Tag Archives: routine

Wound Up

A black lizard with a bright blue tail was sitting on my open journal when I returned to the deck with my refilled cup of coffee. Later, Google told me it is actually a skink and has a venomous bite. Wow. All I know is that’s not usually the kind of thing I usually see on/in my journal.

In the same week, I got frightened by three different armadillos in two different states. What’s up with the scary armadillos?

Oh, and I heard a beaver/nutria/groundhog thing under the same deck rustling, screaming and then running out from the deck in the bright light of day. Every single time I’ve ever heard an animal scream it does me in.

The two times my children have seen me the most frightened and out of control involve animals behaving strangely. Once, we were aggressively surrounded by nutria while on a picnic (picture a mom and two children on a table screaming). The second time was when someone’s formerly pet squirrel crawled up my leg but I didn’t know it was a pet. My kids still talk about these times of Mom losing it.

I’ve been decompressing from a season of too much…too many things my husband and I’ve been trying to do, battling some sickness and allergies, dealing with tough ongoing family situations, sending a kid back to college and all of it in a compressed time period.

Finally, I arrived at a time of many of those things being over and a time of settling back in to routine, relaxation, rest and regrouping.

Then suddenly, skinks, armadillos and beaver things screaming.

What does it mean?

I think it is just God’s humorous way of telling me I’m not quite relaxed yet. I need to settle down more, unwind more, cease doing things for a while. From Jesus Always by Sarah Young, God says look for Me. Sometimes I show Myself in grand, glorious ways. At other times I show Myself in simple, humble ways that only make sense to you. (page 252)

Is there a skink on your journal? Is a groundhog screaming at you? Is an armadillo scaring  you or a squirrel running up your leg?

Might be time to unwind. Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and Pace, breast cancer survivor and wildlife enthusiast.        

Advertisements

FaithWaiting

I enjoy making up words. I loved word play with my children. We now have several words only our family knows. Today I made up this one: FaithWaiting.

FaithWaiting is different from regular waiting.

All waiting is pretty excruciating. Waiting for admission to that certain college. Waiting to turn 16. Waiting for the wedding day. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for the biopsy results…or really, almost any results. Waiting to hear if you got that job. All kinds of hospital waiting is agonizing.

In our family we are waiting on a baby to arrive.  Pregnancy is so long! There are so many unknowns. My daughter is now down to the baby-could-come-at-any-time part of pregnancy. She and I are planners and we are having trouble with our plan making because we DO NOT KNOW WHEN THIS WILL HAPPEN. She is going to the doctor weekly now. Last time I asked her if the doctor said when this will happen and she reminded me rather sternly that they do not tell you WHEN.

I am planning to be there when this impossible-to-know thing happens but I live 5 hours away so how do I plan? How do I wait? How do they wait? How does anyone FaithWait verses plain old anxious waiting?

A few tips for FaithWaiting:

Do what you can. In my case that includes keeping gas in my car, suitcase mostly packed, making lots of casseroles to fill my daughter’s freezer when I get there, keeping my phone nearby.

Remember what you know. God is faithful. All will be well. You are not and never were in control. You are in God’s hands. Waiting is a gift, a discipline and an exercise in faith.

Trust. Today’s entry in Jesus Calling reminds us of God’s word to us, Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do. It entails trusting Me with every fiber of your being, instead of trying to figure things out yourself. Waiting on Me is the way I designed you to live: all day, every day. 

Pray. Pray for peace as you wait.

Keep your routines and rituals. Sometimes keeping a schedule is an act of grace that calms us down and reminds us of God’s presence in the daily routine acts of life. Eat, exercise, work, rest, repeat.

I’ve preached and written before about how hard it must have been for the followers of Jesus on that day of waiting between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. How did they bear it? Can you imagine the sorrow, angst, worry, uncertainty and pain they must have felt? The Bible says very little about that Saturday but I believe it is one of the most important times in the whole Bible because it was a whole day of not knowing when all they could do was FaithWait. I imagine time just painfully crawling that day, oozing with despair.

Waiting is what the Christian life is all about. We do not know the plan. We do not know what the future holds. Most of the time we barely know what God wants us to do.

The difference is we wait as those who have hope. That is FaithWaiting at its finest. Psalm 33:20-22 offers this prayer: We wait in hope for the Lord; God is our help and our shield. In God our hearts rejoice, for we trust in God’s holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. 

Casserole by casserole, I FaithWait.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor, Mimosa to Keller and his soon to arrive baby brother and one who waits with hope.

A Tiny Sanctuary: The Mammogram Dressing Room

Once you’ve had breast cancer, there is no such thing as a routine mammogram. Maybe it is routine to the medical team.  Maybe it is routine to others, but not to you. Today, I had my every six month ritual of driving to the place, checking in, waiting, changing in that tiny dressing room, waiting, the actual mammogram and then more waiting.

For the first time since my diagnosis four years ago, I decided to be a big girl and go alone.  My husband reluctantly agreed. When I was driving there, overcome with anxiety and internal drama, tears started flowing and I realized maybe being a big girl was overrated. At the exact moment, I wheeled in to the parking lot, I received a text from my friend Rhonda who was diagnosed at the same exact time as me, with the same exact thing. She knows there is no such thing as a routine mammogram. Her words were a holy, well-timed balm: “Still saying payers. I know how anxious you are.  Close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Feel God’s presence.” I gathered myself, dried my tears and went in.

I tried to tell myself all the good things about mammograms: at least there is an easy, sort of painless way to have this checked out twice a year; at least they don’t weigh you beforehand; at least they are nice there; their wifi password is peaceofmind; they have peppermints; previous cancer patients get to find out that day if they are okay; I always have a good, gentle caring technician who asks me about 700 times if I’m okay.

Once I was ushered into the little dressing room, I realized that was my tiny, every six months, sanctuary, the shelf you lay your clothes on, my altar. Before the mammogram, my prayers were for peace, calm, reassurance; afterwards, it was the place I could cry tears of relief and joy and whisper thank you’s to God and savor, for that moment, my good health,

When I was checking out, the receptionist told me, “Girl, when you were going in, you looked like you were walking the green mile.” I said, “You’re pretty observant, it is a scary walk back there for me.”  There is no such thing as a routine mammogram, but I’m so grateful for it and for the tiny sanctuary moments along the way.

The Gift of Normal

I’d just like to say “whew” now that the intense frenzy of the holidays is behind us.  This year seemed especially full (in a good way) of decorating; family and friends gatherings; gift exchanges of all kinds; two out-of-town college graduation celebrations; 17 church services in 10 days (I’m not even kidding); welcoming our college graduate back home for a few months which involved among other things putting furniture in the attic, which is not easy; eating too many rich good foods and a total loss of routine for a while.  Seriously, whew!

This year, I was actively aware of feeling relief as each wonderful activity finished and life gradually returned to “normal.”  It felt great to un-decorate for Christmas and see my shelves and countertops again.  I love my simpler, emptier home.  It felt good to return to healthy eating and daily exercise.  It felt great to see my husband off to work this morning after his holiday break.  It even felt great to set the alarm again after a few too many days of sleeping in.

I remember three plus years ago, newly diagnosed with breast cancer, how life suddenly turned upside down for a while; all routines ruined by emotion and too many medical appointments.  I realized then that I hadn’t appreciated enough the gift of “normal” life and health.  Ordinary days and routines are soothing, healing and good for us.

I am grateful for all that is spiritual, special and lovely for the holidays.  But today, I’m even more thankful for all that is simple, spiritual and life-giving about “normal” routines and life.