The Gift That Came to Stay

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The moment when peace walks into a room and love completely wraps around you, steadying your world and bringing fullness into all those cold and empty spaces. That is the moment when the divine steps into the futility of your best attempt at doing this thing called life; and although you may unravel, the surrender of the old into freedom of the new, ignites the core of your being and makes you come alive. This has been my story and my journey of knowing and loving the Savior, the Christ who was born in Bethlehem.

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And there was light!

There have been many great and memorable moments in my life. The day I married the love of my life and my best friend and the day each of my three children lay for the first time in my arms. But I have to be honest and say that the day I decided to give my heart completely to the Savior Jesus did not come in the form of a single remarkable moment.

It began when I was just five, and it culminated in high school, when the clarity and inescapable truth of having been pursued all along by Him, led me to surrender. There was nothing too spectacular about that moment. I sat on a bench under a tree, and wrote a letter to God, who although I did not see, I believed knew me and I believed came for my heart to be His. In my letter, I spoke my response to deep down, unshakeable realization that this massive and spectacular God of the universe, shaped and formed me  and was stepping into my world, if I would only answer the door.

” For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”, John 3:16. 

As the years have rolled on by, the reality of this decision has become the essence of my beautiful life.  I wake  in the morning to find Him still here. My surprise and relief reminds me that my faith is a journey of learning to trust that He is the gift that came to stay and will never go away. I have been a tough nut to crack, because too much pain and disappointment can rob you of the innocence of simply believing that you are loved. So despite all my resistances, He has continued to relentlessly pursue my heart.  He is here, day after day, right where He said he would be. By my side and never leaving. Even on my worst days and my not so glorious and unremarkable moments., He stays. Yes! He stays! He is the gift that came to stay.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

The Free Little Girl Inside

Today, I watched two adorable little kids playfully skip, jump and dance right in front of me. I was waiting for my daughter at her ballet class. The two little dancers were quite oblivious to my observations and they went about moving their bodies in any old manner, while giggling approvingly at their own attempts at dancing. They were abandoned and full of joy.

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I thought of the much older class of ballet students inside the four walls I was waiting outside of. Indeed the much more serious affair of instruction about structure, technique, posture and control, for the older blooming dancers, was equally worthwhile to observe. However, the contrast made me smile and sent my thoughts to how the two scenes both hold true for the life of an adult woman like me. I paused to remember the playful little girl dancing and leaping merrily on the edges of the woman that I am now and the one I hope to be. I paused to remember the free little girl alive and well on the inside of me.

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I love the places of playful exploration that little kids get to enjoy as they get introduced to the world of dance. The stage where there are no expectations placed on them, but only the freedom and permission to love the tripping over of their little feet and the out-of- balance-but -oh-so-sweet attempts of their three year old selves. When you are young you are allowed to try and it is quite ok not to get things right.

Grace meets you at every turn and you can fall and trip, while the fear of failure with its intimidating glares, never captures your attention.

I must confess that I live within the tension of the little carefree dancer and the woman who knows more and has learnt a great deal over many years. I would like to think I have taken some leaps of faith and I have yielded to the process of strengthening my core through replacing old lies with the brightness of truth. But, it is a strange and curious thing that while I do my best to jump, skip and dance, many times I find that all that I can master up is an awkward, out-of -balance display of my own limitations and my own clumsy feet, while trying to stay grounded in a world that I have very little control over.

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I am learning just how much I need the strength and loving embrace of my loving  Father  in heaven, who holds me steady in his arms and always smiles when I walk into the room. I prefer to spend time with Him. I breathe in deeper and better when I surrender and come into that secret place where it’s okay to be the clumsy, unpolished dancer in the making. For I am welcomed as I am. I find that the longer I stay here, the stronger I feel and yet the more like a child I become.

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To keep the fearless heart of a child, while growing and flourishing into maturity is the challenge we can all relate to. My encouragement to myself and to you, is that if we get utterly lost while meandering along the road to becoming the more striking, sophisticated and serious dancer on life’s stage, I hope that we remember: there is always grace waiting to embrace us and we can always lean back and find the free little girl inside.

I Take Myself Way Too Seriously: Staying ON! the Social Media Grid!

I think I take myself way too seriously! And sometimes I get a little OCD about small things. Seriously, going off the social media grid sounds like a really noble idea, but honestly it’s a bit much! I am already suffocating under my own self induced agony. Enter wisdom and grace please!

I am a stay at home mom of three, homeschooling 2 and managing an entire household “The Gifts of Imperfection” by day and “ The Children of Ashton Place” by night. I have enough on my plate! And in all realness I am a pretty intentional woman, who has the wisdom and grace to make different choices about what I give space for in my time.  Doing that is more realistic than my previous cut and dry approach!

So for all those who were keen to find out if I would survive being off social media, the short answer is, we all will survive without it, but what purpose do I actually want it to serve!  So that’s it! The shortest experiment I ever engaged in!

Gratitude Challenge: Days 17 and 18

Better late than never, here is what we got up to during days 17 and 18 of this challenge.

During Day 15 and 16 of this challenge, we started using songs as a springboard to reflection, discussion and worship in cultivating gratitude in our home. Any song that you and your family know and love and have a connection to can serve this purpose.

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In this season of our family life and for me personally, the words to the song “Faithful To The End” by Bethel Music  reminds me of where we have come from and the anchor in the truth that our lives are wrapped in the faithfulness of our Father in Heaven who loves us deeply and will never leave us.

[Verse 1]
We’re heaven-spun creations
His pride and adoration
Treasures woven by his love
His careful hands they hold us
Safe within His promise
Of calling and of destiny

[Chorus]
I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

[Verse 2]
A Father’s heart that’s for me
A never ending story
Of love that’s always chasing me
His kindness overwhelming
And hope for me unending
He’s never given up on me

[Chorus]
I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

[Outro]
There wasn’t a day
That You weren’t by my side
There wasn’t a day
That You let me fall
All of my life
Your love has been true
All of my life
I will worship You

We have played this song in our home and used for some discussions, prayer prompts and worship.

I am currently reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp in my personal reading.

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I have not finished the book yet, but it has certainly been an inspiring read so far, a reminder of  tremendous power in a deliberately seeing the gifts in every moment despite what life brings to us.

For the last part of this gratitude challenge, we are busy creating a family memory space that will serve as a lasting “memorial stone”. A place to continue capturing gifts of gratitude in our lives.  In the next post I will share some of these ideas and I hope it will inspire you to do the same in your home.

 

 

Catching Raindrops: Introducing My Gratitude Challenge

It usually begins with one simple raindrop. The echo of that single hopeful sound fills that empty cup. The drops may seem insignificant at first, but with its gathering momentum, what begins as drops, turns into drizzling, the drizzle sweeps into pouring rain that fills the cup until it overflows. The overflow spreads and spreads until the once empty cup can no longer be seen. It becomes completely submerged by the rain that once came as a simple, gentle drop. We live to catch every raindrop!

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I am that cup.  And I am overflowing with gratitude for the love and goodness that God showers over me daily. Sometimes those showers go unnoticed and unappreciated because I am distracted by so much. Other times it’s kept me growing and alive even when circumstances make everything seem dry.

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So, for the entire month of May, I will be pressing the refresh button in my life and doing a series of posts on Creative Gratitude.  It will be creative because I want to find fresh ways of cultivating a life of gratitude.  I will be using this blogging space as to capture gratitude intentionally. I hope to inspire you to reboot gratitude in your life and  I hope you will join me!  Lets be intentional about catching raindrops of gratitude every day.