Tag Archives: story

Blessings

I saw a link to this song on YouTube the day after the massive tornados hit our state. Not quite so sure I’m ready to write too much about that day yet. We have friends who have lost family members and homes. Please keep our state in your prayers. So much devastation and now clean up and rebuilding is beginning. To say that day was surreal is the only way I know to describe it and I’m not sure that is even an accurate description.

Of course music is what speaks to me, soothes me.

This song, Blessings by Laura Story, and this one I posted last week keep playing over and over in my head.

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know Your near.” Oh how I know this experience well. 

The Story Only You Were Given to Write

“Do not allow others to write the story that you were given the pen to write.”

We are all given our own talents, our own gifts, our own situations, our own story to write.

I told the friend who wrote these words that life is frustrating when someone else tries to take that pen and write your story for you.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. – Jeremiah 1:5

Allowing the expectations of others to dictate your steps can suffocate the desires, hopes and direction, the story, God has given only you.

We place expectations and opinions on every relationship in our life. Expectations aren’t necessarily bad. But when we allow those expectations and opinions to carry more weight than our support and love we aren’t allowing that person to write the story God has given them to write.

As I read my friend’s words I thought of how often others have tried to write my story for me. I was a perfectionist and people pleaser. Expectations placed by others as well as myself. In many ways I have allowed others to write my story. I’m learning though to write my own story.

Then that small voice begins to whisper. “Be careful not to try and write the story of others. Give them freedom.”

A recent situation came to mind. Walking a fine line in supporting a friend in a difficult situation and offering my own opinion. Careful to simply offer objectivity when needed in love. My friend has to write her own story. God gave me my own pen. Not hers. I don’t wear her shoes.

My friend’s words above reminded me not to allow others to write my story because of their expectations. But it also reminded me to watch my motives, my expectations, of others. To be mindful not to take the pen God has given them for their own story.

Only with my pen can I write. And its ink only my story can it tell.

My gratitude to John Claybrook whose blog post sparked my thoughts here.

My Story – Finding My Voice

Trying to express in words how ‘story’ played out in my life in 2010 has proven difficult. Story. My secondary word, but in some ways more impactful.

Expressing how God has changed and is changing me isn’t easy. Maybe more a maturing. An awakening. Admitting I don’t have it all together is frightening.

Some of these changes you can see in previous posts, but it is a story still being written.

Through it all I’m finding my voice. Finding my voice to tell the stories God gives me.

It’s never been easy for me to talk about my faith. Shyness along with a pretty non-eventful life always left me feeling like anything I had to share would bore everyone. No stories with sordid details or dramatic scenes. A simple life.

Growing up in a Christian home I never knew how to be anything but a Christian. I walked the aisle in my teens like expected. I believed Jesus was God’s son, died on the cross to save me from my sins, was resurrected, etc…I believed all this. I know my salvation was real. But feelings. Feelings could not be trusted or at least lessons learned in church impressed that upon my childhood mind.

But I always wondered. Wondered why I had never really FELT God’s presence around me as so many I had heard experienced. As I began digging for myself in scriptures much of what I had been taught by ‘church’ no longer worked. Baggage comes with second hand knowledge.

The past months have brought unexpected transformation. It’s my story. The story God is writing in my life.

In subtle ways the change began over a year ago. I’m not sure any one experience attributes beginning it all. A gradual awakening might describe it best. Although I’ve had experiences in the past that I knew God was in I suppose they never moved me like the experiences of these past months.

None of these experiences dramatic or tragic. The change evolving through quiet prayers, friendships, gratitude, and study.

My faith moving from a head knowledge to a deep heart knowledge.

The last week of August 2010. A week I can’t forget. Two friends. Both battling their own separate struggles.

One friend hurt by unwarranted harsh words behind the back. An afternoon call of tears and frustration. Words of encouragement fall flat, unable to fix the friend’s hurt.

Two nights I awake. A heavy sense to pray for my two friends. Friday afternoon a call from the first friend still unknowing of my prayers. Sharing a story of the apology and amazement at the details.

For me, a confirmation of God’s presence.

The other friend searching for God’s direction. For months I prayed without knowing why. The friend unknowing of my prayers. An undefinable pain in the friend’s eyes the only clue. Then the same Friday, an early evening message asking for prayer. A night and day struggling through an internal hell wondering God’s plan. The friend will email more later. So I pray through the evening. Praying, drifting to sleep. I wake without reason. 1:55 a.m. the clock reads. Getting up I notice it. The blink of a new email. An email time stamped 1:55 a.m. from the searching friend. Heart pouring out frustration.

My heart aches. Yet still, another confirmation God is there. No longer can I believe in coincidence. God’s presence felt.

The next day. A dreary morning, rocking in my favorite porch chair. Listening to the rain. As it falls, eyes closed, praying. Tears. Tears for my friends. Tears for their struggles. Tears of gratitude for their friendships. Then the quiet voice. Feeling God next to me. His presence beside me. Unexplainable.

More stories, more experiences share in this quiet change. No blinding lights. No burning bushes. No tragic happenings. Just a gradual awakening. And it continues. At times I think in preparation.

No longer content being who others expect me to be. No longer content with faith through the lenses of others.

Never thinking I would write again. My first love I had given up years ago given back amidst it all. Finding my voice to share what He teaches me. Lessons of grace, self-worth, and much more. Lessons in prayer. A continuing reassurance of His presence.

So where does my story lead as 2011 begins?

On a journey. Perhaps difficult at times.

A journey of Eucharisteo…..(to be continued.)

Active

1230_0003web
I chose two words at the beginning of 2010: active and story. How these two words played out in my life surprised me. First let me tell you about active.

I have never been a very active person. Not physically, socially or in any way really. I’m not using this as an excuse. It’s how God made me. I’m perfectly content to sit snuggled on the couch with a blanket and a good book. Being the introvert that I am I don’t need a great deal of social interaction. I have a few close friends and I’m content.

I have never enjoyed exercise or any physical activity really. But as I slowly inch closer to 40 my body doesn’t keep weight off as easily. So active was my primary word for the year.

I failed miserably at being active the first half of the year. I tried to get back into a routine of walking and did okay, but age creeping up on me seemed to be halting my metabolism. I give up easily.

Summer arrives and while Squirt is in golf clinic I decide to walk on the treadmill at the fitness center. I also decide to try running. I barely make it one-tenth of a mile and my lungs and shins are killing me. I try several times but always end up with the same pain. So I settle for simply walking. And for about 6 weeks I do pretty good. But something begins to bother me. I’ve never been a runner. I’m the girl who finagled ways to get out of running that mile in the one semester of PE I had to take in high school.

I ask my chiropractor about my shins. Shin splints just as I suspected. He tells me two simple things to do to improve them.

Then the motivation I needed happened. My sister gets engaged. That though is only part of the motivation. While trying to find a dress for her wedding I happen across one at a store where I never buy clothing. I try on a size ten. It fits, but is a smidge snug. My mother advises me to get the size twelve.

I won’t repeat the thoughts slashing through my mind at that moment. This is a family friendly blog after all. I bought the size ten.

So I begin again trying to run. A tenth of a mile during my three mile walk. The two simple things recommended for the shin-splints work. The pain is much less and decreases each time I run. Slowly I try building up my distance.

By this time it is September and time for my sister’s engagement photos. She was so skinny I knew I had to kick it in gear. I couldn’t be the pudgy sister in the photos.

Determination set in and every few days I added more running. I also went up to a total of 4 miles run/walk five or six days a week. Soon I was up to half mile intervals.

And to my surprise the weight started melting off. My metabolism had been jump started. My dress fit great for the wedding.

But I didn’t give up. Even after the wedding I stuck to it. I never weighed before I started running so I’m not sure about exact weight lost, but it’s close to fifteen pounds. Two pants sizes down. I even miss it on days when I don’t run. I can walk up stairs or walk around all day on a field trip and never have to catch my breath.

I had a set back the weekend before Thanksgiving. Somehow I hurt my ankle. It seemed okay on Monday so I ran/walked pushing harder. Bad idea. The ankle was unhappy. I am still not sure how I injured it, but running on it must have ended up spraining it. It was swollen and bruised. Being the week of Thanksgiving and the Alabama/Auburn game I couldn’t keep off my feet. After three weeks of trying to stay off of it, it felt well enough to start back. Fortunately my metabolism didn’t slow down too much during the three weeks off and I’m back to running the distance before the injury. I only run a mile at a time and I alternate running/walking which seems to be the key to the metabolism boost.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty stinking proud of myself. I never thought I would be able to run. I know though that none of it is done on my own. Most of my running is done while praying. Never could I have done this in my own strength or determination.

A friend shared a quote with me when I first started running. I don’t know who to give credit to, but I say it to myself often when exercising.

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

It has been painful, but I am stronger for it. For every step I run a little less weakness, a little bit stronger. I’m not kidding myself though. It’s not my own strength. And for that I’m thankful.

Now how to tell about story? Until next time.

Grateful

As I type we are traveling to Birmingham for Thanksgiving lunch with family. Overwhelmed can’t adequately describe my emotions as we begin this holiday season. Thankful, grateful can only scratch the surface.
I have a story to share soon. It is the story God is writing in my life. A story for which I am grateful beyond words. A story still being written.
But until I have the words to share my story I want to wish all of you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.