Well-Timed Friend-Time

photo-1491438590914-bc09fcaaf77aIt was a perfectly timed night with two good friends. We had planned it a month or two earlier. It was a risky plan for me, knowing it was near a huge deadline at work. That day, I thought I might have to back out when work got busy, but I was able to slip away.

Not only did I get to spend time and catch up with good friends, but I also savored a night of worship. The music was outstanding. A large group of college students led, taught, shared, and worshiped. The auditorium was filled with a variety of people, and every now and then, I glanced around and appreciated how different I felt from many of them, yet how similar we all were.

God highlighted specific lyrics to remind me of his promises. He used music to soothe my soul. He used people’s teachings and stories to reveal his character to me.

And I soaked in his presence.

On the drive to and from the venue, my friends and I shared life. We talked about plans, struggles, and celebrations. I knew the next morning and work would come quickly, but for several hours, God calibrated my soul, mind, and heart.

Reality checks are good. They help me live a spiritually and emotionally healthy life.

I am thankful.

Resting Awake

photo-1468343966296-e9b4b71804ffI arrived home late after a long but fun day with family and friends. Perhaps I should have gone to bed right away, but I didn’t. I rarely do when I get home late.

There’s something about ending the day with some down time, simply savoring home.

Home looks different for many of us, but in this season of my life, home is quiet and grounding. I am not there many hours of the day, but it helps me reset. It is a safe place where I can breathe, relax, and be grateful. I am there by myself, but that’s okay. The last weeks I shared a house with my ex were volatile, and being able to have a space that was safe and filled with God’s reassurance began to heal me. And continues.

Not every home feels that way. I understand.

Try to savor moments when it is as if a reset button is clicked, and you can breathe for a moment.

I slept very few hours that night, but sometimes rest comes when eyes are wide open.

Ask God to reset you today. It might be uncomfortable at first as you adjust to a shifting experience of what home can be. Be patient. Be intentional. Be grateful.

The Shock of Winning

photo-1475721027785-f74eccf877e2My nephew’s acapella group advanced to a competition close to me. So several in the family planned to go. What a treat! The ten groups (and one featured local group) were all excellent. Their talent and energy were inspiring. Because I knew I’d get home late, I considered skipping out before it was over, but it was too good to leave.

The awards presentation began. I thought my nephew’s group would be in the top three. Only the winner advanced to the international competition in NYC. Some special awards were given, then 3rd, then 2nd. I thought my nephew’s group had been shut out.

Then, the winner was announced, and they won! They looked shocked, as if they had resolved a shut out, too. Someone on the other side of the auditorium caught their reaction and celebration on video. They were definitely surprised.

Sometimes, even when we’ve practiced and committed to something and have some confidence in our ability and growth, we are surprised by the outcome. We might be disappointed or elated. Either can surprise us. When we have reason to celebrate, when we don’t expect it, we are hit by waves: Is this happening? This is the best thing ever! Wait, but this also means…

We slowly realize winning comes with new opportunities that require new commitments and responsibilities. We have new challenges to solve. And we get to choose appreciation and humility or pride and haughtiness. Our response ripples onto others – good and bad.

Sedoctave is now working hard to prepare for their next competition and figuring out how to get everyone to NYC in a couple weeks while also wrapping up the semester at college, including finals. They are supporting each other along the way.

It is good to share life with others.

The ABCs

photo-1503676260728-1c00da094a0bA baby shower morphed into a meet-the-baby party after two date delays due to winter weather. It was a fun day, perhaps better this time around because several people who hadn’t yet met my granddaughter got a few snuggles.

It was a casual gathering with just the right mix of a little structure and lots of time to chat or snack or draw.

Yes, draw.

The hosts, my oldest daughter and sister, had 26 pages, each with a letter of the alphabet. The instructions were to draw something that starts with that letter.

A is for apple.

B is for bee.

C is for cat.

Some of us challenged artistic types go a bit sassy.

N is for nothing. (blank page)

Y is for yellow. (yellow scribble)

Others were very creative, either with the word choice or the illustration.

G is for Great-Grandma.

When everyone was done, pages were placed in album sleeves and bound into a book.

A dozen people combined their various skills to complete a keepsake. Not all the people see each other often or know each other well, but they had a common focus.

Isn’t that how community works at its best? We walk alongside each other, even if for only a brief time, to encourage or help someone. We each give a little, and often provide the ABCs of what’s needed.

Offer a couple letters to others today with your generosity, creativity, and selflessness.

Mom to Adults

photo-1531844734254-51193b49c604One of my favorite parts of being a mom to adults is brief snippets of time together. It’s often the spontaneous moments. They are like snapshots. We invite each other into our lives and spend moments of time that might seem a bit insignificant but are filled with serious conversations, kidding around, or making plans.

I savor those snippets. Each one feels like a wink. In the context of our lives together, they are the sighs, the small moments of relief among the regular breaths of routine, shallow breaths of crises, and deep breaths of hope.

I think I’ve always appreciated such moments, but as the girls grow their own lives and families, I sense a deeper richness to the moments. Perhaps I experience those sighs as a bit more satisfying and deeper because of the challenges of the past few years.

Being a mom is overwhelming at times, but some of those times, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Moms, take those snapshots. Group selfies are not necessary to mark the occasion. You don’t have to post it to prove it. Just sit in the moment, soak it up, and sign.

The Tapestry of Ministry

photo-1538519446176-2533d0b39099My friend and I video-chatted about our unexpected twists in life that have positioned us to minister to people we wouldn’t expect.

And we are grateful.

When God purposes the fractured pieces of our lives, we can trust him to help us into wholeness with not only our pieces but those around us. We help each other. We celebrate together, grieve together, and bind together.

And it is a beautiful tapestry process.