Throw It All Away

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Rocks rounded by the eternal washing of the tides.

In my recent travels I reconnected with many people I have not seen in years.  One of them I went a day early just to see. It was worth it for both of us. Since our last meetings many things have taken place in both our lives. We both like where we are now and where we are headed, but getting to these spots led us along paths neither of us could have foretold.

It was a warm winter day as we opened our hearts to each other as only people who feel safe together can. We felt both the weight of the sharing and the release of what had been pent-up. With the depth of sharing still hanging in the air around us we strolled the few yards to the beach.

This beach was not sand of any color, but rocks of many colors, all rounded by the pounding of the waves. The unending force of water had taken away all the hard edges….

Each rock had its own beauty. My wise friend suggested we choose rocks to represent some things we wanted to put behind us in our lives, things we no longer need to carry.

I chose three good sized rocks, each one very beautiful in its own way. It was time to release them back to God. As I considered each, what they represented, then added a different prayer for each, I hurled them one at a time into the Sea.

My “Mom rock” was the hardest. I’ll be grieving her absence for the rest of my life in different ways.

I am not forgetting any of what the rocks represent or the lessons I have learned on this path, but I am choosing to no longer carry weight Abba wants me to let Him carry with me.

That act may seem silly to some, but I felt a shift. It was almost a catapult into the next season after I threw all that weight away and proceeded to the next steps on my path.

Do you have a thing or two God wants you to throw away? Take some time to hand them over to Him. Even if you do not have a shore of rounded rocks to throw I am sure He will let you know how to “throw it all away” in a way that will speak to you best and help you remember the moment. Let me know how it goes.

We Need Each Other

We need each other.

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Luci, Andrea, Kathy, Janey, Charleen and me Andrea in back. Tired and happy!

A couple of weeks ago I was able to work with a team. We went to a far away country to pray with people who sacrifice tremendously to follow Jesus and show others the way. It was a huge privilege, and I believe lives were transformed, but for me, the thing that happened was in me.

I have lived alone for over four years now. I get out and interact with others, but I also work from home a lot. On our first morning together after the alarm went off, my room-mate, a dear friend of decades, gave me a hug and sang ‘This is the day that the Lord hath made” over me…I dissolved into tears. Healing tears.

We need each other.

The entire week was like that for me. I was with many people I have a history with. I had kind words spoken to me from many sources on and off every day. Words of affirmation. Words of encouragement. They came from ‘family’: people who share the life purpose and longing to glorify our Creator. Some of them I just met that week, others I have known for decades.

What I experienced highlighted for me something I have missed yet has been such a rich part of my life…working as a team.

We need each other.

When we work as a team we share gifts and trainings. In this case we prayed to bring healing and wholeness to people’s lives. For me it is among the richest experiences in my life. There are many ways to work together, but the harmony of unity with diversity to build the Kingdom of God is surely hard to top.

Whether we are in a specific team like I was or ‘just’ members of the body of Christ in our local church, we need each other. Each of us has gifts to share. Each person is unique. Only you can bring what you bring to the group. If you are there, it is because God has something for you to give. You are called to be you and no one else, so be yourself and step out in faith to add your part, small, medium or large.

Speak words of encouragement to those around you. A friend taught me by example to read the name tag of  a cashier or bagger in the grocery store, then address them by name. We bless and honor them by acknowledging they are people we might otherwise miss. The looks of surprise I get from them when I do!

We need each other.

It may be clear that one of my love languages is words of affirmation. But for those who find it hard to speak, there are other ways to show others we care. Doing something for others, listening, spending time…there are many ways to take part in the lives of others to show you care.

How can you step out this week to bless others, in and out of the family of God?

I Lift My Eyes

12715886_10153940518130798_1216701294742614691_oIn my recent travels I looked out a friends window and saw the majesty of Creation and the distractions of Man. Both are helpful to our daily lives, but like in this picture, I find the fast pace of life and technology to be a real distraction to me.

Our lives are made so much easier by these advances and yet if I do not consciously fight against their invasion I find it hard to look past them to the beauty and majesty of our Creator.

In the Church calendar this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent. Many denominations in the Church use these 40 days preceding Easter to prepare for Easter by ‘giving-up’ something. The self-denial can create space in our lives to help us more easily lift our eyes above the distractions to see what really matters.

As I look at the photo and as I ask Abba how he might have me observe Lent this year I think of Psalm 121

 “1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.”

As I deny myself of something this lent, Abba will be my help. He will protect and care for me as He always does.

When see the majestic mountains I know, even as beautiful as they are and as healing as that beauty is, they are not my help. I also see all the technology in front of it that is often very helpful, but that is not my help either.

I ask: What distraction is preventing me from deeper communion with the Lord? What can I do without for 40 days to help me lift my eyes to my Creator? Will you join me this Lenten season?