This Is Why I Need Advent

Meet my friend Lauren Befus,
a wife, a mom of 4 littles, a writer, a pastor’s wife
and a lover of Jesus.

If your holiday to-do list has you shuddering with dread,
Lauren’s guest post about Advent is just what
you need to take a time out and reconsider
the reason for this season.

The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before … What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s back fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.”

– Jan Richardson, Author/Artist

“Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait.” Jan Richardson cannot be serious. Has she lost her mind?

Christmas is less than one month away – 25 sleeps to be exact. And looking out over my “horizon,” I just see WORK… a whole lot of work (and some fun) and then more work!! I see gift spreadsheets. I see piles of Amazon boxes. I see bins of decorations. I see my dwindling bank account balance. I see long lines at Meijer. I see rolls of wrapping paper. I see tired, overstimulated kids. I see parties – school parties, work parties, friend parties, family parties. I see party prepping. I see party inviting. I see church service planning. I see WORK (and let’s just add for good measure that I also see some stress and pressure and fatigue and worry).

And this, my friends, is why I love Advent.
This is why I need Advent.

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Trusting God with Big Changes

I don’t love change.

Anyone else with me?

In my quiet time this morning,
I realized I was sitting on 20 year old couches,
looking at walls painted 20 years ago,
dressed in pjs and robe that were,
yes, you guessed it,
about 20 years old.

Girls, change challenges me!

I barely like change even when it’s my idea!

But,
keeping things the same
is no safeguard from pain.

Things break and wear out.
Children grow up and move away.
Friends die or move on.
Opportunities evolve and disintegrate.

Change is necessary.
Change is good.
Change is inevitable.

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Flourishing In Life Requires Living In Community

There was a time when girls learned how to
 flourish in life from other women
in their community.

Women in the family.
Women in the neighborhood.
Women at church.

Side by side or hand in hand,
wisdom and advice
was dispensed and practiced.

I learned to peel hard boiled eggs,
mend a torn shirt,
and walk in high heels
from the women who loved and nurtured me.

I learned to dress with style,
listen to a boring story with an engaging smile on my face,
and host a party
from watching the women in my neighborhood.

I learned to study the Bible
pray with expectancy, and
treat my husband with love and respect
under the tutelage of the women at my church.

Living in community is important!

Even though women tend to be relational,
we are losing our connectivity
due to the demands on our time
and
the abundance of virtual relationships.

We hide behind busyness and
pretend that “liking” a Facebook post
is the same as personal engagement.

It’s not!

 

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Live Loved Even When You Feel Left Out

 

The conversation turned awkward with the realization
that I hadn’t been included in the festivities
my friends were reminiscing about.

Not included.

 

Smiling faces beamed in the Facebook photos
of a wedding I wasn’t invited to.

Not invited.

 

The note read,
Your uncle died last month.
I’m so sorry,
we just forgot to let you know …

Not remembered.

 

What do you do when
you feel left out?

 

A variety of options pop into my head.

Hide.

Curl up in the fetal position and
suck my proverbial thumb till the hurt goes away …
till the next time or the next trigger reminds me
I’m not enough.

Pretend.

Post my own fun pictures,
Talk about my recent exploits.
Put on my happy face and say it doesn’t matter.
But it does, doesn’t it?

Retaliate.

Blast a nasty text or post with tags galore,
but that never goes well.
Even if I get some temporary relief or satisfaction,
inevitably,
a harsh response only causes more hurt
and often bigger regret.

Run.

I can run away, but I can rarely outrun the hurt.

Instead of running away … 

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Does your past try to hijack your future?

I’m delighted to be posting at Elisa Morgan’s Really blog this week…

 

 

Time Traveler

I came face-to-face with my past this morning. 

In an effort to purge items in my closet that didn’t fit my style anymore,
or to be perfectly honest,
didn’t fit my mature, more generously padded frame anymore,
I stumbled across two of my deceased husband’s favorite shirts.

 I stopped cold.

 For years and years these shirts lay folded,
waiting to be put in rotation again.
Even more than a photograph or nostalgic song on the radio,
the sight and feel of them took me right back to a time
when we were young and bulletproof. 

I kept them because they reminded me of my Hot & Hunky Huzb
who died in his sleep of a heart attack at the age of 39.
I kept them because I thought one of my boys,
who were 7 and 4 at the time of his passing,
might grow into them and I would see them repurposed – resurrected.  

I held onto them because a part of me couldn’t let go of that time when all was well.

 Does that happen to you?

You’re cruising through
your day,
or your desk,
or your drawers
and you unexpectedly tumble back in time?

For me (this time) it was a great memory.
But other times, I’ve stumbled into my dark past.

Read more ….

 

As Featured in Leading Hearts Magazine!

This month I’m featured in the
#REALCHURCHladies section of
Leading Hearts Magazine!

 

All my life I’ve been mesmerized by female aerialists,
athletes who perform graceful dances of
balance, strength and flexibility on the trapeze, ropes, or rings. 

Audiences gasp in awe and applaud with delight
as we watch lithe women spin and soar
dangerously high above the ground.

Fear prevents most of us
from ever attempting the elements
of an aerialist’s routine.

We appreciate them,
but are happy to sit in the bleachers
and admire from a distance.

Consider the practice hours that an aerialist spends
developing her natural talent.

She has to work with trainers and technicians,
nutritionalists and a safety net.
It takes a whole lot of support people for an aerialist to perform her act.

The Body of Christ is
supposed to cooperate like that.

Throughout the Bible,
God directs us to be willing to teach, assist and support
those who are
weak,
suffering,
lost,
uneducated,
widowed or orphaned.

We get lost in the how to.
What does it look like to teach, assist and support?

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Letting Go of Regrets!

I don’t dread birthdays.

In fact,
I celebrate with zealous enthusiasm.

And not for just one day.
I need a season to collect birthday greetings,
eat at all my favorite places,
and spend time with all my favorite people.

This year it was no exception just because
I TURNED 60!

I met with girlfriends for
lunch,
dinner and
coffee
for week before and a week after the actual date.
I had a party.
I got a slew of gift cards
and flowers and
even one of a kind watch with my mom’s picture on it.

 

After the party and the celebrations are a distant memory,
here’s what I know about me at any age.

I want to live without regrets.
Don’t you?

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I Want My Mommy!

You ever have one of those days when you
just aren’t firing on all cylinders?

For the record,
I have no idea what a cylinder is,
but the expression means you need a tune-up.
It means you’re sputtering and stalling out.

Yesterday,
I was walking across the kitchen,
got tangled up in my own feet,
tripped and 
went sprawling.

Sprawling, I tell you.

Splat!
Smack!
Ouch!

I looked like Wiley Coyote at the bottom of the ravine
in a Road Runner cartoon –
minus the puff of dust.

After I checked to see if I was paralyzed
(I wasn’t)
or if I had any broken bones,
(there were none)
I decided the best course of action was to
sit on the cold tile floor and howl.

I’m sure it was the shock of being upended,
but I carried on like a toddler.

I cried and I cried.
I want my mommy!

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Marriage Advice From The Family Pet

Have you ever been in a season of marriage
when you thought it was doomed?

I have!

Thirty years ago,
when I was married to Hot & Hunky,
we had a season early on when I didn’t think he traveled enough!
I didn’t like him and he didn’t care for me too much either.
We were in the land of contempt on the road to divorce. 

Out of frustration and soliciting sympathy for my situation,
I confessed our mess to my friend,
who invited me to her church
to hear a speaker talk about marriage.

I thought,
What the heck, I’ve got nothing to lose. 

The speaker told her story about not feeling any love toward her husband.
Romance,
pleasant communication,
demonstrations of love,
affections of all types,
were distant memories.

That sounded very familiar…

Out of desperation to save her marriage,
she climbed into her prayer closet and
 asked God to flood her heart with love
for her hubby.

“And you know what?” she drawled.
“God did just that.
My heart filled to overflowing with a
love and desire
for my husband.”

She went on to tell how even after
1000 years of marriage
she never lost that feeling for him again.

Ugh, I thought,
Good for you, Mrs. Butterflies and fairy dust.
You aren’t married to my guy.

That would never work at my house.
And whatever a prayer closet is,
I don’t have one.

Funny thing about miracles.
They cling to your heart. 

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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Funeral

Have you had one of those days when
you just couldn’t get your ducks in a row?

 

 You need to get resourceful on those challenging days!

Last week, I was powering through my day
as usual.

(I have 2 speeds …
Zoom and Comatose.)

Mr. 4-Ever and I needed to be at a funeral by 4:00pm
and I was behind.
There was zero time to redo my perfect messy bun hairdo,
so I looked frantically for bottom options
 that wouldn’t disturb the delicate balance that was on top of my head.

I squeezed into a pencil skirt from the back of my closet,
took a quick look in the full-length mirror, 
 and shrugged.
Tight, but it would have to do.

I grabbed my purse and jumped in the car
waiting for me in the driveway with the motor running.

As Mr. 4-Ever exited the driveway,
I realize the skirt I’ve chosen is
ALL WRONG!

It looked fine when I was standing,
but when I sat down,
it hiked up and stretched tightly around my legs.

Great choice for date night, but not for a funeral.

Don’t panic, I think to myself,
as long as I don’t sit down at the visitation,
I should be ok.

I’ll just mingle…a lot!

But then, a beam of sunlight hit my knees.
Girlfriend, it looked like a porcupine was sitting in my lap!

Read More
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