My Anniversary Video…

Hello friends!

I’m so excited to share with you my first video!  It’s been an amazing year of posting blogs on wordpress, and having the privilege of sharing God’s Word with you.  Thank you for all the support and encouragement you have sent to me through the past year.  I’m really looking forward to seeing where God takes me in the next year ~ and you get to come along for the ride!

Here’s the link to the video (via youtube) so I hope you enjoy!  Feel free to share with your friends and family too!!

Blessings,

René

 

Empty Nesting…

So what does it mean to have an empty nest? It can appear many different ways at various stages in our life.

Today is the “last first day of high school” for my youngest daughter. Just writing that sentence creates a huge lump in my throat and tears beginning to stream down my face. As my girl embarks on her Senior year in high school, so many memories come flooding in. The first thing that comes to mind, is all about her first day of kindergarten.

The school that she attended had full day kindergarten and that was so hard for me. I was so excited for her to be able to go to school with both of your big sisters. And goodness… I had not been at home alone, by myself, without any children there, for 12 years!  TWELVE!

At the time, we only lived about 16 miles from their school, however with Southern California traffic, that actually meant about a 30-45 minute drive each way. As I was driving home and neared our street, I immediately started sobbing. I was excited to “get my days back,” but suddenly that reality actually terrified me! What in the world was I going to do with myself?

Instead of continuing up the street to return home, I turned down the nearest side street and headed straight from my husband’s office that was a few miles away. I walked in the door to his office and continued my sobbing. He thought something had a really gone wrong at school drop-off. He had been there after all, with me and the other parents, waving to our little cherubs, smiling on the outside, as these darling little ones ran off to class with barely a hug and a kiss goodbye. I has stood just out of view of the large windows of the kindergarten classroom, along with the other mothers, pondering with them, ” Where does the time go?”

Mom’s who are experiencing this “drop-off” phenomenon for the first time looked to me as the veteran mom. I had done this twice before so it should be easy. Right? HA!  Not in the least bit! And just in case you’re wondering, yes…the tears are now rolling freely down my face! So why was it so hard the third time around? Well technically it was the third time I had dropped off one of my girls for their first day of kindergarten, but it was the first time for THIS ONE…my LAST ONE!  It was the first time that I was dropping her off to go to school or she would be away for me for so long for five days in a row!  I had done it before and I knew it was going to be okay, but I was still a little sad.

So what did I do with my new found “freedom.”  Well, I can tell you what I didn’t do… I didn’t go home for TWO WEEKS!

Every day I would drop my girls off at school and find other things to do. It just seemed too weird to go home. I spent a lot of time at Starbucks, way too much time at Target, and even began occupying an unused desk & computer at the company where my husband worked. Luckily he was part owner of the company, so I felt pretty free to come and go as I please. By the end of that second week, as I was enjoying a glamorous lunch with my husband across the street at Costco, he boldly told me, “Babe, next week you have to go home!”

I thought it was the meanest thing he had said to me in a long time.  Go home???  Well, I had drank way too much coffee, and there couldn’t possibly be anything left a Target for me to purchase. My husband encouraged me to embrace the new adventure that God had for me…The adventure of home alone. What an incredibly odd way to put it – Really? An adventure?

So…I did it!  The following Monday, the beginning of the third week of school – I. Went. Home.

I sat in my car in the driveway for a little bit, and then figured I may as well get it over with. I walked into a very quiet house and sat down on the couch and proceeded to have myself a good little cry ~ then decided to get on with my day. And then I did something I haven’t done in about 12 years… I took a nap after lunch! It. Was. Glorious!

I set my alarm so that I wouldn’t be late to pick up my sweet girls from school. And of course, I slept through the alarm. So as I was frantically getting ready, I began calling out from my little one to put her shoes on and meet me at the front door so that we could go pick up the girls from school.  She didn’t answer.  I didn’t hear any footsteps hopping down the stairs.  I looked for that child for about 10 minutes or so. Then I started panicking that I had slept so well, maybe she had gone outside without me realizing it. I looked in her room, under her bed, in her closet, and then in every other bedroom on the house! I looked outside.  I even looked in the little koi pond that we had in the back yard. I stood on the front porch calling her name.  I ran to the end of our driveway looking up and down the street calling her name. I went back in the house and started to cry, because I thought I had lost my girl.

I bet you see where this is going!

As the tears were beginning to cease, I felt the presence of the Lord as He was trying to calm me down.  I heard his voice whisper to my heart, “You haven’t lost your girl… She is one of the ones that you are going to go pick up school.”  I imagine the Lord telling me this with a smile on His face. So I grab my keys and my purse, and walked out to the car secretly hoping that none of my neighbors had just witnessed my little freak out! I did a lot of praying on the way to school to pick the girls up, and knew I would tell them the story. Of course they thought it was really funny! I said, and not for the first time, “Just wait until you have kids!” Because you know, kids love hearing that!

So now, here we are today 12 years later and instead of waving to my little one through the open door of the kindergarten classroom, my husband and I, waved goodbye as she drove herself off to the first day of her Senior year in high school…all on her own!

I have definitely learned to enjoy those days at home by myself. I haven’t always been productive as I should be, but that is a tale for another time.  But I simply wasn’t prepared for the sorrow that accompanies these stages!  I thought I cried hard after dropping off our girls to kindergarten… There was nothing like the big, ugly cry that occurred as I dropped off my first child for college away in another state! Same thing with the second one, and she is across the ocean! Every time one of my girls have left home, it has been a challenge at times, to get through my day without a wave of sadness coming over me. It just isn’t the same without everyone here, and quite frankly I don’t really like it!  Even through the sadness, I’m joyful to see how my children have grown into incredible women!!

No one really prepare you for the slight ache in your heart as you reach those milestones in your child’s life. Kind of like no one really tell you how painful labor can be…You just have to go through it yourself! The thing that gets me through the days that are harder than others, is the fact that I have basically done my job pretty darn well. My husband and I, definitely with the Lord’s help, have raised three amazing young women who are confident in who the Lord has created them to be. And they know they always have a safe place to come back to. Home.

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{Take a sweet moment here to reflect on this beautiful verse and give praise to the Lord for whatever your nest looks like today.}

I love to see how God has brought each of them into their own personal relationship with Him. I love to see them pursuing what God has for them. I never really thought about the days when they would leave home, but I don’t think were supposed to do that. We need to cherish every single day, even the one with poopy diapers, throw-up that never seems to stop, and every other moment of somewhat irritating and frustrating experiences. I’ve come to realize that those “learning opportunities” are not just for them, they are for us as the parents too.  Just as our child grows, we grow too. It is an astonishingly hard thing to take those next steps as we watch our children grow into young adults and move on with the next part of their life. But it is quite exhilarating as well!

I know that my girls’ graduation day in 10 months will come a lot faster than I want it to. But I have determined that instead of walking through this year as the “the last time that…”, I am going to view it as opportunities to allow my daughter’s accomplishments throughout the year, to shine and appreciate EVERY moment. I am going to choose to grow in my relationship with her and with the Lord, even in times that prove to be frustrating. Because I know that God will never waste any opportunity for us to go closer to Him!

And what will next year bring when she goes off to college? Or where ever God has planned for her to go? The only thing that I know for sure is there will be yet another moment of some big ole ‘proud & joyful mama ugly tears’. But that’s OK.

                                 Because as I cry those tears over my nest that seems empty,                                                                  I know God will save those tears and He will use them to water that nest.

I truly am delighted and excited to see what grows in the future for my family.

Blessings,

René

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{photo cred: Christine Guité)

The Rooms in Our Heart….

The other night I had an incredible vivid dream.  Now, this wasn’t surprising to me, because I’ve always dreamed like I’m in a movie.  Even before meeting my husband (who works in the entertainment industry) I dreamed in color, mostly in sequence, always wearing fabulous outfits, and if the dream didn’t end like I wanted it to…I’d make myself go back and finish it right!

Back to last weeks’ dream…

I was living on a beautiful piece of land, in an incredible two story home, and was surrounded by friends and family.  I determined that we were having some sort of party as there were loads of food & drinks, great decorations, and fabulous music playing.  I decided that our family must have recently moved into this new home and that we were having a “welcome to our new house” party.

Again, this did not surprise me as every time we have moved (14 in all in the past 26 years!) I have always ended up scheduling some kind of party within a month or so of moving in.  It’s something that drives my wonderful husband crazy, but he knows the method to my madness and loves me anyway!  What better way to get everything unpacked, put away, with artwork & photos hung up on the walls?  Have a party!!

So, the dream…..

Well, this home was amazing!  It was everything I’d ever wanted or dreamed of!  The party was in full swing and I was apparently taking guests on a tour through the house.  Each room was decorated perfectly and exactly how I wanted it to be.  Because we wanted to make sure this house was really “party ready” we decided to give ourselves about 6 months to get everything done.  This was finally going to be “the house” that we lived in forever!

After touring our guests through the house, I was leading them back out to the party outside to our park-like backyard.  But someone stopped me and said, “Wait….you didn’t show us what was in some of the rooms upstairs?”  I turned to them and told them I had shown them everything.  I mean, how could I live in a house for 6 months and not already know every inch of the place?

The guests insisted that I’d skipped several rooms, so off we went back upstairs so they could point out what rooms I’d missed.  I thought it was pretty funny and wondered how they could have been mistaken.

However, I’m the one who was mistaken!

The first door we opened was decorated all in shades of white (yes…there are many many shades of white!) and it simply sparkled with loads of silvery decor!  It had a gorgeous king size bed with a ton of pillows and of course was very frilly!  I could hardly believe my eyes as I took it all in.  How could I have missed this room?  I didn’t decorate it ~ how could I have when I didn’t know it had been there.  There was a lovely sitting area off to the left and there were several open windows, with the breeze flowing in and fluttering the curtains.  The incredible crystal chandelier radiated light everywhere and gave the room a lovely feel to it.  All I wanted to do was curl up on that bed and read to my heart’s content!  Just as I was truly absorbing all the beauty contained in this one room, someone else grabbed my hand and said, “This room is great, but I want you to tell me about this room.”, and they led me to another room across the hall.

I stood in front of ornately carved double doors and just started laughing.  I couldn’t help it because I knew I was about to open a door to another room that I had had no clue had been there.  But how?  We had meticulously decorated the whole house and the entire outside area for the past 6 months.  How had we missed entire rooms?

Well, I opened the double doors and discovered an incredible peaceful room.  It was done in various shades of green…not icky green or bright greens…delightful hues that begged you to walk in and make yourself comfortable.  There were deep couches and huge ottomans with trays on them filled with teapots and goodies.  There were mirrors, large windows, gauzy curtains, and the most luxurious cream colored blankets strewn across the  couches & a decadent chaise lounge in one corner.

This was getting wild!  I could hardly take it all in!  I asked my husband if he had surprised me with these rooms and he didn’t seem to be.  He just stood there smiling!  How was this possible?  I had never seen these rooms but I was completely thrilled with them!

Oh, one interesting fact of the dream was that each of the two rooms that I’ve described above, was that when I opened the doors it was as if the decor of the room was a little fuzzy.  It was then I realized that there were enormous sheets covering everything.  You know, like you see in the movies when someone has moved out of a house for a season and they cover everything up so the dust doesn’t settle into the furniture?  It was like that, and as soon as I removed the sheets, these spectacular rooms just lit up!

But there was one last room.   As I put my hand on the door knob, I just knew that this room was going to be my office.  A place where I could go to escape the noise of life and write, read, and study.  I just knew that it was going to be even better than the other two rooms.  In my excitement and anticipation, I threw the door wide open and was absolutely flabbergasted at what I saw.

It. Was. Horrible!

It was the “catch all” room of the house.  Old ratty furniture, empty bookcases, terribly dated carpet, and wallpaper that was peeling off.  The lighting was dim and the painted ceiling was dingy.  There were bags full of stuff to give away and old clothes hanging in the closet…that had lost its door at some point.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on the heavy mismatched curtains that were covering up all the windows!  I was so sad and disappointed.  I figured that this last “surprise” room would be the best one…one made just for me!  I remember feeling heartbroken in my dream.  Then I began to feel upset and confused.  Why would this room be so awful and unattended to.

UGH!  I even tried going back through the rooms (in my dream) to see if I found something different, and each time it was the same.  I awoke in the morning feeling a bit discontented.

A few hours later, I texted my daughter who lives in another state, and asked her what she thought of this dream.  She has studied biblical dream interpretation a bit and gave me some basics to start with.  I’ve also looked up a few online references for biblical interpretation, and it’s all pretty revealing!  So often God uses dreams to show us who He is or what He is calling us to do.

When you dream of ‘rooms’ this is God’s way of telling you that there are parts of your heart that are possibly not fully open to Him; or maybe areas of your life that God is wanting you to enter into but haven’t opened the door.  Rooms can also symbolize ~ intimacy; rest; privacy; peace; or covenant.  Oh, and a house represents a person, family; ministry; or church…and a two story house reveals a double anointing!  Windows was another big part of each of the rooms in my dream as well and they allude to ~ vision; letting light in, spiritual sight, and opportunity.

As for the colors, here are what the colors (in the beautiful rooms) mean: White ~ righteousness, holiness; Silver ~ redemption, grace ; and Green ~ growth, prosperity, conscious.

In the unfinished room, since it felt very negative in there when I entered, these colors are represented this way: Brown ~ compromise, humanism; Yellows ~ fear, cowards, intellectual pride; and Gray ~ weakness.

So as I have laid all this out and studied it this past week, I realize with great humility what God is trying to teach me.  Oh, and I never actually saw my husband in my dream or even the faces of the guests at the party.  But I was comfortable with all of them.  Sometimes in your dream a reference to “husband” can be a representation of God; as He is the ultimate head of household in our life.

Through this incredible adventure of a dream, I believe that God was showing me that what I think has been veiled is really ready and waiting for me to discover and it is perfect!  It is perfect because HE is the one who put it all together. I won’t have to do a thing except enjoy the blessings that He has for me.  The Lord has a life ahead of me full of growth, grace and a desire to live my life rightly before Him.  As exciting as those two rooms were for me to explore, “my room” that I opened had to be explored as well.

Through that ugly room, I believe God is showing me that there are parts of my life that are full of compromise, weakness, and fear.  And I know exactly what He’s talking about.  I know exactly what areas He is showing me.  And although I was feeling judged and discouraged, the Lord reminded me that my dream really did have a happy ending.  The last time I had “gone back” to that room in my dream, I remember turning and asking the guests who had been standing in the hallway (probably afraid to enter!) to come in and help me.  As these helpers came in, I remember feeling more encouraged and determined to make this room as special and inviting as the other rooms were.  With their help, I began to see the possibilities of what this room could look and feel like.  I began to get a picture of what could be accomplished in this room ~ but I couldn’t do it on my own.  It was a difficult yet soothing realization.

I believe that God has a double blessing of some kind for me and that He wants to shower me in the light of His love.  He wants me to turn to my ‘helpers’, which I believe represents the Holy Spirit, to show me what path to take to “get my room in order.”  God is revealing so much to me even now as I write this and it is almost too much for my heart to take!

Through all that I’ve learned, I hope that you can take something away today to apply to your own life.

Be encouraged to look at the rooms of your heart and see what God wants you to do with them.  Are there rooms that He has readied for you that you just haven’t discovered yet?  Are there rooms that you blindly walked past without noticing there was a door to be opened?  Is there a room that is in desperate need of your attention ~ one that you have kept locked up for so long you don’t know where to start with the clean up?  And the beauty of it all, we don’t have to clean up alone.

We are called into fellowship with each other, and with the Lord God!

Hebrews 10:19-25 says, Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

My prayer for you today ~ build your house on the foundation of God’s Truth; keep all the doors open to His love, direction, and correction; and open the windows to feel the warmth of His grace flow over your life!

Blessings,

René

1 Kings 8 verse 61

 

Bootstraps break…

We’ve all probably heard the familiar phrase, “Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” ~ or at least something like it.  Maybe you’ve said it to you someone, or you’ve had it said back to you.  It’s phrase that is supposed to muster up courage and admiration, whether in yourself or in someone else.  But does it really?

Have you ever put on cowboy boots?  They have those looped straps on the outside of each boot, so they do serve a purpose.  When those cowboys are out on the range all by themselves, they needed something to help them get their boots on…and the cows couldn’t help out!  And really….could you see a couple of cowboys helping each other put on their boots.  Hahaha!!  Those bootstraps fulfilled a purpose; and fairly quickly became a “self help” slogan.  No where in the Bible does God teach us to do anything on our own.  Even the Lord Jesus taught us that it is important to partner with each other, and more importantly, partner with the God of the Universe!

In John 7:16-18, Jesus shares these wise words,So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

Again, although this phrase is meant to be a compliment/encouragement, there are some hidden dangers you’ll encounter when you try and pull yourself up by those hypothetical bootstraps.

One of the first dangers that come to mind is pride.  The infamous verse in Proverbs (16:18) is known by most people, Christian or not ~ “pride goeth before the fall.”  When we have an attitude of pride, we cannot always see clearly the circumstances that require us to pull up said bootstraps.  We’re so busy looking down, struggling to get our feet to go where we want to go, that we will miss the path that God has for us.

Look at Jesus’ words in John 5:30-31, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.” He was Jesus!  The Son of God!  The Messiah!  The Savior of the world!  And even He knew that He could not do anything on His own…He had to commit His ways to the Father God.

John 5 verse 30 and 31

The only thing that you could even remotely say that Jesus did on his own, was His death on the cross.  However, in this action, He was given full authority and ownership to lay down His life for our sins.  Jesus, the Son of God, knew what the outcome would be and He went willingly; Jesus, the Son of Man, knew what the outcome would be but needed a charge from His heavenly Father to complete the task.

See here in John 10:17-18 the simple beauty of obedience alongside serving the Father,For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

When we believe the lies of the world, tv media, social media, and let’s face it…our own thoughts sometimes…and strike out purely on our own to accomplish something, we are not walking in the truth of God’s word.

But what if that thing, that task, whatever it is that we “pulled up our bootstraps on our own” goes amazing well?!  What then?!  My friends, these are the moments that satan uses to blind us to our need for fellowship and obedience to the Father.  We start believing the lie that we don’t need God and maybe, we don’t need anyone else.  This kind of thinking is cute when it’s a toddler saying, “I do it myself.”, but it is not cute the older we get.  As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, we are learning to lean on Him and others more and more!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help!

Yep…you heard me right!  Sure, there are plenty of things we can do on our own ~ seeing to our basic needs, driving a car, paying bills, laundry, cooking, etc.  But even in those things, there will come a time in our life where we will need help with those basic tasks as well.

To give you some encouragement to ask for help (from others and from the Lord!) let the kindness of these verses wash over your tired soul ~ from John 15:12-14, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

The more you continue to pull up on those bootstraps of yours, with your own strength and determination, the more you will wear them out ~ and they will break.  Trust me ~ you don’t want to be out all alone on the prairie of life somewhere with broken bootstraps.  Oh how much the Lord will welcome you into His arms, when you come to Him asking for direction in your life…and He will fix those broken bootstraps of yours as well!

Psalm 37:23-24, A man’s steps are established by the Lord,
and He takes pleasure in his way.  Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand.”

Blessings,

René

Psalm 37 verse 23 and 24