Monthly Archives: May 2017

Tell me when…

Doug and I went to out for dinner this past weekend to celebrate his birthday. I spent some time alone at our table and rather than whip out my phone and check Facebook or my email, I took those few moments to look around and observe the people sitting near me.

I watched two interactions that looked similar. A lady at the table to my right had ordered a salad and the waiter had come over to offer her fresh ground pepper. I watched as he slowly sprinkled the spice over her plate and quite quickly saw her hold up her hand and smile saying, “Thank you, that’s enough.”

Almost at the same time, a gentleman just beyond her was having parmesan cheese freshly grated over his pasta. He too was allowed to tell the waitress when she had given him “enough.” He smiled and watched her turn and turn and turn the crank on the cheese grater and laughed with the whole table when he finally held up his and and said, “thats enough.” His dinner guests were commenting loudly how they were afraid he was never going to stop, that he may have taken all of the cheese.

Both of these interactions were almost the same, and yet they weren’t at all. I’m curious why pepper and cheese get special treatment at restaurants, why are those the two items that are important enough for personal service? A little or a lot? It sort of depends on what is in the grater.

Have you ever felt like you were looking up at God saying, “That’s enough, thank you?” The pepper of life falling down on you and you are quick to say, “no more.” Or, have you ever looked at your life and had it feel like God was grating Parm all over your days and you didn’t want to ever say, “Stop.”

I’m not sure where this analogy goes but it makes me chuckle. Doug and I discussed at dinner how blessed we were, “beyond measure” is how the Bible puts it. I could sit here and list all the amazing blessings I have been gifted with; a complete A-Z list with footnotes included. I’m overwhelmed when I drink in all that God has given me. The “cheese” of life is gooey and melted and makes me feel a little guilty because He has given me so much.

And yet, at the same table where Doug and I discussed how richly blessed we are, we shed tears. It’s was such a strange juxtaposition. We miss Dad, we know Emily is going away to college soon, there are prayers we’ve prayed for years that still feel unanswered. It’s the pepper of life.

King David wrote about pepper and cheese, maybe he didn’t know it but he did. Not every psalm but many start with praise and adoration. He gives voice to the many blessings of God. Then for some reason David also includes what he is struggling with and talks about the people or circumstances that plague him and cause his heart to ache. He then ends with an affirmation of who God is and testifies that God will never change.

Our lives can overflow with blessings and our hearts can ache all at the same time. Laughing through tears isn’t abnormal, in fact, it’s the most real any of us can be.

I encourage you to open up the Psalms today and see for yourself what King David has written. You may find a voice for the unspoken words of your heart. Laugh with Jesus about the blessings he has given you but also let him see your tears and allow him to speak to your pain, to your fear, to your longings.

Pepper and cheese may not be the deepest thing I’ve ever written about but I hope it does make you think…and maybe laugh a bit too.

PS. Happy Birthday Doug!

 

 

 

Time Out

When my kids were toddlers they spent a fair amount of daylight in a time out chair. Some of them were more familiar with the phrase, “Ok, time out!” than others, believe me.

Using “time outs” was a great tool for me to establish order to my home, give each of us a quiet minute to collect our sanity and distract my child from whatever it was that warranted the consequence in the first place.

Sometimes, I would put them in time out and when I came back to “free” them, they had fallen asleep. Most of the time, I knew that what they really needed was a nap but they would have never believed me. They were tired, they were worn out and sometimes I think it was when they were learning new skills that they needed more sleep than what they could gain from a normal routine.

The image of a “time out chair” hit me as I looked at the last date of my last blog post, December 28. It’s been a long time. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I really have. It’s not even that I had nothing to say even, its just that I wasn’t able to write or speak or pray. I’ve been in “time out” and I believe God placed me there.

Why? 

As I look back, I see so many reasons.

This past year has been filled with so much. Much to be thankful for, much to mourn, much to be exhausted by, much waiting, much processing, much longing…much.

My relationship with my children never changed when I put them in time out. Although they might have been spitting mad at me, I always knew they still loved me and I always still loved them. As they grew older they adopted the silent treatment as a way to communicate their displeasure with my parenting…even through that, my love was never questioned.

I’m so relieved that I can say the same of God and so much more. Even though I’ve chosen silence, He has chosen relationship. Even though I’ve chosen anger, He has offered joy. Even when I’ve chosen to be ungrateful, He has continued to give me more than I need. And when I’ve cried, even if I didn’t invite Him in to comfort me, I know that He never left.

Time outs kind of suck if I’m honest. I wrote that sentence many times but couldn’t find a more eloquent way of saying it, sorry. But I needed this time out, I’m at least mature enough to see that ….it took me 6 months so don’t even bother being impressed. I’m not even sure this time out is done yet?

Maybe this is my time to “think about why I’m here?” I used to use that line on my kids too.

I think I may be ready to come back? I think.

I woke up this morning with this line on repeat in my heart, “The evidence is all around, that the Spirit of the Lord is here.”  repeat, repeat, repeat.

He will lift up my head. That is a promise.

Psalm 3

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

 It’s with tears falling down my cheeks that I share this song with you. My heart is so full and so raw. This song seems to speak truth more than my words right now.
https://youtu.be/IR-7O57IQUA Elevation Worship, “Here as in Heaven”