May 3, 2012

Excuse Me

So this thing with saying “Yes” is that it’s hard y’all. Sometimes it feels like I’m all roots and no wings. How many reasons can we find to say “No” versus reasons to say “Yes”? Think about something  you’ve been wanting to say Yes to. Why haven’t you?

Fear. Insecurity. Doubt. Apathy. Laziness.  {Fill in the blank.}

But truly, saying “No” tends to create more of these negative emotions and weighs us down. Yet a prayed over “Yes,” well, that can make us touch the sky!

In four days, I’ll be taking-off into the clouds with a “Yes,” which for a hundred reasons almost didn’t happen. Next Monday evening my feet will trod the dusty streets of El Salvador with Compassion International.

Ironically, this trip is a result of my saying “No.” Last time I was in El Salvador, two beautiful funny kiddos gave me this token of love. It was their only trinket. Only. One. Uno. Solo.

The next day I felt that familiar nudge from heaven. I was to give one of my own beloved bracelets away to any mama who God pointed out to me. But it was special. No way was I giving away what meant so much to me. No one would be receiving this gift my dad bought me over 20 years ago in South Africa. No, my bracelet was truly irreplaceable. No no no.

Y’all, I stepped off the plane in my hometown two days later with both bracelets in hand. One bearing selflessness. The other, selfishness.

My lack of “Yes” dragged me down. It nagged at me. Tore at the corners of my heart till it unraveled and fell apart.

Two years later, I shared this story of my misplaced treasure and Compassion picked up on it. They asked if we could create an advocacy video based on my “No.” Would I travel back to El Salvador to film?

This time I didn’t hesitate to say “Yes!” Because this film will be shared at concerts, events, churches to hopefully inspire others to connect with a child in need. And I’ll be asking those who see this short video to say “Yes.” Yes to giving a child wings to fly into their own happy sky, with a full tummy, brain, and heart.

So, excuse me “No” and your hundred reasons, I am preparing to take-off into my “Yes.” As I do, I want to leave you with this encouragement . . . if one too many “No’s” has left you bogged down. If you are fearful you’ve been left behind or left out because of saying “No” one too many times, chin up and wings out friend.

God has remarkable ways that He redeems all things… even a hundred “No’s.”  Seek His wisdom for the step you should take. I’m believing with you that your time to take-off into your “Yes” is now!

{Just  a hint of a whisper for you to include in your prayers today — might your “Yes” today be sponsoring a child? Think about it, please? Grateful if you do.}

{SugarBoo Designs via Grace Interiors & Design}

xoxo,
Sam

March 28, 2012

For the Times You’re Lost

Warnings from her mother dissipated in the mist: Five-year-olds did not need to wander about thick trees. But five-year-olds will often ignore mother’s wisdom to discover new lands, hidden castles, wild ponies. Minutes after take-off we were lost. Every tree mirrored the other. Fear-filled and chilled by the cool drizzle, we crashed at the base of a large oak.

And there we sat, tangled in the wreckage of straying and scaredness. Until . . .

Until we dared to untuck our wee heads from the crook of our balled-up bodies. Until we looked about and resolved we were utterly lost and needed guidance. Until we tapped on the pages of our hearts and these inscripted words spilled out . . .

The Lord is my shepherd . . . ~Psalm 23

Shepherd. A dear Name of God. Our leader, comforter, tender care-taker.

Honestly, how we made it back to Robyn’s home is a forgotten memory. I suspect we were closer to her house than we realized. Perhaps her mother’s voice carried through the branches. Maybe she traipsed in the underbrush and found us.

I know this. Knowing His Names and what they mean has lead, comforted and cared for me through every adventure since.

Today, may I encourage you to write one of God’s Names on your heart? So as times come when you need to tap your heart, His truths will spill out and lead, comfort and care for you.

 

xoxo,
Sam

March 7, 2012

Making Our Way Toward Peace

I once lugged a brand spankin’ new boyfriend to the ballet. I know, I know … not the optimal way to woo him. But he dragged me to college football games. All’s fair in love and war, eh?

Eventually I warmed to the beauty of football, but he never took a liking to dance. Which seems odd as football is a dance of sorts. {That’s an analogy for another day.} My point in telling this tale of love lost {we broke up} and love found {I count the days till the next football season starts} is that I love dance. All forms except one.

I don’t dig the dance we do with our thoughts.

True, some thoughts gracefully glide us across the dance floor of life. Warm memories, kind words, happy encouragements.

But other thoughts? Those that steal our peace … like we’re not as pretty as so-and-so. Or as bright as smarty-pants PhD. How about the thought that life will forever be hard? Or that loneliness, depression, anxiety, {fill in the blank} is our lot in life.

I danced with this one for years: I’ll always be fearful.

In hindsight, that feels melodramatic. But I spent years in the absence of peace because I was afraid. Negative thoughts swung me around till I got sick of being frightened and tired of having no peace.

Maybe you’re exhausted from being haunted by a negative thought too? You think, “Something’s gotta give.” You’re to the point you can’t dance another day, but you don’t want to be left hanging on the dance floor. That’s when we need something else to step in and replace our {_____}.

I wish I had an oh-so-fab 10 Steps to Peace Program. I don’t. But I’ll tell you what’s helped me end fear’s dance.

Prayer… asking God to help set me free.

Counseling… talking the dark thoughts out into the light {helped a ton!}

Music… consuming worship music filled my soul with hope.

The Bible… Every time fear grasped my hand for a spin, I shook it off with a scripture, repeating positive truths over and over.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:18-19

I’ll be honest. Changing dance partners wasn’t the easiest. Negative thoughts break-danced and cha-cha’ed around my knocking knees. I had to fight them off in order to dance with peace. But over time and through prayer, counseling, worship and determined focus on Scripture the negative thoughts have lessened and peace has increased.

Can I encourage you to try a combo or all four of these to help you shake {_____} too?

 

xoxo,
Sam

February 25, 2012

When Life Squeezes Us

The chair creaked as my friend shifted her weight. I never liked that scrawny chair in my office in the counseling center. Its arms, too close for comfort, seemed to intentionally squeeze the pain right out of my clients. Seemed to be having the same affect on my friend visiting me. This chair was too lightweight to carry the load of hurting people and heavy hearts. I sat across from her, hoping her tears shed were lightening her load.

For a week she’d carried the hopeful joy of what she thought was an unexpected pregnancy. But this was a hope to be deferred. It wasn’t time; not yet.

Not for quite a while. And then one day she joined us for dinner; we feasted on good news as we stood in the kitchen. Arms and elation entangled, we cried again. This time, it was time.

I remember the day she was born; a day when life was squeezing the pain right out of me. I shared my hurt with a friend on the way to the hospital. “You must believe He’s faithful. Don’t let the days slip by in doubt, no matter how long this hope is deferred.” I held that truth and I held that sweet baby, Sophie Brooke.

Her name means Wisdom and Peaceful waters. And aren’t those the things we need when the load is painful and hope is put on hold? Wisdom reminds us of His faithfulness to ease our load. And peace calls us to a place where pain doesn’t squeeze us so hard. For every season and stage of life. For when wombs are barren – to when cribs are full – to when the nest clears out … and every moment in between. Because the days are fleeting and I need Him every hour. I need to say yes to seeking His wisdom and resting where He guides me. Even when — especially when — life closes in and hope seems distant.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Psalm 23

{Sophie’s Sweet Feet}

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xoxo,
Sam