Enough

Monday: It’s late. Sleep whispers to me, beckoning me to head to bed, the place I’ve been wishing for most of the day. And yet words rattle around inside my head, keeping me up. Sleep isn’t shouting yet, so perhaps I should put pen to paper and try to make sense of the jumble of the day.

It was a long day, but a good day. I exercised though not as well as the others in boot camp. I kept moving. I keep trying. That’s the important part.

Then off I went to my Bible Study/book club where God keeps beckoning me to places of vulnerability with women I admire. Today we wrestled with wounds on our hearts and how they affect our perceptions of ourselves. Women carry around our wounds. They affect the filter through which we judge ourselves. My group is reading the book, “Captivating” together. It’s a good book. Our group has been together long enough we can share our scars without shame. Today we shared and a thoughtful attitude followed me into the rest of the day.

Today I was blessed, again, by a church family who wants to care for this widow. They sent an exterminator to take care of whatever was clawing inside my walls. Deer mice, it turns out. Common to this area, he said. The fix was easy. The cost would have meant a huge strain for me. And yet again, God’s people cared for us. I am humbled by this.

The day continued with tasks most moms deal with—school pick-ups and errands, dinner prep and homework, listening and snuggling and trying to help kids finish their responsibilities. I helped Lucy make cornbread muffins for dinner—a bright spot in my evening drudgery.

I hid from much on my to-do list today. I know that. I accomplished quite a bit but my house isn’t clean enough nor the laundry finished enough. All the “should haves” mock me as I try to shut my mind off for the night. I reach for Emily Freeman’s book A Million Little Ways and find solace in some of her encouragement to take time to explore wonder. I’m pretty sure catching up on my TiVo is not what she’s suggesting.

Maybe that’s why my mind is racing. I need to create my art tonight, my writing. I need to ignore the things that went undone; things telling me I didn’t do enough today. Telling me I am not enough.

Today I wrestled with deep things. I conquered mice (or at least found a guy to conquer them for me). And I took care of four kids, each needing something different from me. Perhaps today didn’t contain enough time for wonder. And that is OK.

Or maybe I need to realize I experienced wonder today. It was in the pushing past my hatred of exercise to do it anyway and take care of myself. It was in vulnerable conversations with women I care about. It was in helping a six-year-old proudly make corn muffins.

Wednesday: I set aside the morning to write. I have five whole hours until children burst back into my home after school. It’s early release Wednesday. But I remember this blog, started the other night and I take time for a different kind of wonder. I take time to read my Bible and watch the swirling snow fall outside. I marvel at beauty; that God is painting the world in white, a stark contrast to deep green pines and grey mourning doves huddled for warmth outside my window.

Today God is beckoning me to hone my craft, to polish my gifts, and to find words to place on a page. Today he is stilling the voices of doubt that whisper that I am not a big enough blogger, don’t have a big enough following, don’t have what it takes. He is stilling the voices of doubt that tell me I am not enough and reminding me to trust. Just do what he has called me to do and he will care for the rest.

So today I encourage you to silence the voices telling you that you are not enough. You are enough because God created you. You are enough because Jesus loves you. You are enough when you surrender what’s in your hands to the God who creates abundance out of lack, who creates wonder out of the ordinary, who creates new beginnings out of broken endings.

Take time today to embrace the wonder in your universe—whether it’s helping a child learn a new task, enjoying the beauty around you, or embracing the gifts you were given. Today, perhaps, that is enough.

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Guess It’s Time to Run

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us….” 

Hebrews 12:1 NIV

I hate running. Seriously I have never been so happy as when a doctor told me I wasn’t allowed to run or jog at all. I have bad knees. I do other forms of exercise but running has never been something I enjoy. However this week I’ve gained a new appreciation for this verse.

As January dawned this year, I struggled with a bleak outlook. That’s why I haven’t posted a blog in so long—I wasn’t sure I had any words worth sharing. Before me stretched 12 empty months with no huge plans or goals to fill them. Last year January represented stepping into a new year as a widowed mom. It represented surviving. But I survived the First Year of Grief. No, I did better than that. By the amazing provision of God I thrived.

But now what? That question seemed to mock me. So I did something wise—I told my Heavenly Father just how empty I was feeling. I gave Him the coming year and asked for His direction. And then I waited.

God did not send divine direction all at once. There was no audible voice or angel in my room telling me THIS was what God had planned for me this year. I think He saves those kinds of directions for rare moments. Instead, He started to show me my cloud of witnesses.

I used to think this verse only referred to the saints who had gone before us, cheering us on from heaven. But over the past few weeks, I have seen encouragement from amazing women of faith cheering me on through Facebook and the internet.

I have been following amazing authors such as Christine Caine, Lysa Terkeurst, Jen Hatmaker, Emily Freeman, and Kathi Lipp. Over the past weeks some of the encouragement they’ve posted has seemed to shine a spotlight onto my “what’s next.” These women of faith have posted things that God has used to prompt my heart to keep moving forward, one step at a time, towards what He directed me to do last year—write. Write for His glory, using the talents and experiences He has given me.

Through these women I have been reminded that God gifts and God guides. He uses those with willing hearts more than those with talented abilities. I have been encouraged to hone my craft and submit my steps to Him. I was reminded that He will open doors I could never dream of when I have taken the time to submit to His will. My cloud of witnesses was cheering me on and pointing me back to the truths I knew deep in my soul. God has a plan for me, for all of us, which is more breathtaking than anything we could ask or even imagine!breathtaking meme

So I took a leap of faith and contacted one of those authors I respect and enjoy. I asked if she’d be willing to read my book and possibly endorse it. She said yes. I was shocked. Oh me of little faith. This propelled me to get back to working on the thing I felt God directing me to so many months ago.

Then God sent me one of my new friends willing to read what I’ve got so far and give me honest feedback. Amanda loves nonfiction writing and would be a good person to view what I’ve got from the outside. She’s only known me for about a year.

And then I took another leap of faith. I contacted a book agent I’d casually met in the hall at last year’s She Speaks. I asked if she’d be willing to read my proposal and consider representing me. This weekend I got her reply. She said yes. She said she was swamped with work right now but if I contacted her mid-March, she’d let me know if she’d caught up enough to have time. I wept. That was perfect timing to get Amanda’s feedback and to polish my proposal that isn’t quite perfect yet.

God has a plan for each of us. I have shared that with others time and again. Sometimes I can forget this truth applies to me too. Let me encourage you today that God has plans for you! He will direct your steps so that you can run the race He has set out for you.

He’s not showing me the whole picture of what He has planned for me but the next steps. That’s all I really need. I guess I’d better get on those running shoes and get back to my race.