Saturday, June 19, 2021

Breathe

A couple weeks ago, I got off the phone with some friends and was in a funk. It was so good to catch up with them, but I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach soon after getting off the call. Maybe it’s because it was the beginning of June, and June has been quite a month for the past few years. Maybe it’s because as the world opens up again, not much has, or seems to be, changing in my world. I’m still here. Walking alongside the widow. Fighting the heaviness that tries to consume this space on the daily. Knowing I’m ultimately victorious, but not always feeling like I have the upper hand. The pangs of grief began to intensify in me. 

So I decided to open up my junk email, the email I use for all my shopping and information websites, and I start doing what anybody would do in that state of mind: clean my inbox. (Hey…it was a win in the moment because I didn’t go eat something.) Not sure why I decided to pop open the random email titled “Breathe – Out Now!" But I opened it. The email was announcing the release of a new single called “Breathe” and it was on the album being released by Maverick City called Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition. I knew immediately I had to hear this song. “Jubilee” is the word the Lord gave me for 2021. Juneteenth (other than being a very important day in American history) is an important day in my own personal history: the day my Dad took his last breath in 2018. 

I clicked on the link and it wouldn’t work. I had to subscribe to something, and although I was sure of the presence of the Lord, I was not about to subscribe to anything! I began to google it. And as I googled, I found a lot of stories on Juneteenth. I knew about the day, but I never knew, until that moment, that the day was originally known as “Jubilee Day.” As the tears of knowing began to well up in my eyes, I found the link to the song and began to listen to the words that would consume me. This was no coincidence. This was a visitation. 

They sang about being tired and weary. Being frustrated and waiting for better days ahead. They encouraged not to hold your breath…but instead release the heavy burden and breathe. They reminded us we were given the miracle of breath, there is power in our breathing, and that we were given breath so we could praise the Lord. They sang and repeated “I can feel my lungs taking air again…I can feel my strength coming back again.” 

The song was a proclamation. And as I listened, I could feel God’s presence and His supernatural breath in my lungs. And as I write this, I’m taken back to January 2020. 

I was getting ready to drive into our “Legacy Nights” at church, a week-long series of services where we pressed into God’s presence and power, and prayed for revival. I remember one day while I was getting ready, I was praying for the evening, asking God what He had for us. Asking Him what I should pray if called upon during the huddle. 

He reminded me of what He taught me about always “kissing Him goodnight.” He reminded me of the word I heard in 2016 at Azusa now: 


He showed me that to be revived, one must usually come close to passing out, or dying. I started thinking about CPR. I started thinking about the steps that I once learned about CPR. I felt like God was unpacking the steps that needed to happen for revival to come about in the church.

The first thing you learn to do before giving CPR is to point to someone and say, “Call 911.” When someone loses their breath, chaos can ensue. Not everyone will jump in, but some have been called to not only jump in, but to lead, and engage others. Although the actual act of CPR happens between two people, there are many others involved. 

The second thing you learn to do is to listen. Listen for breathing. Can you hear signs of life? Is there something blocking the airways? To do this, you must sit still and not be distracted by the chaos that may be going on around you. You must not succumb to the fear and anxiety in the room. You must focus on the one that has been put in front of you in that moment, and lean in close. 

The third thing you learn is to do is to breathe, mouth-to-mouth. You literally kiss the person who has lost their breath. The most intimate thing that one person can do with another. 

The forth thing you do is blow breath into the one who has lost their breath. You essentially are hoping to impart life into the person. 

Lastly, you pump the chest to activate the heart. To activate the very organ that will keep life going once you are no longer there to do so. 

Revival can’t happen without reconciliation. It can’t happen if we don’t involve others, listen closely, get intimate, breathe life and activate the spirit. It is truly a miracle that we get to breathe. 

I will never know why the CPR that was administered on my Dad the morning of June 19, 2018 didn’t work. I may never understand why 2020 became the year that so many had their breath taken away. It may never make sense that so many people had to hold their breath this long for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday. What I do know is, when you look at the mechanics of breathing, how fast it can be taken away, and how fast it can be given back…it is truly a miracle. 

So although I have felt a bit weary, I am choosing to believe that revival is here. I am thankful for the divine interventions of a word from the Lord in a beautifully timed worship song. My Heavenly Father knows exactly what I need, and is leaning in close to make sure I remember to prophesy to the breath...I can feel my strength, coming back again! 





Monday, February 22, 2021

Jubilee

I got into a habit a few years ago. I’d have a dream, or get a prodding from the Holy Spirit, and I began to make a note of it on my phone. After my Dad passed away, and we found ourselves going through his things, I even thought to myself, “Man, people are going to think I’m nuts when they read the stuff on my phone!” Most of what I’ve recorded may not be a word from God. But some of it…some of it is undeniably spot on. 

I think it was the end of 2010 when I started following a blogger who spoke about choosing a word for the year. I thought it was a great idea, and as the years went by, I was always surprised how my words always did tie into the year I was having. Of course, some skeptics told me that I was just looking for the word once I had established it. That’s why it’s hard for me to be around skeptics! At the end of 2010, I started what would be a year-long journey of unemployment, and I really needed a word to stand on. He gave me “strength” and it helped get me through a year of not knowing what tomorrow would bring. 

As the years passed, I’d find friends and co-workers who did the same thing. We’d share our words at the beginning of the year. We’d even write them up on the dry erase board in our office. It was our way of putting a stake in the ground for the year. We’d celebrate together when God would reveal deeper levels of why the word was meant for us in the particular year.

I was curious as to what my word for 2021 would be. My word (that ended up being “words”) for 2020 were “abide” and “arise”. I remember being perplexed as to how they fit together, they seem so counter to one another. But as 2020 began to reveal itself, it was clear how you could do both at the same time. 

In the year that seemed to take so much away, I wondered how God would follow it up for me. I remember hearing the whisper on 10/29/2020, “Jubilee is coming.” I remember putting a note in my phone when I heard it. I wish I had written how it was confirmed on 11/2/2020, but all I know is that it was. And once it was confirmed, it started popping up in so many places.

At first, I tried to make sense of it in my own understanding. I am turning 49 this year…actually today. Yes, I am actually typing this up as I turn 49 and enter the year of jubilee counting up to my 50th birthday. 

Oh God…I’ll be 50 next year. 

How could THIS be jubilee? I am still unmarried, without children, living in a pandemic with no sign of any freedom, debts being cancelled or deals involving large portions of land. The “Jubilee Year” is supposed to be the year of release. Meanwhile, I’m stuck in a house until a pandemic ends. 

But just as God has done so many times before, He has taken me on a journey of redefining what the jubilee year looks like for me. I remember being in a staff meeting at the end of 2020 where everyone was sharing how they were “thriving” in 2020. Whether it was starting a family or relationship, getting healthy or succeeding at work…I sat in my zoom square trying not to reveal the tears that were welling up in my eyes. If thriving and success were going to be measured by those standards, then that ain’t me! I didn’t have anything to share except that I recognized that what I had with Jesus is special. 

I recognized that what I had with Jesus is special. 

I sat with God in that. I wrestled with Him a bit. I asked Him why I had found myself speaking into so many people’s lives and situations to see Him then move in those lives and situations…but yet I still stood here feeling like I hadn’t gotten my own “moment” yet. What about me?  And as I sat with Him in a very vulnerable place, exposing the “ish” that I felt about that, I felt like He asked me, “But what if that’s your way to thrive?” What if your “thing” is that you hear from Me and then speak it over people, and then get to see those things I share with you happen for them? What if that’s your thriving?”

Since I made that proclamation in my own heart, it seems that the years of not feeling special, seen and loved fell off. This entire time, God was preparing me for this year of jubilee: the year that I fully grasped the cancelled debt of insecurity and the freedom that comes with knowing He and I have something special together. 

Now, I won’t say that I still haven’t had my moments. There are still things I want so bad for Him to tell me about my own life and situations. But I believe as I continue to focus on my special relationship with Him, He will continue to redefine the person I see staring back at me in the mirror.

So here’s to the next 365 days around the sun. I’ll go ahead and get my shofar ready to blow. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

She's Single...Bless Her Heart (originally posted on 12/21/2016)

This past week at church, my Pastor gave a great message which included an example that made me chuckle. He explained that where he grew up in the south, you could turn any insult into something that sounded less like an insult by adding the phrase, “Bless his/her heart.” For example: “Man, she’s put on a lot of weight since high school…bless her heart.” Or, “He is dumb as a doorknob…bless his heart.”

You get the idea.

On the way home from meeting up with some friends, I started thinking about the fact that at my age it seems like an awful lot of people could describe me as, “She’s single…bless her heart.” Like being a woman at this stage of life and single is an insult. The reason I can say that with some certainty is that I remember my 25-year old self thinking the same thing about the older, single women in my life. And I can’t lie…sometimes it feels like an insult having to say out loud that I’m “still single.” Definitely painful during this time of the year. Or national holidays. Or that dreaded bouquet toss at weddings. Especially if they play “All the Single Ladies.” I mean you might as well “bless my heart” right then and there.

I can easily start down that slippery slope of “How did this happen?” The problem with coming to that question is there really is nowhere to turn for the answer but to blame myself. Something I did or didn’t do or somewhere I did or didn’t go.

But the upside of being this age and single is I’ve also been privy to seeing a lot of my friends and family manage the “being single,” “being married,” and sometimes “being divorced.”  None of these seasons are easy, and they can all feel like an insult at times. In fact, during all these seasons I’ve heard people say, “How did I get here?”

So where does that leave my blessed heart? Well, it leaves me today with embracing where I am and remaining hopeful for what’s to come. You see, I am certain that I will be married someday. God has put that desire in my heart, and I am made for it. I remind myself of the day that I heard Him say “I’m preserving you for someone.” And I know I hear His voice. (Because…hello, who else would use those words?!) I have to sometimes remind myself more of that on days like today where I wish I had a partner I could call and talk to about the breakthrough in physical therapy. Or about how afraid I am about my Dad’s upcoming heart procedure. Or about the cricket I hear chirping and am praying is not in my room. (I hate crickets…they’re like beige roaches that you can hear.)

But I digress. Being single is not an insult. It’s a season of preparation for what’s to come. I’d like to believe I’m like a really fine wine that is aging for just the right palate. Or a steak marinating for just the right barbecue. God’s working through me and in me for just the right man that will come at just the right time. If you’re reading this, and single, and feeling insulted by it…I pray you will take heart. In fact, take your blessed heart and get to praying for your future mate.

Today’s Forecast:  I’m still single.

Silver Lining: Bless my heart.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Motherhood Without Children

My good friend DeShawne Edwards asked me to write a guest post for her series "Mom Memoirs". 

Take a look at what I wrote about "Motherhood Without Children" here.

Whether you're a mother or not, you'll want to follow my friend's blog here.

She's pretty amazing. 


Friday, January 22, 2021

Vulnerability

I love that one of the silver linings of 2020 was getting connected with a fabulous organization called "STRETCH." 

The mission of STRETCH. is to facilitate spaces for women to be vulnerable, embrace their weaknesses, and experience the unconditional love of God.

Not only was I honored to become a part of this organization's board, but they asked that I share a journal entry on "vulnerability" here.

If you are a woman, and you're looking for a place to rest, be loved and be seen, please check out www.stretchforwomen.org. 


Thursday, December 24, 2020

What I Learned About Scary Santa (originally posted 12/17/2017)

I came across this picture and laughed to myself as I made a connection I’m not sure I had ever made before. You see, I grew up deathly afraid of Santa Clause. I’m not sure if it came from some scary Santa story my brother told me, or maybe it was just the creepiness of a dude showing up in our house in the middle of the night. I would not even walk on the same floor of the mall as Santa! And the one year my Dad borrowed the company Santa suit to surprise me Christmas morning…well, I guess he had to tear the beard off because I lost my mind when I answered the door only to find Satan…I mean Santa…standing in front of our house. I loved the one special gift Santa left each year that was wrapped in some different paper or had my initial painted on it with glitter (because surely it was from him and not my parents…Mom would NEVER glitter paint our packages!) But anytime he made an appearance…forget it…I was not having it!

This is literally the only picture I have of myself as a kid with “Scary” Santa. Looks like I’m nervous…but I’m not crying. And why you may ask? Well, what I do remember about this picture that even my Mom doesn’t remember is what happened before it was taken. That blue overall set with the matching  turtleneck was a little snug. So snug that my pants ripped the moment I jumped on his lap! Now thankfully, nobody else noticed that this happened, and it was close to the end of the day so I’m sure I just tied my jacket around my waist. But perhaps THIS is where my fear of Santa began!

It’s interesting to think that there was fear associated with the first Christmas. I mean, how could the birth of our Savior elicit fear? But a few years ago I watched The Nativity Story, and it was one of the first times I really connected with what Mary and Joseph went through. I mean if anyone had a reason to be fearful, it was Mary, who found herself pregnant as a virgin in a time where her fiancĂ© could execute her for being so. And could you even imagine the amount of emotions that Joseph must have gone through at that time? Both had to believe that they were visited by angels and instructed on what their next steps would be and they had to choose to obey. I am sure that they had heard, or maybe even been witness to, a woman executed for cheating on their betrothed. Yet, instead of connecting that past experience with their current one, they chose to have faith and believe that they did not have to fear. They had to believe they heard from heaven and they had to have faith to endure. What I also love is that heaven knew how they were going to feel…and they weren’t shamed for it. Instead, messengers were sent to remind them, “don’t be afraid.”

The connection I made with my “Scary” Santa incident is that one instance could have been the reason I never wanted anything to do with him. Maybe I wasn’t really afraid of him. Maybe it was just the memory of him and, what could have been, a very humiliating day. Maybe I was more afraid that I’d jump up on his lap again and possibly rip my pants in a way that everyone would notice.

It made me think: Are there areas in my life that I am letting one past experience create fear in a present one? Do I let fear keep me from experiencing life because of that past experience? Have I “walked-the-top-floor-of-the-mall” in hopes that I would not have to face the fear head on?

If I’m honest: yes, yes and all-the-way yes.

Many have said that “fear not” is written 365 times in the Bible. I’m not sure if that’s true (I’ve never counted), but what I do know is that it was said a lot. And it was said by Jesus. And if it was said a lot in the Bible, and said by Jesus, then I know that it’s somewhere I want to be. A place where fear does not paralyze me from living my best life. A place where fear doesn’t stop me from opening up to new people or new situations. A place where fear does not control my decisions based on past heartbreaks or disappointments.

Today’s forecastMemories tell me, " Don't do it, you  might split your pants again."

Silver LiningHeaven tells me “Fear not! We know a pretty good Seamstress.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Always Kiss Me Goodnight

Today is my Mom and Dad’s 59th Wedding Anniversary. I say “is” because it very much still feels like they’re married. I know the vows say ‘til death do us part,’ but if you were in this house, you would sense it…she is still definitely Gene’s bride.

 Most mornings, I wake up and lay in bed for a few minutes thanking God I woke up. It may sound morbid, but if there is one thing I’ve learned in this past few years, tomorrow is not promised. There’s something about waking up early in the morning in a quiet house with the sprinklers on outside and just a hint of the sun coming through the window. It’s like I’m thankful I get another chance to try this thing called life again. The world is my oyster, and for all I know, the day could be a big fat pearl waiting for me! A new chance. A new opportunity. It’s not hard to thank God for that…I mean His Word even says it. Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

 On July 20,2019, as I was lying in bed thinking about the fact I got another day to give it the ol’ college try, I heard a whisper:

 “Always kiss me goodnight.”

 At first, I figured it was due to what I ate before I went to bed, paired with maybe a late night search on Pinterest. I knew I’d seen my share of photos of signs that say that under the “I Do” and “Wedding” boards! But then my mind started going to remembering the night before. I was super anxious for some reason. A lot had happened the day prior that left my mind racing and my nerves a bit frayed. But, before I turned on the house alarm and got into bed, I made sure to kiss my Mom on the cheek and say goodnight.

 It dawned on me, for the first time that morning, I had naturally fallen into the same pattern I had seen between my Mom and Dad my entire life. At the end of the day, whether it was a “good” day or a “bad” day, my Dad would make sure to kiss my Mom goodnight. I knew that was one of the many things my Mom missed in his sudden passing. I couldn’t remember whether I said goodnight to him the last night he was living. I had gotten home really late from work that night, and he was in his office on his computer. I was so exhausted, I’m not even sure if I stopped to say hello.

 I realized that the combination of remembering him in that nightly ritual with my mom, and the regret I had from the last night I saw him, I had taken on the habit. Every night since his passing, I make sure I say good night to my mom and give her a kiss on the cheek because tomorrow isn’t promised. So why this whisper on July 20, 2019? Always kiss me goodnight? I knew it was a God whisper, so I took some time to meditate on it. I started asking myself whether I was as thankful at night with my heavenly Father as I am with him in the morning. Do I “kiss” Him on the cheek before I go to sleep? Do I thank Him for the day, whether it was a day filled with old hurts or new beginnings? Or do I climb into bed, tired, hurt and let down, just wanting to get to another morning that if He allowed me to wake up again, I’d give it another try?

 I did what I always do when I get a word like this…I google all the things. I found myself at an article written for religionnews.com by Nadine Epstein. The article broke down the religious history of “X” and “O” which explained the religious background to why we sign letters with an XO. The article said:

 “Once it was a sacred symbol, the “x” represented “faith and fidelity,” says Marcel Danesi, a professor of linguistic anthropology and semiotics at the University of Toronto. It became the signature of choice in the Middle Ages, when few could write and documents were sealed with an x embossed in wax or lead. This may be when the “x” first became associated with the kiss: It was customary to close books with a kiss, and oaths of fealty to kings were sealed with a kiss.”

That was it. The King of all kings was asking me to seal my day, the day He had given me, with a kiss. No matter what did or did not happen in that day, would I seal the day with a kiss? However much I did or did not perceive Him working in my life, would I kiss Him goodnight? Even though I know that He promised me that joy came in the morning, my Heavenly Father was asking me to stop for a minute before I went to bed, and seal the day with a kiss.

 It’s not a practice I’ve gotten down perfectly. But on days like today, and nights like tonight, I am grateful again that I have another chance to kiss Him goodnight.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Untitled

I literally don’t know where to start. That seems to be the “norm” this year, if there could ever be a norm to 2020. At first, I thought I was receiving the tie up to a writing I had started but never finished. Then I thought I was getting some pretty package of what my words for 2020 really reflected. Then I sat and stared at the screen and read something that took me to a place where I could literally feel the “girl shrugging” emoticon rise up from my toes as the overarching gesture to God I’m feeling right now. 

I simply have no title to what is happening right now. 

I was drawn back to that thing I wrote about quicksand a couple years ago. Once again, an overwhelming feeling of being stuck, only to be reminded not to try to scurry out of it. Sure, there will be people who will tell me I’m stuck because I choose to be. Those people don’t know the eternal struggles I have on a daily. They aren’t with me in the midnight hour when all in me wants to run from this place. Those moments I want to pull my way out of a tough situation that seems to be swallowing me whole. The moment when what seems to be the “perfect solution” is placed in front of me…only to have the honest conversation with myself that I placed it in front of me, not God. What I’ve learned about quicksand, and more importantly, those places…the more I fight to escape, the more I am engulfed by the circumstance. 

What God taught me then, and He is ever so gently reminding me this morning…”Lean back into me. What’s the last thing I told you? When you find yourself stuck in the muck and mire of a circumstance? When you feel in your bones you are going under and this time for good? When you are fighting with all of your might to get out of something that you think I did not intend for you? My daughter, what is the last thing I told you?” 

It’s those moments that I’m not only reminded of the last thing He told me, but that also heard Him right. Just like the article said about quicksand, “Lay back and create a bigger footprint by allowing yourself to float. Yes, do the exact thing that sounds absolutely crazy. Lay yourself back and allow your body to float above the very thing trying to suck you in.” 

Fighting back in something He’s told me to release has always ended up with me even deeper into a circumstance I was not supposed to be in. A place I was not supposed to walk into. I was reminded of the last time I said yes to something that seemed like the perfect solution to me. One week in, and I had to make the painful realization that I had taken things into my own hands and walked into a place He had not prepared for me. It was hard to admit, but had I not made the hard decision to say, “This isn’t right, I need to leave,” I would have missed the last 4 years of the people I have met, the experiences I have had, the healing I have experienced, and the full understanding of how much my Father in heaven loves me. Even in circumstances that try to make me feel like I’m unseen and not valued, I have come to a place where I recognize I am fully known, seen and loved by God…and that is enough. 

Today’s Forecast: A story with no title. 
Silver Lining: God’s a better writer than me.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

My Achilles Heel

On July 23rd, I was putting together a donation pick up that I completely forgot I had scheduled. I blame it on being four+ months into a pandemic with a sprinkle of grief. The donation pick up was mostly to handle the cleaning out of my Dad's closet. I'd bagged up most of his belongings a few months prior, but had now been given the green light from my Mom to have the bags taken away. Since the truck was coming, I figured "Why not binge some of the stuff in my own closet?!" As I went through my piles, I found myself wanting to hold onto items I hadn't warn for some time. Items that were too big for me now. As I slowly skipped over the "just in case" pile, I felt a gentle nudge: "You're never going to wear that size again, let it go." 

So I did. 

It's now 77 days from that day, and I have refocused on my health, started a regimented food program and I am now working out regularly. I'm close to hitting my first goal of 25 pounds and am feeling like I could actually do it this time!

One of the blessings that has come from this refocus is actually experiencing the healing that has taken place in my heel. After tearing it two times in the last 4 years, I wondered if I would ever be able to be active again. I wondered if my achilles heel would actually always be my achilles heel! I remember days I sat in chairs crying because I couldn't walk, and the pain of taking the next step was greater than my willingness to even try. What if I tore it again? What I didn't know is that injury and the time of facing a weakness I had no control over, set me up for some future storms that were coming. Just as 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, His grace is sufficient and His power is made PERFECT in my weakness.

I decided to go back and read about that time, and wanted to share it here




Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Rain Is Coming

God brought back into memory two things He taught me in the past 2 years. We obviously find ourselves in a desert season. The heat is quite literally, and figuratively, rising. I woke up this AM in a warm home with the sun beating in and remembered, “Oh yeah, a heat wave starts today.” I’m not a fan of the heat. It has the tendency to feel like it sucks all the life out of me. I wish I were one of those people who thrive in it…but I literally pray for it to go. I pray for the rain.

The silver lining is the Holy Spirit has taught me to not only be comforted in these seasons of intense heat, but to recognize that they are temporary seasons. I'm always comforted by the impending rain, but even the rain can bring things I'm not expecting. Whether the heat and drought bring a superbloom or quicksand after the rain, He has taught me to learn from both.

Friday, February 21, 2020

This Isn't What I Asked For

I have to admit…I was feeling a certain kind of way as I got in the car after my hair appointment.

“Jesus, let it not be as short as it looked in the big mirror.”

” Jesus, let that “bowl cut” I saw staring back at me just be due to the fact that my need for glasses was not just for reading anymore.”

“Jesus, let that sticker I see “objects may appear closer than they are” really mean “your hair may appear shorter than it is.”

No such luck. As I looked at my reflection and then down at the Pinterest picture on my phone that I showed my hairdresser, only one thing was certain:

This isn’t what I asked for.

I had to laugh at myself for a minute because I realized that it was my own darn fault. I’ve been coming to this guy for 20+ years. He cuts and dries my hair in 30 minutes, he’s still only charging $50 for a cut, and I can go at least 10 weeks before I’m tempted to take the scissors to my bangs. That’s like unheard of in Los Angeles! He does straight hair really, really good. And for this curly-haired girl who’s always wanted straight hair, he’s been a blessing. But I’ve been down this road before. I know he’s not good at color, and he’s not good at curls.

It’s funny how life can feel like that more days than others. I’ve written about self-pity before, but now looking back at my life 6 years ago and my life now…I kinda want to go back and slap some sense into myself. Although I recognize there have been times in my life that I’ve been limited to what I could and could not choose to do, this season is so much different.

I realize that my life does have, what appears to be, a few circumstances that have created limits to what I can and can’t do. At times, I imagine it feels like my friends who have kids or are married. Your life and your life choices don’t only affect you. And although I am neither married, or have children, I currently have some life circumstances that carry a different weight of responsibility than that girl who was just feeling overlooked and uninvited to a few shin digs.

Just like my haircut, I used to have a picture of what I wanted my life to look like. By now, I thought I’d be going on 20+ years of marriage. The stretch marks I see on my stomach would have been from having a few kids, not from years of yo-yo dieting and bad health decisions. The house I was living in was supposed to be mine, not the one my Dad passed away in 2 years ago. I wouldn’t have a front row seat in watching my mom navigate widowhood 24/7. Instead, I’d have a front row seat in watching my parents live out their last days in their dream home together, loving on their grandkids and their other daughter, our dog Daisy. I’d actually be longing for the days I had a moment to myself. I would be in that familiar rhythm with a husband who adored me, so it wouldn’t matter how freakin’ short my hair was…he’d be happy on the days I brushed it and put on a little make up, because it would remind him of the girl he fell in love with.

Recently, my pastor preached a sermon he entitled, “The Devil Made Me View It.” It was all about recognizing that although the devil is real and he is a liar, a lot of what happens in my life can’t be blamed on “the devil made me do it,” but rather on how “the devil made me view it.” The devil never told Eve to eat the apple. Instead, he asked the question “Did God really say…” so that she would change her perspective and then actually move out of alignment with God.

Often times, God will allow us to be in a place of discouragement so we can be reminded that He is with us, He is for us and He is faithful. It’s just a matter of a perspective shift. Even Jesus had that moment, and the vulnerability to ask, “Father is there ANY other way?” But Jesus quickly had the perspective shift, “not My will, but Yours.” It brought Him into alignment with the Father’s will and the rest is history!

What my hair mishap reminded me of today on my 48th birthday is that I’m a different girl than that girl who has asked, “Why am I not where I want to be?” And although the last 2 years have been some of the hardest moments of my life thus far, it has also been the biggest perspective shifter in how I view myself and how I view God. I do allow myself that moment, every so once in a while, to look in the mirror and say to God “this isn’t what I asked for.” But the difference now is that He has brought me to a place of quickly getting back into alignment with His will for my life. He has already told me and shown me who I am in Him. He’s put the desires in my heart and He is faithful. I don’t care what it looks like, I now hold onto my heavenly perspective. And this perspective could have never come without experiencing the lowest of low moments, only to be surrounded by His presence, and then reminded of His strength, that lives inside of me.

So, this morning when I woke up and stumbled into the bathroom only to be greeted by a girl one year older with really short hair…I wiped the gunk out of my eyes and took out all my best curling products. I re-washed my hair and styled it as best I could. Even though it’s not what I asked for, it will grow back. I still have a really good head of hair on me. This will be SO much easier to cover the gray, and it literally takes ¼ of the time to get ready.

Today’s Forecast: It may not be what I asked for…

 Silver Lining: …but it is how I see it.