Monday, July 14, 2014

Make Room!






This summer has flown by and I have no idea how it's already mid July without my permission!  I didn't plan for time to go this fast!  Whoa!

Over the last few weeks, I've experienced an echo throughout the days that simply reminds me of this simple ask ... Make Room.

This summer has been pretty much non-stop and our calendar's have been quickly, but intentionally,  filled up - with not a lot of  room to budge.  You see, both Chris and I, like to have a plan.  We like to know the plan.  We prefer to plan for the plan, and we like to live with the plan.   We are plan people.

We have also been given all of the necessary "leadership tools" in the kit to know how to invest our days well and to always make sure we are #1. Making time for Jesus.  #2.  Making time for our marriage and kids,  and #3. Making sure our time does not get sabotaged.    Over the last few years, we have also been taught well to "pick our day off & protect our day off".   We do take time to rest and recover together  - we do that well and the others as well.

Here is where I need to "Make Room" ... with the spontaneous!  I've been guilty of having such a bad rapport of denying the spontaneous.   I am the one who has a tendency to sabotage my days by not making room for the spontaneous.    Am I so consumed by the "the list", "the plan", that I am forgetting to allow the surprises to arrive for me? 

I must evaluate ME and my reply.   Am I "making room"?

  • Do I reply to that surprise invitation to sit by the pool,  on a wonderfully warm Memorial Day? ... Even though I had no food prepared to take for a 1 hr arrival time, and against all social etiquette norms that was in me, I brought deli items to share, not a standard  home cooked item from my recipe repertoire!  Oh my!  Or lest I mention the excuse of my white Irish legs that have not been touched by one sun beam in over a year?  Oh my!  ... I chose to arrive, smile and laugh - while using SPF 50 on the legs.  I needed this day - to connect pieces of my heart!  5 weeks later, I'm still applying the SPF 50 thick!  I'm Irish!


  • Do I reply to a faithful, 23 year friendship, with an excuse when she surprises me while being in town from Orlando and wants a late night dinner chat?  Or do I take on the heels that have been worn through a long day, throw those things back on my coral colored toes and make this night count for my friend  -  and for me?   Yes!  ... And the best discovery is to see how God orchestrated the details to bring both of us together, on this night, to answer both of our prayers for specific dreams as women leading in ministry!  Do I dare mention the laughs shared and the reminders of what God has done over these years that will carry us on into this new season?  Or what about the laughs of "can you believe we did that"???   It was worth every second!  I needed this spontaneous moment!


  • What about the moment on a busy Sunday morning, when my daughter's heart was broken, all because she had to stay farewell to her beloved little lizard friend Henry, as she had to return him to the wild?   In that moment I had a choice ...  "Do I busily get back to work - pushing aside her heart, or take a moment to hug her heart and let her cry?"  People needed me.  Tasks needed to be done.  The morning prep work was calling.  I chose to stop.  I chose to listen to her heart.  I chose to "make room" in that moment to allow her to be the wonderfully creative & spunky 9 year old little girl, who loves with all of her heart, every little slimy gross green creature, beetle & critter.  I chose to make room for her share the pain of letting go.  I had to make room to heal her heart, and in return, my heart was healed from the rush of the day! 

 

I must make room for the spontaneous joys & interruptive moments that God has provided for me to live in, learn by and laugh with!


I know that there is no way I can never reply to them all.  I may have to decline to a few invitations as time comes, but I will clear the space - on my calendar app, on paper and in my heart.  I will make more room.  I've got to leave space for the spontaneous!   I'm learning calendar entry by calendar entry, to "make room",  watching how He directs my days.  



Watch out for a spontaneous invite from me - you never know where the adventure might take us!   As long as we pursue it together - there's no ending the fun!


Make Room!  Lots of adventures await for us!

Nickie

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let It Go!




This morning didn't quiet start out how I had hoped or planned. 


The day began as normal with my quiet conversation with Jesus.  Then here is the view ...


Getting the face, hair and wardrobe just right for the day.  Let's go!  
Grooming done. Teeth brushed.  Let's go!   
Bag's fully packed for my trek to the office, complete with my calendar set, planner filled and project list updated.  
Lots to do.  
Lots of passion to give to my day!  Let's go!  
Sitter arrives.   Let's go!  
To the car I go.   Start car.    
No go!


Insert adjustments ...  Car refuses my commands.  Grrrrrrr ... Plans now to be adjusted.


As I sit here waiting, for the faithful AAA rescuer on the way ... here is my honest view.

I wonder.  
I think.  
I grumble.  
I take a deep breath in complete frustration again ...  
"Let's go!  I want to get it all in today! I gotta go. We gotta get this day started".  
Insert grumbling again.   
Deep breath.  
Check time. 
Roll eyes at the car.  
Grab another sip of coffee.
Think about saying not so nice things to the car.  
Cancel meetings.
Breathe.


I'm interrupted, gently - but with attention.  "Let it go!  Stop & Watch.  Hear Me.  Trust Me". 


This time, in this moment, it's a different view. 


I'm listening ...  How to LET IT GO.
I'm watching ... How He directs.
I'm learning how to LET IT GO,  and trusting that's He's got me ... and this crazy car repair day!
I'm waiting.  Anticipating.
I smile.




When He asks you to "Let It Go", will you trust Him?


Luke 17:33
If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

You Haven't Been Dropped!




Have you ever been dropped?   I have!  I can imagine the laughing comments now of "oh now that explains a lot about her!"... Ha Ha!  I can handle the laughs!  Bring them on! 


I remember being a small girl, probably around 4 years old, riding on my Dad's shoulders and walking up a huge hill by our house!  He felt horrible when suddenly he lost his grip and I decided I wanted to let go and tumbled off his shoulders!   My dad didn't intentionally let me go.  I am sure I was the cause in the tumble.  After all I had a huge, 4 year old need, to wiggle out of his secure arms & wanting to get down and run run run!  I was 4!  My Dad still feel's horrible many years later for this incident, so please laugh along with me (and Him), next time  you see my Dad!

 
Here is the point ... This has been sticking with me over the last few weeks and I just have to share what God is depositing into my view!


We all have a little 4 year old person inside of us that get's impatient!  We want it "our way", not understanding that the Dad is wanting to keep us secure, protected and provided for.  If we stay on His shoulders, not only is the ride a little more adventurous (and more secure), but His view also offers a more tremendous view! 


Here is what I've seen from the view of His shoulder!

  • I've seen that when God asks me to take on an assignment,  when He pick's me ...  I'm His & He doesn't back down from choosing me.  I wasn't the last to be chosen on the playground. I'm His.  Even with all of my short comings, failures and potential embarrassing laughs, wiggles and falls - I'm His.  You are His.  Be assured that He has chosen YOU!  He knows what He is doing!

  • I've seen that His shoulder view is a place of great protection.  His shoulder is a place where He will provide everything that is needed.  He will provide grace when I lack.  He will provide strength when I feel torn.  He will provide courage when I feel threatened.  He will provide peace when there is panic.  When I try to wiggle out, He's got a grip on me that cannot be distracted.  I've seen that He hold's me steady & firm.  I'm His.  There is safety when I'm with Him.    When you obey what God asks of you, you are under His protective guard.  Even when you feel like you are tumbling away from His grip, He is there.  Let him hold your hand.  He's not gonna let go.  Don't let fear bring the tumble.  Enjoy the view of how He works for you!

Hold on tight!   Laugh & wiggle all you want!  He's got this!  


Enjoy this new view!   He picked you!


Isaiah 41:8-10 MSG
“I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."





Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sheep - He Counts Them. He Leads Them. He Shear's Them.




2013 was a great  year for the Haas'!    We stood in awe at God's continual goodness over our lives, again and again!  


  • God strengthened my body and my heart through cancer, and gave Chris a peace to lead us through with joy,  that only God could do.   


  • God provided a way, when others said there would be "no way"!   God provided!  


  • God resurrected dreams that we thought had been forgotten, and broken into too many pieces.  God guarded and shielded us - every day, every moment.  He was there.   He was a faithful shepherd!


Just like a good shepherd ...

He was leading us.

He was guarding us.

He was feeding us.

He sheared us.

He counted us.


The thing that has stuck out more than ever in this season, is realizing this simple truth.
He took what was sheared off (worry, fear, lost hope),  and made it into something beautiful and protective from brutal elements.  Just like when wool is sheared,  it then creates something more beautiful to help protect from the cold elements or to help bring comfort to many.   God sheared and continues to make something beautiful with the Haas' messy wool.


We can confidently say, God did this with our lives this year.  Our story of God's faithfulness was shared.  God's love was given.  We had to trust Him completely to take these pieces and create a beautiful tapestry. 


As 2014 arrives, we are  more determined than ever, to fulfill all God is asking.  We are excited and humbled, to see God's love for us be once again beautifully on display - along with all of the broken and beautiful pieces that make up this tapestry!


What areas are you trusting God to be the Good Shepherd?  Caring for you?  Providing for you?  Leading you? 


We are praying for your 2014 to be a year full of God's faithful love!   Trust the shearing!




Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Beauty Of "It"!




Over the last few weeks thru various conversations,  this word - PRESSURE - has surfaced more than a few times.  I've noticed that many want to avoid it!  Or they haven't been taught how to welcome it! To many it's like a plague or disease! 


This summer while on vacation, we got to spend several days at a secluded mountain cabin.  While enjoying the front porch river view, I noticed these huge butterfly bushes that attracted hundreds of butterflies. I mean hundreds!  They were breathtakingly beautiful!  Colors filled each wing tip uniquely and perfectly.  Each flutter was perfectly timed.  


I would like to think that God put these little winged beauties on display just for me!   I had finally stopped and sat long enough to capture this view!  (Those who know me, know that I typically don't like to reside in quiet places for too long, nor to sit or stop - for too long!). My eyes were glued to these little gems!  Some even landed on my hand before launching off to their next stop!


It's hard for me to comprehend how our God is so creative that He designed this little critter, so intricately in every detail, but it has to endure various "seasons" of pressure to get to the beauty.  The butterflies aren't that glamored up and pretty when they are slimy caterpillar's.  Believe me, I avoid them!  Seriously, don't bring caterpillar's near me!

I may not know why He created them with this kind of process to get to the beauty,  with a defined season, but I am thankful for the chance to enjoy their colors in their final stage!  In the seasons of our lives, we may walk through pressures too. Some may be from crazy schedules, high demand jobs,  financial challenges, relationships, grief or failures.  I am confident that God has a purpose with each of these.

We've got to get it deep within our minds that God purposed "pressure" isn't bad!  If you allow God the chance and the room in the season you are in, He will reveal to you the beauty.  


  • You may have to wait for it - The Beauty! You can't rush this.    Don't try to skip a step, or a season, or a moment - to avoid the pressure. If you do, you are going to miss the fullness of all He is trying to accomplish in you.  The beautiful you!

  • You may have to "shed" some things off to get to it - The Beauty!  Maybe it's an attitude, a past filled with regret, an unhealthy relationship, a perspective.  What needs to be adjusted?  What needs to be "taken off" so you can see the beautiful view clearly?  It may hurt.  But if we trust it - the beauty will be worth it.
 
  •  You may have to adjust the compass. God pressure is attempting to force you into a certain position or direction.   Dependence on Him, not yourself.   Fully giving worship and honor to God & His plan!  Why fight it?

  • You may have to journey through some rough places (thorns, bushes & barren lands with no nectar or sweetness) to discover it -  the beauty of YOU!  In these rough places,  you could feel alone, forgotten, abandoned.  This isn't a terrain many dare to go.  This last leg of the journey is for the brave.  This step is for those who know there is beauty waiting, if they dare journey through.  If you forfeit here, you could get stuck.   Will you choose to push through the thorns?  Lonely places?  Fearful moments?   Or stay back - avoiding and running from it (the beauty), again?

Don't you dare miss this!     Trust Him to show you the beauty and make the pressure beautiful!  He is a Master at this!   We can trust Him.  


Dictionary.com

press/pressure

1.  to act upon with steadily applied weight or force.
2.  to move by weight or force in a certain direction or into a certain position: The crowd pressed him into a corner.
3.  to compress or squeeze, as to alter in shape or size: He pressed the clay into a ball.
4.  to weigh heavily upon; subject to pressure.
5.  to hold closely, as in an embrace; clasp: He pressed her in his arms.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shovels May Be Required

It's that time of year where I will plant properly, the spring bulbs I want to see blooming in the spring. I don't normally hold gardening talents that label me with a "green thumb award" from the local county fair, so I need to read and learn all I can, to make sure I'm preparing purposefully for the beauty I want to see ahead.  I know it's important for me to space out these bulbs out for growth, to plant before a frost arrives and to be aware of the health of the soil I plant in.  It's also important that I have the right tools to help me in the growing.

The same is true with growing leaders.  At Freedom House  & Freedom House Kids, growing leaders is a big deal!  It's a passion like none other! Just as I want the bulbs to provide beauty in the next season,  leaders must be purposefully prepared & ready for the next season God has in store! 

Over the last few months, our FHkids leadership teams have been digging deep!
  1. They have navigated the tools together - digging into several great teaching resources (tools). 
  2. They have invested together - cultivating mentoring time (soil) with the leaders.  
  3. They have provided safety together - offering a safe environment (atmosphere) for current leaders and growing leaders to "dig deep".     
All of these things have to work together to bring the beauty in the next season.     

The courage that these leaders have given, is breathtaking.  They have been brave, faithful  and passionate to pursue God's best for their lives.   Digging deep has often required them to step into areas that they didn't know were still "rocky" in the underbrush.  Digging deep has required them to be vulnerable,  many trusting for the first time after "harsh, cold seasons" had come and gone.

The beauty of watching a new confidence and passion in their leadership that may have been buried, pushed aside, forgotten - for long cold seasons, finally pushing thru the barriers - is astoundingly beautiful!  Just like the multicolored rows of tulips that will line my front porch in the spring!

Chris and I are so proud of these leaders!  What fun it has been to learn along with them!  What a sight to see!   We love having this awesome view of watching God at work!



A few have asked ... "What are your top recommended books?".  There are so many fabulous resources to share, but here are a few of the non-negotiables that The Haas' hold close. 




Grab yourself a copy,  grab the shovel and dig in!

A Time To Twirl!

The last 48 hours have changed me.  Capturing the undivided, uninterrupted moments with my girl have shifted something in me.  I may not be able explain it adequately, but taking the time to "BE" with her has created a new passion in me I didn't expect to discover!


What began as a restful, quiet, but let's pack it all in - "Haas Girls Getaway", ended with so much more!
  

As I was sitting on the shoreline, watching my girl twirl fearlessly in the Atlantic sand, my heart was mesmerized!   She danced, she jumped, she twirled, she laughed, she chased, she smiled.   I watched her from a new view.  A view that displayed her courageous spirit.  Regardless of what was around her, she came to play!  Regardless of the chilled temperature of the Atlantic shore - she came to twirl in the sand and soak her toes in the fresh waves!  Regardless of what others were doing or not doing around her - she came to laugh and BE her!


It got me thinking ...


I admire her courage.  I admire her strength.  I admire her faith.  I admire her laughs.  I admire her twirl!


How often have I limited or discredited a moment?   Moment's bring memorials or regret.  Moment's lead to days,  then years.  Moment's define us.   I knew in that moment,  that I could not let it pass me by.   Moment's with my husband and children are some of the most intimate times that God will use to help bring a new definition or gentle reminder into my life.  It could be a new perspective,  an attitude that needs to be shifted or a defined place to trust God with complete courage to what He has created me to be and to do. 


The last 48 hours helped rediscover something in me.  I left with a renewed passion to be me - more of what God has asked of me.  I will laugh hysterically - frequently and more purposefully.  I will twirl without fear - making room for more celebrations & inviting others to enjoy the dance with me.   I will step in to this season with all that I am, with everything that God has purposed - regardless of what I see, hear of feel ...  or how cold/frigid the temps might be or the scare of jelly fish nearby!  


In Ecclesiastes 3, it says, there is a time and season for everything!  This is the Haas' time to dance!

If you see me twirling nearby - be sure to come and join me!



Twirl for a moment!