Bracing for Impact?

Bracing for Impact

It’s the first week of summer break. Like many mamas, I’m taking it a little slower this week…relishing in the fact that no lunches need to be packed…there’s no morning bell to beat…no spelling words to study.

But at the same time, as summer has been approaching, I have been bracing for impact. Summer will bring a lot more…quality?…time at home with my kiddos.  Each summer gets less and less exhausting as the kids are getting older.  But, I know there will be bickering, there will be yelling, and there will be tears.  I just hope its not mostly from me.

Whatever this summer holds for any of us…whether its lots more time at home with the kids, a more stressful routine of balancing kids and work, difficult relationships, or even bigger transitions looming in the Fall –  there will be joys, pains, and challenges.  More often than not, we feel ourselves bracing for impact.

But I am reminded of God’s greatest desires for us…

“Don’t let the impact of the world shatter your thinking or draw you away from focusing on Me.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, May 22.

The great God of the Universe wants us to put our focus on Him, to seek His face, feel his deep love, and be still in His presence as we face each new day.

“God’s presence is real, full of love, and completely transformational. It takes what was broken and brings healing. It takes what was lost and guides us to our rightful place in the Father. It satisfies the weary, brings light to the darkness, and pours out the refreshing rain of God’s love on the dryest, deepest parts of the soul…He longs to make the reality of his presence known to you. He longs to refresh you with his nearness” Craig Denison, First 15, May 18

I love the concept of ‘making space’ for God.  I was recently taught that even when we use God’s gifts to capacity, we are called to still hold space for God.  Without making time to focus on God each day, the impact of the world (and the little people whom I love so much) will no doubt bring out the worst in me. My goal this summer is to make space for God.  Rather than bracing for impact, I want to feel His loving embrace.

“The absolute, most important single act of the children of God is making space to encounter our heavenly Father in the secret place…It establishes roots which enable us to receive all that we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit.” Denison, First15 May 22

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  These are the fruits of the Spirit.  These particular virtues have been on my heart for a few years now.  Perhaps because they are ideal virtues to teach our little ones…Perhaps, because they are ideal virtues for us as adults in a broken world.

I struggle.sooo.much to be patient and gentle with my children.

John 15:7-8 says “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you…By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” 

Will you join me in planting seeds as we head into summer? The fruits of the Spirit have already been gifted to us.  But we must nurture them to see growth. For me, it’s only by making space for God and watering the dryest parts of my soul.  Then, we pour out our love to the world around us. Now that’s worthwhile impact.

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Happy ReNew Year

Happy New Year

I’m not really a big fan of New Year’s resolutions – perhaps because I have a fear of failure. I can’t stand the thought of letting myself (or anyone else) down. I almost feel like I have a better chance of success if I don’t put extra pressure on myself. So, instead of making resolutions, I tend to look at the New Year as a clean slate…an opportunity to renew myself. January feels like a natural time for renewal. The beginning of the year is quieter, and for this reason, January is becoming one of my favorite times of the year. (And not just because the temps are in the 70’s in San Diego this week. ☺)

This January, I am focusing on a couple of areas. The first being to finally find my regular exercise routine here in California…and not drinking beer in the month of January. Small steps, folks. You may notice I have not cut out wine or Makers Mark, and I certainly can’t make any commitments into February. Both of these New Years efforts might be a result of my five-year-old telling me I look like I have a baby in my tummy. (kind of like Jennifer Garner’s baby bump.)

My second area of focus is with my family. I am with them almost all of the time. But my goal isn’t particularly lofty… really my goal is to just to show up. Not just physically, but also emotionally and playfully. I want to play more with my kids. To be less distracted by mundane daily chores and social media and communication. I don’t think I’m alone in this boat.

I saw this amazing Spanish Ikea commercial last week (on social media, of course). It really impacted me. Given the choice between getting anything they could imagine from Santa or spending time with their parents, the children in the interview chose the quality time. The video is touching – take a look. It made me think about opportunities to renew my self in 2015.

Last week, at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Senior Pastor Mike McClenahan shared some valuable thoughts on renewal that poked at my heart. I think that there are great take-aways here whether or not you are a Christian. The pastor encouraged us to think like Jesus, to act like Jesus, and to be like Jesus. Okay, that’s a lot of pressure for a girl who never wore a WWJD bracelet.

Regardless of your faith, it’s hard to deny that Jesus was a pretty stand-up guy. We’re talking about a man who encouraged people to love above all. Not to judge. To treat others as you would want to be treated. To honor our parents. To forgive. To serve. To take care of the poor. To welcome children and to be like them. He was man who spent time with untouchable people, prostitutes, and the greediest of tax collectors. Jesus was cool.

Romans 12 encourages us to “not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” So, I think renewal is a good place to start, no matter what month it is, no matter how many times I have to renew myself. Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “I love your Christ. I just don’t love your Christians.”? Without daily renewal, I have no hope. WWJD is a heck of a lot of pressure. But, if I can just focus on the basics of being like Jesus – loving and serving others – then just showing up (and playing) is enough for me this year. In what areas of your life would you like to see renewal in 2015?

This past Sunday, Pastor Mike McClenahan reminded me that not only was Jesus born on Christmas as our God on this earth. But he grew into a man who taught us what love really looks like…what it really means to show up. I love the idea of a fresh start on January 1, but renewal is just as available to us on the other 364 days of the year. And this year, I’m going to remind myself that renewal is an option every day. Sounds much better than focusing on failure to me.  Talk about taking off the pressure.  Daily renewal is going to help me show up. To love. To forgive. To serve. And to simply play with my children and maybe even be more like them.

Pretty sure I’ll need renewal in August as much as January. Happy ReNew Year!

“Too much to make sense of it all
I know that Your love breaks my fall…
… Oh, to be like You…
..Forever The Hope in my heart.”
Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United.