encouragement

a song that breaks

yet

Ginny Owens. Her song, if you want me to, breaks me.

A degenerative eye condition left Ginny blind. I never knew that about her. It is her story now and she sings.

 

It’s these words that I love…

You are not through with me yet.

Thank goodness. Because I feel like one frigid mess right now. I’m not even a hot mess. For everyone that is put together, I don’t get it. I get so weary of battling myself and all I feel like I should be.

 

What you want… I say yes.

Because God, you are good to stay with me and not be through.

 

One of my other favorite songs is Coldplay’s Fix You. 

Sometimes he doesn’t want us to fix ourselves constantly. He kind of loves us just as we are.

yetyet

What are your favorite songs? How do they break you and draw close to God? 

on the far side of the sea

far side

if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me

{Psalm 139}

 

Sometimes, I feel like I have settled on the far side of the sea.

Adrift in my fears, tossed around by waves of inadequacy. I skirt edges of nowhere.

The far side. Nowhere. This place where there is dark and doubt.

 

Even there. He is present. His hand guiding me. Away from far.

Even when I stubbornly tread those waters, instead of fighting to shore or at least safer waters.

 

If he is present, the far side of the sea must not be so full of nowhere.

His hand reaching, that is not nowhere… it is somewhere. There is deeper meaning.

 

What draws you to the far side of the sea? What causes you to reach? 

Do not lose heart.

IMG_0568 (2)This one and this one.

IMG_0106 (2)How many nights do I look at them sleeping and think I should be more.

Guilt seeps into my waking moments… I should have, I could have, why wasn’t I more patient?

 

Grace.

It is a never-ending, never-stopping job.

 

We do not lose heart.

The unseen things are eternal.

 

You are doing a good work, those that love.

Do not lose heart.

#impactwithcrafts

IMG_0247

Last week Amy Sullivan and I revealed the first issue of our quarterly ezine Impact!

Impact with Crafts: Click Here to check it out. 

 

I would love to feature you on About Proximity as you try any of the ideas in our ezine!

Get crafty, get giving, and drop me a note about it! We’ll work together to put into a post.

 

This weekend, I tried the project from More Love Letters.

The World Needs More Love Letters

Now that is a true statement.

At the above website, I clicked on love letter requests. This describes nominated people to receive a love letter bundle. You write a letter, mail it, and they are bundled together to be delivered to the recipient.

 

Such a simple act to a stranger, an act of love.

We choose a girl who is struggling and has been dismissed from school. Nominated by her Mom, she is hurting and scared she’ll never “be” anything, but she’s already good enough. The love of a mother humbles.

I wrote a love letter to a stranger. Ellie included one of her duct tape hearts.

My words were personal. I have struggled with feeling like I’ll never amount to all I know God longs for me to be. The struggle is real, but it is not rooted in truth.

 

This is truth about her. 

This is truth about you.

You will touch the world in a way no one else can. 

 

I will be writing more love letters. I hope you will too. I hope you will try others projects from the ezine too.

Every act of love is gift of hope.

impact

Dig Deep and Refuse.

dig deep

Rejection.

Rejection is something I do not love and avoid like a plague with my people pleasing ways. Yet, somehow I decided to become a writer.

In writing, you get rejection on a very regular basis. I feel like I get a REJECTED stamp on my forehead every other day.

Last week, I was very excited about something. One week later that something was put on hold. I just talk in ‘somethings’ now, no need to drag everyone else in my life down with my maybes moving to not meant to be’s.

 

That same day I got this comment on one of my posts.

It would be a shame if you did not lose weight when these people accomplish it easily: isabelle

Yes, Isabelle it would be a shame… <insert not nice word>

Isabelle, I think you are a robot. I hate your message on this day. (I like self-effacing jokes. Isabelle is literally a robot and the comment was spam trying to sell diet pills.)

 

Rejection makes me want to lay down and sleep and when I wake up eat a very large bowl of ice cream. I cannot do this anymore, because I would be sleeping and eating ice cream like it was my job.

Now, I have to get back up and keep going almost immediately. It’s hard. I’m not going to lie, I really want to give up sometimes.

I have to dig deep and refuse. You have to dig deep and refuse.

 

Refuse to listen to the doubts you entertain about yourself.

Refuse to listen to the voices that seek to bring down and not lift up.

Refuse to allow rejections press away your hope.

Refuse to let your mood dictate your day and drain your joy.

3449

What do you need to refuse and dig deep about today? We’ll pray for your strength. 

Let Me Lead

DSC04557

I am a worrier.

Some seasons are more difficult than others. I’m finding myself in a challenging season. In these seasons, I find myself tense, knotted up in out-of-control thoughts. The reality that I can’t make everyone happy crashes down on me. I feel like I’m letting everyone down and from there I complete a swift landslide into crazy zone. I feel wholly inadequate. Yesterday afternoon I just had to lay down, the heaviness of my thoughts were weighing my heart down. As I ascended the staircase I felt an nudging to bring my Bible along.

No, I thought, I don’t want to. Fine, I will just open up to a random page and read a paragraph and be done. So there God, I thought. 

 

Excerpts from Luke 9: 23-27 (The Message)

Anyone who intends to comes with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat- I am.

DSC00039

Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.

 

Part of finding your life is losing it.

Losing the need to be in control. Losing the need to do it all. Losing the need for perfectionism.

I want to come after God everyday. Even when it’s hard.

 

Has God ever brought specific words to you right when you needed them? Why do you think its so hard to give up control? 

if your mad, put a monocle on it.

3024

Summer Break + Kids = Dunder Mifflin Paper Explosion.

DSC05105

Here is a “mad book” Ellie made for us this summer. If we get mad we can draw whatever we want in this journal. Whatever… but she did have a suggestion. The suggestion is to draw a monocle on one of the puppies on each page. Yes reasonable, if you are mad draw a monocle on a puppy.

DSC05108

If you like then you wanna put a ring on it…

If your mad then you wanna put a monocle on it…

DSC05102

We also have a Judy Moody Not Bummer Summer Chart… to be exact

An Ellie Van Engen Mega Rare Not Bummer Summer Chart.

 

I took a Spiderman quiz the other day.

With SpiderMan’s great power comes what? 

a. danger         b. great responsibility    c. being famous

 

For some reason this coloring book quiz question struck me.

Great responsibility.

We have a great responsibility to be all that God asks us to be.

To whom much is given, much is required.

respons

We were given a great responsibility because God designed us to be more.

I think we were gifted great power when we stepped into the grace of Christ.

Let’s pray each day to take up that power with the reverence of great responsibility.

Whether that means parenting to our fullest for the day given us, working at our jobs or placing ourselves in the proximity of renewal where we can make a difference.

step

For the days that great responsibility leads to mad, just put a monocle on it and move forward.

What are you going to draw a monocle on today? I’m drawing mine over the paper explosion that is my house! 

Equidistant Disquietude.

2763

Equidistant Disquietude.

I like the way different words combine together can give clear picture into your heart.

The thesaurus is an exciting place for me to visit, nerdy I know.

 

I am feeling equidistant disquietude right now.

Equidistant means equally distant. I am feeling equally distant disquietude.

 

Another school year has found completion. My kids are with me now. I have to admit that I really love that time, but I also feel fragmented. Though that has been the case this year it protrudes even more during the summer; am I reading books or writing an article? Do I play tennis when they ask or do I revise a chapter of my manuscript?  I want to be a good Mom, but I also don’t want to overdo my presence when they are learning independence.

How do you all balance this? The roles we play as wife, Mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, career, servant of Christ?

Sometimes it all feels equally distant to me, like I am doing everything, but only half good. This is where the disquietude and guilt seep into my thoughts.

 

My senior year in high school, I found disappointment. Around the time we graduated, a close friend told me that I had changed a lot that year. How so, I asked? Worried in my people pleasing ways that somehow it had been a bad change. Just in your disappointment, you have grown deeper. 

Yes, my friend was right. Somehow the disquietude had deepened who I was.

Now, when I feel that disquietude and equidistant feeling I remember the word deep.

2966

I remember deep in the context of digging deep. I need to go someplace deep inside me that is hard to access sometimes.

That place where you put others before yourself again and again, in faith that God sees. Not to be re-payed, but to remain faithful. A place that no matter how fragmented you feel in your roles, one thing remains the strongest your faithfulness to those who love you and your love for God. This place where you kneel.  This place is the most important place to be.

kneel

Do you know that place that is hard to get to sometimes? How do you get there? How do you balance on the tightrope of life? 

I am here.

DSC01971

On Monday’s, I try to write a more personal post. They are the very hardest for me. I’m kind of a hold it close person. I think God intends for us to be real and open in our lives and that is what I hope for in my writing.

Mother’s Day was yesterday and honestly, I have been feeling like a terrible mother.

My daughter has always been a little force of nature. Creative, dramatic and full of compassion. She’s been teaching me things and pushing me out of my comfort zone since she was a baby. The last months though, have knocked the wind out of me.

 

Ellie is eight almost nine years old now.

One moment she holds tight to me before she goes into her school classroom and other times she pushes my hand away when we are walking.

Suddenly, I am the most embarrassing parent that ever happened. (I don’t have the heart to tell her that she has NO idea how awkward and embarrassing I really am.)

We are really mean parents because she has to go to bed too early. She has classmates that go to bed at midnight… (yup.)

Everything is also the absolute end of the world; worthy of tears, protests and dramatic falling onto one’s bed. (So glad I’ve been paying for those musical theater dance classes for two years.)

 

I know this is season. That it may or may not pass until she is twenty. Still, I feel a little lost.

This is what I feel assured of and I hope it will give you encouragement whatever season of life you are in.

  • Every trip to the playground meant something
  • Every time I stop what I’m doing to listen to an extremely long dramatic reading from Weird School’s Major Hubble is in Trouble matters.
  • When I sit on the floor and play the Phineas and Ferb board game it matters.
  • When I ask her help me with dinner or grocery shop with me when it would be easier to do alone, it means something.
  • When I get up early to wash the shirt she needs for school and forgot to tell me it matters.
  • Every time I end up in the rubble of her latest experiment helping her clean up, it means something.
  • Each prayer I have prayed over her, each time I go into her room in the night and adjust her covers, matters.

All those little moments that seem so insignificant matter. They matter so much. When a torrent of confused emotions overcome, those moments have built a foundation.

 

A foundation that tells the children in our lives that we are not leaving them.

We are here. We will not be giving up on them. 

DSC03634

They need us. They will continue to need us.

I am thirty-four, sometimes I still need to call my Mom. Sometimes, my mother-in-laws words of encouragement can change around a day.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend,neighbor, church member, teacher; children need us. They need our encouragement to lift them up to be the people God longs for them to be.

 

This week I watched Ellie dangle precariously close to a busy road using sidewalk chalk. I asked her to move three times, to which she just had to finish another letter, then another.

“She is so stubborn.” I said under my breath.

“You just have to stick with it,” said my Dad.  Seven simple words that meant all truth. (He should know, just ask him about doing trigonometry with me in high school.)

 

I am here.

That is what God says to us.

I am here, I’m not ever giving up on you.

100_0158