Tag Archives: Grace

45 Years and Still Fighting…

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45 Years and Still Fighting…

I sat on the very last row, an early arriver for the wedding; I’d only met the couple the night before, and I was there because my husband was officiating.

I watched the groom casually stroll from the back of the room to take his place alongside my husband. They exchanged a few private words, smiling as they waited for the music to shift, signaling the start of the processional. Any moment, the doors would open and his beautiful bride would stand ready to join him, not only for the moment, but for life.

My mind wandered to the day forty-five years ago when my husband and I made the same journey, me on my father’s arm and he alongside our pastor. We met at the front of a room that is no longer a church, but that spot was and always will be sacred ground.

On this night, I bowed as my husband prayed over the ceremony and I was overwhelmed by the gravity of what would take place next. I knew that few in the room were aware of the throngs that were kept at bay by heavenly angels as these two began to make vows to one another before a holy God.

I pulled out our marriage service the other day. Surprisingly, the vows haven’t changed much. If we had known then what we know now, I’m not sure we would have had the courage to enter a covenant that flies in the face of the enemy. We stood before our pastor and about seventy-five friends and family and made promises that we couldn’t keep:

  • To have and to hold … till death do us part – (okay, the service was more King James than James Taylor, but back then there wasn’t much creativity with vows if you weren’t having a hippy wedding) We couldn’t fully comprehend just how long it would be before one of us would die. Seriously, that is not a commitment to take lightly on your eighteenth birthday.
  • For better or for worse – I had seen lots of “worse” and I was sure it would be easier alongside this man-child. What I couldn’t have understood was that sometimes, one of us would be the source of the “worse”. I didn’t know how often and how strong the enemy would come into a situation and attempt to position us at odds with each other, two very different people from very different backgrounds.
  • For richer or poorer – We were familiar with poverty. Of course, that was before we had to think about keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. We couldn’t have known that financial tragedy would strike; we would have to join hands rather than point fingers if we were to survive and ultimately thrive.
  • In sickness and in health – Two young people, strong and healthy, stood before that preacher, naïve and clueless. When chronic illness struck, it changed our lives forever.
  • To love – We were crazy in love with each other. We had experienced it as our parents and families loved us and we had witnessed it in parents who loved one another. We had no idea of how broken we each were and how much God would use marriage to reveal and heal those broken places.
  • To cherish – Webster defines cherish as keeping or cultivating with care and affection. I had no idea that my dreams would only emerge as this man coaxed me to name them; that he would need me to assure him that he was enough.

In the cool of an air-conditioned sanctuary, on a muggy Friday in July of 1972, we stepped into our story.

The humble ceremony and the small reception gave not even a nod to the epic battle we were walking into. I won’t deny that it’s hard. There have been times when I wanted to quit and I’m sure he’s been tempted as well.

We’ve recently been sharing our excitement over reaching a milestone anniversary and the prevailing comments are all summed up in a few words. “That’s a really long time.” Yes, it is.

If you are looking for a how to list or step by step guide to wedded bliss, you are going to be disappointed.

We are quietly passionate. There has never been a great deal of arguing or bickering in this marriage, but oh, there have been fights. We fight hard for our home because we believe our lives depend on it.

We’ve gone to our knees again and again for our family. When the enemy wanted him to give up over human failure I’ve literally laid across his body and declared the truth about who God says he is. He has served me in big ways and everyday small ways with complete joy.

We have realized that our love story is not ours alone; it is set amid a war with a purpose far greater than our happiness. God longs to use our marriage to point people to Jesus. We have seen a glimpse into the value of what God is doing in our marriage, a glorious story of his faithfulness.

We know that love is costly; in fact, it costs everything. Our greatest example is God’s love demonstrated on the cross. We also enthusiastically agree it is worth it. As much as I loved that handsome groom on our wedding day, my love for him forty-five years later is so much richer and deeper. We choose again and again to honor, bless and serve one another per God’s best advice for life. “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” (Romans 12:10, The Message)

We believe that God is for our marriage. He has set the stage for romance, with beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, music, and deep desire for one another. “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)

I expect there will be many more battles; we will worry too much over our daughters and grandchildren. Despite our good intentions, he will leave his clothes by the hamper and I will make us late and overreact when he stops short behind the wheel.

I am looking forward to every new day with him, to every sunset he drives me to, to every doctor’s appointment I make when he wants to “wait and see”. We are finding more joy every day and I like to think the hardest days are behind us, but I know that is not likely.

Whatever the next decades bring, we are stronger because we have discovered that we have an enemy and he is not us.

Joying in this journey,

lorraine

A word to my husband, my most faithful reader, the one who believes in my dreams far more than I ever dared:

Thanks for always treating me like the beauty in the love story, honey. I’m so glad that God gave me a man who will fight for me, who has patiently loved me as the veil has lifted to reveal the beauty of who God created me to be. I love you and always will. Happy Anniversary!

 

Photo Booth 46

 

Wedding Dance 2017

 

 

The Best Summer Ever

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Here we are in late June and it’s finally starting to feel like summer. I truly miss summer with kids. I know, those of you with children at home are smack dab in the middle of separating squabbling kids and telling them they just ate, even as you read these words. Humor me.

I haven’t totally forgotten the challenges, mamas; I know the struggle is real.

But I loved the days of relaxed bedtimes and lazy mornings. Even though I worked most of those years, I remember there was less urgency of schedule; there was so much joy in letting loose. When I came in from work we headed to a pool instead of checking homework assignments and laying out clothes for the next day.

In our current stage of life, summer can seem just like any other season, but this week has been so much fun.

After a quiet and restful Father’s day for my hubby we joined friends for dinner on Monday night. The kitchen was lively as we all took on various bits of cooking and serving. It was especially fun as the children selected dishes and flatware for the table and even some of the meal prep.

We sat around the table long after having our fill of delicious food, sipping wine and talking. The children took leave but returned later with an impromptu skit. They were thrilled to entertain and there was so much laughter.

The next evening, we met our daughter and grandson at a favorite restaurant to celebrate Father’s Day. Once again, we sat around a table, sharing a meal and catching up with the ones we love.

Sometimes you think you’ve had the best days of your week already, you know? Have you ever thought that things just couldn’t get any better, planning to just hang out in the afterglow for a stretch? That’s pretty awesome for a Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week, but that’s pretty much how I felt.

And then Wednesday came along and knocked one out of the park.

It was the first night of book club. It had been a gorgeous afternoon and I jumped on the golf cart and headed to town, ready to meet with friends. The sky looked a bit threatening to the south, but it’s Florida, people. In June. Carry on.

I swung by the church to pick up the mamas as they dropped their babies for childcare and we squeezed everyone and their umbrellas in…the clouds were a bit more threatening.

The hour passed quickly as we discussed the book and caught up on life. We stepped into the muggy parking lot just as it began to pour. Six women jumped on the golf cart, umbrellas extending around the exposed perimeter. Shrieks of laughter filled the air, followed by screams as cold rain soaked our clothing. In the midst of it all, someone recorded the craziness with her cell phone as we splashed through puddles the short distance back to the church.

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After a warm bath and a snack, I snuggled in next to my hubby and thought about the joy of relationships. While I’ve shared some highlights here, there were many more moments of connection with precious people in my life this week; some as simple as a text message and others heart to heart conversations.

I’m determined to care for relationships this summer. It seems like the perfect time to nurture them by making memories. Just imagine how many years we will laugh about that golf cart ride!

Are you intentional in your relationships? Do you have dinner parties, or coffee dates? I’d love to learn more about how you take care of the people in your life. Talk to me by adding a comment – I promise to respond.

Now go out there and have a great summer, friends!

“Walk with the wise and become wise…” ~ Proverbs 13:20

lorraine

Spotlights and Hissy Fits

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Spotlights and Hissy Fits

She was perched on my lap, knees digging into my thighs, peering over and around the head of the very tall gentleman in the row in front of us. She was literally quivering with delight as she watched the lights come up on group after group of dancers. Without fail, she clapped fervently then cupped her hands around her mouth and let out a whoop as each took a bow.

Periodically she turned a bit to face me, excitement lighting her face. “That was so good!” she exclaimed over and over. She could barely contain her joy.

She celebrated every performance including her own. This afternoon it was about her and her dance company and she was loving the costumes, the makeup and the spotlight.

After the final curtain we all loaded into the fifteen passenger van. In a matter of moments, she went from celebrated performer to big sister/little sister/six-year-old girl whose sparkly costume was suddenly itchy and whose blood sugar was crashing. She was near having a hissy fit, but Mommy assured her she could in fact endure the costume for the short ride home.

Once there, she slipped into something far less itchy and was given some quiet time in her room to unwind. In a bit she rejoined her six brothers and sisters in the kitchen for pizza and it occurred to me that her moment in the spotlight was short.

I thought of how I deal with my “fifteen minutes of fame” experiences. We all have them from time to time…. a short period of time when the spotlight and the attention turns to us and we feel special, important and celebrated.

But for most, those are short-lived and we climb back into the fifteen passenger van that is our daily life. To be honest, I sometimes throw a private hissy fit when the celebration is over.

Oh friend, I’m so thankful for GRACE that assures us that no matter how short-lived our moments of fame may be, we are valued and loved. 

GRACE even when I’m out of sorts because the current circumstance, maybe even the thing that just a day or so ago was beautiful and sparkly, is now irritating and I just want out.
If you find yourself just outside of the afterglow of a great experience, give yourself some grace, friend. Recharge with food for your soul and take a break. Then come join us at the table, where we will again celebrate the goodness of our Father and what He does for us and through us.

“Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace.
It’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people
who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you.
The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God
is and by what he does for us, not by what we do for him.”
Romans 12:3  ~ The Message

 

Enjoying his grace in spite of my hissy fits,

lorraine

 

 

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My beautiful dancer, and her mother’s efforts to keep her flat on her feet when she’s not in the spotlight.

 

 

 

Losing Myself in a Selfie Culture

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Losing Myself in a Selfie Culture

treeThe sun was high, it’s beams breaking through the trees; shadows danced at my feet as the leaves and branches swayed with the gentle breeze. Though the air was cool, the jacket slipped off my shoulders, tied around my waist as I walked. It was as if the woods were drawing me in, inviting me to stay a while.

I inhaled deeply; the loam under my timid steps was damp from recent rains, rich with the scent of mud and wildflower blossoms. The river was just steps away, the color of my morning coffee and scattered with limbs downed by the weight of the past winter’s snow.

A plastic grocery bag was tucked into my pocket; it’s the season for morel mushrooms and this was a great spot to hunt. I determined to pay close attention to every detail as I wandered this plot of ground, wild and yet mere yards from a house filled with many beautiful and well-appointed rooms. Wilderness and refinement are neighbors on this Midwest homestead.

I was not alone. My cousin, a skilled hunter and woodsman, hiked ahead of me. I followed his lead as we broke the thicket and entered the deeper brush. I had slowed to take in the details. I thought he might have intentionally passed a patch of the prized morels as a test. He’s like that… a teacher and trainer at heart. It would be like him to set up an opportunity for me to succeed.

Woods collageOther family members went off in various directions. I couldn’t resist stopping for pictures of flowers, or downed logs and animal burrows. I fell behind, no longer within earshot of the crackling of branches and leaves as my companions trekked through the brush.

For a moment, a tremor of panic welled up, threatening to overtake my joy. I didn’t know my way out. While I had carefully surveyed every tree and wildflower in the shady thickets and examined hollow logs and the play of light with the curiosity of a child, I paid no attention to the direction I had wandered.

He would never leave me here, I reminded myself. And almost to the moment, he called out. I responded, assuring him I was fine, moving in the direction of his voice.

There were others in our small group and we occasionally caught site of one another, always hoping for a report of a find.

Finally we regrouped back at the trucks, driving out. We hadn’t gone far when he stopped and we jumped out again, this time walking to the end of a long thicket. “This is a good spot. I’ll clear the way for you to step in.”

Skillfully he parted the thorny, twisted branches and held them back as he led the way. He continued to coach and lead as I finally entered a clearing. Again I ventured off, exploring and searching but staying within earshot of my trusted guide.

I heard creaking overhead and looked up to see a huge log perched precariously between two trees – a widow maker, I would be told later. I wondered how many eyes were peering out, watching me as I was completely unaware of them. There was some calculated risk in this place, but it was beautiful and wild. There was no need for fear, rather awareness of potential danger.

Once home, I surveyed the scratches; they were superficial. Tick checks were conducted by buddies, since they tend to hitchhike in hard to locate places.

Later, as I lay quiet in my bed before sleep came, I reviewed my wonderful day. There were glorious reunions with loved ones, the simple joy of watching a dog work like a champ for a master he adores, and the peace found in a place of worship seated between two people I love.

I remembered the hike in the woods and I was grateful, even thought we never saw even one mushroom. As I thanked God for a walk in the woods, he used it to speak to me about my often misplaced hunt for affirmation.

“I’m clearing the way for you to step in. Just follow me. You’ll get some scratches, sure…but I’ll be just ahead of you, making a way. Call out to me; I’ll be listening for your voice and I’ll respond.

I’m giving you some space to explore; I want you to experience all that I’ve created for you. There is danger, sure. You may get some wounds, but they will pale in comparison to the beauty of walking with me.”

Friends I know he is leading me toward something new. I’m scared that I’ll get hurt. And I might. This life was not intended to be easy.

He is teaching me to think less about myself in the midst of a selfie culture.

I’ve found myself returning to the empty cistern of people to get my tank filled, looking for likes and loves and affirmation that only he can give. I’ve asked friends (while not openly because that’s just weird) to fill me up, to refuel me for service and I’ve come back empty. Every. Single. Time.

It’s not his plan. He’s the one and only one who never tires of me, who calls me beautiful and beloved. He will literally leave the entire flock and come searching for me (Matthew 18:12) as I wander, trying to find my way, sometimes getting lost in the distraction of the pretty things along the way.

He never tires of you. He is waiting for you to call out; I’m convinced he’s setting up scenarios for your success. He called to Peter to step out of the boat, knowing he would not sink as long as he kept his eyes on him!

Your salvation and honor depend on God alone. He is your mighty rock; pour your heart out to him and never fear rolling eyes or impatient sighs. He is trustworthy. Go ahead, lay it all out in front of him, your REFUGE. Follow him, even if you fear a few scratches. He’s got you and he’s got something beautiful for you just beyond the thorns.

By grace alone, I’m following into this new thing,

lorraine

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people.
Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8 (NOV)

 

Making Room for Change

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Making Room for Change

 

I really hate to throw food away. I’m not sure if it is my humble upbringing or my overall frugality, but I’m bothered when I realize I’ve let food get past its prime and have to dispose of it.

Recently the out of town grands were visiting and we made lots more food than normal. As they prepared to leave and I surveyed the mass quantities of leftovers in the refrigerator I openly lamented all of the waste.

My daughter remarked that we’d had our fill; we ate well, and the food was wonderful but no longer beneficial.

She suggested that I let it go while being thankful that we’d had more than enough. Good word, I thought as I discarded the old and made room for the beautiful fresh veggies I would pick up later at the farmer’s market.

Recently I was given lots of gently used clothes; they were mostly from the Loft, one of my favorite stores. It was a huge blessing, but I quickly realized in order to make room for them I would have to part with some things that had served me well, but no longer brought me joy. They had to go and frankly many of my “old” favorites were just that. It was time to let them go!

I’m in a season of waiting; I feel like God is on the brink of doing something new, but change isn’t something I typically embrace.

Could it be that God’s waiting for me to make room for a new thing?

I’m trying to rest, to wait and see what He’s up to.

Even as I type the words, I think “How ludicrous is that”?

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Rest is not trying; rest is surrender. Rest is restorative.

When I lie down at night and realize that every muscle is tense, that my jaw is clenched and my hands are tight fists, I have a routine of consciously relaxing from my head to my toes. I release control and allow my mind to let the stresses of life go for a bit…I focus on a favorite scripture passage or picture my favorite place to let go…the beach.

I surrender to the rest that I know I will need to face a new day. I release control of life for seven or eight hours and I sleep. It is during this rest that cells are repaired; the body restores itself from the effects of the day’s exposure to stress, toxins, UV rays and all manner of other harm.

Spiritual rest is only found in the quiet place; I hear him best when I choose to turn off the noise of the outside and consciously relax every corner of my heart, surrendering them each to his calm. It is in this rest that my heart can hear Him speak healing words of love over the places that exposure to the world have been scraped and made raw.

I’m acting on what a friend has been praying for me. I’m free falling right into the arms of Jesus; it’s the only place of true rest and restoration.

I’ll let you know how it’s going, friend.

Resting in his grace,

lorraine

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!
I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Psalm 43:19 NLT

TOM

And speaking of rest, how would you like to win a new mattress? My friend Rebecca Huff is sponsoring a big giveaway this month. Head on over to this post to see what it’s all about and learn more about getting rest through quality sleep.

The Easy Wife

Another great giveaway is happening over here on The Easy Wife Facebook page. What a great way to get started with Essential Oils! Check out Jami and Stacey’s podcast – you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will I Ever Be Enough?

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Will I Ever Be Enough?

The sound woke me suddenly and my heart was beating fast. Adrenalin was coursing as I identified the source of the alarm. Two vibrations and then a few rising tones meant that my hubby’s blood sugar had exceeded the high threshold and his monitor was alerting.

I laid there in the dark, processing the information for a few minutes and it alarmed again. This time he sat up, insulin pump in hand. He took stock of his number and administered the insulin.

Five minutes later, the alarm sounded again. And five minutes later, and five minutes later….

He dozed beside me but I couldn’t sleep. Now awake, I thought of design ideas for an improvement to the continuous monitoring device. A temporary hold on alarms came to mind; a way to communicate that insulin was delivered, now hush and give it time to work its magic already.

Still awake, my thoughts went to the previous day. It was not a good one for me. Work was fine, home was fine, my commute was fine. I was not. Fine. The tension had been building for weeks.

I reviewed my conversations, my mindset, my attitudes. I regretted spoken words. It had been ugly.

I gave much thought to my husband’s earlier wise counsel over a situation that I was struggling with.

I was filled with regret. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I was truly sorry.

The truth is that I’m overwhelmed. Deadlines missed. People disappointed. Criticism hurled. Expectations dashed. I have a litany of reasons to be disappointed with myself that I recite when I turn the attack inward.

I am as hard on myself as I am on others. “Why did you ever think you could complete a half marathon?” I have guilt and embarrassment over yet another thing that I started and couldn’t finish. Mind you, an arthritic hip is the real demon here, but I’m glad to take a beating over it.

I took stock. I asked myself a question.

“What are you afraid of?”

Immediately, I thought of my every day fears. Lizards. Snakes…most any reptile you can name. But really, those aren’t the things that scare me when I lie awake in the night, when I’m driving my car, or when I sit down to write.

The truth is that I’m afraid that I’m not enough.

When I was expecting my second child (we didn’t know she was a girl – it was the 70’s) I was afraid. I had normal expectant mom fears like birth defects and whether something I ate or something the doctor prescribed might harm my baby.

But my biggest fear? I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough love for another child.

I loved my firstborn daughter with a love that I had never known. She was our life. I couldn’t wait for her to wake up in the morning and I stood over her crib and watched her sleep at night. There was no way that I had the capacity to love another child like that. This new baby? I feared she would get leftovers. If there were any, that is.

Of course, our second daughter was born and I loved her dearly – she was such a gift to our little family.

That fear was ridiculous but it loomed large and in charge for the better part of eight months (again…the 70’s – I had to actually wait a few weeks to get a pregnancy test at the doctor’s office).

Fear unfounded. God created our hearts with the capacity to love beyond our wildest imaginations.

Back to that alarm in the night…the problem with it was lack of data. The device knew only the number that it was reading. It was not aware of the on-board insulin and therefore didn’t take it into consideration. It continued to act like there was not enough.

Through tears I confess that I am just like that. The fear is real, just like that number. There are plenty of triggers that cause me to be alarmed. There always will be. And I feel despicable. I’m ashamed. I’m afraid that no matter how much I do, how hard I try, I will never be enough. And data is proving it. The world, even good people, even some of the people who love me, will never be fully satisfied with me.

But unlike that device, I know the remedy has already been supplied. There is no need to walk about with anxiety and weariness over feeling I am not enough.

“Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.”
Isaiah 43:4

I recently read these words from Kelly Balarie: “If it wants to beat you, tie you down, and throw you out back for always being despicable, I assure you, it is not God.”[1]

And further, if I constantly find fault with myself, I will not have the confidence to recognize the good in those around me. I will never honestly admire others more than I admire who God designed me to be.

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I wish I had a nice little bow to tie on this post. All figured out. Got it.

The truth is that I’m taking baby steps. I’m reading the words of a trusted mentor and I’m making a choice to walk in faith rather than fear.

He is enough, therefore I am enough…

lorraine

 

What fear are you struggling with today? I pray that you too, can begin to walk in faith and I highly recommend you join me on my fear-fighting expedition.

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About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:

Author and Speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day.

 

About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/.

 

[1] Quote from: Fear Fighting – awakening courage to OVERCOME your fears, by Kelly  Balarie

Sometimes I Cry in My Bed

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Sometimes I Cry in My Bed

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We sat talking in the early moments of the day. She snuggled up with me, still in her princess jammies, her long hair falling softly around her face. She said she heard her younger brother crying in the night, as their rooms share a wall.

I told her that Grandpa and I visited often when she was a baby, and we slept in the room now occupied by him. We always heard her cry for the infamous 2 a.m. feeding. She smiled and snuggled a little closer.

She looked up at me with her clear blue eyes, surrounded by a pool of pure white, framed by long strawberry blonde lashes. “I cry sometimes in my bed, Grandma”. I wanted to cuddle her closer, to ask her why she cried, but I waited.

“Everyone makes mistakes.” she said.

Her eyes were fixed on my face, waiting for a response. “Do you mean that you go to your bed and cry when you have made a mistake?” I asked. Without a word, and with a somber expression, her eyes fell and she nodded.

“Yes, baby. We all make mistakes”, I assured her. I asked her if she knew the very best mistakes she’s ever made and she looked at me quizzically. “The best mistakes are the ones that we learn from, baby. Never waste a mistake.” I told her.

 

Best Mistakes

There was honest humility in her statement. Everyone makes mistakes.

And she is right. Paul put it in simple terms. “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23 CEV)

Jesus said it best. “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless your return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.” (Matthew 18:3-4 MSG)

Holy moments. I do not perceive that my statement was some sort of anointed word of wisdom into the life of my granddaughter. To the contrary, the reality that we all make mistakes and are completely dependent upon his grace was never more clear to me than when SHE spoke.

Humility like a child; looking into the face of our Father with wide eyes, telling him what he already knows. “Sometimes I cry in my bed, because I made a mistake.”

Confession is good for the confessor. Sincere confession and repentance is always accompanied by humility.

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Jesus looked at his disciples, all men who understood clearly that there were distinctions of position in their culture and he made one thing perfectly clear. At the foot of the cross we are all like little children, stripped of status, of title and persona. We are broken, we are humble and he meets us there…

Because everyone makes mistakes.

I need his grace,

lorraine

 

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Giving Up Wasn’t an Option

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Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. – James 5:16

I had forgiven her. I laid the offense at the feet of Jesus and left it. My dear friend had been part of something that wounded me deeply. I knew that it would take time to heal, but forgiveness was my part of the process and I’d offered it up with complete abandon.

But something was off; it was a sort of niggling in my spirit.

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I’m thrilled to be sharing this story over on Kelly Basham’s blog, Blossom in Faith. Please click here to read the rest of my story.

 

 

I Wouldn’t Wait! Confessions of a Teen Bride…

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I Wouldn’t Wait! Confessions of a Teen Bride…

We married on my 18th birthday.  I didn’t even have a driver’s license.  I’d known him for one year and he’s the only guy I ever went out with more than once or twice.  He was all of eight months older.

My parents were not thrilled about the wedding plans. There were threats that they wouldn’t come; I was their Catholic daughter marrying a Baptist boy in a Baptist church. I was too young and way too naïve. I was rocking their expectations, to say the least.

Our wedding was on a Friday night; there was a small reception at the church. A few of the ladies served cake, punch, nuts and mints.  I thought it was fabulous.  It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized just how plain and simple it really was, but I was in a beautiful dress that I had sewn with my own hands. I was ready to be a wife, HIS wife.

It’s interesting the things that you remember from such a significant life event. The pastor’s wife positioned my veil as my mom frantically hemmed dresses in the Sunday school room where the bridesmaids were getting ready for the ceremony. I was really glad my mother was there.

My brother Steve slipped his arm around me as I stood in the foyer and peeked through the back door into the sanctuary. In all of the hustle and bustle I remember him saying that I was beautiful. He waited with me for my dad to come and walk me down the aisle.

I didn’t hear angels sing as we exchanged our traditional vows, but a guy I went to school with named Angel sang the love theme from Romeo and Juliet. What can I say? It was the 70’s!

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When it was over, we climbed into our ‘68 Impala and drove to a car wash. Well-meaning friends and family had written all over the car with shoe polish (again, the 70’s)). There was a peace sign on the top of that car until the day we traded it. Make love, not war, people.

We drove to our little home and closed the door on the world for a week. I was completely content.

Our first home was slightly larger than the tiny houses that have recently become popular. We had purchased a 600 square foot mobile home at a price of $3,995; it came fully furnished. The sofa was so lightweight I could powerlift it over my ninety-eight pound frame.

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I felt like the queen of a castle. It was hardly majestic but it was our home. We were happy to start life together there. It was exactly what we wanted.

Over the next few years, we made a lot of decisions that we would later regret, but we have never regretted our choice to have our first child. We waited only six months to get pregnant – we were still getting to know each other, but we loved our growing family.

That simple ceremony was forty-four years ago. I suppose the odds were against us making it. We were too young, too poor, undereducated and naïve.

We started our marriage with less than one hundred dollars in cash, a fully mortgaged mobile home that began depreciating the day we signed the papers, and a car payment. Neither of us had a great job. It would be seven years before he earned an associate’s degree; thirty years to his bachelors. I never got around to college.

But we did make it and I’m convinced it is because of what we did have, mostly a legacy from our families, dysfunctional and imperfect as they were:

  • An example – Our parents were fully committed to keeping their families intact.
  • Lifestyle – Ours revolved around spending time rather than money.
  • Low expectations – We didn’t even once think that we should begin with what our parents managed to acquire in their twenty-five years of marriage.
  • Lots of siblings – We were used to sharing everything; we both came from large families and one bathroom houses.
  • Peer pressure – The couples around us were counting on us to remain a couple.
  • Hearts to serve – He did the laundry and ironing and cleaned the house after school and on weekends because his mother worked; when my sister was bed-ridden with a broken hip I got out of class early and walked two miles home every day so I could be with her when my dad left for work. Our parents taught us that families serve one another; we brought that gift into our new home.
  • Faith in God – Even when we lost faith in each other we knew that we were in his grip; that was enough when we couldn’t hold onto each other.
  • Inexperience – We didn’t bring a lot of comparisons to our bed or any other area of the house.
  • Refusing to keep score – We trusted each other enough to bring 100% most days; on the days one of us didn’t, the other picked up the slack.
  • Going to bed mad – Sometimes sleep and time are the best antidote to frustration and anger. So often the light of a new day brings clarity and peace. We learned to insert a pause and get some rest.

Everyone’s love story is different. I’m not advocating marrying right out of high school, skipping college or making babies in the first year of marriage. I guess what I’m really saying is that if two crazy, naïve and clueless kids could do it, maybe you can.

My simple prayer is that our story will encourage you to walk in his mercy, every new day and extend grace, first at home.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

By his grace alone,

lorraine

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Birthday Greetings from the Future Me

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Hepburn People

Oh, to reach back in time and speak to my fifty year old self…there are some things I wish I could have known. Maybe you are in approaching a big milestone birthday. Go ahead, eavesdrop; I’m good with it.

Welcome to your fifties, girlfriend! You just completed an amazing period of your life. Appreciate it; you were in your peak! In case you need a recap, your forties were eventful.

Perhaps you found your dream job. By now you are beginning to realize that, but hang on because you are going to love it even more!

Or became a grandma and occasionally when you were out alone with the cherub people thought you were the mom. You are rocking the grandma gig.

Your nest may have emptied. You discovered the joy of long walks and occasional suppers on the sofa. Life was less demanding and you had more time to build your marriage and pursue your passions.

Of course there were some hard times, but bless your heart, you grew through them because they revealed the cracks and flaws. It was an awakening; you paid attention. You experienced the sorrow of loss…of people, things, and maybe even a dream or two.

You learned that life is fleeting and precious and you moved forgiveness way up to the top of the list of your first responses. You discovered that the greatest gift you can give yourself is the forgiveness of another. There is so much freedom in letting go!

Here you are, a new decade stretched out before you. You are anxious. You’ve seen hard and scary things happen to women in their fifties.

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In spite of your public declaration that you are middle aged, you privately reckon with the harsh reality that not many live to be one hundred.

All of the over the hill jokes are now in your own backyard and you are not amused. And the truth is – your body might just be showing some signs of age.

One Friday night you will be scrubbing the sink like a boss and you’ll hear a strange pop. The searing pain in your shoulder must be related, but how and why?

You will spend the next six months and way too many of your flexible spending dollars on specialists who will tell you it can’t be fixed. The indentation in your shoulder where a muscle used to fire is the new normal. For the first time, you hear the phrase “When people get to be your age….” Get used to it.

One Sunday morning you’ll be strutting down the preschool hallway, slightly over confident because some sweet young momma just mentioned your grandma hotness…and you’ll turn that cute wedge sandal over and break your foot. Just like that, you go from cute wedges to an orthopedic boot. You’ll think to yourself “Six weeks. I can do six weeks.” No one warned you about delayed bone growth after fifty. For the record, THREE MONTHS.  IN THE BOOT.  But you rocked that boot, sister. Walked all over Disney World, pushing strollers, because MAGIC. And because you are more determined than ever to prove that you can.

One night as you prepare for bed you’ll take a long look into the mirror and realize you are gazing into a face you don’t recognize. She has wrinkles and a few gray hairs are peeking out around her ears. She looks familiar, alright, but more like your mother than you. And you’ll resolve to smile more because you have great teeth. And use sunscreen.

Yes, the next decade is going to introduce some new challenges, but there are so many good reasons to embark on it with joyful hope:

  • Grandchildren. You are going to be smitten, my dear. You are going to rearrange your life for these little ones and you will love every minute.
  • Menopause. You will move from always being cold to fighting the urge to disrobe in public to escape the fiery furnace of your body in a hot flash. Don’t worry, though, by the time you are sixty they’ll be mostly over. And no more monthly visitor; trust me, you won’t miss it!
  • Wisdom. You prayed for it in your twenties. As a young mother you read every related Bible verse and even tried clicking your heels together while reciting said verses, hoping for it to come. Soon you’ll discover that wisdom was not so much a gift to be received all at once; rather a package to unwrap. With each ribbon loosed, bit by bit it is yours.
  • Courage. You will try new things and stretch yourself for no reason other than knowing that you can. Your dreams have a shelf life. This is the time to run after them.
  • Opportunities to invest in others. Volunteer, mentor, and serve. You have more to offer than ever before.

If I may, just a little advice from the wiser side of the decade:

Be kind to yourself. If you judge yourself harshly, you’ll be tempted to mete out the same to others.

Get honest with yourself. Do you really want to run a marathon? If you do, get after it. If not, stop beating yourself up and set some realistic goals.

Celebrate. You won’t regret choices to carve out special moments with the people you love. When a friend wants to have coffee after you’ve changed into your pajamas, for the love, put on some yoga pants and go. When that grandson wants to talk to you about Minecraft or Star Wars, remember that you’ve listened intently to many adults who were far less interesting.

You are alive for a reason. No one knows the sum of our days but God. Go forward with confident hope, my dear, for your Lord has prepared you for the days to come.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a Godly life.
Better to be patient than powerful, better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”
Proverbs 16:31-33 NLT