The Big Day

Yesterday was a big day in my life. Oh, it wasn’t the day I was born, the day I became a Christian, the day I married, or even the day I adopted my children. Those are the biggest of days. But yesterday was a big day in its own merit. It was the day my friends and family gathered around me and celebrated the release of my first published fictional novel. It was a big happy day!

  
Even though the rain tried to dampen our festivities, several dozen friends and family members joined us as we celebrated a little girl’s dream come true and that little girl was me! 

 In my book, the main character makes cornflake candy, so we had plenty of Tessie’s Cornflake Candy to enjoy with the hot beverages that the Chelsea Coffee Shop offered. 

  
My talented children sang and played beautifully and blessed my heart. I hugged long-time friends, met brand-new friends and saw friends that I hadn’t seen in far too long. Books were bought, books were signed and now I can’t wait to hear what they all think. 

  
Friends and family who could not make it last night have encouraged and supported me from a distance. They’ve ordered books and posted reviews and even given talks about it. I am truly blessed beyond measure. If I’ve learned one thing through this process, it is this. It’s never too late to take your dreams seriously and see them fulfilled. And, once that happens, keep on dreaming! Start working towards another big day and the next. 

  
http://www.amazon.com/How-Then-Shall-We-Live/dp/1508921237

One of the best things about this big day is that my children have seen the process, the effort, the determination it took to bring it to fruition. I believe it has been one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever taught them. They’ve seen first hand that my big day finally came after I pressed on, didn’t quit, asked for help, kept trying and did the next thing that needed doing. They now know that they can have big days in their future too when dreams come true. 

  

Dreams and Visions

We aren’t taking the day off from school in honor of MLKjr Day, but we are discussing what it means and remembering him. With my five youngest still school aged, I divided our chalkboard into squares and asked them to complete this statement.

I have a dream…

I was moved by what each of them wrote. I’d like to share some of their thoughts with you. This is a portion of what my 15yod said. ‘Open their eyes, see that children are in need, do something about it.’ 

  
What a message. It is especially poignant because she has lived it. She was the child who was in need until she joined our family at 6 years old. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, it was a beautiful powerful dream. Im glad that my daughter has a dream too. 

I couldn’t help but think of this passage of scripture from the Bible which is often labeled ‘The Day of the Lord’. 

  
 
I believe this applies to me and my children. I believe this can apply to you and your children. I believe that there is no age limit when it comes to having a dream and seeing a vision of how things could be, should be better. 

My 16yos said, “I have a dream that one day will will all live in peace, but today is not that day. Today we fight for freedom.”

He’s right. That day has not yet arrived, but it is worth dreaming of, it is worth fighting for. Peace is not necessarily the result of tolerance. On the contrary, it may instead be the result of confrontation. 

Too often we declare peace when peace has not been achieved. Too often we declare healing and wholeness when only a surface treatment had been accomplished. 

  
Today as we consider a man who refused to accept things that had always been and refused to look away from what needed doing, pause for a moment and ask yourself what it is you need to stop tolerating. What is it that is worth fighting for?

  
This quote stirs my heart and challenges me to resist the temptation to grow weary in well doing. I only have one life to live here on this earth. My days and opportunities are numbered. My influence can be without measure when I open my eyes, see what needs doing and do something about it. I have a dream too. Do you?

Night Rehearsals

It seemed like such a very long time since I could remember not being worried about something.

All is dark and quiet as it should be in the dead of night. Then, as if on cue, the curtains begin to roll back and the drama begins. You squeeze your eyes closed and attempt a refusal to watch as regrets and possibilities are reenacted. The scenes are vivid and full of emotion. They are hard to ignore. Although you pull your pillow tight about your ears, you can’t seem to muffle the wearisome words. It is a night rehearsal, one you don’t care to attend but seem obliged to.

 

Night rehearsals of this sort rarely lead to better performances. Instead they compromise our ability to perform at our best offering instead broken sleep and tired thoughts. The plot is often heavy and without hope. The star of the show is likely to be Wearisome Worry and her company of Peace-Thieves. All of this drama is played out in fine fashion for a reluctant audience of one, you yourself, when what you really want to do is just go back to sleep.

 

Rehearsal could be defined as a private practice for a public performance. While there is plenty of merit in being prepared and considering consequences, when we cross over the proverbial line of worry we may find ourselves attending a night rehearsal.

 

Recently I wrote these words.

 

“It seemed like such a very long time since I could remember not being worried about something. After all, I am a mom of many. I have been told that I have a great capacity to love and unfortunately I think that is often accompanied by a great capacity to fret.”

 

We worry because we are concerned; we are concerned because we care. Here’s the good news, God cares too. Because God does love us and cares about what concerns us, He has provided a beautiful way to close the curtains on the night rehearsals. He dismisses the peace-thieves and sends them on their way when we turn to Him in prayer. We have the choice to become a warrior instead of a worrier.

 

I’m going to make a concerted effort to make sure that I am not worrying my prayers. I am going to try to instead become a prayer-warrior. I’m going to give myself permission to not understand it all, fix it all or even get it all right. I’m going to take the offensive rather than the defensive stance. I think that is the bottom line. As a warrior, we feel empowered while a worrier is instead cowered. I do not want to live my life in a state of distress and feeling overwhelmed constantly. I want to face life with courage and hope.

 

How about you? What will you choose? Prayer-warrior or prayer worrier? Will you waste energy and time rehearsing, retelling and reliving the things that have happened or may happen? Or will you choose to trust the Lord with the details, with the results, and with the future?

Take Courage

Do y’all ever crash and burn after the holidays?  I seem to operate on pure will and determination for the months of November and December. Six of my children have birthdays during those eight weeks besides the major holidays and accompanying events. Then, comes January and not surprisingly, I am spent. Running on fumes, I continue the course determined to start the new year off right. 

I remind myself of all the tender moments, answered prayers, beautiful blessings and great expectations that fill my life. Even so, amidst all the wonderful, sometimes I am alarmed to discover I’ve misplaced my courage. As soon as I realize this, I begin to search for it diligently. I do all the things I know to do. 

I read scripture. I get some rest. I pray. I tell myself to take courage but that only reminds me that I can’t seem to find my courage. 

Have you been there in that place? Are you there now? I have been before and as a matter of fact I’ve been there for about a week. It’s been a struggle. 

The New Year came and the decorations were put away and my scales revealed more than I’d like while my wallet revealed less than I’d like. My children resisted returning to school routines and were just basically out of sorts. Then we began to have car trouble. Oh how I despise car troubles. Let’s not forget a couple of flu encounters and viruses. 

To tell you the truth, my head was aching and my heart was heavy and I had begun to think I may have packed away my courage in one of the boxes of seasonal paraphenalia because it was no where to be found. 

I entered into a stage I have dubbed as the ‘next thing stage’. That’s when the thoughts of everything that needs doing overwhelms me so I just focus intently on the next thing that needs doing and repeat until I lay my weary head on my pillow each night. 

I pressed on. I kept on. I was not making great strides but I continued taking one small step after another, doing what I needed to do and all the while wishing I could find my courage. 

Then, last night, a call came that stirred my heart and made me think surely my courage must be close by. This morning I awoke to participate in the 21 days of prayer my church is doing just as I had done all week, and I realized that my heart didn’t seem quite so heavy. Then, quite suddenly, or so it seemed I found my courage again. 

There it was! All I needed to do now was to #takecourage. And so I did. It was such a relief. I found that there with my courage was clearer thinking, focus and the ability to breathe more deeply. Not a thing had changed about my situation, my responsibilities and the vehicle that is broke down is still being towed home today. 

What had changed was simple and yet powerful. I found my courage. I took courage and made it my own. 

I am writing this today with this hope. If you, like me, have lost your courage, I want to urge you to keep on trying, do the next thing, read the Bible, pray for help, parent your children, pay the next bill, call the tow truck, count your blessings, don’t quit! Here’s why. 

Today may not be the day you find your misplaced courage but, your day is coming. Suddenly, or so it will seem, you’ll discover it once again and then, like me, you can #takecourage too.