Contentment through new eyes

eye I’m a dreamer. When I truly allow myself to dream, I dream big. One dream I have is that I want to be a missionary. Not necessarily overseas (although, I would welcome that in a heartbeat), but even just right here. I want to be right in the midst of the battle of love. Go on the streets and get to know the homeless people, sit and pray with the ones who have lost a loved one recently, encourage and help a teenage mom, etc.

The other day, I was becoming restless and discontent with where I’m at. I’m a nanny, piano teacher, and work at a retail store on the weekends. Keeps me busy, yes, but I wanted to be involved in a big ministry. Something grand and huge. To be honest, somewhere I feel I’m actually making a difference. This has been something weighing heavily on my heart. Feeling like I want to be more involved, but not seeing where the Lord wants me. Frustration and dissatisfaction blurred my vision temporarily.

I started talking to the Lord about these frustrations and desires to do more. He answered. He always does. Just not always the way I want. As I was sitting in my car driving down the road to go nanny one day, I started becoming even more anxious and worked up as I was discussing it with Him. But then my Spirit became still. Peace began to settle in. He gently reminded me to just listen. To “be still”. So I sat in the peace and listened.

He opened my eyes that day. He started by walking me through a typical day for me. Wake up, study some school, go nanny, teach piano. Then He took me deeper into that day. He showed me that when I nanny, I’m influencing the lives of two very special kids. Two kids I love greatly. Then He showed me that I have student’s who have the opportunity to see Him every time I teach, if I allow it. He showed me that I am involved in a huge ministry. Right where I’m at. My kids (the ones I nanny, and the ones I teach) are my ministry. Everyday, I have the amazing opportunity to allow the Lord to love them through me.

So, I guess my point is, He’s teaching me to be content with where He has me. To seize every opportunity He puts in my path. Maybe someday, I’ll go overseas and be a missionary, or something ‘grand’ like that. But for now, He’s giving me the precious chance to be used in a grand way now. It may look small to those looking in, but for me, it’s huge. It’s beautiful. And it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Advertisements

*smile*

smile1

Ever have that moment where you’re walking to the beat of your own hardship and struggle, but then you decide to look up for a single moment and notice a complete stranger smiling at you? Makes your day, doesn’t it?

The deep beauty in a smile is so profound to me. Although small, it has the power to do great things. At times, it can speak much louder and touch more deeply than words. A kind, caring smile from a stranger can completely uplift my spirit and encourage my soul. Anyone knows, days can be tiresome and filled with hardships no one will ever know about. But just the feeling that someone cares can make them diminish slightly.

God performs miracles each day. I believe blessing us with the ability to smile is one. So why, if we are given such a beautiful gift, do we use it to wound? Why are we not taking every opportunity we stumble upon to just show someone we care? Whether it be in the drive-thru of a fast food joint, or in a bookstore, or wherever.

“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~Mother Teresa

I challenge you today to smile. Don’t be afraid to care. To show that we’re all in this together. Life is a challenge, so anything to help encourage is always a lovely thing.

“A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.” ~Author Unknown

This is my face, covered in freckles….

 

“I’m fat”

“No, you’re not. Why do you think that?”

“Because I don’t look like any of the girls at school or the models on tv”

This was a recent conversation between me and an 11 year old girl. This is a conversation that shouldn’t be happening.

You know that moment, when you look in the mirror, and what you see isn’t what you want to see? You close your eyes, holding back tears, and think “ok, let’s try this again. Suck in a little more, smile a little less, add a jacket to hide behind”. But when you open your eyes again, nothing has changed. You are you. Whether you want to be or not.

girl at scale

I think almost every girl struggles with it. Everyday is like living in a mental battlefield, struggling to find even just one thing about yourself you like. Some days are better than others, without a doubt, but there is still that tiny flame whispering lies to you about yourself.

I know most of us have already heard that the media is false in their belief of beauty. That we shouldn’t dwell so much on ourselves and our looks. That we are beautiful just the way we are and are being completely ridiculous. So then, why are we still struggling? Why are 11 year old girls (and younger) looking in the mirror and feeling discontent and shame? Why does the truth not feel like enough? Head knowledge is one thing. Heart knowledge is a completely different thing. Some of us know it in our heads, but few know it in their hearts. And when the world is pushing us down in a ditch of shame and slapping our faces with discontent, many of us become too weary to even try to fight.

I know this subject has been discussed until it’s blue in the face, so I’m going to keep this short. I just want to remind each girl out there how incredibly beautiful she is. No, you probably don’t look like the women on tv or the girls at school and around you. But you shouldn’t. You are your own beauty. There is only one of you out there in the world. So make the most of it. Next time you look in the mirror, remind yourself, you are the only you there is or ever will be. Your beauty is perfect and flawless and you have been fearfully and wonderfully made by your Husband, who is completely in love with you. ❤

“You can’t wrap love in a box…

girl with bear

………but you can wrap a person in a hug.”

Today, I was having a rather poopy day at work. You know, rude people, feeling unappreciated, the whole sha-bang. But it always amazes me when the Lord totally turns it around. When He shows me that yes, work can be a struggle at times, but there are people around us everyday who are struggling even more.

This woman came in to buy a wallet and some jewelry for herself. She already had a bag from a perfume store that is close by, so I could tell she was having a ‘me’ day. As I was finishing up the sale, I casually asked, to make light conversation and fill the awkward silence ‘How has your Saturday been?’. Her response was far from the norm. She began telling me about how she has been struggling greatly with depression because her husband had surgery (brain surgery, I believe) a while back, but that now the cut is leaking and he has to go back on Monday morning for another surgery.

She’s had to work hard to take care of him, and about 2 years ago her youngest son died. I started to tear up as she told me her story. It completely broke my heart. She talked about how today, the Lord really encouraged and strengthened her through random people she was meeting in the mall. About how she has been married for 30 years and is madly in love with her husband. I could feel her pain and fear and anxiety as she spoke. Before she left, I gave her a hug and let her know that I will be praying for her and her husband. His surgery is on Monday at 8am. For those who read this, prayers would be appreciated.

It’s amazing how a typical question, with a not so typical response can completely change a person’s attitude and view. The Lord truly blessed me today with her story. It showed me that, no matter what our struggle, no matter what our tragedy, He’s always there. He’s always faithful. He’s constantly giving us ‘God hugs’ and showing us He cares. Sometimes, its done quietly, and we don’t see it. Or, perhaps we’re just too engrossed in ourselves to see it. Either way, we miss the opportunity of receiving His hugs more often than we should.

Today He hugged me, through the story of that woman. He gave me a little love pat and reminder to say that He’s here, right beside me. No matter what, He’s here. Always.

So don’t forget to watch for His hugs. They’re there. And they are absolutely, breathtakingly, amazing.

Busy Or Available?

people

Why is everyone always in such a rush? Why do people run from one place to the next with absolutely no room in their day for mistakes or unexpected events? They’re too busy to notice the girl in the corner crying for love, or the boy down the hall screaming for answers. Too busy to see the man who’s eyes are filled with a deep sorrow, or the woman enveloped in loneliness.

My mind has been really pondering this lately. Maybe, instead of allowing ourselves to become so caught up in our own lives and our own problems, we should start “carrying each other’s burdens” and watching for opportunities the Lord gives us. Maybe our focus should be more about being available to God. Being available to be completely used by Him, instead of ignoring it and missing out on the blessing of experiencing Him loving someone or encouraging someone through you.

As I stroll up and down streets of random places, I constantly see people in need being turned away. And not just homeless people. I see single mothers struggling just to get through each day. I see old men sitting at coffee shops just hoping someone will come and talk to them, etc. But that’s my problem. I see, but I rarely act. I feel uncomfortable, or second guess myself. Satan is constantly at work in some way or another, and I believe he very rudely tries to butt his way into the work of the Lord. We need to start pushing him aside though, because he’s probably not going to give up. We are always given a choice, to go up to that hurting stranger and watch the Lord work, or to listen to fears and worries and lies from Satan. Which do you choose?

A Different Set Of Lens

feet

Perspective. Such a big word. Not only in writing but in meaning as well. My perspective on life and situations is more often than not, my own personal view. I fail to remember to look at the perspective of others. ‘Put myself in their shoes’, if you will.

When someone says or does something hurtful, I see the situation only through my eyes. I look at them with a pain filled vision and am so blinded by that, I don’t see the rest of the story. I’m not excusing people for inappropriate or hurtful behavior, but maybe, if we grabbed a shovel and started digging deeper instead of only taking the surface as truth, it just might hurt a little less, wounds could be healed, and bridges built.

Or when I look at a person and see them only with a judgemental glaze, instead of allowing the Lord to show me what He sees and get a glimpse of them through His eyes. See a beauty that is hidden or harder to perceive. I miss out on an enormous blessing, because seeing someone through the eyes of their Creator is simply breathtaking. Even if it is just a glimpse.

Plato once said ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’. Which is so incredibly true, and too often forgotten. What would happen if people stopped reacting to situations according to their own perspective, but instead, stepped back, and really and truly allowed themselves to look through another set of glasses…..

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom”

coffee,photography-e56c249d7e604c8c04e9d75c0677efbe_h

Here I am, once again sitting at a coffee shop, and feeling completely at peace. Which is odd, considering its a tidbit after 8am and chaotic, busy people are pouring in looking frantic and rushed. The smell of coffee fills the air, the steamer and coffee grinder are being overachievers in the background and I’m quietly alone in a corner left contentedly to my musings and observations.

I began thinking about people, and how they are always rushing. Always caught up in their own little chaotic lives, and how difficult it is to find peace in a frantic world. True peace. But it’s there. A small, barely visible flicker, yes, but it’s still there. When a person can find that peace and rest in that peace while caught in the tornado of this thing we call life, it’s a beautiful thing. And a rare thing.

Some people search their entire lives for it. They dig and pry with no luck. They scrape thin any  possible chance or opportunity. But what most fail to see or choose to not see, is that there is only one way to know, feel, dwell and live in that peace. It’s all around us. Embracing us each day. Yet, we push it aside and ignore the gentle tap on our shoulder. But no matter how many times we ignore, no matter how many days we choose to walk away, this Peace will never cease to pursue.

(Quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower)