Monday, August 19, 2013

Even More ALL IN Ponderings

It has been so amazing where all I have been that has impacted my ALL IN considerations

Yesterday it was Rennie's message from Psalm 1 at Crossroads.
Stand- Walk- Sit with the Righteous
Decisions set directions that lead to destinations

Where do I want to go?
Where are my decisions leading me?
(ouch- didn't like that picture in some things.)
What/ Who are influencing those decisions?
(ooo- now that's not fair.  He knows I had a hard weekend- I did some right things, but some of my choices were not so right- and some of the 'influences' not so healthy)

I told Ren I was only going to listen to his sermon once- it was making my toes bleed from getting stepped on so much. But I heard most of it 3 times.

Today it was in my reading - "The Call" by Oz Guinness
I have been impacted by this book tremendously in the past, but I picked it up again this weekend. 
I know what I am reading in not just for what God wants to teach me
But for what He wants me to share with others as well.
I wish I could share it all with you here- but I guess you can buy the book yourselves.
But here are some things that struck me in my journey…

'finding and fulfilling the purpose of our lives comes up in a myriad of ways
 and in all seasons of our lives…
 in all the varying transitions of life…

Negotiating the changes feels longer and worse than the changes themselves because transition challenges our sense of personal meaning.

Well, if ever Ren & I have been in a season of transition it is now- as both daughter's get married and our lives feel as if they are at a place of beginning again.  We do want to know that we won't waste what is left.  We want to know that our lives- no matter what we are doing- is making a difference for the kingdom.  We long to leave a legacy- not just to our daughters, and now their young men or future grandchildren.  We want to know that we are fulfilling the purpose for which we are here on earth.

At one point, we thought we knew what that was- but the past 7-8 years, it has been very clear that God is/has reshaped that vision.  And now we are IN TRANSITION again- even as we are being challenged to be ALL IN.

Kierkegaard wrote in his JOURNAL: "The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wants ME to do; the thing is to find the truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die."

Guinness points out that
  • The SEARCH for purpose of life is one of the deepest issues of our experiences as human beings
  • The EXPECTATION that we can all live purposeful lives has been given a gigantic boost by modern society's offer of the maximum opportunity for choice and change in all we do.
  • The FULFILLMENT of the search for purpose is thwarted by a stunning fact: Out of more than a score of great civilizations in human history, modern Western civilization is the very first to have NO agreed on answer to the question of the purpose of life.
Hence ...more of us are seeking what few of us are finding!
Exasperating at best!
Yet he goes on to say...

Answering the CALL of our Creator is "the ultimate why" for living, the highest source of purpose in human existence.

I completely get this.  I say this often.  I KNOW this to be true.
But how do we know what the CALL of God is for us?
How do we know if we have found it, let alone living it out?
And if one person thinks they know it, how does that help me? Usually it only makes me more discontent in my own journey.  'I don't have it.  I can't find it.  Whatever IT is!"

But listen to this, Guinness defines CALLING as
 'the truth that God call us to himself so decisively that
Everything we are,
Everything we do,
Everything we have
Is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.

You know what I call that---- ALL IN!

Whoa!  Popped me in the face this morning!
Everything I am
Everything I do
Everything I have
Lived out AS A RESPONSE to God!

If I am going to RESPOND in an ALL IN fashion- then I have to be listening to what God is saying.
I must give intentionality to space in my life for that purpose.
That takes time- doesn't have to be a lot of time
That takes effort- to say no to something, even one thing,  that might distract me today
That takes willingness to be still- which can be hard. That means I might hear some of the things my head is saying that need to be quieted.  Sometimes that is the hard work.

But today, this day, Lord may
Everything I am
Everything I do
Everything I have

Be lived out in response to what you are CALLIng me to be.
Today, I want to live ALL IN!
How about you?

Friday, August 16, 2013

A morning with my friend!

It was hard to wake up this morning!  Just as it was hard to sleep last night!
My thoughts have been rambling- wanting so much to celebrate
But feeling the weight of grief so strongly.

But today, I had a reason to not dally- my friend was coming to visit
We hadn't had a chance to catch up since she went back to her home far away  last fall.
So much to hear about.

She's come from a very dark place - to a place of hope, of healing
In her own mind,
In her marriage
In her parenting
In her relationship with her parents
In her ability to have friendships, dear friendships
In her relationship with God
In her relationship to her church

Wow!  Such a transformation!
Her words to me were, "Thanks for not freaking out that I wanted to leave my husband and run away from my kids.  I just couldn't see anyway out then.  I didn't know how dark it had gotten."

I marveled.

I didn't freak out, because I remembered a time just like that in my own journey.  A time I wanted to run away, or more specifically end it- the rat race, the relationship- maybe even life itself.  It happens to all of us eventually.  Life is just hard sometimes- and then you combine it with emotional ups and downs, and unfulfilled expectations and unrealistic expectations and add hormones to can be really hard and really dark.

I didn't freak out because I know what it is like to have just given birth to a third beautiful daughter, but feeling undone by it all.
So much joy- so much fear
What if I mess up?
What if I can't love them enough?
What if I don't teach them the right stuff or discipline them when I should?
What if I get angry and discipline them wrong?
What if…
What if?

I didn't freak out because I knew if you hung in there,
If you just did the next right thing- no matter how small that step might be
No matter how many times you need to ask for help
No matter how many people you need to lean on
Ever so slowly you begin to find the next 'light' place to be.
The shade may ever so slight- but that little bit of light gives hope…
For the next step
For the next decision
For the next healing place.

I didn't freak out because I had been there- done that!
I could have grace with her pain because I could connect hers with my own.

Most people's stories relate somehow with the stories of others.  
Oh it might be a different scenario,
Or a different season of life
Or not the same at all.

But we've all known fear
And anger
And disappointment
And grief

We don't have to know it the same way, to know it hurts.
Our pain may not be as bad- or it may be worse.
It doesn't matter.
We can know how someone else might be feeling just by connecting with our own story- and remembering what it felt like
To be betrayed
Or let down
Or rejected.
Or to fail at something really important to us.

Who is in your life that needs grace right now?
What part of your story do you need to recall to give it to them?

I wouldn't have missed this morning with my friend.
How sweet to hear her story of the amazing ways that she has found hope.
How powerful to hear of significant ways God is using her story to speak hope to others now too.

My friend, today- you were my joy gift!

Thank you!

One of those days!

Ever have a day that you can remember almost every detail of?
Today is one of those days for me!

I remember waking up with an agenda
I remember the car ride, tired eyes and silence,
I remember conversations, and laughter over shakes at Steak and Shake.
I remember a sour cream carton being pitched across the aisle only to come crashing to the floor- and more laughter and some clean up.
I remember wondering how I was going to make it without getting upset.
I remember wanting to laugh but feeling like I had to be responsible.
I remember dreams and plans being made.
I remember saying no when I should have said yes-
and saying yes when I could have said no.
I remember sparkling eyes, flush face, and fresh hair color and more dreams being shared.
I remember last words.
I remember caring arms, and tears shed and disbelief.
I remember a father falling to the ground in tears.
I remember hearing the scream.
I remember meeting a new face- one I will pray for forever.
I remember numbness, yet feeling fully alive!
Completely aware of so many thoughts and emotions and sensations.
Only beginning to realize that God must be bigger than I had ever known Him to be
for this to be able to be good
or for me to survive.
I remember humming her song on the way home- only to burst into tears when I recalled the words.
I remember not being able to imagine I could sleep- only to wake to a morning sky- the sun still long from shining bright, but already making her presence known.

Days like that happen only a few times in our lives.

Some things I will forever hold precious
Others bring sharp pain and often a gasp
Still others deep, deep gratitude and soft, gentle tears.

No, Days like that are one of a kind!
I never want to forget this day!

I love you Leisha!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More ALL IN Ponderings

So... my question this morning is...
is being ALL IN mean being WHOLEHEARTED?
I don't know...but in my search of scripture I found Psalm 103 again.  As I turned it into a prayer, I was struck by it's power in my journey.
Maybe it will encourage you in your ALL IN journey also.

Let all that I am praise YOU;
    with my whole heart, I will praise Your holy name.
Let all that I am praise You, Lord;
    may I never forget the good things You do for me.
You forgive all my sins
    and heal all my diseases.
You redeem me from death
    and crown me with love and tender mercies.
You fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
Lord, You give righteousness
    and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
You revealed Your character to Moses
    and Your deeds to the people of Israel.
You are compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
You will not constantly accuse me,
    nor remain angry forever.
10 You do not punish me for all me sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For Your unfailing love toward those who fear him- that's me-
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 You have removed my sins as far from me
    as the east is from the west.
13 You, Lord, are like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him- to me.
14 You knows how weak I am;
    You remembers I am only dust.
15 My days on earth are like grass;
    like wildflowers, I bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and I am gone—
    as though I had never been here.
17 But Your love, Lord, remains forever
    with those who fear him- with me.
Your salvation extends to my children’s children
18     of those who are faithful to his covenant,
    of those who obey his commandments!
19 Lord, You have made the heavens your throne;
    from there you rule over everything.
20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
    you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
    listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
    who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
    everything in all his kingdom.

Lord, Let ALL that I am praise the Lord.

Monday, August 5, 2013

All In ! ? Hmmm?

This last week, I've been recovering from my daughter's wedding - the first of two this summer, and a pulled tooth that I didn't take care of sooner.  And  I have been pondering.  Mostly because to do anything else was just too stressful this week.  But you know how you have recurring thoughts and messages that continue to bombard you from one angle or another?  Well... here's mine over the last couple of weeks?

Kathy, are you ALL IN?
Now I've been pretty tired this week.  The thought of mustering up enough energy to be IN to anything has me going back to bed and pulling the covers up over my head.

What does ALL IN mean? 

Is it fully committed?
Completely engaged?
Totally disciplined?
Giving all energy, time, money, & effort toward a cause- or a relationship?
Does it mean you've got it all together?

Is it in my marriage? my relationship with my girls? most significantly with the Lord?
Is it commitment to my job?
or my dreams?
or others in my world?

Whoosh! I'm tired again!

If I were to ask you ... Are you ALL IN?
how would you reply?

Do you feel like you are ALL IN anywhere?

I don't! 

I want to be, ...I think.
I want to feel committed to something important
I want to feel drawn by the urgency of a dream
I want to feel deeply involved in lives- especially Ren and the girls and their important young men
I want to impact lives of friends, and family, and clients
I want to be so IN in my relationship with my God that I KNOW what His best is for me
I want to be so ALL IN in my care of myself that my health; body, mind, and soul show it.
I want to be so ALL IN that my finances reflect health also

There have been times when I thought I was ALL IN- truly was!
Total commitment- total energy- total vision
Only to discover that the cost of being ALL IN was very high!
Being ALL IN didn't lead to health; in me, in my family, in those I worked with.
I don't want to be ALL IN like that again.
...ever again.
or do I?

Did I - even in the 'unhealth' of being ALL IN- experience incredible healing & fulfillment?

Is there a way to be ALL IN and still be balanced?
 or is balance a mirage- an ideal that is truly not possible?

To live only partially in... is that even worth doing?

This past weekend, we went to Wheaton Bible Church with Cait & Jack.  In the sermon, the pastor kept saying, "It's not how you started, but how you finish."

I want to finish well. I want to finish ALL IN.  But as you can see,  I have more questions at the moment than I do answers.

And I will just say it out right ... I am not looking for pat answers to these questions.

I want to hear from people who know what it is to wrestle with these same questions.
People who know what it is to live in these questions ....the key word being LIVE!
People who know it's not about balance at all.

You, I would like to hear from.
Are you ALL IN? 

What are your thoughts?