Deane's Blog

brave

your one word

Deane Watters3 Comments

April is right around the corner. Those of us who picked a word at the beginning of 2015 have lived with that word for three months now. I am doing a check up here. Are you still with it? Do you think about your word and try to integrate it into your life? How are you different today because of your chosen ONE?2015-03-30_0005 I found EMBRACE this year and my second, BRAVE, found me.

Gifting my family with words has become an annual affair: abide, nourish, breathe, (bless), enough, (love), treasure, tend and savor are this year's favored ones.

Other friends have picked words that encourage or remind them: fresh, hope, nourish, embrace, flourish, illuminate, grace, trust, renew, freedom and finish have found their way to desk tops, journals, in frames or on walls. All these words really fire me up! (Am I sappy or what??)

(What is your word? Can I add it here?)

I find it surprising when I come to a moment when I realize I can stop and EMBRACE something. Its like finding a puzzle piece as I focus my senses to experience life just a bit more fully. You know, things like hugging grandbabies, biting into an exceptionally delicious pizza, settling back into a really hot bath, getting my back scratched, standing shoulder to shoulder with Brian in church, finding a hand written note in my mail box, remembering my mom. These are all points in time to embrace by stopping to feel the feelings each moment offers.

But recently I ran smack dab, face first into something that I have no desire to embrace. Its not a bad thing, but I feel so sad about it. I know I have to open my arms and not cling to the old. I desire to welcome the new and all the possibilities it might bring our way.

But not before I cry. A lot. And grieve the loss of something delightful. . .  so I can give permission for that which, quite possibly, will be wonderful also, but in a different way. The word EMBRACE is helping me...oh yes, so is brave :)

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Have you had an experience with your word that you might like to share? Would you humor me or just help me out? I would love to read all about it!

Words! They offer us so much possibility for making our lives more delicious, discerning and wise.

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courage

FaithDeane WattersComment

Sunday mornings find me sitting around a table with ten to twelve women considering what it means to chase after the heart of God. COURAGE was our topic this week. I write to uncover what COURAGE means to me. Courage is: not living stuck but moving forward, doing it even if afraid, choosing to not be offended even though I have every right to be, stepping outside my comfort zone, facing the giant right in front of me, slamming the brakes on the need to perform, treating time as a treasure - to be savored and appreciated, not being afraid to confront when necessary, admitting when I am wrong, being confident, agreeing to forgive, daring to love well and deeper, taking risks to dream big, offering grace, having faith even when twenty one men have been beheaded because they were Christians, looking back and embracing what God has allowed in my life, speaking up, listening well, waiting, trusting that God is near, sovereign, kind and good, respecting God and not taking him lightly, enduring suffering by leaning in to hear the whispers of the One who knows and loves me well, not being intimidated by those who want to make me look foolish.

When David came to the camp of the Israelites, he found them cowering because the giant, Goliath, mocked God and intimidated them. David stepped up and slayed the enemy with the first of five stones because he "believed God was bigger than the man he faced. He believed God was real and with him." (Jennie Allen) He saw the jeering offense as being against God and outrage gripped him. He stepped up and did the thing even though it appeared impossible and unreachable to those around him.

Surrounded by brave ones, I ponder their battles: The one who perseveres in the midst of deep loneliness... she who lost many babies through miscarriage... he who lost his father and read his eulogy in subzero temperatures... the one whose mother died when she was a teenager and has grown into a beautiful woman her mother would have been crazy about...the mother whose son broke her heart...the mom with a son in the ER longing for answers... parents who lost a dear one to suicide...one who has taken in a young man in need of solid love, guidance and lots-of-food...the sister who grieves the loss of her best-friend...the daughter who yearns for her mother's love...she who had a violent father and even now can't quite dare to trust or believe that God is love...the one who longs for freedom from depression...the son who aches for his dad's approval...the daughter who has been kicked out...the one who cries out to feel "good enough" and "known"...she who suffers every day with chronic pain...one who writes, hesitatingly, carefully, beautifully revealing her painful childhood... Each stands tall to courageously face every new day.

If only we could seek to view our sorrows, our incredibly painful trials, as offenses against God, not against us. While stepping through the mounds of unbelief, discouragement and fear, might we simply believe he is real and trust him? Exercising a deep courageous faith as invisible as he is may appear foolish. But can we stand strong? He alone gives what we need to keep getting out of bed with hope in our hearts and a fresh joy rising as the sun peeks through the trees bringing early morning light.

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Father God,

We live afraid. Everything feels big, icy, cold and immovable.

What are we missing out on because of this fear?

Come, rest with our suffering hearts that we may feel assured that you know.

Let us hear your sighs, see your tears, feel your nearness,

And rise up to let nothing, not even our sorrow, mock the living God.

Put the pebbles in our hands and fuel the strength to keep throwing until those giants called unbelief, fear, doubt and anxiety shrink and cower in the corner, knowing they have encountered the living God. They can no longer thrive. Let us hasten to action. May the victory be yours.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.         2 Timothy 1:7

 

brave

FaithDeane Watters2 Comments

My gut is really smart. It totally knows what is going on and seems to have a mind of its own. If by chance I forget, it is always there making itself known in hushed but robust ways, reminding that something is coming that I am "unsure" of. Recently I was to get up in front at church and make an announcement and even though I have done this many times, my system was on alert! No amount of deep breathing, praying or telling myself the truth was going to stop the anxiety until I got up and did the thing. Afterwards it was GONE. Completely. My protection system works like a charm, even if the danger is not real, just in my head. The first day of teaching a class, a speaking engagement, preparation for a weekend of meals for a crowd are all triggers. Sometimes I even feel it as I sit down at my computer to write! My gut lets me know that things are not all that secure and that "danger" just might be ahead.

"Silly gut," I say, "It's OK. You'll be OK. Don't worry."

But the stress in my belly will not go away until the perceived danger has passed.

Friday I said good bye to my husband who boarded a plane and flew to South America. I am happy for him in this grand adventure. I know he is going to see outstanding, totally breathtaking scenery. Fishing in magnificent lakes, navigating their raft through treacherous  rivers, sleeping under millions of stars, hiking in all that beauty will procure stories of the best kind. I look forward to hearing them and living the adventure all over with him upon his return. But...that old gut of mine was out of whack for three days before he left!

My mind buzzed with any number of questions. What will it feel like to be without my best friend for twenty-eight days? What if it snows big time and I have to shovel the sidewalks?Why did we buy a house on a corner lot with so many long sidewalks anyway?2015-02-08_0004How will I get myself to bed at a decent hour? Will I revert to peanut butter sandwiches without him here to prepare meals for? What if the boiler breaks down and I have no heat? What if I have an emergency? My mind can conjure up all kinds of scenarios that could require his wisdom, opinion, strength and expertise; the attributes I have, for 35 years, come to depend upon.

I drove him to the airport on Friday. We said some wonderful final words and kissed goodbye.

2015-02-08_0002Friday afternoon found me sitting in a pew at our church with 150 women, along with thousands of women around the world. The gathering was organized to enable us to have a place and time to seek God. Through worship, speakers, interviews, round-table discussions, heart-wrenching stories and prayers, we asked Him to show up. There were beautiful moments, agonizing stories, challenges, new thoughts, and a deep working of God's Spirit, weaving within us a desire to hear.

I felt God offered me some gifts to counter my gut's warnings.

  • A precious note from a dear friend, affirming my place in her life.
  • Hugs from beautiful people who care about my heart.
  • Words of worth spoken to me from a wise dear one, reminding me who I am.
  • God even had something to say! Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
  • A call to deeper love and understanding.
  • Through speakers I heard: God calls us to the uncomfortable. It's in obedience that we see God move. When you know He is with you, you can do anything. Faithful is not necessarily fearless. I want to be a woman fully alive, not encumbered by fear. Women are the greatest untapped resource of the world. We mark our moments...I'm going to fight for my faith.

As the conference drew to a close, we were all asked to pray and seek one step of faith we felt God calling us to. Writing that next step on our rocks, we took them to the front of the church and piled them, like the Israelites did in remembrance of what God had done for them as he led them to the promised land. Some people spoke out what they wrote and why. It was a beautiful way to finish up the conference. I felt deeply as I placed my rock with the others.

Worship came to a close. Women quietly rose and exited the darkened room. The moment felt full and warm, camaraderie emerging from these holy moments.

Cleaning up afterwards, I came across a stray rock. It hadn't been taken to the front with the others, but was left in a pew. I picked it up and in that moment, I realized that this rock, this word, had found its rightful place. It was God's word for me.

2015-02-08_0001Ok, Father God, as long as you are with me, I know I do not need to be afraid. These days apart from my husband will be walked out with excitement, keeping my eyes and heart open fully to the rhythm of your glorious stride right beside me. This has been the way I have lived my life. You have made me brave.

Brave goes WAY beyond my little story of my husband being away. I live brave; taking hold of opportunities to stretch my "comfort zones," standing up for what is right, deciding to be honest with myself and others, embracing the next thing I'm called to. All will find me trusting my invisible God because my life of faith has proven that he is worthy of such trust.

"Settle down, gut. We can do this."

I better do something about the food thing, though. Twenty-eight days of peanut butter sandwiches is not going to go well with my body, or my soul...