Finding Calm in the Chaos

We sit at my kitchen table, big mugs filled with steaming coffee. She is 10 years ahead of me, and I am relishing the time I have with her.  I pepper her with questions, and she  humbly shares her heart. There’s something about the calm, tempered words of the mature believer that makes me stop and take notes. I love my times with women who have been tempered by time, experience…and God.

The words she speaks fill me with life and hope. As I have peered into the new season we are entering, it’s easy to become afraid of the unknown.  Sitting with one who has walked through this season, and who lives it in such a way that stirs up excitement instead of dread, is an amazing gift that I want to offer to others.

There aren’t always answers to life’s chaos,” she says, “Sometimes there is just chaos, and in the end we see that God has changed us in the chaos...”

Sometimes there are no answers…no lessons.  Just chaos.  But God changes us in the chaos.

These words changed me.  They wrapped up everything that God has been doing. As a parent. As a wife. In our life ministry.  In this season of change and loss. I want to know what God is doing.

  • When parenting is exhausting beyond words, I want to know there will be fruit in the end.
  • When marriage feels like we are just going through the motions, I want to know that God is still at work.
  • Every time I face the heart adjustment of a new season, I want the path to be painless and  eloquently laid out before me.
  • When our world is rocked, life doesn’t make sense, we feel the stabbing pain of another loss, and my Christian pat answers don’t work  anymore…

Often  there are just no answers.  Just chaos.  But God is changing our hearts…our spirits…in the midst of the chaos.

And my time with this one who is 10 years ahead of me is used to show me that God has been changing us, all these years, amidst so much chaos.  I am beginning to understand the calm that comes with years and experience, and what it means to let go and allow the chaos to violently swirl around us as God quietly does His work.

And that is enough.

His Dreams

So many hopes and dreams. They started as small seeds planted. Anticipating. Dreaming. Praying — almost losing hope.

Now I am older and they are still there — those same dreams. Yes, they are still there. Some have come to fruition, some are in process. Confusion sometimes enters in, then the dreams seem distorted and out of place. A storm swirling, blowing those dreams away. And there is fear — fear that if I let go I will lose control. Fear that if I share my dreams, if they become words that spill out into the ears of others, they will suddenly seem foolish. Small. Insignificant. Then what will I have? What will I have if they were foolish, small, and insignificant? What if they are? If they are, then I will wither up and blow away in the wind. Yes. That’s what I’ll do, it seems.

Tears well up. Heart is pounding. If I let go – If I let go – I’ll lose! Yet He pulls at my heart. Waiting patiently. Pulling. Drawing me.  The Power that cannot be ignored or resisted. The ever present Force that whispers…

“I am the One who created them. I made them up. I planted those seeds in the heart of a little girl. I have made them grow and come to fruition. Some of them are still in process. Sometimes they seem out of reach, but don’t forget that the dreams you have, those hopes and longings, are found right in Me. They originated with Me. They are found right inside your home. In the people I have given you. In those who show up at your door. They are present in the now and in the future. Just give Me everything that is you. I will take care of the rest. I promise.”

Yes. I am ready. They have always been His. I pour them out into His open hands. They don’t grow in my clenched fists anyway. They are poured out. I rub my hands together making sure none are left. I brush the seeds off my shirt and pants, yet none of them fall to the ground unnoticed. They all manage to land right in His hands.

I stand there. I wait. I hope. Anticipating. Praying and praying — never losing hope. Waiting for His  perfect timing. Not my timing. Not the timing other’s anticipate or dictated. Not done in the way the world or others say it should be done. Just waiting on the One who has already lavished me with so much — more than anything I ever imagined.  The One who created my gifts and abilities – the Creator of the world. Thankful for all that has come to fruition.  Never losing hope.

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40: 5

For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalms 13:6

15 Things That A Young Mom Can Learn From A Seasoned Mom

1. There is rarely a time when a mom feels like she knows what she is doing as a parent.

2. There will never be a time that a mom won’t need to ask God for wisdom.

3. The older we get the more clearly we see that we really don’t know very much.

4. When older people say, “The season of having small children passes so quickly!” —  they are right.

5. God’s grace really does carry you.

6. It is God  – not a parent – who does a work in the heart’s of our children.

7. The hard, sacrificial, giving part of mothering never really ends.

8. The sacrifice of pouring into your children, putting aside your own interests, and having a simple standard of living so that you can raise your children, is very temporary and is worth it.

9.  There is no house, car, item of clothing, or vacation that is more important or  more valuable than the value of having sacrificially invested in your family.

10. Once you become a mom, there never really is a season when you sleep as well as before you had children.

11. The stretch marks, few extra pounds, and the wear and tear on your body pales in comparison to what it feels like when your grown children become your dear friends.

12. The occasional loneliness, sleepless nights, stress, and tears really do draw you closer to God–if you choose to rely on Him.

13. Taking the time to nurture your relationship with your husband will make a difference in how you approach the empty nest, and will impact how your children view marriage.

14. Occasionally allowing your children to eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, to stay up past their bedtime,  or to have 2 servings of dessert will not ruin them for life, but will create some fun memories that you will reflect on later.

15. Asking for forgiveness when you fail your children really will make an impact on them and will teach them how to ask for forgiveness.

 

 

The Worship Service

People slowly make their way into the church sanctuary and find a place to sit. Sleepy babies are dropped off safely in the care of waiting nursery workers. The pastor makes his final adjustments to his sermon, the worship leader tunes his guitar,  people eagerly greet each other as they make room for their family or friends. We stand to our feet as the music begins. Young children sit, mindlessly staring at those around them, playing with small toys their parents have allowed them to bring. A little girl decides she wants to get a drink of water and tugs at her mother’s shirt.

A toddler suddenly darts down the aisle to the front, her mother running close behind her.

We work to focus, calm our hearts and minds, and fight distractions. The worship leader strums a wrong cord on the guitar. Someone sings off key. A man to the left begins to worship loudly – two teenaged girls try to stifle their giggles. A woman on the back row shakes a tambourine to the beat of the music.

We are offering what we have.  This is worship in human form.  Our thoughts, distractions, and the chaos of our differencesIs this feeble, imperfect, A.D.D. offering of worship acceptable to God?  With the diversity in ages, cultures, music preferences, and worship styles – hands raised, bowed heads, closed eyes – What does God really hear?

We  join as one body to worship. God is so kind to provide the Holy Spirit – our mediator. He sifts our worship, and all that comes from a pure, open, and repentant heart, and helps us to respond to God.  He graciously energizes our worship as He glorifies Himself!

And somehow our chaos is united,  miraculously changed,  offered to God,  and received as acceptable.

A sweet smelling savor.