Make Good Choices
There’s a sign hanging over the door that leads from my laundry room to the carport, reminding my family to “Make Good Choices” out there. You might think I’m the kind of Mom who raised her kids on these words, but frankly, you’d be wrong. That sign hangs there – always slightly askew, never mind my countless efforts to straighten it – reminding me of the many times I heard my daughter say these words to my son while the two were growing up. Always with a hint of playful sass, these words were shouted through open car windows at school or before the front door slammed shut, letting her brother know she cared about what he would do that day.
Make Good Choices.
You may have noticed that Lent began today. Driving home from church, ashes imposed on my forehead in the shape of a cross, I started to wonder whether a Lenten discipline makes sense for me this year. Should I give something up? Take something on? Running through the list of past seasons in my head, I recalled the year I gave up coffee and considered whether God might be pleased with me doing that again… My very next thought was actually to figure out what I would replace that habit with, for the next 40 days plus weekends. (It also felt weak given that I had to give up caffeine last fall, which was definitely a greater sacrifice than giving up decaf would be now. Seriously.)
I remembered the year I gave up my wardrobe from Fat Tuesday until Easter (no – I didn’t pull an Isaiah 20:3). Failing to consult with my daughter first, I chose seven outfits to wear during Lent, ignoring the rest of my closet for the duration. About two weeks in, she said something that sounded like: “What were you thinking? I would not have picked that shirt. Why didn’t you ask me for help?” Good memories.
I could recap the entire monologue that played out in my head for you, but let’s not waste your time. Here’s where I’ve landed tonight…
Life has been a challenge these past couple of years. You haven’t heard from me because I’ve spent a disproportionate number of days grieving losses and struggling to create a sense of normalcy around the person I see in the mirror each day and the life that she now leads, which often doesn’t feel familiar to me. The old Brita would already have an idea for a Lenten adventure, which she would have invited you to join her in, and trust me – it would have been deep and meaningful. I catch glimpses of her every now and then, and she makes me smile.
The Brita we have to work with, however, is acutely aware of the fact that life is hard and she has changed and nevertheless – God can use what she’s got left to make a difference in the world.
Third-person references aside, I realized on my way home tonight that I have been so focused on just being okay that I’ve failed to create anything new. I don’t think there was a healthy workaround for this – I’ve had to walk this road of change and loss in order to get through it. But if there is something I can do that will please God during this season of Lent, it isn’t going to be a discipline that shines the light on me, my addictions and shortcomings.
If there is anything missing in my life right now, it’s everyone else.
I have what I need – and most of what I want – most days. I could easily exist quite comfortably in the little bubble I’ve created, tending to my knitting (correction: to my husband’s knitting) and risking implosion at some later date. But when I asked God on my drive home tonight what would please Him for me to do for Lent, I’m pretty sure I heard: “Make the world a better place.”
So, that is what I’m going to try to do. For the next 40 days, I am going to ask God to show me how I can make the world better for my being present in it. I might share some of my stories with you, but I kind of feel as if the world (and probably you) are weary of words and starving for proof of life instead. Jesus’ life, that is.
I don’t know if you have already decided on your Lenten discipline, but if you haven’t, maybe you’ll do this thing with me. Invest your energy and creativity in the people and problems that others are content to criticize and condemn.
Less talk. More action.
Let’s make the world a better place.
Brita! So good to get one of these gems in my mailbox. As always, it touches my heart & encourages me. Love & prayers for what you are going through. If you need an ear/shoulder, in a phone call away. ??
Charla Sent from my iPhone
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self control. Against such things, there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23
I’m so happy to hear from you, Charla! I think about you every day when I see your artwork on my wall! Your friendship is a blessing ?
So glad to have your blog back again! Love your idea for Lent. I will willingly join in your idea. Because we live in a senior building there are a number of people who are alone… socially, emotionally, and physically hungry. I intend to try and make a difference in that situation. Miss seeing you and our women’s retreats. Guess life never stays the same!
On Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 12:13 AM Pink Shoes Ministries wrote:
> Pink Shoes Ministries posted: “There’s a sign hanging over the door that > leads from my laundry room to the carport, reminding my family to “Make > Good Choices” out there. You might think I’m the kind of Mom who raised her > kids on these words, but frankly, you’d be wrong. That sign hangs” >
Betty! What a treat to hear from you today, and to know that you and I are on the same page for Lent ? God can use us, my friend! So many people are so lonely – friendship is a gift. I’m grateful for you! ?
Welcome back, Brita! Even if we don’t read your words for a while, we know you (and we) are working to make the world a better place however that looks for each of us.
Thank you, Beth! It’s good to share in this “ home improvement” work with you! Please let me know if you have any experiences during Lent that you would like to share 🙂
Brita, this is exactly where I am with my totally changed life since Dick died. I entered a world without him that I don’t love or like. I have this past year finally started to except my new life and the daily changes and challenges. I am striving to reach out and help the down trodden and the new widows by being available to meet with them and give words of encouragement and hope. I am also really embracing VFW AUXILLARY and my position with veterans and family support working with organizations helping homeless veterans. I also love to work with youth at church and being a surrogate grandma when needed. I really hope to continue finding new opportunities to serve as a disciple of Christ.
Brita, may you continue in your personal journey and I look forward to more blogs my sister in Christ.
I hear you, my friend. Changes and loss like you have experienced are so much more… FELT than we can imagine before they happen. It sounds like you are beginning to see a light, though? I agree that looking outside of your pain is a powerful way to pull out of a dark place. You are such a gift in all of the ways that you are touching people’s lives! I am so blessed to call you my friend, Colleen! ??
Brita, I was thrilled to see a “PINK SHOE MINISTRIES” in my email this morning. I have prayed for you weekly that God will continue to use you to bring hope and smiles to those you touch. I miss and will always treasure the retreats in Prescott but life doesn’t stay the same. I have learned to accept changes and go with whatever God has in store for me. I was waiting for a God nudge in regards to this Lenten season and I believe your suggestion will lead me in the direction I need to go. Thanks for sharing your thought with us. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you today and all your tomorrows! JAR
Your words are a welcome gift today, Judy! I am grateful for your prayers – over all of these years! I’m pretty sure I will have prayer warriors like you to thank for any good God may have done through me, when all is said and done. I’m so glad to be (mostly) on the other side of the challenges these past years have produced, though I know that the only constant is change… Be blessed this season! I hope to hear about God’s nudging in your Lenten adventure! I’m so grateful for you ??
Hello my beautiful friend! Great to see a PSM email! As I read it, I feel like I’m sitting across from you and listening to your words of wisdom through life’s experiences. How I miss those times! Sorry to hear about the rough patches you’ve gone through the past 2 years. God is always working in our lives whether we feel it or not. And you DO make this world a better place. A much better place! I think about you all the time and look forward to catching up next week. I miss you!
What a gift your friendship has been to me through all of these years, Lora! Thank you for responding here and for making time to connect in person (yay!) next week! I too am convinced that God is present in our struggles, even when we can’t feel Him there. I’ve always had faith that this is true, but now I also have the firsthand knowledge. He redeems everything! God is so good! I have missed you, my friend. Funny story: I thought about you on Sunday when faced with a huge puddle of water in a parking lot during a rain storm… My Cube & I blasted through it! Good memories ? I love you, my friend!
Good to hear from you again, I remember meeting you at an Okoboji Bible/Missionary Conference many years ago when you led a study for women.
Many changes in my life since then too! Ash Wednesday just happened to be 4 years to the day that my husband went to his heavenly home, so many changes, but I can thankfully say it has been a journey with Jesus.
I struggled with making a choice for Lent also, and finally decided with trying to be less critical and spending time in reading God’s Word, reading Christian books instead of social media, and connecting with people who might need an encouraging word! So continue to make those “Good Choices” and I will too! I enjoy your Lenten emails so please keep sending them because people will be blessed!
Irene! What a blessing to hear from you!
I am so sorry for your loss and I will remember you in my prayers during this season. You inspire me by your Lenten priorities – I feel I am in good company as we focus on making the world a better place!
Please stay in touch, sweet friend. God is so good!