Today is our wedding anniversary.
We are celebrating 45 years and actually we have known each other almost 48 years because we dated in high school, graduated a year before me.
We were young, and not knowing much. I was 18 and he was 19.
A lot has changed in 45 years. Our first child was a son then three years later we had a daughter.
We raised babies into teens then from teens to adults.
Both got married and had children creating for us the ‘ability’ to be grandma and grandpa.
It has been many ups and downs and better and worse moments but through it all; we made it together.
We are more mature now, in our 60’s and age has not been kind to our waist lines but we are healthy and happy and that is way more important than a number on the scale.
We have seen preemie babies and also teens once more pass through our doors.
The circle repeats itself with our children then with their children.
I feel honored to be called grandma to six. Our son had three sons and our daughter had three girls.
It is a privilege to live close to them and be an active part of their lives.
We celebrate us today. It has been a journey that nothing can prepare you for when you first begin.
Life was as we knew it as young adults who played house for many years then grew one into a home.
Maturity and values play a huge role in this commitment together.
We have cared for each other through surgeries, recoveries, and illnesses too.
We have watched our parents age and pass away and that has left us feeling very different.
Life has changed us for good and we have a story to tell and a legacy to leave.
Today is our 45th anniversary and we will celebrate with a nice dinner and dessert.
It is good to be together. As we move into our sunset years there will be many unknowns; and that will be ok we have our faith and our God and that is all we need to face the years to come.
Today is our wedding anniversary.
I found a wonderful saying the other day. I have no idea how to verify whether it was a real quote from the person I believe who wrote Winnie the pooh series.
“Its more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, “what about lunch?” AA Milne
That is exactly who I like to be with. Simple too the point and not over done with words.
We have all met those kind who talk non stop and so much so that I want to just say, “hush.”
I love the real authentic way it sounds. What about lunch? that is relational.
On this first day of November the month for giving thanks. I am challenging us to be more real.
Keep it simple and in our speaking and in our friendships, be simple.
Don’t over expect things. Don’t demand. Just be.
Authentic and real behavior will get us so much further.
I also don’t like overly busy people who want to know more about things they do not need to know.
I love simplicity of words, life and life’s choices.
As I have gotten older and more mature I would rather be with someone who is real, and who does not demand from me their ‘expectation of our friendship.’
Rule makers don’t always make the best of friends.
At least in my point of view and experience.
Do you have a good friend who you can say to on any day, “what about lunch?”
During this time of Thanksgiving I challenge us to write down who we are thankful for and maybe even why we are thankful for them.
Then to take it a bit further and maybe even send them a note hand written letting them know of your gratefulness for them.
Simple words get to the heart. When we have lunch with someone we chat, we share and we break bread.
Relational experience and honest sharing.
Let’s begin today and see how our lives can be enriched by a simple question, ‘how about lunch?’
When I think of the word peace, it seems to me that it would follow all the other ones we’ve studied.
We began with the word belong, then we moved to rest, then to pause, then to letting go, then to release and now the final one would be peace.
Once we have understood that all the words work together; the final thing to settle in our lives, is peace.
Peace: a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations:
(Try to live in peace with your neighbors.) A state of tranquility or serenity: silence; stillness, freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession.
I think it is calming to think of what happens when all these words play a role; bringing together the deep peace we are searching for in our lives.
When we let go; we release, when we pause; we rest, when we realize we truly belong; we stop fighting to prove we do, we just rest in the knowing.
It is a great peace for our spirit. It is well with our soul.
Jesus came to bring us peace, he also came to teach us healing, and give hope.
The word peace is used in the bible 249 times, a rather significant amount I think.
Luke 8:48 [Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”]
John 14:27 [“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”]
Philippians 4:7 [And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.]
So receive your healing. Receive your peace. You have worked hard in the process.
Know you belong… learn to rest well, learn to pause, learn to let go, learn to release then accept and breathe in the peace that is given to you.
It is a good thing.
When I think of the word release; it brings me to the thoughts of how it is much like the last few words we have studied.
It’s definition is: a freeing from anything that restrains, to give up, relinquish, or surrender, a form of liberation.
When I think in the light of our personal growth there are often times when we must let go of something old and familiar in order for us to experience something fresh new.
Remember the trees letting go of the old so new can take shape?
It is a willingness to ‘open our hands’ and let it go.
It requires us to be present in the decision, it also requires us to be mindful of the choice.
When I release anger, or frustration or hurt, I choose to let it go so in that space I can have joy or peace or healing.
It is freeing and necessary to our spirit to release things that burden us.
No longer will we be enslaved to the thoughts or the clutter once we learn to release it all.
This theme we have been studying about words that are similar and challenging hopefully has been something for us all to think about.
When we open our choice to release all the hard things that blur our vision of hope and joy we gain so much in the quality of our life.
It is not an easy task. Some of us like to control many things and we cannot release and control at the same time, it doesn’t work that way.
We must find it within ourselves to release the places within us that are not healthy or good.
In the spiritual sense we release and surrender to the Holy Spirit so that HE can help us grow deeper.
There are many levels of release.
It is up to us to decide if we want to stay unchanged and unsettled.
It is freeing to let go. It is hard and difficult and may take many times to finally accomplish it.
But oh what a joy when we can know we have done what we needed to do to release it.
So my challenge for you and I is to ask ourselves, what do we need to do today?
What needs to be released within our lives?
Then after we know what it is we can find the courage to do what we need to do.
When I think of the words letting go, they really follow after the word pause and even rest.
This morning as I sat in my chair with my hot cup of coffee; I watched the trees outside drop leaves.
They fall ever so gently down to the ground and pile into little mounds of golden beauties.
The trees don’t worry about letting go of the leaves they adorn themselves with in the fall.
They know as in all nature it is a part of the change of seasons.
In the winter the barren branches hold secrets we know nothing about.
They prepare the tree for new growth in the spring all in the quiet of the dormant season.
I think our lives are very similar to this.
We busy ourselves with lists of to do’s and focus on what must be done and sometimes… just sometimes… we must learn the art of letting go.
Perhaps there are programs, classes, some duties we assigned ourselves to; that are not as necessary as we once thought.
As I mentioned before sometimes saying, “I have had enough” is the most healthy part of letting go for us.
Sometimes it’s also the hardest thing for us. For when we are doing; we find identity and when we let go we feel empty and not needed.
Not realizing we are not what we do; but who we are in the quiet.
Let’s learn to let go of things that crowd our lives with stress and turmoil.
The idea of letting go, and seeing the piles of unnecessary jobs or duties we thought we must do is empowering through the simplicity of movement and choices and it becomes freeing.
It leaves room for new growth; just as the trees outside prepare themselves for winter then spring.
They cannot form new leaves with the old ones still hanging on.
Yesterday we drove by a row of fall trees on our way home from the beach.
Most had lost the leaves and they looked bare with branches empty, then I noticed two little trees fully covered in orange and yellow. They were not ready.
They were hanging on and it reminded me of how we hang on to things that are not helpful or healthy to us.
Often our grip is firm and what we thought we needed distracts us from our real growth.
Maturing is a necessary part of life and letting go is what our heart needs to embrace.
Let’s challenge ourselves to do the hard part.
When I think of the word pause, which is a word prompt from a writers group; it stops me in my tracks because the word is so powerful.
When you hear it what does it stir within you?
The meaning is: a temporary stop or rest, a cessation of activity, to linger or dwell, to wait or hesitate.
To pause is not too much different than the last word we thought about, to rest.
Pray, Ask, Understand, Seek, Enough… that is what came to me..
When I think of pausing it seems fitting for me to ask ourselves what do we need?
That is why the word pray came to me. Sometimes we need to stop, and pray about what is bothering us.
If you are someone who doesn’t consider prayer in your life then just journal about it.
Then we can ask: what do we need right now? what would be helpful during this ‘pause’ time?
Then we can understand why it is important to stop, to dwell in the moment, to wait.
Then we can seek to listen to what our heart needs and our spirit desires, during this pause.
Then we can truly learn to say: “I have had enough” I am taking a break and this is the reason why.
I think of the saying that has been circling around on face book that says:
Pause before doing anything. Ask yourself, is it kind, it is helpful, is it hurtful, is it healing?
To be able to ask those questions before proceeding is so important.
I find the ability to pause is vital to a healing heart.
To learn to say, “no not at this time”. To stop and take a break, it is empowering and freeing.
Again it brings us back to the word restore.
To pause is also very similar to wait. To stop and not move.
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NASB
Are we ready to pause for a season?
(unsure of photo source)
When I think of the word rest; I am drawn to the many times it is mentioned in the bible which is called God’s word.
I found 92 references in my search.
Beginning in Genesis 2:2: [By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.]
I imagine if God, the HOLY God, the almighty creator God had to take a rest after creating shouldn’t we be inclined to think it’s something we should do also?
Sunday is known for being a day of rest… it is also known for being very busy.
I remember when our little ones were still taking daily naps; I would lay down and take a rest time when they did so we all could be refreshed later.
It is a good thing to stop and regroup your senses to be still and quiet and rest.
Exodus 33:14 says: [The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”]
I find that to mean a calming of spirit, a deep knowing; you are not alone.
Job 3:13 [For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest]
Psalm 62:5 [Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.]
As I read the parts of the old Testament in my bible gateway search, there are a few meanings for rest.
Rest as in napping or sleeping, rest as in ‘the rest’ of the tribe or people, rest as in the beginning of the word restore.
Kind of funny how after a good rest, we do feel restored.
I love how the word validates such a good thing as a good nap or a good night’s sleep.
My husband and I just got back from a few days at the beach; and we not only feel rested but we feel restored as the beach is always our happy place.
Psalm 116:7 [Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.]
What are your thoughts on the word rest? have you even thought about it?
Can I challenge you to think on this for awhile and let yourself rest in the ONE who gives true rest?
Proverbs 19:23 [The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.]
Isaiah 32:18 [My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.]
I don’t know about you but I really want to claim that verse for my life.
When I think of the word belong I am reminded of the meaning.
Dictionary.com said; (Being a part of, connected to and in relationship to, someone or something.)
In families it looks like a continual commitment to the purpose of being together.
I don’t like the concept of ‘owning’ someone, it is not like that, in a family we belong together and we are in the mindset to work as a whole.
I think it is a good thing and the meaning can be very powerful.
In the family unit we ‘belong together’ we are bonded through the power of love.
Our children when they came to us were bonded to us as blood relatives they belonged to us.
Sometimes change takes place and marriages fail but the family unit still belongs to each other.
In the concept of church we see it differently, at least I do.
I belong to the church because I want to be there and see it grow and mature and I want to be a part of that growth.
The word belong is used 149 times in the bible. Rather significant amount of meanings.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
“Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God;” Psalm 62:11
In the old testament belonging was a way of knowing what family line someone came from.
In the New Testament it was a bit different not so much which family tribe someone was from but more of gifts given to chosen ones.
[But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”] Matthew 19:14 He said this in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The point of the word as I see it is connection and choice.
If we follow the Lord, we belong to him.[and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.]
1st Corinthians 3:23
When I think of the word belong it brings hope. It is saying, “you are important.”
To belong means you are not alone, you are chosen. You matter and you are special.
I think in many ways we all want to belong to something.
What are your thoughts? When you belong to a group how does it make you feel?
Just a few things to think about.
The continued lesson from our Pastor Mike is about the word, Belong.
My last writing was about family.
The times shared together through holidays, vacations, meals shared, defining moments that say ‘we belong to each other and we are family.’
It is a how we say ‘we belong here’.
The church is very similar to the relationship of family.
We learn how to belong through the context of commitment and time spent together.
Pastor said if we don’t grasp and embrace the family we will struggle with ‘the OUR Father’ concept.
Families who are healthy look out for each other, do good to each other, carry one another’s burdens.
When someone is sharing a matter of their heart we listen and invest in their journey.
In family we encourage each other to grow and mature.
When we have hard and difficult times we cannot overcome alone. We belong to each other and we walk alongside each other, in the context of family if we don’t make it together we don’t make it all.
The church is very similar. It cannot be whole by itself, it must have people who say “I belong here.”
In family the problems are shared. Your problem becomes my problem and we can work on it together.
The burden belongs to all who align themselves as ‘belonging’. No one is alone.
When a family is strong, the enemy will try to attack and break down the ‘walls of belonging.’
He will attack our identity, our unity, our peace, our faithfulness, and our hope.
It’s really hard to continue to belong when the forces are against us.
We find ourselves discouraged and pulled down when we allow the enemy to speak lies to us.
Pastor said, “until you have revelation of truth you will never understand the powers that are against you to survive and stay together.” The church is the same way.
He said a dysfunctional family will make more relational withdrawals than healthy deposits.
Health deposits must be a family commitment.
Pastor said we must learn to carry each other’s burdens while dropping our ways of defense.
If someone in your family or church betrays you, only you have the power to decide how you are going to release it and let it go. Healthy relationships honor you and whisper affirming words to your spirit.
Relationships mean showing up for each other. Making time matter. Showing up means sacrificing our agenda and our plans for each other, it is all a part of belonging.
Showing up means you are present with the person while you are listening to them in person.
The key to all of this teaching is this; vulnerability lies in the heart of connection.
It is all a part of belonging. Allowing others to see us, and then allow each of us to connect to the commitment to each other.
When I say I belong to my church Grace chapel, I am saying I value it, I thrive in it and I commit to it.
Showing up is putting action to our words. Life works so much better through the context of relationships.
Let’s learn to do them well.
There has been more lessons from our Pastor that have been both challenging and stirring.
His new topic is about family. How the church is similar to a family setting.
He shared that in a family you build each other up, you stand beside each other, you take the time to listen and walk alongside your family if they need you.
The church is very similar. We are available to each other. If someone hurts, we hurt with them.
It is a community of ‘caring’ and that is what the church is representing.
Now in all fairness if you were raised in a broken home, a different setting like I was, the concept of family is disturbed or disrupted.
My dad left when I was a young age leaving me to grow up during the formative years without a dad’s opinion or input into my life.
We had grandma’s and grandpa’s and I don’t say they were not a great help; but in the heart of a child to have a parent’s approval and or love is healthy to one’s spirit.
It is nurturing. Healing and creates a wholeness that a broken home does not give.
The church can be a healthy home, or a dysfunctional home and I do believe my husband and I have experienced both kinds.
I generally leave if I feel the dissonance between word and behavior because of my gift of discernment.
I can tell if it is a ‘setting that is toxic’ pretty much right away.
A few times I have confronted a pastor or two which only led us to the point of leaving.
It is who I am, I value true and healthy relationships and if there is a point of discernment for me and my spirit is churning then it’s time to confront, change or leave.
Family is a bit different because you really can’t leave your relatives although some have tried.
Family is blood ties. It is inherited genes and whether we like it or not, we are related to those who we struggle with. I think that is why the church is very similar to family.
It teaches us to have compassion, to care, and most of all to forgive.
The new lesson from our pastor is about family and I think it will be a very powerful time of listening for us as he unpacks the words of truth.
Stay with me as I share more.