FOCUS on the blesses and not the messes!

I am so blessed and that is where I will focus. Wow, what a year 2015 was. I fell short in so many ways. I didn’t ___________ (fill in the blank). My list would be pretty long. But a few things have brought things back into FOCUS for me and I hope they will you too! Today for example, I slept in… I wanted to go to church, and well… it didn’t happen. I can FOCUS on the sadness all day or I can 1. Make the most of the hours at home and 2. Watch one or more of my favorite online speakers (Steve Furtick, Priscilla Shirer, etc.).

I have been pretty hard on myself for not keeping up with people in 2015. My WORD FRIENDS got a little neglected. Honestly “my word” ACT got a lot neglected too. I wanted to get more done and reach out more. You should have seen the list I planned to accomplish when off for surgery. I don’t really have a great excuse but that I left life get in the way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t because I was always living, but because of the messy parts of life (my attitude, motivation, etc.). As I look forward to 2016, I have been blessed as I reach out to people for their words, that though I may not have lived up to my expectations, my efforts touched them. That is a different FOCUS.   To FOCUS on what I didn’t instead of the few times I could.

I listened to a message by Steve Furtick last weekend that we can choose to FOCUS on the messes of 2015 and the past or the miracles.   I don’t know about you, but I said I wanted to FOCUS on the miracles, the blessings, the right, the lessons, etc.   But, the days roll into each other… and my blessings fall into the cracks un-noticed. My grateful list has faded because I get so busy that I don’t pause for those few minutes to close my day with a thank you to God for the little things. My prayer life since returning to work has changed because I don’t make that time.   Let me just tell you… I AM FEELING IT!!!

Some amazing life changes have happened as a result when I FOCUS on the gratefulness of little things. I slow down. I breathe in. I smile.   Even more amazing life changing things happened as a result of my time on my porch swing with my empty cup waiting to receive from God (a great habit I started when off for surgery and time just passed without anywhere to be). (I started to cry just remembering that time). He honors a grateful heart… an empty soul… and every tear!

So today, since I missed church I wanted to start on one of many little projects and it required going through photos. I want to get a belated card out since I missed a Christmas card. I could say I was too busy but I was off work for 9 weeks due to a surgery and then the blessing of migraines.   But, it’s never too late to keep in touch, so Valentine’s Day or Easter the card may come. Anyway, I had to go through files and files of iphone photos and with every folder I opened, I smiled. My FOCUS became on what an amazing year our little family had. Trips and time together… Laughter and sadness… Sunshine and snow showers… Cuddling and chaos…. In the middle of the mess of life (the hard times, the struggles), some amazing beautiful times happened. I needed this today. I needed to FOCUS on all that is right to point my heart back in the direction it needs to go.

Our family has some BIG changes in 2016. On New Year’s Day, I resigned from my job after 11 ½ years. I made the decision, ironically, at the beach. The irony is because when I resigned my last position to go to my current employer, it was at the beach.   There is something about pushing pause on life and sitting in front of the huge ocean and watching the sun come over the horizon, and watching the waves stop exactly where they are supposed to, and the shells laying out beautifully saying “pick me”, and Sam swimming like a fish in the pool, and Mary falling in love with cheesy grits, and our family of four in a hotel room ordering chocolate cake from room service… that makes you get BRAVE because you know that what matters are the people in that room, and the God who controls that ocean and sun, has our lives directly in the palm of His hands. He was just waiting for me to push pause. I paused a lot on my porch when life slowed and truly believe that it was during that time, He made BIG plans for my family.   He sees us, He knows us, and He has GOT THIS! I just have to FOCUS my eyes on Him. It’s easy at the beach… and as I sorted through pictures and placed my beautiful shells (the most I have ever found there) in a big glass vase on my table as a constant reminder to FOCUS… Today on this snowy day in PA, can be as calm as that day in Virginia Beach… if I FOCUS my eyes in the right direction.

God has BIG BIG plans for us… but if I take my eyes off Him, I might just stumble (voice of experience). Thankfully, He is my heavenly Father and will brush off the dirt when I do, kiss my wound (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental), and get my FOCUS back once again.

So FOCUS on the blesses and not the messes — that’s my new motto!


BRINGING 2016 into FOCUS!!!

2016… where has the time gone… so much more I said I would do, wanted to do, thought about doing in 2015 (and in the 45 years of my life prior…). But all that is gone… no regrets… just moving forward and time to FOCUS on 2016. That’s my word FOCUS!   This was a jointly decided upon word for me with the help of my beautiful family. It is the word I probably utter most to myself, as I have been more scattered mentally than ever….

I absolutely love choosing a word for the year to set my mind on. Every year I generally choose one to combat one of my largest weaknesses – procrastination. I have come a loooong way, but definitely a looong way to go! The biggest moment of reality for me is when our daughter started walking in my very deep footprints of procrastination. It took me watching her trip over her own footprints that I knew I had to change. I had to be the change I wanted to see in her. I have procrastinated everything from homework assignments, work assignments, and even my health with my do it tomorrow attitude. So as in previous years, my word will continue to help me fight the battle of procrastination.

I am finding I notice little things like I can’t remember where something is. When, I generally am the girl who can remember where anything is as long as I have touched it at least once. Even on Christmas, after shuffling things around to be ready for the day, I had misplaced my wallet. Keep in mind, the last prior place I had been was Walmart. All I could think of was that our account would be hacked, and that would be on top of an issue I was already facing regarding finances. After much loss of valuable time, I had to FOCUS of where I had been last and recall if/when I had touched it. I found it, in the bottom of a laundry basket that had been further covered with a load of laundry or two.

What’s changed… I multi-task more than over. I pause less than ever. If I were to dump my mind out on a table, it would resemble the bottom of my purse (or even worse my Grandma Frazee’s purse – lol). I would know everything in there, but some things would need to be thrown away, some would need removed but saved for a later time, and other things would deserve more care! Most importantly, it would make room for other things that needed to be in there!

I recently was off of work for about 9 weeks after a routine surgery. The last time I was off that long was to deliver a child. Well, when you are off and come home with a baby, there is no focus on the mama. This time, I could FOCUS on God, on me, and on family! I found a stillness that I didn’t remember existed. I sat on my porch swing almost every morning for weeks, holding my cup, empty before God, and listened! I blocked out the to-do list, which had shrunk immensely without work. I didn’t even touch my “while I am off” dream list including photo organization, lego organization, house projects, books to read… But I did restore ME… Sheri, the mom, the wife, the friend, etc. I was able to be there… physically and mentally… I could FOCUS on the people that mattered.

I watch Mary… when she is in “school mode” she has a focus – her planner for the week is done, post-it notes for the days work is complete, projects are organized, everything has a color. The end result of her focus is some amazing grades and a happy daughter! When things start swarming in that pulls her away, the focus becomes foggy, she gets flustered and feels overwhelmed. (I can relate).   Then she goes back to the steps she knows to focus and produce. …. (Of note, this beautiful system took place after a hard fall from stepping in my footprints of procrastination, and her watching me constantly refer to the importance of my calendar).

I watch Sam… his focus for whatever his passion is for the moment – Legos, action figures, or Minecraft. His concentration is amazing. He can block out the rest of the world and FOCUS on just that one thing. The result is an amazing creation and/or hours of play. He can become so focused on a project, that he can stay up most of the night or at times wake in the middle of the night to complete what is in his mind. The result is a calm and happy son!

I watched the movie War Room over and over recently. Life changing! When I was off, my porch was a mini war room. The peace after that time spent with God was priceless and poured into my whole day. But when I returned to my pre-surgery schedule, I let my old routine seep back in and I didn’t make time to go to God. When in reality is when I need that FOCUS most.  It is like a puzzle, with FOCUS (especially on God), all the pieces fit. Without that, I discover pieces are temporarily misplaced! (I say replaced because once I focus, I will find the missing item – Jim and Mary will both tell you… 1. If I have ever touched it, I will know where it is. 2. If it is to be found, it will be done by me, and 3. I won’t rest until it is found).

God has some amazing things ahead of me in 2016, I am sure! He promises in His word that He has a plan for me…. A hope and a future… Unfortunately, if I don’t keep my mind fixed and in FOCUS, I just might miss things, because I am so busy looking for the pieces I have misplaced. I think about binoculars (or me without my glasses), the object maybe in “view” but it’s just a blurb. With my glasses or binoculars, I can FOCUS on what it truly is.

It is only a day into 2016 and I have already made some changes…

  • My calendar has shrunk in size. If I have smaller “blocks”, I will be more careful to FOCUS on the things that should be there! (People over projects as Lysa Terkeurst refers to).
  • I have said YES to two major decisions that will change my FOCUS in a new direction. (remember the analogy of dumping out my mind is like dumping out a purse – it is getting rid of some of the garbage that took up too much space and making room for new exciting things – more in near future)
  • I am spending the weekend with my family. We have talked and laughed. They have listened to me talk about all the WORDs my friends have chosen. When I didn’t want to commit (another great word chosen by a friend) to FOCUS, I did a typical search looking for something temporarily misplaced and said (what I thought was under my breathe) FOCUS SHERI! They have since not let up to remind me why this is the word – FOCUS!
  • I chose a word… the one I was avoiding, because it’s the one I need most in my life most.

So a couple things I generally do in choosing a word is to look up definition, find a song, and find a scripture…

Definition (using verb – because I like my one word to be an action because in procrastination I put off, by choosing an action I feel it combats that habit more): 1. To be directed at something specific… 2. To direct attention / effort at something specific…. 3. To adjust to make an image clear

Scripture: wow there are a few… but I like Isaiah 26:3 as it is a promise to ME (paraphrase by me) – He will keep ME, Sheri, in perfect peace, when my mind is steadfast (FOCUSED) on Him!

Song / Hymns – Turn your eyes upon Jesus… Of note, I googled the words of the hymn just to be sure and found this interesting – The lyrics were inspired by the Gospel Tract FOCUSED, by Lilias Trotter… (no coincidence there – lol)…    O soul, are you weary and troubled?   No light in the darkness you see? There’s a light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!  Refrain: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

I can’t wait to watch FOCUS live out loud in my life… and watch your ONE WORD live out loud in yours!!!!



Last weekend I was “handpicked” by God to attend a women’s retreat. My friend, Johnetta, had the task placed on her heart by God to have this, and unlike what I would likely do… she listened.   She knew God would hand-pick women to attend, and I am so blessed I was one of them. I honestly still get tears in my eyes from the experience. The numbers were not huge… but GOD WAS THERE!!! As we laughed, cried, laughed, sang, ate, fellowshipped, and shared in God’s love. Over and over in my mind, I have replayed the weekend. These three things are on replay. It wasn’t just one speaker, but the combination of speakers who chose different scripture from the Old and New Testament, that melded together…

BE STILL (when I Google Be still scripture, there are 36 incredible verses that come up) – my two favorites are

Psalms 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God

Exodus 14:14 – The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

For the last several weeks, I have started a new habit of prayer and often just being still. Almost every morning (sometimes evening and sometimes both), on my porch swing, I sit and pour out my praise and my heart.   I am still… I listen… I breathe… and my soul calms. It can last minutes or long stretches of time. I usually have a song come to mind and I sing with the deepest of my heart. I am changed. I think that change took me into last weekend like a sponge… ready to receive… without my typical mind wandering of all the other things I should be doing… In all honesty, I have sat in retreats and church and made my list mentally and on paper of all the things that needed done for the day. Not this one ….

I have learned stillness is vital to my life – for my spiritual and mental wellbeing. However, I have also learned I need more than just those few moments of stillness… I need to remain in them… In the promises… In the peace…


Being still is great. However, too many times the stillness was short term. I would then return to my every day life after that time and got pulled back in. Then life would get the best of me and I would return to be still for just a few moments. Last Saturday, I heard scripture I had heard a hundred times before… John 15:4-7: vs 4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” And it became part of life addition problem for me.

Being still is great – but I must remain there… For the last several weeks I have been blessed to re-center life. Most of the external factors of work, people, and appointments have been removed. I controlled the calendar and filled it with family, friends, and church. I find when issues or concerns arise, instead of worrying and dwelling on it, I become still. Still and my life were not words that would have been used in the same sentence. I think it is me learning to REMAIN in the stillness. REMAIN in HIM and not the craziness of the world. When I need to re-center life, I find me returning to the moments I had spent with Him that morning and the days before.

I think of all the people who have posted this month things they are thankful for. I love them! But after the month, many get back in their routines

Have you ever had an amazing moment / memory where you can close your eyes and visualize it? Well, my porch time has become that daily moment when all it takes is for me to close my eyes and I can return to that feeling I had while being still.   If I don’t have it that day, it is a little hard to re-center myself and a little easier to get pulled into the craziness of life and brought down by the worries of my heart.

He is ABLE

Ephesians 3:20 – 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

Hearing Priscilla Shirer speak on this scripture brought it to life for me. [That is how God works and why it is important that I keep reading and hearing His word.  “Old” scriptures can have new life based on the circumstances I am going through.] I tend to put God in a box. I pray to Him with a specific need, and wait (often impatiently) for the answer. Priscilla spoke of God being able to go beyond and beyond. All this time, I confined Him to my thoughts when He can go way beyond that, because HE IS ABLE! All this time, I didn’t even take things to Him because I didn’t want to burden Him, bother Him, rely on Him, wait on Him, and the list goes on. I kept many things in my own little ability, and think now how much more He could have done had I given it to Him. Definitely more than I did on my own!

I have been seeking God for direction in areas of my life. I went to scripture for answers (wow imagine that concept). I found several scriptures that my heart needed to read and put them in a collage picture on Facebook. Then I put what I had to do and His return on my investment. It is pretty amazing (and I only chose 13 scriptures of the 31,103 verses in the Bible).   [Great time investment to use Google to search for scriptures that lead me to more scripture than spending that time less wisely – ie facebook]

If I do 2 things – BE STILL (seek Him and listen) and REMAIN (trusting, waiting) [not my own pattern where being Still would be a few minutes and go on my way]

HE gives me 11 things (and there are many more in scripture) – PEACE, HOPE, FUTURE, WORKING things together for good, DIRECTION, ENDURANCE, STRENGTH, RENEWAL, NEW THINGS, COUNSEL, and going BEYOND BEYOND what I could do on my own….


BE STILL (Sheri) * this does not mean that I don’t do my part and just wait for Him to do everything – it’s seeking Him before the world and being quiet and aware enough to Him

+ REMAIN in ME (not in the world or your problems, Sheri!)

= 4 I AM ABLE (Beyond, beyond your imagination, Sheri!)

ACT by RECEIVING (and it started with a cup)…

There is something I have a big problem with. It could be called many things – faith, trust, control. They really all wrap in one! My prayer life struggles.  I pray daily in conversation and thank him for his gifts and then give Him my list. I am not still and wait to hear Him back, to hear what He wants for me. After all, I had already given Him my list and usually instructed Him in what specifically I wanted. Prayers like please give Jim safety, be with my friend who had surgery heal her of pain, I am going into surgery give the Dr. wisdom. Yes, I say here is the person, here is their specific need. The irony is He already knows their need! He wants me to come to Him as a child with my small request, something as simple as their name, my needs, my hope, and MY PRAISE and then wait and listen and trust.

So, I struggle with the wait. After all, I just told Him exactly what I wanted, so it isn’t like He has to think about it. I did the problem solving for Him. Not only do I struggle with the wait, but I struggle with the answer is not the option I give him. I do not make my prayers multiple choice. I give one option. Now you see my struggle. I am sure, at least I think, I am not alone in this struggle.

I have refrained from starting to watch TV (except cartoon/ movie marathons with the kids) because I don’t want to get started on something I won’t have time to continue. Plus, I have always enjoyed listening to online videos from Christian authors, online sermons, etc….

One of the videos from speaker/authors I have listened to since being off was by Emily Freeman. She talks about how she holds an empty bowl while she prays – symbolic of having her heart empty and ready to receive. At first I thought… ok that’s different. Then soon thought what have I got to loose. I didn’t choose a bowl, but a new mug from an amazing friend that has one of my favorite verses on it… BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!!!   I struggle with BEING STILL and truly hearing. So for over a week, since I have heard this video, I have sat on my porch or a favorite recliner with my empty cup.

I honestly could just cry writing how this has changed me. I have cried during the silence of holding the empty cup. It truly was symbolic of how empty I felt, and didn’t even realize. Empty spiritually, because I have allowed life’s chaos fill all the crevices of my life and weigh me down. Usually when I pray, my crazy to do list goes through my head. But now that I hold an empty cup I sit and truly visualize me waiting to receive from Him. I give him my small list of maybe just someone’s name – He already knows the need…. I give him what is heavy on my heart and then just sit and breathe and wait for His peace. I am STILL! Sometimes a song may come to mind and I sing a verse. He wants my praise! So many analogies have come out of this empty cup time, of how I have pushed Him away with my business and the need for control.

  • When I hold up a full cup/calendar/mind, there is no room left for His will, for me to receive what He has for me. He knows the plans He has for me, but if I fill that with my plans, I miss out.
  • When I go to Him in a hurry to hand over my list of Dear Lord please bless…. Say amen… and carry on my day. He sits there waiting to hear the heart of His child.   It’s like asking your child “how was your day?” because you want to really hear and they say fine and go on to the next task. As a mom, I sit there wanting to really hear
  • He knows my needs. He wants me to bring them with full expectation of what He can do with the needs and leave them there. He can do so much more than I can on my own strength (but for some reason I believe my ways are better when scripture supports His ways are higher than mine).
  • When my heart is heavy and full He can’t pour into it…
  • When my hands are clutched He can’t fill them (and I can’t open them in praise).
  • At times I thought I should put names or needs in my cup, but again that doesn’t leave it empty for me to completely receive.

So tonight when I got an unexpected email, at first I was truly upset. It was a need I shared with Him over the empty cup. The email really upset me and I went into my typical mode of Why didn’t He answer it the way I expected. What am I suppose to do now? How can I fix this? (See the problem, I… I… I….) The chaos starts stirring and I struggle with faith, trust, and control. I wanted to cry because I wanted a different answer! I did start reacting and trying to fix it.… got a little angry at God… and then I started writing this blog. I am a writer at heart and use writing to empty my head / heart. Unfortunately, often I get so busy that I don’t write… which just keeps my head / heart full. When in reality that is when I should write more.

As I wrote the brewing slowed and the wrestling with God slowed (like I would win – lol). I then realized I needed to go to Him and pour out my heart. So, I paused my writing and grabbed my cup.  I turned out the light and just paused, laid out my heart to God, and relinquished my control. The irony is the door He closed tonight wasn’t necessarily the one I wanted to be opened. I went back to my old ways of fix it mode and not trusting and not being still. I got caught up in the instant disappointment (and anger) that a door was closed, without trusting the answer was the best for me.

Does the cup hold any of the answers. No! But my Heavenly Father does. If it takes a simple act of holding an empty cup to remind me to be ready to be still, to pause, and to receive… then I will hold the cup… and He will bless my willingness to finally come to receive. I will be the woman of the well… thirsty… seeking… waiting…. Receiving!

Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord!

Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;

Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more

Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

ACT by writing again (my lessons on belonging)

My dear blog… sorry you have been so neglected. It is not because I haven’t had a million things to say or write, but filled my life with a million other things and excuses. Well, God has given me a time to be still and honestly I still struggle with it (because I wanted to accomplish much in the off-time).   Life has gotten a little crazier than even I prefer. So, as I seek stillness, it is time to ACT on pouring out my heart and head. I need to return to a place of peace.

I feel lately like my equilibrium is off and things that never mattered suddenly do. I am generally a self-sufficient person and really don’t like to ask for help, announce issues going on in my life, announce the need for prayer publically, etc. Unless it is something I can be grateful for, it is likely not going to be advertised.  But lately I have been a little absorbed with all the places / situation I don’t really feel like I belong. (Facebook can do that to a person).

I read about people running here and there with their children for sports. It makes me miss the years of being a “dance mom” and running and belonging to the group of other dance moms. We shared so much around while we waited at practice, recitals, competition, pictures, etc. Our children are in NOTHING. To some that is a foreign concept and to others we are judged for lack of socialization. However, for our family that type of belonging is just not in the cards due multiple factors at different times.

There have been many social events that I have also declined. I have declined some due to timing. To be honest, I have avoided some because I didn’t think I would “fit in” /belong with the crowd. They would talk of school, sports, and children. I had nothing no offer – no sports, we cyber school, and well, we have some unique children. There are many times our different life is really highlighted by just simple comparisons.   I honestly wouldn’t change our choices, but it does limit conversation in many areas. I can’t relate to what they talk about, and honestly, I get tired of defending/explaining our choices. However, I eliminated the option of not belonging before ever giving the event/the people a chance.

I struggle often when I know how much Sam misses “friends” because they are busy with life (school and sports). Mary over time has been blessed to find a group of friends she belongs with and is quite content living the life of the introvert. I pray that one day, Sam is blessed that way too. Life is so full of being the perfect fit, doing it all, belonging…. And well…. We just aren’t there…

However, lately I have had some beautiful reminders of just where we do belong. I have worked weekends every year for 11 years. For a couple years I was blessed to go to evenings on weekends and we found a church we loved. We started going as a family. Then life changed and my schedule got rearranged so we had to give up church again. But on a rare Sunday I had off (Jim had class) and I asked Sam, do you want to go to church with me. He quickly replied YES! I was quite surprised! We went and when we got in the car he said I have really missed church. The church had gone back to how we remembered when we first started.   It felt like home… WE BELONGED!!!! I don’t have to explain Sam’s quirks, or feel like excuses are needed if we can’t come (we had been gone for months and there was no judgement), etc… We sat back down where we hadn’t been for MONTHS and the love still spilled over.   Conversation is easy….   We went as a family last week and it was priceless… A place WE BELONG.

I had another weekend I requested off recently to get together for a teleconference for women. We have an amazing women’s bible study/tea on Mondays. Another group where I BELONG! We have a Bible Study and we talk about what the lesson meant to US. No judgement, no explanation, no excuses needed. Well, I expected a large turn out and it ended up being a small group. Only 3 stayed all night (counting me) and 7 total in/out for the Friday/Saturday. It was perfect and amazing. Though the live teleconference was good….. the small group of ladies (of various ages and stages of life) breathed life back into my weary soul. I BELONGED!

Over life I have had some various jobs in nursing. I still see some of the nurses I worked with on Oncology and we can still talk about life – because I BELONGED in that group. Our love and care for our patients was bonding and over the years we watched our lives grow and change. I miss those bedside nurse days (and say that more and more). I am blessed in my various nursing areas to truly feel like I BELONG in some.

I also need to realize it is okay not to BELONG perfectly everywhere. It is not necessarily a statement about me or the others, but the fit has changed. Friendships are the same way. I have some life long friends that I can drop a text to and ask for a prayer and it is said. We have meaningful conversation via technology and I feel refreshed. I have friends that when we talk we pick right back up where we left off. I also have had friendships that no longer fit as we have changed. It does not decrease my love for them, but to wish them well as we BELONG in new areas.

In our home we teach be true to who you are. However, I still find myself focusing too much on where I don’t belong. It probably goes back to one of my strength/weaknesses of people pleasing. I want to be all things to all people. I want to say yes to everyone (which can be a dangerous thing because our daughter just echoed those exact words last night!). I want to understand everyone so I can meet their needs! However, in the end, I am often left drained and alone.

I was not created to fit in everywhere.   Just like a plant and growing – some need more water, more sun, no water or maintenance (Like the only plant I have not killed since getting married – a cactus). I grow where I belong! Just like our children in school – Mary was getting strangled by the weeds and Sam was stuck in a pot with too many seeds (a too large of a class). So we moved them so they could grow.

I have to learn / apply some lessons

  • Appreciate and focus on the beautiful places God has placed me to belong – our church, my friendships, and work. Make sure they know how much they mean to be. Pour back into them.
  • Try new things and see if I really don’t fit (I have made many a decision by the scenario I play in my head of what may happen and never try).
  • When I know I don’t belong, don’t try to fit in… move on and learn from the lesson.
  • The lifelong lessons will be — I don’t have to be all things to all people! People pleasing is not a strength when I am left depleted!

Thank you Lord for this time you have given me to be still…. Thank you for the beautiful places you have planted me that I do belong…. Thank you for the amazing church that welcomes us just as we are… Thank you for my incredible friendships that I never realized how much I needed (because I thought I could do it all on my own)…. Thank you in advance for making me brave to move on and learn…. Thank you for letting me know that I always BELONG wrapped tightly in your arms as your child!

p.s Please Lord, give me the strength to work on the people pleasing!

ACT on the writing on the wall

On my grateful list awhile back I wrote I was grateful that the writing on the wall was big enough to see. A friend responded that it would be a great blog. So here it is.

I would say for months I have been stressed beyond my normal. I can handle the normal stressors of my crazy life and actually thrive on it. However, the balancing act of the added stress, that I cannot control, has taken me to a new level. My family would describe me differently. I snap when I would have never snapped. I even threw something the other night, which I have NEVER done in my life. I am emotional and just want quiet. I have headaches on a daily basis.   My family walks on egg shells and those who truly know me know that I am not easily shaken.   I am scattered and forgetful and consumed. I miss ME!

The sad thing is that people and situations have been writing on the wall for some time.

Sometimes it was a blank wall (which can be the biggest writing in reality). It means I didn’t even really exist, when I thought I made a difference. I dismissed the blank wall as they were too busy, things must be fine, and no news is good news.   In hindsight I see the blank wall and it gives me the chance to sit back and realize what my silence is doing to others. There have definitely been times when my reaching out could be much improved, and do people wonder if they don’t matter or if things are more important than they are.

Sometimes it is just little words or small sentence written on the wall. A little jab, a little change, a little email and it all seems harmless at the time.   Little words written on a wall are easy to miss by being so busy in life.   Tonight I saw the perfect example — in the corn field next to my house there is a single sunflower growing above the stalks. I never noticed it till tonight when I was coming home and got behind a slow moving car. I had to slow down to see it. I also think that little things are easy to dismiss as not “about me” and even believing it won’t affect me. But over time it’s like spelling words, the more times you have to write them, the more they are embedded (or so they say). So maybe the words became more obvious because they were repeated over and over. Or maybe they just got bigger and bigger. Or maybe I slowed down and noticed.

The problem is the little words became sentences…. The sentences became paragraphs… the paragraphs became chapters… and the chapter became a book. All the little things I missed are now a novel swarming in my head constantly. I am consumed and I dwell on the words.   I remember Mary memorizing the Gettysburg Address and hearing it over and over (and still says when we go). The problem is when the writing on the wall becomes a mural in your head that repeats over and over.

I am sure I am not alone in situations that consume. It can be health issues, financial issues, marital issues, family issues, work issues, etc…   They usually all start with something small – health could be the finding of a mass and it consumes you…. – financial can be making a bad purchase and short on money to pay bills and it consumes you — family can be a little argument over a slice of pizza that becomes a wrestling fight in the yard (a childhood memory) or worse never speaking again … it is consuming.

It is GREAT that I finally saw the writing on the wall, but it is not okay to just sit there and expect the writing to change. But that is exactly what I have done. I have let the writing of someone else impact and change ME! The bad thing about me is that at times I believe the writing will change in a certain circumstance to find out that instead it is now in BOLD print! But I keep returning to the same wall and same situation – I guess the eternal optimist.

What have I done… I dwell on these words and think how I can change them. I have stopped writing grateful lists because I am consumed on reading the words over and over. I stay home because I just don’t have any reserve to deal with people.   I have let this become an emotional battle that I am completely loosing.

What has this done – exchanged the writing on the wall for my family. The wall that use to say I love you!.. I want to spend time with you…. what can I do for you…. you matter to me……    to writing that reads — I am too busy dwelling to remember that…  this situation is more important than you…. I am mad (and things may be flying)…. , don’t joke because my reaction is unpredictable. By being mad and dwelling, I have forgotten little details that showed I loved them. That is NOT who I am or what I want my family to be reading on my wall to them. It is UP TO ME to change that!

Somethings I learned about the writing on the wall. If the author doesn’t want to change the words, and I don’t agree, then  1. I can keep reading the words over and over and dwell. 2. I could ignore the words and pretend they will go away. 3. I can try to convince them to change the writing. or 4. I can find a new wall to read.

So what is a girl to do? Well, I think I need to find a new wall to read.

I need to read and hear the words of God repeating in my head.  Reminding me I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He has a plan for me. He goes into battle for me. Be still! Youtube is my best friend as I google amazing Christian speakers (Liberty University, Priscilla Shirer, Lysa Terkeurst, etc…), Elevation Network, and more. It has fed me some amazing messages to replace some writing.

I need to pray harder and then be still to hear the direction I need to go. He wants to be part of the little details of my life. I need to replace the words written by others with the ones in His word!

I need to read and hear the words of the ones I love. Saying they will love me no matter what, they miss who I was, they have my backs, it will be okay.

I need to read and hear the words of the ones who know my integrity. Saying everything will be okay, I am worth more than this, and the writing is wrong.

I need to pour into the lives of others and ACT on who I am.   I need to replace the focus/dwelling on negativity in my head with positive actions.

I think for this season of my life, I need to rely on a new love language of WORD of AFFIRMATION! Satan wants negative things in my mind to make me question who I am and my value. He wants space created between me and God, me and family, etc. Well, time to tear down the wall where the words are written! It is time to write new words for me, for my family, and reclaim ME!

ACT by not waiting for rainbows

Sunday when I walked out of work there was a rainbow that spanned the sky. I so needed that rainbow just to remind me of God’s promises to protect. Unlike many rainbows, that seem to fade before I even get my camera out, this rainbow almost the whole way home. I may go around one corner and think it was gone, but as soon as I went around the next one and my vision was adjusted just a little bit, it was there again.   The whole time I was thinking thank you Lord for the promise… Some things came to mind with that rainbow since that day.

  1. It was there the whole time, it was my vision that needed adjusted.   That happens to with beautiful sunsets, sunrises, etc. They are always there. Sometimes they seem closer based on where I am located (on the mountain) and sometimes further away (in the valley). It is just like God — HE is always there. My closeness to Him is based on where I AM, not where He is. Scripture reinforces He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He NEVER moves. It is me that creates the distance. Just like the prodigal son. The dad never left, he stayed in the same home praying for his son return. His son is the one who moved. But, when the son returned, the father opened wide His arms. So does the Heavenly Father…. I just have to get close enough to feel him, hear him, see him….
  2. I was holding onto that rainbow as a reminder of His promise. I have been going through some “stuff” outside of my control (hate that!). At times not sure God heard my prayers, yet in reality I may not said them out loud. Well because I hate to let go for a variety of reasons / excuses. I realize that scriptures say He knows my words and thought before they are said and even if they are never said. But, He wants to her me come to Him. Just as I want my children to come to me and just talk. I want to know their heart without using my mother E.S.P. skills. Thankfully, He knew what I needed without me saying a word… I never said Lord give me a sign. To be honest, there have been times that I have required BILLBOARDS to get my attention. I didn’t want that kind of sign, so I am cautious in asking! Funny how I even want to control the sign He sends me – LOL!
  3. The irony of the rainbow is that it has to rain/storm to make it happen. Yet, I want a sign from God without wanting to go through the storm to get it I want the sign to come easy. Would love a big arrow saying that way. A sign without drama, without trials, without choices, etc. In reality, I want easy signs without the work / pain / suffering to get me there. Honestly some of the most powerful things I have learned were after a trying times in life. Scriptures says that suffering creates perseverance (Romans 5:3-4). In my impatience I just want the reward / the promise / the rainbow but without all the journey to get there! I want the sign today… please don’t make me wait. Last week at Ladies tea we talked about how Sarai was so wanting a child NOW that she sent her husband to sleep with a maidservant. Yes a child was conceived, but so were many problems. Had she just waited, her time did come.  How many times am I like her, wanting it now, instead of waiting for His time?!?!
  4. Why did I wait for the rainbow to feel I had a promise from Him when every day my Bible waits to be opened. Full of love letters from Christ to ME! Full of promised from Christ to me. I can rattle off some scripture but does it soak in my soul?   Here are the ones I say I cling to, but how many times does it truly absorb?
  • I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you, not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
  • Every morning Christ gives me a new serving of mercies – Lamentations 3:23 (and guess what He will give more if I need it.)
  • His thoughts are not my thoughts – His ways are not my ways – They are beyond comprehension (i.e. Sheri interpretation – He can see the BIG picture, I must trust Him).
  • BE STILL and know that I am God. Psalms 43:10 (my problem is being STILL and letting HIM be God).
  • The Lord will fight for me; I need only to BE STILL – Exodus 14:14 (my interpretation – is get out of HIS way and let Him be God).
  • Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11; 28 (I have to go and give it to Him instead of carrying it around and whining).
  • He gives power to the weak, strength to powerless. . Those that trust in the Lord will renew their strength… Isaiah 40:30 (He is my source of power – just like a light switch all I have to do is turn to it).
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength – Philippians 4:13 (I can say it but do I believe it / practice it?)
  • He gives a gift – peace of mind and heart. A peace the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 (so why do I look for peace everywhere else?_)
  • Look at the sparrows and God takes care of them and is concerned for them – how much more does He care for me? Mathew 10:31 (I often think of this in winter of how the birds survive the cold, the storms, and provides for the bird… I also think of the song – His eye is on the sparrow – so I know he watches me).
  • There are HUNDREDS more promises… these are just a few that I can recite. No matter what I am facing – physical, emotional, mental, work, home, friendships, enemies, etc… HE KNOWS! There are times there are times I need to make the scripture personal with my name… Sometimes I need to make my own paraphrase (like instead of saying Be Still and know that I am God – I should say SHUT UP SHERI and get out of HIS way!)

Thank you Lord for the beautiful rainbow. A reminder on a day I needed it so. Thank you for reminding me to look up and keep my perspective on YOU. But help me not to just wait to chase rainbows, but to ACT by resting in your promised every day!