Grasping At Straws

On May 2nd, I participated in a Spartan race up in Big Fork, Montana. It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I have been lifting weights and getting fit for a little over a year, and thought I could probably compete without dying.

Technically, I was right. My teammate and I finished middle of the pack, nothing to brag about, but nothing to sneeze at either. A few of the toughest obstacles for me were all of the different types of monkey bars.

I remember being amazing at the monkey bars as a kid, but now, I guess my upper body strength did not keep up with my body weight. Shocker, right?

Yesterday, I took my kids to the park to play with friends, and there, in the middle of the playground, stood my arch nemesis. The monkey bars!

I fooled around on them for a while. Made it across one set, and was trying a different technique on another when I hurt my left hand. See when you lift weights or do a lot of strength training, you get these callouses on your palms right below your fingers. For me its worst right below my ring finger, because of my wedding rings.

When I let go of the monkey bars that last time, something in the movement had pulled off the callous on my left hand, leaving a gaping hole of raw skin.

This morning I wrapped my hand, put my gloves on, and started my workout. You know what? Even with everything wrapped and bandaged, my grip was off. I was not able to preform as many reps as usual, and it got me thinking.

Not having a good grip can really hold you back.

Not having a firm grasp on what’s important, makes every day tasks a whole lot harder.

I’m going to get a little more specific. Not having a proper grasp on Christ can make you lose sight of what is important in this world.

If you’re living every day trying to “find yourself” but you haven’t truly found Him, then you’re simply “grasping at straws” to survive. Reach out and hold on to the One. The One Who can tell you who you are, who you belong to, and where you’re meant to be.

Faith, Hope, and Love…

My Sister-in-law (who is a real life superhero) once shared this insight with me: “As a nurse, they tell you if a patient tells you their pain level is a 10, then it’s a 10.”

In other words, never underestimate what someone else is feeling. I might also add, never underestimate what you are feeling. A pastor friend of mine recently told me and my husband, “Feelings demand to be felt.” Seems simple, but how often do we feel something and shove it to the side, thinking it’s unfounded or stupid? I know I do that a lot. I tend to compare my “woes” with those around me (or even those in other parts of the country i.e. “Children starving in Africa”) and write my feelings off as immaturity or selfishness on my part. That does nothing for processing those feelings, and, as a consequence, they come back in full force later to incapacitate me.

People all around us are experiencing feelings of loss, pain, grief, insecurity and more. Maybe they’ve lost their job. Maybe they lost a loved one. Maybe it’s as simple as one of our children lost a favorite toy. Maybe they are simply afraid.

Remember that verse in First Corinthians? There exists these three: Faith, Hope, and Love…Our job is to offer those to people around us. Faith in a God that sees them and is working in their life for their good. Hope in that even though things look bleak right now, there is a “light at the end of the tunnel.” Love in that we don’t downgrade what they are feeling, but validate it and love them through it.

No, no, I’m Fine. Really.

You know how in the midst of a bad day, it feels like everything is just failing and falling apart. You may not be able to put your finger on why or what, or it maybe that you have multiple things that are truly going wrong. Either way, later on, it usually happens that you look back and you almost feel ashamed at how much you overreacted.

I know that a week, or a month, or maybe a year from now I’ll look back and see that. But right now, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Dramatic, right???

This morning while in the midst of an already difficult grocery shopping trip with my youngest three, I received the news that my oldest son had broken his leg. Normally, this kind of news is not big enough to send my world into a tumble. I have four kids, odds are one of them will hurt themselves bad enough to seek medical care a few times a month. Today, though, it was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Having struggled with depression, I have in place all the thought processes and coping mechanisms to help myself get out of the dumps. So, honestly? I’m just fine, really. I’m just…exhausted.

I’m tired of the division, the hatred, the endless drama that has become our “normal.” Every little change and every little disagreement gets blown out of proportion and it’s suddenly “the end of the world as we know it.” Guess what? Everyday our world is changing. Some bad, some good, but whether we are noticing or not, it’s changing. And furthermore, it will all be okay.

I’m not saying sit back and adopt a “Que Sera Sera” attitude. Though with some things, that is a healthy approach. I’m saying, If you see the need, Take the Lead!! If something is bothering you. Find a way to fight it or change it! And, NO!! Trolling people on Facebook and other social media sites will not change anything. Not really.

I’m saying write a letter to your governor, mayor, council person, pastor, dean, etc. Sign a petition. Join a group. Attend a town meeting. Get on the board at a local community group. Make a difference. Sitting around drowning in your own sorrows is not going to do you or anyone who feels the same any good. I’ll bet there are hundreds maybe even thousands who feel the same way you are feeling, but they’re too afraid to say anything. Or maybe they feel just as lonely in this as you do. Reach out! Not only to commiserate, but to encourage.

Anyway, thats my soap box tonight. Thanks for listening. You can go back to your scrolling now.

How Are You Coping?

Since recent events have given us all a little more free time (some of us more than we know what to do with, obviously) I thought I’d take this time to get back into some good habits.

How are you doing? Are you realizing how nice it is to be without all those little things that used to be such a big deal? Or are you losing your mind without them? Have you found ways to cope that you’d like to share? Leave a comment with your story.

As a Stay-At-Home Mom who homeschools, my day-to-day life has not been changed much. Grocery shopping has a little more of a challenge to it these days, but even that is only once a week or longer if I can manage. My kids barely know anything different is happening in the world, except for when I give them the Reader’s Digest version when they ask why yet another play date has been cancelled.

It has taken a mental and emotional toll, however, being told to think this or think that. Being told to stay home, or that the government doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The constant barrage that social media presents of people expressing their views, and arguing their point of view. Which they have every right to do, by the way. It can get overwhelming, confusing, anxiety inducing, and just downright exhausting. And I’m just on Facebook. I don’t have people Tweeting, DM’ing, SnapChatting, and whatever else there is out there!! Lol Yes, I know how old that makes me sound.

No matter what your views on what is going on right now, there is one thing we all have in common. We care about each other, we care about our families, we want everything to be all right once again.

Take this chance to really love on your kids. Spend time snuggling with your significant other on the couch. Learn to cook, sing, play guitar, another language. Read the books!! Little bit of advice, if you’re not normally home all day every day with your kids. Establish a routine and enforce it. Some normalcy and predictability will help them tremendously.

Right now my children are in the other room watching Frozen II. So forgive me, but it seemed to go along with what I’m saying here. “When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again? Then I’ll make the choice, To hear that voice, And do the next right thing.”

How can I Help?

Do you ever feel completely helpless when someone near you is hurting? I’m not necessarily talking about physical pain. That’s actually not as hard to deal with, right? You can offer to shovel their snowy sidewalk or watch their kids so they can rest or even bring them a meal. I’m thinking about when they’re walking through a season of pain. How do you help? I’ve been reading the book of Job the last couple of days, so this has been very present on my mind. In case you don’t know or need a refresher, the book of Job (that’s with a long O sound) is about a man who loses everything. His crops, herds, and even his children in just a matter of hours. Then the next day he also loses his health. I’ve heard many preachers joke about the one thing he doesn’t lose is his wife though he probably wishes he had. That’s not against wives necessarily, it’s more her attitude after Job loses everything.

There is a huge element of spiritual warfare I’m leaving out of my explanation as well, not because it’s not important but because my point isn’t derived from that side.

Now Enter Stage Right Job’s three friends: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Then toward the end a much younger friend speaks up who is named Eliphaz. They all come together for a visit to their troubled friend, and I honestly think they had good intentions. It seems like they were the “tough love” kind of friends. They are convinced that all of these bad things are happening because of some wrong doing on Job’s part and that he’s just in denial when he declares he hasn’t done anything to deserve it. Now as I’m reading, I’m frantically searching for things they say that are wrong. But you know what every time I read this book I’m always amazed at their knowledge of God. Now do they get everything right? I don’t believe so, but they do have an extensive knowledge and this was before they have the Bible to use as a resource, right. Does all this info they have help them comfort/help their friend in his time of greatest need? Not one bit. They have obviously studied, maybe even had Divine encounters themselves, but it seems to me that not a single one of them asked God for his opinion before speaking for Him.

Do you know what our greatest resource can be in helping people around us? God. His love for them, and asking what is He working in their life. It may be obvious, but in Job’s case it wasn’t. And in their defense they had no way of knowing what was truly happening outside of asking God.

My point in all of this, when you want to help, try looking through God’s eyes. This isn’t easy, and if you’re not a Friend of God, it’s impossible. Only by abiding in God and having a constant communication highway between your heart and His will you be in tune enough to help the really deep cases. Not saying you can’t try to help, but without the help of the Almighty, you won’t know what is truly happening, and you might end up being just as helpful as Job’s friends.