everyday inspiration

Posts tagged “faith

3 years later

Three years ago on December 30, my dad passed away.

It was completely unexpected and by far the hardest day of my life. I will never forget the phone call in the stairwell at work, the torturous flight to Ohio and the surreal days following. I can remember everything so clearly, yet it’s also so hazy at the same time.

I’ve written before about the all-consuming nature of grief and the only constant being change. I write today to offer the hope that things get better. That time really does heal wounds.

I know that sounds so cheesy, and you might not believe me. Here’s the thing – it’s true, but it is also still so hard. Three years later and it is still.so.hard.

There are still days where all I can think about is him, and I just want to lay in bed and cry. There are times when I want to call him so badly to tell him about something at work because I know how proud he would be. Or at weddings when I just wish he was there one more time dragging me on to the dance floor.

The memories are everywhere and there was a time when they would only make me sad. I would immediately push back tears and turn my attention to something else.

But something different has been happening lately – I’m learning to smile and rejoice in the memories instead. A month ago, I found this picture of us from New Year’s Eve 2008. I moved it in to our living room and now see it every day. The last two Christmases I wouldn’t have been able to do that. It would have made me too sad or upset every day, but this year it just makes me happy.

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Time does heal, but it never happens in your time. It was three years before I could do a tiny thing like moving a picture. I still struggle, especially through the holidays, but it gets better every day. I don’t think it will ever get “easy” per se, but I think over time there will be less tears and more smiles.

And more pictures.

xo xo


Seven {detestable} Things

Our church is starting a new series called Seven Things. When I first heard about it, I thought it was going to be about the seven deadly sins, something we’re all pretty much familiar with. However, I was incorrect. It’s about a passage in Proverbs that I’ve never read before or at least never paid much attention to –

        There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
        haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
  hands that shed innocent blood,
     a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
      a false witness who pours out lies and
a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

– Proverbs 6:16-19

From the start I was very intrigued by this series and now after week 1, even more so. Husband and I left the service talking about how great the message was and how convicted we were.

Week 1/Detestable Thing 1: Haughty Eyes – looking at people in need and judging them.

I will be the first to raise my hand and say I do this way too often. I really felt like this sermon was being preached to me. I judge people’s outfits or their hairstyle, I judge what someone says or what they do. I judge homeless people and people I work with. I know I shouldn’t, but it has become so commonplace and normal in society that it’s hardly even frowned upon.

But guess what – God doesn’t judge. He has seen me at my very worst and didn’t look at me with haughty eyes, but instead with compassion. This is what I like about this series, not only are we studying the behaviors we shouldn’t do, but we’re pairing them with the fruits of the spirit to show what we should do.

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness – looking at people in need and helping meet the need.

God knows what he’s doing. He has placed all of us exactly where we need to be at every single moment in our life. He has not placed us where we are so that we can look at someone, judge them and think how much better we are than them. He has placed us there so we can take action and do something kind.

Here’s the thing. We often see people and think, what can I do? I don’t have the time or the money or know what to do so I just won’t do anything. BUT if we have the time to judge someone, we at least have the time to say a prayer. Say a prayer for God to bring someone into that person’s life who does have the resources to help, or say a prayer asking how you can help. There are people all around us who just need a little kindness and a little love instead of being looked down upon.

My prayer is that this week when we see someone and start to judge, instead we say a little prayer and see how we can meet a need.

* * *

I plan to share each week of this series on my blog. However, if you’re interested in attending the service with us to hear the message firsthand, please let me know. We would love for you to join us. You can learn more about The Grove Church here.

xo xo


I’m doing okay.

Remember that post I wrote about two months ago? Where I led with, “You want real, here’s real: I’m not okay.” Well, it’s two months later and I’m doing okay.

Guess what, friends, time works. Time heals. Not all, but it heals. It’s a Friday night. I’m laying in bed writing this after a great evening at home – taking Olli on a walk, cooking dinner barefoot in the kitchen (which Mom thinks means I’m pregnant … but I’m not) and relaxing with some favorite shows.

I’m trying so hard to be thankful every day for things in my life. I’m trying so hard to work through my grief. I’m trying so hard to praise God in all circumstances. It’s still hard, but I’ve definitely made progress.

I’m not here to sugar coat it and tell you it’s not all gone. Lord knows it’s not. I still feel a little hollow inside. I still feel sadder than I use to, lonelier than I use to, more reflective than I use to.

There’s still bad days. Days when all I want to do is cry. But those days are getting fewer and farther between. The perplexing part though is, I’m not sure if that’s what I want. I’m not sure if I want to be okay. It makes it feel more real and it makes it feel like I’m forgetting him. So some days I hold tight to my grief, letting it bury me because I don’t want it to go away.

I need to learn how to hold on to it and let it go at the same time. That’s where I am. Caught in the divide. I can see the light though. I can see the Lord pulling me in the right direction. He’s been so evident lately, putting specific people in my life at certain times to talk about certain things. I just love that. Love that I have someone looking out for me like that.

It’s getting better, friends, and I have all of you to thank as well for your continual love.

As Henry David Thoreau says, “Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

xo xo


My Lenten #40DayChallenge

This year for Lent I’m doing things a little different. Well, I’m still doing some familiar things, like fasting from all sweets. (But this time I’m not going to let Sunday be a cheat day. So straight 45 days without sweets. Eek!)

But I’m also doing something different. I’m taking the time to be intentional about things I’m thankful for. I will share a photo every day on my instagram account @milledavis of my #40daychallenge. You can follow along there or on my blog. I won’t update on my blog every day, but will share in batches several days worth of photos.

This is a great exercise for anyone, to be conscious every day of the many things you have to be thankful for, but for me specifically in this time of grief. I pray that through this season God will open my eyes and remind me of all of his wonderful blessings. I pray I will reflect during this time on what’s truly important. I pray I will be reinvigorated with His truth and the passion to share the Gospel.

I hope you’ll follow me in this journey and share things you’re thankful for too!
xoxo

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{Day 1: I’m thankful for the freedom to practice my religion during this sacred season.}

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 6.40.05 PM{Day 2: I’m thankful for fun coworkers and belated mardi gras celebrations.}


Life, it’s hard.

You want real? Here’s real: I’m not okay.

This situation has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined, and I’m tired of telling everyone I’m doing fine. I mean, I am doing fine, but I’m also not doing fine. Do you understand? If you do, please let me in, because I don’t understand. My thoughts, feelings, tears, emotions have been so scattered the past few weeks I honestly don’t know what I’m feeling. So often I feel numb – numb to the pain, numb to the world then all of a sudden I’m the opposite of numb (sensitive?) and I can feel everything all at once. All emotions come rushing to me. The tears don’t stop. The memories don’t stop. I can’t do anything.

I went back to work at the beginning of the week. I was so anxious about starting back, but it’s really been pretty good. I’ve enjoyed getting back into work and into a semi-normal routine. Everyone has been great, but someone shared a piece of advice that has stuck with me – Don’t just throw yourself into work. It will only elongate the healing process.

I’m honestly at a point right now where I can’t even imagine not feeling sad. I know it will happen, but it seems like such a foreign concept. When will I ever not be sad that I don’t get to see or talk to my dad again? When will that ever seem normal?

But life goes on. It’s amazing that it does, when everything around you seems to be crumbling and changing. But if I had any doubt in my mind, I look at Facebook or Instagram and it definitely goes on.

I love you all, and I don’t want you to read this and pity me. I just needed an outlet to be real. To be raw. If anything, just pray for me. If there’s been anything that’s given me peace and hope and strength through all of this, it’s been my faith. I honestly don’t know how people do it who don’t believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.

To end, I want to share with you my devotional from today. I pray it gives you hope in your life and your situation as it did for me today.

My face is shining upon you, beaming out peace that transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face-to-face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad of problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out, “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up.

The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the One  who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today’s waves. The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future! Stay close to me.

xo xo

 


a prayer for us all.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

xo xo

 


7: Possessions // UPDATE

Hi friends, remember when we were doing our 7 challenge? We cleaned out our closets and our apartment and had an abundance of stuff to give away, along with our Community Group. We gave all the household items to Havenwood, but we all kept the clothes planning to do a free clothing giveaway. Well, it finally happened. We planted ourselves in the middle of the Gravette Farmer’s Market with a tent full with clothes, shoes, accessories and signs that said FREE. We weren’t sure exactly how it was going to work. We didn’t know how many people would stop by, if people would want to give money for the clothes, if they would let pride get in their way or if they would take everything in one swoop. I’m here to say, it was a HUGE success.

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We had some fun.

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We had great fellowship.

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But most importantly, we blessed the community of Gravette.

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We had numerous families come by who shared their stories about not having enough money to buy new clothes for themselves or their kids for Summer. They were so incredibly grateful and asked if we would be back. These families were needy and we were able to provide for a basic need. We have such an abundance and we don’t even realize how far that can go for others. I was extremely humbled and left ready and willing to clean out my closet again and again to give to those who truly needed it. It was so much more impactful seeing women go through my clothes excited to wear them than just dropping off bags of clothing at Goodwill.

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What an incredible Saturday we had, and we will certainly be doing it again.

xo xo

You might also enjoy: 7: Possessions // Week 1, 7: Stress