For the past 2 weeks I have been in Orange Beach, Alabama. First, with my hubby and then with my daughter and her friend. They are on Spring Break and have chosen to spend it here with me, which makes this Momma very happy!
I've overheard them talking about different people they know Instagraming their college break in typical spring break fashion. Partying somewhere further south. We talked about how that sounds fun for about 2 days, and then the fun is over when you're sunburnt and have a constant hangover. Some might not agree, but I was glad to hear that was how they felt. I told them I was proud of their maturity in making the decision to come here, relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the sun here with me. They were like, “Sure Mom, and it was free.” Alright, I get it. Whatever the reason, I'm glad they are here. I did spring break back in the day (way back) and I am super grateful I am not worrying about my girl out there!
Seriously though, I have so enjoyed their company. We pretty much had a routine of sleep (they slept in way longer than me), workout at some point in the morning (I’m usually done before they get up), beach (I make the sandwiches), go out and do something at night, watch some Netflix and repeat. It was heaven. I like wearing my Mom hat and taking care of them, even though they were very undemanding and didn't really need it. After all, they are in their 20’s, but I still couldn't stop myself from telling them to put on more sunscreen. Once a Mom, always a Mom!
By the time you read this, I will most likely be traveling home and that's ok. I miss my peeps, especially my husband. We also get to have our grandson most of next week, while our son and daughter-in-law enjoy the south with their friends. Nothing like making up for lost time with my favorite guys! Talk about an about-face!
I always look forward to going home, though, no matter how beautiful it is here. I hate winter and it does get easier to head north when I know spring is around the corner. I always look forward to catching up with those I love too. My oldest daughter hit the 21 week mark in her pregnancy last week and I can’t wait to see and touch (I’m allowed, I’m the Mom) the growing baby bump!
While we were here, I had the usual pleasure of going to the Florabama bar for church. I loved taking the girls for the first time, as it is always quite an eye opening experience. The music was great and Pastor Dan's sermon was spot on for the topic that had been on my mind to write about.
His topic was Find the Awesome in the Awful, based on Psalm 103. Lately, my thoughts seem to be the other way around. I keep trying to find the Awful in the Awesome! Aka Guilt!
Why do I feel guilty when things are going so well? I need to start talking to myself. I am constantly telling others, guilt is a useless emotion and I need to remember that. I know a few people that are going through some hard stuff right now. I am in smooth sailing mode right now and the guilt in that, wants me to make it messy.
Why do we do that to ourselves? My biggest dilemma for the last week has been to use SPF 15 or 30 and where to go out to eat at night! Why does that make me feel guilty? Last week, I kept feeling overtaken by an urgency to get home and deal with some problems. The problem is, I don't have any big ones right now! Why is that a problem? Do you see where this is going? I had to keep lecturing myself into right thinking. A little AA trick that comes in useful.
When we left church, my daughter, her friend and I talked about a few trivial things that were awful that day and what we could find awesome in it. We came up with a few examples I think I had better keep to myself. They were laughable and not that serious. Definitely not awful, unless you want to call a sun rash “awful.”
I reflected on what Pastor Dan said that morning about finding the awesome in the awful or finding the blessing in the mess. How the problem is not the challenge, it is our attitude about the problem or challenge. A light bulb went off as I listened and realized what I had been doing.
Because I'm in a sweet spot right now, I find myself looking for a little messiness in the blessings. I do have a few situations on my mind right now, but nothing I can’t handle as long as I keep my attitude in check and stay close to God. So why do I try to make them bigger than what they are? Again, guilt.
People I love are going through challenges way bigger than mine. I know God doesn't intend for me to take that on as guilt. I need to not take on a negative that gets in the way of staying in constant prayer for these things. If you think about it, I could feel guilty for having food, water, shelter, clothes, shoes (ok, shoe guilt is probably justified.) I have so much when others have so little. I have to just accept the blessing and not make it a mess.
I have had my share of messes while others close to me seemed to be sailing along in calm waters. That’s just life and I'm sure my turn will come around again. So, instead, I should be grateful! The pastor talked about making a gratitude list and I had the gall to tick off in my mind that I was good and I should save that idea for the hard days to come. Like I said, those days will come around again. Ridiculous! That gratitude list keeps my foundation firm for when things do get hard.
My current gratitude list (not in any particular order, except for the first two; those never change):
God's unconditional love, presence, and direction
My family and those two new grand babies on the way
This beautiful place in the sun, my home away from home
Friends - both old and new
My body and what it can do, especially when I am riding along the shore on my bike or walking the beach
That I have never had anything to drink here and tarnished this beautiful place
Seeing the power of prayer revealed in a situation in a friend
I could go on and on! When I read that list, I see those are all God's richest blessings just for me. Who am I to look for the negative in any of them? I’m going to pick one of them for example, that last one. Seeing the power of prayer revealed in a situation. I’ve seen God answer prayers for people I love two days in a row! I am in awe of that!
So often we know that prayers are answered somehow, just maybe not exactly like we prayed. This was so evident here! God's hand was clearly directing the whole situation. He clearly knows what he is doing and it’s not up to me to try to figure his next move, ever. I need to trust in the sun (son) and in the storms. Lately it’s been in the sun and if it clouds up, I’ll be okay. My foundation is on dry ground.
Blessings on your weekend,
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain
But if that what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain