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

April 9, 2012

A Prayer For You

Hey friends!

I don’t know what you’ve endured, what’s crushed you. Not sure how long you’ve been in the ashes. There is only one thing I am positive of…

Christ is for you.
Jesus is with you.
God is yours.

And He will never leave you. He won’t leave you stuck in your past. He won’t leave you in your pain. He won’t leave you all alone.

Yet while He may not leave, He does ask us to go. To come away with Him; away from the pity and relentless memories. Might today be the day you say “Yes. I’ll take a first step out of these ashes”?

I know you may be tired and weary; dreading the thought of even thinking about hope. May I pray for you?

Dear Lord, only You fully know the angst and devastation faced. You are aware of every grain of ash that makes up this heap my friend is in. God, today, will You please fight for joy on her behalf? Polish her mired view of the present . . . so she can rightly see what good lays ahead. Please be the lifter of her head and the giver of hope. Unexpected, decadent, refreshing hope. And Lord, I ask that You please soften her heart to receive all You have for her and for courage to walk in obedience. Thanks so much Jesus. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

 

Today, I’d love to do something kinda unique. Might we leave a prayer for someone we know needs help to see the beauty from ashes? Please leave as a comment. Many thanks~

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?

 

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xoxo,
Sam