I can’t believe it has already been a month since I posted my first Share Four Somethings post! As a reminder, a group of my writer friends and I gather online the last Friday of every month to share four “somethings” that we found meaningful in the past few weeks with our community of readers. The invitation is to share Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned and Something Read.
Here are my offerings for February:
As a person prone to extravagant emotions and grand pronouncements, I just “LOVE” lots of things in my life right now. I love sitting by my fireplace with a cup of coffee on a cold morning, I love laughter filled dinners out with friends, I love the texts my mom sends me with kind words about the book from one of the one million people to whom she has given a copy, and I love the Valentine’s Day bandana Dobby wore home from his visit to Miss Martha last week. But when I ask myself “what is something you REALLY loved this month?” the first answer that pops into my mind delights me. This month, I have really loved spending time with my hubby.
As we have adjusted to our empty nest, Steve and I are finding new ways to be a couple. Because we went on our first date riding a dinosaur back in 1980, we’ve had plenty of practice reinventing our relationship in each stage of life. We have decided this season is about trying new things, so in recent months, we’ve made an effort to go on more adventures. Whether looking at houses and wandering the streets of Old Town Alexandria, attending a fancy work dinner for charity in DC, sampling hard cider and apple donuts in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or just curled up on our couch watching Poldark, I have enjoyed being intentional about nurturing this relationship with my life partner and best buddy. Friends who dread the empty nest looming in front of you, don’t worry. There are new experiences awaiting, if you choose to make adventure your mission!
My primary focus in February has been promoting my new devotional book, Being Brave. I believe God gave me these words to share and every day I consider what it means to be a good steward of that message. Because of the wise counsel and hard work of my publicist, I’ve had numerous opportunities this month to talk to radio station programs all over the country. At some point in every interview, I bring up the theme verse of the book, 2 Timothy 1:7.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.
In a conversation with a friend the other day, she shared with me that she was beginning to claim our theme verse for herself. Changes were happening in her life, she was moving past her fear, because she was beginning to truly believe that God had given her a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. While the details of that conversation are private, at one point she looked at me pointedly, leaned forward to make sure I was listening, and said these words:
“You taught me that. You must teach more women that this verse is for them too.”
In that moment, I recommitted myself to doing everything I can to share this message, GOD’s message, with the world, even when the voice of my saboteur is telling me everyone is tired of hearing about it. Her words of encouragement reminded me of my mission. When we offer our gifts to God, He uses them to bless other people. That's how the Kingdom works. Click To Tweet
Speaking of Being Brave, registration for the next local retreat is OPEN! For more information about joining us on March 24th, please click HERE.
Much of what I am learning at this stage of my life, looks more like remembering things I already knew but had forgotten. Case in point, this month I remembered that I can pray about ANYTHING. Of course, I know scripture teaches us to pray without ceasing and bring everything to God by prayer and petition. But in practice, I sometimes save prayer for the big stuff, the meaning of life stuff, instead of the mundane. There is part of me that believes I shouldn’t bother God with the things I should know how to do on my own, but keep messing up anyway.
I have shared my battle with clutter and disorganization here before, but suffice it to say, the war has not yet been won. As my husband and I consider whether we might want to someday sell this house, the debris of twenty years looms large. This month however, I decided to pray about this battle and ask for God’s help.
I won’t bore you with the details of my clutter, but I am finally making progress, one bag at a time. Each day, I try to fill one bag with trash or donations. If I miss a day, I do two bags the next day. If I’m particularly busy, I catch up on the weekends. Bottom line, I’m focusing on the process one bag at at time, and not worrying about the final results right now. If feels manageable, doable and the shame voices of my saboteur have stopped “shoulding” on me.
Everything I’m reading and listening to right now concerns the most recent mass shooting and the search for answers. I have written repeatedly on this blog about my feelings about common sense gun laws, so I won’t use this space to further that discussion. Bottom line, something MUST change and I am heartbroken over our lack of progress when people are still dying. The young activists from Florida who have decided to use their voices, their art, their passion and their pain to do the work we adults seem to be unable to do have inspired me this week and spurred me to action. Sadly, I have been moved to action before, but got distracted as the headlines changed. I intend to join a local advocacy organization next week in hopes that in community, we can hold one another accountable and leverage our voices to keep the pressure on our legislators.
The other part of this narrative that makes me particularly sad is the witness of the Christian community as too many voices offer “thoughts and prayers” without any action. My wise and articulate pastor, Tom Berlin, wrote a beautiful, heartfelt post this week which perfectly encapsulated the feelings many of us are having as we struggle to put legs on our prayers. I recommend you read the entire post, but I will share this portion in particular:
It is now customary for Christians and others who have no words to respond to the latest shooting to simply say that our “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims. In reply, others criticize such a statement, and they have a valid point. Wishes of “thoughts and prayers” can sound hollow, especially to those who do not pray regularly, because it sounds like we are asking God to do what we are unwilling to attempt. Prayer, for Christians, is not about tasking God with our problems or asking God to do our will. Prayer is a means for God to speak to us, to influence our thoughts, call us to action and conform our often-stubborn will to the intentions of the Kingdom of Heaven. The question before prayerful Christians is not, “Will you pray?” Not to pray or pause in silence related to the loss and horror of these shootings would be rather remarkable. The question of prayer is, “What will our prayers call us to do?” When the answer Christians offer through compassionate words void of accompanying action is “nothing,” we seem superficial at best and impotent at worst. It is hard for non-believers to hear us talk about the power of God in our lives when our responses to critical issues of our society are ineffectual. I can’t imagine that the Almighty thinks much better of it than they do.
I love the question “what will our prayers call us to do?” As I move forward into March, that is the question I will continue to ask myself.
WHEW!!! As usual, it takes me A LOT of words to share four somethings! Now that you have heard my four, I would invite you to check our my smart, funny, talented friends and hear their four somethings!!