Regrets, I’ve had a few….

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A chruch in Kecskemét, Hungary

Sometimes we get the opportunity to redo something we haven’t done well but more often than not we are left with an experience that helps make a better decision in the future.

There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from experience if we pay attention. I have some regrets, of course. I think if we are honest, we all do. Some of my regrets relate to missed opportunities, relational foibles (relationships are my Achilles’ heel), things I have done, and things I wish I wouldn’t have done. And there are some things that I wouldn’t change because, while they may not have been fun to go through, they helped shape and mold me into the person I am.

As I learn and grow, I also change. And so I might look back and think “Oi! I wish I wouldn’t have done that!” It also developed something in my person or strengthened my relationship with God or brought something (or someone) else into my life that I really treasure. Things are so crazily interconnected that it isn’t always to isolate a decision or a path and wish to eliminate the difficulties it brought and not also see how the experience could be a blessing to someone else in some way.

God can do that – take a bad move and make something good come out of it.

Have you ever thought about forgiving yourself? Have you walked the process of giving all of your past, all of your present, and all of your future to God and asking Him to use it all?

  • the stupid stuff
  • the evil stuff
  • the selfish stuff
  • the reckless stuff
  • the “I was clueless” stuff
  • the “I can’t believe I did that” stuff
  • the “I sure caused a lot of pain to the people I love with that activity” stuff
  • the “I blew it” stuff
  • the “I can’t believe I didn’t notice that” stuff

On the way,

Liz

Dwelling Places

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Another incredible view in Transylvania

Why am I here? …And why are you there?

Yea, yea, yea….some of it may have to do with the choices we made and all that, but sometimes we have done some of the exact same things and yet one of us is living out some challenging consequences and the other is not.

Sometimes where we are has nothing to do with our own choices. In fact, many times it has nothing to do with what we have done. We might experience the benefit or the consequence of someone else’s doing.

We didn’t choose the family or circumstances we were born into nor did we choose our ethnicity or our race. We had no choice about whether we were born into poverty or crazy wealth or a barely functioning family. We didn’t even choose the country we were born in.

And yet all these factors play into our early years, which, in turn, can create a path for our lives.

Life is hard and it definitely isn’t fair.

Some “advantages” aren’t actually advantages but it takes some time to sort that out. And sometimes what we think we see isn’t accurate at all… our own perspectives are often skewed.

Good deeds go unrecognized. Bad behavior appears to be rewarded. Illness doesn’t care if you have the sweetest heart or the most meager of bank accounts or even if you live in a remote village, away from any modern medical services.

I can’t dwell there.

Loss and death and disease are universal and trusting in God’s provision and comfort is the only way I survive. Sharing God’s love and compassion in practical ways is one of the ways I cope and move forward in a positive direction. If I think too much about the injustices of life on Earth without a plan to give and serve, I dwell. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by your situation, I have included some Bible verses that are good to memorize. If you are going to dwell anywhere, God’s Word is the place to do it:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Uproot

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How does your garden grow?

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Have you ever moved to a new place and tried to get to know what plants are in your yard? If you don’t know much about plants, it can be confusing because as things start to green up in Spring it is exciting. But not everything that is green is good. Sometimes the weeds masquerade as something useful but soon they choke out other plants you actually do want. Getting rid of noxious weeds isn’t always fun. But, left unchecked, they can overtake a large area in a short amount of time.

Root them out!

And while you are in the business of getting rid of those unwelcomed guests, think about other things you might need to dig out and eliminate. Allowing things like

  • impatience
  • anger
  • suspicion
  • lies
  • resentment
  • fear
  • hatred
  • assumptions
  • selfishness
  • envy
  • jealousy
  • perfection

to be a part of your life can cause an unwanted invasion. And those things can quickly choke out the good things God wants to grow in you. Digging out this junk can be a bit of work. It takes a conscientious effort to uproot and eliminate those weeds. But doing so brings more space and freedom for the other, more Christ-like, qualities to grow and flourish.

Take stock of what is growing in your life today. Sowing seeds that produce patience, love, trust, honesty, appreciation, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, faith, mercy, and gentleness will result in an amazing harvest for you and those who are in your presence. Be deliberate about what you allow to remain in your life.

Life is too hard and too short to be growing all that ugly stuff. Be intentional about what you are growing in your heart and life. As you radiate God’s good gifts they will be a blessing to those all around you!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [Galatians 5:22-23 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

We are waiting…

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There is so much activity while waiting.

  • We fidget.
  • We tap.
  • We wonder.
  • We pace.
  • We pray.
  • We plead.
  • We beg.
  • We stress out.
  • We cry.
  • We implore.
  • We stomp.
  • We question.
  • We contemplate.
  • We plan.
  • We are hope full.
  • We are dread full.
  • We are pessimistic.
  • We are cautiously optimistic.
  • We are waiting….

VioletsseSometimes our waiting is a looming dread and sometimes it is a joyful anticipation of what lies ahead. But God is always working, sometimes behind the scenes where we don’t see the entire layout of the plan. We might just see little bits and pieces of His work poke through like flowers peek through winter debris in early spring.

His work is not fully revealed until the appointed time.

On the Road,

Liz

Making Time to Be Still

nomarginsawHave you ever read a book with minimal margins? I haven’t seen one and I don’t know for sure that one exists but just imagine one with me.

What about a life with minimal margins?

We all have different margin needs. All the things listed here are great things. But there are things missing too. And, likely, over time or in different circumstances our needs for margins change. I know mine have. Different stages of life have different demands. But when I am running from one thing to the next and I don’t have any space built in, I run ragged. I am definitely not as patient. And I am not as open to possibly wonderful things because they don’t fit into my schedule. I don’t have time to be sick or visit with a friend who might be unexpectedly passing through town or even notice God trying to get my attention.

I can’t live like that.

I don’t believe many people can. Making space in our day, in our week, and in our lives is important. Sometimes we need to space to regroup. Sometimes we need the space to recharge. Sometimes we need the space because it is important “to be” without any expectation of producing anything. And while God can work in any circumstance, there are times that a quiet space is where we are able to see Him working.  It clears my mind and cleanses my perspective.  Creating space to pray, play, or simply rest is so important!  If I have no margins, there is no room to move.

marginsawBut that isn’t exactly how our world tends to think. It is easy to get caught up in the gain, the advance, the conquer….and sometimes we lose ourselves in the process. Respite from the world’s demands and times to ponder and pray can make our days, our nights, and our responses more informed, more measured, and more calm.

When things are feeling a little crazy for me, I take stock of all I am trying to juggle and I usually see that I need to make some adjustments in my schedule. It is important to evaluate and adjust according to my current circumstances. So, here I am, still clinging to this verse from Psalm 46:10. It reminds me that I am not wonder woman and I am not God. I don’t know it all. I don’t have to do it all. It gives me permission to “be still” and rest in my knowledge of God!

On the Road,

Liz

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Grace. Period.

 

MyLifewIf you have been out on your own and paying bills for a while you probably know about grace periods and even needed them a time or two. Buy have you thought of a grace period as a time someone needs as they adjust to a new reality?

It takes time to get reoriented after unexpected news.

Receiving either good news or bad news can turn your world upside down. Sometimes a little time and space can help you get readjusted to a new reality.

Have you ever tried to carefully plan something like your life? Personally, I gave up doing that a long time ago. Things change so quickly that I have found I just need to roll with it. I have had a few goals and plans along the way but there have been a few times something equivalent to a tidal wave has rushed over me and I found myself in a place where I need some recovery time; a grace period.

A grace period is a space where I can cocoon, process, pray, scream, and work it out – whatever it is. And then, hopefully, I can move forward with God leading the way into my new reality. It is never an easy process – often it is two steps forward and one step back. Somewhere along the line I realized: this is not my life — I just live it!

When I walk through those crazy moments I come out with a stronger understanding of God’s grace for my every day. And because I have been in desperate need of grace so often myself, I should be more grace-full towards others.

Sometimes we just need grace.

Period.

It isn’t hard to muster up compassion for those who have walked a similar path or those who have extenuating circumstances, but there are some times I get impatient with others as they are processing and then I wonder:

  • Who am I to criticize how someone else is dealing with something?
  • Who am I to rush someone through the stages of grief?
  • Who am I to make assumptions on motives?
  • Who am I to be impatient?

I just need to give some grace, time, and space while they work it out. We are all a work in progress and some of life’s situations are so hard. We don’t have control over many thing that happen but we can control our response. I am praying that grace becomes my first response!

On the Road,

Liz

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Step By Step

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I love Proverbs! We have this great reminder in our home and I wondered if it might be a good reminder for you today! Just for fun, I looked this verse up in The Message. It isn’t the version I typically look at but I wanted to see at Proverbs 3:5-6 from a different angle because sometimes a look through a different lens gives new insight:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. [Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message]

There are times I want answers for life challenges. I know quite a few people in the middle of some pretty big stuff and I wonder what God is going to do with all of it. I know He will do something because He doesn’t waste any experience. He doesn’t want crummy things to happen to the people He loves but there are always consequences to sin. Of course, we each have sin in our lives. But there are many times our lives are impacted by the sins of others. Sometimes I try to figure it all out but it is beyond me. I don’t know it all. I don’t see the bigger picture just yet. I may never know the bigger picture of things. Ever. I just need to trust God. I need to pay attention to His words and follow in His way.

Some days it isn’t easy. Other days it is. Staying “in step” with God is the key.

How do you stay “in step” with God?

Heavenly Father ~ I know that you are working in my life. I trust you are working out all the details. I don’t need to know it all, I just need to know the next step. Help me to do what I need to do today so that I am ready for the next part of the process tomorrow.

On the Road,

Liz