When You Can’t Make Life Work

Ever since last weeks post on priorities, I’ve been better at brushing my teeth before 10 o’clock in the morning. I love how when I write about something it sticks way better than when I just think it. Writing resonates with me and helps me process and think. So, I’m glad you’re here and at this space. It’s where I think out loud and learn to dance. It’s where I hope you muse out loud, “Hey, me too!” and become brave to take the next dance step…


IMG_4071

When I was 5, learning to tie my shoes was a challenge. Once somebody showed me the neat little ‘chase the bunny around the tree’ trick and even after practicing the bunny race, it still was challenging to master the fine art of tying.

One bright sunny day I was in the kitchen sitting on the bottom step by the stairs. It was one of those steps that opened and in it mom kept the onions and potatoes. My brothers were outside playing but not me because my shoes weren’t tied and I was frustrated trying. The laces refused to cooperate.

Suddenly a song popped into my head and all I can remember from it now is “Do your best. Do your best. (da da daaa da da – something. . . ) and Jesus will do the rest.”

This was one of my earliest memories of relating to God. I prayed He would finish tying my shoes. I had done my best and begged him to finish just like in the song. No amount of hot tears, stomping my feet or pounding my onion seat would bend God’s arm any closer to earth to tie my darn shoes. Taking a bite out of a raw onion would have seemed easier to me in that moment.

As most stories end when your 5, mom came and saved the day. She tied my shoes. Probably brightened my spirits by ‘chasing the bunny around the tree’. What would we do with out mothers. They’re saving little people all the time.

 

God disappointed that day 25 years ago. And, guess what? He still disappoints. When I have a plan and it doesn’t go as planed I feel God let down. The hardest part is when my plan that God didn’t fulfill wasn’t even a bad plan. It was a good one. Like dreaming to marry the man of my 17-year-old dreams or wanting to be a teacher for 10 years but the door closing at 3, or when I started an amazing girls ministry but it came to a screeching halt after only a short season or more recent dreams to have another baby.

God’s plan isn’t always our plan. It’s a hard lesson to learn. I’m still learning it and I’m in my nice ripening 30’s. So if you’re 19 and reading this take heart – even older people like me struggle to understand God more.

The hard part is believing God is still good even when our ‘good’ plans don’t succeed.

IMG_4080

Now that I’m married to Jason, I can see how it wasn’t God’s plan to marry my hot crush from my teens. Back then I couldn’t see or understand things about my life and it’s still that way today but I’m trying to be ok with that because I can trust God. I trusted him with whom I married. Jason is the one for me. I know it. Some days it might not feel that way or I might not treat him like it but it’s God’s plan we are married and it’s good.

I can also tie my shoes now. Woohoo! I did learn and I’m trying to remember to not demand God to fix my life anymore. Instead when life gets hard I’m asking God for faith to move into the moment. Instead of asking for God to take the situation away or make it better but faith and courage while in it because I know I can’t handle it.

I’m also trusting God with my love of teaching. Maybe someday that season will re-open but for now I’m at home with my teeming toddler. I’ve also considered the fact that maybe that desire will never land in my lap or if so maybe in a different way than most obvious to me and to be at rest with that.

Can I be ok with God’s different plan? Can I trust how God is writing my story?

IMG_4078

There’s a certain amount of accepting the fog which I’ve come settle for. You see, I used to demand God to shoot it to me straight. I’m direct. I like direct goals and objectives. It’s taken me 30 years to come to grips with my reality that God has never yielded to my way of conversing. Looking back I see a trail of how God has tenderly showed me each next step when the time came. He never explained why or how it all works together, just the next step. He’s still doing that with me today.

 

He’s God. I’m his servant. I am here, in my little life to bring Him glory. May you’re going through something that you prayed long and hard about and it’s not making any sense. Like a child who you struggle to reach, or a parent whose been difficult to relate to or maybe your spouse putting pressure on you. We don’t have to understand everything or see in detail how this mess all works out. Just trust Him. Today. Right here in the fog. Right now.

 

IMG_4064

 

Isiah 55:8-9

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! May God have your heart through the fog today!

 

What To Do About Priorities

There are certain things in our life that we need to do in order to stay alive.

I’m not talking about drinking coffee, though for some of you it might be just that! — but, eating food, drinking (h2o) and sleep.

Then there are the things that we like to do that help us function at a healthy capacity. Like, get exercise, take our vitamins, brush our teeth, put on deodorant and read our Bible.

In between, we have other things that we like to do or just plain enjoy. They are not necessary to survival but they keep us happy. You know what I’m talking about, hanging out with friends, checking Facebook, texting, maybe writing and reading or watching movies and don’t forget — shopping. :)

Today after lunch as I swallowed my vitamins, I wondered, why is it that we get our priorities so easily out of order? Normally I take my vitamins in the morning at breakfast. With a life of distraction, it got checked off the list at lunch.

When it comes to not reading my Bible each morning but defiantly acquiring time for Facebook I’m contemplating hiring a schedule manager for my brain fog.  For more evidence, I can run all morning long with smelly coffee breath, in my pi’s and messy hair and of course, take time to feed the dog but there is no room for 5 minutes in my morning push and pull to sit and read my bible or just simply go brush my teeth. Can somebody organize my schedule better for me, please!?

Priorities. Oh, how the list of things we ought to do each day seem to get tossed in the popcorn machine and pOp out who-knows-when.

Last Friday I had my devotions after lunch and after Gavin was in his little crib, sacked out. (I prefer to have my God-time first thing in the morning.) It struck me as I gulped down those vitamins today that maybe the order doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it actually happens.

I read my bible today.

It happened.

Check.

And that, dear readers is good. It is good and it doesn’t matter when.

So don’t hold the stick of failure over your head today for not measuring up to your expectations each day. If you still haven’t accomplished those things today that you feel should have happened a couple hours ago, it’s ok. I just might happen yet.

Or,

Maybe it won’t even happen today. I’ve gone complete days with out reading my Bible and without deodorant. I’ve gone an entire day without remembering to take my vitamins too. It’s not something I want everybody to know about me, especially on days I’m deodorant-less. My poor health and spiritual health may digress but it’s not the end of the world even at the end of the day. As you lay your head on your pillow, choose not to shame yourself for it. Your intentions are good.

 

My little toddler knows what he wants. He goes after it and gets it. It’s just that easy.

like a boss

 

How about you?
Do you shame yourself when you miss a day (or two or three) of Bible reading?
Do you get disgusted when you for get your vitamins or even your kids one morning?

Is there an area in you life where you fee like you should be something but not taking time for it? What stands between you and getting in done?
We are human with good intentions.
We are imperfect beings making imperfect progress.
We can choose to accept fallible ourselves.

And it’s ok.

 

No Small Adventure

do it with coffee

 

It’s monday. I rub my eyelids trying to wake up. Awaken to another week.

Of all the smarter, more energetic, Godly and happier woman in the land, God choose me for this mothering life. It’s a special role that He has called only me to. I do want to get up and follow Him today but– Yes, sometimes there is a but…

My but is, I want to leave my dishes and my little pile of laundry and follow just as the brave and fearless fishermen did when they left their nets to run after Jesus. I want to leave for an adventure too. Go somewhere big. Travel across the sea.

But that would not be following Him today. Following walks out through my hands. Hands sorting through my piles of dirty clothes. Hands wiping a snooty nose. Hands warming up leftovers. Hands pulling up the blankets to make the bed.

God has made a perfect path for me in this motherhood journey. I don’t have an outstanding resumé for the this job but God still chose me and sees me fully qualified. He sees my saint-hood while I see my fail-hood. God wanted imperfect me right here, right now.

Lately I want to just jump on the next flight out of here and go. Leave these small walls and small town. Go somewhere big. Live a grand adventure.

 

But – God has perfectly placed me here today.

He knows what no-small-adventures awaits me in my mama-hood.

 

adventures awaits

 

Do you ever become weary in mothering day after day?

Do you ever dream of traveling? Maybe not living a different life necessarily but miss the single days of carefree adventures?

Does the responsibility of raising and being there for your children appease you? Keep you  centered to your calling at this season of life?

What are your feelings? Stories? Do you resonate with these words? I’d love to hear your thought and comments!

For the Sake of Love

IMG_3959

When I was single February 14 was a day I believed every couple out there adored and felt adored on. A day for eating out, chocolate and wine.

4 short married years later, Valentine’s day is nearing quickly and I feel frustrated that we NEED to celebrate us in some way this Saturday. The once sparkling diamond, 4 years later has dulled. Not that my husband and I are at odds with each other this moment but we can ride as high as the wildest wave one moment and next thing without warning come crashing down onto a sandpaper shore.

In our ebb and flow of love, I wonder. . . .

Will Olive Garden feed me fondness not feuds?
Will sipping sweet wine wash down long lists of bitterness?
Will chocolate coat me with romance re-tasting sour with sweet?

 

Lovey-dovey feelings might have a hard time keeping up in our fast paced life. With feelings missing in action and the time on E, I bemoaned to myself-

Can we celebrate Valentine’s when it suits our schedule better, please?
When the restaurants aren’t packed,
when we haven’t already taken advantage of every single last babysitter,
when we’ve actually been able to produce a card with unforced words, and
when we are both communicatively in the mood for a night out together?

 

We root for routines but not when they cause us to rot. Buried beneath a busy life the seed of love germinates, hibernates til its season springs in our hearts. It’s a good idea to feed it, pull the weeds and put some miracle grow on it having faith that our service to the other will keep growing large and full. Romance in a marriage needs hands and hearts willing to sustain it. Willing to serve it. Willing to do the hard dirty work that keeps it alive.

Getting dirt under my fingernails for Jason is worth it. I’m feeling that more each year. So I’m (still) practicing the affirming, the listening, the giving in, the repentance, the extra mile, and the extra smile. Because our love is worth the work (even if I want my nails looking pretty)

My single expectations and hollywood’s picture of love doesn’t reflect my story. .At. .All. Holding the hand of our story, in all of it’s un-glamor and brokenness is when it just might begin to take deep root and flourish. That diamond can shine again if I take better care of it. We may not always feel love(ing) but we can still offer it when the feelings are MIA.

So

Sometimes Olive Garden does feed me fondness not feuds.
Sometimes sipping sweet wine washes down long lists of bitterness.
Sometimes chocolate coats me with romance re-tasting sour with sweet.

All for the sake of
l o v e <3

Blog Designation Proclamation (because I’ve done it all and I think I’ve found my niche)

She ordered a coffee drink with her delectable looking cafe wrap. Not knowing what to order for the first time at this adorable little nook, I copied. Even though that morning I’ve had 2 cups of coffee earlier. More caffeine, I worried. I should have just purchased a water instead. Feeling the caffeine shakes and mental buzz, I steadied my hands, pressed a smile to my friend and moved towards our seats.

Has anybody else done that? Followed somebody else, afraid to be yourself even at the extent of a cost? I’ve done that so many times and suffered the consequences. I know what I want but settle for trying to be exactly like somebody else for fear of being rejected. Fear that little ‘me’ isn’t cool.

This silly (yet, familiar) little illustration explains my blog somewhat. I’ve experimented on my blog with every type of blog style possible from crafts, to WIWW, to food, to faith, to journaling our life and pictures.
Yes, I’ve done it all.
Which leaves me puzzling- Am I afraid to blog like Jolynn? Well, maybe? Maybe though, I was trying to find my niche in the process? Maybe in order for my writing to arrive where I it is today, I had to try all those different style hats? And my consequences are sheer embarrassment. Everybody has to start somewhere… right?

So many blogs. So much comparison. So many ideas. So many examples of what I want my blog to be like and what not to be like.

So it is with trepidation that I approach my blog today and write. In fact, sometimes reading other blogs leave me feeling desperate to shut mine down because I’m not ‘good enough‘ and I feel like I have nothing ‘different‘ or ‘cool’ to offer. Who cares what Jolynn has to say, anyway? I mumble to no one in particular.

Yet, the part of me that likes to create with words, recants pushing back giving in, giving up and shutting down.

There is so much to discover in the field of writing. I can keep practicing my sport and studying other writers instead of letting them condemn my talent or letting them ‘boo’ me off the field. Deciding to learn from instead of run from, I hold my gym bag of talents with fierce determination.  In coming to this conclusion, I have come up with a purpose for thenwedanced. Stay with me now… therefore, I am defining my Designation Proclamation for my blog.

designation proclamation

My reasoning in my Designation Proclamation is based on what I want when I read other blogs. Fully assuming, of course, some of y’all out there in blog-land reading this are like me.  Some of the blogs I occasionally read don’t leave me feelings connected or encouraged or warning to come back. And the take-aways are they have it all figured out, or that works for them- not me, or they amazingly have all the answers I could possibly need thus leaving me feeling like a pip-squeak on my sofa with messy hair, bad breath and dishes piled a mile high in the sink.

My blog, humble, stumbling little thing that it is, trying to find its purpose, I’m afraid it might have left you with these feelings at one point or anther. That is my fear. I {really} don’t want to be intimidating or have all the answers and tell you what you need to do. So with my sincerest apologies, I am sorry if I left you feeling any of those afore-mentioned feeling after reading words here. That is not my intent for this space.

So, my dream for thenwedanced, (because I think I found my niche) is to be something that I would want to read. I designate this space for God to fulfill his voice in me here – using me to ultimately bring him full glory. Maybe that and some silliness. Because who can’t use a little humor every now and then?

Starting now, recycling the old and converting it into something new. Something new with,
Fresh air.
White space.
Encouragement.
Inspiration.
Redemption.
Grace.
And a little crazy.

 

My hope and my goal here is to encourage my readers – you. To come along beside you and share with you. I’m not saying I won’t blog about food, clothes, or family trips anymore. I’m giving my blog a purpose and I hope to give space to think and ponder and go away inspired and itching to know God more. Or at bare minimum, make you laugh or cheer on in your dance because dancing {with life} is not always easy.

Not bossy. Not full of answers. Not loud. Just a safe place to hang out at once a week or so.

That’s my goal for twenty-fifteen.

Here are my favorite bloggers right now (kinda of my role models)

Emily Freeman
Lysa TerKeurst
Ann Voskamp
Shauna Niequist
Christine Cain (<<not a blogger, just a really cool Christian female leader) :) :)

 

And that’s all!
Stay close to see what you’ll read next here at thenwedanced!

 

A New Song Arises

another season

Today it feels like three seasons all at once.

It’s January (so, knowingly winter)
It’s 75 degrees and the sun is hot (feels like summer)
We are raking leaves (hello, fall?)

Only in Texas…..

 

While the weather is quite agreeable with me, I am outside typing as I watch my little dude bounce around with a ball and a stick in the backyard. The birds are singing. The Gavinator is singing. Chief, the dog is chewing on Gavin’s balls. Not singing. No comment about the chewing right now. Just know that it’s a sore spot, yea, for all the humans in our brick dwelling.

My soul sings too in the anticipation of Spring. This weather is a teaser right now. I believe by the end of the week it’s to be winter kinda cold January once again… only in Texas.

How wonderful it is that our creator designed seasons. Nothing stays the same forever. We don’t live in Narnia – where it is always winter {sounds completely dreadful}. So, take heart my Northern family and friends! The snow will melt someday… yes. someday.

There is something beautiful about change. In its hardness and lack of welcome, it is a thing of beauty. I don’t always look forward to change, especially if I know it’s going to be painful or difficult. Therefore it seems anything but beautiful. Other change I look forward to with anticipation. There are times when I’m just so ready for the next thing – kinda change. It’s easier to imagine beauty in anticipated and desired change.

In this latest season of my life I’ve been serenaded into a room which opens into a dark and apprehensive space. Stepping just in inch in this room, I dust off one or two seldom used pages of lyrics, words, and practice their old familiar tune. I practice giving this song life again.

The Bible says sing to the Lord a new song, Psalm 96. And so I shall. A song of repentance. Instead of stuffing that song under the bed, sleeping it off, avoiding it. I want to learn to welcome its diverted tune and memorize it. The beauty of change, of repentance, is a greeted season, albeit with lingering apprehension no less. It’s not a happy, all pie in the sky kinda dance but a remorseful dance. It’s a needed dance. One that brings fulfillment and meaning. And because this songs been neglected it’s a new song.

It once was sung and long since forgotten. This season reappears, comes full circle and I want to linger in it.

This song in which the lyrics shake free with a slow puff of breath, the dust scampers from the sheets of music in this dark room. The soft hum rises, quivery in the first few bars. The lyrics come back. Happenstance would have it that this shift in season kindles life. Brightening eyes. Owning transgression. Owning a song of repentance.
A dare to change.
Courage to change.
There is beauty in change.

The beauty comes as the light slowly dawns and begins to flood the space with light. Flood this space with beautiful voice. One small breath at a time. One small utterance. Harmonious with remorse. Oh, sweet hymn of a new, yet old melody.

Sing to the Lord a new song. A song of repentance.

Can you hear the new song arising?
Can you hear the soloist?
Are the vocals yours?
Are they mine?
Another season.
A new song.

Female Brain + Masculinity of God

manliness of god

Do you ever have those moments where you suddenly see more of someone you’ve known for years? I mean more of there personality and tendencies? Like, suddenly you see another side or dememsion of them you never gave thought to previously?

For example, we had sweet friends of ours over for supper one evening and in the midst of talking with my friend as we sat on the floor with our children, suddenly her ‘involved mom’ side burst in full focus and I couldn’t not see how much she loves kids and playing with them. I knew she loves children before and that she is a great mom, but for the first time I saw her love of child interaction and her playfulness. I was suddenly seeing MORE of her. It made me love her more.

Example #2:
The other afternoon my husband and I left our friends at different times – me an hour later (yes, I’m blessed with a gift of gab). And, when I came home dear Jason had picked up a little, cleaned up some toys and brought the laundry in from clothesline. I knew he was tired and was shocked at those little things he did for me. It dawned on me (actually again – I forget sometimes) what a great husband he is especially by his little ways of caring and helping me around the house. It made me love him more.

This happened between God and me. Me, all at once seeing more of him. A bigger picture of him.

Since God has given me the phase of ‘resting in a God I trust’ this new year, I’ve already, not even 20 days in 2015, doubted His trust. I’ve already acted and thought in ways that showed my doubt and trust in a reliable God. Therefore not giving space for my soul to rest.
You see, doubt = untrust.

 

After listening to this broadcast on Family Talk hosted by Dr James Dobson, I was unexpectedly enticed to a bigger, fuller picture of God.

His masculine side.

Please don’t get me wrong, I have always thought of God as my father or an older man. It’s just natural and the Bible refers to Him that way. But, I think the God in my head can be related to as a fellow female. I communicate to him in my feminine way and it’s not at all like how I go on to my husband. With God, I let all my bags air out – holding nothing back. With my husband, I might try to hold back some stronger emotion or long-winded details of how it all connects and probably tend to be more matter-of-fact – ok, sometimes I don’t spare him anything… ha.

Naturally, like you ladies, we connect to God’s compassionate side, long-suffering, mercy and reliable side. Yes, his loving side too. It’s his caring and softness we females tend to fuse too. At the end of the day I don’t think of God as my mighty leader and warrior who fought with me through the day. I think of him in a holding-me, filled-with-mercy-for-all-my-mistakes – kinda way. (I totally get I’m assuming. Perhaps for you it is different...)

Now, contemplating God’s masculine attributes I am able see his Leader side, his warrior side, his teacher side, and his rescuing/defending side. Immediately this sits my ego down to an inferior plane. Awe and reverence for this God fill my soul and mind.

You see, for me, it was the reminder that God is more than I’m letting him be in my heart and mind that caused me to renew my trust in Him. Spiritually on my journey this past couple of weeks I’ve gotten lost in my worries and lack of hope for tomorrow that allowed me to slip back into doubting God.

Somehow a man’s presence is good at jarring into reality. Especially if you’re like me and tend to get all thinky and worrisome and start drifting down dark tunnels of blaahh. Jason’s good at saying one-liners that jolt me into the present and reality. I like him for that.

Seeing the manliness of God has jolted me back to reality.
Back to trust.

I CAN trust this.

I can trust this God that moves in ways that prove his infallible wisdom and knows the future.

Instantly I’m drawn to follow Him. Wanting Him to lead.

 

There’s nothing wrong with viewing God as masculine or feminie. Actually, truth be told, He is both. A mix. Since Genisis 1:27 says- And God made man in His own likeness. In the likeness of God He made him. He made both male and female. 

That says both males and females are made like Him. For more on seeing God as female read The Shack, by Paul Young. That will really stretch your brain. It’s a good read.

 

To usher me back to him, God used this radio program. Showing me the bigger picture of himself, He showed me the path that walks hand-in-hand with His feminine side and good leader and provider masculine side.

That makes me feel safe and protected on the journey. I am reminded that God cares and can take care of me. He can and I wish not to doubt Him.

Isn’t it so easy to doubt when we don’t see or feel God moving fast enough? Yes, that’s my problem. God doesn’t just jump to my whistle. Neither does my Gavin. Or Jason. Or my dog for that matter. Crazy mutt.

But, even then he is caring and leading me to places I can’t see just yet. He IS leading me, my strong warrior God, fighting for me and dreaming bigger dreams then I could ever dream over me.

I want to rest in that God. The God that has all the best male qualities you or I can imagine.