Life in the Waiting

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This house is the biggest renovation project we've ever attempted as a family. I think of our apartment in Bozeman and all the work we did there. And of our most extensive RV remodel, The Minnie Winnie. Those were a lot of hard work, despite their tiny size. 

Even with those, we powered through them in a week or two. An entire house? Now that's a different story! We are pluggin' away day by day...there so much to process and plan and decide. 

For the past twenty years our house was a rental...the owner LOVED this place and took care of it from afar, but it was in need of major TLC and updating. I knew the moment we stepped in the door for the first time that we would be the ones to make it shine. 

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Knocking down walls, closing doorways, adding gas lines, moving electric lines...it all takes time time time. I am beyond thankful that Matt is so confident and skilled at everything that we need to accomplish. 

We are getting closer and the end is in sight...but we've had some tough days lately. It's not all happy flags and sunshine around here. We're a normal family with struggles and trials...just like everyone else.  It's certainly not easy living in 600 sq ft with 5 people and 2 dogs. But on the hard days, we are growing. We re-focus our energy and emotion to settle into a heart of gratitude. 

I've been fighting against those thoughts that we all have in "the waiting". That life will begin when such and such happens. When the house is all done...I can start doing this or that. And to some extent...it's true. A host of options will open up for us after it's done. But I don't want to live in constant WAITING. And wanting. I want to live in the NOW. I know that is what Jesus wants for me as well. Life to the fullest!

I've been reading Shauna Niequiest's book, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life...and it speaks right to my heart during this time ( bolded my favorite part):

"...believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it. I don’t want to wait anymore.

I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting."

All kinds of goodness in that book. And her other books. Check them out!  

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And so...I start this day with fresh perspective on life and "the waiting". I will see every moment as sacred, even in the hardest moments where life feels like it's spinning around me, because they are part of my story too. 

Are you in a time of waiting?
What truth have you discovered? 

 

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Finding Truth

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In the morning hours, I love to sit and soak up scripture...and I will often share photos on Instagram of my morning table. Recently, I have had several requests for more details on exactly HOW I go about this. Here are a few thoughts on how you can incorporate more spirit & truth into your daily life: 

READ SCRIPTURE

  • Read one Psalm a day. These gems are so full of encouragement. My favorites are 18, 63, 71, and 103, and 119.
  • Read the Proverb that corresponds with the day of the month (there are 31 Proverbs)
  • Use the One Year Bible (one Old Testament passage, one New Testament passage, Psalms and Proverbs). This is a great option if you really like a structured reading schedule. 
  • Pick a smaller book (I recommend James, John, or Philippians) and read it every day for a month. 
  • Pick one scripture a week to memorize. Meditate on it often.
  • I also look to devotionals for inspiration and use them as a spring board in my reading. Right now, my favorite devotional is Jesus Calling. It's ALWAYS perfect for me in that moment, and there are scriptures listed at the bottom of each page if you want to go deeper.

For the past 14 years, I have used the Life Application Study Bible. I love the commentary and the biographies. I've made it a practice to write dates and events in the margins of my Bible...to remind me of His faithfulness. It's so encouraging to go back through and see evidence of His presence in my life over and over. I look back and say...

"Whoa. I did not think I would survive that. But I did. He has never failed me."

JOURNAL AND LISTEN

Now that you know WHAT to read...JOURNAL it! This looks different for everyone and my prayer journals have changed a lot over the years. I currently write out any scripture that "pops" for me in my reading. There isn't a rigid structure to it. Some days I discover many things...other days, not so many. I do know that the more I dive into God's word DAILY, the more I "HEAR" Him speak to my heart.

It's just like spending time with a dear friend. If you and I meet for coffee every single morning...I would start to know your mannerisms, your personality....your VOICE. I would recognize you easily. And so it is with God. So many times, I will be reading and I will KNOW that a certain scripture was meant for me on that day. 

TURN UP THE MUSIC

There is so much inspiration to be found in music. Like little sonnets of truth, music AWAKENS ME to possibility, makes me happy, and releases stress.  I'm somewhat obsessed with Josh Garrels. He's my fave. But my musical tastes range from Neil Young to Katy Perry and everything in between. 

FIND COMMUNITY

Find a community of like-minded lovelies who will encourage you along the way. This might be church for you. Or a house church. It might be a small group of people gathering to talk and eat together. Or maybe it's an online community like She Reads Truth. There is no one perfect way...although lots of people would have you believe that. I do believe that we are MADE to interact with others on a spiritual level. Finding truth is way more fun when you're surrounded by people you love!

OPEN YOUR EYES

And lastly...seek for truth in all things. I don't restrict myself only to traditional "christian-approved" readings and music. I find truth in graffiti words on a passing train. In a bathroom stall. In thoughts from Thich Nhat Hanh or Mary Oliver or Jay-Z.

Truth can be found in so many places. Because God IS TRUTH. In one my new favorite books, "Thrashing About With God", Mandy Steward says,

"I listen to my friends who could be labeled as non-Christians talk about their spiritual lives, and I'm blown away by the encouragement they have to offer me. They seem to sprinkle fresh rain on this dry clay that is my body. I hadn't even realized parts of me were still cracking or brittle until the soft drops of water began to fall. I'm so tired I don't even reach for my Christian umbrella anymore. I just put up my head and soak in every drop I can find because God is God and I know the things they are saying are true about Him even if they don't say it in Christianese. in fact, in some ways, He seems bigger to me when they talk, because He doesn't exist in the confines of what I can understand, control, or teach in a 6-week Bible study."

*Sigh* Yes. This.

I have many friends who consider themselves Christians. And I have an equal number of friends who are on other paths. I NEED friends in my life with many different viewpoints. It's invigorating and creates growth. And contrary to what I was taught growing up...having friends with different spiritual stories pushes me to refine my own truth with Jesus and understand their truth more fully.

With that said, I'd love to hear from everyone...not just my Jesus-loving friends. Let's have a conversation about growing spiritually. Have you found a quote, song, book, or practice that is affecting you deeply?

Where are YOU finding truth today?  

Ritual & Routine

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Moving a home, even when it's a joyful occasion, causes great distress. Everything seems to be upside down & out of order. During this time, I rely on ritual and routine to find my balance again. 

Something as simple as making my coffee every morning can bring comfort. The aroma. The steam rising. That first sip...oh how I savor. It's become a way for me to step into the sacred morning hours with more grace in my heart. I'm so thankful for the miracle of caffeine! 

Lighting incense. Playing my favorite music. Breathing deep. All of these center me back into the present and help to slow the spiraling effect of our entire world being packed up in boxes.

And yet...I need more than just the coffee and incense. The more out of control my life seems, the more I sense my need for Jesus and His strength. I sit with my Bible and soak up scripture...letting the grounding truth wash over me and center me for the day. When I am weak...HE is strong. Now that's true comfort.

So, with coffee in hand and my heart at peace, I will continue to pack up our life into boxes. Trusting that we will find peace & order again. For I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

What rituals & routines bring you comfort daily?