Thursday, February 22, 2018

Texas!




SNOW IN TEXAS?



I thought it was warm in Texas instead we were meet by snow!! Crazy huh? Even so, we crossed the border into Texas yesterday, spent the night in Lubbock and today arrived at our first Texan destination. 

We will be staying here in Abilene with our good friends Mark and Karla. We met them while stationed in Missouri. One great thing about the military is you make fast and longtime friends!  We will be here until Sunday, then onto Ryan’s bucket list destination Austin. If you know any “must see" or “good eats” in Austin let us know! I’m ready for some good Mexican food and BBQ!

I guess we can’t complain too much about the weather. It looks like we were just in time getting out of Tacoma since they have had rain/ice/snow for the last few days. In fact, we managed to stay just ahead of a few winter storm systems. Today was the only day we didn’t have dry roads and for that I am thankful.

We are ready for a few days of rest and to give our bodies a chance to catch up to the 2 time zone changes.  It will be nice to not have to get up and on the road bright and early tomorrow.  

Everything has gone as expect and uneventful.  Jeff worked hard to prepare the RV for our trip. And for that I am extremely grateful. 







Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My maiden drive of the RV. Day 2,3 and 4


Day 2: Yep this happened! If only I would have put on an extra layer of deodorant first! 




I started off my maiden drive at a rest stop, knowing the next one was only 30 miles away. I thought, I can do 30 miles, right? The road was straight and no mountains to climb so no time like the present to try my hand behind the wheel.

It wasn’t too bad. Even though I had to fight the wind I did manage to finally loosen my grip on the steering wheel, slightly. Until I would see a Semi truck coming up the side to pass then I once again had a death grip on the wheel. Those big ol' semi trucks made me nervous. They would pull up beside to pass  and you would feel yourself being pulled into them. And they are SO CLOSE!   That is when the extra layer of deodorant would have been a plus!

30 miles went fast and as we approached the rest stop, the sign said the next one was 30 miles. So, I decided to keep going. After all, I did 30, I can do another 30. All in all, I ended up driving 90 miles. Not bad for my first time out! 

The rest of the day went by fast. This part of California is miles upon miles of fruit tree groves. I am always impressed with the perfectly straight rows of the manicured trees. The trees were already full of  pink and white blossoms. 

Jeff and I both got a chuckle out of seeing a police officer pull off the exit road. Get out of his car, open the back door of the car to let his “partner” out for a little potty break!  His 4-legged partner that is! Not sure why, that made us both laugh. Guess you gotta go when "doodie calls"!

Day 3 and 4 are  blurred together. Uneventful which is good. The scenery went from lush green farm land in Northern California to dusty, dry ,brown desert in Arizona, then into New Mexico the dirt and landscape turned red and rocky   There was snow on the ground in the high desert mountain passes but thankfully the road were dry. 

Desert Mountains Arizona

Last night, Monday, we stayed in Needles Ca. Never heard of it? Not surprised. I think the KOA campground ( gravel parking lot)  was the only thing there.  Tonight, Tuesday, we were planning on stopping in  Gallup NM. But upon arrival in Gallup there was snow on the ground. The morning temperatures were predicted to be in the single digits so we gassed up the RV and headed a little farther down the road to lower elevation, hoping to find warmer temperatures.  We finally stopped in Albuquerque NM.  Still cool temperatures but a least we will stay above freezing.

These long stretches of nothing makes me extremely thankful we have an on-board potty! Cause the pit stops are few and far between on this stretch of highway.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

On the Road!


Good morning from sunny Red Bluffs California!

Let me back track just a little.

We originally planned on leaving Saturday morning. Jeff was at work friday morning and checked the weather. Noticing a storm system was moving into the mountains late Saturday evening, about the time we would be going through them. So he called me from work and said, can you be ready to leave today!?!?

All the months, well years of planning and we were finally on the road! I had butterflies in my stomach as we pulled out. This has been a dream in the making for a long time!  The older Ryan gets the more Jeff and I were feeling the urgency in making this happen.

The first half day , Friday was spent battling traffic, pretty much all the way south to Eugene.

Yesterday was the first full day on the road. It was spent going through mostly mountain passes. The highest elevation was around 4,000. The roads were dry, which is what we were hoping for.
Southern Oregon and Northern California are beautiful. 

It was good to see that Lake Shasta is full of water again, When we drove through here 2 years ago this looked more like a little creek than a lake. 


Pretty uneventful first 2 nights in the camper.

Ryan is very happy with his little bedroom suite, all the comforts of home! This morning was a little chilly, so we went to turn on the gas heater and for some reason it wasn’t kicking on :( Jeff spent some time problem solving, finally you-tubed it and it is now fixed! Pays to be married to a retired airplane crew chief! The good thing about these RV is all the comforts of home. The bad thing is you have all the maintenance and issues as a home!

Today will be a shorter day on the road, and no significant mountains to climb. I might even get behind the wheel for a short time! pray for me, or should I say Jeff !! LOL!

Yesterday as we were pulling out of the gas station an RV passed us. I said look at that big dog sitting in the front seat, only as it got closer I noticed it wasn't a dog, it was a big white goose!! Crazy people!

Gotta go.. Jeff just came inside and I got caught! Am supposed to be getting ready to pull out. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Blizzard of 1985.

All these news stories of the extreme winters and snow has brought up memories of living in Minot  ND for 10 years. I have a lot of memories of our Minot winters but one in particular stands out. 

 It was a year after Jeff and I were married and let’s just say, it was a big test of our newly formed marriage!

It was winter of 1985. We were living on Minot AFB, which is about 12 miles from the town. The highway between the base and town is very open and flat. When it snows, and the wind picks up it becomes impossible to drive the stretch of road.  It was Saturday and Jeff had weekend duty, working on the flight line in the subzero temperatures.  He was supposed to be off early because we had a wedding in town we were to be in.   As the day went on, it started to snow. The weather was rapidly declining, and Jeff still wasn’t home.  The later it got, the more nervous I became, knowing the roads were getting bad.

Jeff finally got home from work and we had a very quick “discussion” about trying to make it to the wedding. Jeff wanted to stay home, partially because he was frozen from working in the cold all day and because by this point we had blizzard warnings. But I insisted we HAD to go, we were in the wedding!  He changed into his tuxedo then went out to warm up the car, only it wouldn’t start, the engine was frozen.  I went out early in the day and forgot to plug it back in (yes we had to plug our cars in).   Which meant we had to drive his car, which really was only meant to drive on the base. It was not what you would call road worthy.  Once again, we had a “discussion” about going and once again I was insistent.  

We drove very slowly into town, all the while the snow was falling, and the wind was whipping.  We finally arrived at the church, just in time to stand in the back and see the end of the ceremony. We didn’t make it in time. I felt awful and wanted to stay at the reception for a few minutes,  but this time Jeff was insistent we needed to leave immediately to get home. 

Now it was full on blizzard. We really could not see a thing!  I tried to convince Jeff to turn around and we could stay in town but at this point there was no talking him out of driving home. The drive home was slow and very nerve wracking, I  don’t know how we didn’t end up in the ditch, but we managed to make our way every so slowly down that highway home. 

After a long stressful drive, we finally made it to the turn off for the front gate.   We could not see the guard shack because of the blowing snow but we could see the light so we knew we were almost home!  As we approached the gate a military police peeked out of the guard building, he looked like he saw a ghost. He came to the car and said," I didn’t expect to see anyone out here tonight!  What on earth are you doing out on these roads!" Then he asked to see our ID cards, well guess what I forgot! Ghost or no ghost, you must have an ID card to get on base. No ID card meant we had to go to the visitor center, so Jeff could vouch me on.  We drudged through above knee high snow drifts, freezing cold wind whipping through us as we made our way to the building.   Jeff in his tuxedo, and dress shoes. Me in my formal long dress. 

By this point, Jeff was at his max peak of being peeved with me! I wonder if a part of him wanted to leave me at the gate!  

We did make it home to our little mobile home.  But guess who forgot the key? We were locked out.  Jeff had to tromp through the deep snow drifts to get to the back door which he then proceeded to break down. I’m not sure it took much, all that saved up anger aided in that! We were cold, wet and tired.  THEN the final straw. To top off the very long, cold, wet, miserable day, our sewer pipes froze!  Do you know how you thaw frozen sewer pipes in a mobile home? You cut them off and bring them inside the house to thaw!  YEP !  That was one for the books for sure!   It’s a miracle our marriage lasted that weekend!!! 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Opening up to new adventures.


Jeff and I were both surprised by the emotions as we watched our trailer leave the driveway.



Prior to the trailer we were limited to what we could do. Since Ryan abilities drastically changed at 13 , after his back surgery, we could no longer go anywhere that required an over night stay. So when we purchased the trailer 2 years ago we were excited to see how this might work.

I will never forget our first trip. We were heading to California and once we passed the Oregon/California border I felt freedom for Ryan! It was the first time Ryan traveled beyond our little area in over 5 years! Can you imagine? So it is no wonder we were both moved to tears seeing it leave. So many emotions and feelings , not from the trailer itself but what it represented. By thinking outside the box, being extremely creative, and a lot of work by Jeff to make it accessible, we were able to expand Ryan's world a little.

It was hard to see it leave but it helps to know that it went to another DMD family in our same situation. I hope they are able to enjoy it as much as we did and breath in a little freedom! BUT never fear. This is not the end of our adventures. Lets say the trailer was a "trial run", an opportunity to see that this can work for us.

So while this is not the end, lets say it is part 1. Stay tuned to see what part 2 of our adventure will be and where it will take us! I will be sharing more of that soon :)


 A few pictures of our last trip in our Trailer. My dad and our boys all came up and camped with us at Whidbey Island.








One last time going up the ramp into the trailer.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Not a Surprise to God



                                                             photo credit: Josh Mckenzie 



“But then something happened! For even before I was born, God had chosen me to be his and called me- what kindness and grace-to reveal his Son within me so that I could go to the Gentiles and show them the good news about Jesus”. (Galatians 1:15-16, TLB)  

These are the words of the well-known author of this letter to the church at Galatia, the Apostle Paul.  
 
Paul was born a son of a Pharisee. He was a Roman citizen and studied under a famous philosopher, Galilea. In his own words, he described his life in those days this way: “I went after the Christians mercilessly, hunting them down and doing my best to get rid of them all. 14 I was one of the most religious Jews of my own age in the whole country and tried as hard as I possibly could to follow all the old, traditional rules of my religion”. (Gal 1:13-14, TLB)  Then Jesus came (see Acts chapter 9) and in an instant, transformed his life. He subsequently became one of the most zealous Christian leaders of that time.


God had a mission for Paul. God planned for Paul to be the spearhead of the gospel before he was born.  God knew what moment in Paul’s life he was going to show Himself to him, and in that moment Paul’s life was forever changed. He went from being a merciless Christian persecutor to being an outstanding evangelist and apologist to all, but especially the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Romans.  From that time on, he ministered for Jesus until his martyrdom according to biblical scholars around AD 67.

Even before he was born, God chose him.  It was Gods purpose and plan for his life.  

While we have no idea why God allowed him to grow up hating and killing those he eventually came to minister to, God knew and planned it while he was still in his mother’s womb (see Jeremiah 1:15).  Paul was destined for his life and particular time and place even before he was born.

Just as God knew what Paul’s life would be like, and how he was going to use his life, God has a specific plan for ALL our lives and of our children’s.  Psalms 138:8 records, in part, “The Lord will work out his plans for my life …for you made me.”

God knew my son would be born with missing “exons” (muscle building proteins) in his DNA. He knew this even before Ryan was born. His diagnosis was not a surprise to God. He saw him, he knitted him together in my womb just the way he wanted him. Not only that but he has predestined a plan and a purpose for his life, just the way he is. 

I may not understand it but this much I know. His disease is not a mistake. It is God’s plan “A” for Ryan’s life.


You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. 

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 

I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand and when I wake up, you are still with me! Psalms 139:13-18 (NLT) 

Just as God knew what Paul’s life was going to be like before he as born,He also knew the specific things he had to experience in order to use him in the way He intended.

I don't know about you but I find comfort in knowing that God knew us before we were born! He planned our days and predestined them with a calling; a purpose that is being revealed in and through our lives. He is continuing to transform us through our trials and difficulties. 

None of what we go through is a surprise to God; none of it is without meaning and purpose!




Originally posted at :Comfort in the Midst of Chaos 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Settled In Your Soul

photo credit: Josh Mckenzie 
My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God, my salvation, and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is refuge for us. Selah.  Psalms 62:5-8  NASB


I glanced up at my friend as she sat down beside me at church. We are both moms and care givers for our adult child with physical disabilities. I recognized the look of fatigue in her eyes. She leaned over and whispered to me that it had been a long morning. She was however, excited to make it to church, even if she was a little late. I gave her a knowing look and a big hug. 

Near the end of church service, we stood with the rest of the congregation to sing the final song.  A unique version of “It is Well” (You Make Me Brave -by Kristen DiMarco & Bethel Music).

As we sang my thoughts went to my friend standing next to me. I thought about how much she has gone through in the past few years and additional challenges in the last few months. Yet despite it all, I heard her quietly singing, Through it all, through it all.. it is well.   I knew it could not be easy.

I have been there, where you strain to sing the words. Wanting to believe it, holding onto the hope that it promises and yet still the internal struggle. Near the end of the song she leaned over to me and said, “You know, it is well doesn’t mean what people might think”.  I gave her a little hug, I knew exactly what she meant!

How do you explain to someone who may not comprehend how, in the midst of heartache and pain, that you REALLY can sing with passion, that it is in fact, Well with my soul?   

It is not a happiness or pretense that everything is great. More like you’re at peace in your spirit. That it is SETTLED IN YOUR SOUL!

Settled in your soul.  Knowing who God is. Trusting him for strength for each day. Understanding HE IS SOVEREIGN, which gives us hope.  Hope not dependent on circumstances. An Eternal hope, where one day there will an end to all heartbreak, pain, illness, struggles and death!

When we know these things to be true in the very depth of our soul THEN we can say, yes even sing… It is well… with my soul. 

Some days may be more difficult than others but we can get to that place where it is Settled in our Soul no matter what!

Well then, how do we, during extraordinary difficult situations, freely sing those words with a deep sense of peace that it will be well with my soul?
By surrendering constantly to Gods will. Believing he is God. Knowing he is in total control. Trusting in his faithfulness to keep his promises.

The real heart of the matter is that being well in our spirit and soul is not about us or our circumstances. It is experiencing His peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of overwhelming odds. It is resting in His love for us knowing that He cares for us. 



Take a moment and Listen to the words to this song we sang . It Is Well - Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music - You Make Me Brave

photo credit : Josh Mckenzie 

Blog originally posted at :  Snappin Ministry, Comfort in the Midst of Chaos 


Monday, November 28, 2016

If only I'd known.






"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,"  says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 esv 


My friend Laura lives on the other side of our state. We try and get together as often as possible, but circumstances in our lives makes it challenging. I am a full-time caregiver for my son who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Laura not only works but also helps her dad care for her mom who is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s.  

She has supported me through some very difficult things so when she told me she was planning a 75th birthday party for her mom I wanted to be there to help her. It’s been hard for her, especially the last year, watching her mom’s abilities and memory fade away.  Not knowing if she would understand it was her birthday, it was important to Laura to make this day special for her mom.  It was her 75th Birthday and we were going to celebrate!  

When I arrived at her house Friday night, we talked about her plans for the party and what still needed to be done.

Laura was gone when I got up Saturday morning.  She left to pick up her mom as she does every Saturday.  She brings her back to her house to give her dad a break.  I was in the kitchen when I heard them come home so I walked over to say Hi. Noticing her mom did not recognize me, she still reached out her hand to squeeze mine. I gave her a little hug and then went back into the kitchen.

 A while later I heard music coming from the sun-room. I went to see what was going on and as I peeked around the corner I saw Laura sitting beside her mom at the table.  I paused in the doorway unnoticed and watched.   Her mom was eating lunch. Every few minutes Laura put food on the fork handing it to her mom while gently encouraging her to take a bite.  The music I heard was from a video of her mom’s favorite gospel music streaming on the computer.

I was surprised at my emotions as I watched them.  I thought of my own mom who lost her battle with cancer 3 years ago now watching my friend’s mom losing her battle with Alzheimer’s. Both of our moms were strong Godly women, good friends, and prayer warriors.  My mom kept a journal of people she prayed for, and Laura’s mom would often wake up in the middle of the night, get down on her knees to pray for anyone God put on her mind.  Now, she cannot speak and must be prompted to take a bite of food.

I stood there fighting back tears. The longer I watched them the more my heart filled with peace. Despite the business of party preparations Laura chose to stop and be still. To be fully engaged in the moment with her mom.  The harsh reality of the situation seemed to fade as the calm gentleness of Laura’s actions helped create an atmosphere of peace.

I eventually walked in and sat down beside them. Allowing myself to stop to be in the moment with them.

The next day I watched again as Laura went to her mom to help her up out of a chair. Gently and unhurried explaining to her what she was doing. I watched as the family gathered around her to celebrate her 75th birthday with dignity, love, and honor.


It was an emotional weekend yet I am thankful I was a part of it. I went with the assumption I was going to help and support her as she has so many times for me in the past.  But  I received more from her than what I gave. I was encouraged by watching the way she ministered to her mom.  She stopped in the flurry of life and activity to be in the moment with her mom, to minister to her mother’s heart.

Being a care-giver is hard. Caring for those we love with special needs can be exhausting. We often find ourselves rushing through the everyday task just to get them completed.  That weekend I was reminded how important it is to take the time, to slow down, to be in the moment. Focusing on the person, not just on completing the task. 

Laura has given me permission to share with you one of her journal entries. It expresses how important it is to appreciate those precious moments that can easily be overlooked. While her experience is with her mom and Alzheimer’s I believe, we can all gain some valuable insight from her words. 

If Only I'd Known;  by Laura Krieger

If only I'd known that would have been the last time I'd hear you pray by my bedside I would have tried harder to stay awake to tell you thank you after you said amen.

If only I'd known that would be the last time we would laugh and dance together I would have asked for one more song and twirled until we got dizzy.

If only I'd known that dinner you fixed would be the last time I would eat something put together by your hands I would have lingered and eaten slowly.

If only I'd known that would be the last time I would hear you sing I would have stopped what I was doing and joined you in song.

If only I'd known that would be the last time I would hear your voice telling me how much God delighted in me I would have recorded it so I could listen to it over and over and over.

If only I'd known your hug would have been the last one given freely I would have clung to you and allowed myself to feel the strength in those arms that held me as a newborn, as a teenager and as a woman.

If only I'd known that would be the last time I would hear your laughter and see your eyes sparkle with mirth I would have committed to memory what I had said to make you laugh with such abandon.

You don't have to be a care-giver to get caught up in the business of life.  Is there anything you need to let go of? Are you taking time to " be in the moment" with those who mean the most to you? 


originally posted http://www.comfortinthemidstofchaos.com/2016/11/if-only-id-known.html

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A brief moment. A lasting Impression.

Psalm 103:20, eSV
Bless the Lord, you angels who belong to him, you mighty warriors who carry out his commands, who are obedient to the sound of his words.
As Veterans Day approaches I can’t help but think of a young soldier who we met for a very brief moment. His small gesture made a lasting impression on Ryan and I.  
It was near the end of the school year, and the 5th grade band which Ryan was a member was to put on a performance. This year had been a difficult year. Ryan lost a lot of physical strength and could no longer walk.The wheelchair became part of his everyday life.   He was very conscious of the wheelchair and was not ready to be on a stage in front of people. 

I understood his fears, but continued to reassure and encourage him to participate. He worked hard, in spite of his limited strength, to learn how to play the songs on the clarinet.  Although still nervous, Ryan was able to fight through extreme anxiety and fear to participated with his class on the night of the concert.  I know it was hard for him. I witnessed his battle to overcome  fear and anxiety, but he got up there and was amazing. I was so proud of him! 

After the concert while we were waiting for the gym to clear, a man in a military uniform came up from behind, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Ma’am, can I give this to your son”? In his hand was an American flag patch that he had just removed from his uniform.  Not sure what to think I replied with a very hesitant "yes." The young soldier walked over to Ryan, bent down and shook his hand.  This young soldier proceeded to tell Ryan he did a great job, how proud he was of Ryan and that he was very brave.  While he was speaking he handed Ryan the flag. He turned to me to say good bye then headed back to where his family was waiting.  Ryan opened his hand to show me the flag.  That is when I  noticed the flag had 2 medals pinned to it. 

I knew medals were given to military personnel for specific achievements or events but did not know what these 2 medals signified.  Later that night we got on the computer to look up the significance of them.  

The parachute medal symbolized that he was assigned to an airborne unit and had participated in at least one combat parachute jump.  The second medal a Combat Action Badge, provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engaged with the enemy or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations. The oak wreath symbolizes strength and loyalty. 

Ryan was confused. He asked, "Why did he give this to me?"  I replied, "These medals were given to him in recognition of his courage and bravery in battle. Maybe it was his way of letting  you know he sees you, and recognizes you are fighting a battle too. A different type of battle but one that also takes bravery and courage." 

This young soldier had probably gotten off of work just in time to make it to his child’s concert. Yet he felt a nudge to stop for a brief moment, to reach out and encourage Ryan.  He had no way of knowing how much fear, and anxiety Ryan battled through to get up and perform that night. Yet I have a feeling he understood Ryan’s battle far more than I could or ever will! In the same way the soldier was awarded these medals of honor for his bravery in war, he saw that Ryan deserved recognition for his bravery, not only because of what he was able to overcome that night, but in Ryan's life long battle. .       
         
 “The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon

Heavenly Father, 
I thank you that you sometimes send special angels into our lives to give us moments of  hope and encouragement. I pray a special blessing over this soldier that touched our hearts. I also pray protection and strength for all our service men and women who so willingly serve our country.
In Jesus name I pray,
AMEN 

originally posted http://www.comfortinthemidstofchaos.com/2015/11/a-brief-moment-lasting-impression.html

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What are you hiding behind?

Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (AMP)


I checked in for my hair appointment and was told my hairstylist was running late. I sat down in the waiting area, my mind filling with thoughts of how the day had gone so far. It had been a hard emotional day and I had no desire to be around anyone. I was in no mood to make polite small talk but knew if I canceled my appointment it would take at least a month to get back in. So I waited. I was determined once I sat in that chair, I would close my eyes and tune out the world. That was my plan anyway. 

My hairstylist finished up her client and quickly cleaned up her station. She hurried over to me apologizing for being late. I muttered, “That’s okay" and followed her to her station. I sat in the chair, and she briskly flipped the cape around my shoulders asking me how I wanted my hair cut.  I started to answer but her reflection in the mirror caught my attention. I stopped mid-sentence and said, “You look beautiful today”.  As I spoke she stopped her flurry of activity. Her eyes meet mine and started to well up with tears. She said, " Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me.  It has been an extremely difficult week.  I just wanted to feel better so I got up extra early to make myself look presentable. I figured if I looked okay maybe I would feel better.” 

I have known her for a few years and knew she had three small boys all with some challenging issues.  I asked her a few questions about her boys, then did a lot of listening. She finished my hair, I stood up to leave and gave her a big hug! I told her I understood the feeling of being overwhelmed and reassured her, she was doing a great job with her boys! 

When I think about it, I have no idea why those words came out of my mouth. After all, I was planning on tuning out the world.  But God had other plans. He knew she needed some encouragement, someone who would listen.  In a way my plan did work out. I wasn’t going to talk, right? Well I didn't do much talking just a lot of listening. In that moment all she needed was an understanding ear.   

I wonder how we put on a “happy face”, when we are miserable on the inside.  We go to the extreme to make everything look good, like we have it all together while all the time hiding our true feelings. 

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with caring about your appearance. There are those days, even though we may not feel like it, making that extra effort does help us to feel somewhat better.  Especially when we may be in the depth of depression.   

However, it goes beyond physical appearances.  I’m thinking about when we are constantly using extra energy to hide behind the mask of “everything is great”.  The mask of perfect. The perfect family, job, house, clothes, hairstyle, marriage, etc.  If we look and act like we have it all together then maybe no one will ask questions.  We try to fool others and even ourselves into thinking if everything on the outside looks good, then everything must be great!

We are afraid of what people might think if they really knew what was going on. But keeping up this pretense is exhausting! We are using energy that we really can’t afford to keep others from truly seeing behind the mask.

I know it is hard to let your guard down and remove the mask. Not everyone can be trusted to protect your heart. Yet sometimes we need to take that chance.  Do you have a friend or two that you will allow to see what you are hiding? 

Likewise, I think we are all able to be that friend to someone else. It does take time, time for them to see you really do care and can be trusted. You can start by just being available, asking a few simple questions and really listening.

Taking the time to see what others are going through and to offer them encouragement may be just what we need as well.  By helping others, we might find the courage to drop our mask and let them in.   

Be the kind of friend that goes to the hard places that hide behind the mask.  Offering encouragement, hope and a new perspective. Life is hard. We aren’t meant to do it alone!


By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)


Heavenly Father,

Thank you for always being with us. I also know the importance of us being there for each other.  I pray that you will bring those trusted friends into our lives that we will feel safe in sharing with. Help us to offer up that same safe place for them to be open. I pray that we are able to offer encouragement and strength for each other.  


In Jesus name I pray,
Amen 


Originally posted http://www.comfortinthemidstofchaos.com/2016/10/what-are-you-hiding-behind.html