STOP THE CHASE
I’m not exactly sure how it happened.
We were in Walmart. It started out fun.
My son was chasing my youngest around clothes racks. Like kids do.
She was laughing and out of breath, until she wasn’t.
It was dizzying.
Suddenly it was no longer fun for her.
The smallest trip~on nothing. All carpet.
No visible reason for the fall.
Except the chasing.
She began to cry. It was unusual for her to cry. She wasn’t dramatic and could tolerate pain better than any 4 year old I knew.
The chasing got to her and the tears did not stop.
After a trip to the ER our worries were confirmed. She had a broken collar bone.
No more chasing. Just rest.
She got to spend time with daddy. She wore his shirt because it fit the best over her brace. He read to her. He held her.
Isn’t that how it is with us?
What has happened to us?
This generation is full of busyness.
Our calendars are full, our days and even minutes are packed.
Always on our phones. Thinking, planning, doing.
The feelings of guilt if we choose to rest, or try to rest.
Why have our lives become a constant chase? We run around in circles until we become dizzy. We want to say no, but the chasing continues. And then, with no visible reason to the outside world, inwardly we lose it. We fall, and the pain becomes unbearable. We can’t continue, and all the while God is telling us to rest.
And so we listen. We stop. We spend time with Him. We put on His armor like a comfy shirt. Ephesians 6:11
We lean on Him~~but not long enough.
And pretty soon, as we try to rest, as we try to read His words or pray, our phones start to buzz. That notification. That text. That email. That appointment. That need.
And our rest is no longer rest as we’re drawn into the chase again.
As hard as it was to see Kathryn in pain that day, it was even harder a week later. Her brace had come off sometime in the night and the next day her daddy had to put it back on. Her pain in the repositioning was worse than the actual break. Her cries were absolutely heartbreaking to this mama.
And that’s how it is with us. We get to the point where we think a few hours on Sunday is enough. But God needs to be our brace every single moment, not just a few hours on Sunday. And when He is no longer our brace and we think we can do this crazy, busy life on our own, the inward pain only becomes worse and God brings us back to the place where He alone is our brace. He alone is our rest. Psalm 116:7, Psalm 46:10
Stop the chase. Set time aside to rest. It isn’t just a suggestion. It’s a command from God Himself. Exodus 20:9-11
Why is it so easy for us to see the importance of obeying every other commandment He gives~ i.e. adultery, stealing, murder... but neglecting the one that Christ Himself chose to do? Mark 4:36-38, 6:31
Stop feeling guilty for obeying His command.
The world says go, go, go. God says stop.
When I came back into the room after her cries had softened, she was in her daddy’s arms. He was telling her it was okay. And she believed him.
He’s telling you it’s okay. Put your phone down. Shut your notifications off. Go for a walk or a drive. Take in Gods beauty all around you. Or just close your eyes. Think on it. Think on Him. Hebrews 4:9
Let Him hold you and be your brace. Every single day.
And rest in Him.
IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE...
I stood there listening. Why was I listening?
“I’ve told her all of this. I’m not talking behind her back”
Yet she was.
The subject of our conversation was not with us.
I knew that if she knew the words that were being spoken, it would hurt.
It was wrong. I was wrong.
And then we add trite little end tails to our conversations, to make ourselves feel better.
“Just pray for her” or~
“I’m sorry, I just had to vent” ~
“It’s just so frustrating”...
But we are tearing down.
We aren’t just speaking about another woman, we are speaking against God’s child. The child that He loves with incredible, awe inspiring love.
“Talk to them, not about them”.
I’ve heard this phrase before and it immediately pricks my heart. And then this deceitful heart of mine comes up with all the reasons why I can’t talk to her.
It won’t do any good.
She won’t listen.
I’ve tried before and look what happened.
You don’t know what she’s like.
She’s impossible to deal with.
But HE does know.
And HE loves still.
And He asks me~Why haven’t you talked to ME about this?
I AM the God of the impossible.
My heart becomes heavy at the thought that if Jesus was sitting here next to me as we spoke~
would I choose the same words?
Would I voice the same complaints? Would I listen to the same conversation without feeling tremendous conviction inside?
He is here with me~
And I allow it all.
How easy it is to find the faults in others and to speak those thoughts out loud, but somehow justify our own behavior.
The same behavior that our Savior took on Himself when He died for me.
Your silence as others speak ill is just as wrong as if you said the words yourself.
There will be times where unpleasant situations need to be addressed but, in Matthew 18 God lays out a roadmap on how He wants this done.
Conveniently, we tend to skip a few steps.
We tend to involve people who have nothing to do with the situation other than being someone we feel comfortable complaining/“sharing prayer requests” with. We cave in to the natural impulse to share others shortcomings thinking it somehow makes us look better.
But it doesn’t.
Even if we are the quiet listener instead of the news giver, our silence tends to reinforce their bad behavior.
We can all take a lesson from our mothers~
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”....
So flee that conversation. Walk away. Shut your mouth. Whatever needs to be done.
And give it to God. He already knows all about it anyway.
And He already has the solution.
I CAN ONLY WRITE THE SONGS I NEED TO HEAR
Can I just be honest here~
I have fear. I get anxious. I don’t have answers to the hard questions. At times I struggle knowing what I should post or how I should pray, and sometimes I don’t think I even know what to think.
I’m not strong. I worry I’m doing this life wrong. I’m doing this mom thing, this wife thing, this pastor’s wife thing, this whole blog thing~wrong.
I have doubts. Who am I to write anything? I’ve been accused of overthinking. How can I tell others what they ought to think?
I get scared. Life is going too fast. The older I get the weeks seem to spiral past me like a movie on fast forward.
At times I find myself wishing I could be free of worry and doubt. Free from the overthinking and fear. Free from the “what~ifs” and “should~haves”.
And I’m scared that if I share this, everyone will think I’m a little bit crazy. Or a whole lot crazy. No one will want to read the words that I write.
God won’t get the glory.
But today, as I read HIS words to me, He tells me something different~
He tells me I am set free~
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
He tells me I don’t need to feel enslaved by my mess ups.
He tells me I don’t need to be scared~
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba (Daddy), Father.”
He tells me He is my Daddy and I can cry out to Him, day or night because I am His child~
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: “
He tells me He will be glorified~
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
He tells me He is always there to help me, when I don’t know what to write or think or pray, He knows~
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
He tells me that everything will work out~
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
That He is for me, and that’s all that matters~
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
And that nothing that I do or don’t do, nothing that I think, nothing that I say, no fear or worry~~
NOTHING can separate me from His love~
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
And that through Him, I will conquer~
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:2, 15-18, 26-28, 31-32, 35, 37-39
So, that’s what I will think. That’s what I will say. That’s what I will write. That’s what I will post. Because they are His words, and not mine,
And that’s what I will believe.
ANGEL WINGS AND LAUGHTER
I can remember watching my mom at the crack of dawn. She was wearing her heavy white robe with the sleeves rolled up and her arm was inside a turkey that looked bigger than I was.
I can still picture the table the first time my “Big Grandma” (my mama’s mom) placed “Shake and Bake” chicken in front of us kids. We all marveled at this new and wonderful invention. I never knew my mouth could be so happy.
I remember telling my “Little Grandma” (my dad’s mom) that she made the best mashed potatoes in the whole world. She confided in me that her secret was the whole milk and butter she added.
I remember baking peanut butter cookies with Big Grandma and mama. Mom showed me how to press them with a fork and Grandma told me only Crisco would work in the dough.
Fruit cocktail cake.
Pierogis and potato pancakes.
Hot dogs, mashed potatoes and sour kraut.
Go’wompkis and city chicken.
Grandma’s cheesecake and fabulous fudge.
Chrusciki~Angel wings and laughter.
The smell and the taste and the laughter.
And mom in the middle of it all. 💗
A dear friend reminded me this week of how special memories are and how thankful we should be for them.
The smells. The tastes. All triggers of memories that were a part of my childhood.
Happy get~togethers with family.
Holidays and birthdays.
Love and laughter.
Sometimes the memories can cause our hearts to hurt.
We miss our sweet loved ones.
Some days I wish I could be that little girl again, watching mama clean the turkey before our big Thanksgiving meal.
I miss her terribly, and when the colder air blows in and the leaves start to turn~the memories flood over me.
One month from this day, 11/3~ she would take her last breath and enter heaven’s glory.
What would I do different had I known, I only had that one month to be with her?
God has given us a gift.
The gift of today.
What we can’t do over,
we can do anew~
We can make new memories and we can choose to find joy and thankfulness in the gift of the memories God has already given us.
How sad our lives would be if God did not give us these precious gifts.
Memories tucked away in our hearts that will last us a lifetime, long after our loved ones are gone. Memories that will bring us laughter, even when our hearts are hurting.
Memories that help us shape our today’s.
So~~I made grandma’s peanut butter cookies, Crisco and all. Who knew in this age of ‘health food everything’ that they still made it? I showed my granddaughter how to press them with a fork. She snuck one off the pan before they were even cool and the twinkle in her eye and laughter in her voice is a new memory I will cling to.
Perhaps one day I will try to make angel wings with her.
And she will remember~
Angel wings and laughter.
Lots of laughter.
WHERE ARE YOUR EYES FIXED?
A few weeks ago, we watched the film The Prince of Egypt during our Wednesday Evening Children’s program. It had been years since I saw it. It really brought the story of Gods deliverance to life for all those little (and not so little) eyes when we saw it on the big screen.
Fast forward to yesterday. Life has been crazy chaotic, and that’s putting it lightly. Physical and emotional issues slamming us all at once.
As I tried to pray, it all just came crashing in on me.
My mind was so focused on that crazy chaos that I couldn’t focus on God.
In all His amazing goodness and glory and mercy, reminded my heart of that children’s movie.
This might sound silly, but all I could think was~
“God, please just push all these thoughts to the side. Part these waters of despair and help me to focus only on You”.
Even as I write this, I can picture those waters parting. If you’ve seen the movie~ I’m sure you can too. (I added the clip 👇🏼 for dramatic flare 😉)
God said~”Charisse, too often you are looking from side to side. You see the giant problems in your life and the scary situations, just like those giant fish and scary waters.
You take your eyes off of me and the path I have for you.
The more you look at the situation around you~instead of ahead toward me, the more frantic you get.
You begin to look behind you, afraid that the circumstances will over take you.
Only I can part the waters of worry. Only I can make the path of peace.
Only I am~’I AM’.”
Keep your eyes fixed on Me.
In all His amazing goodness and glory and mercy, taught my heart a lesson through a simple children’s movie.
God has this awesome way of using the ordinary to change our perspective and help us to focus on the extraordinary~ because He is almighty God.
The same God Who parted the waters so many years ago,
the great I AM~~~that’s my Father!!!!
Please, ask Him to show you something ordinary today that will change your focus to the extraordinary.
Once you do, I can hear you even now, telling your husband, your children, your friends~
“And so God....”
“.....Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”