Sunday, July 18, 2010

a lesson in encouragement

Thursday morning. Two words. Sorely trying. In other words, very difficult. I work at a day program for adults with disabilities. The job is very rewarding and fun, and it can also be very draining. I generally shy away from writing about my job to protect the privacy of the participants and their families. But, I wanted to share this story today.

Thursday morning had had its fair share of meltdowns by 12:20 in the afternoon. I was feeling slightly (understatement) frazzled by the time I had finished my lunch. I was praying, "Lord, please help me make it through this day." I sat down in the lunch room, and one of the participants, I'll call her Elizabeth, looked across the table at me and said, "Hi Abby!" with a big grin on her face. "Hi Elizabeth." I smiled back. "I miss you Abby, I have fun with you." Elizabeth replied, still grinning.

Talk about heartwarming.

Elizabeth's small act of encouragement gave me a burst of energy for the rest of the day. I smiled more, I laughed with more joy. I knew someone was happy that I made it to work that morning, and it made all the difference.

I want to be more like Elizabeth. I would love to be the bright spot in someone else's day. I want to be an intentional encourager. I want to see the beauty that God has created in other individuals, and speak a little joy into their lives.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up."
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thursday, July 15, 2010

necessity & desire

How often do you find yourself wanting something "new"? It happens all too regularly to me. It's not that I'm always wanting new shoes or clothes (although, I must admit I LOVE getting new clothes). Sometimes I just want a new pen, or some corn-syrup-free-gummy-bears, or a chai tea. I like stuff. It feels good to get something. But do I need any of these things?

It's so easy to fall into a bad pattern of spending, but what am I really looking for?

Perhaps at times I feel like ignoring God for a moment. Perhaps I'm greedy. Perhaps my flesh is selfish and gluttonous. Probably, I wouldn't put any of those things past me.

Oh, how often have I bought something, telling myself, "Now, I'm set for the year. This feels great." Only to pass by another storefront and have my mind riddled once again with desire. Have I ever spent one day of my life not wanting something material?

"There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by the owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is a father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and he shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand." Ecclesiastes 4:13-15

Maybe I should think less about my own satisfaction, and think a little more about not being an owner whose riches were kept to her own hurt. What if I worried about sharing the riches God has given me (in resources, time, and prayer) for others, and stopped wondering whether I was happy?

It's so easy for me to fall into this pit. Even my desire for time at home can be a stumbling block. Anything can be a stumbling block when it keeps me from doing what God is calling me to do.

Can I escape my me-me-me attitude? Not likely, unless Christ is truly King of my heart.

"Then Jesus told His disciples, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?" Matthew 16:24-26

Is Jesus worth giving up the people I love, time, finances, and everything else I hold dear? Most definitely. Do I live everyday like that is true? Hardly.

Today, like everyday that came before it was chance to live with Jesus as King. What will it look like if Jesus is King of everything? Much better than it looks now. I think it will be beautiful, and it will be heaven. Until all is fulfilled, I'm going to keep striving to give up my rights, and work for the Kingdom while I still have a few days left on earth.

Monday, July 12, 2010

lovely monday

It's been awhile since I have written one of these posts, and I figured today was as good a monday as any to write one. After a great weekend, I need to look at the the beautiful things around me to give me a little extra energy for the week. So, here is my lovely monday list for today:

1. Tim doesn't work nights or weekends anymore (huzzah!)
2. Our frequent trips to the beach.
3. Green.... the trees and grass make my eyes happy.
4. Coconut ice cream sandwiches.
5. Summer clouds.
6. Bare feet.
7. Time for art.
8. Watermelon, strawberries, peaches, and blueberries.
9. A calm day at work.
10. My third day in a row posting on my blog.
11. Family (I love you all!).
12. Falling more in love with my Savior Jesus and my husband Tim everyday.

So what makes your day lovely? I'd love to hear about it.

P.S. Here is a verse I have been trying to wrap my thoughts around lately (it's truly a wonderful list to dwell on). "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

Sunday, July 11, 2010

an evening at the beach

Last night Tim and I went over to the beach. It was absolutely beautiful. A storm has just rolled through, and the clouds were breathtaking. I wished I had my sister (a very talented photographer) with me last night. These pictures don't give justice to the beauty we witnessed last night. I just love the beach.

"When I look at the heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?" Psalm 8:3-4

Saturday, July 10, 2010

happy weekend!

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend so far... this is a picture I drew this week after Tim and I went over to the beach on Monday. It is missing a lot of things, namely the other thousand people that were also at the beach that night. But it was beautiful, and we are hoping to head over there again today.

Other things on the agenda? A little relaxing, some space for creating art, making meatballs and maybe brownies, church, and a birthday party.

What do you have planned for the weekend? I hope you have a lovely one.

Monday, July 5, 2010

a monster inside

I'm the best and brightest, most creatively beautiful thing to hit the scene. Cream of the proverbial crop. The ace of spades. The star of the show.

Ok, enough of that. Did the above paragraph make you cringe? I hope so. The lack of humility in it is nauseating. And yet, I should more often feel sick from the pride that permeates my existence.

My pride causes so much pain, to myself and those around me. Pride freezes me out of productivity at times because I'm so afraid that the next thing I write, draw, or cook will not be as good as the last one. It makes me hate the things that I do when they are short of my standard... perfection.

I wait for applause. Feel ill-used when no one notices, and blush with pleasure when I achieve a minute of praise.

It spoils my enjoyment of the beauty around me that has been created by others, because for that moment they are in the spotlight, and I look on jealous at their success.

When will humility become a primary piece of my character, rather than a weak show I put up to hide the monster inside of me?
"Pride is a spiritual cancer," writes C.S. Lewis, "It eats the very possibility of love or contentment, or even common sense."

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for my pride. I sorry for the love, contentment, and common sense that has been stolen out of my interactions with you... because I was focused on me.

"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

Father, please rescue me before I self-destruct. My pride threatens to take the life that You have given me, the life that You desire for me. Please kill my pride. Please help me find my confidence in You. Please let my awe of You create a humble spirit in me, a spirit that is most joyful when You are praised and You are glorified. Please be first in my life, others second, and let me consider myself last. You are my King, let my life be a sacrifice for You.