Unforgettable Song

 

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I’m entangled in your sweet refrains

Timeless rhythms keep me entertained

Moments of whimsy catch me by surprise

As sonnets sing softly over my dark nights

 

I’m consumed by your harmonic tunes

Wrapped up in your enchanting moods

Brilliant compositions soothe my weary soul

Classic notes play my senses like a lovesick fool

 

I’ve loved you madly since I was a child

Yet I’ve hated your guts all the while

The times I’ve melted in your melodic embrace

Equal the dissonance I’ve felt in light of memory’s face

 

For your friendship is a hauntingly beautiful song

With lyrics ever-changing as the days roll on

And while I long to forget yesterday’s resonating chant

I can’t…

 

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In Hot Pursuit

Pursue (verb)- to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time (Merriam Webster)

Synonyms for “pursue”: chase, run, shadow

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What are you chasing after? What is the one thing that you have been pursuing above all else?

I’ve been asking myself this question lately because when life gets hectic, it’s time to re-evaluate priorities. Considering my recent personal loss, I’ve been in a state of “what’s worthwhile and what’s purposeless?” in my daily life.

I’m a deep thinker so everything must have a meaning. And I truly believe that everything does have significance. Nothing happens by chance in my book. No coincidences. However, I can get lost in thought as to what the meaning behind things are and forget about the purpose of today.

Like…neglecting to laugh with my kids right now because my heart is so focused on why I chose to act impatiently with them yesterday. Like…refusing to enjoy my husband’s presence today because my mind is so distracted by why I said harsh words to him last night. My kids and my hubby have let it go. Why can’t I?

The why’s of life can stop us from actually living life. The why’s of life keep us stuck and we end up pursuing things out of pain from our past instead of going after things out of promise for our future.

So, in an effort to pursue the right things, I’m challenging myself to do what Paul says in Hebrews 12:1-2,

“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…”

I can’t possibly be pursuing future joy if I’m holding on to the weight of my past. This means that I have to make a choice about whose shadow I’m going to be standing in…

The shadow of my sin or the shadow of God’s grace?

Both options permit me to chase, to pursue, to run after something “for a long distance or time.”

The shadow of my sin leaves me in the dark always groping for hope and forgiveness. The shadow of God’s grace leads me out of the dark assuring me of hope and forgiveness. The shadow of my sin haunts me in the night and reminds me of my shame. The shadow of God’s grace lavishes me with unconditional love and acceptance because of His Son.

I can be grateful that He has let it go (like my gracious hubby and kids) or hold onto what I’ve done (the sin that entangles) and refuse His mercy.

But the joy, oh the radiant, inexpressible joy, that comes when we look ahead and lay everything else down. He is patiently waiting for us to seek Him with all that is in us. To place Him in the seat of highest honor in our hearts. To pursue the One who has never stopped pursuing us.

How could I resist an offer like that?

 

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Home Sweet Home

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Home. There’s nothing like it. It can be a feeling that certain memories conjure up. A picture from when you were 5 that takes you right back. Smells from the kitchen during Christmas-time. Whatever home is for you, you know it when you feel it.

My childhood house was sold a few years ago. I was a married adult with 4 kids when this happened. I had been away from the house for 12 years. Yet, it hurt to say goodbye. And everytime I go back to my hometown, I get sad when I pass by this place I called home for so long.

Is it because of the structure,  paint color, or swimming pool out back? Yes and No. I miss that house because of what it represents. 

You see, the structure provided stability to my ever-wandering teenage self. It gave me a foundation to hold on to when boys broke my heart. I may have been a restless soul but I never left without the possibility of return. It never even occurred to me to leave it for good. Yet I did drift away for many years, forgetting how amazing that strong house had been to me. That’s what a good framework does, though. It gives you a solid covering but never forces you to stay under it.

The paint color throughout the house, well, it changed almost as much as my whimsical personality. And I loved that. The more paint that went up, the more freedom I felt to be me. I was, after all, the carefree one with a variety of hairstyles/colors to show for it. Each layer of paint stood for a season in our lives, good or bad. My bedroom was a sunny yellow though, because that had always been my favorite color. The yellow stayed on my walls because, despite the different seasons, I never forgot what made me “me.”

Lastly, the swimming pool in the back yard stands for too much to put into words. Afternoons laying out on a float listening to country music on the radio. Night swims with my high school friends. Deep conversations barely heard above the chirping crickets. Laughing with my sister as we joked about past crushes and how our lives turned out so differently than we thought they would. Mom and dad holding hands on the porch. This pool was an escape, a welcomed time of rest and play, and a distraction from the haunting reality that life would inevitably throw our way a few years down the road.

Home. It’s more than just a word that evokes an emotional response. It’s a way of living that you get to keep in your heart long past the day you move out. A knowing deep down inside that those doors and fences were meant for you to continue to grab hold of even after you leave. They have erected themselves anew in my grown up soul. And no matter where I live, those walls are a part of me. Because those people are a part of me. And no amount of new paint can ever change that.

Some may call this nostalgia or say that I’m just homesick. But I say, forgetting where you come from means you don’t really know where you are going.

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How to Find Your Life’s Purpose

 

I made a list of twelve books that I want to read this year here. The January selection was “Chazown” by Craig Groeschel.

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Why YOU should read it:

Ever wonder what your purpose is? Do you question what you’re supposed to be doing with your life? Feel like you’re not really living up to your God-given potential? Then this book is definitely for you! “Chazown” will teach you how to discover your passion through a series of personalized activities that take you on a journey of self-discovery. Chazown literally means “vision.”

My Take:  

I couldn’t put this book down. First of all, the chapters are super short. Second of all, Craig Groeschel is a very witty writer who uses a ton of personal stories alongside humor to keep the reader interested. Lastly, the exercises that he encourages you to do really open your eyes to what you’ve overlooked about yourself or your experiences.

He breaks it down into three categories: Core Values, Spiritual Gifts, and Past Experiences. From these categories, you discover your giftings, beliefs, and personal timeline. Next, Groeschel leads you through the five spokes of your Chazown, which basically give you a plan of action. The five spokes are 1) Your relationship with God, 2) Your relationship with people, 3) Your financial health, 4) Your physical health, and 5) Your life’s work.

After you’ve completed these steps, you are guided through a process of writing your own purpose statement. Goals are outlined and resources are highlighted.

Personal Life 

Did this book help me refine my focus and get me on the track to fulfilling my dreams? YES! I have a list of things that I can clearly say I feel called to do with my life now because of this amazing book.

I couldn’t recommend this book more! It’s great for small groups and if you go to this link, there are video teachings and online tests that you can take to help you on your Chazown journey as well!

Proverbs 29:18 – ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

 

 

A Time to Reminisce

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Who doesn’t enjoy a trip down memory lane from time to time?

I have been in a very sentimental mood for the past 2 weeks for reasons that I talk about here and here.  And my ability to care about keeping up appearances has definitely gone in the trash with my mascara streaked tissues.

It’s healing, this looking back and remembering what used to be. It really is. I’ve gone through so many pictures of my childhood and teenage years that my bed has become an enormous scrapbook of cluttered memories.  I cry and cry at the fact that those remembered times will never be the same again because my view is now distorted by major loss.

But after I cry, after I grieve the “never will be the same agains” of my past, I feel like I can breathe just a little bit easier than I could before the tears fell.

Like I can finally take a full breath without falling down from lightheaded-ness. And then I try to be productive for a few hours before the next wave of “what used to be” crashes in on me.

Ya know what I’m learning about the mourning process? It’s okay to be a fragile mess for a while and I don’t have to apologize for it. 

When I give myself permission to be a basket-case and watch sappy chick flicks that I used to watch with my sister and drink hot tea because it was her favorite pastime and listen to our favorite beach trip songs and read old letters just to see her handwriting and relive years past through Homecoming pictures, then I can begin to heal.

I’m not living in denial of the devastating facts involved in my present reality. I’m just choosing to enjoy the heartwarming truths represented in my past reality a little bit longer.

And as I long for what once was, I become more and more grateful for the lifelong affects my sweet childhood memories will have on me. I am eternally grateful for the tangible things that point to happy times.

So I reminisce with purpose, one could say. Tomorrow will come soon enough and I am even better prepared for what may come as I reflect on the joys of yesterday.

“Memory is a way of holding onto

the things you love,

the things you are,

the things you never want to lose.”

The Wonder Years

 

photo credit: SISTERLY. via photopin (license)