Saturday, January 5, 2013

Resolutions 1 and 2.


I don't think I documented any resolutions last year. So I have nothing to report on how I failed to lose 50 pounds or failed to run a marathon or failed to learn a new task. BUT... I did make a resolution this year. Well, I made a few...

1. Embrace the present. Welcome it as a gift. Be grateful for where you are, your circumstances and what the Lord has put in front of you right now. 
2. Love people better.
3. Cook more. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat in the dining room. Eat on pretty plates. (This one is completely related to #1 and I'll explain later.)
3. Use more butter in my cooking.

Totally serious about #4 too. I've happened on a few good recipes lately that use butter instead of oil and good Lordy mercy that is some good food. Butter is where it's at. 

I guess most of these resolutions came about because of things I experienced/read about/learned over the past year. I read "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and if you haven't read it, please go out and buy it immediately. I also have the daily devotional and it contains excerpts from the book and breaks them down into daily readings and is equally as good; sometimes I only have time for a tidbit here and there and I love the devotional for that reason. (And P.S. there is also an awesome phone app where you can document the things you are thankful for; take pictures of them, list them, etc.) I can't say enough good things about this book; I've highlighted practically the entire thing. Here is the excerpt from Amazon.com:

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. 'How,' Ann wondered, 'do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long--and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?' In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted...a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved--by God. Let Ann's beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive.

And just in case you are still not convinced, take a look at the book's trailer:


Ok, I don't think I need to say much else. Go read it!

Anyway, so my #1 resolution is to be more grateful of where I am now and to embrace the present and recognize it as a gift - a wonderful, God-given gift. The daily tasks that I might find so frustrating and even mundane are privileges that so many do not have or get to experience because of whatever circumstances. 
This is difficult for moms more than anyone I think. I mean, after all, the house ain't gonna clean itself. And let's face it, it is not easy to find joy in laundry or emptying a dishwasher or getting up early to prepare breakfast when all you want to do is sleep late (for once!). And it's not about slapping on a happy face or robotically exclaiming "I LOVE LAUNDRY" when going about these tasks; it's about humility and recognizing that this is where God has me right now. His plan for me is not __ years down the road. It is now. I am in it. I am living it. I can embrace it and find joy and happiness in where I am, or I can go about my day grumbling and complaining and feeling stressed out. I choose the former. (I may not always act like it, and I may yell at McDonalds when they're out of Diet Coke, but I am going to try my darndest to find joy in all circumstances.) 

"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:10-14

I cannot help but think of the parents who have lost children over the past year and how they would die to be in my place. The mothers in Newtown, Connecticut... the mother of sweet Ann Reese Grote, who died in a tragic accident on Christmas Eve (which was also her mothers birthday)... and then the mothers themselves who would give anything just to have the energy to do laundry or take care of their children (mothers like Laura Black, who passed away earlier this year; and if you haven't read her story and her letters to her children on her CaringBridge page, please do this. Although be prepared for tears.)

This will not be easy for me. Positivity in general doesn't come easy to me. But I'm going to try. 

On to #2. Love better.

I think this one could be a blog post in and of itself, but I'll make it quick. I need to love people better. 
I read "Love Does"  by Bob Goff a couple months ago and wow. Convicting. To be honest, before I even read the book, the title alone was convicting enough. LOVE DOES. It's that simple. And that's the whole gist of the book. Love doesn't think about circumstances or convenience or 'what if I run out of money at the end of the month by doing this good deed?" or "what if this person doesn't really deserve my act of kindness?" Love doesn't think about it. Love just does it. 
I think one of the first times I was convicted by this truth (and it had to be none other than the Holy Spirit) was when I was working in home health and had to visit a family in a very poor part of town; the patient was literally lying on a mattress in the floor. The house was stinky. Bugs everywhere. The mother looked disheveled and stressed. Her husband was in the hospital fighting stage 3 cancer while her disabled daughter was lying in filth on the floor. I asked her if there was anything she needed and told her I'd try to find a way to get it to her. (As a home health nurse I had access to several social workers and programs that would supply necessities.) She made a list for me. It included toothpaste and a toothbrush. Shampoo. Laundry detergent. Hand soap. A washcloth. I took the list and told her I'd talk to the social worker and also see about getting my small group to help get her some stuff together. When I left there I was driving away and was suddenly just knocked in the head by the Holy Spirit : Go and get her what she needs. It was like one of those big "DUH" moments where I felt Jesus saying "HELLLO?!? Earth to Haley?! Why do you need to put together some corporate effort or go through social work or a small group to provide this family with basic every day necessities?!? Do you not have a bank account full of money? Have you not seen the 5 Dollar Generals that you've passed on the way home? GO AND GET HER WHAT SHE NEEDS." I whipped the car around and pulled into the DG and bought everything on her list (and more) and took it back to her house. Tears were pouring down my face. I do not say any of this to brag on myself or to make myself look good, because that's just it: I am no good. I was crying because I truly felt convicted for even driving away the first time without telling her I would get her what she needed. I wondered how many times in my life I'd done things like that - offered a "I'll pray for you" or "I'll see what I can do," instead of just doing. And helping. Without thinking or going through a 'program' or a service project. It's nauseating to think how many opportunities I've passed up because of my stupidity and just not getting it.

I caught myself in a similar situation the other day at Chick Fil A. I had been there the day before and had ordered food for myself and the kids and when I got to the window I realized I did not have my wallet. I searched high and low and could't find it, and I told the girl I was going to pull up and look for it. I got out, searched the car, and found a $20 bill in the pocket of my backpack. So I walked it back up to the window. The girl handed me my food and said, "I don't need the money. The man that was behind you paid for your food." I looked and he had already driven away, but I can't tell you how much that meant to me. So the next day I was back at Chick Fil A (hmmm, maybe I should make a resolution not to eat there every day???) and I decided I'd pay it forward and pay for whoever was behind me in line. Well, I caught myself looking in the rear view mirror to see who was behind me. A large, overweight man with a beard. Smoking. And I thought to myself, "I'm not paying for him because he's smoking." And then Jesus kicked me in the rear end again and said, "FOR REAL?!" And I couldn't believe I'd asked myself if the man was deserving or not; and much more, I'd looked at him and judged him on his appearance and what he was doing at the moment to decide if he was deserving of me paying for his lunch. How stupid and ignorant of me. I paid for him and drove away and thanked God for His undeserved grace because heaven knows I need it more than anyone. 

So there. I didn't exactly make that a quick point, did I? But you get it. 
Get out and LOVE people. And don't analyze it to death. It's not that hard. We complicate the gospel so much, don't we?

Ok, well, I gave you enough to think about, huh? I'll be back later with the reasons behind the cooking and the MO' BUTTER resolutions. :)  
I know you cannot wait.

blessed signature

20 comments:

jessica said...

Thank you for those great reminders. I totally agree, and am convicted, challenged and encouraged by your good word! May we all love better and live in the present and cook with mo' butter! Amen!

Amy said...

very well said- love it. my resolution (other than the usual yet important spiritual growth and eating healthy) is also to live in the moment. was challenged at church last week when dorian said, "God didn't say, I was or I will be. He said I AM." That convicted me for sure not to worry about the past or what the future will be, but rejoice in my now. :)

Haley said...

Thanks girls. Amy I love that quote! I'm writing that one on my calendar! This is such a challenge for sure.

Lacey said...

Haley,
What a wonderful post. We have been going through the Kingdom parables in our small group and one of the questions addressed by our teacher was "How much are people worth?" According to Jesus, they're worth EVERYTHING. He gave His life for every single miserable, sinful wretch on this earth, including ME! So why do we treat certain other people like they are worth less than we are? It is so humbling to finally realize that I am in no way, shape, or form a better person than anyone else and that I should see others with the perspective and the love that God sees them with. I love Brandon Heath's song "Give Me Your Eyes" for this very reason.
Anyways, sorry for such a long comment, I just have been convicted by this very thing lately so it struck a chord with me. Thanks for the great reminder!

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