parts of my life, I’ll forget the lovingkindness shown by my faithful Father.

Have you had any climbs that were just as memorable as the mountaintop? If so, I’d love to hear about them. If you are struggling up a mountain right now, I pray your journey is a fruitful one. And when you reach the top, I pray you remember the blessings you received along the way!