Brighter Days And A Giveaway!

Like violets, primroses, or other shade thriving flowers I too prefer the shade to the full sun. I am not one to take on the fullness of any spotlight. Actually, I prefer to shrink back and allow others to bear the breath and beauty of it. I am happy to cheer others on from the shade.

The irony that I blog about our lives and yet prefer a small, shaded life to a loud and bright one does not escape my attention but such is my reality.

Recently I felt the sun shining too much on me and I was fully prepared to walk away from it. Matter of fact, I had said out loud “I don’t want to write anymore” And it wasn’t because I have a massive following or anything like that but because I felt a myself being pulled from the shade and into the sun. I’m not a full sun kind of flower.

Shortly after making my statement about not wanting to write anymore I told three people. The first listened calmly and gave the advice to pray about it. The second listened less calmly, told me that yes I need to pray about it, but I also need to face my fear rather than hiding. The third (does this feel like Goldilocks to anyone else?) agreed with the other two but also told me if I was going to be stupid I was not allowed to talk. Mixed with aggravation they found enough grace to offer that people read my words and even if I don’t think so, my words matter to others.

But it’s bright and a little scary out in the sun!

I know we are all afraid of something. Being seen, being fully known, being misunderstood, being helpless, being too much, being not enough. My fear of stepping out and being seen hinders me on a regular basis. I push back and give in to the lie that there is someone better for the job. Surely I am not what the world needs, but then I remember what Jim asked me a few days ago when we were talking about how I felt like not enough. He said “If a friend said that to you, what would you say back?” A million things came flooding out because I see everyone else’s value and enough-ness miles and miles away but I cannot see my own. Because my own is in the shadows.

So if I see your enough-ness and you can see mine then I propose we take small steps into the sun together. Sunglasses and hats on and ready to walk out of the shadow of fears and lies and into the glory of the sun.

Now, for a fun giveaway!

A precious friend decided she wanted to sponsor a giveaway on the blog. So, that’s what we’re going to do!

One winner will receive this beautiful wood framed signboard from Smallwood Home (size 26×26).

So, how do you enter to win? It’s super easy! Go to this post on Grace and Giggle’s Facebook page, this post, and tag three friends in this post’s comments. That’s it. The winner will be selected next Sunday and announced here on the blog.

T-Shirts In The Sand

Recently Jim and I were in the grocery store and I was wearing a t-shirt that ways “I Love My Husband”  and the girl at the checkout counter asked the super typical question of “did he make you wear that?”. Can I just tell y’all that if I had even a penny for every time I hear that I would be well on my way to paying off a week long cruise. It’s that often.

No, he didn’t make me wear it. In fact, the odds are pretty high that he didn’t even know what shirt I was wearing or if I was even wearing a shirt. Jim isn’t exactly known for being observant.

I told her that when your marriage has gone through all that we’ve put ours through you wear your I love my spouse t-shirts, tell your story, and pray someone, anyone, learns from your mistakes.

If this tee bought at a marriage event strikes up a conversation about loving your spouse well then the $20 was worth it. If our hard story causes someone to pause and consider their own marriage then the divorce was worth it.

No, I would not want to go back there. But yes, I do see the value in those years. Wisdom comes when we are experiencing life, not when we wait for life to experience us. Nothing gets better because we sat and consider things, we are meant to experience life and then tell others about it. Even the hard stuff. I would say especially the hard stuff.

In the Parable of the Three Servants (Matthew 25:14-30 GW) Jesus is comparing these three dudes that are given thousands of dollars by their master, right? The master was careful to give each servant what his ability would be able to handle so one was given 10 thousand dollars, the next 4 thousand dollars, and the last 2 thousand dollars.  The first two invested and doubled their money. The last hid his money in the sand and came back with the same amount, nothing gained or lost.

Well, what if we consider the money in a different way? What if we call the money our stories. God gives us each a life to live with plenty of lessons and circumstances. So the same three people are given a story the first goes out into the world and shares it far and wide…loud and God glorifying. The second also shares his story but on a smaller stage amongst those they know and love, still God glorifying. The third though never shared his story. My question is what if his story was the one that would have helped another person? What if him saying “You know, I really struggle with addiction.” or “I constantly fight the urge to look at porn.” or “I carry this shame from my divorce” or “I cheated my way to to the top and wish I had known the truth of what it would do to me a long time ago.”

When we bury our story and don’t trust others with it we are limiting the power God gave us to help each other. To point straight to Him and say “it was hard but to God be the glory.”

Lets not bury our testimonies but instead lets wear the t-shirts, say some hard stuff, and point the victories back to Him.

The License Plate

This past weekend we were at a new church due to being on a mini vacation upstate. The pastor was telling a story about how he got to his sermon analogy and he did a flare with his hands and said “Wait for it…(claps his hands) sermon analogy!” and while I cannot relate with the “sermon” bit I do get the “ta-da blog idea!” Little gems tucked within life and I believe it’s my job to bring them on here and tell you how I saw them.

Like, for instance, Zack loves reading bumper stickers and license plates while driving. This works for me because I can’t usually read the small printed bumper stickers and I honestly forget a license plate exists until key moments (which I try to avoid in life)

Tonight the car in front of us was a little Toyota with a license plate that said “Lexus”. Zack commented that was weird and he didn’t “get it”, I got it. Or well, to me I did but I did not suggest we follow said little car to find out. But here was my takeaway and you can make your own assumptions.

To me it was saying that no matter what the outside world thinks we are, it’s about what WE think we are. I will never be amazingly beautiful to the world, but I can feel beautiful. I might never be famous or the best at anything but I can’t think I am great and that’s what matters.

Heart matters, labels don’t.

For the past few weeks, as part of my silence here, has been kicking around the word label. Or maybe the “theme” labels. We all have them. We all give them. I can name off several that build me up and possibly even more that knock me flat on my rear end and I am sure you have your own lists too.

Some of my favorites are: Wife, Mom, daughter, sister, friend and most importantly Child of the Living God. In the end it’s that last one that matters most. It’s the one that sets me a part; that binds me to a love that is greater than anything earthly. But I forget that label sometimes when the not so lovely labels are thrown my way. Sometimes I need the reminder that I am the better make and model, not better than others, but better than I was.

Labels I carried around that were always bulky and never fit right were things like: unloveable, hot tempered, ugly, fat, and less than…I could go on but I don’t want to cry. You get the idea anyway.

When those things are spoken or implied over us it almost brainwashes us to think that’s all we are, but it’s not all that we are.

1 John 3:1 says:

Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are. For this reason the world doesn’t recognize us, and it didn’t recognize him either.

*Drops microphone*

The world doesn’t recognize Him or us so when the less than lovely names are hurled at us we have a shield, a name. We are already identified and called holy. Sacred. Loved. Set apart. Redeemed. Chosen. Gifted. Treasured.

And that…is enough. Write those things on your license plate, carry them with pride.