What Eeyore Taught Me About Relationships

The House at Pooh Corner

When I was in elementary school, my friend Lindsay (my good friend since we were in Pampers, as we used to tell everyone), and I created a club called the Pooh Pals Club. At that time, we were into all things Winnie-the-Pooh and what better way to celebrate our excitement for A.A. Milne’s lovable characters than to start an exclusive club for just the two of us. We would spend hours drawing pictures, writing silly rhymes like that silly ol’ bear and talk about who was the best character.

Lindsay loved Piglet and I loved Eeyore.

I think the main reason I loved that downcast donkey was partly because I felt sorry for him.

“Don’t mind me,” he’d say in his melancholy voice. “Nice day, today. I’m sure it will rain eventually.”

He was quite good at taking a happy moment and making it dull. (Which is the complete opposite of my personality, as I’m usually trying to find the positive in everything. Hence the desire to feel sorry for the guy).

Fast forward many, many years to me reading these beloved stories to our Miss Aubrey during bedtime.

There was one particular evening when I was reading when I came across a dialogue between Rabbit and Eeyore that challenged the way I look at building relationships.

Rabbit is searching for a new house for Owl and comes across Eeyore’s part of the Hundred Acre Wood. He explains the situation to Eeyore and Eeyore begins to complain that he doesn’t know any of this because it’s been seventeen days since anyone has spoken to him. Even if anyone comes his way, there’s “No Give and Take…No Exchange of Thought.”

It’s what Rabbit says next that really hit me in the gut:

“It’s your fault, Eeyore. You’ve never been to see any of us. You just stay here in this one corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. Why don’t you go to see them sometimes?”

Ouch.

How many of us can admit that we’ve had this Eeyore syndrome before? We yearn for relationships. We wish we were invited to coffee. That we would get a text from that one friend. Yet, we do nothing to seek it out ourselves.

We just sit and sulk and think no one likes us, but in reality, we just have to do our due diligence to seek the relationships we’re looking for.

We have to give. We have to create the exchange of thought.

There was a time in my life when I was just like Eeyore. During my first year of parenthood, already overwhelmed by the huge shift my life had taken with learning to care for another human being, I fell into a yucky pit of loneliness. I wanted relationships. I wanted to spend time with good girlfriends and not be surrounded by diapers, burp cloths and late night feedings, but I thought the relationships had to come to me. That I had to be sought out. And when I wasn’t, then I began to believe the lie that I wasn’t wanted.

Thankfully, my husband saw the direction I was heading and lovingly encouraged me to  join one of our women’s small groups at our church. It was during those once a week, two-hour study times that I realized relationships don’t just happen when I’m sitting at home wishing they would. I can’t just “stay here in this one corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to [me].”

Now, I completely understand that everyone’s personalities are different. Some women are great at reaching out at any moment and building those relationships. Others might be more introverted, making it more of a challenge to go out there on a whim and attempting to connect.

But one thing is for sure, we were all made to have relationships. We are not here to do life alone.

So ladies, how are we going to reach out today?

Maybe you need to send a quick text to that friend you haven’t talked to in a while and just say, “Hi! I hope you’re having a great day!”

Maybe you need to hire a babysitter, plan a date night, and have some time reconnecting with your husband.

Maybe you need to take that leap of faith and connect with your church’s women’s small group or attend a ladies night out (Insert harmless plug: The women’s ministry at my church is having a Ladies Night Out on Thursday, July 17th. If you’re in the Indy area, we’d love for you to join us!)

Whatever it is, I challenge you to do it!

Even Eeyore came to his senses:

“There may be something in what you say, Rabbit…I must move about more. I must come and go.”

So, let’s stop sulking, and start seeking.

This Calling

golden lilacs

At the end of the day,
when your eyes are heavy
when the laundry is still not put away
when the silence has arrived
when the couch never felt so good
when you finally exhale
when you pick up that last toy
when you find that missing sock
when you wipe the crumbs off the table…

Remember,
you are His
you are beautiful
you are able
you are His beloved
you are encouraged
you are loved
you are his masterpiece
you are enough
you are His daughter
you are equipped

you are…

…everything you have been called to be as a mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, from this mom, to every other mom.

Beyond The Understanding

2012-05-05 12.31.23

“I just don’t understand why this is happening!”

Those were the words that I said over and over again when the branch fell on top of our truck, smashing the windshield and putting a dent in the hood the size of Texas (well maybe not Texas, it was more like Rhode Island).

But it was just one of those moments. After getting off the phone with the insurance company and getting all of those lovely deductible details taken care of, I moved on to cooking dinner. Trying to keep my mind off of what just put a negative dent (pun intended) in our day. I tried not to come unglued and thought of every possible thing I was thankful for in that moment. (Thank you Lysa TerKeurst for that nugget!) And I didn’t. I stayed calm. The hubby and I talked about ways to take care of it financially and we left it at that.

But then came the day after. When I woke up in a funk. With a bad attitude for what appeared to be no reason. The emotions were going, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Was it PMS (what woman doesn’t ask that question when she feels moody?) Was it lack of sleep? Was it the 3 year old and the 10 month old pulling at my leg? Was it the grief of losing my Nanny just the week before? Was it the truck incident?

I honestly couldn’t figure it out, so I just stayed in the mood. I pushed it all down. Stayed quiet, and a bit tense, and moved on with the morning.

Until the question was asked, “Are you doing ok?”

Oh, those four words have a way of conjuring up every feeling down in my soul without me even realizing it. I didn’t want to answer. I wanted to play the “I’m fine” card, but I knew it would be the unwise thing to do. So I just let the emotion flow out. Thankfully it came out in tears and not screams, and thankfully, my husband received my words with grace and not condemnation. But oye! It all came out.

And yes, the answer was all of the things mentioned above, but they were all wrapped around one central idea:

I just don’t understand why this is happening!

Have you ever caught yourself saying that exact phrase in the midst of the insanity and uncertainty of life? Things aren’t going smoothly, in fact the road just went from a little rocky to pothole city and you find yourself continually asking, “Why, God, why?”

Why does it all happen at once? Why do hard times come when we’re doing everything we can to sacrifice so much for You?

I know I’m not the only one who asks this. And even if we don’t always ask it out loud, we ask it in our hearts.

Sometimes we just want to be like the Psalmist and have a conversation with God and ask why, and that’s okay.

But other times, it’s straight up doubt, mistrust, lack of faith. Sin.

Yesterday I read a verse that I’ve read a million times. It’s one of those put it on a bookmark, engrave it on a plaque type of verses. You know what I’m talking about. The verses that we’ve heard and read so many times, we just glaze over them.

But I want you to hear what is being said here:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6, emphasis mine

Did you catch that second part of verse 5?
“Do not depend on your own understanding.”

We’re down to one car. I don’t understand.
Do not depend on your own understanding.

I can’t get a hold on my emotions. I don’t understand.
Do not depend on your own understanding.

I can’t get my kid under control. I don’t understand.
Do not depend on your own understanding.

Insert your own “________________  just happened. I don’t understand. And it’s the same response.

Do not depend on your own understanding.

That’s a tough pill to swallow. It always leaves a lump in my throat. It’s hard to look beyond our own understanding. It’s hard to not depend on what we tangibly see or feel.

But it’s a good kick to the pants that we need when our emotions are still fumbling around with doubt.

And it was also the truth that God fed me with when the unexpected refund check showed up in the mail and the sweet card and blessing from my parents graced our doorstep.

Do not depend on your own understanding.

When I turned my eyes from my own path, let Him work things out and took my hands off of it, and didn’t depend on my own understanding, His peace came. The answer came. It wasn’t in my timing, which is always so much better anyway.

So the next time a branch falls on your car, or whatever event takes place that shakes up your world, just remember to look beyond the circumstances and…

Do not depend on your own understanding.

Sum It Up In One Word

cocoa

It’s March. Wow. When did that happen? With patches of snow still covering the ground, it’s hard to believe that spring is so near. It’s also hard to believe that we’re 3 months into 2014.

As I shared here, this year has been a year of completing what’s been left undone.

The other morning, in between watching my 8 month old roll around on the floor and sipping coffee, I read a post from (in)courage that really helped me wrap one word around what it is that God is doing in my heart.

Follow.

Follow God.
Follow through.
Follow up.

I recognize 2013 was full of goals. Some I met, others I didn’t. So I embraced 2014 with the challenge of following.

Following God wherever he leads me.
Following through on commitments I’ve made.
Following up with relationships that need to go deeper.

It’s wonderful how God does what he does when he’s teaching us truth, especially when we’re really opening our hearts to hear it and see it. Whether it’s a blog post, a late night conversation with my husband, or a message at church, God has shown up.

He’s proved himself faithful. He’s clearly shown himself.

So what’s changed?
It’s not that He wasn’t there before. He’s always been there, proving his faithfulness and love in every moment of my life.

I’m the one who has changed.
And not out of my own strength.
He’s been changing me.
He’s opening my eyes to really see Him.
He’s giving me the strength to push past the moments of human nature when it “felt” easier to focus on the negative.

He’s telling me to follow.
And follow I shall.
Even when I have to follow up hill because I know he’s there to carry me.
Even when it’s into the darkness because I know he is the one who will light my path.
Even when I’m feeling alone because I know he will remind me that He’s always there.

So what is your word? How can you wrap up what God is doing in your life?

Joy Can Be Found

sunlight

It’s amazing what a little sun light and blue skies can do for the soul.

This winter has been hard.

With every snowflake that has fallen, my entire being has itched with anxiety. Being cooped up has not been my favorite. In a perfect world I probably could have used my cabin fever energy to work on sewing projects and crafting projects and writing projects. But instead I felt myself completely depleted. Trying to keep up with 30 minute potty training breaks and entertaining an 8 month old who has discovered “her voice” to say the least has worn me ragged.

But in the midst of the tantrums (from me and the little ones), the diaper changes, and the laundry–oh the laundry–I’ve found joy. And gratitude.

Because I have an incredible God who loves me and covers me in his grace.

I have an amazing husband who, even though his cabin fever has been just as bad, has helped me calm down when I’m about to break down; who has let me throw up my anxious thoughts when I wanted to throw up my hands; and who has wrapped his arms around me when I couldn’t wrap my brain around which way was up.

I have beautiful friends who pray their hearts out on my behalf when I send those tear-filled text messages their way.

I have two beautiful children who show me God’s hand with every blink of their eyes and every giggle from their sweet lips.

It’s been a trying time for all of us and it still is. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I doubted God at times in the midst of it. But when circumstances are crashing around me and there aren’t enough tissues to wipe my eyes, I can make a choice. I can either accept God’s will halfheartedly or I can embrace it fully. Anyone can accept something, but it takes something from deep within to truly embrace it. To let it permeate the soul.

So my choice is to embrace what He has laid before me and to fill my heart and mind with thankfulness because he has given me so much.

Because God Is For Me

photo2014

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31

…be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

I am my own worst enemy.
A new year has begun, and I’ll confess, I did not complete any of my New Year’s goals from 2013. I’m truly bummed about it because they were all attainable goals.

My normal, natural reaction to this would be to sulk and slump and beat myself up.

In fact, that was my reaction. Until my amazing husband reminded me that I was being too hard on myself and I needed to believe truth.

Because God is for me.

I would rather throw my hands up in the air and never set another goal for myself for the rest of my life.

But God is for me.

And instead of sulking and feeling sorry for myself, I’m looking at what I did complete this year and what I will carry over into this new year and tie up.

Because God is for me.

  • I read 9 of the 13 books on my reading list.
  • I started to finish one of the many quilts on my “to sew” list.
  • I started the A Passion to Serve Bible reading plan and got 47% of the way through it.
  • I learned (and am still learning) that I can’t get my way all the time. Can I get an AMEN on God’s amazing help and grace on that one?
  • I started training for the Indy Mini-Marthon, which was not part of my original list, but happened to jump its way on thanks to this revelation.
  • I started this blog (again not part of the original list), but something my soul desperately needed to do.

So this year…this year will be a year of tying up loose ends. For finishing up what’s been left undone.

My plan is to not start anything new until I’ve followed through with the other stuff. And instead of trying to complete all of this in my own strength, I’m going to rely on God’s strength to guide me through it.

So, here’s to you, New Year. Let’s get started on finishing up a few things.

Need some encouragement and truth spoken over you so you can finished what’s been left undone? I highly encourage you to check out these great resources:
Loose Ends -Pastor Dave Crandall at Friendship Church
What’s Undone? -Beth Moore

 

The Light Never Dims

nativity

This year has had some rough patches. It’s been flat out hard. But, in the midst of it all, Jesus has reminded me of his constant presence.

This Christmas seemed to remind me of his presence even more.

I’ll admit it, in the past, the Christmas story hasn’t seemed very “life-changing” to me.
Maybe it’s because I’ve heard it a thousand times.
Maybe it’s because I’ve allowed the world’s “Christmas” to cloud my view of the truth.
Whatever the reason, it hasn’t been truth.

But this year…
This year…
…Something changed.
Something transformed in my heart.
God’s amazing revelation has opened my eyes to the incredible life-changing truth of the birth of his son. The birth of love.
Of truth.
Of freedom.
Of a light that shines in the darkness.

This year, that miracle of a little baby, naked and cold, being born in a manger, was born in my heart.

And this revelation is one of the things I love most about Jesus. That He is forever working in us, never dimming when we try to blow out the light.

February marks the 13th anniversary of my salvation in Christ. But salvation isn’t a one-time deal. Jesus is still working out my salvation deep within me. Bringing me closer and closer to him each day.

So as we move back into “normal life” outside of the Christmas season, let us not forget that the light that made the heavenly star shine so brightly, is shining brightly in every area of our lives today. Sure, sometimes we can’t see it with our human eyes, but it’s there. It will never fade, nor dim, nor leave us wanting.

Law becoming Love.
Love born in a stable.
A stable of humility,
holding a King.
A King coming to claim,
the hearts of those He loves.
Each and every one,
who has ever breathed a breath;
Those are who He’s claimed,
you and me;
His heart beats for us.
And His love never leaves.