Can I have a do-over?

I guess I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus!

I pray your Christmas was blessed beyond measure. December always seems to creep up on me and it always seems to fly by before I know it. This year was no different for me, despite any attempt on my part. Once my daughter, son-in-law, and son rolled in to town and we headed to Key West for the week leading up to Christmas Day, time flew by and it was pretty hard to hold on to the Christmas spirit I had diligently and deliberately soaked myself in before their arrival.

My fault. I wish I had a lot of the last two weeks to do over (sigh) Life doesn’t quite work that way, though, does it?

If it did, I would have woken up each day and spent time with God instead of waking up and walking down the street for coffee. The coffee could have waited.

I was out of my routine; my rhythm was disturbed… by an unfamiliar house, a rooster nuisance and such a strong desire to make sure everyone in my family had a good time together that I tried taking control of the uncontrollable.

This deviation from my normalcy wreaked havoc on my spirit and I knew it would if I didn’t stay intentionally focused. Yet I did it anyway.

My spirit suffered but my tummy did not.  🙂  We had a wonderful dinner at El Siboney, amazing sushi at Origami (our 3rd trip there), yummy pizza at No Name Pub and simply the most delicious Pina Colada I’ve ever had at Southernmost Cafe. I’ve always hated that drink until last week! My family went skydiving, too. No, I did not  🙂

I’d love a do-over of some things from last week. If my time with God had been better spent, I wouldn’t now be longing for the chance to rewind and take back some of my frustrations and my reactions to those frustrations during our time away.

So…in being honest with God today, I admitted the regret in my heart. Then I asked Him to help me forget the things I cannot change and help me move forward.

Be blessed!
Amy 

 

 

She’s Done

Well, she’s done.
My daughter finished her student teaching on Friday; thus, completing her college studies. She is a bonafide, certified high school social studies teacher in search of a classroom of her own.
I have to hand it to her. When she took a year or so “off” and got married in the process, I was hesitant to believe she’d ever make it back to the halls of academia. Funny how the tables turn…I clearly remember my parents and in-laws having the same doubts that my husband and I getting married at the tender age of 20 would enhance chances of a college degree. We knew better; we knew our parents didn’t quite understand our bond and our drive. I suppose the same holds true for my daughter.

In typical Devon fashion, she is skipping the official graduation ceremony that will be taking place this Friday evening in favor of leaving the cold of Ohio and coming back to Tampa permanently. Never one for traditional sentimentality, she requested a trip to Key West for her graduation and, also in typical Devon fashion, didn’t see the point in letting a boring commencement formality delay her vacation. Gotta love that girl….she’s definitely not a conformist.

Congratulations, Devon. I’d say you surprised me but I’m not sure you could ever do anything that would really blow me away. I’ve gotten pretty used to just flexing with your crazy antics…your silly phone calls and text messages…and now,  I get to see them all played out in person again!
I’m strapped in and ready for the ride. Glad I get to see your beautiful face just hours from now. Welcome home….we are so proud and so happy.   You aren’t done, my sweet, you are just beginning!

John 16:21

When a woman gives birth to a child, she has sorrow because her time has come. After the child is born, she forgets her pain. She is full of joy because a child has been born into the world.

Be blessed,
Amy 

Praying for “wants”? God isn’t Santa Claus.

Yes, the differences should be obvious. I agree. But this title brings a smile to my face as I actually recall someone praying aloud before a meal last year asking God to bring everything that everyone seated at the table “wanted”. I nearly choked. True story.

Thankfully, God knows what I need and He always fulfills my needs in one way or another. Santa may focus on my wants but he is slightly less dependable  🙂

I’m not going to get everything I want for Christmas this year.  I want peace and unity not only for the human race, but in my own circle of loved ones and extended family. I want evil and hateful people to have an immediate, permanent change of heart. I want drugs and alcoholism to be eradicated and replaced with true joy rather than a harmful band-aid to heal hurts. I want marriages to stop suffering and for couples to grasp what a blessing it is to have a person to share your hopes, dreams, history and future with. I want people to live every day like it’s their last instead of wasting hours that turn in to years. I want people to be true friends to one another in words and deeds. I want every belly full and hideous diseases to stop striking people in the prime of their lives or, worse yet, before they’ve even begun to really live.

My list of wants is long and I won’t have them placed neatly under the tree no matter how many letters I write.

If only it were as easy as throwing a stamp on a wish list and sending it off to be fulfilled like a catalog order. God, however, is far more concerned with what I need. He knows who needs to be in my life, what influences need to be removed, what changes I need to make internally, what words I need to hear and what words I need to speak. Despite my ever feeling like He doesn’t know, He does. Despite my ever feeling like he doesn’t truly hear my deepest thoughts and yearnings, He does.
Still, we have all felt like Job at one time or another, haven’t we?

If I go to the east, God is not there; if I go to the west, I do not see Him. When He is at work in the north, I catch no sight of Him; when He turns to the south, I cannot see Him ~ Job 23:8-9

Christ does see our needs and He does know our wants. I truly believe his heart breaks when each and every one of our wants are unmet. He isn’t turning his eyes away in an effort to ignore us; instead, we need to believe that our vigilant waiting will bring us what we need. And, friends, our wants and our needs can be very different.

Santa Claus is for the young and it’s a beautiful wish-upon-a-star ideal. There is nothing like watching children rip through wrapping to discover all of their wants boxed with a name tag. Nothing like watching the unrestrained squeals and unfolding happiness that is written on their faces. I’m actually going to look a little like that because both of my kids will be home from Christmas; there’s my favorite gift this year!

But God isn’t Santa Claus. The joy He brings lasts far after the tree has been hauled to the curb and the toys have been thrown in a closet. He knows my needs today as I prepare for Christmas and He already knows how those needs will be met.   Thank you, Santa, for letting us be kids lost in wonder, magic and delight during this season. Thank you, God, for letting us hold on to your promise every single day of the year.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  ~John 16:33

Be blessed!
Amy 

 

Let Go

Have you ever found yourself pleading with someone to do something for their own good? Maybe it’s about taking school seriously or finding a better paying job or losing the unhealthy weight; any number of things that are your very best intention but fall on deaf ears.
It doesn’t really matter how much you want something for someone; unless or until they want it for themselves, you’re going to be one very frustrated person while waiting. That is, until you just give it to God to work out.

I had a friend with a pretty serious alcohol addiction. Anytime someone would be audacious enough to lovingly confront her, she would panic. Then drink.

Another person I know was involved in a destructive relationship with her husband. Despite years of  infidelity and countless unkept promises, she fought the losing battle. Then, one day, she had had enough.

Sometimes, what we want for people is eventually going to happen. Sometimes, it isn’t.
Sometimes, the addicted will remain forever chained and bound while their loved ones suffer right along with them and the lost will continue to wander around looking for purpose. You can lead a horse to water, but….well, you know the rest. 

Though I’m not even remotely suggesting we abandon our hopes and dreams for others, I’ve lived long enough to realize that at the end of the day, the decisions and choices are theirs. And theirs alone.

We are always called to live by Romans 15:7 (accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you) but I think it’s important to remember that God doesn’t necessarily expect us to sit in the middle of it, either. Sometimes, letting go might mean walking away but oftentimes letting go simply means we stop trying to make it all happen and just be a friend. Letting go might mean we love that person right where they’re at while we let God lead us down our own path.

Let go and let God.

Be blessed!
Amy