Submitting to the Plan

IMG_2057

“Father, create in me a clean heart… and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

I sat beside my 13 year old today as she got braces. We’ve been talking about this day for months – and, now, no more waiting: the process to straight teeth has begun.

We had a long talk with the orthodontist before today where we learned the transformation of her smile will happen without her even knowing it. He explained the wires and bands he’d apply would push and pull things into place – that it wouldn’t always be comfortable, but that she could be sure work was always in progress. He said what is crooked will be made straight; and what’s out of line will be brought into order. Slowly… slowly… slowly. He said he wouldn’t have to force anything to ‘right’ itself, but with the ever-so-slight pressure he’d apply over time, she’d eventually end up with ‘perfection’.

So at 7:35 this morning, my daughter walked into the office – willingly… a little giddy even. She sat in the chair – willingly. She opened her mouth – willingly. She gave in to the discomfort, dry lips, and multiple hands in her mouth – willingly. They didn’t have to hold her down, or bribe her, or scream at her, or pull rank. They simply said, if you want straight teeth, here’s what we have to do. And, since she wants straight teeth, she showed up and said ‘let’s do it’… willingly.

I was so impressed by her and her maturity. But, even more important, as I sat the foot of her chair with my mommy hand on the calf of her long, lean leg, I was impressed by a very simple truth I often strive to forget: sometimes I just have to submit to the plan.

HIS plan, not my plan. HIS way, not my way.

I know, I know. “Submission” is a dirty, loaded word these days. “Submission” brings up pictures of doormat women, and weak people, and images of everything most of us dread of being. But watching my daughter submit to the plan this morning wasn’t weakness – it was beautiful STRENGTH. She had a heart that understood the greater plan and she willingly said, “I’m in.” No one would call her a doormat because she submitted to the leading of the orthodontist; she wasn’t coerced or pushed around or belittled because she’s taking the opportunity to ‘perfect’ her teeth. To the contrary: by willingly submitting to the plan she can now sit back and allow the ever-slight-pressure to do it’s work for her good.

Just like my girl’s path to straight teeth began by her willingly sitting in the orthodontist’s chair, my path to ‘better’ – God’s ‘better’ – starts with my willingness to place myself before Him and His word. Yes, there will be troubles. Yet, in spite of the tests and trials He may use to make me uncomfortable and mold me through the process, if my heart is right and humbled before Him, I can know with certainty it will all work for good.

When we walked out of the office this morning, my girl had a Starbucks gift card in one hand and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the other – two gifts to ‘celebrate’ the day. And me?  I walked out praying for courageous willingness to submit to the ‘treatment plan’ my Father’s laid out for me.  I admit it’s so hard sometimes… it’s hard to let go of me and MY way and submit to His spirit and HIS way – especially when things around me aren’t changing as fast as I want them to. But just as the orthodontist promised my girl his work will make a difference over time, my Father promises that, just as the heavens are higher than the earth, HIS ways are higher than my ways, HIS thoughts higher than my thoughts… and, His plan will make me more joyful, more loving, more forgiving, more patient, more kind, more powerful, more EVERYTHING than I could ever be without Him.

 

A New Year’s Eve Prayer


Father, I am humbled by Your mercy and grace that has brought me to this place. You have been ever so kind as you have walked me down the path of 2013. Through it all – through every joy, and through every heartache (and Father, there have been many of both), YOU HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL.

You have been my strength when I had none.

You were my feet when I could not walk.

You were my courage when I was fearful.

You were my eyes when I could not see.

You were my friend when I felt lonely.

You were my shield when I felt under attack.

You have been my comfort… and my constant.

Please forgive me for when I have fallen short. Forgive me for my pride, impatience, complaining, and lack of faith… and thank you for loving me through it all. THANK YOU.

While I know that your mercy is new every morning (and not just on the first day of a new year), tonight the year ahead is especially on my mind. You have laid dreams on my heart… desires and hopes and plans, and Father, I really don’t know how it’s all going to come together.

BUT YOU DO.

I understand that as the heavens are higher than the earth, Your ways are better than my ways, and Your thoughts are better than my thoughts. So Father, give me courage as you reveal Your plans to me… and as you refine me for your everlasting purpose.

You know how I need to grow…. grow me, Father.

You know how I need to change… change me, Father.

You know how I need to mature… mature me, Father.

I cling to you with all I have tonight because YOU WHO PROMISED ARE FAITHFUL.

Thank you that you’ve gone before me, that you stand beside me, and that you will be my rear guard when times are tough.

You find a willing servant that is HOPEFUL, BRAVE, and with eyes that are firmly fixed on you.

I love you, Father… with all my heart. And, on this New Year’s Eve, I say thank you for all that has been… and all that will come.

In the precious name of your Son Jesus, Amen.

Raise and Release, Part 2

IMG_0590

At the beginning of last school year, my 12 year old baby girl went off to outdoor school… and I thought I was going to break. Why? Because this ‘raise and release‘ thing we  do is emotionally overwhelming.

We raise them – teach them, comfort them, coach them, guide them, nag them, feed them, remind them, stand beside them, stand over them, love them, tuck them in, and wake them up. We pour all that we are into these little ones and then, before we know it, we are standing with them at the tip of a branch surveying the field of life and, even though we want to snuggle them close sheltered from the heartache, and fear, and discomfort, and mistakes that come with walking boldly through life, there is nothing more we can do but stand behind and watch as they fly.

Because that’s life, right? Every season of life brings new ‘work’ – a new flight into new territory… a little longer, a little farther. The work of facing fears – of taking chances, overcoming obstacles, of letting go of mama’s hand and grabbing for His instead. And, without the work, we stay stagnant, wimpy, and unusable for the greatness God calls us to.

So today, in spite of the pit in my stomach and my own deep seated fears of letting go, I did it to my girl again.The branch was a little higher, the view was a little vaster, but the process was the same: I signed her up for an adventure, walked her to the edge, stood behind her with our breaths almost as one, and I said, “Okay, girl, you can do this: fly”.

She was hesitant to jump and test the strength of her wings. We stood for some time in the church parking lot and quietly watched other campers arrive and mull around. I could tell she was nervous; she didn’t know anyone and felt totally out-of-place. The one person she recognized we approached and said hello to, but the girl and her mom quickly turned to other friends and left us to fend for ourselves in the sea of giggling girls and mamas.

(It’s hard not to feel rejected, whether you’re 12 or you’re 40. We all want to be loved. We want to be brought in to the laughs and the conversations. We want to be noticed, acknowledged, desired. We want to feel special – all of us do. And yet, there I was with my girl: face to face with real life. The lot was packed with moms and kids – yet, she and I were an island. No one spoke to us. No one noticed us. Moms and kids grouped up – hugging and chatting and laughing. My girl and I? Totally alone.)

As tears welled up in her eyes over the fear of four days away and not a friend in site, I felt her pain. I remember being 12 – awkward, unsure, out-of-place. (When I signed her up I thought for sure she’d know a girl or two, but with a church our size, I’m guess I’m not surprised she didn’t.) I cut the ice with some mama-talk: “Honey, I know exactly what you’re feeling. Here I am 40 years old and I feel a little anxiety in my stomach over not having a friend in site. But you know what? This is the kind of thing that makes us stronger! This is the type of situation God uses to pull us out of our comfort zone and grow us – and new friends are often part of that journey. I know God has something so great in store for you this weekend – and I know He has a perfect friend for you, too. You’ll see.”

“Mom, stop,” she muttered through clenched teeth as she leaned in closer to my side for protection.

All of a sudden I heard His still, small voice say: This is where the rubber meets the road, Elisha. This is where your girl needs to see how to fly by YOU flying first.

The whisper of encouragement made me stand a little taller and I decided to take command of the situation.

“Okay, let’s look for someone else who is alone and we’ll go make friends with them.”

“Mom, no.”

“Seriously, honey, look around. Who looks like they could use a friend?”

Seconds passed. Minutes passed. Not a word. Finally, I heard a peep:  “Fine, mom – how about her.”

I looked in the direction she was looking and about 10 feet from us I spotted fellow wanderers:  a darling girl and two ladies looking just as lost as we felt.  I put my arm around Selah and whispered under my breath, “Okay – don’t be so obvious, but let’s work our way over there.”

We walked towards the small group and around the backside of one of the ladies and still for about thirty seconds. (It would have embarrassed my girl way too much if I would have just walked to them looking desperate. So, I had to be cool – I had to be smooooooth.)

When I sensed a break in their conversation, I went to work.

I put my palm on the arm of the gal closest to me and she turned around. “Hi – I’m Elisha. Do you all go to church her or are you just here for the camp?” Selah was about 3 feet from me, body language screaming discomfort.

“Oh hi,” the sweet mama said. “Yes, we do attend here.”

We chatted for just a couple of minutes about the services we attend, etc, etc, and then I said, “Yeah, we were nervous when we showed up because we didn’t recognize anyone and everyone seemed paired up.”

“We thought the same thing, too,” the mama said with a lighthearted laugh.

“Well, this is my girl, Selah.”

“And this is my girl, Natalie.”

Selah and Natalie looked at each other, said little girl hellos, and I could feel it: in that instant fear has lost the fight for my baby girl’s wings. (Praise God!)

We continued to talk as the campers were rounded up. It turned out Natalie had forgotten a camp chair just like Selah, so the two girls were summoned to collect one from the church office. Off they went, chatting, smiling. Friends. They were instant friends.

Before we knew it the bus was being loaded and off  the two little birds went. Side by side on the bus, and mine totally embarrassed I was trying to take pictures through the window. But you know what? She was flying! She watched me fly before and then, with confidence, she jumped off, too… and how could I not try to snap a picture of her courage?!

PRAYER: Father, thank you for opportunities like today – opportunities that let my girl test her wings where it is safe, and where You are present. I pray your protection over her and all the campers this week. May Selah and her new friend enjoy each other’s company and may they come back stronger than they left us. Finally Lord, may we mamas never forget that our girls learn more by our example than our words, and may we – Your daughters – be women that exude kindness, gentleness, goodness, and love. Should by chance we ever feel insecure, or overlooked, or rejected, which I know You understand is common for us mamas sometimes, may we be reminded You call us by name – You call us Your Beloved; and, may we stand tall and shine brightly as your Love so the women you’ve entrusted us to raise stand tall and shine brightly as well. Thank you for loving us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

REBEL GRAIN IS BACK!

 

rebelgrain

Drum roll please…. Rebel Grain is back!

Thanks to my beautiful, talented, very patient and gracious designer Jessica Tate – my heart now has a home.

Over the last several months I’ve sensed a transition coming on. At first I thought maybe we’d move (so we were looking at houses). Then, I thought maybe we’d be moving the kids to new schools (so we started looking around). I mean, there was something – just something – that was keeping me/us uneasy. So, I kept praying, kept my eyes on Him – patient, waiting… and I/we breathed a little easier as neither of those first ideas grew any feet. Then, it happened. I received some news from my SmartyBars manufacturer, and the ‘just something’ I felt coming became clear: SmartyBars, my business for the last two years and labor of love, was coming to an end.

After I hyperventilated at my computer and cried quite a few tears, I got up and kept walking. I called around, started asking question to see if I could find a new place to run my product… but, weeks passed and the signs still kept flashing: END OF CHAPTER.

So… as the job of human requires, I pulled myself together, zipped up my thick skin, and, with goose-bump covered arms, turned the page to this new chapter. It’s a chapter where the name “Rebel Grain” continues, and where the story of rebellion continues to unfold.

I’ve redesigned this place to – hopefully! – be a place where you and I can meet. You’ll notice some new things, such as:

  • “Just Quinoa” in the top navigation bar gives you access to all my quinoa recipes in one place
  • Each post is now easier to share – just look for the share buttons at the end of each new entry
  • PinIt for Pintrest has been added to every post photo as well, so PLEASE: Pin away!
  • You can subscribe to the blog two ways: (1) to your inbox via the link in the sidebar, or (2) via bloglovin’ (just be sure to download the app!). And, YES, I’d love for you to subscribe!
  • CATEGORIES have been simplified: Being, Believing, Mothering, Loving, Eating… but, you can continue to search TAGS through the side bar drop down menu.
  • You can “Journey With Me” via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, and YouTube via the icons in the side bar

My hope is that you’ll join me regularly to eat quinoa, keep the faith, spill our hearts, and share the the highs and lows of mothering the next generation of women and men. Most importantly, that you’ll join me for this: ENCOURAGEMENT. Encouragement to eat well, love our men, fight for our kids, and live sexy and confident in our womanly skin.

We’re in this together – aren’t we?

WE ARE THE REBEL GRAIN.