Should {Five Minute Friday}

Joining in today with another Five Minute Friday. Today’s word theme is “Should.”

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Should

A master to so many.

A master of mine. For too long.

Too long.

A banner that flew over my mind, shouting out demands, always too late.

If only I had… what if… it would have been better if…

You should have.

You should.

Commands motivated by guilt, targeted at the insecure heart.

Only the weak in spirit fall for it, for the cries that say, “you’d be someone if you… because you should, you know.”

Always with a tinge of “I know better than you” behind its disdainful look.

A good mom should…

A good Christian should…

a good wife should…

or should not…

But should has had control too long. No more will I succumb to what should be or should have been. Instead, I plant myself in now. In what is. in what was. In what can be.

And I own it.

I own the mistakes I’ve made and will make, and trust that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). No mistake is unused by Him.

No longer will the regrets of should overshadow the joy of God’s grace. I allow God’s conviction and not this world’s should-full regrets, because “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

What is, is.

We can move forward, informed and learned by the lessons of life, by our mistakes, by failures. Or we can sit and wallow in what could have been or should have been. Wasted years of precious life.

Instead, I choose to live as honest as I can, raw, authentic, broken… and rejoice! Because “he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me'” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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*I’m trying to figure out where my comment bar has gone… hopefully I’ll get that taken care of soon!*

FMF – Wait

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Here’s the deal. For over four years, bunches of bloggers have gathered every week to huddle around a prompt word and just write. It’s called Five Minute Friday, and we don’t think about the ins and outs of grammar or spelling or punctuation. We just write.

And it’s glorious.

I’ve done this quite a few Fridays, but rarely explain what I’m doing. HA! So now you know 🙂

Today’s prompt is “wait.” Good one.

Waiting is a time in space that I used to dread. At times, I still do. Mom would say, “Wait,” and ugh! But I want it now!

The doctor would say, “Wait,” but ugh! I want to get it over with!

Waiting can feel torturous.

More and more in our self-indulgent society, where we are taught that our immediate happiness is our merit, waiting doesn’t even appear an option. What we want is owed to us by the very fact that we are… well, us. And we matter. And we deserve what we want when we want it regardless of how it affects another’s happiness.

But I’ve learned that waiting is a discipline… and one that bears the fruit of true happiness, joy, and developed character. To survive a season of waiting… to delay gratification and self-pleasure is to know true, lasting gratification and pleasure. In time.

If a baby were birthed at the time we demanded… who knows but that his/her lungs would be under developed or his/her vision not quite formed. But the womb and its Designer take the time needed to form what must be formed, in its time, and gift the child when he/she is ready.

I have had to wait a lot.

I waited for five years, gritting my teeth and mourning as though a death had fallen upon me, for the life I’m now living. But while I waited, I built community. Invested. Rooted. Loved. In ways I’d never done before.

Little did I know, God was using those five years of my impatient perseverance to develop in my life everything I needed to be a healthy, whole person amidst my dream. Had I forced it sooner… I would have been less… well, less everything. Less mature, less developed in character, less adaptable, less intuitive, less patient.

Less.

But that time of waiting formed in me, and for me, everything I needed for the gift to come.

How I sadden to think of how much of that time I spent in grief… blind to the ways God was using it to give me exactly what I hoped of and dreamed of.

In HIS time and in HIS way.

What are you waiting for today? What longing has been put on hold in your heart? What despairs you to see off in the distance, seemingly unattainable?

I won’t preach the current message of our world. “Give up everything for your dreams!” “Press on and never give up!” “Don’t quit!” “You deserve happiness, don’t let anyone take it from you.” “You can be anything and everything you want to be!”

Instead, I say… tenderly hand the dream over to the Dream Giver. Trust Him with it. Trust that, while we deserve nothing, He holds something beautiful for you. Something the He will care for, nurture, develop, raise… and when the time is just right… He’ll give it back. And it will be more beautiful, more splendid, more.

More.

More than you ever imagined or dreamed possible.

It will exceed the dream you handed over.

If you will be but willing to wait.

And while you wait… look for Him. Look for what He’s doing in the meantime… He’s not wasting it. Don’t you either.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3: 19-26

Read a previous post, {Dad’s} Lessons in the Waiting on other values in waiting.

Worship

5-minute-friday-1 I’ve decided it’s time again for a short explanation on my Friday posts. Some 5MF-ers post the intro every week. Perhaps I should too. 🙂 Anyway, each Friday, Lisa-Jo gives us a prompt and we are to write about that prompt for five minutes. No longer. (Sometimes I cheat. It’s hard to stop once you’re rolling!) Unedited. (I at least run spell-check. I know. Total cheater.) Usually if I post on a Friday, it’s for Five-Minute-Friday. The image will clue you in. But so will clicking on it. Today’s word is: Worship.

Here we go!

When I was single, I understood worship as a lifestyle. But it mostly happened in my room, face on the floor, candles lit, tears streaming, songs pouring from my soul to my heart from my mouth. Uninterrupted. Intentional. Beautiful. Raw.

Then I got married. And… well, it can be a little awkward to be caught in the middle of a moment like that… but I still tried. But then life so quickly set in. Full-time jobs. Caring for a husband. Cooking meals, doing laundry, paying bills, getting groceries… I was only doing these things for one extra person… yet I still felt up to my elbows in chores. I remember resentfully and begrudgingly doing the dishes one night as a newlywed. I’m sure my frustration had little to do with the chore and more to do with the converging rivers of two separate people making life as one.

As my thoughts rumbled with grumbling and complaining to God, I heard Him whisper back, “This is worship.”

Humility-slap (If humility can slap).

I was humbled. But I immediately understood. As I submitted my life to marriage and the union of two people journeying together, caring for each other, doing their part to improve this world as one… sometimes my act of worship was going to be dishes. Or laundry. Or groceries. Each act of love spent loving another, especially my husband, was a sweet incense to the throne room of heaven.

It’s not always sensational.

Emotional.

Candle-lit.

Music-filled.

It’s not always obvious.

Dishes are just dishes… dirty, nasty, food-encrusted ceramic (or plastic) releasing its filth into the same soapy water that is clinging to my hands.

It’s just

not

fun.

Until I realize it’s not about dishes. It’s about providing a clean and loving atmosphere for my husband- the man God has gifted me. It’s about being humble enough and willing enough to get a little dirty for a good cause. It’s about being able to offer quality hospitality to whoever needs a meal or friendship. It’s about stewardship over each thing God gives us. Some people don’t even have a plate to eat on…

Who knew dishes could be more than soap and grime?

Then kids came along… and worship began to include story times, diaper changes, sleepless nights (filled with desperate prayers), bandaged wounds, taking in and adopting orphans, disciplining, training, correcting, feeding, more cooking, more laundry, more dishes, taxi-ing…

And sometime I forget that my life in those mundane moments is an opportunity for worship. A chance to dig in and see God’s goodness and kindness and tenderness and compassion- and praise Him for it. A chance to acknowledge, accept, and confess my weaknesses, my inadequacies, my failures- and re-claim my need for a Savior. THIS is worship.

Most of my worship happens in the normal, messy moments.

Only every now and then, under a steeple.