Sometimes I Struggle

Help! I feel like I’m drowning in my own overactive mind and imagination. I have these feelings of grandeur and yet I’m so trapped in my thoughts I cannot escape. They haunt me. They sit around and wait until I get motivated and then POW like a streak of lightning they’re back. They are both inhibiting and debilitating. I know them well and it’s called procrastination coupled with fear and anxiety.

Once I allow You to free me from my overactive thoughts and imagination, I can do anything I set my mind to and the crazy thing is that I accomplish both small and large tasks with zing. It’s just sometimes my mind wants to keep me from accomplishing anything.

So today I am calling it what it is. It is called anxious and afraid. I am anxious because I don’t often know what I should be writing and I am afraid because I don’t think people care. And so, today, I am going to pray and ask the Lord to help me through this anxiousness and fear.

First of all, he didn’t put the spirit of fear in me. The devil is crafty and I am allowing him to inhibit me with fear. Therefore the first course of action is going to be for me to proclaim that God has not given me a spirit of fear. God has given me a spirit of peace because I dwell in Him and His presence dwells in me.

So why am I allowing the devil to cause fear and anxiety? I am allowing him to tell me that I am not good enough. There are so many better writers out there than me. Nobody wants to hear your voice. Nobody cares what you have to say. Everybody is saying the same thing and you’re no different.

But essentially what I am telling God is “I don’t trust you.” You know why? Because God has called me to this journey of writing. That’s why. He called me and sought me out. I know that He has used my words to make a difference in people. People have told me so and I have no reason to doubt . Besides, isn’t my story, my story? Sure, I may have learned some of the same life lessons but maybe in a different way and maybe in a way that others can understand. My voice is unique and it’s a part of who I am.

Lord, You make my voice unique. You give me words that spill from my thoughts onto the keyboard and onto the page. What do you want to say in and through me? I don’t want to be a resounding gong, nor do I want repeat what others have said. I want my own voice, the voice that You have given me. The one that is unique to me.

I don’t take this assignment lightly. I know that it is a gift from you. A calling.

As I was reading and learned this morning, part of taking care of my spirit is being obedient to you. Also through Leviticus and Ezekiel, there are harsh warnings about disobedient. I mean, Aarons son’s flagrantly disobeyed and they were consumed by fire. You repeatedly gave the Israelites stern warnings about their disobedience and even when Ezekiel’s wife died, You asked him to keep proclaiming your word and not to mourn. Oh, how You wanted their hearts to return to you. But they were stubborn and obstinate. I don’t want to be stubborn and obstinate. I don’t want to be like Moses and list all the reasons why I am unqualified because the truth is: If you have called me to this, You will equip me for this. Therefore I don’t have to allow all these voices in my mind to counteract what you are clearly calling me to do.

And so I will write. Every thought, every word, every sentences that You bring into my thoughts and I will write them down. Then I will allow time to think and pray and process and together with Your help, I will weave and craft them into the masterpiece that You desire. A masterpiece that will bring honor and glory to You.

A Celebratiom of Life

Monday was a beautiful spring day in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Crisp morning air followed by blue skies and sunshine. A gentle breeze to keep it cool and comfortable. A perfect day to celebrate a beautiful life.

When my grandfathers younger sister died in August of 2017, on the way home from her service, Mom told me that when Popaw died she wanted me to speak at his service. Little did I know what a task and challenge I would face.

Popaw took his breath last Tuesday. I had almost a full week to prepare. One would think a week would be enough time. Normally, it would. But this was not normal.

Stories and memories were swimming in my mind. I could barely finish one thought before another would interrupt. Not one story won. Each story held a specific and special meaning and not one more meaningful or important than the next.

How could I tell one story without telling ten? Honestly, I struggled. There’s no way to choose just one and we hadn’t the time for more.

So, instead, I chose to speak about the character man Popaw displayed because his character has had a profound impact on my life. So, I asked family members to send me three words that came to mind when they thought of him. Here’s the list.

Mom, Aunt Trisha, and Uncle Onald: kind, faithful, pleasant, Godly, easy going, trustworthy, loving

Kristi: giving, loyal, wise and intelligent

David: Hero, unconditional love, father.

Ryan: kind, wise, patient

Matthew: observant, loyal gentle

Alex: calm, wise, virtuous

Amy: generous, tender-hearted, earnest

Zach: Generous, loyal, caring

Terry: hero, wise, loving

Me: generous, wise, joyful

As I prayed and thought over these words, I realized they all had a commonality. They all speak to the character of the man behind them and his integrity. Popaw was man-marked by integrity. Integrity derives from the Latin word integer meaning whole or complete. Popaw was the whole package. But his full wholeness was not realized until April 23, 2019, when God called him home. At that moment Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6 became Popaw’s reality, ”For I am confident of this thing, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”

Popaw was a humble, gentle and kind man who exercised patience, generosity, and wisdom throughout the course of his life. He was a man marked by unconditional love, faithfulness, and complete joy.

I rarely remember a time I didn’t see him smile. His smile was infectious and kit up a room. In fact, at the very moment, he breathed his last breath Robert, a family friend, and I were standing over him talking about his sweet smile.

Popaw knew his strengths and weaknesses. He was not a perfect man but he was truly a blessed man. I am not speaking from a monetary perspective, although he always had enough. When I say blessed I am talking about the constant joy that welled up in him and spilled into those who knew him. This is not a common joy but one that comes from knowing the Lord.

Last week our Pastor, Bruce Frank, said, ”Until Jesus is enough for you, nothing will be enough for you.

I am here to tell you that Jesus was absolutely enough for Popaw. This is why his life was marked by integrity, wisdom, and kindness. He knew the joy of being content no matter what.

His life exemplified the following:

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward, you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. —Psalm 73:23–26