Living the Dream Between Sticky Messes and Sacred Ground

Do you sometimes look around and wish for more?

Do you sometimes think, is this all there is?

Or wonder to yourself, so this is how it is going to be?

Does life sometimes seem more like a chore than joy?

I think we can answer yes to some of these questions, depending on the day and season we are currently mired in.

We sometimes forget that our sticky mess we are questioning, is really sacred ground.

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.Sticky messes and sacred ground?

 

Maybe you can relate to sticky messes.

Perhaps there are sticky spots all over your kitchen floor. Places where papers would naturally stay put without tape. Maybe you lost your left shoe this morning and it’s still where the sticky ooze first grabbed it.

But sacred ground?

Nothing sacred about this sticky ground, you think.

Let me ask you a question.

Are you in the middle of an answered prayer?

I don’t mean this morning’s prayer, I mean a prayer or desire from year’s ago.

Maybe from before you were a teen. Maybe after.

Did you once long to be a wife?

Did you once pray for a job?

Did you once yearn to be a mom?

Did you once dream about renting your own apartment? Moving out on your own?

Did you desire to have your first house?

Did you used to dream about being an adult who could do whatever they wanted and stay up as late as they wanted?

That’s my point.

Many of us are living smack dab in the middle of our answered prayers and dreams. Sacred ground is below us.

We longed for this, and now we are here. Only it seems much different than what we imagined. Harder than we thought it would be. And there are more responsibilities than we ever imagined.

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.Don’t worry, we have lots of company.

 

The children of Israel prayed for years to be free from the Egyptians. To be free from slavery. To have a different and better life for themselves and their children.

That day finally came. They walked out of Egypt with their heads high. They were free. Off to a new life. Their prayers were answered.

We don’t get very far into their story before their attitude changes. They begin whining about walking so far. They complained about the lack of water. Were dissatisfied with Moses. Wished they were back in Egypt eating leaks

When they imagined being free of Egypt, they never imagined they would be wandering for years in a sand pit and sleeping in a tent.

We can’t fault them for not reading the fine print. Because there was no fine print.

Their prayers were answered, sure not in the way they imagined they would be, and they grew unhappy.

Does this feel familiar?

We pray for employment. Imagining a job so wonderful there is no bad news to write home about. Then we get a job, only it doesn’t match the image we had pasted on our frontal cortex.

We pray for children. Maybe spend years trying to get pregnant. Never thinking of all the dippers and mid-night feedings and the worry and guilt that goes into raising a child.

We pray for a house. Then the roof leaks. The neighbors are unfriendly. The furnace quits one cold night.

We pray for a mate. Only to find marriage is not as easy as it looks. And he is not as perfect as we thought.

We pray for friends. A church. Healing. And the answer looks different than our request. 

Reality overtakes our preconceived fantasy. It makes us question the here and now.

We forget our prayers were answered, because we now feel stuck in a mess, mired in problems, hip deep in sand and sticky places. 

The reality may be that we are smack dab in the middle of answered prayers. Standing on sacred ground. But we have forgotten this, because it sure doesn’t feel like we are living our dreams.

Life gets hard. We feel unhappy and tired. Dissatisfied. We whine and complain. Feel sorry for our self.  Because that is what we as humans do.

I used to think that if I was a child of Israel wandering in the desert tired and parched, I wouldn’t have whined. Baloney! I would have joined right in with them. Because of one simple reason. We humans are whiners. We think back to our shiny and perfect prayer or dream and then we look around at our current reality and we feel cheated.

Wait a second, we think. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask for imperfection.

Only we forget that we live in imperfection. There is no Garden of Edan. And reality never jives with the dream in our headspace.

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.How to reconcile our sticky messes with sacred ground and enjoy our answered prayers.

 

Life is always full of sticky messes next to sacred ground because we are human. Remembering that the two go hand in hand, can be helpful. Here are also some other tips that may help.

Hint: Trying to implement all of these tips leads to overwhelm. Choose one or two that will most help you right now. Or come up with your own.

1. Remind yourself that life is hard. Even with a husband. 2 children. A dream job. A house. A picket fence. And 1 dog. Sure, some parts are easier, and some parts are harder. But life ain’t never as easy as we want it to be or as we imagine it will be. There is a disconnect between our dream and reality. Understand this.

2. Life unfolds in seasons. It is always changing. We may get tired of being grabbed by little hands and answering their 1,452 questions a day, but one day they will be grown. What irritates us today, may one day be missed. Or what irritates us today, may naturally cease.

3. Things could always be worse. Sometimes I play this game with myself. I imagine things worse. Much worse than they currently are. Which makes me thankful that things are not worse. It helps me count my blessings and thank God for what I do have.

4. Find ways to enjoy life right now. Don’t delay fun. Have fun right where you are. It makes life easier and improves our attitude.

Maybe even go for crazy fun. Dance and sing in the kitchen. And when someone steps on the sticky goo left over from junior dumping a jar of honey on the floor, they get to choose the next song.

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.5. Toss perfection and almost perfect out the nearest door. It just trips you up and makes you desire what will never be. It’s also a kill joy.

6. Spot the positive. The negative is easier to spot, but it yields less rewards. Spotting the positive will lead to feeling better about where you are right now in your sticky mess and help you count your blessings.

7. See the eternal perspective. You are right where God has placed you. This life is never all about us. Or about a clean home or finding the most enjoyable job. Or about kids or pets that don’t embarrass us. It is about loving others, our self, and God.

8. Remember the prayers that God has already answered in your life. God recounted to the children of Israel over and over again the story of bringing them out of Egypt. Why? Maybe to remind them that he answered their prayers. That he was on their side and had taken care of them. And that they were living their answered prayers.

9. Find the humor in your life. You may have to wait awhile for showing up to your child’s doctor appointment on the wrong day to be funny. But one day, it just might be. Humor helps change our perspective and cheers us up.

10. Create a tribe of support. Friends you can talk to. Encourage one another. 2 are better than one.

You got this.

Breathe.

Another breath.

Now go enjoy your one and only life.

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What answered prayer are you living? And what helps you remember to enjoy your answered prayers?

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems.10 suggestions to enjoy our current life. Because sometimes we forget our prayers were answered, because now we feel stuck in a mess and mired in problems. Learning to live in the present and accepting your life.

Why Flowers?

Flower pictures are my go-to pictures. They pop up everywhere.

Why flowers, you may be thinking? Doesn’t she have any friends or know any people?

Attempting to get to the bottom of your questions, and my fascination with flowers, I conducted a Q & A.

 

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.Question: Do you have any camera skills?

Answer: None. Zip. I see people with those fancy cameras turning the round lens thing and I wish I knew what they were doing. I have a simple phone camera, which I keep trying to remember not to hold upside down.

I grew up with an old-style camera. Yes, back in the day when cameras used rolls of film. Film cost money. And was not to be wasted. In those days, I took one photo, two if it was a special occasion, and hoped no more than half the people had their eyes closed or were blurry when the film was finally developed (which cost more money).

Here is how I learned to take pictures. I stepped back from the people. Stepped back some more. And then retreated even more. I wanted as much background as possible. (A whole mountain was better than part of a mountain.) People were an accessory to the photo. Also, the farther back you were, the less you saw that someone was picking their nose, scrunching their eyes closed, or slapping their sibling.

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.Question: How come you don’t you use photos with people?

Answer: Everyone I know hates getting their picture taken. Seriously!  You should hear them complain and moan when they see a camera pointed at them. If and when I do happen to catch them in a picture, they are usually making faces, holding up rabbit ears, looking seriously pained, or not paying attention.

My family also wants no social foot print. Which according to the fine print, means no photos.

Not to be deterred, I once spent a day trying to get random people to pose for me at the grocery store, the park, and around town. They turned out to be even more uncooperative than my family and friends.

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.Question: Why not use stock photos?

Answer: I have a hard-enough time deciding what to wear every morning. Trying to find the right stock photo for my posts seems about as complicated as filing my taxes.  (If A applies, move to B. If B applies, turn to Z. If Z applies, order form 2564 via reindeer mail.)

 

Question: How did you decide on flowers? 

Answer: I was thinking about stating a blog and noticed that pictures were necessary. I already knew I could not use photos of my house or family. I also had no miniature goats, fluffy chickens, talking squirrels, or anything I deemed picture worthy.

That winter we were in Hawaii at the botanical garden and I about fell over when I walked into the lush canopy and saw the flowers. These were not your typical daisy and pansy flowers. These were exotic flowers like I had never seen before.

Suddenly I had the urge to capture them on camera.  I kept taking closer and closer photos of the flowers. My son was helping me by pointing out flowers and cheering me on. I remember turning to him about 10 photos in and said, “Why don’t I post pictures of flowers on my blog?” He praised my idea, and the rest is history.

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.Question: Why close ups of flowers?

Answer: I want viewers to focus on the flowers, not be distracted by the background. Flowers are so fragile, delicate, and beautiful. When I see them close up, I am reminded of the glory of God and his attention to small details.

 

Question: Have you always loved flowers?

Answer: No. I never thought about them until I was in my 20’s and charged with keeping some geraniums alive. I was sure I would kill them. They survived, despite me.

Powered by the geranium success, I filled our first deck with 20 pots of roses and flowers. The next year my husband double dug a huge flower garden for me. I planted 50 roses and all sorts of flowers. The more I took care of them, the more I was fascinated by them.

It would be years, though, before I thought about taking pictures of them.

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.

Question: When it comes to taking pictures, how are flowers and people different?

Answer: Are you serious? There is no comparison.

1. Flowers don’t back talk and whine when you want to take their picture.

2. Flowers stay rooted in place. They don’t run away or make faces while you are trying to capture their image.

3. Flowers can’t hide your camera to keep you from taking their picture.

4. Flowers are always smiling.

5. Flowers don’t need to be told to hurry up and get ready for a picture. They are always ready.

6. Flowers require no bribing. (“Come on, people. Please! Just one picture. And if you let me take 2 pictures, you can have pizza.”)

 

Question: Do you still like flowers?

Answer: Yes. It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile. They are cheery. Their colors are so bright. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.

Flowers can be an extravagant or simple gift. I want readers of my blog to receive a bouquet of flowers every time they visit.  I want them to feel happy, cared for, and loved. Flowers do this for me, and hopefully they do it for my readers.

 

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather. Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: Leave any other questions for Theresa below, and she will gladly answer them.

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

It is hard for me to see flowers and not be happy. They make me smile due to their cheeriness and bright colors. They remind me of sunshine and warm weather.Why do I use flower pictures and not people or something else? #Humer

Another Chance?

Do you remember hearing stories of the dead brought back to life?

It sounded good to me.

Who doesn’t want another chance at life?

To see people, they love again?

Then I got a different perspective.

Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"Imagine having another Chance?

 

When my step father got colon cancer and was dying, I drove across the country to be with him. Helping care for him and encourage him during his final days.

He was walking when I arrived. Super skinny but getting around.

Day by day he got weaker. His body shutting down.

He progressed to a cane. Then a wheelchair.

After about 2 months, he knew it was getting close and called the whole family in to gather around his hospital bed in the living room. He blessed us, asked for forgiveness for past wrongs, and told us good bye.

A day or two later he went into a coma.

Hospice told us that he would not come out of the coma. Slowly his body would shut down and he would die in a week or so.

We were pretty somber. We knew this day would come, but now it was here.

We tip-toed and spoke softly at first. Then we carried on at a normal sound level because hospice said it would comfort him to hear us.

After a few hours he woke up.

It was like a resurrection.

We were all so happy. Telling him hi. Asking if he needed anything.

But it became apparent he was not happy.

It felt strange. He had been so positive, kind, and full of love this whole time he had been slowly wasting away, but tonight he was in a downright bad mood.

I didn’t know what to think. I thought he would be happy to see us again.

My step dad asked a friend, who happened to be visiting, to wheel him into the next room. They talked for a while. My step father also answered some email.

He was calmer when he came back to bed.

In a quiet voice he told me what had happened.

“When I last closed my eyes,” he said, “I was prepared to die. I fully expected the next time I opened my eyes I would be before Jesus. And then I open my eyes and here I am. Still on earth. In my old body.”

I was quiet. This wasn’t what I had expected him to say.

“I didn’t really want to see this world again,” he continued. “It has no more appeal for me.”

I had noticed how as he got closer to death this world had weighed heavier on him. He saw sin more clearly and it bothered him. Old TV shows he had watched in the past, he now wanted turned off because he didn’t like the message they were portraying about life and people.

We had been in the store one day and the suggestive magazine covers had upset him. “Women don’t have to look like that to get approval,” he had said. “They are already loved.”

For him, the world had lost his glamor. It’s appeal. He saw it groaning for its creator’s return more fully than the rest of us.

He went to sleep again. This time he never woke up.

I imagine the great joy he experienced when he saw his Lord’s face.

 Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"

Perspectives change

 

When I was a teen, I hoped the end of the world would not arrive before I grew up and got married. I didn’t want to miss out on any of the good things in life or on things that others had already gotten to experience.

In my naivety, I wasn’t even sure heaven had anything over this beautiful world.

The years passed. I saw death. Trials hit me. Trials hit friends. Friends lost babies. Friends died. I heard about the news and sadness going on all over the world. Saw poverty. Read about heartbreak. Experienced heartbreak.

Over the years my prayer to stay in this world and enjoy all it has to offer has changed into “thy kingdom come.”

This world is such a mixture of good and bad. Sad and happy. Beautiful and ugly. Sin and goodness.

If I had died in my younger days, I would have had my hand raised and waving to be sent back to earth. Now I am not so sure. I see my step father’s perspective a little clearer.

Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"Imagine being resurrected?

 

Experiences of life color our perspective.

It had been a hard week. One of crying with a friend over her tragic loss.

The pastor was talking about Peter bringing Tabitha, a woman who had a heart for helping the poor, back to life.  “The verse mentions that her friends were over joyed when she was resurrected.”

“Imagine if you had been there, you would have been rejoicing too. Happy to see your friends again. Knowing the work, she had started, would be continued.”

“Can you imagine what Tabitha felt?” she pastor asked.

I thought about how my step dad felt when he awoke again.

“Disappointed,” I muttered. “Upset.”

“What?” my husband whispered. “What did you say?”

“Never mind,” I say.

But I wonder. Was she happy to be back? To Keep working? To return to this world and all her old problems?

Or was she secretly a little angry and wishing her friends had let her stay where she was? A much better place than here.

And what about all the people who came back to life after Jesus died? It talks about the tombs opening and saints returning.

Were they full of mixed emotions?

Some delighted and kissing the ground?

A few shaking their head and asking, “Why, oh why, did I have to return back here?”

I imagine one woman returning to her family and getting hugged by her little ones and kissed by her husband. She touches all their faces and smiles.

Shares a few laughs with her loved ones.

She looks around the house and with a sinking heart realizes nothing has been done since her absence a few weeks ago. Time to get to work, she sighs.

And then the littlest one pipes up. “Mom. What’s for dinner?”

Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What would your thoughts be on returning to life?  

Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?"
Imagine being resurrected. Maybe you are happy. And then you look around and remember your old life and problems and you wonder, "Why oh why did this happen to me?" #faith #choices