Halloween

halloween

I have mixed feelings about Halloween. A part of me feels it’s a great opportunity to let kids dress up and be whatever they want to be for a night. Whether that be a fairy, a ninja, a princess, or whatever! I love seeing people dressed up 🙂 It satisfies my inner child 😉

But then another part of me is disturbed. This year I was driving through the neighborhood I nanny in and was honestly shocked by the gruesome scenes displayed in various yards. I was talking about it with the boy I nanny and his response was ‘yeah, well, there is another yard that’s much worse and it’s really scary’.

What’s the motive behind all this? Is Halloween just to freak little kids out? Personally, I’m not ok with that. If older kids and adults want to be completely terrified, that’s there decision. But children have no choice in the matter. They run up to each house excited about the outcome, only to run back screaming and crying.

This year, Halloween has been put in a new light for me. It can be fun and innocent, for sure, but it can also be disturbing for the innocent.

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Dancing is more than getting the steps right…

dance

…..It’s about feeling the music and moving to the music. It’s about losing ourselves in the embrace of someone we love. Above all, it’s about joy.” -Ken Gire

I love dancing. I’m a fairly clumsy person, but when I dance, I feel graceful and more connected to the music.

Recently, I was teaching a sweet couple how to waltz. It reminded me that learning to dance is like learning how to live life.

With dancing, you stumble and lose your way. You have a hard time following and are determined to go your own way at times. Life is the same. I stumble often and lose my way and my sight of the narrow road. I decide that I know what’s best and that I know exactly what step to take next. Which only causes me to stumble more. When you dance, you have to follow, 100%. At times, I’ve had various students dance with closed eyes, so they don’t become distracted with the things around them. You become one with the music and person who is leading you. Each step you take is carefully guided by them. Each step in life that we take with the Lord is carefully and lovingly guided by Him. Each time we close our eyes and rely fully on His leadership, we walk without stumbling or falling.

The author of this quote is unknown, but it’s so true:

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”

Especially when it comes to dancing with the Lord. Dancing with Him in the good times is complete bliss. But learning to dance with Him during the struggles and the hardships is even more beautiful and amazing. Learning to enjoy the unexpected, to loosen up and go with what He brings us. Learning to fully let go of yourself and become one with Him and His will. That’s true dancing.

“If we fall in love, our feet will follow. If we draw close to Him and stay close, we won’t have to worry about our feet or where He may be leading them” -Ken Gire

Challenges With Patience

rollercoaster

There are many challenges to any job. Some days can be fabulous, and others a huge test of ones patience. I work as a part-time nanny. It’s a job I love. I love my kids and being a part of their life. I love helping them with homework and watching them grow. They’re awesome kids and make my days so much brighter.

But, as with any job, not all days are amazing. There are ups and there are downs. A roller coaster. You can’t predict what the next day will bring. What challenges you will face.

Something I’ve really learned though, is that no matter what sort of day I’m having, I have to still be just as patient and just as calm with them as I would be on a good day. Which for me, has been an incredible challenge. Patience isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Especially when kids are yelling and arguing.

Nannying has been such a great opportunity for me to grow. To learn to be more stable and go with the flow. It’s showing me my flaws and my weaknesses on a daily basis. That’s definitely not something I particularly enjoy seeing. But sometimes the hardest things are the best things. It’s helping me grow more into the woman God wants me to be and it’s allowing me to learn exactly what it means to allow Him to live through me.

The Burden Of Burdens

christian1

I’ve had several people give, or attempt to give me, advice. I’ve also given, or attempted to give, advice to others. But in all honesty, who am I to give advice? To act like I know exactly how someone should live their life?

We’ve all had experiences that enable us to help others more, but I think so many people advise with the wrong motives. I can’t help but sometimes wonder if it would be better to not advise at all.

Antigone’s Clamor recently did a post on burdens, and it inspired me to write a post about my thoughts.

I agree that we are called to carry each other’s burdens, but I’m still trying to fully understand exactly what that means. I tend to physically carry others burdens. Which is exhausting and unhealthy. I’m not talking about being able to cry and laugh with people. For me, it’s more about taking their burden upon myself, and relying on myself to fix it. Sometimes I feel like Christian from Pilgrim’s Progress. I take those burdens and heap them on my back until I want to fall over from the weight and pain.

I’ve been learning how to let go. To trust. To accept and realize that the Lord has it all in His hands. It’s not my job to fix every problem. It’s not my job to take it upon myself and bear the burden in the way I have been.

Right now where I’m at in life, the Lord has been showing me that bearing the burden of another is to be there for them. When they need to cry, I can be there to cry with them. When they need to laugh, I can be there to laugh with them. When someone needs to just dump and talk something out, I can be there to listen. Bearing the burdens of another can also mean talking about them to the Lord. Lifting them up in prayer and watching the Lord work.

This goes back to giving advice. I think sometimes advice can be given with the wrong motives. It can be given because we are trying to ‘fix’ or control someone else’s situation. It can be hard to give advice and allow the person to make the decision on their own. To have the freedom to not take the advice given them.

“The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right. ”

-Hannah Whitall Smith

 

In reality, we’re not them and we’re not in that situation. I’m not saying that I’m completely against advice, I just feel that it’s given too freely and not always for the right reasons. Maybe, instead of giving it so often, we should encourage one another to lean on Christ and go to Him for answers. Pray with each other and learn to rely on the One who knows exactly how to handle each situation. This applies to those who are in the situation, and those who are wanting to ‘fix’ their problem.

Till Death Do Us Part

old couple As I was driving home today after teaching, I couldn’t help but notice the sweet older couple in the car next to me. They were talking away pleasantly, and she had the cutest red hat on. In a world where the divorce rate continues to go up, it’s not as common a sight as one would hope.

From my view, it’s hard to imagine leaving a person you fall in love with. I can’t understand losing that affection for them and forgetting why you married them in the first place. But, my view is inexperienced.

So, what does it take to stay with the person you fell in love with when you were young? To stay true to the vow ’till death do us part’? To still be in love even after 50+ years of marriage?

Dating

shovels

I had a very freeing moment the other day. So, sit back and read as I share this glorious revelation.

I think people put many legalistic burdens upon themselves. I know I certainly do. But the Lord is so faithful to release us of that unnecessary burden. Recently, He did so for me.

I’ve always believed if you date more than one person, you’re a failure. Crazy, right?

I’ve dated more than one person. Each time I’ve dated another guy, I felt like I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hopeless pit. Bringing myself lower and lower on the chart of perfection.

I realized something the other day though. Yes, some people only date one person, and that’s great for them. But each person’s story is so different, and to say that one way will work for everyone is crazy talk. God has a different path for each of His beloved. Through each dating experience I’ve had, it’s been an amazing opportunity to learn. To grow. To be strengthened in the Lord. It’s also allowed me the chance to see exactly what I like and what I don’t like.

So, the Lord revealed that, instead of digging myself into a hole, I’ve been digging myself out of one. The hole of legalism.

A Time of Brokenness Pt. 2

broken

I know a lot of people say that the Lord won’t give us more than we can handle. I don’t agree with that. If He gave us only what we could handle, why would we need Him? What would draw us into the safety of His embrace and cause us to be more dependent on Him? Nothing. When people can handle every situation on their own, they become self-sufficient and rely only on themselves.

This past year, He allowed one situation after another that overwhelmed me. Did I try to handle it myself? Of course. Time and again. Did it work? Haha…..no. Usually only made things worse ;P. But because of that, I was forced to look to a source other than myself.

I will admit, God wasn’t the one I turned to first. I’m a very independent person, and like doing things on my own. I guess in a way, I like proving to myself that I can solve situations on my own. So, I went to other sources before I went to God. And again, epic fail. I ended up hurting more people, hurting them more deeply, making the chaos more chaotic, and allowing myself to spiral into more confusion and depression.

Overall, I couldn’t handle a single thing that was in my path, on my own.

I feel like an Israelite sometimes. In their case, God proved Himself faithful time and time again. Yet, they still doubted. In my case, God proves Himself faithful time and time again. Yet, I still doubt.

I’m trying to learn to doubt less. To just give things to Him immediately instead of going about it the hard way. It’s easier said than done. At least for me it has been. The amazing thing is though, no matter how many times I’ve doubted, or done something my own way, He hasn’t given up on me. Even when I give up on myself, He’s still always right there. Waiting for me to finally run to Him.

A Time of Brokenness Pt. 1

broken

I often hear people talk about struggles and trials in a completely negative way. I honestly can’t say I blame them. It’s hard to see blessings in times of hardships.

I found myself really thinking about what the point of struggling is. People have many reasons. But today, I feel very led to share my perspective. I don’t think there’s necessarily one reason for every life situation. But this is one way the Lord has really opened my eyes this past year.

It’s been a hard year for me. Filled with brokenness. I’ve learned more about myself, and more about the Lord than ever before. Yes, it’s been the hardest year of my life, but because of that, it’s been the greatest.

He calls us to ‘Consider it pure joy’ (James 1:2) when we face trials. I used to read that verse with a confusion-filled glaze over my eyes. He’s been clearing that view. That doesn’t mean I’m excited when I face a trial, but He’s showing me a different perspective, and that verse is starting to make more sense to me. It’s not necessarily a happy, excitement, like what a child feels on Christmas morning. From my experience, at this time in my life, it’s a gentle peace. A reassurance that it’s not in vain. He has a bigger plan. Bigger than I can even imagine.

It’s like He’s been preparing me. Everything He’s brought me through has a reason. A reason that includes more than just me. He continues to confirm this by bringing people in my life and situations in my path. He’s now able to use me in those situations, whereas before, He couldn’t.

All the trials a person goes through gives them a great advantage. It helps them relate to more people, thus being able to be used more by the Lord. It’s not a punishment. It’s a beautiful shaping and molding process. Painful? Without a doubt. But He’s making you into the person He knows you can be. A person that He can love through and help people through.

So for all those who read this and are going through a difficult struggle, just remember, there’s a bigger picture at hand. He might be preparing you for something that’s to come. Everything He allows is because of His passionate love for His children. The deepest, and most gloriously overwhelming love a person will ever experience.