break me…

Today at church I wanted to crawl under my chair and hide from the sermon.  I realize not everyone is a church goer but stay with me.  Craig, our preacher, was talking about praying to the Lord asking him to break you.  The idea is to take you to your limit and then go beyond what you can handle on your own.  Why?  Why would anyone ask for this? Well, so you can depend on God is the ultimate reason.  I was sitting there thinking, no way would I ever in a million years ask God to break me.

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About 20 years ago when Craig Groeschel started up Life Church someone he respected told him that along the way in building his ministry, God would break him.  The first year was rough trying to get a new church up and running.  Things go awry in any new endeavor, right?  Everytime Craig would encounter another setback he would call his friend and ask if he was broken yet.  His friend finally told him; there would be no question when he reached that point.  He would know it.  Finally, that time came.  Pastor Craig broke.  His story, it isn’t mine to tell, but you can access the sermon on the church’s website (life.church) under watch on demand.  So here is the kicker, and why I’m sharing it with you tonight…

When we are breaking. We fight it.  We try to keep it together. We keep on keeping on until we can’t anymore.  We finally reach that moment and break.

I felt and understood how God has already broken me.  As I sat in my chair (not under it), tears came along with the memories of the last year.  Every time some new drama would erupt I would tell myself, “I got this.” The women in my family are a lot like Scarlett O’Hara in a crisis.  We deal well. By August when things were settling down in my world, I was breathing easier.  Then the depression came.  The calm after the storm wasn’t the end.  I finally broke.  I could not longer carry the memories, guilt and shame of everything in the recent past. One night after crying for most of it, I gave up trying to deal.  I lay my burdens at the Lord’s feet.  Although November and December were the hardest ones I’ve ever known, I made it through because after giving my worries to God and didn’t take them back. For once, I didn’t take them back.  I relied on something bigger than myself. I trusted in someone bigger than anything I can comprehend. God saved me, not me.  He saved me.

I get the prayer. The idea of it scares me.  I’ve been broken.  I’m still mending, trusting and relying on someone bigger than me. He’s got this.

 

daisies, coffee and chocolate,

holly

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no new years resolutions…

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Hello, dear friends.  Sorry to have been away so long.  This last month kicked my butt.  I had decided to quit writing.  To be honest, I was giving up on more than just my blog but, something happened causing me to pause, be still and try to remember how to live.  Now, I’m trying. 

 

 

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January 2016.  I made it.  I want a t-shirt that says “I survived 2015”.

I survived seeing my kids for only two days a week until August.

I survived #3’s drug addiction and loss of our savings.

I survived my family home burning and Brooke no longer living with me.

I survived another divorce.

I may have only survived 2015, and that’s ok.  It’s 2016, and I am cautiously optimistic about the future.  Why?  Well, I have a future, which has yet to be determined.  Only God knows what is yet to come. Yes, there is a chance I’ll screw it up but, there’s a good chance I won’t.  I’ve endured a lot of major life events this last year. One would have been enough for the whole year. Enduring everything that has happened must have a purpose.   Perhaps wisdom will grow from these experiences.  At the very least it sounds good.

Now, as I finish dusting myself off, what to do with the rest of my life?  How does one choose to start over?  I’m not.  Not really.  It’s not like my life isn’t a blank slate.  I’ll be working with what I have, and it’s enough.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  Everyone has made them at one time or another.  I’m not a fan of them because they set you up for failure in the short run.  Statistics point to most being broken by the end of January.  I have a laundry list of things needing to be addressed in my life but let’s be clear…they aren’t New Year’s resolutions.

My ability to believe in people, and trust in general, was squashed.  It’s gone.  Really though it shouldn’t be a surprise after the last year, but it’s got to be addressed since the lack of trust is negatively affecting my personal relationships.  If I’m honest in this assessment, I’d admit to being suspicious of anyone who is nice to me. So how do you learn to trust again?  How do you believe in people as a whole?  I don’t know.  If you, as I did, put faith and trust in the wrong person it can cost you dearly.  Be careful who you trust.  I’m trying not to wall myself in from the rest of the world.  Honestly, it feels safer to hide out in my little house than go out.  These days I go to work, college, gym, grocery store, and home.  Social gatherings tend to make my nervous especially if the conversation turns towards me and the craziness of 2015.  In fact, at the last gathering with a group of friends from high school ended with me being beyond tipsy.  I didn’t handle the questions well and compensated poorly.  Perhaps the key here is to move slowly and think more.  Don’t jump into any situation to fast.  Let trust be earned, not blindly given.  There has to be a place where I can be comfortable again in trusting.  I just have to find it.

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Are you present in the moment?  Lord, I’m not.  My mind is on fifty things at once most of the time but never on what is right in front of me.  I find myself worrying over things that may not even come to pass.  I try to bury up my past by ensuring a better future.  Well, at least, that’s what I tell myself.  I feel sorry for my kids mainly because I can’t concentrate on anything for too long.  I miss out on half of what they are telling me because my mind is in a constant state of worry over one thing or another.  My next goal is to become more in the moment.  I tell myself to stop focusing on everything going on in my head, slow down and breathe.  What we have, is right now.  How can I find joy in my life and meaning if I’m not in the moment, being present for it?  I’ve got to work on this.

When I lived in the country, it was easy to find beauty in the ordinary.  I love looking at the night sky.  It was the same sky every night, but it was beautiful to see.  The kids and I would pick out constellations, identify planets and watch the moon phases.   There’s something about the sunsets in the country too.  The pinks, corals, purples fading to blue are something I appreciated just about every evening.  I miss the evening and night sky now.  Living in town doesn’t afford one the unobstructed view you get in the country.  I have been living my life without appreciating the beauty for months now.  It’s time to open my eyes find it in my new surroundings.

 

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The sunset from my old back porch.  There’s no other that compares. 

 

The last of my list is remembering gratitude.  Once upon a time,  I could see so many blessings in my life.  Even on my worst days, I could find any number of things to appreciate.  There were so many losses in 2015.  Focusing on what you don’t have in your life rather than what you do is easy.  You can spend all your time longing for what you want or for what been lost and never appreciate what you have.  When I go to bed at night, I make a mental list of at least five things to be grateful for, and I try to remember to do the same in the morning.  It’s a little more difficult then, well, until I get some coffee in me. I’m going to try and remember to find gratitude for the little things too, like the sun on my face when it’s chilly or how much I like hearing the sound in acorns crunching under my boots.

“I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.” -Annie Dillard

daisies, coffee and chocolates,

holly