Archive | June 2012

Just Keep Living…

One of the sayings I’ve grown up hearing from my mother is: “keep living.” No matter what it is we happen to be in disagreement about, especially if it is her wisdom against that of her children, “keep living” is her response. We have come to know that “keep living” is our cue that the end of the conversation has come. Through her saying, she has given us and our ideas over to experience which will come to tell the tale. It’s probably the one saying that of my own experience, I will adopt to pass along to someone else one day. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve already used it with my own children!

As a child, I used to listen to my great-grandmother speaking to God. She talked to him like he was physically in the room. I often thought to myself that her conversations with the invisible must be something old folks do. Now that I’m (much) older, I have come to understand what she was doing, to whom she was talking and why. I know now that her relationship with God was real. He was real then. He is real now.

Sometimes I hear myself speaking out loud, “Thank you, God!” or “Praise you God!”. Just thinking about my life and his touch upon it, his guidance and grace force a praise from my mouth. Out loud I confess his promises to build myself up after the activities of the day have tried to tear me down. I’ve learned that acknowledging God with an open mouth is not what old folks do. It’s what believers do.

I’ve come to know that the one constant is God. When truly there is no one else, he is present; when there is nothing, he provides something.

These have been reflective times for me. Life will show you some things. As I continue to walk my path, I know as long as life is given to me, not only will the path’s purposes be revealed to me, a light will shine on them that I might recognize and learn the lessons of the season.

When, exactly?

I don’t profess to be the most patient person in the world. I’m easily irritated in checkout lines, traffic or any place else that forces me to play the waiting game– including in life!  Some days I just want to scream. Today is one of those days.

It can be so disconcerting to go through day after day with awesome expectancy of the manifestation of the thing (s), change, or movement we desire only to reach the end of the day and find nothing has happened as far as we can see.

I know things don’t happen overnight but when exactly do they happen? Sigh.

My little rant brings to mind something I read recently that said: “Patience reveals our faith in God’s timing, omnipotence and love.”

Thanks a lot! Right when I’m about to throw a massive pity party, I’m reminded that without faith I cannot please God. Thus, my attitude is adjusted if only just a little. I am working on it.

But God. Even when I am not at my best, whether in behavior or level of faith, God responds when I’m feeling this way with a word of encouragement that is just enough to push me a little farther. His whispers tell me that waiting is a part of the process of growing and seeing his promises come to pass in my life. Waiting is necessary for preparing us to receive as we are not truly ready for all the things we ask.

In the meantime, it is up to me to wait with patience and confidence. No doubt, God’s timing is perfect. My petitions before him will be honored by him. When, exactly? When it’s time.

The Simple Things

Everyone who knows me knows I am a huge Denzel Washington fan. I’m excited to hear of his new releases. There should never be any doubt that I fully intend to support his work (although, in truth, he had a couple of flicks I just did not like…).

His most recent movie, Safe House, was awesome! On the weekends when I’m enjoying watching movies, I sometimes text my sister the lines I find funny or thoughtful. She laughs at how much attention I pay to such things.

There was an exchange between Denzel’s character and another that went like this (pulled from IMDB.com):

Carlos Villar: “In the old days, a cheap bottle of Flor de Cana kept us happy all night.”

Tobin Frost (Denzel’s character): “Mmm. Tastes change. People change.”

Carlos Villar: “People don’t change. We grow old. And some of us adapt. And learn how to enjoy simple pleasures of life, like a family, a home. And for you… What’s in that glass right now, for you, is as good as it’s ever going to be. One day you’ll understand. You got more past than future, you learn.”

“One day you understand. You got more past than future, you learn.”

How powerful! We’ve often heard people talk of the span between when we are born and when we die being the most important period of our lives.  Well I guess so! That dash on our tombstones between those two points represents all the time we’re given. It is unfortunate that for some, this short span of time is wasted on bad choices, regret, and overall dissatisfaction with the time they’ve spent on this earth. So much time is spent looking back than ahead.

When we realize that we have more life behind us than ahead is the moment we really get it. The life we live is short. With that realization, we start to understand that this life was meant to be lived simply and reflectively for purposes of remembering really good times over bad ones; the things we got right over those times we missed the mark.

I believe that we do change through our responses to the things of our life. We do get older. We do get wiser. And, yes, we do adapt. Ultimately, we learn simplicity which becomes our greatest gift for the span of time we have been given.

Thank God for the time he gives us to get it right.

In The Image of Me

I will leave behind great children and blessed grandchildren through whom pieces of me will live.

My grandchildren recently came for a visit. They’re still very young and very much a mystery to me. I say that because I have spent my adult life parenting and working trying to build a good life for my kids. I managed to stay very “busy” and can honestly say I missed very important moments throughout their lives.

It seems I notice more these days especially in the little ones. I see myself in them. Little mannerisms, their smiles, behaviors. I see me. God, I’m so excited about those babies! Every time they visit I see something new developing in them. Their personalities are taking shape right before my eyes.

Thinking of them and putting things into another perspective, I wondered as children of God, how often are we taking the time to ensure God sees himself in us? Can he say with a proud smile: I see me!

I encourage you to strive today to exhibit the image of God through the life you live.

Stronger

Stronger

I had a conversation with two of my younger sisters who extolled my strengths. They communicated to me how, when growing up, they placed me on high. They shared with me their great admiration and respect for me speaking of the qualities they saw in me specifically, my “strength”. What does that mean exactly? Wow. What an incredible honor (I think) and burden (I’m sure).

Listening to them, I had an epiphany that this knowledge is what moved me all these years. As the eldest child, I took very seriously the expectations of my parents, teachers, neighbors and siblings. Knowing their expectations brought great responsibility, fear, anxiety and extreme over-thinking how my every move would affect others.

It was time to come clean. So,in that same conversation, I admitted to my sisters how stressful it was in retrospect to be the one looked upon to lead and always do the right thing.  Not surprisingly, they never knew that.

Indeed, expectation is a powerful motivator.

The famous sociologist, Robert K. Merton, wrote that a person’s expectation is directly linked to the Self -fulfilling Prophecy. Whether or not such an expectation was truthful or not has little or no effect on the outcome. If a person believes what they are told or convinces himself/herself of the fact, chances are this person will see the expectation to its inevitable conclusion.

Being the strong one was a burden and living up to the expectations of others was a source of great angst. As I continue to meditate on my truths, I can also say I am thankful for the high expectations of others. Because of them, I came to be a believer in myself and all that I could be and do. High expectation established a vision for me to bring to manifestation.

Even before my sisters’ expectations of me were established, God had already made his expectation over my life very clear: I was to be strong, courageous and expectant that these qualities, in part, would lead me to a prosperous and successful place:

Joshua 1:7-16

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’” … 

Thank you, God, for your expectation and my sisters for seeing your strength in me.

Stronger

That place…

You imagine personal blogs to be these really upbeat and motivational spaces. Mine, however, may be a little too therapeutic for me and too much information for some readers.

My thoughts today reflect conversations I had this week, at separate times, with some of my girlfriends. It was the usual start. We rehashed our days and caught up on what’s going on with our children. Quickly, the conversation turned to our  “situations”. We were all, in a sense, talking about a specific need or so that is what I took terms like: “lack of motivation” and “I just don’t know…” to mean.

Ruling out fatigue and burnout, I think when we get to a place of chronic lack of motivation in how we feel about our life, we are really beginning to accept the inevitable with one last whimper.  We can’t see or find that thing we need to see or find in order to turn the tide. It’s time. Call it what you will but I call it an alarm that our spiritual balance is in need of attention.  We’re deficient and in need of Vitamin G! Yep, the time has come to ready ourselves for deep conditioning prayer. We’re in need of one on one time with God, the Father and in our spirit we know that what we experience in revelation may not be pleasant to our flesh!

While this spiritual thing is happening, I’ve often thought I wouldn’t make it. I had only been able to discern my ups and downs in a human (not spiritual)  way. I was forced to be still and in my quiet, hear the still small voice of God encourage me, direct me and renew me in ways only he can.

When we allow ourselves to meet the spiritual demands of our lives, we find ourselves in a  new place in our lives and in our thinking. Our balance is restored.

Thankfully, we have a God who does and has prepared a way and time through grace for us to renew.

I Understand