Thursday, July 25, 2013

We're All In This Together!

Being a writer of the Spirit, my blog posts are often about the challenges of relating to and loving other people. These challenges are mine. Yet, at times some of you may completely relate!

If you do, hopefully my words can be reassuring. In relating we are reminded that we are not the only ones struggling in this life thing... we are all in this together!

I've recently been reminded of how others can perceive (judge?) those of us that are Christians or even those of us who are just more spiritually driven. We are often seen as hypocrites... preaching one thing and then doing the opposite. We can be seen as haughty and arrogant... like we think we have ALL the answers and this whole eternity thing figured out.

Of course, being a Christian, albeit even an Unfundamentalist one, places me smack dab in the firing line for judgement and critical observation. The author of a Spiritual blog and administrator of a Spiritual Facebook page leads me even further into the line of question. Just who do I think I am to talk about such things? After all I'm often no better ...and at times even worse than others!

To that I say "Exactly!" I don't pretend to know all the answers! That is in part what has inspired this blog! I don't pretend to be anything special... no more, no less than any body else. But I will try and share my experiences with an open and honest heart. My vulnerability may offer comfort, inspiration, or love... And that makes it all worth it.

I think that's important to emphasize that as I struggle to find the words to share my heart... I will often fall short but that's okay. No one is perfect... nor can be in this world. God knows that... Jesus knows it too... and is why he came to save us from ourselves.

And somehow that's the point! As I struggle to write, I pray about the topic God places on my heart. As I wrestle to align my truth with His it can get messy, ugly and rich with shame. But He asks that I move through that and the guaranteed judgement of others to see where He can lead me through the clamor of the storm to the rainbow His light will create as it illuminates my rain.

That's the thing... if I blog share about an experience that sounds like something you've been through or struggled with then we are now connected through an experience. We are not alone! We are all in this thing called life together and together we will be until He calls us Home.

❤ Not Just A Blonde

Thursday, July 18, 2013

God Works at Steak n' Shake!

On our way to Michigan for a beach family get-away we stopped at a Steak n' Shake for a bite to eat along the way. The restaurant was busy as it was just after 1:00 and they were in the midst of the lunch time frenzy! We were excited about our trip and were eager to eat and get back on the road.

We were seated by a friendly waitress and were left to look at our menus and decide what we would order. We waited. With all the activity we wondered if we were possibly forgotten as our waitress was nowhere to be seen! To be fair we likely only waited for her return for less than five minutes... but with hungry and eager children (and parents, lol) minutes seemed to stretch out longer. My husband wondered out loud if we should even stay.

Shortly after she returned... with a big beautiful smile and a "thank you for your patience!" It was amazing to me how quickly she turned our impatience into a positive feeling... we relaxed and she took our order. I mentioned my oldest wasn't ordering a meal as he didn't feeling that good and she seemed to sincerely care "I hope you feel better sweetie." She was warm, caring, and... present.

As we waited for and ate our food I couldn't help but notice what a hard worker she was! She hustled and bustled... bringing food to patrons, extra cheese, onions that were mistakenly forgotten, napkins, picking up empty plates and glasses not to mention cleaning abandoned tables and continuing to seat the next wave if hungry guests! She continued to check in with us and all those around to make sure all our needs were being met. All of this with a warm smile... her glowing attitude was contagious!

As she passed me by I couldn't help but compliment her "You're like Super Woman, how do you DO it?!" She replied it was her God that gives her the power. I smiled and said "Well, He's doing a good job!"

She DID seem to be filled with a power... and I couldn't help but feel like through her positivity and joy she was doing God's work! She blessed all her customers by caring for each of them as people not just as patrons! God was working at Steak n' Shake through her sharing Christ's love.

She is proof to me that through Him we can each be used right where we are! Even if we work as a waitress at a fast food restaurant! If she can be a minister of Love in a fast food there, can't I do the same where ever I am?

She never quoted a bible verse. She didn't hand out mini crosses. She wasn't leading a Sunday school class. She was working her day job... only she was propelled by the loving presence and power of her God. She shared Him through her dedication to her work and to those of us who had the privilege of interacting with her.

On the way out my oldest son turned to me and asked "Do you think we are the customers of the day to her?" I couldn't help but nod and smile. The truth is I think EVERYONE is likely treated by her like they are her customers of the day! Feeling a little more cared about and special... she shared His Love to all who cross her path. With God fueling her mission she didn't just help feed her customers stomachs, but our souls!

"Have a blessed day!" she encouraged each of us as we paid our bills, gathered our things and prepared to go. You know what? Thanks to her and her faithfulness... I will! Thanks to her and her "Steak n' Shake ministry" I believe many more will have blessed days as well!

A special thank you to our waitress Lanette for teaching me a little more about our God and how we are all called to Love... no matter who or where we are! I wish her many blessed days as well!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Life's Not Supposed to be Fair

"That's not fair!" is a phrase most parents hear hundreds, if not thousands of times as they raise their darling children. I remember myself as a young child feeling frustrated at the lack of fairness I experienced and saw all around me.

The lack of perceived fairness involved mostly meaningless transgressions. "Why did my sister get a new coat, but I just get hand-me-downs?" "His cookie has more chocolate chips in it!" "I worked harder, why didn't I win?" ...and such. Looking back I'm embarrassed at my small mindedness and lack of insight that in the BIG picture that adulthood brings. Now I see things such as this just do not matter.

However, I'm back to those feelings again today in lieu of the recent media coverage of a high profile case. This time the transgression a more serious offense. Murder. Taking the life of another. What could be more unfair than this? "It's just not fair!" Sigh. I don't understand it... not one bit. My heart breaks... and yet, I am reminded violent scenarios like this happen more than we like to think about. Many of our children and youth die too too young, be it by accident, illness or even abuse. Life is SO unfair.

This morning however the UC FB page placed some verses online for today's thought and meditation. I read the story of Cain killing his brother Abel and realized that God's version of Justice and ours are often very different.

"An eye for an eye" may sound extremely "fair" however God often has a much bigger vision. What to me seems unfair may to God provide a better form of justice... one that leads us to where He desires us to be.

When I speak up for what I believe to be "fair" and "right" I need to keep in mind that I often will see things very differently than God. He has a Heavenly perspective and it often conflicts with how we think things should be. We can't always understand His ways... and that's okay.

Life isn't fair. Life is more than having a spreadsheet of gives and gets that all equals out. Life is a gift from God with a greater purpose. Within that purpose God has a special plan for each of us... within this plan is the attainment of our better good.

So, I'm going to love my brothers & sisters... and pray for all who tragically lose children. I will let my feelings of anger, frustration and injustice go to God with faith He is in control. I'm going to let go of the need for things to be "fair" here on Earth with the knowledge God will always be more than fair as He has shown in the birth, life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. His generosity and grace towards us are like his Love for us... beyond measure!

God has promised to give us more than we could ever give in return ... and to me this is MORE than fair! Life isn't supposed to be fair... but is supposed to be lived with the knowledge that we have been blessed beyond what we can fathom by a God full of grace, full of hope, and full of Love for this broken world.

Fair enough?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating Dependence On Independence Day

A year ago today I experienced one of the most stressful days thus far of my Motherhood. My youngest son fractured his femur while playing with his brothers in the living room. One minute he was stomping around the room and the next moment he tripped over a throw pillow, landed funny, and broke his leg. That's right. Tripped over a PILLOW... and fractured his FEMUR!

I pretty much knew as soon as he tried to straighten out his leg that it was broken. His left leg was shorter than his right by quite a bit and his knees were far from lining up. And the screams of pain... unlike any sound I've ever heard... searing my soul, shattering my heart.

Independence Day 2012 became a day when we as a family became dependent. We needed help in the BIGGEST way... from watching our other two boys to driving me to the hospital... not to mention prayer... lots of prayer. We were so blessed with family and friends that came through for us!

And there were others who we depended on too... the doctors and nurses that cared for him... the ambulance drivers that drove him safely to the pediatric hospital an hour away. Each of these persons giving to us in a way that we needed most. We needed them and they were there.

Our dependence continued once we came home. From our sitter's willingness to provide extra care so we could work to my boss's flexibility... we continued to receive. We were also graced in the weeks that followed with many visits to our home by family and friends. These precious souls brought with them the present of distraction and joy to our son who could not join the other kids outside to play. And prayer... the continued prayer was always felt.

We depended on others and through that dependence we were blessed, oh so blessed. It was a time when I remembered we are not meant to do this life thing all alone. We are in this together and that's a good thing.

I'm honestly still recovering from the whole ordeal. I'm a little more anxious at times when my little guy jumps, runs and plays... remembering how fast it can all change. And we are the lucky ones... for a year later he is no worse for the wear. He runs, jumps and plays like nothing ever happened. All are not so lucky, tragedies much worse happening to families every day.

I know even for us it could have been worse than a broken leg... and if it ever is I'll make it through. Not alone, but with a dependence on God and His faithful to be there for me. It's God that created Love and the beautiful blessing of helping each other that always means more than the giver may ever know. God works through others that give to those of us in need... in our darkest times... His Love is there.

Happy Independence Day 2013! A special thank you to ALL of you who our family depended on so much a year ago today. It was in this time of greatest need through others God's Love was revealed! So today I celebrate my dependence on God and on my Earthly spiritual family! God bless you all as you have blessed me!