Word of the Week

Can you remember the last time the gas in your emotional tank just felt empty? You were dreading something you'd normally look forward to? You were struggling to get out of bed (when you are a morning person)? You weren't depressed, per se, just not like yourself.

You were in need of this week's word: oxygen. Oxygen: something that sustains or fuels.

We normally associate "oxygen" in the scientific realm as a chemical element essential for human life on planet earth, but in fact it can be a wonderfully spiritual word.

By this I mean, when is the last time you breathed something in that sustained or fueled you?

In my work, I often hear people voicing concerns about how they are "running on fumes" or are struggling to "keep their head above water." Sometimes uncontrollable situations keep people down (an illness, a death, or a situation requiring much care of a loved one). Other times It's about self-imposed love of busyness, fear of not having enough and all-consuming worries-- things that could change if life patterns were turned around differently. No matter the reasons why you know when you see weariness painted on someone's face. It just is.

When we find ourselves like this, it's so easy to be so close yet so far from anything restorative.

Let me tell you this: recently, I had what I'll call a "mom vacation." I went away for a couple of days by myself without responsibilities of parenting, work, or house chores. It sat in a pretty place with time to think and be. While I was away, the word oxygen kept coming back to my lips. What I was doing wasn't self-indulgent. It wasn't frivolous. It wasn't even what I normally would call "self care." It was oxygen. It was pure oxygen.

Oxygen gave me fuel to come back the next week and do the things I needed to do.

Did you know that oxygen is the most abundant element in the earth's crust? Did you know that oxygen is the 3rd most abundant element in the entire universe?

Learning this all over again, reminded me of oxygen's abundant proximity. What you need is available. What you need is close. What you need is essential. You just have to connect to it.

You just have to breathe it in-- both literally of course and spiritually too.

Now, I know, you might not feel like you are in an oxygen rich bubble right now. Something going on in your life may just feel too heavy. Resources for help might seem out of reach. But I'm hoping that this email will be a nudge to you to remember all over again what fuels you. Then you might be encouraged you to take one step in that direction of that.

And you know what? That is where God is.



This week, on purpose I have selected a word that you've seen in the lineup before, but I don't think I'm finished with yet. Could we revisit capacity?

Capacity defined as the maximum amount that something can contain.

When I previously wrote about this word, I mused about not overextending yourself. At that time, I was adjusting to motherhood 2X and re-learning all over again what I could and couldn't get done in a day. Sleeping no more than 3 hours at a time will surely diminish your capacity . . . Thank goodness baby boy is now sleeping through the night.

But, today I want to think of capacity in terms of our relationships with others.

Have you found yourself frustrated with someone because they didn't meet your expectations? A birthday missed. A text, a call, a text not returned. A death in the family not acknowledged.

Or maybe even some deeper frustrations like "I bet we could be closer if only if he would . . . " Or, "I'm such a good friend to ____ why can't she be the same to me?" Or even, "Why am I the friend who always invites, plans and organizes?'

Such thoughts are aches of the heart. You make a "no" from someone else about you. You quickly jump to "Something must be wrong with me."

But hear me say loud and clear: often others' no is often not about you. It's about the other person. It's about their capacity-- the maximum that they are able to give.

Grace you see, looks a lot like giving others permission to have their own capacity. To be on their own journey. To receive whatever they have to give.

Yet, it also means seeing your capacity. You wouldn't be frustrated with others if you didn't have longings for MORE. More friendship, companionship, and connection that is real for YOU. For if someone can't meet your need, you don't bury your hopes. You keep your heart and your hands open.

Good things will show up as you keep going.

And you know what-- just because someone doesn't have capacity for a deeper friendship or relationship this month or this year doesn't mean that they never will. Giving a person grace might just be the preparation season the two of you need for something beautiful to come down the road. You never know!

Wishing you much love this week on your wrestlings with your own capacity and that of others,



HI friends! Have you missed me? I'm back!

These has been sweet days around our household of adjusting to a new baby and it's hard to believe that this week our son will soon be 4 months old!

In getting adjusted to a new person in our household, there have been many things I've had to give up for a while (like chatting with you each Sunday morning). There have been many things I haven't been able to do well too like connecting with friends and church visits. I have also had to let hope of sleep go on a nightly basis (for a while, I was up every 2 hours in the night! Ouch!).

Basically, as any new parent would tell you, having a baby is a lesson a great reminder that all things can change in an instant. There is a strong before and after. In all this, I have been thinking a lot about our word of the week: capacity.

Capacity defined as the maximum amount that something can contain.

To be a human is to wrestle throughout your life with your own capacity, isn't it?

In some seasons of life, you are able to run fast with projects and commitments and travel and all the things. While in other seasons of life you must take on a bit less. You must stay at home. You must rest. You must face your limitations.

To be human to to know that as much as you think you know what your days might hold, illness or disease or an accident can change your capacity at any point. This is a given. For everyone.

Yet, the bigger question then is how will you accept your capacity? How you shift? How will you allow your life to contain exactly what it needs in a season (not trying to replicate what is in the past)?

Telling the truth about your capacity can be a beautiful tool that leads your soul to REST and PEACE. Knowing your capacity can lead you to do what is your work to do when it's your time to do it.

Over here in Athens, GA, I'm doing a daily dance with my capacity. Somedays in the words of my 6 year old I "make good choices" and others times I simply forget and overcommit. Sigh.

But here's what I know for sure: your body will lead the way. Your body will let you know in one way or another if your brim has been reached. Your body will thank you when you live into your healthiest capacity.

God longs for you in the week ahead to be well in your own capacity.

Looking forward to continuing the conversation again soon!