Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cleaning for the Soul

Last week we took our two oldest and got them settled in for another year at their respective colleges. For T, this is the start of her fourth year and for D, this is the start of his second. It's such a busy whirlwind in the days before they head off.  The packing. The organizing. The shopping.  The list checking.  The laundry.  The list goes on and on.  And then, in a flash, things are quiet.

When T left her first year, it was quite an emotional roller coaster.  I wrote a little about that experience here.  Especially during that first week, just walking by her room would bring me to tears. When I was able to bring myself to go in and clean, a peace came over me as the Holy Spirit nudged my conscious.

I pray for my kids every day.  I prayed for them before they were born. I prayed for them as they grew. I prayed for them each day for whatever came to mind. When T went to college, the Holy Spirit worked His way through my sadness and inspired me to pray for my children a different way.  Not that it is such a unique idea or that others haven't done this before. However, it was just what I needed at the time and what I've done each year since that August in 2012 when we dropped our daughter off for her first year of college.

So, what did I do differently?  "Enquiring minds want to know." Well, maybe they don't, but that was just what popped into my head remembering those silly National Enquirer advertisements.  I'm digressing. Apologies. Where was I? Oh, yes. Sending my kiddos off to college and coming home without them and praying and cleaning. 

So, what DID I do differently? I went into T's room to do a thorough cleaning from top to bottom.  Stripped the bed, flipped the mattress, washed the curtains, dusted the baseboards - the whole shebang. The entire time I cleaned, I lifted T in prayer. Her friends - that she would find good ones and be a good one. Her roommate. Her teachers. Her studies. Her choices. Her spiritual journey. Her future spouse - if that is the vocation God wants for her. Her health. Her safety. Her future job. Her time at home. You name it, I prayed it. I covered her in prayer. Whatever I could think of for that day, the next, all the way down the road. Whatever came to mind, I lifted in prayer. As I wiped the dirt away, I covered her with great love through my conversation with God.

These aren't new things that I brought to God. However, during my scrubbing four years ago something sacred occurred. As I cleaned that room I looked at what was there. This was the room that she had lived in and decorated. She cried there, she laughed there, she chose what things to put on her walls and what to put on her shelves. The things left didn't make the cut for being brought to college. Yet, they would still speak to her when she would come home of her roots and where she began. 

Because of this, I cleaned that room so that when she walked in from college it would be fresh and crisp and welcoming - it would be home. I filled that room with prayer for my daughter's past, her present, and her future. I filled those four corners with prayer so that when she walked in she would feel safe and warm and loved. 

Last year and this year I had two rooms to clean. (My experience with D heading off is here.) Two of my children slipping from childhood into adulthood. Two. Two. Two.

So, what exactly DID I do differently? I don't pray any differently, per se. They aren't new things. It is more of a concentration of prayer. During that time I reflect on where they have been, celebrate who they are now, and envision who they may be in the future. The cleaning itself becomes a prayer, an extension of the words and thoughts forming in my heart. I cover them in prayer and God hears me.

I pray and wipe and pray and dust and pray and scrub and pray and launder. For a momma feeling the sadness and loss of her children being away, it brings peace to my soul. 

"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Satan's Lies

i try to write

i want to write

but echoes in my mind

are satan's words

that began sometime

in 1999

I think so often about subjects and thoughts and ideas I want to write about. Then something...someone holds me back.  It's me.  I know that ultimately it is me.  Yet, I feel Satan at the forefront and I need to be stronger to hold that nasty fallen angel back.

Back in 1999 I began sending out weekly musings.  They were meant to be thoughtful, reflective, and, hopefully, inspirational messages.  Sometimes they were merely a quote that touched my heart.  Sometimes they were a reflection on my week followed by a quotation that I found inspiring.

After some time, it came to my attention that some people dear to me were getting together each week to tear apart what I had written -- my thoughts, my dreams, my heart.  I shared my week and what inspired me in the hopes that it, by God's grace, would inspire someone else only to discover that some were using that to laugh at me, poke fun at me.  Who did I think I was?

I wrote less and less often and by January of 2003 my sporadic writing came to a halt.  I allowed Satan's prodding to work its way into my mind and bring me to a standstill. 

I certainly didn't think I had the corner on being inspired by a simple life.  I take great inspiration from others who are trying to live humbly and share their journey - highs, lows, and in-betweens - with others.  I tried to do the same. To be completely honest, I fall short of this goal each and every day.  However, I continue to lift myself up and try.  Yet there is one area that I continue to fall short.  Writing.

I don't believe that my thoughts, experiences, or words hold any kind of wisdom or wonder for people.  However, I've always felt drawn to share what I'm thinking, how I see God working in my days, the wonder and beauty in the moments I usually let slip by thinking that they are not worthy of my attention. 

So, here I am challenging myself to push through.  Push through Satan's lies. Some, for whatever reason, may not appreciate my words and thoughts.  That is OK.  I need to trust in what the Lord wants me to do and not what others, and what Satan, wants me to believe.  

And my own struggles made me wonder about your struggles.  What holds you back?  Why does it hold you back?  How can you change that?

It can be so difficult to put your heart and soul out into the world.  Where do you feel that push out of your comfort zone?  How does God want you to stretch?  What, if anything, is holding you back?

I began this blog late in 2011.  How often have I written?  Not nearly as often as I think of something.  Satan's lies continue to ring in my mind.  His nasty message echoes back and forth making me question what I think, what I love.

We can't let Satan win.  He chips away at us. He wants to plant doubt and confusion.  It is easy for him.  Often times he begins with something small - so very small.  He plants that doubt, he makes you aware of the nastiness, and then lets that ferment. It comes to life and holds us back.

Let's all take some time to pray. Let's take some time to discern the places in our lives where Satan is telling us untruths and God is quietly waiting for us to hear His truth.  1 Peter 4:8 says, "Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour."

I know that one - one of many - of Satan's lies is to push me away from writing.  What is Satan telling YOU untruths about?  Let's work together.  Let's lift one another up. God wants great things for us. -- " For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope."  (Jeremiah 29:11)

Who are we going to listen to?  Who is going to win?