Friday, January 14, 2022

Focal Point

Life has had a way of de-railing me so quickly lately.

There are circumstances with no resolution.

So many things out of my control. (A sure recipe for an anxious person like me.)

A steady stream of not-so-positive news.

A culture lacking respect and grace.

Sickness. Depression. Anxiety. All wrecking havoc on so many around me. People I love and care for.

It seems like it has literally been one thing after another going on two years now.

It's enough to leave a mind feeling completely overwhelmed.

Spinning.

Whirling.

Hopeless.

And with no end in sight.

It has been so hard to find solid footing on this ground that keeps shifting and changing.

And I KNOW I'm not alone.  These thoughts and feelings have been echoed in nearly every serious conversation I have had lately.

But while I was out jogging this afternoon I had a mental image that came to mind. (I often view life in mental pictures. If only I were an artist that could paint or draw these images to help depict what I'm thinking! Clearly that was NOT my gifting given that my stick figures are even laughable. Just ask my family!) Anyway, here is what I saw...it was me, kind of hovering above the ground. Objects were spinning out of control all around me, almost like I was in the middle of a tornado. My hair was blowing in my face and I couldn't figure out what to do. What was going on. What to grab ahold of. I was paralyzed. And then all of a sudden I found some abstract thing (I can't really explain what this thing was) and just began zoning in on that one thing. Nothing stopped moving or spinning out of control, the chaos was still there, but my body began to slowly lower down to the ground and my hair stopped blowing in my face. And I felt a calm wash over me.

All of a sudden it reminded me of a time I was doing yoga. I was trying to hold this ridiculously difficult pose for an obscene amount of time (thanks to the YouTube instructor I was following along with). But then my dog (and maybe a kid or two;) began to start running laps around me and I quickly lost my pose and had to start over. It was hard for me to keep my mind focused on the pose while my eyes were focused on the chaos and movement of the dog and kids. (This is my life people!) But every good yoga instructor tells her class to find a focal point to look at in order to keep your mind focused and your pose in tact.

It's the same in childbirth. Finding a focal point helps to eliminate the distraction and ease the pain. (or so they say, ha)

What does all this have to do with me trying to just figure out how to  make it through my day-to-day?

It actually has EVERYTHING to do with learning how to thrive in the midst of chaos.

We have to find our focal point. And let me tell you from experience, the ONLY true north, the only firm foundation, the only constant in this every-changing world with fickle emotions, desires and outcomes is Jesus Christ.

It reminds me of the story of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14. The wind was tossing and turning the boat. When Jesus started walking on the water toward them he didn't call the waves to stop right then. He called Peter to come out and join him. In the midst of the troubled waters and the wind. And as long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he was fine. But as soon as he took his eyes off Christ and looked at the wind (the chaos around him) he began to sink.  But even then, Peter cried out to Jesus, "Lord, save me" and "Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him...".

Yes, our world, specifically our country right now, seems to be tearing apart at the seams.

Yes, Covid is STILL here.

Yes, there are unresolved relationships and circumstances.

Yes, people have lost all sense of compassion for one another, therefore say and do hurtful things.

Yes. All of these things are valid and real.

But I am learning that my focal point HAS to be Jesus Christ in order to keep my head above water.

In order to keep the chaos in its place.

I MUST keep shifting my gaze to the ONE who brings peace in the storm or the storm will consume me.

My mental, emotional and spiritual health will all begin to fail and those I love the most will pay the price right along with me.

So take your mental lens and keep fixing your eyes on Jesus. 

The storms will roll in and the waves may rise but God promises to give us peace.

We can trust Him.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Looking Back May 2020

 May was full of nature, strawberry picking, song writing, house remodeling ideas and friends.
With a few sweet, quiet moments sprinkled in between.
 



 











Looking Back - May Field Trip Fridays 2020

We found some more beautiful places to adventure during our Field Trip Fridays in May.  

We may or may not have started a trespassing trend with the kids. Oops.















Thursday, June 3, 2021

Looking Back - Field Trip Friday's 2020

 We started taking advantage of Josh's days off and finding any trail or open space outside that was open to get out of the house and explore.  We quickly realized just how amazing our city and surrounding area is.















Looking Back - Projects 2020

 We figured we would use all this spare time we had on our hands and get a couple of projects done.  Josh helped me put a border around my garden and created a door.  I LOVED it!!! 



Back when my parents lived in Marion they had this amazing old milking barn.  Every time I would go visit I'd go searching for treasures within.  I found this old mantle. I came home and made it into a little decorative bench.  Well, I was kind of over the bench so Josh reclaimed it and made a coffee table for our carport! It is still there now and we use it almost every day.




On a day when we were trying to reclaim the shed we pulled out ALL of our bikes...or at least PARTS of bikes.  The kids began grabbing tools and set up a bike shop to see how many whole bikes they could put together with all the pieces.  Cai made a stunt bike where the front wheel would fall off if he flipped up the front of the bike.  Then he would pretend to flip off the bike and get hurt.  They took it to the park trails, with Zeke hiding in the bushes with the iPad to film people's reactions, ha!



Looking Back - HWLW and Other Ministry Opportunities 2020

Shortly after our lives shut down we began to hear many people voice their need to be in the presence of the Lord.  We wanted to help bring the presence of the Lord into people's living room's together with us. So every Friday night we rearranged our living room and dining room into a studio and set up a Livestream on Social Media to gather "together" and make God's word the last words we meditate on as we head into another isolated weekend. We called it His Word Last Word, based on an idea Josh read about years ago.

Rainy sang with us. Zeke helped with cameras. The other three did scripture readings. It was a whole family affair.  It will always be a sweet memory in my mind, and I hope in theirs too.




We also had the opportunity to partner with Southeastern for their virtual chapels. We would go in and record a couple of weeks at a time.

And then there were the sets for our own church as we met with the band to record our services.


 

Students jumped in and a few services of their own.

Josh also wrote a couple of songs during the year. One of which he made a music video that Zeke helped to edit. It turned out fantastic!