10/22/2015

Joy: Five Minute Friday

My first ever Five Minute Friday!

My youngest daughter's middle name is Joy and it couldn't be more appropriate. Her first name is that of a prophet in the bible, so the fact that Joy is her middle name balances out the seriousness of her first.

She is my little rascal. I can make her giggle just by looking at her sideways when she's whining. She's always waiting for me to make her laugh or feel better when she's sad. Laughter is right on the tip of her heart all the time.

Since I've grown closer to the Lord Jesus I realize that laughter is always right around the corner. Rest and trust go hand in hand with laughter and joy. It's a comfortable, secure child that can be changed from tears to giggles so quickly.

God has taught me to be flexible and to roll with it, laugh at it, and then move on to the bigger picture. His picture. I cleaned up barf today probably six times. Just when I thought the cleaning was done and the virus past, she let loose everything since lunchtime all over her bed.

Joy came when my son looked at my face and said, "Sorry Mom, that you did all that work and now you have to start over again." What five-year-old says the exact right thing at just the right moment? When God is here, He provides joy. Supernaturally and unexpectedly. That's the best kind.


10/17/2015

Discovering Rest

"Do what you can with what you have," was a friend's advice from several years ago when I was living in North Hollywood and pursuing a film-editing career. It's from a quote by a famous American president. When she counseled me with those words I was buried under overwhelming distraction and defeat. Later I discovered that I'd never had it in me to work in the film industry. I ended up retreating back to familiar territory where I could regroup and start again. It was a pattern for me, that starting over. It wasn't long before each dream pursued became a lesson in accepting failure like a big girl. There comes a time when you just gotta call it. Call it what it is and turn in your badge. That's how I felt, until I had children.

I couldn't care how my actions affected the people around me before I had kids. Everyone who was surprised or misled by my choices were adults and would have to just learn to deal with my unpredictability. I had come face to face time and again with the brick walls of self-doubt and crippling emotional roadblocks so that in order to survive I had to relocate. I'd make plans and begin my journey of taking risks and giving it everything I had. It cost me so much, but I gained so much wisdom through each experience. For some reason I could never get past a certain point to find success.

Then I stumbled into parenthood with my eyes wide open and heart bursting with hope. Almost eight years and three children later I still hold onto the dream of loving and protecting these young humans with everything I have to offer. Only this time I'm not holding them by the threads of fragile self-sufficiency or even my own ingenuity. I have a fresh new place of confidence and bravery. I've finally embraced my weakness and become intimate with my inadequacy. Instead of denying my foolish tendencies and reasoning away my sloppy track record, I've owned them. Gone are the days when I talked myself into risky decisions in the name of success. I have a new dream that holds every other dream I've ever had.

Rest. Stillness. How is that even possible in this culture? The fast-paced life of L.A. and the entertainment machine calls out for dreamers like me. It was dizzying and disorienting how fast and hard everything was there. People could rarely be trusted to be real, ambitions reigned, and relationships were disposable. If you couldn't keep up then you'd be trampled under. I escaped with my life. But it wasn't until about ten years later that I'd find peace.

God knew that children would mellow me out. Not because they are boring, no way! But because they slow us down if we let them. I keep asking the Lord if I should jump back into the fray and do something other than just parent. But I have a feeling that I won't be permitted to do anything but be with the kids until I learn to be as the kids. Rest. Stillness. Like a little child who has no choice but to trust, I must let go. Flop into the arms of my Heavenly Father.

What do I have? If I am to do what I can with it, I should know what it is. I have proof of God's hand in my life. I have His provision for all that I need. I have protection from anything that would prevent me from growing closer to Him. I have purpose as I live His plan for me. What can I do with all that? It sounds pretty cozy to me. It seems as though I have a very sweet place to get some rest. Lord knows I need it.