Tag Archives: life

Not Just a Rainbow

Florida rainbow...sadly, not the rainbow referred to in this post.

As I was driving in the car a few weeks ago, I saw a rainbow. Not just any old run of the mill rainbow, but a full on entire rainbow. From one side of the sky to the other. Brilliant colors, each clearly distinguishable in a ROY G. BIV kinda way. It was pretty fantastic!

I don’t know about you, but I always get excited about seeing a rainbow! I love the majesty of God’s creation! And my kids will tell you that whenever I see  a rainbow, or a red-tailed hawk, or a brilliant sunset, or a big fat full moon glowing up in the night sky, or whatever, I will exclaim, “Look!! Look!! A rainbow (or whatever thing it may be)!! Y’all come out here and look at this! It’s beautiful! Isn’t it beautiful??”

(In fact, the other day, Emma was making fun of me because I was exclaiming over a cute little baby anole lizard. Whatevs. I know I’m a goob. I simply can’t help myself.)

But for the first time in all my rainbow-loving years, on that particular day, as I was admiring that fantastic rainbow, this occurred to me: I realized that you can only see rainbows from far away.

Silly me. Of course, you can only see rainbows from far away—everyone knows that.

But bear with me here, okay? Because sometimes I need the obvious things repeated. I’m special that way. <wink> And, in this case, I believe it was one of those quiet little things that God shows us, just because He loves us and is saying to us, “Trust Me.”

So, you see the rainbow from afar and it is glorious! As you begin to approach the rainbow, you can’t see it as well. And when you are right under a rainbow, you can’t see it at all.

It’s all about perspective.

It made me think about how when you are looking at your circumstances from a distance, things appear one way. When you have walked a little further into those circumstances, they may look different. Then, when you are looking at a situation entirely after the fact—only then can you see the beauty or the value of it.

I think we can all recall such situations.

I remember when I was the mother of a 3 year old and a three month old and we were about to move across the country from North Carolina, where all our family was, to Texas, where we knew no one.

From a distance, it was hard for me to see that any good could come out of that. But it was happening—that much was clear. I always try to see a silver lining, though, and was grateful for my husband’s new job.

In the midst of the “wilderness”, as I call our Texas experience (no offense, Texas peeps!!), there were many difficult struggles—the horrendous, oppressive and relentless heat; the loneliness; the mothering of toddlers, one of whom we were just learning had autism. There was so much I didn’t understand. But there were also blessings—a wonderful church home; great neighbors; sisters in Christ who lifted me up and mentored me; closeness to my husband; a deeper dependence on the Lord than I had ever experienced up to that point in my life.

But on the other side of that two year time in Texas, I could see clearly that the reason God had placed us there, in that seemingly God forsaken place, during that season of time, (besides the obvious driving me to my knees!) was to see to it that Jacob was in a preschool class with a precious teacher whose son was very much like Jacob and who could gently say to us, in love, “hey, did you ever notice…”—even though it was hard for her to say, and hard for us to hear. It was so clear that God placed in our path people who could help us deal with our son’s challenges, direct us toward a diagnosis and help start us on our way.

Clearly, that was the beauty. The rainbow. And it is so easy to see now. In the moment, though? Not so much.

In the midst of our personal storms, we aren’t often able to see the value or the beauty of that storm in our lives. Life can be messy, and sometimes, things will get worse before they get better. Sometimes we are so overcome with our fear, anxiety, or stress, that we can only see the storm raging around us, much like Peter as he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the stormy seas. And then Peter suddenly found himself taking a swim! (Matthew 14:24-33 NLT) The beauty, the gift, is only most clear after that storm is over—when you look at it with some perspective and some distance. And when you let God say to you, “See? I had you covered all along! You only needed to trust Me.”

Friends, in the midst of those most trying and desperate of storms, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and off of our emotions and the circumstances, or else we will surely drown. Because when we are focused on those other things, we will not be able to see His hand reaching out to us to pull us out of the raging waters. Trust that the storm will end and trust that there will be beauty at the end of it. Trust in the promise of the ultimate beauty of eternity.

The rainbow has come to mean different things to different people. To me, the rainbow is not just a rainbow—some pretty thing to look at—or some symbol adopted by a group of people—it is a reminder to trust in the Lord and know that He keeps His promises. (Genesis 9:8-17 NLT) It reminds me that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV) That we can have peace in the midst of the storms. (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) And that He will carry us through the storms of our lives and give us beautiful reminders of His great love for us.

Look for the beauty, even when there doesn’t appear to be any. Look for the rainbows and trust in the Lord’s plans and purposes. And look for His hand. You can trust that it is there.

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Rusty

Pick your teeth up off the floor, people. I realize it’s been a while.

Trust me, I have felt my absence from you these last five months. Yes, five months. I can’t even believe it has been that long.

But it has.

Life started going nuts around the end of March. Not nuts in a bad way, really, but nuts nevertheless. Just nuts in an extremely busy way. So, forgive me if I am a little rusty here in the writing department!

Since I last wrote, we went to Disneyworld and Universal Studios as a family for the first time (Words can’t describe how awesome a time we had!), Jacob attended his senior prom (It was amazing!), Emma had her big performance with her show choir/musical theater group (Also amazing!), our homeschool co-op finished up with all its end of year performances and activities, Jacob graduated from high school (Emotions galore, people! Fantastic! So proud! Oh, and Thank You, Jesus!), I attended the Florida Homeschool Convention, Emma completed her 9th grade year and got her learner’s permit, and then Summer commenced in all its glory!

Summer 2013 collage

After an amazing summer filled with surfing camp, Jesus camp, family, zip lining, sun and fun, here we are—already about to fall headlong into the school year—which is KAY-RAY-ZAY, y’all! Such changes lie ahead for us and I am thrilled and horrified and completely at peace all at once.

Can anyone else relate?

Jacob is registered for classes at the local community college. (I am so not ready.) And Emma is all situated to begin her sophomore year in high school. (She says she is not ready, but she is…she just doesn’t know it.) Hubby continues to work so hard for us and I am preparing again to teach classes at our homeschool co-op.

Am I really this old??!

Yes. Yes, honey, time just has its way of traipsing forever onward.

Each time I look in the mirror and see the additional “tinsel” that adorns my hair, I am reminded of that fact. I am also reminded of how incredibly blessed I am.

Even in the midst of aging, Hubby’s car (a 1995 Toyota Camry with 285,000 miles on it) choosing whether or not to crank on a daily basis, college tuition and waking up to a lame parakeet this morning, I am blessed.

And I am so filled with gratitude.

And in the inevitable moments when my gratitude and peace elude me, and I wonder how we will pay for…whatever…fill in the blank, or how I am going to accomplish everything  that needs accomplishing during the course of any given day, or as I want to curse out and give the finger to some jerky teenage driver who just cut me off as I was trying to turn into the grocery store parking lot, and I am distressed about loved ones who are suffering unimaginable hurts and loss and loneliness and illness, I go to the Source.

And here is what The Source tells me:

“In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 NIV

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Isaiah 26:3 NLT

“God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God arms me with strength,
and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me;
your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.”  Psalm 18:30-36 NLT

In this season of no blogging and all the fantastic family awesomeness we have had, I have experienced such an intense range of emotions. Such joy and such sadness…mostly, joy. But the emotions of it all have been just crazy enough to make me question my mental health at times, but what a comfort the scriptures have been to me! When I keep my mind fixed on Him, it is amazing how much less crazy I feel. I highly recommend.

I would like to say that “I am back”, but it is hard to make the commitment knowing all the things that are coming up to keep me busy. My intention is to be back to blogging regularly, because I do love it so.

If anyone is still out there reading, thank you. Thanks for sticking with me.

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Filed under Faith, Family, Peace

Getting Fit Fridays {vol. 9 & 10}–My get up and go…

…has gotten up and went.

I know y’all have heard that saying.

It describes where I am, though I guess my get up and go hasn’t entirely gotten up and went. It is just harder to make myself do the things I know I need to do—mostly on the food front. I suppose you could say I am in a bit of a slump.

slow progressAnd before you say, “Hey, it isn’t Friday!” Just let the fact that there was no post last Friday and that this Friday’s post is occurring on Saturday clue you in to the chaos that has been my life the last two weeks and cut a sister a break.

Life has intervened. Prom committee meetings, Military Ball, Eye doctor appointments, Homeschool Co-op prep, Homeschooling, Extra-curriculars, Family visits, Etc. Life events thrown my way which upset my apple cart. This is something I have written about before and am aware is a struggle for me—to stay on track when I start feeling overwhelmed. It is that time of year when things start to go nuts.

Planning becomes difficult. Routines are changed. I feel so exhausted. But if I am truly honest, and I want to be, this whole thing is just hard. And like my friend Cris, when my perfectionism kicks in, I tend to shut down.

Yesterday, as I was driving to the gym for my WERQ class (that I really do enjoy), I was praying, “Lord, I am so tired. Why is this thing so hard?”

I heard that still, small voice say, “Because you want it to be easy.”

Oh really. *insert raised eyebrow here*

Truer words may never have been spoken.

Making good choices in my eating is hard. It takes time and planning. I want to eat what I want to eat. I want it to be quick and easy.

Getting fit takes time. I want it to happen now. I want it to be easy.

Results take hard, consistent work. I don’t like to work hard. I want to give minimum effort and get maximum results.

TRUTH: I am, by nature, a lazy person. I would like things to just happen. I want broccoli and lean proteins to miraculously appear on my plate at dinner time. I want cake to taste terrible so I won’t love it. I want my hips and thighs, okay, my whole body, to be about 6 times smaller than it currently is.

Oh, but wait…didn’t someone once say that nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work? Yep, his name was Booker T. Washington. And didn’t someone else say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result? Uh-huh, his name was Albert Einstein. Someone else said that in all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. Yeah, that guy was King Solomon, only, like, the wisest king in Israel’s history. Oh, and he also said, the soul of a sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

SO, while my nature is to be lazy and to want it NOW (think Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka singing “♫…don’t care how, I want it nooooow…♪”), I know that I have to keep on making even the smallest steps in the right direction and just say no to my natural inclination to throw the baby out with the bath water when I feel like I have really messed things up. I have to fight my urge to give up and give in to what I want at the moment.

Progress is slow. And though I have moments when I feel like I want to quit and I am tired and frustrated and I want to eat junk and I feel like there are a thousand other things I “need” to be doing besides working out, I know that slow progress is still progress.

The coming week is just as crazy as the last two. So, what am I going to do? I am going to write down what I eat. All the bites, tastes and licks too! I am going to continue with my workouts and give them more than I have been giving. I am going to ask for help when and where I need it. That may be the hardest thing of all for me. I don’t like to ask for help.

Most of all, I will not give up.

“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted” ~David Bly

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Getting Fit Fridays appears weekly here at Red Van Ramblings to chronicle my fitness journey and more importantly, to increase my accountability. Do you need to get back on the wagon? Do you need some help and encouragement? Join with me, if you’d like. We can do it—together.

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Filed under Getting Fit Fridays, Health and wellness