Tuesday, May 26, 2015

You've got a friend in me....

I'm pretty sure we all have friends.

I'm pretty sure we all have friendships that we have neglected.  Now I don't mean gross negligence like being rude, saying mean things or other less than pleasant actions; I'm talking about just getting so busy with life that we fail to call or contact them for a few weeks and before you know it years have gone by.  Kids have graduated from schools, hair has changed color and maybe you've even gained a few pounds.  You didn't mean to let all that time slide by but somehow life got in the way.

I know first hand how easy it is to let those friendships slide.  It seems my time belongs to everyone else in my life besides me!  Sure I go to volleyball things, run kids to the dance studio, attend 4H meetings and even ladies groups at church; at all those places I have friends.  I know their names and with many of them know their "stories."  Some of them I'd call up to have coffee or lunch but most are just the "smile and wave" kind of friends.  A few months ago I came to the realization that many of my friends who no longer fit into one of the above categories I hadn't seen in ages...some for years.  Sure we do the "like" thing on Facebook and occasionally have a cyber-conversation but we haven't seen one another s actual faces in quite sometime.  I knew that I had to change things so I made a conscious decision to reach out.  No, not just reach out but reach out and follow through.  It's easy to send a text, a Facebook message or post on their wall about missing them but that doesn't really get you anywhere.

There is something refreshing about reconnecting, sitting across the table face-to-face with genuine interest and concern about another human being-one you have known for years.  It's funny how easy the conversations twist and turn then before you know it hours have gone by.  So today, I'm adding a new simple prayer to my list and it is "make me a better friend."  My goal is to at least once a month connect with a friend who is outside my weekly routine-a cup of coffee, the Indian place for lunch or perhaps a simple walk on the Crystal Bridges trails.  So if I don't hit you up for some friend time soon, please give me a shout because I'm missing you, too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Desperately seeking Shalom at 45

When I was a child, there were two sacred places in our home.  The first was my Mothers green Lazyboy recliner which was next to the east window in our living room with the rock fireplace prominent along one whole wall, shag carpet and fashionable 1970's brick columns.  In the window hung a giant Hoya which would blossom, when you entered the house the smell was almost intoxicating because it was so deliciously sweet.  I wish I had a picture of my Mom in that chair because in my minds eye I can still see her there perched with her bible in her lap and her brown prayer notebook.  Many times when you would see her there, her lips would be silently moving as she prayed deeply over all the names, problems, joys, etc. that were scribbled in her book.  I didn't understand but I accepted that it was who she was.

Some days life would be hectic or there would be something urgent that required even deeper prayer and meditation; it was then she'd head to her closet.  A large walk in closet in the master bathroom (really cool his & hers bathroom-the toilet and shower were in the middle with two doors, one opened to his vanity and closet the other to her vanity and closet).

When Mom was in there praying you knew not to disturb her because I'm convinced she heard the voice of God in that Lazyboy chair and her closet!

I'm not really sure what happened but it seems I've found myself smack-dab in the midst of middle age!  Wow how can I be 45 when the memory is so vivid of when my own parents turned 45.  But here I am, I find my days so full yet I'm left feeling so empty.  There I said it...I feel empty inside so much of the time.  Right in the middle of being a homeschool mom, wife, daughter, Master Gardener, 4H leader, church goer...So today when my Handsome commented that I have a lot of church meetings I was almost overcome, I wanted to somehow let him know exactly how important "church" is to me.  Now don't get me wrong, I adore my Handsome husband, incredible children and the life I have.  I'm crazy blessed to be a part of a really unique congregation and I've gotten more involved.  Leadership meetings, ladies meetings, food deliveries to the pantry...serving others, caring, having a community are all helping me to feel full.  Giving me a sense of purpose and of belonging to something that is making a difference in this world.

You see I'm searching for my sacred place.  The one where I'm not only striving to be the hands and feet of my Jesus but the place where when I talk I can hear Him speak to me as loudly as my Mom always has heard Him.  So Handsome, this one's for you...I hope you understand.  I love you, thank you for letting me search...

Borrowed from therefinersfire.org,

Most know that the Hebrew word shalom is understood around the world to mean "peace." However, "peace" is only one small part of the meaning. "Shalom" is used to both greet people and to bid them farewell, and it means much more than "peace, hello or goodbye"....
Hebrew words go beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent and emotion. Shalom is more then just simply peace; it is a complete peace. It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being and harmony.

According to Strong's Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In modern Hebrew the obviously related word Shelem means to pay for, and Shulam means to be fully paid.
Of course, there is only one way to find TRUE shalom - and that is in the Word of YHWH. Many search for fulfillment, happiness and contentment in material possessions, money, sex, entertainment, etc. But those things do nothing to fill "that little hole in our soul" that only GOD can fill! Those things only serve to distract and prevent us from finding true peace...the shalom that can only come from Him who created and put all things into place.