Category Archives: Empowering the Spirit

Hebrews 13:5

I have been spinning since last Monday’s…  um…  whatever that was.  Life crisis? Minor breakdown?

Whatever. It left me reeling a bit – my days are so busy that I don’t so much think about it, but I have felt this heaviness in my heart that goes with me through my days.  There’s moments where I recognize the disconnection I talked about – and try to consciously just “be” with Junior in a particular moment.  Mostly days are a blur.

But the nights….

I haven’t slept over an hour in a stretch since I wrote those words a week ago. Visions of what could be, and what will never be; dreams of an alternate reality; the heaviness rising up to a kind of pain consuming my feelings – all with me in and out this fitful sleep.  Such long, awful nights.

My sudden and overwhelming discontent is turning me into a zombie during the day and a haunted shell each night.

This morning, in the predawn hours after a night of prayer and tears and hurt,  I did what I so often do when all seems lost, I opened my Bible to whatever page it wanted to fall, and I search for words to soothe and guide.  It fell open to Hebrews 13, and I read:

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.

Oh. yeah.

That.

I felt awful (I know – mission NOT accomplished there, Keri.)

I am in a spiral of anger and envy and want about all of the things my life is not, and I have been letting it drown out all of the amazing gifts He has given me.   I am not walking alone here – I am not where I am by accident. I haven’t been given some cosmic shaft (for lack of a nicer term.)  I am on the path God chose for me.

If this moment is a message put upon my heart by Him, then it is a flashlight at my feet, to perhaps guide me to a next step; not a glaring spotlight meant to highlight so many wrongs that have happened to get me here so far.  A tug on the heart in a different direction shouldn’t be ignored, but losing the joy that I find in my life as it is now because of it is foolish.

Throughout my day I have been reading that verse, again and again, and then finding something happening RIGHT THEN to thank God for.

-light traffic on the way to Junior’s school

-one of our current favorite songs playing while we drove (Breathe by Johnny Diaz – also a good reminder.

-coworker who brought in really good Green Chile to share today (can I get an amen, my fellow GC lovers?)

-beautiful weather when I walked Potter today

-our amazing neighborhood and the house that God guided us too almost 4 years ago

-Junior’s awesome school and teachers who adore the kiddos, and the amazing things he is learning and doing

-contract writing work that is allowing me to do what I love and secure our family’s financial future

-the world’s friendliest grocery store checker when I ran by for a few things

On and on….

Life is not so bad, Keri.  Even if it isn’t that IG picture you built into perceived perfection a week ago.

So I will do what I can, I will pray and keep my heart open to possibility. I will make a concentrated effort to fight back against envy and anger and other attacks – I know they are not from my Lord and they have no place in my heart.

I choose to see this moment as a door cracking open – showing me a glimpse of all that will be down the path He has chosen for me to walk.  I choose to be content in His way, AND His time.

I will choose it again anew each day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What if He doesn’t answer?

Do you ever feel like you just can’t pray enough about a decision? Like even seemingly perpetual, unending prayer is just not bringing your heart, mind, or hands closer to a course of action?
That is very much where I find myself just now. There are all of these monumental, life-altering, WAY TOO BIG FOR JUST ME choices coming at me in lightning succession, and I feel frozen – unable to move at all. I talk to God. Ask for clarity, guidance, wisdom, understanding…. Even a literal SHOVE in the right direction at this point.
All stays murky. No light, even at my feet to confirm that the ground will be there when I take my next step.
My doubt is compounded by my inability to wait for a clearer path to develop. These are decisions that have to be made – time won’t wait. So I guess… and then I second guess myself.

A lot.

SO MUCH.

Is the quiet, the lack of resounding confirmation and positive occurrence some sort of message that all is not well, that I am faltering and endangering my family’s welfare? I wonder with each decision I am forced to make in the vacuum of seeming unanswered prayer… is this the thing that will ruin it all? Is this what I should do?
“Be still” is not an option here. Absence of response is not an option here.
Reflecting on the past, God’s answers, his direction, his plan – none of that has manifested as a whisper I had to strain to interpret. I guess God knows me well enough to know that he has to hit me over the head with it –I don’t do subtle.
I don’t do risk well either – and each choice lately seems so full of risk.
I literally tremble with the fear of potential harm/greatness when I sit here thinking of the wheels I have set in motion.
In the quiet, the uncertainty, and the magnitude – still I pray.
Please Father… Please God. Don’t let me ruin absolutely everything chasing fool’s errands.
What do you do when it feels like God isn’t listening? When His plan seems more unclear than ever before, and you can’t feel His hand guiding you?
(No really… if you are a Spirit of Power reader, I’d love to know. How then, do you make those choices, when prayer upon prayer bring you no closer to and understanding of which road to choose?)
The comments section is open… share, if your heart calls you to.

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Loved in 2016.

Happy New Year!!

We were blessed with a wonderful trip to Texas for Christmas (and happily event-free airport excursions, ) and I came home to enjoy the last few days of 2015 nestled in with my little family.  When I re-read my last entry, I was struck by how downtrodden and dark I know my heart was as I wrote it.

It made me sad, and  also determined to do some heart work in the first few months of 2016.

I have had several friends express to me how much they enjoy Janice Hanna Thompson’s writings (both fiction and non fiction,) and her devotional “From God’s Word to a Woman’s Heart,” seemed a good counterbalance to the particular kind of doubt I had on my heart prior to our trip.

Working with devotionals can be an incredibly powerful and also personal experience, but I would like to share some of what I find and feel as I work through this one.

If you have read this particular book, or would like to share anything based on what you find here on Spirit of Power about it, please do –  so often the greatest revelations come in sharing and receiving from others.

The book’s first entry is “You are loved.” The quoted scripture is 1 John 4:9-12.

What a perfect start to a new year – a reminder of the greatest love ever known, and of the sense of purpose and gratitude that comes with knowing that love. Permission to “drop the act” of feeling fulfilled by external purpose when it isn’t true, (which it just so ISN’T for me of late.) A call to be filled with excitement and wonder in the light of the love that will guide my way- and the sense of purpose burning from inside from that love.

A lot to think about, to meditate on and pray about throughout my day. Such a blessed message for a New Year’s beginning, indeed.

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Prayer

“You are in our prayers.”
Do you ever say that?
It has long been my go-to card notation or statement when a friend or family member (or acquaintance,) is going through a difficult time in life.
It is my favorite statement of comfort to give, because it has always meant so much for me to hear it from others during times of trial or hopelessness. The thought of others lifting me up in prayer is so reassuring and empowering – it is such a blessed gift to offer.
The thing is, it always USED TO, be true. Each night as I put the dog in his crate, and we said our prayers and things got quiet and calm, I would hold his little paws and whisper our prayer:
“Dear God – thank you for all that we have. Please keep us safe, and healthy, and together, and hold us in the palm of your hand.”
Then I would just kind of go through my list of people I knew were in need of a little extra support, or hope, or comfort…. People longing to feel His grace. It was a quiet, special time there in the dark – just me and my dog and our God.
Throw in an active kiddo, many more responsibilities, and an evening of bedtime routines that could be calm or crazy, and I find that time slipping away from me – whether it be with the dog, the kiddo, The Mr, or even just myself. Jr’s prayers get muttered so fast some nights I hardly realize they have been said.
When the house is FINALLY quiet, and I am curled up in my chair with the doggie and my Bible or a devotional or even my journal, I frequently find I am asleep within minutes. It makes me sad, but it also makes me wonder why I feel like I have to “save it all up” for some earmarked time. I know I have moments throughout the day where I feel like I either can’t or don’t even know what to say in prayer – so I just speak one of his names. (Emmanuel is my favorite one word prayer. A statement, a promise, and a calling to Him all in one word. God with us.) Why can’t all my prayers be that immediate. Continuously in prayer…
So this morning when I sent my friend a message saying that her husband ‘s family was in my prayers after a heartbreaking loss, I didn’t just write it – I prayed it. Right then and there.
Then a bit later I whispered in prayer again as I drove Jr to my mom’s house for the day – that their day would be blessed and happy and safe. I again prayed for comfort for the family of my friend.
No more of this “finding time to pray,” thought process. Today and throughout this blessed holiday season, I am actively seeking ways and spaces to be in prayer continuously each day.

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Each day, begin again.

I guess I have Timehop to thank for my being here now.
For months I have seen past SOP posts popping up on my TimeHop feed via links I had posted on Twitter or Facebook, and each time I sigh wistfully as I read a piece of my past. My heart has been so called to break the silence here – but self-doubt can be an unbelievably loud internal voice.
“It’s been too long. No one cares. Leave it as it is. Who are you, at this time above all others, to take on more and speak to a relationship with God?”

It is that last one that kept me most away – but also that finally today brings me back.

This week I found myself Googling “Praying for my angry son.”
Praying. For. My. Angry. Son. On GOOGLE. On THE INTERNET.

It isn’t laziness. It is desperation. It is also, I quickly realized, the ultimate expression of self-doubt.
In the past few weeks, my sweet son has been so often full anger; of something pent up and out of his four-and-a-half-year-old range to process. It is frustrating to deal with extreme tantrums, sure. It is also heartbreaking to not be able to help.

I have prayed. Oh how I have prayed – for insight into him, for peace within him, for a wine truck to crash in to a liquid cheese truck in front of my house and spill their contents on to my lawn after a particularly rough bedtime. (Just kidding…. No serious.) I have prayed with him, I have prayed while holding him on my lap so he didn’t hurt himself (or us) as he raged. Endlessly have I prayed.

Then I stopped. This week I stopped. Because all of the different practices and distractions and rewards and punishments I have tried have fallen short of helping my sweet, angry son. So why, WHY, would I think that my prayers would fall any less short. Now my heart knows that this is just not at all the way it works, but it was full of sadness and the shame of failing my child.
My head ? My head always goes right for Google.

My search showed I was not in a vacuum – there was a good amount of content out there. Being reminded that the human experience is not one of isolation is comforting. It snapped something inside of me as well – the cloud of shame lifted a bit, and I could see the light at my feet again. I could see that broken and praying for my son is enough. I could see that who I am now is enough to speak it here.
I don’t have to know the right way or the right time. It is His way. His time. Each moment is a chance for renewal. My prayer today has been about giving thanks for the possibilities.

So we begin again.

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Whoa.

When you get in alignment with God’s plan for you – it is almost dizzying how fast everything starts to fall in line.

For years I struggled in the wrong direction – and then one day it hit me that I was trying for things I no longer wanted in a place I no longer wanted to be.

We made a new plan and I prepared to begin struggling up that path as well.

BUT NO – doors opened, opportunities lined up and in the blink of an eye I am at a new job in my home town, the Tree House is under contract, and we are searching for the perfect little house to within sneezing distance of where I grew up to become home for our little family.

Wow.

Just wow.

Oh -and PRAISE HIM.

(but please excuse the absence – just trying to get myself and the fam migrated over into the whole new world.)  🙂

 

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God gave me you

Since Blake Shelton decided to cover David Barnes’ awesome song “God Gave Me You,” it has really been all over the place.


And that is a very good thing, because it is just perfect for this little spot in my life – so I am glad to hear it often.

Cooper is 11 months old today (wow!)

(Hello, Doodle.)

11 months ago, God gave me him –  if there is one thing I know for sure, beyond a doubt – he is the best thing I have ever done in my life.  Easily.

These past two years have been full of self-doubt and setbacks and being just plain stuck in spite of all my trying.

But then there is him – this amazing huge, accomplishment –  growing and being and awesome in all of his little person fabulousness.

It may be true that my skills and talents don’t seem to be promoting me in the workforce right now, but I can look at him and know – beyond the shadow of a doubt – that his thriving and growing little self has so much to do with me.

I have accomplished that, at least.

I can’t doubt too much, can’t be that far off my chosen path, and can’t possibly feel forsaken for long, when I look at him.

God gave me him.  But just as important, God gave him me – so I must be doing something right for Him to consider me worthy of being Cooper’s mom.

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No idle hands here.

I have been Busy (capital B required,) at work lately.

BUSY.

Which has actually been kind of fabulous, because the things I have been doing are interesting and challenging and varied – all the things that make work an enjoyable place to spend time, and leave me feeling proud and recharged as I jump in the Keri-mobile to head home for an evening with the fam.

But still – very very busy, and very very tuckered out by the end of the day.  Which means very very neglectful blogger.

BUT there is this – I have been all about Natalie Grant’s “Perfect People”  this week.  I have cranked it and shamelessly shouted along after dropping Jr at daycare every morning.  Love it.

Come as you are, broken and scarred….  and be amazed, and be changed, by a Perfect God.

Go ahead, turn it up – shout it out.  It will change your whole day.

 

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All kinds of weather, we stick together…

It has been a while since Dr. Sissy and I talked.  The whole “raising kids, I know you are ok, you know I am ok, we can talk later” thing has kind of prevailed in our relationship of late, and that is ok.

But I forget how our twiny/two halves of the same egg connection can ground me, calm me, and make me feel (rightfully) whole again.

Relating to her as a wife and mother, and as a professional who also has a vision for her career – it reminds me in a way that no one else can, that I am not alone.  Because I have never been alone for one second in my existence, it has always been her and me.  (I know that God is always with us, and that we are not alone and I find strength in that, of course.  But we shared a womb, people!  That is powerful stuff!!)

In true Sissy fashion, her twiny-sense must have been tingling, and she saved me from myself once again.

Thank God for her.  A thousand times again and again, thank God for my sister.

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Inspiring Irony.

This morning I had someone tell me I should be a motivational speaker for Women’s  church groups.

:/

Let’s push pause, as I did, to consider that statement.

SOP readers know that I have not exactly been Little-Miss-Uplifiting of late.

I am not certain that “Defeated Realist” is really a description that women who gather are looking for in a speaker.

And who wants a woman who can’t even set herself right to be trying to tell them how to get happy over coffee and snacks in the middle of their very busy days?  The irony of the timing of her statement hung in my mind for quite a while as I considered her statement.

I gave my dear fan a combo snort/eyeroll as I smoothed Junior’s hat head unsuccessfully down.

But she had reasons.  Reasons that, while they did not convince me to get an agent and hit the coffee clatch circuit, did manage to let me see myself in a positive way from another set of eyes.

And it felt good to look at myself like that.

Evidently it is my realistic vision of situations, coupled with my ability to pair adversity with the possibility of His plan for promotion, (for others, although I have been horribly hard on myself about this,) that provoked this statement from a woman I don’t know well, but have always admired greatly.

Here is this woman who, to me looking at her from the outer edges of her life, seems SO incredibly put together, so very far beyond my league, and so “with it” in all ways, and she tells me that listening to me talk to others for the small amount of time each day that our lives intersect has a positive affect on the way she looks at her days.

Wow.

It seems trite to say something like “maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself after all,” or “maybe I am not the mess I think I am, eh?”    It is kind of more than that.

It’s a little shot of confidence, in a not-so-fabulous time.  A tiny reminder that we can all do something great for someone, just by being the best version of ourselves that we can, without even realizing what we are doing.

It’s nice to know.  That’s all, I  guess – it is just nice to know.

 

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