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Category Archives: Journey to Publication: Excerpts from “Not Just on Sundays”

Review of “Not Just on Sundays”

I’m very honored that a new review was written for “Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day”! Thank you to Amanda at “The Nerdy Bookworm” for your lovely description and for so beautifully capturing the heart behind this project. Amanda’s book reviews are a great place to check before you start your summer reading. I enjoy receiving her reviews emailed directly to me.

For more reviews of NJOS, feel free to check out the Amazon.com page.

Blessings to my “Espressos of Faith” readers for letting me hone my craft and share my heart lessons so intimately with you on such a regular basis.

Blessings!
Bonnie Lyn Smith

the nerdy bookworm

frontcover Image courtesy of Bonnie Lyn Smith

When I first got an email from Bonnie Smith asking me to review her book, Not Just On SundaysI was excited. Not simply because I enjoy reading and reviewing books, but because she sounded like such a kindred spirit.

When Not Just On Sunday arrived a few weeks later, the subtitle excited me: “Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day”. Yes! That sounds like what I desire to do with my life!

Not Just On Sunday might appear daunting with 312 pages, but don’t let that intimidate you. Filled with Scripture, and reflections on faith and life drawn from Bonnie’s personal journey, you will laugh, cry, and be refreshed.

Simply written, Not Just On Sunday is an easy read, and I felt as though I was reading Bonnie’s journal, or sitting with her in a coffee shop discussing what God is teaching her…

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Anxiety Volcanoes: Typical Expectations on Atypical Children [Excerpt]

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Today’s blog is an excerpt from the recently published Not Just on Sundays (giveaway below–hurry, ends March 25, 2015!). It’s about what ADHD/ADD children may think about/hear/feel when different adults are making a lot of noise about how they should behave and act when they are struggling to regulate their bodies and minds. I believe it relates, in pieces, to children with autism spectrum disorders as well—and children with anxiety disorders, often a combo meal with ADHD/ADD. Anxiety is already present in these kids, but this blog—this very short snippet just skimming the surface—is specifically about the anxiety produced by typical expectations on an atypical child.

Thankfully, we are in a much better place with my son right now. This was written at the beginning of 2014. But I go back to my journaled thoughts very often to try to “walk in his shoes” and never forget the perspective and tiny voice inside a child who can’t quite express all of these things yet but so desperately needs the adults in his life to understand.

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I debated adding our ADHD/anxiety/OCD journey to the book. It’s a footnote to the anxiety section, but to show how we walk through these trials and find the other side—or often learn to wait in the valley for another side to come into view—real-life examples from my life are needed. Being bare-naked-vulnerable for myself is one thing; my child is completely another. But people need to know how we walk our children through these challenges. I have heroes who went ahead of me in this. I know how badly we all need to walk this journey together.

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, a child with mental health struggles like anxiety, or an ADHD child, this is for you. I pray that you will find something in it that ministers to your heart, encourages you to go on, but more than anything, points to my heavenly Father, the only One Who can sit with us in that place and bring sweet peace in the midst of seemingly endless storms.

I originally wrote this very sensitive blog to a limited number of trusted friends and family. I feel this is really important to understand. I’m only beginning to unlock it myself. This is what a child with ADD/ADHD hears every day of his or her life, from all of us: teachers, coaches, parents, etc. We’re mostly well-meaning, but we’re all completely guilty of it.

“Sit down, Joey. Stop talking, Joey. Joey, stay on task. Joey, are you cutting correctly? Joey, pack that backpack faster. Did you hear me, Joey? Joey, are you listening? Joey, stop tapping your pencil. This is time to be still, Joey. Joey, are you with us? Joey…Joey…Joey….Joey….”

I get it. I understand how and why it happens. I am guilty of it myself, but this is what my son feels, trapped inside a jail of anxiety about something he struggles to control and is developmentally too young to solve or even know what the adults are so frustrated with. Because my son is such an external processor, I have the benefit of hearing what is often in his head. I’m beginning to realize that it sounds like this:

“I need to worry if I did everything they just said. What did they just say again? I might not have done that. Oh, wait, maybe I did. Oh, I don’t know. I might be bad. They think I can’t listen. I didn’t mean to not do the first three instructions. Maybe I’m dumb. I don’t think I have a good memory. I don’t know how to sit still. Oh, she might be mad again. Should I put a bandaid on this cut? Wait, did she tell me to get my shirt on? But I need a bandaid on this cut. I’m so overwhelmed, I can’t stop crying, but that slows me down, and they think I’m being a baby when I cry.”

This morning, I chose to say this (next paragraph). I don’t know where it came from except God. He showed me a glimpse of what my son was feeling, and it felt incredibly heavy to carry around. He’s so worried about the simple tasks he can’t complete that he has retreated into a world where things can be better controlled. He is locked into this: “Did I wash my hands? I can control that. Maybe I washed my hands. Let me do it another time because I’m not sure. That way at least my hands are clean. I know I can do that. Maybe I touched a germ, so let me wash again” and other such small tortures.

It’s a prison of the mind, and I am committed to daily blessing and praying him into seeing that he doesn’t have to live this way.

Me as we waited for the bus:

“Little Man, you are amazing just the way God created you. I know you are told all day long to ‘stay still, listen, stop talking, don’t fidget, did you finish that worksheet, are your boots on, and do it faster,’ and that must be really, really hard. And that must make you feel like you don’t meet expectations a lot of the time. But you know what? You are a wonderful little boy with a big heart, and I would never think that you did wrong on purpose. People are trying to help you focus, but it sounds like a long day of demands, and I’m so very sorry. You go off today with the peace of God on you. You stop and quietly ask Him for help when you can’t please an adult. He knows how pure that heart is inside of you because He put it there, and He knows you are trying your best every day and that some days are very hard and you hurt big inside. I love you deeply, and you don’t need to worry all day long if you did everything right. As long as you try, I know you are doing your best work. I’m really proud of you. Don’t worry if you did everything right or in the right order. You don’t have to be perfect. I’m not perfect. I need God’s help too. Every day of my life. I am very proud of the wonderful son and child you are. Go in God’s peace, Son. I love you so much.”

And it could be that I wanted to see it. It certainly could be. But I felt his shoulders lighten a little. I felt something heavy blow off between us. I felt his painful guard relax. A tiny bit. For the first time in weeks, he let me quickly embrace him. He might have skipped once as he walked to the bus. And I came inside and wept because God showed me what he carries around inside, and it’s way too much for a child. Way too much. I hope my reflections somehow help those of you with children who struggle similarly. Thank you for reading.

[Nothing about this post is anti-medicine or anti-behavioral therapy in addition to prayer. We are taking steps ourselves to pursue the best course for our child. It was more or less to share our journey and to open up our adult minds as to what goes on inside the mind of a young child trying to deal with this. It’s also not a post soliciting help or sympathy. We are prayerfully taking our own steps. It’s a dialogue for parents on this road alongside us. You are not alone.]

Espressos of Faith has dedicated entire blog categories for more discussion on Anxiety/OCD/Depression and ADHD.

*This blog can also be found at Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays Link-Up, and Simply Inspired Wednesdays Link-Up.

Great resources: Positively Atypical! and Dr. Hallowell

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Not Just on Sundays by Bonnie Lyn Smith

Not Just on Sundays

by Bonnie Lyn Smith

Giveaway ends March 25, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

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PUBLISHED! My Heart in 332 Pages.

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Today, “Espressos of Faith” celebrates the publication of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (available now at amazon.com!) with a little reflection on how it feels to hold that book for the very first time.

Thank you for being on this incredible journey with me. Your readership has made me strive to use my voice in better ways. I surely hope I accomplish that most of the time, but I so appreciate your grace on the days I fall short.

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I hate the mail. I really do. And when my kids bring it into the house on the way in from the bus stop, I feel immediately anxious. Part of this comes from being conditioned to only receiving mail twice a week when we lived in the Marshall Islands. When we did get mail, it was essential mail only. No junk mail. But not here. In the U.S., two-thirds of the mail is advertisements, political campaigns, and credit card/insurance offers. I can’t stand that stuff coming into my house and claiming real estate on my countertops, which is what happens since someone else sets it down, and it might be days before I notice it. So, yeah, I have issues about my mail. Our postal worker must hate me because I personally only collect it twice a week. She gets very creative about how she stuffs my standard-size mailbox. It’s almost a game at this point.

But I was expecting my book proof for two days, so the mail was starting to seem a bit more exciting. And the mail usually comes at 12 PM. But, of course, this time it came at 3 PM. I must have gone down to the box about 10 times yesterday. I think I wore a path in the lawn. The mailbox even started just opening as I approached it, like a big yawn, because it was so happy I was finally taking an interest. Okay, that last part was a bit of an exaggeration. But it did spring open with a bit more enthusiasm than usual.

And then it came.

That box-wrapped-around-a-book thingie.

I had about two minutes alone with it before the kids piled off the afternoon late activity bus. I quickly went inside, ripped that thing open, and cradled it. Several decades of wanting to be a published book author, and several years of actually writing it later—

—and here it was.

There would be time for checking headers, footers, pagination, blank pages, and overall formatting and content in a few minutes. But at that moment, my book and I danced. I wept. My heart grew five sizes bigger inside my chest. It was real. It was here.

And it was mine.

But I didn’t just shed tears for joy. I shed tears for healing, for hope, for health, for heartaches, for all of the stories wrapped deeply into those pages. As I opened it to take a peek, I felt so many things want to leap out, ready to spill into other lives now. Things I had kept close to me. Things that were begging for release.

Ready or not, here I come.

I had prayed my words would be a comfort and a hope to others. That nothing in there would poke at anyone else’s hurt, but only serve to show the way to the light at the end of the path.

But it’s also me word-naked before the public now. Before friends, family, and complete strangers who otherwise didn’t know the ins and outs of my mind and life to that great extent.

I was standing in front of the book mirror with my pages open. And everyone could read me now.

That is exhilarating

and

terrifying

all wrapped up in one bow—or box, as the case may be.

And in my prayers as this book came to publication, I asked God to please let it be a message of hope, healing, encouragement, and faith, and that it would give people a glimpse of His amazing love for them. I asked that nobody would misunderstand or be hurt by anything written, and each time I read it through, I tried to read it from a different perspective, wanting to feel the hearts of those in my potential audience. I prayed that His words would go deep into the people who need to hear them. I prayed He would show me any places where I was not reflecting Him correctly, where I was too edgy, too snarky, too negative, and take them out—that He would only let me write and keep in what was edifying, to build up others. That can be a challenge when hitting topics that are sensitive, like abandonment or relational struggles. Those can be so hot-button that everyone thinks it is written about them (even if I don’t know them!). But, actually, it is. Because it’s written about all of us, myself included.

So, I hold my breath now, trembling a little at the thought of letting this long-term project go out into the world—no matter how limited the audience. I have held it for so long in my arms, and pushing “publish” set things in motion that now cannot be reversed. Me—real, raw, tender, vulnerable, and a little quirky—I’m out there. But beneath this tiny voice trying to get out is a bigger, more important one that I so desperately want people to hear: the voice of the Father’s amazing love and how it speaks so patiently, mercifully, and compassionately into my very imperfect life. How He speaks to all of us, if we’re listening.

As I read some of my own shared struggles as well as those of other writer/blogger/author friends of mine, I keep coming back to this: The written word is a tremendous responsibility.

  • It’s a responsibility not to lash out (there are ways to express frustration and pain without cutting anyone).
  • It’s a responsibility to be honest, even through fiction—not always that the situation we present is our own but that we know how to present a situation because we’ve done our research and listened deeply and attentively to those in that particular struggle.
  • It’s a responsibility to share our own lives, when appropriate, with integrity and in a way that is not dishonoring to anyone.
  • And it’s a responsibility to have hands outstretched in love, opening up our audience instead of excluding or polarizing people.

I pray I have done that in Not Just on Sundays and will continue to do so through the next few projects I hope to accomplish. It’s important to write well and to regularly receive feedback. It’s equally important to love and respect your audience and those in your story. Without that, our stories are in danger of becoming sour, distorted, and cynical.

Thank you, fellow writers/bloggers/authors, for inspiring me with the way you beautifully maintain that balance.

And thank you, readers, for your willingness to participate in the flawed-but-ever-growing journey.

I love that we have a God who is with us, who saves, who takes great delight in us, and who rejoices over us with singing. Wherever the journey takes me, I want to remain close to understanding that deep in my heart. I hope that you can too.

Zephaniah 3:17, Zephaniah the Prophet speaking

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

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Not Just on Sundays published today, October 1, 2014. It is currently available at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

 

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What’s Really Behind the Things That Drive Us Nuts? [Excerpt]

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Today, Espressos of Faith offers a fifth excerpt from Not Just on Sundays, due out this month. The book often features the smaller moments of life and what they can teach us if we zoom in to see what might really be going on—how God can be showing us something huge in the ordinary of the day.

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Not giving a creative person the time, space, and materials to do his “art” is like slowly starving him from the inside out. I am trying to find that balance, and I am learning from my youngest guy. His hands are not the strongest, and his fine motor skills need to develop and be refined, but he sees himself as an artist as he shapes Amazon.com boxes with endless materials to create amazing treasures. I have to remember that although all of the assorted scraps I call “trash” (like Dum Dum wrappers) get under my skin after a while—when he stocks them up like a squirrel—he sees future masterpieces. What I like to think I see in words, he sees in everyday stuff around him.

Okay, Little Man, if you need a card table in the family room with endless junk on it and a used mailing box—and that keeps you from begging for more screen time—then have at it, Child! Can’t wait to see what you make. Maybe we should sell a few of those items at our lemonade stand this summer to afford storage for your recycling, er, I mean art studio.

That was a lovely story, wasn’t it?

I wish I could say my perspective looks that delightful and calm all of the time.

It doesn’t.

I occasionally rage. But it is an area I am turning over to God so He can help me find a way to bless instead of speak labels onto my children.

I’m not a big fan of any label. The label “ADHD” may help a child get the help he needs on an IEP, and within the context of a school system, that may be entirely appropriate and helpful, but I do not want to look at any of my children as limited by their weaknesses.

I don’t want to say: “You forever will have attention issues.”

I want to say: “It will be awesome to see how God uses all that phenomenal energy for creative works to bring Him honor someday and help people!”

But this takes daily praying through what may perplex me or drive me nuts and asking God for words that cancel out the:

“You never wills,”
“You always,” 
“You have to stop XYZ-ings”

that our kids hear every day.

Some of it is necessary. A lot of it is not. Here’s what it looks like when I ask my Father in heaven to give me words. (I won’t taint your minds with what it looks and sounds like when I don’t. You’re welcome.)

I was challenged this past weekend to speak to my kids more about their God-given gifts and abilities, how the Lord is shaping their hearts, and whom I see them growing to be. It builds on some of what I have already been doing, but I love saying:

“______, you have been given a tremendous heart for others, tender toward people and all of God’s creatures. You are sensitive to the hurts in others and respond with great compassion.”

Or “______, you have been given a warrior spirit to stand up for injustice and speak His Truth when He calls you to it.”

Or “________, you have a kind, gentle heart that speaks quiet strength, safety, and protection. You lead softly, with delightful humor and deep thought. You know His Word inside and out, and now may it go from your head to soak deeply into your heart.”

And, really, what’s actually behind the things that get under our skin is simply that: our own skin. We are just as annoying and frustrating at times. But we’re adults and have more authority to misuse or mishandle.

Or to bless.

James 3:9-12, James, brother of Jesus, speaking

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

 

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Grace That Changes: One Forgiving Moment at a Time [Excerpt]

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Today, Espressos of Faith offers an excerpt from the upcoming Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, due out this month. 

Cover design: Traci Carmichael Art 

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I performed an interesting social experiment in the past year at a favorite establishment in my town. Folks working there weren’t very friendly, to the point I dreaded going in. So, I tried being very kind every time I went, going out of my way to clean up any mess we left, saying something encouraging at the counter, and in general bringing in a consistent smile, no matter what attitude came back at me. I went in more regularly with my kids, having them do homework and lingering, looking for opportunities to bless. It took a few months, but then suddenly, the staff not only knew me by name, but they started going out of their way to also be kind: They brought my kids free food, helped me more with questions I had, and apologized for mistakes even when I didn’t complain. Although I’m sure I’m not the reason the entire establishment is friendlier, I was able to show my kids that kindness begets more kindness. Even they have noticed a difference.

So, I keep thinking how deliberate the choice is to love and bless. It doesn’t always flow naturally; it is a minute-by-minute choice, but if we employed this same idea everywhere—the car that cuts in front of us for a parking space, the tired clerk at the market counter, the pharmacy technician who doesn’t need one more prescription coming in when she’s already so behind—how many people could we each reach with love and grace? Too much in this world tears us down. What if that pharmacy clerk was going to go home and drink herself into a stupor again tonight because of problems weighing on her unbeknownst to me? What if the impatient car parker is also impatient at home with his kids, snapping at the least little annoyance? Do we need to cause him more angst, or could grace perhaps make a small dent, leading to bigger dents, in the way he daily functions? Could our choice to extend grace turn around a despairing, tense, hopeless attitude? All I know is grace changed who I am, and the people who offered me grace in my own bad attitudes deserve so much credit; they overlooked the ugly in me and encouraged the beautiful. Grace changes things, one forgiving moment at a time. My mouth can’t hold poison and antidote all at the same time. James, brother of Jesus, said it best:

James 3:9-12

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

And here is a fun one for you. I thought it was amazingly descriptive to wear cursing as one’s garment and have it enter one’s body like water and bones like oil. Hello, songwriter! Modifiers and analogies make my heart jump!

Psalm 109:17-18, David (not yet king) speaking

He loved to pronounce a curse—
    may it come on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing—
    may it be far from him. 

He wore cursing as his garment;
    it entered into his body like water,
    into his bones like oil.

Summertime presents some nice opportunities for learning how to relate better to one another. I bet if you’re a parent of kids still at home, it does in your house too. One of the rules of my house is: “If you come to any of us with accusations, anger, or emotional response of any kind, you may not walk away when you are in the middle of receiving a response. If you are not prepared to hear out a response to a problem/accusation you put forth, you should not present it in the first place.” I told my children that I know adults who do this to me all of the time. They drop their emotion down but run off and sulk without sticking around to hear another perspective. Any issue or relationship worth working out deserves to have both people heard. We better ourselves with stronger, committed relationships if we learn to develop this one important concept. I see this as part of the blessing/curse idea. Working through misunderstandings or upsets needs to be approached from a stance of blessing. Blessing invites openness and vulnerability. Cursing shuts relationships down. I don’t want cursing to enter my body like water or my bones like oil as the Psalmist depicts for us, which suggests to me a “soaking in.” Toxic interactions have a way of soaking in and permeating so many areas of our lives. Grace and love do just the opposite; they cover us:

1 Peter 4:8, Apostle Peter speaking

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Along the same lines, I had a difficult “issue of character” discussion with one child at bedtime one night. It wasn’t a huge deal, really, and it was only one area of correction, but this child struggles to receive constructive criticism no matter how delicately it is presented. I waited to make sure it sank in and shared that we all have to be able to take feedback and ask God if it’s something He wants us to correct. Then, because this child bruises easily from feedback, I spent the falling-asleep moments listing all of the things this child does well, areas where I am very pleased, and at Item Number 20, the slight smile gave way to slumber, and peace climbed beside us and laid its head on the pillow as well, a welcome companion. That is not how I conduct myself every day, but when I consult God and come from a standpoint of blessing, informed by His living Word, it is a much more peaceful way to do life.

Just as mourning comes in waves, so does His grace. It rides in on constant tides like a covering of love that soaks into every pore until it fills the heart. There is never grief without grace, if we’d only learn to keep our feet in the Living Water, facing the oncoming surf, not fearing the raging storms, but instead standing steadfast to receive as He gives. If only we stood there in great faith and expectancy, we’d quickly find He never ever stops giving. We’re the ones who lose hope or courage and walk away from the source. His waves of grace chase us and lap at our feet, desiring to heal, to nurture, and to be received, but if our backs are to those waves as we walk away, we never even know what was there for us, what we failed to discover as we walk back inland to where discouragement and fear are ready to take hold and plant roots—only because we gave those dark thoughts permission again. I don’t want to give them permission anymore. I want to sit in tide pools of never-ending grace at the feet of Jesus. If you trust Him, you can sit there too!

 

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Parenting in a Coffee Shop [Excerpt from “Not Just on Sundays”]

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Espressos of Faith offers another excerpt (below) of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day. One section of the book focuses on coffeehouse stories where life slows down to observation mode, and much can be reflected upon in both the quietness of being still and the white noise hum of sitting in a public space. A great amount of parenting is also done there—both my parenting of my own children and my listening to the Father parent me. Pull up a chair with me for a minute, and imagine (or remember) these moments with your own children. Take a minute to find some rest in your day. Thanks for joining me!

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I enjoy being in a coffee shop for various reasons: to write, read, observe people, talk to a friend, treat someone to a pumpkin latte, etc. Of course, I can come up with almost any excuse to sit in one for a few hours. Really, just smelling the coffee alone calls me in like a beacon. I feel like I’ve finally made it to the mother ship when I smell fresh beans grinding or brewing. But some of my very best parenting moments also happen there. When a child has a particular issue to talk out, we can focus on each other better, away from home, in a different setting. If one of them has a challenging project, I will take that child for a muffin or decaf iced latte to help him or her focus and break down the task into smaller pieces. Several years ago, I took Chickie to a local coffeehouse to plan out her report on fairy tales. On other occasions, we have come just to de-stress and play some Skip-Bo®. During those times, the kids tend to share more of their lives with us.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Sticky Notes from God [Excerpt]

Espressos of Faith is committed to posting excerpts from Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day in the weeks leading up to publication. (This is Excerpt #2.) Many of the stories within Not Just on Sundays are inspired by trying to view life through the small moments of life, by zooming in on something we might otherwise miss, much like my photographer friends do through an actual lens. Sometimes the greatest blessings and lessons are in the simple things. I hope we all look more each day to find those “sticky notes” God sends just for us, often blessing us through other people.

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Sticky Notes from GodA dear friend of mine from my island days came to visit; sadly, I was away at the time, so she and her husband hung out with Salad Boy* and the kids without me. She was unaware of the incidents I encountered the week I was gone, but when I came home, she had left me sticky-note messages all over my house, reminding me of God’s love and her friend love. She had no idea the heart returning home needed to see and feel something tangible that was the very definition of love (my own family also reminded me of that). God knows what we need, and He sends messengers to deliver the messages. We are not always tuned in to see it, but He does this. And I love it! Open my eyes to see it more, Lord! You are awesome!

So, I got to thinking how God also leaves us sticky notes. They are all over our Bibles, sure, but they are also penned by those who love us, like my sweet island friend. Salad Boy and I don’t write each other notes a lot in the everyday rhythm of our lives. I wish I could say, being a writer, that I wrote him long confessions of my love, daily, but alas, I do not. But in a rare moment when he felt inspired, as he left for work, he said: “Have a great day at work, Honey.” I don’t work yet for regular pay. Not yet. But it doesn’t matter if it is a writing day or a “keeping house” day or a “running around on errands” day, he gets it. He gets every bit of it, and I just love him to pieces for it. He was my sticky note from God that day. It was verbal, but it was a blessing.

Sometimes we are the ones writing the sticky notes. One day, this was my sticky note to a friend of mine who did not share my faith. Life had taken her down a road where she had taken a bite out of the bitter apple one too many times. Don’t we all get to that place some days? I wanted to speak some of God’s Truth to her. She didn’t magically embrace my faith. We often need a whole stack of sticky notes speaking truth to undo the hateful, untrue ones we have received.

Dear Friend:

I have many thoughts, and I probably can’t get them all down, but I do hear you on feeling betrayed, abandoned, disappointed. I think when so many people have poorly reflected back to you your worth, it is easy to think they are reflecting God as well with their awful choices to be devastatingly hurtful. I can understand why that feels like it is God acting (or not acting in some cases). This is a great discussion for a time when I can go more in depth, but I encourage you to realize humans failed you over and over again, but God knows that and has a heart that aches for you. This may not make sense right now or feel real. I had to spend a lot of time getting “human” out of my way of seeing God. Humans can really disappoint and screw it up sometimes. They kept getting in the way of me seeing God. It’s hard to distinguish. It’s hard not to feel left out in the cold at times, especially after all of your rotten experiences. I hear you on feeling like you “did all of the right things” or “followed all of the right rules.” I am sure He sees that. The coolest part for me in my faith (or perhaps the biggest relief) is that, while I want to do all of the right things because I love Him, my relationship with Him isn’t dependent on that. I don’t have to be perfect or measure up.

I want to be praying for you that the lies and untruths that all of those people (those who abused their responsibility to “tend your heart and soul”) spoke to you will scatter and that God’s love for who He made you to be will be the only voice you hear. I am still clearing out my own cobwebs and telling old tapes playing in my head to stop, but each time I do, I see myself through God’s eyes more clearly. It’s the only version of me I fully love—because He does.

Blessings,
Bonnie

Where can we see God reaching us through another person’s love or act of compassion today? Where can we be that sticky note in someone else’s life, speaking blessing and encouragement, bringing hope?

*My affectionate name for my husband because he’s on a fitness/health kick

**Update: Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day published October 1, 2014.

This blog was shared at A Little R & R.

 

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