I will probably write this post multiple times in my life…in fact I found its sister on the pages of my blog from two and half years ago when the letting go was merely beginning.  The fact of the matter is that life really is about letting go many times over.  We find things, people, events, moments and we reach out to grasp them.  We hold them close for a time and then realize it’s time to let go, then we repeat the cycle again with something new and fresh.  I find myself in a season of letting go and it’s really not a bad thing, in fact in so many ways it’s been very freeing.  If I were to spend time analyzing it I could say it may be the years of maturity or perhaps the realization that I can’t control everything anyway, or even better, things just being pried from my tight grip.  Regardless of the circumstance I’m glad I am in a place to experience this immense burden being lifted.

The truth is, that part of my personality has always been to maintain, organize, control (if you will) the situation.  My brothers liked to refer to me as the “mother hen” or “bossy pants”, both of which I’ll freely admit to being.  My husband teasingly refers to me as his “little planner/organizer”, again both things that I can see as glaringly obvious tendencies.  I do think that all of these qualities have their place, they’re all part of my talents and abilities and what makes me who I am, but they can also be part of my weakness.  They cause me to hold on too tight, to forget that part of our life journey is to let things go and move ahead.  Over the years, I think there are a few areas I’ve held on a little too tightly, my family, both immediate and extended, my friendships, money, reputation, just to name a few.  But the last few months I’ve felt my perspective shift a bit.  While you may be expecting an amazing experience that led to some great epiphany, the truth is that my eyes are just opening.

The reminder that things can be great and amazing without my firm grip has occurred daily.  As I’ve stepped back and opened my hands I’ve seen the great joy that comes with acknowledging that I control little and that there is One who oversees all.  Here’s a few, that over the last few weeks have brought me to a place of peace…

An evening with friends, that I could have spent stressing over the budget, or lack thereof.  I could have agonized over appetizers or not, steak or salad, a glass of wine with my meal or abstain, dessert or just have something sweet at home but instead I turned to my dear husband and told him to pay the bill and keep it far from my sight.  The reward of just enjoying myself was immense.  No knot in my stomach wondering how on earth we were going to pay for this.

A dinner with family that I walked into with the soul purpose of enjoying what EVERYONE had to offer.  No worries about what may or may not unfold, no apologies for how I handled my children, no desire or need to discuss dos and don’ts, just pure and simple being together.

A last minute dinner with my husband and a co-worker that resulted in leaving our oldest home to baby-sit and for the first time put his sisters to bed.  Then to be rewarded by coming home at exactly bedtime, for said little girls, and find both of them peacefully sleeping in bed.

A work event, glitches here and there, but trusting those whom I’ve asked to help and releasing my expectation in exchange for knowledge that what will be, will be.

A spontaneous jaunt to the mall with all four of my kids.  Usually a place I avoid, but their desperate plea to shop broke my barriers.  A few well placed words and a “letting go” of my usual need to corral and ensure they appear to be the most well-behaved children in the entire universe left me with the amazing opportunity to watch them “grow up” right before my eyes.  It was as if they physically sensed my grip loosening and with that realization came the ability for them to finally take that moment to show me just how incredibly great they CAN be.

So many opportunities to experience the peace and joy that comes from recognizing that my need to have it all together generally makes a situation chaotic.  When I choose to let go, I give room to experience the bigger picture that my Creator has designed and the ability for others to journey alongside me in the most fulfilling, uplifting way.

 

TED

Hmmm, I am not 100% sure all the time how to begin posts!  I don’t always have a pithy comment or witty statement to really feel like I’ve engaged a reader.  That being said, most of what I write is for my own reflection anyway, so perhaps I shouldn’t try too hard.

In any case I really did enjoy many thought-provoking statements I heard from Bruce Feiler on a recent TED talk he conducted on Parenting.  Let me first clarify that I’m not an avid TED talk “watcher”…James is the one constantly scouring through recent presentations, looking for valuable thoughts and ideas that he can apply to work and life, in general.  I’ll admit that sometimes when he gets super passionate about a specific presentation I roll my eyes.  He knows that and as a result, has become savvy in what he chooses to share with me. Continue reading

I am up and running with this new, AMAZING site my very talented husband has crafted for me!  I am so thankful for the gifts he’s been given and the creative way his mind works.  I am even more thankful that he took the time to create this for me as a way of showing his support for my crazy ramblings!  Thanks hon…YOU ROCK!

Hopefully we’ve worked out most of the kinks already but just in case we’ll do our best to tweak as we go.  My blogger site should automatically redirect you should you happen across it, but it’s not as smooth as James would like!  Regardless I’m very happy with the outcome and will be posting from here from now on:)

The last few weeks I have been pondering an idea that is far from new! It is a truth I have held dear since before I can even remember consciously embracing it. Followers of Christ accept a basic principle the moment they recognize the authority of the Holy Spirit in their lives…it’s the knowledge that Christ came to die for our sins and wash us clean.

A verse that I looked up before I even started this post was 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ” The main reason that I began thinking on this truth afresh is because of a beautiful song that I love to listen to. It’s called “Washed by the Water” by Needtobreath.

The thing I love about this song is that it reminds us that life is filled with difficult situations but through these times we find redemption. I think part of it for me is also looking at this idea with a new perspective because of where I live. I know that might sound a bit odd but living in this area we see A LOT of rain. Sometimes I get frustrated by the dreariness it brings but thinking about it from the perspective this song encourages I see how rain also cleanses us. Rain can be horrible, devastating, terrifying but it can also be pure, clean, and refreshing. The funny thing is that I have been thinking about this off and on over the last month as we all patiently wait for Spring to arrive in all its glory. But on the days that rain seems the weather forecast for the whole day, I do take a moment to celebrate all it does for us…then I started reading this great book by Francine Rivers, “Her Daughter’s Dream” (c. 2010).

A part of this rings true to my own life but what struck me was one particular exchange:

“They walked along the beach together, not saying anything. Boots didn’t seem worried about the blanket. When they turned back, she bent and scooped up a stick, twirling it in her hand like a baton. ‘You’re eating yourself up with guilt and worry, Carolyn, and it’s got to stop.’ She stopped and jabbed the stick into the moist sand. ‘Write down every sin you’ve committed right here in the sand. Let it all out.’ She walked up the beach onto dry sand, spread the blanket and sat. ‘Take your time!’ she called out. She lay back, arms beneath her head, and crossed her ankles.

Carolyn barely managed to write a few words before a wave came and washed them away. She wrote more, and the waves came in again, erasing her words. She wrote and wrote, and each time the sea came and swept away her confession. She didn’t know how long she bent to the task before she finished. Her feet were numb from the cold water. She tossed the stick into the surf and watched it carried out. For the first time in weeks, her chest didn’t feel like someone was sitting on it.

‘Finished?’ Boots called.

‘For now.'”

The picture to the left reminds me of this exchange. Having read it I was reminded of the many times I struggle with understanding how to let go of the wrongs in my life. Either done because of my sinful nature or against me. Either way my human nature instinctively clings to remembering each incident as if to disallow God’s redeeming grace to cover and cleanse these wrongs.

As I reflected on this amazing new visual I envisioned myself in the shoes of this character. Stepping onto a beautiful, perfect scene created with such unique talent and power being marred by the imperfection of my words scratched deep into the earth. The ugliness it creates, such a tragedy to gaze upon. But the water comes to return this pristine panorama to its original beauty. The water is healing and redemptive in nature. It actually does wash away the words and the sand returns to the way it was.

I was so struck by the reality of this analogy. Then I thought more about the last few words. I realized that each day brings its challenges and each day I will likely be at the edge of this water writing the sins I’ve committed and each day the waves will wash them away. BUT…what I can find complete and utter safety in…is the words spoken on the cross…the words that have new meaning for me as I realize that although I know each day is test in my faith I no longer need to question whether or not I will find redemption…”IT IS FINISHED”…spoken by the man who gave His life to secure my cleansing and give me a life eternal.

I realize water is a metaphor for the blood of Christ but what I LOVE about this world we live in, is that our Creator has made ALL things to bring us back to Him…to remind us of the relationship we need.

The next time you feel yourself down in the dumps during a rain storm, play that song and spend a few minutes worshiping. You’ll find your spirit uplifted and your perspective renewed.