Lessons Learned in 3D — Wise Hearts

I love reading other people’s God stories!   I always glean so much wisdom from seeing how God authors and orchestrates every little detail of our lives.  (He writes much better endings that I do!).  Here are some gems — 10 things I have learned this week in no particular order:

1.  Sometimes, it is wise to say “No” — Jesus said so!  (I love how Cheri explains it here at Anchoring Hearts in Hope.)

2.  Rebekah from A Soft Gentle Voice shares 12 things with her daughter on the eve of her 12th birthday.  I am a lot older than 12, but I appreciated her wisdom.

3.  When you let go, experiencing “uncomplicated joy” is possible.  (Sarah Bessey lets us in on the sweetest mommy moment.)

4.  God sets us from “the pressure to pretend” we are perfect.  (Angela tells it like it is in this post at Good Morning Girls.)

5.  I adore these Time-Tested Beauty Tips shared by Darlene for The Better Mom.

6.  Have you ever stared at the cursor on your computer with not a thing to say?  Deidra has.  I love her sage advice shared over at (in) courage.

7.  I need to tell my mom that she is beautiful as much as possible.  (This post by Tracy for Finding Heaven Today made me cry the ugly cry.)

8.  Do you know Emily Wierenga’s blog?  She is an amazing writer with an incredible story.  I loved this quote from her post on Thursday:

“Our stories should not be pedestals.

They should not be podiums.

They should be parables–carefully worded attempts

to illustrate truths of the kingdom,

on behalf of a world that longs to find Jesus

and to find him, fully.”

9.  I love this honest, witty post on praying with less words and more power.  Nancy is one of my favorite bloggers.

10.  Favorite tweet of the week:

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Q4U:  What did you learn this week?

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

I am joining Rachel, Jesse, and friends this weekend for

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Lost in Translation

translation books

I married a Gringo.  My Cuban grandmother speaks not a word of English, and my husband only knows how to say “cheese” and “hello” in Spanish.  This means I spend a lot of time translating.  This weekend, I tried to tell my abuela a story about a nightmare my husband had experienced.  In the dream, my sweet husband decides to go to a nail salon to purchase a manicure for me, but the Asian lady at the front desk misunderstands him and begins to do his nails.  He tries over and over again to tell her he does not want a manicure, but she keeps saying to him, “You, be still.  I do a good job.”  Thankfully, he woke up before he had to choose a nail color.

Describing my husband’s crazy nocturnal images to an elderly female Cuban proved to be a bit difficult for me.  For starters, I had no idea how to say “nightmare” or “manicure” in Spanish.   I decided to just translate it as “bad dream,” but my grandfather corrected me and told me the actual word was “pesadilla.”  I had never used that word before, and it was totally unfamiliar to me.

The problem I face sometimes is that some phrases are just not “translatable.”  No matter what words I choose, my abuela will never understand the punchline of my husband’s jokes, and some “Cuban sayings” seem pretty absurd if I translate them literally into English.   You can’t translate cultural understanding.

Have you ever had a similar experience?  Have you tried to communicate a concept to someone who just doesn’t seem to speak the same language you do?  I struggle the same way when I try to share my faith sometimes.  Jesus has taught me a language of love and peace — His forgiveness is such a beautiful gift.  Yet, I find myself struggling with how to translate Him to those who don’t understand or know.

This week, I realized that Jesus knew His disciples would feel inadequate for the task of communicating the Gospel.  In Luke 12, Christ tells them not to worry though:

“…the Holy Spirit will teach you

in that very hour what you ought to say” (v.12, ESV).

I am so thankful that God uses tongue-tied, vocabulary-hindered me to share His story.  He will give me the right words — words of life.

Q4U:  Do you struggle with finding the right words to communicate the Good News to those who don’t “speak Christian”?

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that meanhere.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Faith-Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Tell His Story, Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.

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Lessons Learned in 3D — Holding on to Hope

This week, I shared my story, and you let me know I am not alone.  Thank you.

I am holding on to hope today.  Romans 5:5 (NLT) says that His hope will never disappoint us.  He Himself is our Hope (Colossians 1:27).  May His hope fill you and surround you this weekend.

Here are 10 hopeful things I have learned this week.  I hope you will be encouraged….

1.  CNN’s Belief Blog tackled the tough subject of depression and mental illness this week.  I learned so much from  “Let’s Stop Keeping Mental Illness a Secret” and  “How Churches Can Respond to Mental Illness.”  

2.  I loved this piece by Shauna for Storyline blog encouraging us to make time for gathering at the table in community with others.

3.  I was so convicted by Mary’s story about how “every person matters.”  (I will think of her when I go to the grocery story this weekend!)

4.  I am adulteress.  This post by Alee for Deeper Story is a must read.

5.  My new favorite blogger is Alica at The Overflow.  I loved her post “Why Every Girl Longs to be Beautiful.

6.  Jon Acuff rocks.  I love this space he created for dealing with the voices of fear.  No more voices!  God has not given us a spirit of fear!!!

7.  This was a great post for moms by Joanne.  Don’t despise small beginnings.

8.  I discovered that I love Meredith Andrew’s music.   Two songs that have really encouraged me this week are “Not for a Moment and “You’re Not Alone.

9.  I love these two passionate responses to all the “Christian Crazies” out there who are bashing the Warren family.  Thank you, Beth Moore and Mark Driscoll.  As my momma said, if you can’t say anything nice, then just keep your both shut please.  Christians should not shoot the wounded.

10.  My brother in law sent me this video — it made me laugh, so I had to share.  Check out “Thrift Shop Christian Remix.

Q4:  What did you learn this week?

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

I am joining Jessie and friends over at Vanderbilt Wife for “Saturday Linky Love.”

Eclipse

eclipse

One year ago, I ate one piece of bacon too many, and I ended up in the Emergency Room.  I thought I had a little acid indigestion, but the doctor on call said my liver enzymes were elevated.  I was admitted, and an ultrasound of my abdomen was ordered.  Then, a surgeon was called.

Ten days later, I was discharged with 25 staples in my abdomen after two surgical procedures to remove my inflamed gall bladder and a pesky stone lodged in my bile duct.   I spent 2 months with a drain attached to my body that collected bile — yucky, smelly, messy bile.   My kidneys decided to stop functioning, and my stomach became paralyzed.

I ate bland food.  It did not stay down.  I decided to try soups.  That didn’t go much better.  Then, I spent two weeks on Gatorade and yogurt.   Eventually, I ended up back at the Emergency Room. I simply could not eat with any measure of success.

The surgeon had warned me that I might face some complications, and apparently he had the gift of prophecy.

After my second stint at the hospital, I came home with a prescription and an action plan.   For eight weeks, I ate small meals with no veggies, fruit, or fiber allowed.

I began to crave a yummy salad.  I missed crunchy things.  I longed for a salty peanut.  Raisins mocked me.  An apple a day apparently was not in my future.

I started to mourn.  I missed date nights with my husband at Paneras.  I missed breakfast with the girls on a lazy Saturday morning.  I missed getting lost in the pages of a good book.  I missed my life — my carefree, fun, doctor-free, laughter-filled life.

Then, the nausea came.  I regressed.  I gagged.  I struggled with brushing my teeth successfully.  My daily diet became Gatorade, Ensure, and half a piece of toast.

My husband and I made yet another doctor’s appointment, and we prayed.

Frustrated and tired, I entered the doctor’s office on a fateful, climactic morning that changed my life forever.  I rambled through the details for him once again — every symptom, every medication, every remedy we had tried.   He listened.  He nodded his head.  He smiled.   And then, he said the words I never thought I would hear.

“I think you are a little depressed.”

But, I am not allowed to be depressed.  I am the happy girl.  I am the mature Christian girl.   You are not seriously telling me that my physical issues are the result of depression.  Is unrelenting nausea a symptom of depression?

Apparently, it is.

Once I stopped objecting, I realized my days did feel way too long.  I no longer seemed  able to fill up the time with meaningful activity.   I found no interest in pursuits that normally brought me pleasure.

Oh, my!  I suddenly remembered that my husband had taken me to Walmart, and I did not find anything to buy.  Nothing.

I needed help.

And that was the day that I discovered the secret.

I was not alone.

First, three co-workers shared with me phone numbers for their therapists.  Three.

I do not work at a big office.

Then, a  friend from church told me to give her a call so that we could chat.   My beautiful, fun, Jesus-loving friend shared her story.   She held nothing back.  She was brave.  She let me know that she was broken.   She let me know that she struggled.

I will not be silent.   I will not be silent and turn my head and look the other way while another sister silently suffers.

This is my story.   I am broken.  I need help.   I am not alone.

You are not alone.

Today, when I realized that I needed to write this, I told the Lord I would not be silent.  I cannot stay silent because He has healed me.  He did not leave me alone.

Like David in the Psalms, I have cried in the darkness and wondered when He would speak.  I have longed for the light of His favor to return.

Today, I sat in the car heading home and holding my husband’s hand after a happy day filled with love and laughter.  And, I looked back.  I looked back at the darkness now passed.  And my God told me what to say.

It’s an eclipse. 

The Light never leaves you. 

The shadow that obscures it is but temporary. 

Really, God?

I wasn’t sure, so I checked Wikipedia for verification — because it’s not true unless you read it on the internet, right?

Here is what I found out about the word “eclipse” —

The term is derived from the ancient Greek noun ἔκλειψις (ékleipsis), which means “the abandonment,” “the downfall,” or “the darkening of a heavenly body,” which is derived from the verb ἐκλείπω (ekleípō) which means “to abandon,” “to darken,” or “to cease to exist,”a combination of prefix ἐκ- (ek-), from preposition ἐκ (ek), “out,” and of verb λείπω (leípō), “to be absent”

During an eclipse, the light never totally disappears.  There are different periods of the eclipse.  A total eclipse is labeled “umbra.”

“Umbra” means shadow, for all of you who need further convincing.

It does.   Wikipedia says so.

The darkness is but a temporary shadow.

His Light is always there.

You are not alone.

Hold on to this promise in the shadows:  There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18, NIV).

If you are in the shadow today, please make an appointment.   Talk to a friend.  See your doctor.  Pray with your pastor.

I spent way too much money today in the Cracker Barrel gift shop.  Life is sweet again.

The shadow will pass.  Please know I will stand with you until it does.

Q4U:   What do we need to do to uphold those who are in the shadow right now?   My heart is burdened deeply for those who struggle..  Hearing of the loss in the Warren family has surfaced so many thoughts about how we must talk about the difficult things.

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Faith-Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Tell His Story, Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.

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