Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not quite 31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 19]

I know I'm a failure. I didn't make the 31 days. I've been mentally drained lately and the words have not been there. But God's words are better than mine, so this is what I have for you today:

Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 14]

Whoops. Didn't post yesterday either. It wasn't on purpose this time. I think I overdid it yesterday and I was not feeling well last night. Life just happens like that sometimes.

And once again, I was lost, wondering what to blog about today when the Lord reminded me to turn to His Word. More than growing my writing, I think this 31 days is growing me spiritually. God is continually reminding me that when I try to do things on my own, I come up short every time. But when I turn to Him, He is a constant source of peace.

As I was formulating a blog in my brain, I was thinking about my life. It always seems like everything is going really good, or everything is going really bad. And a lot of times I experience both of those feelings in one day. I wondered for 2 seconds if I was bi-polar, but then the Lord reminded me that I'm not. Life just happens like that sometimes.

Then He reminded me of something else. My life is always going to be a roller coaster ride. There are always going to be really good times and there are always going to be really bad times. It's unpredictable, really. Life just happens like that sometimes. Here comes the exciting part. The "But God" part. But God is constant.

I immediately turned to one of my favorite verses, Psalm 18:31-32.
"For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

I love that part- "And who is the Rock except our God?" In the midst of life's ups and downs, my God is constant, a ROCK. When I never know where life will take me next, I know one thing- no matter where I go, my Rock is constant and will always be there.

I also love the part that says He "arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." When things are good, I know it is because of Him. When things are bad, I know I can make it through because He has armed me with strength. And when life seems crazy, no matter how good or how bad, I know that it is perfectly what the Lord has intended for me. I know that to be true because He told me so.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 12]

I didn't blog yesterday. I thought about it and decided not to. It's ok. I gave myself a break. I needed it.

I took a break today too. Not from blogging, but from life. Being pregnant and being a mom of an active toddler is exhausting. I've probably mentioned that one or two (or 57...) times before. I'm at the point where pretty much all I can do is the basics- feeding my family, doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen, picking up all the toys, etc. Then I push myself a little harder to sometimes clean the bathrooms, sweep, vacuum, and other things like that. Not everything gets done and I'm learning to be ok with that.

I'm learning to be ok with that because I have to. I can only push myself so far. Most days when Leeland goes to school, I spend the whole time frantically cleaning and trying to accomplish lots of stuff. Today, I allowed myself to take the day off. I even prepared for it yesterday by working extra hard to make sure the house wasn't a mess so I wouldn't be bothered or burdened about it today.

I sat in the recliner and watched Netflix. I ate a donut and some pigs in a blanket. I opened the blinds and enjoyed the rain. (God must have sent the rain to East Texas today just for me!) I turned off my brain, I ignored the toys all over the floor and I just relaxed. It was so peaceful. I did actually get up and do a little bit of cleaning but it was stuff that I wanted to do, stuff that usually gets neglected.

The dishwasher needs to be emptied, the laundry is piled up in the laundry room, and I REALLY need to vacuum because one of Leeland's favorite new hobbies is collecting acorns and bringing them inside. But I'm not doing it. All of that can be taken care of later. Giving myself permission to set aside everything that normally burdens and weighs me down, and instead enjoy a little bit of peace, was just what I needed. I give you permission to do the same. You can thank me later :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 10]

For those of you that thought I would wake up with a fresh new outlook on life today, you were wrong. I say that because that's what I thought would happen. I didn't feel good yesterday but after writing my blog last night, I had decided that I was going to wake up and today was going to be a great day. Oh contrare....

Leeland, although he NEVER does this, woke up at 5:15 a.m. for some reason. I went in and rocked him and before too long, he went back to sleep. But sleep did not come back for this little momma. And on top of that, I still have this terrible congestion and cough. Oh, and have I mentioned that even at 19 weeks, I still get morning sickness?

So as I laid in bed, wide awake, feeling miserable, I had a very grim outlook on this day. I didn't want to get up. I didn't want to have a good day. Oh, AND Weston is gonna be gone pretty much all of this week. So I already had a bad attitude about the entire week. I just wanted to wallow in self pity.

I thought about my blog. I thought there is no way I will find "peace in the chaos" today. I couldn't think of any fun Leeland story or some big revelation from God. I thought I was done. Out of material. My 31 days of writing fizzled into 9 measly days...

Then I heard that still small voice whispering to me to turn to His Word. I suddenly remembered that this isn't about me. It's not up to me to find peace in the chaos. It is from the Lord! You would think it wouldn't be that hard to remember that one very important fact but I really had forgotten.

So after dropping Leeland off at school, I sat down, turned on some Shane & Shane and opened my Bible. I didn't really know where to turn but the song that was playing was Psalm 13 so I decided to turn there. The first four verses say this:
"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall."

I could definitely relate with these verses but I was beginning to get worried. All of that seemed pretty grim and the chapter was almost over. I thought to myself, "Where's the good news?!" Then I read verses 5 and 6:
"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me."


I didn't wake up to a beautiful and wonderful great new day. In fact, I woke up and today started out worse than yesterday. I might have a lot to get done today and I might not feel good, BUT "I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me."

I may be having a bad day, but the Lord has been good to me. And he has been so so good. I wonder how he feels when he has been so good to me, yet I choose to spend my day wallowing in self pity? I'm guessing that doesn't make him feel very good. So today, I will sing to the Lord.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 9]

I don't feel like blogging today.
I don't feel like finding peace in the chaos.
I don't feel good.

But that's the thing about life. Sometimes we just have to do things, even when we don't feel like it. Where would we all be if we only did what we felt like doing?

And to take things a step further. As Christians, there are lots of things that we are called to do, even when we don't feel like it.

Jesus didn't say, "Take up your cross and follow me, if you feel like it."
Jesus didn't say, "Love one another, when you feel like it."
I could keep going but I think you get my point.

I am sick and today I laid around the house in my pajamas all day long. But tomorrow is a new day. I doubt I'll be feeling better but I'm going to change out of my pajamas and put real clothes on. I'm gonna do my make up and fix my hair. I'm gonna make Leeland's lunch and I'm gonna do my grocery shopping. Even if I don't feel like it, I'm gonna do everything I can to impact the world. Because that is what Christ has called me to do.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 8]

The past few days have been oh so busy. And for this pregnant momma, that is exhausting! On top of that, Leeland has been sick and he got me sick. I took some benadryl about an hour ago and I'm totally falling asleep as I'm typing. But to be true to my word, I'm blogging because I must get it in today!

We found out the sex of the baby today. We went to one of those places where your family can watch. Luckily, Weston wasn't out of town, my parents came, and my brother surprised me and was able to make it, along with his girlfriend and her daughter. It was quite the joyous time as it has been a month or two since all of the family was together. Weston is usually gone, Drew is super busy with football responsibilities at his new job, and there always seems to be something going on at the church where my dad works.

I was busy yesterday, I was busy today, I'm sick and I'm tired. But today, I was with family. Oh how I love my family. I often complain that my mom doesn't live right down the road so she can watch Leeland for me anytime, but I realize that I am oh so blessed that my parents only live an hour away and are a very present part of my life. My brother worked late last night so that he would be able to be here today. And he brought me Tyler roses. What a great guy.

Even in the middle of busyness (my parents and my brother are some of the busiest people I know), family togetherness brought peace. Thank you Lord for the blessing of family.

Oh, and by the way, I'm having a girl. (Woohoo!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 7]

We were supposed to find out the sex of our baby last Monday. I had been looking forward to this day for quite a while. People were always asking me about it and I always excitedly exclaimed, "October 3!" It was a big day. But, to be honest, I had a feeling we wouldn't find out that day. I was afraid the baby wouldn't cooperate and we wouldn't be able to tell. And what do ya know! The baby's legs were closed the whole time and we got no glimpse of those little private parts that tell us the big news.

I was disappointed. I am still eager to find out and we have an appointment to find out (hopefully!) tomorrow. But the odd part is, I had a peace about it.

That is totally out of character for me. Especially about something like this. I don't know if anyone else feels the same way but I don't really feel connected with my baby until I know the sex and give it a name. Then, I don't have to refer to it as an "it." I know whether I should be having dreams of ballet recitals or football games. I know if I should buy pink bows or plaid shirts. So although this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it's a big deal to me.

This is where the beauty of my Lord comes in. He knew it was a big deal to me. So I firmly believe He was preparing me ahead of time. He was the still small voice in my head that said, "Maybe October 3 won't be the big day. And that's ok." He brought peace in that moment, a peace that could have come from no one else but Him.

I don't know what kind of results we'll get tomorrow. I'm praying that we'll find out, just so I can stop wondering and speculating. But I know that whatever happens, it's all in the Lord's plans. Even with something so non-important as finding out the sex of the little baby growing inside of me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 6]

Well, Steve Jobs died. I know that all of you already know that. And just like me, you probably found out about his death one of the wonderful devices he created.

I found out about his death while checking facebook on my iPhone. Do you know how much I hate facebook when big events happen? I mean, sometimes I am thankful that my friends feel the need to share these things, because that is the only way I'll find out about it happening. But most of the time, I already know it happened and I really do not care to read about it over. and over. and over again. I felt that way about Osama bin Laden's death. I feel that way about college football on Saturdays. I feel that way about the Rangers and the Cowboys. I felt that way about the death of Steve Jobs.

Weston, like most people in the world, loves Apple and loved Steve Jobs. He was really sad when he died. He said he really enjoyed hearing him speak at the keynotes, had hope that he was going to get better, and expected to hear him speak once again. But that was all gone.

I was just intent on watching whatever was on TV. But Weston was intently reading about Steve Jobs...for a really long time. Then he says, "Oh, I forgot. Steve Jobs was a buddhist. He died a buddhist." I kind of laughed and said, "Haha, that must mean he's gonna be reincarnated as an iPad!" And Weston said, "No, that means he's in hell right now." I stopped laughing.

When Osama bin Laden died, all of my friends had A LOT to say about it on facebook. A lot of people acknowledged the fact that he went to hell. And some even said they were happy about it. All of my friends have a lot to say about Steve Jobs' death too, but it's weird, no one is mentioning the fact that he's in hell. And if someone did mention it, I don't know one single person that would be happy about it. In fact, I think most would be rather sad.

Why would we be happy/not care about one soul burning in hell yet mourn over another? Just because one of them brought lots of death, pain, and heartache to our world and the other one brought cool gadgets and convenience? The fact is that neither one of them found the truth. Neither one of them had true peace. Being buddhist, I'm sure Mr. Jobs thought he knew what peace was. But he missed the mark. Just like millions of others.

And to me, this is all just a little more motivation to live in peace. To love. To share. To impact. I might not have made a difference in the lives of Steve Jobs or Osama bin Laden, but I'm sure there was someone that could have, and they missed their chance. I don't want to miss my chance.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 5]

When was the last time you sat down and had a good heart to heart conversation with your husband? Before last night, I don't think I could have answered that question because it had been so long.

Weston and I are both busy and overwhelmed. Weston probably more so than me. Last night, the weather got nice and cool and after putting Leeland to bed and finishing The Biggest Loser, we decided to go sit outside and enjoy the weather. We actually had to take blankets out there because it was so chilly!

It was a nice break from the usual. Just being outside with each other, no technology, no distractions. It was blissful. We began to talk and we got past all of that surface stuff. Pretty much all we usually talk about is Weston's job, Leeland, and the occasional random piece of knowledge I have that I like to share with the world. But that wasn't the conversation last night.

We actually talked. Not to get all mushy on you, but we shared our feelings. We talked about those issues in marriage that need to be talked about but often get pushed to the wayside. It was so so good. It wasn't easy. But it was good. And not only was there peace in that moment, but that conversation will continue to provide peace in our marriage.

Try it. Trust me. It's worth it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 4]

I love how God gives me one little glimpse of an idea and then slowly and gradually broadens the scope, showing me new things.

When I thought of the topic "Peace in the Chaos," I was really just thinking of my own little life in my own little world. But in the past few days, I've been expanding my view to think outside of myself a little bit.

I was checking Twitter the other day and read two interesting headlines. The first said something about the chance of retaliation after the death of Al-Awlaki (you know the big terrorist leader) and the second said something about how the world was so much safer now that he (along with Bin Laden) was dead. Immediately, pictures flashed through my mind of some other event like 9/11 happening again. But just as quickly, I felt peace. Because I knew that whatever happened, whether something like that happened or not, God is in control. He has a plan, He knows what He's doing. And because of that, I can have peace, no matter what.

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 3]

[Do you wanna know what the hardest part is about blogging every day? Blogging. I thought the hard part would be the writing part but I usually write about 3 blogs a day- in my head. And I feel all accomplished...and then the end of the day arrives and I say, "Oh no! I haven't blogged!"]

I took Leeland on a breakfast date this morning before I took him to school. We decided to go to the McDonald's down the road. I was really looking forward to our breakfast date but going somewhere with Leeland by myself is never easy. It's kind of funny the way your thinking changes when you become a mom. Especially when it's just you and your baby- you gotta go in with a game plan.

As soon as I walked in the door, I scoped out the location of the high chairs. It's just funny to me because before baby, the only thing on my mind would have been the food I was about to consume. After baby, I find the high chairs, I made sure my money was easily accessible so I could get it out with one hand while holding Leeland, then I looked for a place to sit where I could sit Leeland in the high chair and still be able to see him if I needed to get up for any necessities like straws, napkins, and ketchup. All of this went through my mind within 5 seconds of walking in the door. Whew! Being a mom is hard work!

I noticed an open booth that had maximum viewing capacity and was close to the stack of high chairs. It was the last booth left in a small side section and the rest of the section was full of...old people! Old people that clearly all knew each other and all enjoyed breakfast together at McDonalds often. I got so excited about sitting with the old people! For two reasons: 1. I knew Leeland would bring joy to them. 2. I knew they would bring joy to Leeland and I.

I was right- as soon as I walked in the section I heard, "You have the most perfect red headed baby!" Old people are amazed by Leeland's red hair for some reason. An old man that could barely walk helped me get a high chair out of the stack. As we sat down, they went on and on about how good and cute Leeland is, and they all proceeded to tell me about their grandchildren- some red headed and some not. That's always important to mention.

It was so pleasant and wonderful. As they finished up and headed out (I'm sure they had been there for hours), I thought to myself, "This is peace." Things like that just don't happen anymore. Strangers don't just talk and share their lives like that every day. Especially with the technology we have these days, we are consumed by things far off and not the community that is right around us.

I had forgotten the peace and joy the community of strangers can bring. Maybe Leeland and I will have breakfast with our new friends at McDonald's more often. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 2]

Since our pastor left, we have had a series of guest preachers at our church. The guy this morning was your classic old evangelist. He was very dead set on people getting saved. He was very passionate. He had good things to say but he never once opened the Bible. I hope that someone got saved because of his words, but to those of us that are already Christians, it was a little stale(in my opinion). I got a little bored (don't worry, I was a little convicted about that) and my mind began to wander.

I began to think about the church. Not the building, not the service, but the people. I think the church is really the definition of peace in the chaos. This world is so lost and confused. Everyone is searching for something, they just don't know what. The church has the answer but I don't think we share it enough. You know what they want? Peace. Hope. Love. We have these things!!

My attention slowly wandered back to the words the preacher was saying as he talked about a book Billy Graham wrote a long time ago. I was about to tune him out again when I heard what the book was about- peace. He talked about how this book was just flying off the shelves when it came out because, and I quote, "There's one thing that everyone in the world wants and that's peace." I smiled to myself as I realized that I was thinking the exact same thought that this little old evangelist was thinking. :)

We have the answer, we have that peace, but what do we have to show for it? When someone sees me grocery shopping at Walmart, do they see my peace? When I'm standing in line at the post office, do those around know what I possess? You would think we would all live quite differently with this precious treasure of peace that we possess. But so many times, our lives look exactly like those lost people around us.

I'm going to be a little more intentional tomorrow. I'm going to live in peace. And I'm going to walk into the chaos of the world and show others that my God brings peace that passes all understanding. And that makes all the difference.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 days of peace in the chaos: [day 1]

This morning started out pretty nice. I got up with Leeland and let Weston sleep since he had a late flight and had gotten home at 2:00a.m. Leeland played with toys. We watched cartoons. We ate breakfast. I even got to relax in the recliner and drink a cup of coffee. I had lots of warm, fuzzy, peaceful thoughts and had already written a nice happy blog in my head.

Then, the fuss monster arrived.

Leeland started to fuss a bit and it was around nap time so I went to put him down, but he was not having that! He started to get worked up and I tried so hard to get him to stop crying because his room is right next to ours and I wanted Weston to be able to sleep. After it was clear nap time wasn't going to happen soon, I decided to bring him back out to the living room and let him play. However, he had already gotten worked up and just didn't want to stop crying. He doesn't usually do this but today he did and every bit of peace was gone.

With pregnancy hormones and being tired from not sleeping well, I had a very short fuse and that was pretty much blown. I was at the end of my rope, as Leeland was too. It was at that moment I realized you have to CHOOSE peace. It doesn't just come in and take all of the stress away, you have to let it in. But that is NOT easy.

I would take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and choose peace. That moment would last about 30 seconds and then it was like all my anxiety, anger, and annoyance came back quicker and stronger. It was a struggle.

I put Leeland in the car and we drove around for about 30-45 minutes. He calmed down a bit. And eventually, so did I. I got home and my wonderful husband had gotten up, straightened up the house, gotten the laundry going, and opened all of the blinds to let the sunshine in. It was a breath of fresh air.

Leeland eventually went down for a nap (with quite a fight) and the house got quiet. That's when the easy peace came. The quiet, calm peace that is natural. The peace streamed in as beautifully as the sunlight streaming through the windows, warming my toes. But I think sometimes the peace that isn't easy is a little more rewarding. The peace that you have to drive around for 30 minutes to find, that peace is not natural. Which means only one thing- it is purely from the Lord. When we CHOOSE that, especially when it's not easy, that's when we have a little victory over the enemy.

When I decided on the topic of "Peace in the Chaos," I had no idea that the very first day was going to start out quite so chaotic! But I think the Lord wanted me to realize these foundational truths right in the beginning: His peace doesn't always come easily. Sometimes we have to look for it, and CHOOSE it.