Step #3: Limit Distractions

season

I sat staring at the screen for several minutes.

The boxes were doing their little dance as the dark xs taunted me. Surely deleting the apps wasn’t THAT big of a deal, but the longer I took to make them vanish, the more I realized I was addicted to distraction. Sitting in waiting rooms, that two minutes before the oven timer goes off, while rocking my daughter to sleep… anything that could be a mindless activity begged for the glow of a small screen and updates from the world around me.

 distractions

I’ve been thinking about making a big technology change for the past month. Conviction about the amount of time spent pinning, scanning, and promoting took root in my heart and wouldn’t let go . The dinner table and church have always been technology free zones for me, but I began to wonder why I wasn’t willing to carve out sacred spaces in every area of my home and life. I don’t want my daughter growing up staring at the back of my phone.

It’s easy to talk about wanting to make changes, but so much harder to do. When I first started journaling about this series, 12 Steps to Keeping our Hearts in Tune, I listed out “limit distractions.” I wasn’t sure what it would look like, but I knew it definitely involved less screen time. A majority of my work requires time on the computer and posting through social media, so the practical how to make this happen appeared nearly impossible.

There is nothing wrong with social media at face value. I’ve just watched it become an area of temptation in my own life. It can keep me from prayer and time in the Word. It would have me substitute deep friendships for casual connections, compare my life with others, and ignite jealousy, worry, self-righteousness, and the need to please. Why do I turn to this thing, this technology like a drug?

I have to post this!

I wonder what I’ve missed in the past 3 hours?

My food looks amazing. People should see this.

My Bible Study on Nehemiah hit the nail on the head.

Making changes in our lives can be hard, but it’s our refusal to change the places God is asking us to change that keeps us stuck on the dismal merry-go-round we’re too afraid to jump off yet too sick to stay on. We hold on tightly only to pass by the same old stuff exactly where it was at the last time we swirled past… Reading through the Jew’s public confession and their commitment to do things differently has reminded me of how vital follow-through of obedience is to our repentance. (Kelly Minter, Nehemiah: A Heart that Breaks)

I knew what I had to do when I read Kelly’s words and the response of the Israelites in Nehemiah chapters 9-10.

stepStep #3. Limit distractions.

I can tell you with conviction that  following through in obedience is already tuning my heart only five days into the process.

I deleted them.

Good-bye Twitter. Good-bye Facebook. Good-bye Pinterest.

They still exist on my computer, but there’s something SO freeing about not having them on my phone. I’m not forbidden from checking or using them, I’m simply removing the distraction that was affixed to my hand. Now my phone is a camera and a telephone. My time with my daughter is WITH my daughter. I don’t read a passage thinking about which verse I’m going to stop and tweet.

These 5 days have been WONDERFUL. I wonder why I was too scared to try this sooner… the fear of boredom? I was addicted to distraction.

I just pulled up Facebook for the first time in three days. I scanned for 4 minutes, liked a few things, and then I was done. I closed my computer and got back to living my life … not so I could post about it or Instagram it, but just so I don’t miss out.

I talked to my husband about this distraction craving. We’ve determined to keep the TV off completely at least 2 nights a week. We spend our time relaxing and decompressing in a different way. The appeal is already wearing off and I couldn’t be happier.

Those are some of the ways we are actively removing distractions this season. I know this could look differently for each of us, but the challenge remains: if you want your heart to be tuned to sing His grace, limit the distractions that keep you from experiencing your own life and hearing from the Lord. This time is too short and too precious to spend it living vicariously through anyone or anything else.

“Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.”

– Robert Robinson, 1735-1790

 

Following,
Ginger

To catch up on the rest of the series:

Tune My Heart

Step #1. Demonstrate Gratitude

Step #2. Today’s Manna

 

Tune My Heart

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is the song I sing most often to my daughter as I rock her to sleep. She goes down easily at night, but boy does she fight her naps. I sing this song over and over in the oversized rocking chair and watch her eyes grow heavy…

“Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.”

– Robert Robinson, 1735-1790

The second line, “tune my heart to sing thy grace” lives on the tip of my tongue these days. The picture drawn by Robert Robinson’s lyrics are clear and to the point. We all know the ear-piercing quality of an intrument out of tune, and the pleasant sounds that come from simple attentive tuning.

tune

Tuning has become my theme for the month. My prayers are asking the Lord to oversee it and I am consciously looking for ways to identify areas that fall out of tune. My prayer is that my heart would be tuned to live out of thankfulness, grace, and joy. This is an active request. I will ask God to provide the opportunities for training and tuning, but then I must also commit to exercise these muscles.

I know the holidays have the potential to leave us overwhelmed and exhausted, but let’s commit right here and now to have no part of that. Deal? I’m aiming to be proactive. That’s why this week we will start checking our alignment. It’s time to take our task lists and minds and set a course for the coming months that won’t leave us empty. I hope you will join me in the coming weeks as we take very practical steps to keep the peace in our hearts and homes. (How many metaphors can I throw out in one post?)

If you are looking for a beautiful rendition of this song, I recommend this version by Sufjan Stevens…

Do you have a favorite recording of Come Thou Fount? Do share!

Following and tuning,
Ginger

Strengthen My Hands

After three months of resting, waiting, and making lots of excuses, I finally pulled out my post-baby workout DVD. Ugh. I was determined to make it through one of the twenty-minute sessions. Everything started well enough. My daughter was entertained for the moment, a miracle in itself. But about halfway through the workout, I began to doubt my plan. The perky mom on the screen was very encouraging as she demonstrated the set of 15 push-ups we were to attempt. I’ll be honest; the push-ups were a disaster. It felt like I had never done a push-up in my life. I immediately considered turning off the DVD. I thought to myself, “This is way too hard. I just want to be done. Can’t I just get the results without doing this work? UGH!”

And then I remembered Nehemiah.

I know. Odd line of thinking, but I’ll connect the dots. My Thursday morning Bible Study is walking through Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: a heart that can break. Nehemiah is the central figure in the story of the Israelites rebuilding the dilapidated walls of Jerusalem. He wasn’t an engineer or a military leader. As an exiled Israelite in Babylon, he had served as cupbearer to the king. And yet, the Lord stirred in Nehemiah’s heart to see Jerusalem restored to its former glory. Even though he had limited leadership and building experience, Nehemiah responded in obedience. (If you haven’t spent time in the book, I highly recommend you pull it out soon.)

Fast-forward in the story and we discover that after a mere 52 days of building, the walls are almost completed and the opposition from enemies is in full swing. Nehemiah can’t seem to catch a break from these enemies, but his passion never wavers. In chapter six we read,

“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’

But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’” (Nehemiah 6:9, NIV)

That one short prayer teaches me so much about Nehemiah’s resolve. Had I been in Nehemiah’s shoes, my prayer would have probably looked a lot different. “God, this is way too hard. Can you just take away the opposition and everything that makes this difficult so we can just be done?” (Sound familiar?)

All too often I just want the Lord to make my problems instantly disappear. I don’t want anything difficult to cross my path.

God cares deeply about my struggles, His Word promises that. But I also believe that the Lord wants to teach us through the challenges. Nehemiah reminds me to ask for strength in the middle of trials, to persevere, and to pursue God’s will.

My workout DVD is in no way a trial, but I’m thankful for the small ways that the Lord continues to remind me of His word and His promises.

hand

Whatever you are facing this month, know that God is walking with you. He has not abandoned you. May we have the courage to pray with Nehemiah, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Happy Friday!

Following,
Ginger

Life Starts Now

dear me

Dear Eighteen year-old me,

I’m looking down at my sleeping daughter as I write this letter to you. You won’t believe the journey that has led from 18 to being thirty-one. It has been an incredible ride. I have so many things that I want to tell you. I could talk for hours and hours with lessons learned and mistakes made… but I know the experience will only serve to grow you and teach you. So instead, I’ll summarize some main points that I hope you learn sooner than later. For starters:

1. Don’t get that perm in two years when you move overseas. Yes, England is damp and wet, but perming your hair won’t fix that. I repeat. It will be 2002. DO NOT GET A PERM.

2. When those guys say, “I don’t think we should date any more,” let yourself be sad. That’s fine. But then repeat these words to yourself: “Rejection is a good thing.” I know it sounds harsh, but relationships end in one of two ways: rejection or marriage. You didn’t want those to be marriage. Trust me.

3. You can spend years trying to “find” yourself, but if you identify yourself with an anchor other than your heavenly Father, you will end up in a road that leads to nowhere. Finding my identity in the Lord has been the most freeing and exciting discovery of my life.

4. Who you are is more important that what you want. Let me see if I can explain. I wanted to be in a romantic relationship but it felt like zero guys were interested. So I decided I needed to lose weight to fix that. Long story short, don’t sell out who you are for anything. Don’t let your story get hijacked by bad decisions.When I know the WHO I want to be it helps me choose my “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” Set your heart and mind on who you want to be … a woman of integrity, honor, compassion, and inspiration. Stay true to your identity in the Lord.

5. You can trust the Lord with the desires of your heart. I know it’s confusing when things don’t happen in your timing or within your parameters, but I want to remind you that God loves to give you GOOD gifts! He’s not waiting to throw your decisions in your face or spoil your plans. His good IS good.

6. Your heart is worth guarding and sharing. Ugh. That word “guard” has become such a touchy one. So here’s what I mean. Love yourself enough to protect your heart from unnecessary hurt. Don’t be careless with your time, your body, or your emotions. But don’t wall yourself up from experiencing real relationships either. We have to risk big to win big. Share, give, and receive love with your heart … just don’t settle for the cheap version.

7. Your mistakes don’t define you. I stand here and acknowldege a long list of life mess-ups. I could label myself easily, stand before you and declare:

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a recovering food addict.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a liar.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m deceitful.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a recovering bulimic.

All of those statements have been true of my life at one time or another, but I am also united with Christ. His past is my past and His future is my future! He calls me Beloved.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I struggle with food and body image, but I am IN CHRIST.

8. Get out of your comfort zone! Sure, it’s safe to sit by yourself, watch t.v. and spend all of your Saturdays at the library, but growth comes when you are willing to take on challenges. I know you like to hold your cards close and are afraid to share too much, but you have got to get past that fear. This life has too much waiting for you and I don’t think it will be found watching reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

9. God isn’t hiding. I know you want to hear from Him, but don’t make it complicated. He’s not holding out on you. His Word promises that if we seek Him we will find Him. Hayley Dimarco says, “You cannot seek anyone with all your heart in your spare time.” True that. Give Him your time and attention and then be patient. Sometimes He wants you to take a step even if you don’t know what the path ahead looks like. Be brave and keep seeking.

10. Life starts now. Oh, Ginger. This is the message I want you to get through your head and into your heart. Your life will not start when some guy to rides up on a white horse and invites you to be the heroine of his story. You ARE the heroine. Your heavenly Father has given you an amazing life to live, so why are you stuck waiting for someone else to confirm that truth? Life is not on hold until you find “the one.” Life does not start with a corsage, a diploma, a ring, a job, or even the perfect group of friends. Real life begins with Jesus.

Love,
This Ginger

– – – –

These are the truths I would tell my eighteen year-old self. Those main points (really, rethink the perm) are what I would share with any woman if we had the chance to sit down and share a cup of coffee and an hour of time together. So, of course, those are the points that shaped my first book. I can’t wait to share Forget the Corsage with you.

 forget the corsage

More to come…

Following,
Ginger

Confession Time

On June 9th our Pastor shared a lesson entitled Coveting: The Disease of Discontentment. That was my first hint to the theme that would come across my path repeatedly over the subsequent days and weeks. We were challenged to examine the excessive desire to have what belongs to someone else. Although there are days when I think about how nice it would be to have her house with the pool, or his travel budget, I don’t usually notice myself trying to keep up with the Joneses. The disease of discontent hits us all in different ways but the indicators are seen in greed, reference anxiety, envy, and jealousy. The sad truth is that we have all been diagnosed with this particular disease. Thankfully our pastor reminded us that contentment, generosity, and well-placed hope are definite cures for what ails us.

But step number one in the healing process is realizing that we are infected. This not only takes admittance, but the willingness to dig deep in our own hearts.

Last Wednesday night my small group was gathered together and ended up discussing this very topic. (OF COURSE.) We were challenged to consider how coveting and discontentment rear their ugly heads in our lives. Prior to the discussion I had nodded my head in agreement at the sermon, but not really given a second thought to the way that I struggle with discontentment. When faced with the question I slowly began to realize my strain of the virus.

Confession time: I covet a lot of things. I want what you have. I covet your relationship with the Lord. I covet your dedication to prayer. I covet your willingness to serve on a moment’s notice. I covet your joyful spirit and pleasant demeanor even in the midst of challenging situations. I covet (and get irritated with) the fact that you seem to always seem to trust His will. I covet the way you are at peace with your body, personality, and life. I covet your contentment.

I did not share this at small group. I couldn’t bring myself to say it aloud, but I heard it clearly shouting from my heart. I gaze longingly at those around me who seem to have an intimacy with the Lord that I desperately desire but cannot seem to produce. I walked out of small group disappointed that I couldn’t share and unsure of what my next steps should be.

The next morning I opened up Soul Feast by Marjorie J. Thompson and began reading where I last left off…

“Whenever we talk about moving closer to God, it is natural to feel certain reservations… We may be afraid of what we would encounter if we came too close to God. It is one thing to be told what God is like; it could be another thing altogether to discover the truth for ourselves! What is God really like? Can we survive contact? Perhaps we feel anxious over what God might demand of us if we got too close. Maybe God would ask us to give up certain relationships, life dreams, or things we enjoy. God might call us to do something we felt we couldn’t do, like work with the poor or become a missionary in Borneo. Fears like these can certainly make us hesitant to explore the deeper reaches of relationship with our Creator.”

Soul Feast

I know that’s a lot to take in, but it hit me straight in the gut. During the course of my reading I slowly began to recognize that the source of my discontentment isn’t really those I admire around me, but instead  the source  is really my own fears. Thompson’s words pinpointed the heart behind my coveting. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:

That’s my anxiety! I fear that He calls deeper than I am willing to go. I watch M, B, S, J, E, A, and so many others actively listen and then follow Him: down-sizing, adoption, prayer, service, withdrawing and yet connected, at peace and in union with you… hearing AND following. He gives them much, and they take the next step. I stay on the fringe, on the edge.

Thankfully discontentment has a light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t have to stay in this place. And that’s what I’m praying today. I realize that motherhood will change all of my relationships in deep ways, including my relationship with the Lord. I’m asking more than anything that it might draw me closer to Him. I have hope. He’s not finished with me yet, and I certainly don’t want to throw in the towel and call it a day.

I recognize this was rambling and I wonder if it even makes sense. More than anything I know that I needed to share this struggle with someone today. I just happened to choose you. Thanks for listening.

Following,
Ginger

Not to Forget

Psalm 105: 1-7 (NIV)

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
    his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.

REMEMBER.

Psalm 106:12-13, 20-21 (NIV)

“Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel… They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things.

I do not want to forget. I want to remember the God who has done great things in my life…

He gave me a loving family.
He brought me to camp.
He gave me encouragement to live my passion.
He protected my heart and life.
He taught me to love through pain.
He showed me the way I should go.
He cultivated my story.
He directed my steps and journey.
He granted experiences.
He spoke to my heart.
He brought me to the desert.
He gave me countless opportunities.
He granted failure and favor.
He has given me a home.
He richly blessed me.
He granted the desires of my heart.
The Lord has done great things for me.
I will remember!

newtonPerhaps today is the day to make your own Psalm 105. Let’s remember what He has done for each of us, the way He has woven our stories. Let’s not forget.

Following,
Ginger

Getting Ready

trust quote

Does anyone else find anxious thoughts to be a default mode when it comes to the unknown future? Anyone else feeling nervous about a coming transition?

Had you asked me  a month ago to identify my nerves on a scale of 1-10 (1 being totally calm, “ain’t no thing” and 10 being “I can’t fall asleep at night/these thoughts consume me”), I would have likely said a 6 or maybe even a 7. The more books on pregnancy, delivery, and child rearing that I read, the more fears I seemed to add to my list.

But in the last week I’ve felt and watched that worry level drop all the way down to a 3… and at times even a 1. I KNOW. It’s been amazing.

Although you aren’t likely in the exact same situation of anticipating the birth of your first child while finalizing the manuscript of your first book, I believe that the tools for combatting worry are the same regardless of the extenuating circumstances. These points carry over the various question marks in our lives.

1. LIST IT AND MATCH IT.

Once I’m able to take those circular thoughts that keep racing around my head and put them on paper, they seem to lose at least a portion of their strength. Often the list is shorter than expected. If it’s something stealing peace in your day then make sure you write it out, even if you feel like it’s silly. Sometimes seeing how silly a worry looks when written is all that it takes before I’m able to cross through it.

For example:

  • We still don’t have everything we need for a newborn baby.
  • My face might be swollen in our first pics together as a family.
  • Labor could be far more painful than I’d ever imagined.
  • I don’t get to eat while in labor. (I am the worst case of hungry [hungry + angry] you’ve ever seen.)
  • Embarrassing moments will happen at every turn in the hospital.
  • I will have to fight for my preferences in the hospital.
  • I will never finish the manuscript.
  • AND ON AND ON.

Once I captured every worried thought, I jotted down two Bible verses on the top of the list.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV

“You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3

So how do I take those thoughts captive and keep my mind steadfast, trusting in God?

I identify each fear and assign a truth match. Something like this…

Even if labor is more painful than I’d ever imagined… He will be with me, strengthen me, and help me.Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Even if I have a gazillion embarrassing moments in the hospital… it really ain’t no thing in the grand scheme. I have to remind myself that the medical staff have all seen CRAZY things during their career. This part of life is beautiful AND messy. At the end of the day… I can cast all that anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares about my worries and fears.Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

2. CARRY THE TRUTH.

Once we’ve identified the problems and set out to get rid of all that anxiety, I believe we have to make the choice to actively walk in that truth. So after you’ve matched your fears with God’s Word, jot it down on notecards and keep it at your side! Memorize the verses. Choose to take God at His Word.

“Beloved, belief is not a feeling. It’s a choice. We may live many days when we don’t feel loved or lovely; but in spite of our emotions, we can choose to take God at His Word.” – Beth Moore, Breaking Free

3. TALK THROUGH IT.

I’d recommend that you talk through the whoppers on your list with someone who has walked a similar path, a specialist, or someone who is spiritually mature in this area. I have been asking specific questions of my doctor. I’ve talked through my specific fears with my husband and he and I talked about ways he could encourage me during labor and delivery. Sometimes keeping yourself in the dark can produce way more fears than you need. Vocalize what’s keeping you up at night to someone you trust. 

4. PRAY THROUGH IT.

Life up your fears and requests to the Lord throughout the day. Share any remaining fears with a prayer partner. I love when someone asks me to pray specifically for a need. As much as I enjoy writing out a long list of names, I am always challenged to pray more when I know what to ask my Heavenly Father for.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13

5. GIVE OUTWARD.

Sometimes I just need to get out of my head and concern myself with something other than MYSELF. Loving others is a great way to shift our focus outward. A laundry list of worries can keep us self-focused and isolated. Call your friend. Send a card. Pick up your neighbor’s paper. Hold the door open. Volunteer with the refugee family. You get the idea. When I start giving my capacity to worry decreases immensely.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Regardless of the date my daughter arrives or how prepared I feel, this transition is going to happen.

crib

  • You will start college in the fall.
  • You will find the job you’ve been hunting.
  • The move will happen.
  • The unexpected will occur.
  • Your friend might transfer to another school.
  • Your plans might have to change at the drop of a hat.

Transitions are coming. We can’t control much of the circumstances but we can choose to control our thought patterns.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend these weeks in joyful expectation rather than anxious trepidation. Life is too short and our God too loving for us to spend it walking on eggshells.

“All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. Dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip or dance, but do not tiptoe.” –Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution

Following more and worrying less,
Ginger

What she could…

I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for almost two hours trying to come up with something to share. I’ve pulled out so many books looking for inspiration that now my desk is in total shambles. I’ve responded to some e-mails in the midst of the hair pulling and thinking. I tried a glass of blueberry lemonade, but all it seemed to do was make the baby kick and turn within me. I was still left with a blinking cursor and an unforgiving clock.

So I asked myself, “Does this mean you aren’t learning anything if you don’t have anything to share?”

The last thing I want to do is ramble on or post if there isn’t something remotely beneficial to say. So I opened up my journal and took a refresher course in the past week. And in doing so I found my connection.

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12: 41-44, NIV)

jar

AND

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Mark 12:1-9, NIV)

Two women. Two sacrifices. Both did what they could.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything to offer or give. On days like that I ask for help, I make a cup of hot tea, I write a letter, and I keep my eyes up. I do what I can.

There’s nothing wonderfully spiritual about this revelation or statement. I don’t share the stories of these two women to bring guilt into the picture, but to simply show that He noticed. He sees you. He hears you. And on the days when you feel like all you have is a measly penny to offer, He smiles when you give that beautiful, tiny thing. It’s never not enough for the One who can take five loaves and two fish and feed thousands.

I need that reminder today.

When I feel empty, I give.

When my gift feels out-of-place, I pour it out. It’s for Him.

Following,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Fuel for the Weekend

Book Finds

 

 

 

Dear, dear [FRIENDS]…

“I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The small ness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.”

(2 Corinthians 6:11, MSG)

“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” -Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Here’s to a weekend filled with stories to tell, moments shared, and adventures to be had!

Following,
Ginger

Come get your bear!

kids

I love watching home movies.  In fact, I think my brother, sister, and I have most of our home movies memorized and we often quote our childhood selves in conversation. I’m serious, we quote ourselves ALL THE TIME.  One of my favorite clips happens to be from when my sister was first learning to walk and I was almost four years-old.  My dad was the one holding the video camera and my sister keeps stepping out to walk to my mom.  I am running around my sister in circles trying to be “helpful.”  I hold out a little teddy bear to her and keep yelling in my strong southern twang, “Come get your bear!  Come get your little bear!”  Throughout the short clip my mom wears a smile on her face.  She’s reaching towards my sister with arms open wide ready to catch her even if she stumbles.  What you won’t see on the video is my mom getting upset with my sister when she falls.  That wouldn’t make any sense.  She was just a baby.  My mom was so excited for her to even take one step on her own.

Cue my favorite story on the Sea of Galilee:

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

 “Come,” he said.

   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”  Matthew 14:27-31

The disciples were out on the lake in the middle of the night when they see a figure coming out towards them on the water.  Thinking they’ve seen a ghost they cry out in fear.  But it isn’t a ghost at all, it’s Jesus and he says to them, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid!”

Peter decides to do just that, to take courage. “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  And Jesus tells him to come!  Peter steps out of the boat and starts walking towards Jesus on the water!  Peter is living a miracle.  But soon Peter loses his focus and he starts to get scared because of the wind and the waves from the storm.  Peter starts to sink.  But don’t worry – this isn’t the end!  My favorite part happens next.  Jesus doesn’t look down at Peter in disappointment or let him sink.  The Bible says that immediately Jesus reached out and took his hand.  Peter was learning to take steps of faith and Jesus was there to catch him when he fell.

Remember how my mom stood with a smile on her face and her arms open wide for my sister?  Jesus looks at you with love and he’s asking you to take steps of faith every day.  Even when we fall he still loves us enough to reach out his hand and set us on our way again.

Following and remembering this today,
Ginger