Refinement

I made a recent visit to my hair stylist for a long awaited fix. Not only is she the guardian angel of my hair but also a sweet friend with whom I can have gracious and honest conversations. She was recently talking to me about how each year she finds a word that that is her “go to” when she needs to change course with attitude, actions etc. Not just any word, but a holy spirit guided word that will carry her through the new year and change her heart to being more like Jesus.

I think without realizing it, I’ve adopted this new tradition. It first started a month ago when my husband and I were in a public place and overheard a woman having a conversation with several individuals. She was less than pleased and didn’t mind expressing her anger and frustration to the point of blatant rudeness and hurtful remarks.  I remember thinking “how awful to be a woman that people would turn and run away from when they saw me coming” simply because they were afraid of what might come out of my mouth. We all know those women. Scary to think that we might be one of those women.

Here’s where I’m about to be transparent.

I’m no angel when it comes to perfecting words or holding back when confronted with confrontation or something that displeases me, especially with MY FAMILY. My poor, sweet family. I can pretty well hold my tongue with friends, acquaintances or strangers, but my husband and children… well they may tell you different. The truth is, I’ve had something on my prayer list for a long time and that’s to be a woman whose words are gracious, uplifting and most of all, patient and kind. When I speak I want to soften their day, not harden it by making them run the other way and avoid my presence. I want to be a woman who is Refined.

I’ve never really felt like I’ve discovered my God given gift. I’ve been told that I have a gift for “words.” However, I think I’ve misconstrued the idea of Godly gifts and that’s that they are natural and automatic. I’ve recently come to realize that those gifts, need refining. dictionary.com gave several definitions for refined/refining but I loved this one:

to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured”

The truth is, I want words to be my gift. I’ve always wanted it to be my gift. I desire to be a woman that knows what to say and when to say it, and also recognize the time to keep quiet.  Why wouldn’t I want my own family to feel this way? To have a wife and mother that is elegant and refined in her voice and actions.  I think I’ve had these encounters with the unrefined to remind me that my refining process isn’t over. My hopeful gift will continue to be made pure and elegant until my very last day on earth. This of course doesn’t just come on it’s own, but takes a little encouragement from words written long, long ago. Holy Spirit guided words. God’s word. If you need a little encouragement for refining the way you speak. Here’s a few of my favorites that are great reminders.

“Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 (NLT)

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” Proverbs 31:26 (NLT)

The Heart of Mary

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Luke 1:30-33 NIV

Every year during this season, the Rinehart household is a little crazy. Schedules seem to take us in multiple directions. Chris coaches basketball and at times is up before the rest of us and home after we’ve all gone to sleep. Christmas programs, church gatherings, parties, you name it and it happens. As “they” say, Tis the Season.

This Season, in the year and in my life is truly my favorite. In the midst of life happening, peace settles in shortly after dark. Bellies are fed, baths are given and sleepy heads are resting on their pillows. As I quietly take my baby to his crib, I stare at his face the entire time. A few more pats on the bottom and sways back and forth, my heart is flooded with the thought of Mary. What she must have felt when she laid him down to sleep each night. She was the mother of the Savior of the world, but a mother none the less. Did she softly kiss his rosy lips three more times before finally laying him down? Did she stroke his curls and tuck them behind his ears? Did she have to pry herself from his tiny body forcing herself to get some rest? Did she lay awake at night listening to him breathe? Did peace fill her soul when Joseph walked into the room after a long days work?  I would imagine the answer to all of these is yes.

My heart literally aches with gratitude for each moment and breath my children breathe, but can you imagine Mary? Can you fathom what her heart felt day in and day out caring for the world’s Savior? I imagine there were moments when she wanted to claim Him all to herself. I love this woman and her heart. I feel a deep kinship with her, not because I’m raising perfect children who will save the world, but because I’m raising children who’ve been gifted to me. What an incredible example we have in Mary, trusting God with these precious gifts. At times when i do not feel qualified, I think of her and somehow I catch a second wind. An urge to press forward, raising these little miracles up to my heavenly father, trusting him with their future and pressing their hearts forward to do the same. I imagine when she felt overwhelmed and unqualified she remembered these words”…Do not be afraid…..He will be great…” I’m so grateful she pressed forward, because without her willingness to trust God, we wouldn’t have a Savior and I can rest easy knowing my children have the same. Bless her mothering heart.

JOY, Right Where You Are

I expected the last few days to go like most others, but we started with a few small hiccups. A trek to the doctor with all three children for a couple of acute checkups. My oldest was ordered not to return to school for 48 hours in order for a skin irritation to clear up. So we headed home and I added one more child to our “lunch count” for the day.

I live in mounds of laundry, toys and child-like messes that I try to keep at bay. It’s often a goal just to keep my head above water and tread lightly. Setting high goals, knowing that I’ll probably accomplish less than half and I’m learning to be okay with that. :) These were the normal things on my mind and agenda for the day.

For a few moments after returning home, my little girl curled up on my lap. She asked for “wunch” (lunch) and then for a trip to the park. It was a gorgeous November day. The breeze was light, the sun was shining and it was a rare perfect temperature for a short walk to the park. How could I say no?! The chores will have to wait. My girl wants to play. Liza Ben Walking 11.2015

Swinging, slides, conquered rock walls, monkey bars and a spin on the merry-go-round and we were nearing the end of our park play.

Zack 9 months swinging 11.2015

I had been a tad frustrated as we were making our way around our beautiful park only to stumble across those that have left their trash to blow in the wind. I heard a small voice: “forget it, choose joy.” So we each took what we could see and took care of the place we love to play.

Then as we were choosing our last activity before heading home, a car decided to spin out in the newly laid rock, rolling dirt and dust right in our direction. It appeared to be done with intention. “Seriously?” I said to myself. I may or may not have yelled a big sarcastic “Thanks” to the driver for being so thoughtful and considerate. 

Then I heard it again… a still, small voice. “Don’t let it steal your joy.” Joy had been all around me that day. Starting with the opportunity to be with all three of my children, who were in good spirits and basically healthy. We’d been given the gift of perfect weather and a short walking distance to our local park. Conversations during play, giggles, squeals of thrill, chubby clapping hands and mommy and me time that was irreplaceable.

Liza Swing         Ben 11.2015       Liza merry go round

I’ve often prayed for the kind of joy that my grandma envelopes. God given, peaceful joy that permeates through your skin and glows to those on the outside. The kind of joy that affects everyone around you. I truly believe that’s the kind of joy that we’re meant to have and share with others. The only way to get there… is to start finding JOY right where you are.

Brothers 11.2015

I’ve been trying to find the right way to start in on my blog. The perfect thought, carefully typed up nice and neat and published onto the screen. After months, (okay maybe longer) of procrastination, I figured the best way to go about it is start typing along relishing in God’s revelation to me that day. So I hope that whoever stumbles upon it will find it to be a small nugget of hope and peace in their day. Thanks in advance for reading.

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