Five Minute Friday: Choose

It’s Friday and you know what that means:  time to hang out with the Five Minute Friday crowd and write bravely for five minutes on a one word prompt.  If you’d like to join this raucous crowd, you can find the prompt and link up at http://www.lisajobaker.com.  We’re nice, I promise!

We’re moving.  I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it, but there it is.  Today we signed our financial lives away on a mortgage for a home in our new city.  I don’t want to leave the home and city down South where I’ve become comfortable, I really don’t.  And yet, I’m going to do just that in a few short months, for some very good reasons.

But one of the many, many gifts God has given His children is the ability to choose.  I can choose how to view this move:  as a adventure, or as a punishment of sorts for some imagined failure.  I get to decide that for myself, nobody else. 

I can choose to sit around in my new-to-me home in my new-to-me city and mope about having no friends, if that’s my cup of tea.  But frankly I’d rather find someone to share a cup of tea (better yet, coffee), so I’ll be out there striking up conversations with any people I see that look like they might welcome that sort of friendly intrusion.  I can choose to sit on the sidelines or get out on the field.

That’s true about life too.  We can choose to sit out our lives on the sidelines, creating excuse after excuse for why we want to stay safely out of the fray, or we can choose to be in the game, where things get messy and sometimes you get bruised or fall down.  When I come to the end of my life I want to be able to say that I was all in, that I didn’t hold back, that I might be battered and bruised but I left it all on the field.   

(Not sure where those sports metaphors came from, but that’s the mystery and wonder of Five Minute Friday.  Sometimes in the writing stuff comes out that you weren’t even aware was in you!)

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Garden

My online friend Lisa-Jo Baker just invited all of us into her love story.  Not in a weird way, but her love story with the Maubane community in South Africa.  You can read more about it here.  The God-sized dream is to build a community center for this branch of our family, because aren’t we all family anyway?  What would happen if we DID see all the world as our family?  Would it change how we responded to their needs?  So, now my five minutes or so on….Garden.

I’m not a good gardener.  My husband jokingly tells me I have a brown thumb, and he’s right.  My grandmother kept a big garden in her yard and she made me help her pick the vegetables, prepare them (as in breaking beans), and can them.  (I’m a Southern girl – can you tell?)  I did not enjoy this in the least.  It was hot, there were bugs, it was actual physical work.

So why do I still attempt to plant a garden every year?  Because of the memories.  To carry on a family tradition.  And because I recognize the power God has put in one tiny seed.

By itself it doesn’t look very important, but add the right ingredients – soil, sun, water – and it changes and grows into something meaningful.  Something life-sustaining.  And something that can make a difference to a hungry child.

I’m a mom.  Just a mom.  Except I’m not.  I’m like one little seed that God pours His Holy Spirit into and He planted me here in this space at this time for a reason.  I’m here to love God and love people, all of them.  The ones close by and the ones far away, in South Africa. 

So I’m reaching all the way across the globe to join hands with the Maubane community and help them grow a garden.  Frankly, it’s much better for their plants if I contribute financially than if I was to actually try to grow them. I don’t have to do it all myself.  I have a lovely community of writers who are joining hands with me, and God takes our little offerings and multiplies them, like the loaves and fishes. 

This Valentine’s Day I’m choosing to be love to a group of people I’ve never met in South Africa. 

Want to be on the front lines of a miracle?  Come join us.  https://www.purecharity.com/south-africa-community-center.

I almost sat this one out.  Can you believe it?  But God told me to write, so here are my words.  Trusting Him to do what needs to be done.

 

Move: Round 1

We bought a house, y’all.  I knew we were supposed to move this year, and the word “move” showed up as my One Word for 2014, but still.  We bought a house.  Some part of me kept thinking that God would step in and stop us from moving – after all, He’s done that before, several times.  So we kept a watchful eye on the housing market in Virginia and perused the houses that were for sale, pinpointing the school districts we liked (and didn’t), and figuring out what homes were close to my husband’s job.  But there was a part of me that held out hope that it wouldn’t really happen.  Surely God didn’t want us to uproot our kids at the tender ages of 9 and 12.  Surely He didn’t mean for me to be further away from my Tennessee family.  Surely He wouldn’t take us away from the life we’ve built here in South Carolina.  Am I right?

I’ve come to the conclusion that being comfortable is not the ideal situation for a Believer.  When I’m feeling settled and comfortable, it’s easy to believe that I have everything in control.  I forget where all those good gifts come from, and I forget to lean on God.  Being called away from our little nest in SC is going to help us (or at least me) remember that God can use our discomfort to draw us closer to Him.  When I’ve had the supports removed from under my nice calm life, maybe I’ll remember that the only support worthwhile is the Solid Rock.

I know that God is still the same God whether I’m in South Carolina, or Tennessee, or Virginia.  I know that.  I know that He will surround us with the people He wants us to meet.  To be honest, there is one part of me that is eager for the adventure of a new home, a new town, a new state.  I’m looking forward to exploring this new part of the country.  At this point the possibilities seem endless and frankly it’s both freeing and frightening.  Oh, I’ll miss my job, our church, our friends, our kids’ schools – even our kids’ friends!  But I also truly believe that God has a plan in mind for us in our new home.

I won’t go into detail about the dramatic negotiations that led us to the home we’ll be closing on in a couple of weeks.  I will say that the house we bought was not the one we intended to buy.  The house we originally wanted was one we ALL loved, yet it became clear during the purchasing process that it just wasn’t meant to be.  After many prayers of “Your will be done, Lord,” He led us to buy a different house, where all the pieces fell into place (so far!) and we both feel incredible peace about it.

So now I start with the planning, which, as you know, is my very favorite part.  I can make lists like an Olympic gold medalist, but the lists don’t work unless I do.  I’m going to have to eventually make myself stop writing lists and start actually moving and getting things done.  The boxes are not going to pack themselves.

And then the decision of whether we rent out our SC home or try to sell it.  Either way it would require a lot of work to prepare and the thought of it just makes me tired, y’all.  Taaahhhhred!

Please be patient with me, as I’m sure I will be posting all manner of moving updates between now and the real, actual, physical move.  I’m sure I’ll vacillate wildly between happy and sad, and everywhere in between.

Buckle your seat belts, folks.  We’re settling in for a quite a ride.

Five Minute Friday: Write

It’s Friday, a day so lovely for many reasons!  One reason is that it’s the day that hundreds of brave writers all over the country (world?) come together to write their brave all over the page.  Want to play along?  Visit http://www.lisajobaker.com and join us!

I was a mess those times.  The years after my divorce left me alone with a 3 year old precious baby girl.  The years after infertility left me raw and doubting.  The days and weeks after my child’s latest outburst of rage tore out my heart and stomped on it.

So I write it down.

In halting words and faulty prose I attempt to capture how the great God of the universe reached out to me in the lowest and most desperate hours and put heavenly arms around me.

I write it because I can’t NOT write it down. 

I write down the spiritual milestones of my life like the Israelites piled stones to mark God’s miracle at the Jordan River (Joshua 4).

So I won’t forget.

So others can look at my life and know.  That God’s real.  That He cares.  That we all matter to Him.  That we’re all flawed and that’s OK.  That we all fall, but we get back up again.  That no one has perfect children and yet they’re to be blessings to us.

As a legacy to my children, another sign to them of how much they were loved and cherished.

I write in stolen moments, when I should be doing other things.  (Like now, when I should be getting ready for work)  But sometimes the words are ready to come out, they must come out, and so I write.

I write and even if it’s not perfect (which it’s not), that same great God of the universe tells me not to worry about who reads my words because He does and He will direct them to the eyes needing to see them.

I love Him, so I write. 

I trust Him, so I write.