Wading the storms of Life...together in word.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I had a conversation with my sister last night that is resonating with me still.  As I read this blog entitled “Justified Journey”, pictures of seashores, tall trees, fine china, beautiful tulips and vintage antiques welcome me to the page.  The thought crosses my mind that maybe what I stated to my sister was not entirely true.

My dream for so long has been to move to North Carolina, to live on the coast with a direct view of the ocean.  I have pictured it and desired it in my mind the last 17 years of my life.  I don’t know what pulls me to that idea.  I have had it in my mind that moving there is just the answer for me.  Location is never the answer though, not really, not in exclusion to what matters most like those we love and the ability to spend time with them. 

In the last week as I have thought about the possibility of it becoming a reality, I have also thought that maybe I don’t want it any longer, maybe.  Yes living in the warmer climate with the feel of ocean air and beautiful sun sets does sound tantalizing, the idea of going there alone and without my family has become enough of a reason not to.

It is not that I am not independent enough. No, I have lived with more than enough of that trait my whole life.  It is just that I have come to really appreciate my sister, her boys, and the closeness I have to my mother and other family that the thought of not being able to see them just whenever holds me back.  Their presence in my life is not something that I take lightly. It has been the most enjoyable thing in my life until now.

But…How do you avoid the very thing that calls to you out of the desire to remain safely where you are?  As life changes and people change, our circumstances never stay the same.  I really believe that there are opportunities in our lives that we are undoubtedly meant to take.  Getting married, falling in love, and having a baby are good examples of some.  All of these change your life and your future.  They change your situation and alter the place that you are coming from, but with them they bring new life and new joys.

Can we really afford to sit and cling to those things that make us happy and at peace now?  Do we need to faithfully and trustfully let go of all that we have and are, trusting in what God has for us in our tomorrow?

Maybe this long awaited desire of mine was placed here for a purpose, a reason.  Maybe it is exactly the wind I need beneath my wings to do exactly what it is I need to do.

Laura Menefee

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Unbalance of Life and Love

The rain is coming down hard today.  It has been coming down hard for days now. People in Texas have dealt with fires praying for rain while the upper east coast is pelted with it.  Where is the balance in it all?

This rain is actually soothing to this aching heart of mine though.  Just like the unbalance of rain reserved, I question the unbalance of love in life for me.  While some seem to be saturated with love, romance, and relationships, I feel like the drought stricken Texas burning and being destroyed. 

I cry out to God.  “When will it be my turn, Lord?”  Why do you keep with holding this from me?  Have I displeased you in some way?  Is there something that I need to learn that I seem to keep failing to understand?  Why must EVERYONE around me celebrate the loves of their lives, new marriages and new babies while I sit here wishing I had done things differently?

I shouldn’t regret my choices.  They were noble ones that you wanted me to make.  Even when I had a difficult time standing in them, you gave me the grace to make it through and you protected me.  So, why now do I feel like I really missed out by waiting?  Why do I feel like I could have been “enjoying” life had I not chose this path rather sitting here lonely and not appreciated for it?

Lord, give me the strength to go on.  If this really is your will, give me the strength to continue but also to have the faith and assurance that even in my desperate isolation there is reason and a purpose that is worth the wait.  Please Lord Jesus, show me.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Silence yourself.  Be still and listen.

A fear sweeps over me leaving me trembling. I don’t like this feeling. I want to get up. I want to move. I want to change it. My nervousness comes in the form of not trusting.

Trust is not easy.  True trust never is.  Like the team building exercise, where you come to a place in your mind & let it all go – all your fears, all your concerns, any inhibition and just relax and fall back clinging to the belief that you WILL be caught.
That it will all be all right and you won’t be hurt.

I sit here, not running and trying to change “it” but not fully knowing either.  I wish I was at a place where I have let it all go. I wish I was resting fully in the truth that it REALLY WILL be alright and He has it all under control.  How exactly do I get there?  How do I get my mind to go that extra distance of truly trusting so that my body will stop trembling?  Maybe if I just sit here a little longer….

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Man in the Market

The Man in the Market
I saw a man just now that I knew years ago at a job I had.  I thought it was him but since I wasn’t sure, I didn’t say anything.  He looked at me with a familiar smile as if to say “Oh, hey! It is good to see you.” But he walked out the door leaving me to ask my questions to the clerk that new him. 

My memories of this man are sweet.  He was a precious man with a good heart and I was reminded of that in this brief passing.  He at one time stood in my booth and as tears rolled down his face said, “I have done too much. I am too bad.  God could never forgive someone like me.”

Those words break my heart even now in repeating them.  God can and does forgive. He LOVES to forgive! That is why he says 70 times 7 in his instructions to how many times we should forgive, which if you didn’t know actually means continuously.  What I wish I could have expressed that day to this man is how amazingly BIG God is and that his sins have already been paid.  All he needed to do was accept it.

It is easy even as a believer to get caught up in the lies of “you are not good enough”; “God does not love you”; or “you’ll never be accepted let alone loved.”  But they are just that – LIES!  God does love you, and He is more than big enough to take on whatever you have done.  In fact He already has.  All you have to do is accept Him and without a doubt you will begin to love him in a way that you never knew.

I pray that this man’s life was changed.  I pray that somewhere between our conversation and tonight he found life and found it abundantly!  Who knows maybe that was the real reason behind the smile he gave as he walked away.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Making Things Right

Yesterday someone shared with me a whole new way of looking at Acts 3.  This is a passage that has recently been on my heart heavily.  It talks about Paul’s second mission journey.  On the first journey, Paul went with Barnabas.  On the second journey Barnabas wanted to take John Mark.  John Mark originally was intended to travel with Paul and Barnabas but ended up having to go back home to take care of family issues.  So when Barnabas wanted him to join them, I think Paul was concerned about his commitment and he did not want him to go.  The two ended up fighting about it and in the end Barnabas went in one direction with John Mark and Paul went another direction with Silas.

For me, I saw the fact that this happened to end up being a good thing because twice as much ground was covered in spreading the gospel.  However, when it was brought up yesterday a point was made that I never once thought of let alone considered.  He said “what happened after Barnabas and John went their own way?”

He made the point that nothing else is heard of them.  There are not books in the bible that Barnabas or John Mark write.  His thought was that when the two angrily went their own way, they began acting in their flesh and not in the spirit.  The fact that scripture follows Paul and doesn’t include the travels of Barnabas and John gave him the impression that the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) was not with them.

I never thought of it that way. It was profound to hear it and to me it really sounded like a new truth that just hadn’t surfaced yet.  But that changes the story completely.  This would mean that it wasn’t good that this happened and that what God really wanted to take place was hindered by pride and harsh feelings.

So how do I apply this new truth in my own life?  If I am John Mark or Barnabas in this story, how do I get right with God and back to where I need to be?  If I am Paul or Silas how do I lovingly pray for my brother in Christ, John Mark and Barnabas?  When you have gone your own way angrily or in pride, how do you go to God and make things right?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Little Man and Me

The Little Man and Me

            I woke this morning to a beautiful little man in my bed. He made me smile.  I woke up saying “hello” and “good morning”.  “Did you sleep well?”  Don’t go getting the wrong ideas.  My little man is my 5 year old nephew.  He has spent the night with me several times in the past.  He usually comes on Saturday nights so that he can go to church with me the next morning.  I have so come to cherish that time with him.

            When he is here, clothes are thrown in the floor, shoes are laid wherever and food crumbs definitely find their way to the floor.  My order and peace is briefly interrupted by his sweet little presence.  I say this because for such a long time it was nice to spend time with my nephews and then give them back. I could enjoy their time with me for just long enough and then go right back to the lovely presence of my solitude.  The last few months though my thoughts have been changing.  I have desired more and more to give that time away.  Not because I don’t cherish it or want it, but because there is something more valuable on the other side. 
 Waking up this morning like any other morning, my first thought was to pray and to write.  I can’t wait to get to my blank page.  I always feared that loosing my “alone time” would prevent activities like that.  Since I depend so heavily on them that has scared me.  But, my little man sits completely entertained watching a cute little movie and even in the midst of not being alone, I find myself being able to do the very things that I always would have.  Only now I have him here to share it all with.   

Friday, April 15, 2011

Life on A Leash..Part Two

Life On a Leash
Part Two

One other thing that stood out to me as I spent this time with my sister’s dog was a trick that she had begun to teach her.  Abby is a mix between a Rottweiler and a Labrador retriever.  She is definitely a huge dog but she is also hyper and very loving.   Michele is teaching Abby to restrain her desires by waiting for the go ahead.  The whole purpose Michele says is to train Abby to realize who is providing the treat to start with.  She takes out an animal cracker, holds it in her hand right in front of Abby and says “leave it”.  Abby gets a little frustrated at first wanting to quickly grab the treat right in front of her but just when Abby stops and waits, turning her head to the side Michele gives her the treat.  She said that eventually you can put the treat on the tip of her nose and say “leave it” and she will not eat it until you give the go ahead.  I will be so amazed when I see Abby get to that point.  The reality though is that she may not ever.  Most of us in our lives don’t ever get to that point either.  We think we have found the gift.  We think we have accomplished the great task or attained it ourselves because we don’t wait in faith and trust to hear the go ahead.  We go after what we want, pursuing it with all the energy within us. We fail to see the hand of the one who provided it.

I know if my life, God is “training” me to know his commands and seek him first.  He withholds things I want and that are right in front of me for his purposes and glory.  He is saying to me, “Laura, this is something that I am giving you and providing for you.  When you are ready to acknowledge that and acknowledge that my go ahead is what you need, then you can have it.”

Do you wonder, “where is the independence and freedom in that?”  The answer is this, when you look at a well trained athlete, you see what they are capable of.  You see there strength, their ability and the beauty of who they are. You don’t always see the image of all they went through to get there. It took this same type of discipline and lack of “freedom” to develop the strengths that allow them to perform and succeed.  Our lives are no different.  God doesn’t desire to control us and put us under his thumb any more than I want to control Abby or be mean to her.  I enjoy my time with her, but our walks have a purpose, like my walk with God.  I desire with my whole heart to be powerful and effective for Him.  I need for Him to be able to make a difference in me, and through me.  Learning to feel his restraint and listen for his “go ahead” is crucial for me to get to that place.  Abby has helped me see that. 

Lessons learned and written by:
Laura D. Menefee

Life on a Leash...Part One

Life On a Leash
Part One

It is funny how certain things in life work as miniature sermons to tell you more descriptively what God is wanting you and needing you to know.  I recently had a pastor that would say, “there is a sermon in there somewhere.”  I miss hearing L.D. speak.  He is so right.  There is almost always a sermon in there somewhere. 

Last night as I walked my sister’s dog, one of my newly favorite pastimes, several “sermons” were coming to mind.  Abby is a beautiful dog, a huge dog, but a beautiful dog.  When Michele first got her, I thought it was such a bad idea.  She already had a wonderful dog.  Deana was an unusually coated German Shephard with a great personality and very well trained.  Michele was pregnant at the time, in a fairly new marriage with two other boys both still young.  The last thing she needed was to add to the fury of it all with a puppy!  She didn’t see it that way.  She was overcome with the desire to take on this one extra challenge and make her life that much more complicated.

If any of you have ever seen the movie “Marley and Me”, you can relate to the madness that Abby brought into our lives with her.  She is a very loving dog.  She has to have your affection and attention.  She apparently can’t live without it because she constantly strives for it.  That is why for so long I couldn’t even stand her.  “Get away Abby!”

“Ah, that stupid dog.  Doesn’t she know when to stop?”  I hurt my sister’s feelings every time I talked about her cherished animal.  She would quietly take Abby into the other room and close the door so that I was not annoyed and we could go on with our conversation not being interrupted.  I feel bad about that now.  At the time, it was Abby’s fault.  She was the one that constantly got under feet, didn’t know when to stop, and was loud and rude and interrupting, not knowing her place.

When I got to a place in life where I really needed to walk and run but no one was available, my sister said “why don’t you take Abby?”  She could use the walks and she will be good company for you.  I was very hesitant at first.  Was this really a good idea?  I had walked some with friend’s dogs though and it was nice to have a dog because you had company but you didn’t have to talk.  You could still walk and pray as I liked to do. I decided to give it a try. 

Well, that was probably two or more years ago.  Granted I am not the best at being consistent with walking her.   Things always get in the way, and it really is more about me wanting to walk or run than it is to take her for her daily walk.  It is in these walks though that I have fallen in love with this loud obnoxious dog.  I see what my sister always said.  “She can’t help it, Laura.  She is just so excited to see you.”

When I go over there she gets so excited to see me.  Even when I don’t even pick up the leash, and all I do is sit to talk she is right there with me loving on me, being near me and appreciating me.  This dog that I once couldn’t stand has become this great gift to me.  What is best as a dog owner, as if I were one, is when you are busy doing your thing and don’t necessarily have time to give them but they just so desperately want to be near you that they come and plop in a spot right near you.  They desire to be where you are.  That is how I think life with God is.  Sometimes, not that He doesn’t have the time but because giving to us isn’t His constant desire, sometimes our relationship with Him is about curling up next to Him and just enjoy being there, right in the presence of our loving and gracious God. 

The last few times I have walked Abby, my greatest desire has been to get her to be “slow”.  She really wants to obey and when she knows she needs to, she will.  But her enthusiasm and excitement can lead to a heck of a lot of trouble.  She is like a beast on a chain that no one can tame.  She runs fast and hard pulling me behind her like a kite tied to her tail.  This untamed excitement works when I need the motivation to run, but when she is needing to follow my lead, her focus is already completely lost to even hear what I am saying.  I’m not really good at training dogs. I really don’t know how.  I am about to start to learn but in the mean time what I have done is any time she runs like the wind dragging me behind her, I stop.  I call her. And a lot of times I call her to sit.  She needs to know and learn my authority and that has helped but she still doesn’t get that when she is free to go that doesn’t mean run wild.  

As I struggled with Abby getting frustrated at times that she was being out of control, I thought of all the times in my life that I was out of control and I didn’t listen to what I knew was best, I just ran for what I wanted.  I haphazardly and recklessly bolted for whatever it was.  Then, suddenly some how, in my life I would feel this strong and sudden “tug” to stop or slow me down.  God was abruptly getting my attention.  He was right there with me all along. My Lord and I where out on our walk of life together. 

I don’t want to be like Abby in my spiritual life. I don’t want to get overly excited about something I am doing or wanting and run recklessly out of control until something painful happens.  I want to be in sync with the Father.  I want to know and appreciate his   presence.  I want to be right there following his lead.

My walks with Abby would be so much more productive and healthy if she followed my lead.  Her desire to run would still motivate me to run when I wasn’t really feeling it, and so much energy wouldn’t be wasted on the struggle.  That energy would be harnessed to provide distance and productivity.  That is what I want with Abby.  That is what I desire to see us achieve.  That is also what I desire to see with my relationship with God though too.  I want to get to that place of respect, listening productively so that when we do “Run” together so much will come from it!

Lessons Learned by writer: Laura D. Menefee