Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Am I a Dreamer?

Lately I have been reflecting on my life and it's purpose. I have felt an awakening to begin acting with compassion and sincerity for people. Specifically, those in need in my community. This call has led Matt and I to begin reading a book together called Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker.

I have only read the foreward and first chapter so far but so far it is speaking to me EXACTLY where I am! He states "We've settled for serving ourselves and serving as an event rather than serving those in need and living in a new way of life that Jesus has called us to." This is so true of my life. I find plenty of excuses about why it's just not possible for me to serve those in need. I am tired from chasing around 3 little boys all day, I have to cook dinner, Matt works long hours, oh and the list goes on and on. But, I feel a revival within me starting. So much so that it's making me feel unsure of things I always felt HAD to be a part of life.

What will this look like? That's part of what scares me a little...I have no idea. I am quick to categorize myself as the left brained gal with a step by step plan. But, I am realizing it just takes something to wake up inside to quickly change me to a dreamer. I am dreaming big for the future of our lives. Dreaming that we all have compassionate hearts that are forging our way to help "the least" in ANY way that we are called. I am going to start by getting involved in an established local mission. I am thinking Raleigh Rescue Mission.

Who are "the least"? As Brandon Hatmaker puts it "The least is a collective description of those in need. It describes anyone who simply has less. Less can be anything from being underresourced to being along, from having inadequate or no housing to little or no food, from the rarity of comfort to the complete lack of freedom. Less is simply less." I have always thought that in order to have a serving heart you needed to be working in the homeless shelters, a missionary, etc. I think that I am realizing that I need to look for the least in my neighborhood, at the store, AND on the street. It could be a lonely widow, a child starving for attention, a sick friend. My heart is changing to seek the least and seek to serve them by setting apart specific volunteer time but also as my eyes are opened to notice the need on a daily basis.

I am excited to dream big and live it out with some practical ideas and sentiments from this book. Who else is dreaming out there?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lingering Words

I am in the second to last week study by Lysa Terkeurst called Unglued. It has been a phenomenal study for my sister and I. Each week I have challenged to change my reactions based on a biblical reality rather than my own raw emotions.

This week the challenge is to empty yourself of the damaging labels you have made for yourself and replace them with lingering words. In other words, how do I want to be known. I am still in the process of narrowing down a couple of my other categories but one I have definitely decided on is thankful. I want to be known as a woman with a thankful heart. I want to be thankful in the midst of plenty and little. I find myself so often listing all the things that I wish I could have, or change, or do. I am emptying myself of that label "never fulfilled" and replacing it with thankful.

Yesterday I prayed that God would begin to work on my heart to be filled with thanks. I challenged myself that one time during this week when I was faced with a situation that angered me I would find time to first Thank Him. Two hours later, I am running in the beautiful sunshine and loving the 80+ degree weather. I made the halfway turn and was pushing my double stroller up a hill that always makes a good challenge. This hill runs right alongside a golf cart path in my neighborhood and I came upon 4 older gentlemen driving to their next hole. The first cartful waved and gave me a little motivation for running while the second came with a comment. "You need to get your boys some sunglasses." Now, in this moment all I wanted to do was turn around and tell that gentlemen that I offered them to my son and he refused to wear them while my eight month old would just eat them so none of this was my fault. I didn't neglect my children's needs, I am a good mom, etc. Basically, I had an unglued moment within myself! I made it about another 1/2 mile and all this internal demeaning chatter in my head just overcame me and I stopped running. Along came a rush of another set of thoughts... "You can't even finish a 3 mile run. How do you ever expect to be prepared for a 10k in a month and half?" All these are lies that I can quickly let myself get trapped in if I don't look to Jesus first.

Right there in the middle of the sidewalk this little voice in my head said "Did you mean it? Will you be thankful in the midst of anger?" I stopped walking and just aloud started spewing off all the things I was thankful for. It started with the things I can always find easily. Thank you for the beautiful sky, the warm sunshine, my wonderful sons and husband. In the middle of all this Levi says "Mommy, are you still going to run and stop talking?" I laughed and told him that I would walk but he would have to listen to all the things I was thankful for right now. I even got to the point that I thanked God for the gentleman who had concern for my children's eye safety. I was not saying this mockingly, I really did and do mean it! God gave me the grace to have my heart turned around 2 hours after I resolved to become a thankful woman. Wow!

I pray he gives me more opportunities to show my thankful heart. I want people to hear the name Alex and think she is so thankful. I have a long way to go but I am making imperfect progress!

How could I not be thankful for this goofball? My little lunar boy or as I was calling him my looney boy:)