Friday, February 19, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

This may come as a complete shock to those who know me well....but I....have become a reader. I think it is my long lost passion. I can't recall why I never liked to read growing up. There is something about being "made" to read that takes the fun right out of it.

One of my sweet friends told me about this book. The cover of the book reads, "a modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together." I was truly touched by the true story of Denver Moore and Ron Hall. It amazes me daily the relationships that God can bring together, but even more so, the wisdom that can come from the most unexpected places.

The wisdom I am referring to came from a homeless man (Denver), and I wanted to share some of his quotes that stuck with me from the book. I hope that I can carry them with me always and begin viewing the world as he did.
"The Word says God put ever star in the heavens and even give ever one of em a name. If one of em was gon' fall out the sky, that was up to Him too. Maybe we can't see where it's gon' wind up, but He can."
"Our limitation is God's opportunity. When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain't nothin you can do, that's when God takes over."

"But I found out everybody's different-the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us."
.....and this one of course I not only love, but believe whole heartedly.....
"There's somethin special about a river, somethin spiritual that I believe goes all the way back to the river Jordan."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Magic

"She tapped her finger & nothing happened & she thought she had lost her magic, but it had only changed & it took her awhile to figure it out."


I love this quote! When I read it for the first time it was like a lightbulb went off within me. I feel like it is the very definition of my life in this season. I have been struggling with identity. Who was I before I had children? When you look in the mirror, hair flowing in all directions, teeth have not been brushed, pajamas still in check, and realize you haven't even eaten today....you start to wonder sometimes if you have lost your magic....lost what made you YOU in the first place.

For someone that doesn't handle or accept loss well, I am beginning to see that it is an unavoidable part of our existence, and that it has a funny way of presenting itself sometimes. Whether it be loss of self, loss of love, loss of friendship, loss of life....somewhere in our journey whatever is taken from us leaves us....lost. It has been a tough year, but what I am realizing is that I am still me. I haven't lost what makes Laura, Laura....my magic has just changed....and it has taken me a while to figure it out. Even though each day is a new journey, whether good or bad, I am learning how to bring myself back to life again. Pajama days may not be a rare gift anymore....but they are certainly a gift. My dance parties may be a little different.....but I can still break it down. The jokes may be more about survival....but I still love to laugh. The world may not be at my fingertips....but I hold MY world in my fingertips!

.....It took me a while to figure it out (and most days I'm still figuring it out)......but there's still a little magic left in me!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Complete Humility...

I will probably find myself writing many blog entries about my weekend retreat. There were so many moments that truly touched my heart...and so many times I heard God's whisper. One of those moments came in the form of a girl named April. I sat with her Friday night and listened to her tell all about her path to becoming a Special Education teacher. She told me that it was difficult for her growing up with cerebral palsy and always being treated so different. April wants to be a teacher to help and love children going through experiences she herself faced as a child. Not only that, she works at a camp helping children with disabilities. I was truly touched by her story and her zest for life. She has done more for others in her years than I will probably ever do in my life. April ended up spending most of the weekend with us, and I am pretty she sure thinks I am about as crazy as it gets after our Saturday night of dancing, laughing, and being silly.....

......but as I stood in worship, praying through some battles within my own heart....I looked over and saw April. She had tears in her eyes, her hands lifted to the Lord, and she was singing for joy. And I thought to myself......wow. She has faced trials that I can't even begin to comprehend much less understand, and there she is praising our Lord.

When the weekend ended I went up to April, hugged her, and told her I really enjoyed meeting her. And do you know what she told me.......that I was beautiful, that I have the sweetest heart, and that I really made her laugh.

Oh boy....did she really have it backwards! Complete humility!

Joy In the Journey...

"The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step." That is the message I am holding in my heart today. I began last weekend a broken mess and walked away, not fully restored, but feeling hopeful once again. A war is not won is one big sweep, but in the small victorious battles. I am learning....that it is all about the battles.

Joy on the Journey
In the last two years the Lord has blessed me with two beautiful children. And because of these sweet blessings, I have been unable to attend the women's retreats at church. This year...I was out of excuses. Not really feeling a strong desire to attend as well as thinking this was going to be a fun, light weekend of conversation.....I set out on the road to Dickson. My heart has been heavy for a while now....heavy with life, responsibilities, loss of identity. Somewhere along this journey I have found myself living in the existence that this was as good as it gets....and I have not been satisfied. So when I walked into our first conference Friday night I prayed this prayer, "Lord God, I am here. Whether I feel like it or not, I am completely opening my heart to you this weekend, and all I am asking is that you show me you are here." Then worship began. As a faster pace song came on, a beautiful black woman began to clap. I laughed a little to myself and thought, "She looks like fun. I am going to have to meet her this weekend." About ten minutes later, this woman turned out to be our speaker. As she introduced herself we were given the opportunity to write down questions for her to answer. My question was, "You have 9 children and still seem so happily married. I struggle to be a good wife and only have 2. Do you have any advice?" See....I can ask a hard question like that when I do it in secret....on a paper....where no one knows it is me. Her answer was sweet and refreshing....."Remember to laugh, for this world is not our home." The answer brought tears to my eyes because I was reminded of how often I forget the truth in that statement. And then she did it......"Who wrote that question....if you don't mind me asking?" There I was, tears in my eyes, and I had to stand up, in my brokenness, and reveal that it was me. She came up in that moment and gave me a great big hug.....and I thought, "Okay God, you're here, and you're listening."

There were so many moments about this weekend that left me truly in awe. God showed up in so many places. This weekend was anything but fun and light. It was cut throat, honest, and deep.....and it made me realize that I have lost my joy. I seek happiness, and while happiness is a good thing, it is fleeting. It comes and goes as easily and quickly as the wind. And if that is our heart's desire, when those moments are gone, we are left empty. Joy is a choice. James 1:2 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds....." Not IF you face trials....WHEN you face trials. One thing our speaker said this weekend that I am going to try to take with me on this journey....."We can have joy in the midst of anything we face because we know at the end of this journey....WE WIN."

So here I sit, pondering my journey, and what I have truly given to the Lord. He has given to me.....many, many undeserving blessings.....yet what do I give to him? I'm going to begin fighting battles for Him....and being joyful in those victories, no matter how small they are. And I'm going to do this in faith....that he has more planned for me than I am allowing myself to experience. So I make this promise....."I will hit my knees every day, Lord, whether I want to or not, whether I have anything to say or any joy to bring you. And all I ask is that you meet me in that place."

"From every day to eternity.....We were made for the journey."