For The Beloved

17/09/2010 § Leave a comment

(photo courtesy of hubblesite.org)

Beloved,

Have you ever had one of those months where there are all these things you are facing, thoughts and ideas trampling through your mind taking up bandwidth, emotions tugging at your heart this way and that, the voices of opinions and facts, truth and lies jamming the frequency you usually tune into to hear that sweet and tender sound of the Savior calling? Is it just me? Cause that’s where I am at. Sitting on my chair, trying to quiet the noise and slow down the speed of processing going on in my brain. I’d like a vacation please.

I like things neat and in their place. My lack of discipline often aggravates this part of me. In this case however, I’m sure it’s the Lord, trying to tell me something through all of the loud incessant multi-thought garble. I have had a chance to talk to my husband about some of the things and there was even a wonderfully precious phone conversation with a dear new friend that has helped. Honestly, I think this is just the tip of the ice berg. Even now, as I try to think of just one topic of thought, it all blurs into this puddle and the word ‘TILT’ is displayed on the video screen of my brain and I hear that old, familiar sound of the message you used to get from the operator that was so loud it would startle you, do you remember the one?

*beep, beep, beep* All circuits are busy at this time. If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again.” *beep, beep, beep*

The dogs just perked up their heads and are staring at me because I just laughed out loud at myself. “Oh, it was nothing. I’ll go back to sleep…” is the dialogue the expressions on their faces give me. I can relate to that. Part of me is wanting to do the same thing, just “go back to sleep”, what’s going on is ‘nothing’. And yet, I can’t shake the feeling I’m supposed to be learning something, growing in my convictions and understanding. No, I can’t just go back to sleep. I need to process. To keep processing. What helps me, when I don’t have someone to talk to, is I pray and I read the Word. I should add worship to that and maybe even start a journal…

What about you? What helps you process things? Have you had a time of ‘thought overload’? How did you get through it? What was the result? Conviction? Understanding? Awareness? Can you tell I’m curious? 🙂

In my prayer closet,

Traci

Junk Out 2010!

17/04/2010 § 5 Comments

I used to be relentlessly driven by perfectionism. Like a wild woman bent on attaining approval, I would tear through the house like a Midwestern tornado, making sure not one thing was out of place, screaming like the winds as I went. I wouldn’t even sit down to eat unless all the mess I had made while preparing a meal was completely cleaned up, neither could anyone else. My insecurities beat like the slave I was to them. I was mercilessly driven to perfectly please. After all, the God of the Universe is perfect and wasn’t interested in keeping slouches on hand, now was He? Huh? Was He? I didn’t think so.
I had no peace, no joy. I wasn’t exactly brimming over, spilling any peace or joy on those around me either. When your cup is dry, it doesn’t overflow. Over the years the Lord has freed me from a lot of my burdens. The yoke I carry has never been so light. I have found deep peace and abiding joy, I am starting to bring it to others. My cup has been filling up. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!
So, here we are now. The other side of the pendulum. I have more freedom in Christ now than I have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined I could. After the shackles fell I wasn’t hounding and driving myself to make others, or a false tyrannical god, pleased with my performance. The irony of it all? Now, I am lazy. I think I have figured out why too.
Part of it is fear. I know what I used to be and I DON’T want to go back. Wouldn’t a routine bring me right back to that awful place? The other part is somehow, my brain has convinced me that since I was so uptight for all those years, I needed to just ‘relax’ and stop putting so much pressure on myself. Wouldn’t a routine set me up to be constantly going and doing? The result is where I’m at today. Caught in the middle.  
Oddly enough, I am re-learning self-discipline. I’m trying to find the joys in having a routine without it ruling my life. It’s embarrassing. I’m a grown woman. I can’t go back though, only forward. There are messes. I need to earn my keep. But most of all. I need to do everything as unto the Lord and my family needs me to be the person God created me to be for our family dynamic to work. It blesses them when I choose to be a blessing and do the simplest thing like, pick up after myself to start.
Each morning as I become aware the Lord has blessed me with another day, I choose. As the morning unfolds into afternoon and as afternoon falls into evening and the sun starts to set, all the things I have done are things I have chosen. So are the things that haven’t been done. It’s all a choice. Of course, there is the whole reality of running out of time in a day. But I’m talking about choosing not to do something. I do it every single day.
When I finally put my feet up, reflecting on the day, I need to honestly evaluate my decisions and determine if they were ones that were productive and ones that would have pleased the Lord and benefited my family. I wish I could say ‘yes’ for every day. I can’t. So, I try again, asking the Lord to be the strength in my weakness. All day, every day. He is my portion.

~traci

For The Beloved

16/04/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,
This week has flown by. I humbly admit I have not taken the time to be in the Word continually nor have I spent a lot of time in worship. I will plainly divulge where that has left me. My cup is barely moist. It’s lack of spilling over leaves me with nothing to pour out for you. Embarrassment is only the beginning of my feelings, yet, I am compelled toward honesty.

As unique as the Lord has seen fit to fashion me, I can’t help but think (and hope) these human weaknesses I bear and their selfish tendencies are not solely my own. Am I correct?

Have you had times of rushing through the daily grind, your week a blur of vague recollections? Have you experienced the screeching halt of your faith walk upon the realization you have been running on fumes, your spiritual cup dry, right at the time of the need of another and your left standing there with empty hands dangling open and nothing to offer?

That’s how I come to you today. Cup in hand. Dry. Sheepishly eeking forgiveness. My solace is found only in this:

“It is because of the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.”  ~Lamentations 3:22-25

Shall we, together, follow the Shepherd that leads up beside the still waters, that we may plunge our cups deep into the rushing waters that restore our souls and make them to runneth over? If you need me, that’s where you’ll find me.


Refilling my cup to overflowing and drinking in deep His bountiful mercies,
Traci

*Sigh*

14/04/2010 § 3 Comments

Well, I found the ONE way to break my blog. I’m thinking this would be the ideal time to make a move to Word Press. While I can live w/out comments (it’s not why I blog), I really do like the interaction with people (it’s a definite perk to blogging). I have met some sweet, sweet and funny funny people. (check out my blog links and Twitter peeps, seriously awesome folks!)

I will be trying to keep up regular posts while contemplating and making the official move. If you would like to leave a comment, please feel free to join my FB fan page (down a wee bit on the right sidebar) and leave a comment there. It would make me smile and give me warm fuzzies. I like smiling and warm fuzzies.

Thank you for hangin’ in there with me. Oh, and I would also embrace any feedback, support, hand holding, tech savvy tips and the like. Stuff like this makes me, and those in close proximity to me, nervous. Ask my husband and  friends, they’ll tell you why. (hee hee)

Oddly enough this is a bit exciting, lest you think I’m all heart broken. Nah. I do love a good challenge/dare. It’s a spice to my life. Spicy is good!

Love and hugs,
~traci

Kitchen Safari and Confessions

12/03/2010 § 3 Comments

(Thank You Amanda and Bridget for being so inspiring to me!!)
(For greater effect, read this with an Australian accent a la Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter. Trust me.)
Shhhhhh….here she is mates! Ain’t she a beaut? The elusive homemade cake in her natural environment. Check out the rounded, quasi-symmetry of the shape of her protective shell and the calmness she displays in her quiet habitat. Now, we want to have a look but we don’t want to frighten her, so we need to stay calm and pretend like we’re part of her surroundings. Having our aprons on will help us blend in and make her feel safe and at ease. You don’t want to get too close or she’ll feel threatened and not come out. So, we need to be still and calm and wait for the perfect time to grab her. There we go. That’s it. Nice and easy…and…NOW! Crikey! We got her! There she is! Isn’t she FANTASTIC?!
 
Ok, for serious now. I’d like to introduce you to my very first cake made entirely from scratch! (That is such an odd term…from scratch. Makes me think of chickens…) I named her Beatty. Beatty here is a double layer chocolate chocolate chip cake w/vanilla cream cheese frosting!! YUM huh? It was as a matter of fact. I was so elated. Seriously. I even took pics of the car ride to our friends house. See?

I told ya. Makes me think of that saying I just made up, “To know me, is to know I’m a nerd”. I’m totally fine with that ’cause I have the most fun in life when I’m being myself!
So why haven’t I accomplished this sooner you may ask? Confession time:
In my life I put things off because I get scared it won’t turn out right, as in PERFECT. It is a character flaw I deal with constantly and at times it can be debilitating. I have sabotaged my life many times and therefore denied myself and others of the blessing of my giftings that God picked out just for me when He formed me in my mother’s womb. He created me, each and every part and quirk. Nothing was done on accident or by mistake. I need to partner with Him to share myself with ‘the rest of the class’. 
 
I fail. Most of the time. I try again. Some of the time. I’m working on coming to a place where that is flip flopped. I know it will take time, perseverance, deliberate choices and patience. Lord help me! 
I receive encouragement and take refuge in Psalm 139:
“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all  my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was non of them. How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake I am still with Thee.” ~Verses 14-18
 
So are you a procrastinator w/perfectionist tendencies too? Are you gripped by a fear that holds you back from accomplishing things in life? 
Search the Word of God and you will find a treasure trove of encouragement and stories of real people who had the same problems. What did they do to make it through? Over and over God is described by the words refuge, help, faithful, rock, shield, fortress, strong tower, shelter, hiding place, deliverer. We are continually told to wait, hope, seek, obey, trust, lean, rely, take courage, believe. He is faithful and when we DO these things, He is faithful to BE these things for us. 
 
In all honesty, I’m still trying to work this out. I take each day as it comes. I face each hurdle as I get to it and all the while I try to stay connected to my constant companion, Jesus Christ. I seek Him in His Word. I seek Him in His people. I seek Him wherever He may be found. I call upon His name, He hears my cries and He is faithful to respond.  
I took a very nervous, heart-pounding-so-loud step forward and made a cake, from scratch, all by myself and I fully intend to make another one…and another one, and another one…
Love,
~traci

Yes, I Hear You Lord

22/01/2010 § 4 Comments

The other day I wasn’t exactly responding in a patient and loving way. It was actually the extreme polar opposite. *sigh*

My anger has a mind of it’s own at times and I am so grateful to the Lord that when it decides to decide for itself to not be subject to self-control that those incidences are spaced out much further apart than ever before in my life, however, they still occur. (Not an easy habit to change when you’re a master.) *sigh*

So I was upset, I slammed something, I yelled…rather loudly… *sigh*

THIS TIME, I stood in the (messy, grrrrrr) kitchen, alone, breathing deeply, pacing, praying under my breath, trying to collect myself so things didn’t continue to escalate, breathing deeply again, holding back tears, another prayer falling from my lips…then I saw it (on the dirty, cluttered baker’s rack, grrrrrr).

Do you see it? By the blender? Let’s get closer…

There it is. The not-taken-care-of fortune cookie paper from a few weeks ago when we last had Chinese sitting inches from the garbage can it was supposed to be introduced to. Can you read what it says? No? Here, let’s get even closer cause this is good…

Ouch.
Oh man.
WoW.
Huh.
Hmmmmmmm….
*sigh*

Yes, I hear You Lord.
I’m a success all right, but not the kind that is honoring to You. 
You are far, far too good to me. 

“Love? Please come here and sit on the couch by me so we can talk.”
“I’m so sorry, will you please forgive me?”
“Let’s work together with the Lord and make this house a home.”
“I’ll teach you as the Lord teaches me and we will bring honor to the Lord and He will be glorified.”
“I love you too my sweetie and I’m so grateful the Lord gave you to me. Now let’s clean something!”

I don’t know if it was all just a ‘coincidence’. We always read those things, laugh at their absurdity and throw them away. Our trust and hope is in the Lord, not the things of man or silly made-up ‘fortunes’.

Even so, I am choosing to use this situation in my life to be strengthened and encouraged to continue on in my journey. After all, it wouldn’t exactly be the first time the Lord used something ‘foolish’ or ‘inferior’ to get something through one of His kids’ thick heads now would it?

~traci

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