The Whisper Within

" Believing that God powers strange coincidences and the journey that lies ahead."


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Disclaimer: the blog is longer but like the  Chicago Cubs winning the World Series at the bottom of the tenth inning ,this blog ( hopefully ) will not disappoint . Pull up a chair, pour your favorite beverage, and get ready to enjoy the extra innings.

I am analytical to a fault. I guess it is habit of my day job being a Certified Financial Planner®. I love to crunch numbers and thrive on spread sheets. I have been called endearingly “Mrs. Right Now” – Yes, I like to “ get it done” and check the box but as a planner I have learned sometimes the plan changes without your permission, as did my own plan.

How so?

Here’s the quick “After the Game” recap for those of you who were not an active viewer of all my strike outs and losing seasons.

Fifteen years ago, I went through a divorce, months after, the father of my children became a paraplegic, I struggled financially raising my two little kids as a single mom, was sued by his second wife for his accident, survived a home robbery, and now have been battling Lyme disease for the last few years. It was not the easy pitch I wanted.

Like a suffering Cub’s fan, I would quip, “Well, there is always next year.”

cubs

As I waited for my winning season to begin, I dug deep, played hard, and trusted that someday God would grant me a victory.

I had my sights on always winning my ” World Series” and to not settle for ordinary.

Six years ago, Pastor Hudak, my Chicago pastor, when I was advising him on his pending retirement said, “ How long ago was John’s accident?”

I rolled my eyes, “Nine years ago.”

“How have you stayed single, Lisa? You really are spectacular.”

Biting my bottom lip to fight back the tears I said, “It hasn’t been easy. I think God has forgotten me.”

Putting his hand over my shaking hand, he said, “Oh, Lisa. He hasn’t forgotten you. He has big plans for you. Your husband is not here. He  is where you are going to be. “

Shaking my head , I asked,“Where am I am going?”

With a comforting smile he said, “You love to run on the beach. I think you are moving to the beach someday. He’s not here. He’s there. It’s coming.”

Well today, like for the Cubs, is a HUGE day. Tonight, the Cubs are headed to the playoffs after winning the World Series last year and I am getting ready to wave my W banner too.

Why?

About two years, I jumped from Chicago to California. And like the Cubs, just making it to the playoffs, this was HUGE. But my dream was to live near the beach and win my own  “World Series”.

For the last six months, I spent most weekends looking for a home by the beach to call mine.

The season seemed so long. I would lose securing a contract to buy, one house after another even when my stats were good. I bid over market. I would throw in a letter of “pick me” hoping a bunt would advance me across home plate. Sometimes even God intervened. When I was the only team playing or bidding on a house, he would give me information, to back out of the batter’s box.

God did not allow me to wave my W flag but taught me patience instead. He loved building the excitement through defeat. Running the bases to be tagged out as I slid into home plate was not the fun I signed up for but I learned to dust of the dirt, wrap up my scrapes and wait for the right pitch or house.

What if the Cubs swept the Indians in the World Series? It would not have been as much fun. Instead God allowed the heavens to open up, come pouring down, and create a rain delay. Why? Because he loves the dramatic.

And boy, I have had enough drama to fill a good series.

So today, the Cub’s playoffs begin and through my numerous “a swing and a miss” times a bat, today I am crossing home plate. When God moves; he moves…. And quickly. It wasn’t long after the rain delay in Cleveland that Cubs became World Series Champs. And the same for me.

Yes, I am realizing my dream. I am moving to the beach and as some call it, “Santa Barbara, heaven on earth.”

So maybe my pastor was right. My husband wasn’t there… but maybe he is here. It’s coming.

Doing a walk-through of my house, my real estate agent quipped, “Lisa, there are two sinks in the master bathroom…. Maybe he is coming.”

With a giggle I replied, “Great. I’ll just spit in one and keep the other warm for him.”

The Cubs waited one hundred and six years to win the World Series. I have waited fifteen so what’s another season?

Time to quit checking boxes, be patient, and wait for God to orchestrate the surprise in His dramatic fashion.

Hebrews 12:1 “Let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.”

Whatever your current situation … kick back, pour yourself a cold one, and enjoy your view.    Trust that God’s timing is always perfect. Go Cubbies!santa barbara

 

 

 

 

 


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As you head into your work week, can you be like Polly and accept the easy cracker?

I used to love the sweet taste of ice cream but lately salt is what my body craves.  As I dove in the salt water pool today, I caught a mouthful of salt in my mouth that awoke my senses.

After a few laps, my memory recalled another sweet or should I say, salty memory.

I was not in a pool swimming laps but walking laps at “Home of the Hornets”, that’s right my old high school alma mateur, Hindsdale South, with my friend , Mary Flanagan.

Let me take you back to July.

As Mary and I walked around the hurdles of the track field, reminiscing about classes and crushes, we passed by some young boys who just finished soccer practice. One sweaty boy, called out to us, “Hey, would you like a Saltine?” Mary and I stopped in our track.

I blurted out with a side smirk, “What? Is it laced with something?”

The lean athlete responded, “Come on. I’m eating it.”

The optimism of his youth lured me in or maybe with each step towards him I was losing some of my cynicism and willing to become like him, open and carefree

Mary and I walked over and each took a cracker.

We chomped on our Saltine, almost spitting as we laughed and we walked away.

I felt like I was sixteen again, wearing my cheerleading skirt and cheering for the big game. Life was easy at sixteen. It still can be …cheerleading

Career, relationships and life should be that easy or do they feel like you are running the hurdles?

Funny, in high school I was more individual participant; long jump and gymnastics were my events; but maybe high school was preparing me to be an entrepreneur. I excelled when I don’t have to rely on the performance of others.

Ask yourself where do you excel?

Is your best event a relay race? Do you excel jumping hurdles and the difficult course? Or is your race more like the fifty-yard dash to accept the easy cracker as a reward at the end of the race?

At sixteen, I was probably more the sweet girl but this week, I realized being a little salty is a good thing. Or maybe I am like my favorite ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate, the perfect combo of sweet and salty.

But maybe I don’t have to be salty or sweet. Maybe through a sixteen-year-old boy offering me a cracker, I can learn to accept the easy.

There may be hurdles in life but be willing to walk around them otherwise trying to jump over the hurdles you may end up with road rash.

This week, can you accept the easy cracker that God is offering or whispering to you? Honor your saltiness.

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.square-crackers1-640x480


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kayak

It is 2 am and I am awoken to my t-shirt soaked like I just jumped in  a pool. (Guess my swimming dream was my wet reality) . This “herxing effect” hopefully is sweating out the toxins and drowning my Lyme disease “bug” in the process. I grab the spare t-shirt and my phone off of the night stand. In hopes to coax myself back to sleep, I peruse Twitter. One of my “friends” retweeted a tweet from a Glennon Doyle. I am not that familiar with her so I click on the link that expands her quote.

“From an early age, we are conditioned to ignore the voice within when considering who we are and what our goals are, and instead to look outward—to our family, friends, church, community, and even our critics. In a million different ways we ask them: What should I want? What should I be? And the more our inner whispers fade from disuse….”

The words voice within & whisper jump off the page and lit up my screen and my brain. (How could it not, when my blog is called the whisper within?) I acknowledge Ms. Doyle’s voice so I continue to read her post.

“…In my latest column for @oprahmagazine, I share my coin-toss strategy — a tool we can use to trick our inner voice into screaming until we can hear her whispering.”

Reading her words, I am back in the deep-end of the pool, drowning in sadness. Why do we need” to trick our inner voice into screaming until we can hear her whispering?”

I am not challenging her words. Maybe they are true but I am asking,” Is that how most women feel? Is that why she has a loyal following of seekers?

I sit up in my soaked sheets and questions spin in my brain like the ceiling fan above. “Maybe it is me? Maybe I was born without the typical “girl” approval -seeking gene? Maybe I am a product of my father, a stoic German, who never allowed for a beer stein to be raised for an Oktoberfest “pity party”? But maybe I am the result of the last fifteen years when I became divorced, financially broke, and my ex became a paraplegic. I learned very quickly when I was caught in the racing rapids of my life there was no time for indecision.   I had to reach for that life- jacket (and fast) or be drowned plunging over the waterfall.

My memory blurs like the ceiling fan blades, as I recall all the potential boulders in my river; divorce, ex a paraplegic, being broke as a single mom with two little kids to raise , a lawsuit from my ex’s wife, for his snowmobile accident, a home robbery, and now Lyme disease.

I let my head sink back into the mushy pillow in surrender. And then it hits me, “The key is surrender. You need to armor yourself with a life jacket.”

I look down at the phone and read Ms. Doyle’s last words, I use it to ask myself what I want instead of asking the world what it wants from me. It helps me forget about being perfect and focus instead on being free.”

This is where I disagree. I do not ask what I want or  what the world wants from me but what does God want for me?

That’s right, I have learned to surrender that someone had all my twists and turns of my kayak figured out. God. He did not allow my kayak to tip. When I went to Him, he jumped in , gave me an extra paddle to navigate and His life- jacket as protection. And he still does.

“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you.” James 1: 4

No need to trick our inner voice. No need for a coin toss .  And no need to kayak alone. All you need to do is be brave enough to get in the water , seek God in all you do and he will gladly whisper to you.

“Tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it” Psalm 119: 13

P.S. This came in HUGE this week as I asked God, “If you don’t want this, take my kayak out of the water.”… And he did.  ” He leads me besides the quiet streams… ” Psalm 23:1

 


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tri

I consider myself a fierce competitor personally and professionally. I am athlete that would rather hobble to the finish line than quit.

In my triathlon days, my performance was eighty percent training and twenty percent affected by outside factors; rain, heat, wind, and sometimes potholes.

I have learned that outside factors are out of my control and can affect work, projects, and even love. This past week I faced resistance in several areas of my life. It was like I was competing in a triathlon. I finished the swim course with ease but as I jumped on my bike I encountered a pot hole and then a flat tire. In one situation, I was accused of using my “flowery disposition and “spirituality” to my advantage.

Wow, naïve of me to assume that kindness and a willingness to serve would be a disadvantage and  attempt to kick me back to the start line.

I jumped off my bike, threw it over to the side and decided to run to the next course – the next event. Even though I am solid solo competitor, this was not an individual race but more a relay race requiring team participation. Yes, a group project and unfortunately I had an unwilling team member. The finish line kept being moved. It was time to stop at the water station and take a break.

Maybe it was time to quit asking. Quit knocking. Maybe God was allowing the resistance. Maybe God was telling me that I was taking on too many projects.

I have always said, “If the road you are on is filled with potholes, it is God’s way of saying the path under construction. Do not remove the orange cones and road blocks. God will direct you to a smoother path. You just have to be prepared to take his detour.”

Maybe the answer was no because God was clearing the potholes and leading me to a easier course.

Psalm 27:4 “I will wait on the Lord.”

In work, are you frustrated? Without purpose? Are you in the right job? Best work environment? Or does something else garnish your talents?

In projects, are you facing resistance? Is something not going smoothly?

In love, is the relationship not connecting? Is it too much work? Are values not aligned?

We live in an imperfect world but God’s timing is perfect.

God has changed me over time. I no longer run instead I walk or hike. I can’t bike since I am used to flat Chicago streets, not a hilly California course. Throw me in the pool – there I will swim like a dolphin.

In work, projects, but especially love, find your joy. Allow the easy. Know when to stop for water, change the course, or stop the race all together. Not every finish line needs to be crossed.

What is God telling you? Wait on the Lord and he will whisper to you.

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