Friday, November 8, 2013

Find Your Hope

If you have no hope, find it for good. A man, who presidents, leaders, nations have held in high esteem over the years, has a message for you on his 95th birthday:

TGIF: Shopping SPREE! Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child 2011
One of our most treasured traditions is coming up this weekend: Our annual shopping trip for Operation Christmas Child!

We've done this since my oldest was toddling around. It is always rewarding, even if it takes a little bit of growing pain to get through it. Sometimes we have whining at the store...well, most times...because shopping for someone else with such abandon could be considered shock to children who are unfortunately immersed in a culture of, "that's mine", and "gimme, gimme!" But, whether it's in the middle of filling a shopping cart with trinkets, toothpaste, and toy cars, or sorting through the loot to pack each "shoe box" with great love for a child across the world, my kids never fail to discover the satisfaction and joy in giving Christmas away through Operation Christmas Child.

How blessed we are to live in this day where media can inspire us with pictures of those in need of our good fortune, that missionaries can bless children in every culture, and that we are able to touch a life across thousands of miles, one that we may only meet in Heaven one day!

National Collection Week is November 18th-25th! Click here to find out more, including a drop-off location near you! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Brimming Heart vs. A Bulging Hamper

It's cold and rainy today. I've fixed breakfast for four children, sent one child to the middle school, two children to the elementary school, played with toys with the two year old, taught her A-B-C, sang songs, did some laundry, got dressed, ate lunch with my husband, and checked email, Facebook, blogs.

During all this, I've searched my heart of the bad until I seem to scrape its edges like cleaning out the inside of an egg worrying that the scouring will cause a break.
What happens when I clean it out, purge, sort through to find anything that needs fixing, and I am left with nothing but a hairline crack because I try too hard?
I've done a lot of soul-searching these past months. I've discovered who I was, who I am, and who I want to become. I've dedicated and rededicated myself as a mother, wife, friend, and writer.
And yet, nothing looks different on days like today.
Not in the middle of a cold and rainy day, when all that waits is more laundry, restless dogs, and a house that could use a good scrubbing.
All things I don't really want to deal with. Yet, things that need tending to.

But that hairline crack reminds me of the journey to a brighter future. Reminds me that there is more healing to do and I haven't arrived yet. No matter how much I re-stuff my heart with dreams and hopes, and desires to do amazing things, I am still on an imperfect journey with no quick fix for God's good timing.

What do I do with the day's monotony that appears more as quick sand than a solid path along this journey?

Perhaps I've adopted the lens of this culture. The glare burning success, independence, greed into my very soul. Perhaps my heart, no matter how much I clean it out, has taken the shape of prosperity and cannot handle the fact that the only thing that will prosper today is my bulging hamper.



There's something around the corner. Maybe these are birth pains to bring about something greater...or even something dreadful. When I think of it that way, I find the ability to be thankful in the monotony...for the boredom (I cringe as I hate that word)! When I have my eyes set above, knowing there is Someone mighty in control of what is ahead, then I find peace in the cold and rainy, dreary and dragging day.

It is a lie to think my heart is shaped like the idols of the world. I know better. The only prosperity mold for my heart is an everlasting one.

Ugh. It is so hard sometimes. And yet, it really is not that difficult. Because of all the millions of circumstances out there, I am blessed by mine even at this moment.

In the dreary, I can pray for those hurting, those sick, and those dying. And I don't just want to mutter, I want to call upon His Mighty Power to comfort and heal. Can this day be considered dreary at all?

In the rain, I can sing and dance with my little girl, even if it doesn't move my dream forward, even if it doesn't fill the dryer. But what better accompaniment to the rain?

Focusing on these things doesn't mean my dreams will be forgotten. They still rest in my heart ready to sprout by the sunshine of God's perfect timing. Focusing on these things doesn't mean I am ignoring the next dose of medicine needed to heal. Actually, couldn't these things bring about a great healing for my restlessness and doubt?

Wow. I thought pouring my heart out to my husband at lunch would help clear my mind and give me a chance to start fresh the rest of the day. Guess my heart wasn't done purging. As usual, writing is a salve, and I pray, that the hairline crack diminishes quickly.