Archive for September 2012

Debra’s Diary: “Worthy of Praise”

We all have habits – those things we do just because we have trained ourselves to do them.  Sometimes we don’t feel like doing them.  But we endure the discomfort; follow through; and in the end, we are better for it.  Well, I came across an entry in one of my journals today where I see one of those habits.  Let me set the stage.

The year was 1995.  I had three young sons.  I was committed to making sure they had a spiritual foundation.  Part of this was consistent church attendance, at least once a week.  It wasn’t always easy.  With a busy week at work and all of those extracurricular activities added in the evenings, it would have been easy to forgo that weekly ritual.  I, too, needed encouragement in this area.  This one day, I looked beyond the habit.  It wasn’t about me.

I feel so out of place, unworthy, lonely.  What’s the point in going to church?  Perhaps I won’t bother to go this Sunday.  I don’t feel like I belong; the boys don’t cooperate sometimes.  They seem so uninterested.  What a wilderness … such a war going on inside of me.  Absolutely no one understands or can help.

But how can I not go?  I will go, if for no other reason, to give honor and praise to Jesus because He is worthy.  Regardless of my circumstances, my state of mind/emotions, what others say or don’t say, I will direct my attention to Jesus and worship Him.  Yes, I must go because He is worthy of my praise.  He is deserving of my undivided attention.  I will go the the house of the Lord.

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Just Breathe

Va-ca-tion ~ noun ~ “A period or suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel.”

Sometimes I have to remind myself what vacation really is all about.  It’s not just a day or two off to run errands or take care of personal business, although that’s what much of mine is used for.  Recently, I knew that I needed a real vacation described in the definition above, and one or two days were not going to accomplish what I needed – a true break in order to re-group and re-focus.

Between my corporate position and some personal issues, I was totally drained.  I had reached a point where the simplest of tasks was a chore.  I didn’t feel like I was good for anything or anyone.  One night, I felt like a massive weight was bearing down on my chest and there was no way out.   I was so overwhelmed that I sent an old friend a message and asked her to pray for me.  I didn’t offer details about my situation, but she said she would pray.  When I finally fell asleep, I dreamed I was suffocating.  In the dream, she was next to me and said, “Deb, just breathe, just breathe.”  That’s all she said.

I woke up and realized I was holding my breath and was relieved that I really could breathe.  The horrible feeling of not being able to breathe kept me awake the remainder of the night.  Later that day, I read a blog where someone described a completely different situation and paused to simply say:  “Take a breath.”  Wow – did that speak to me or what?

For the first time that I can ever remember, I scheduled two full weeks of vacation at one time.  The first week was spent out of town, a typical traveling vacation – nice accommodations, the beach, the pool, completely away, and total relaxation with no schedule.  I was blessed to be able to do this on a shoestring budget.  The second week was a staycation – nothing exciting but I did accomplish a few personal things, had more writing time, and took one brief day trip with a friend.  I am so glad that I took that little afternoon trip with her to a small rural town.  We had lunch at a cozy diner that served homemade pie.  Yum!  (I took time to smell the roses.)  🙂

The important thing is that I recognized my need.  I needed the break to reset myself – a reboot if you will.  I learned that when I’m on vacation, I not only smell the roses, I see others and their needs.  I see the person next to me stressed the way I was.  I see the person struggling with a physical disability.   I see the carefree spirit of a child.

One day, I watched God’s wondrous creation – the ocean, the waves, the washing of the sand forward and the return.  I watched a child build a sandcastle, and I watched older children battle the waves with their boogie boards.  After watching for a while, I joined in with them playing in the waves.  And you know what?  We saw dolphins just a few feet away.

No driving, no make-up, no e-mail, no schedule, no stress = a better me!

My vacation has come to an end, but I am refreshed to go back into my world and deal with my situations and the people there.  Hopefully they, in turn, can tolerate me.  I think I took my vacation for me and for them.  🙂

I am not ashamed that I took time to … just breathe.

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The Journey of Mending

If you’re reading this today, you are still on your earthly journey; and so am I.  Recently, I have seen so many reminders to enjoy this journey, whatever it may be at the moment, as I head toward that ultimate destination – that place of peace where I can finally rest and enjoy life again.  You see, I’m not speaking about my final heavenly destination where I know there will be peace.  I’m talking about that earthly destination I have conjured up in my own mind.  When I get there, I will be free.  When I get there, I will be able to help someone else.  When I get there, life will be good again.  I guess it’s sort of like taking time to smell the roses – now!

Earlier this summer, I got to spend a little weekend getaway at one of my all-time-favorite spots – just far enough away from my issues to clear my mind.  It was a treat.  As I relaxed by the pool, I watched as preparations were underway for an outdoor wedding under the gazebo.  I looked at the path the bride would take to reach her destination.  Oh, yes, she would have a much longer-than-normal walk down the aisle; but it was strewn with bits of shade along the way.  Would she take time to notice?  Probably not.  Naturally, she would have her destination in mind.

I liken myself to that bride. Have I seen the bits of shade along my path – like that treat of a relaxing weekend?  Did I appreciate spending Mother’s Day with my sons and mother?  I treasure the day we celebrated college graduation with my son.  I am thankful for companionship.  I have noticed the rain during drought and the sun during floods – and, yes, I saw the rainbow.  I have seen, and am grateful for, the shade.

I have faced many obstacles in recent years, but one overwhelming mountain tops them all.  It has paralyzed me in a way in which it seems there is no way out.  But I don’t believe that.  I’ve been on a long mending journey, and there is a way.  I see the shade, but it is time to reach that destination.

This is in celebration of mending and the release of Mended by Angie Smith.  It is time to be whole; it is time to be mended.  It may be purchased here or here.  Enjoy and be mended with me.

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