Tag Archives: blessings

Pirate Eyes

Pirate hori
Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day.  No really, apparently it is.  I discovered this amazing tid bit of glorious holiday-ness when I was in college.  So speak with pirate-speak, me matey.  Strrrretch out yer “arrrrrrrrrs” in everrrrrrry worrrrrrd you use.  Yell “Aye” and “Nay” as often as you can.  And, if you’rrrrre super-clever and piratey you’ll slip the quote, “I disincline to acquiesce to your request” at least thrrree times into yerrr speak.

But really.  I’ve felt ratherrr pirrrratey (annnd that’s annoying) for the last three or four weeks.  No, I’m not wearing large gold hoop earrings, I don’t have a strange urge to cover my hair with a bandanna, my personal hygiene is at normal levels, and I don’t have large, length-of-my-leg knives (otherwise known as swords) on a belt, bruising my hip.

No, I’ve been feeling piratey in the sense that I’m rather envious of some of my friends.    I want what they want, and I even have moments when I am green-eyed envious enough to want to just take it.  Not that I could.   I look at their lives, their relationships, their houses, their careers, and I get envious.   I just… I somehow foolishly thought I’d be where they are at this point in my life.  Well, no, that’s not true.  I thought I’d be living in the middle of Africa (somehow still with my curling iron) teaching missionary kids.  And I’m not doing that either.

Instead I’m in my early thirties, going to school to get a Masters that does not guarantee me a job (and definitely not a well-paying one).  I don’t have my own place.  I nanny for a living.  I’m crying a lot recently.  And romantically, well I’m bust.

The thing is, on an intellectual level, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.  I wouldn’t give up a single year or experience.  Looking back, God has obviously written my story, bringing me here, now, to this pretty painful moment (okay, not JUST to this moment, but to this season of life).  And I know good things are going to come of this time.  And I know I need to stay here, in this pain, in this confusion, frustration and loneliness.  I shouldn’t run from it.  I shouldn’t dwell in it, but I shouldn’t ignore it either.  I’m here for a reason.  I have lessons to learn here.  There are wonderful, joyful memories to be had here.  I need to stay and search for them.

I can’t dwell in the familiarity of the past, and I shouldn’t escape to the mystery of the future.

But my heart…well, my heart is pretty raw right now.  In my envy of those around me, I forget what I know about the character of God.  I forget that He is good (or I run to my “well, God’s good is different than ours” speech).  I forget that He is righteous, and jealous, and can get angry when His children are hurt or get distracted by smaller gods.  I forget so quickly how holy He is.  I forget that He is loving.  I forget that He has placed the passions and desires within my heart for a reason – whether or not I ever actually experience those passions and deep desires becoming fulfilled.  I forget that He is GOD.  That He can make anything – ANYTHING – happen, that He has a reason for everything (even in my piddly little life).  I forget that He moved Heaven and Earth with His love in order to redeem me.  I forget.  I forget all that He has given me (really, I have lived an incredible life).  I forget that He holds me, that He knows how many hairs are on my head, and that He cherishes every tear I cry.

I forget that He loves me better than anyone else ever has, can, or will.  And that as He is the one in charge of my story, He’s writing the best version – director’s cut – of said story.  I need to trust that He’s got this, that the desires in me will either fade away, or be fulfilled and either way they should send me to Him, not to staring at what my friends have.

As long as I don’t have the green, envious eyes of a pirate, life is good.

But even better – GOD is good, all the time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Self / Emotions, spiritual life

Christmas, meet Thanksgiving

Christmas Tree

I was sitting in the living room this morning, eating my breakfast of yogurt and cereal, just enjoying the silence of the house, enjoying the beauty of the Christmas tree, enjoying the warmth of the kitten on my lap, enjoying the sun playing with the (frigid) sparkling snow outside.

And I began thanking God – for my breakfast, for the silence, for the warm-ish house I have been blessed to be sheltered by, for the privilege of living in a country where we could display a Christmas tree (and have the room for it, and the time to put it up – these are HUGE luxuries in some places of the world), thankful for the season the Christmas tree represents, for the beauty of the tree, for the purr-y kitten making it hard for me to eat my breakfast, for the sun shining (even if it’s WAY colder than it should be in Colorado right now).

I was reminded of when I worked with two year-olds, and how the things they’re always thankful for are “Mommy and Daddy and Bruder and Sissy and the kitty-cat and pizza”.  We smile and think they’re cute.  We smile and long for a day when our thanksgivings were that simple.  We deeply ache for when we COULD be thankful for “Daddy”, but now, with significantly more age than the precious babies we smile down at, we know what Daddy’s really like, and no one could be thankful for HIM, right?

Last week I went on a rampage about how those of us who live in the United States celebrate our Thanksgiving holiday with self-indulgence, with eating way too much when much of the world is starving.  I asked how this truly celebrates our thankfulness?  Shouldn’t our thankfulness encourage a spirit of giving, not of taking?

Well, this week, I set a proposition before you.
For the next 19 days (so, through Christmas), do your best to stay thankful.  Be thankful for the little things – like your shoes that don’t let the snow freeze your toes, or the way that snowflake landed on your cheek, or the fact the heater in your house works, or that your car worked this morning when you started it (because, you know, it didn’t have to).  Stay focused on the blessings you take for granted in your every-day life.

I have a hunch that in this season of crazy-busy, self-focus, insane-stress, present-buying, party-going, appearances-keeping, doing-waaaaaaay-to-much, that if we attempt to keep an attitude of thankfulness our priorities might stay in the right places.  Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to remember what’s important this season.

Maybe, in our thankfulness that our bodies worked when we woke up this morning, we’ll become more aware of those around us who don’t have that blessing, and we’ll gain compassion for them.

Maybe, in our thankfulness for the coat-we-bought-three-years-ago-and-is-now-out-of-fashion-but-we-still-wear-it-until-we-can-get-the-cute-one-at-Macy’s, we become aware of the man on the corner of the street who is wearing a coat full of holes and that is way too thin for the sub-arctic temperatures outside.

Maybe, in our thankfulness for the last cereal in the box (even though it was only a quarter of a bowl – seriously, who leaves that little behind?  Just finish the box already!), we become aware of the needs of the children all over the world who didn’t get to eat breakfast today, or yesterday, or all the days in the week before that.

Now, hear me out.  I’m not trying to put a guilt trip on you.  I just think this Advent season might mean a lot more to us if we’re focused on the new born Baby that is the focus of every manger scene instead focusing on the parties, or the clothes, or the food, or even the perfect presents.  Those are great and fun, but they’re not the point.  By participating in those parts of the season, we’re not going to tell the world about that small, life-changing Baby through our actions.

But, if you figure out a way to get that guy on the corner a better coat, or even just a cup of coffee and warm meal, you will be telling him of Jesus – without saying a word.

If you take time to go donate ten dollars to Compassion, or Convoy of Hope, or some other responsible relief-agency, you will tell some child somewhere of that Baby – without saying a word.   You have no idea how much of a privilege it is to give…until you want to and have nothing in your bank account.

If you hold back the words you’d LIKE to say to your father, and give him a hug instead – you’ll be telling him of Jesus (even if your dad knows Him already) without saying a word.

So, summary (just in case my coffee-induced state of awakeness during this time of impending finals and papers didn’t allow me to write clearly):

Keep in mind what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about during the rest of this Advent season.  And, when prompted, live it out.  Staying thankful opens our eyes to the blessings and needs surrounding us.  Staying thankful keeps us in a posture that God can more easily use; a posture that hears His promptings more clearly (and quickly).  Christmas might just mean more to you this year if you celebrate Thanksgiving all December long.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Colorado Mountain Air

The summer I came back from Bahrain I was on sensory overload.  Suddenly, after 10 months of living in a place I describe to people as “Mars”  (think red desert with not much vegetation), I was suddenly back in my beloved Colorado.  I could hardly handle being surrounded by my mother’s gorgeous flowers, and God’s breath-taking mountains, and the wonderful, refreshing, mountain air.   I have never taken so many pictures of my mother’s garden, or stared so hungrily at the mountains that a few years for I had taken for granted.  And the air!  The fresh, clean, clear, crisp, mountain air!  If you’ve never smelt it, you don’t know what you’re missing.  But I guarantee it’s a smell you will encounter often in Heaven.  I’m pretty sure the smell that accompanies a Colorado mountain morning is God’s cologne – the stuff He puts on just to impress you.

But the thing is, the summer before, I had no idea of the wonder and majesty that surrounded me.  I spent that summer in Colorado too, but I did not take a hundred pictures of my mother’s flowers.  I did not stop dead in my tracks after stepping outside in the morning, just to soak in the wonderful air.  My spirit did not lift in joy when driving into the mountains.  I didn’t know what I had.  I didn’t know the glory, wonder, majesty that I had been given to me.

Unfortunately, over the years since then, that wonder has faded a bit.  But I can still remember that summer.  And I wonder how many OTHER things I take for granted in my life.  Just how blessed I was growing up.  How many friends I’m not near enough thankful for.  How very easy and convenient our lives are today.  How very different my life would be if it weren’t for God, for Jesus and what His amazing, loving sacrifice did for me.  For the air I breathe.

Like the air that surrounds me that I don’t think about breathing in and out, I am surrounded God’s blessings.  And I take them for granted.  Honestly, I often EXPECT them, and get frustrated when I don’t get what I want.  How ungrateful, how ugly, is that?

What are you immersed in that you have forgotten to be grateful for recently?  When was the last time you asked God to open your eyes for all the blessings surrounding you?  How many blessings can you name?   What blessings do you expect to receive?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized