Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trust Without Borders

Last week I shared a song by Hillsong United that speaks to me on a deep level. It is still filtering through my play list often, and every time it resonates at the soul level and I feel God drawing me closer.

I've let this particular line "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders," linger and circle through my mind often during the past week. I've asked myself what does it mean to trust Him with everything, no borders or hedges around certain areas of my life that I still try to control without His help and guidance.

Am I allowing the Spirit to lead me to a deeper place of trust? Am I trusting God with EVERY area, or am I still harboring particular areas for safe keeping because deep down I think I know how to handle those areas better than He does or I'm afraid of what He might call me to do?

This morning's Jesus Calling devotional was perfectly timed for these things I've been working through:

"Pour all of your energy intro trusting me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of My Presence. Every step on your life-journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trusts are simple for you; you can take them with almost unconscious ease. Giant steps are another matter altogether: leaping across chasms in semidarkness, scaling cliffs of uncertainty, trudging through the valley of the shadow of death. These feats require sheer concentration, as well as utter commitment to Me."

So I've been praying daily that the Holy Spirit will help me live a life of trust and that I will learn to trust Him without borders. I will admit that while I am excited about what this will look like in my life and the work He is doing on my heart; I'm also a bit afraid of what this will require of me. But that's part of what faith is, right? It's not saying that I'm not afraid, but it's taking each step forward in spite of the fear and saying, "Lord I know you have this."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Swimming in the Ocean's Depths

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
Hillsong United
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

When I heard this song for the first time a few weeks ago, I instantly fell in love with it. I will admit that it's been on repeat on my iPhone a lot lately because it is that good.  The lyrics spoke directly to why I actually chose the name of my blog. When I decided to start writing on here, I chose Dancing in the Waves because I truly believe that it is when we step out into the deep waters and lose sight of the shore, we will then discover a life fuller and richer than we ever thought possible. One that is seeped in joy even in the difficult moments. I know that this can be easier said than done many days and that it is a continual journey of learning to trust Him with everything. But I think that He is lovingly patient with each baby step I make towards Him.

Several years ago a close mentor remarked that she had noticed I had the tendency to let fear be a guiding factor in my decision making. These words were spoken in love during a very difficult season of change in my life, with the intent of propelling me to trade my fear for faith.  They were a life changer. In that moment I knew I did not want that to be my legacy or something I passed down to my children. I knew that God has called me to so much more.

I wish I could say that from that day forward I never again let fear rule me, but there are times where I still react out of fear of the unknown or fear of being hurt. Probably more than I'd like to admit. I think the difference is that I now recognize when I am doing it and I am asking God daily to replace my fear with faith. And can I tell you, He is good and He is gracious. I am left humbled and thankful for the joy and love He lavishes upon me. When I pray a prayer of surrendering it all to Him, he fills me with peace.

I am also very thankful for the honest and wise words spoken to me. She spoke difficult truth to me in that moment, but it was what I needed to hear as I faced events that changed me. I was able to ask God to use the hurt to bring me closer to Him.

If you've got a few minutes, listen to the Hillsong United song below.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cultivating Thankfulness

Slow Down Challenge - Day 5

"One of the curses of living in such a fast-paced society is that we tend to take things for granted.  We overlook everyday blessings, oblivious to the fact that life itself is a gift. . . When we forget to be grateful for the less than extraordinary times, we forget to be grateful, period. Beauty and goodness are all around us; we just need eyes to see them. . . That's not to say bad things don't happen or that injustice and evil are not real. What we do in the worst of times determines who we are all the time.

Today, try saying "thank you" - for everything." ~ Jeff Goins

It was hard for me to not quote all of his post from day 5 of the challenge; it was that good and that convicting. I do believe that at times we can be looking for all of the big stuff to be thankful for and forget the little stuff that occurs every day.

My day 5 of this challenge was Friday and that in itself was something to be thankful for. I've been making a point each morning before I get out of bed to thank the Lord for the day ahead and to offer it up to Him. With the ups and downs of a sometimes hectic life, my desire is to ground myself in what I know to be true and to trust Him with all that is in store.

The weather was warm on Friday, with summer feeling like it has finally arrived as the kids are now back in school. I am thankful for the warm weather while we have it. I spent my lunch break enjoying time outside with amazing company.  I was thankful for the sweet moments of time spent with someone I love.

That evening the kids and I had a low key night at home planned. There was dinner, play time and then relaxing on the couch with a movie. These were simple things, which with my on the go personality type, can feel a little overly ordinary to me at times (again, why I want to learn to really enjoy and savor each and every moment). It was a great night, and at one point as I sat on the couch with a child cuddled up on each side of me, I said a silent prayer of thankfulness for these two I've been tasked with raising.

I do truly have so much to be thankful for and I want to remember that, even in the midst of deadlines, tantrums, bad attitudes, endless loads of laundry and more. I look at these two and even when they're bickering, I am thankful that they have such a love and care for each other.

I am learning to be "grateful for the moments that slow me down, the ones that cause me to take my time." What are the little things that you are thankful for right now?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sleepy Interruptions

Slow Down Challenge - Day 4

"The legacy of your life will not be judged by how many emails you responded to or how well you maximized your lunch break. It will be measured, I believe, by how interruptible you were.  How often did you let the world pull you away from yourself so you could focus on others?  That's the question we need to answer. When we try to control everything, when we plan every last minute of the day, we get mad at life for throwing a wrench in our plans.  . . But what if we expected these interruptions? What if we counted on them, deciding ahead of time how to act in these instances."
~ Jeff Goins

You may have noticed that a reoccurring theme in my household lately has been bedtime and sleep, or the lack of sleep to be more accurate. Getting my kiddos to go to bed in their own room the entire night is an ongoing battle.

We have gotten into a good initial bedtime routine that is going well right now: pj's on, teeth brushed, story, prayers, a song and then I sit with them for about 5 minutes before I leave to finish up my stuff for the evening.

But then we are averaging about 3 hours until the first attempt to come and crawl in bed with mommy. Depending on the night, this first call for mom comes right about the time I've started to fall asleep or I've been asleep for a good hour or more. Either way, I'm tired and never relish the idea of getting up out of bed again.

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I LOVE my sleep. When I became pregnant with my oldest, one of my worries was how would I survive on such little sleep and still be a loving, got it all together mom.  Because I have been told, although I deny it, that I may get just a tad cranky when going on little sleep.  I had assumed that at three and seven we would be past the sleep deprived state, but alas we are not quite there. I survive by operating on a lot of coffee, and "a lot" is an understatement some days. So when these frequent nightly interruptions occur, it takes a lot of prayer and will on my part to be present, patient and positive.  And I still fail miserably some nights.

When I read the challenge for day 4, I knew immediately that these nighttime wake up calls was an area where I could really apply this lesson. Sure enough, about 11:30 pm, my oldest came a calling, saying he couldn't sleep and was scared. This tired mama wanted to tell him to just go back to bed, but instead I walked with him back to bed and curled up next to him for awhile. I sang him a little song, said a quick prayer and hugged him close.

I do know that they both need to learn to sleep on their own and we are slowly, but surely getting there. Yet, I also know that one day he may not want me in his room at all or may feel he's too cool for a cuddle and hug from his mom. So I cherished the moment with him, and snuggled until I heard his breathing change to the peaceful, even breaths of sleep.

Don't get me wrong. In the few nights since, I have had the presence of mind to enjoy these snuggle moments and chances to calm fears with both of them, but I've also had the times where I still try to rush through them as quickly as possible so that I can crawl back in my own bed.

Where do you need to be open to the interruptions of others? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dinner, Legos and a Bit of Focus

Slow Down Challenge Day 3: Focusing

"Staying productive is good.  But busyness robs us of the gift right in front of us. It distracts us from the most important things in life and often steals our joy. . . Learn to pay attention to what matters most and find the freedom that comes from focusing." ~ Jeff Goins

In case you all are wondering, I didn't give up on the challenge. I stuck with it, but haven't been the best at keeping up on writing how it went. The holiday weekend and my son's birthday took center stage this weekend, and that was important and good. I was glad to celebrate this little man of mine who is now 7 years old! Time really does go so quickly.

Back to being focused and Slow Down Challenge, Day 3. The challenge was to pick one task and accomplish it without letting other things come in and distract you from what is important in the moment. I decided to not choose a particular work task or chore, but instead wanted to spend the evening at home loving on my kids. It is so easy to get home from working a full day and start checking off things that need to be done around the house: dinner, homework, chores, baths, get ready for tomorrow and on and on.

In doing this challenge however, I am reminded that these moments right now need to be viewed as the only moments that matter. My kids will only be little for so long and putting aside all of the distractions - the to do lists, the cell phone, the TV, the mentally going through what needs to be done tomorrow, etc. - and truly focusing on quality time with them is life giving for both them and myself.

So I put my phone in the other room, put my chore list aside for the evening and we kept the TV off.  We ate dinner together, did our devotion and played Legos. Legos covered the family room floor, and I am not exaggerating, they were EVERYWHERE. One Christmas, the little man probably received 10 different sets, so we have Legos coming out of our ears.  We built cars and a tower and a house boat.  It was a truly wonderful evening. Looking up every few minutes and being greeted with an ear to ear grin just about melted my heart.

I know I'm not a perfect parent and I often don't get it right, but in the end if my little ones know every single day how dearly they are loved by me and even more so by their Heavenly Father, than I've done something right.