Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fresh Perspective

Well, well, well....we meet again. I must admit, I love it. I love the blog-world. I love the snippets of life I get from others when I open my computer. And more than anything I love to share - everything from pictures to life. 

So today I am sharing with you from a completely different perspective than I had yesterday - because last night my eyes were opened.

If you recall, in my last post I quoted one of my favorite pastors saying: "Get your eyes off you." 

You see....most of my life I have been concerned with what people think about me. Friends. Family. Acquaintances. Total Strangers. And God....definitely God. I have no idea where this huge sense of insecurity comes from (I could speculate, but in reality it probably stems from a bunch of different places), and although I am completely aware that it's there, it's still hard to shake. 

If you know my story, you know that I am a ministry wife who just moved to a completely new state with two kids under two and a dog that thinks she's a human (she gets it honestly). Now... this creates a breeding ground for insecurity because every person I meet is having a first impression of me. And holy moly can that mess with someone who struggles with insecurity in most every aspect of their life. 

But God is good. So good. And He knew that moving to a new place would be hard for me, so I believe he provided this phrase for me as a reminder: Get your eyes off you.

You see...too often I keep my eyes on myself. I am constantly evaluating myself, measuring my results; did I get the laundry done, is the floor swept, is the house dusted (well...ok, may not that one - I avoid dusting like the plague), judging how good of a mom I think I am based on my child's behavior at Walmart - oh's that bad. 

Here's the thing with that kind of behavior - it's exhausting. You see, we can think of our lives as mirrors - in the sense that they reflect whatever we are looking at. The more I look at me (focus on me, think about me, worry about me), the more I reflect a life of selfish living. And of course I never measure up. How could I? My standards of myself are way too high. The more I think about me, the more I worry. But when I get my eyes off of me and onto Jesus, what I reflect changes. I reflect grace and goodness. And that is easier to handle than anything. 

So how did this all change last night? Well....we were blessed to be a part of a fundraiser for OrphaNetwork. And although I could have easily spent the entire night worrying about what people thought of me and if I was "fitting in", I didn't. And even better...I could have walked away from that very swanky party feeling disappointed with my lot in life, but I didn't. If anything, I walked away happier than ever that I am who I am and I have what I have. Contentment was bursting out of my heart. And I truly believe that the reason I am so full of joy today is because I tried desperately hard last night to keep my eyes off of me and keep them on Jesus. 

So today I am praising God not only for my husband (as it is Fathers Day and he is one killer dad), but also for everything that He has lavishly blessed me with. Even the details. Especially the details.

In case you're interested, here are a few pics from the super swanky party that I spoke of earlier:

It was a fun time...and now I'm glad to be home snuggling my babies. Until next time!

Much Love,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Not What I Expected

Well hey there friends! It has been just over 2 years since I have posted on this blog. My son is just over 2 years old. Hmmmm... I wonder.

At any rate, my mind has been racing with things to say but the days have been so full that they just seem to fly by. Well, tonight I was bound and determined to throw some of my thoughts out there for the world wide web to soak in. One problem. When I went to sign into my blog, I realized that I had no idea what my username (let alone my password) for this blog are. It took me 45 minutes, but here we are.In case you ever need it, here is what I typed into google to help me end the frustration: “forgot how to sign into blogspot”.

Now that I am even more sleep deprived, let me just give you one nugget to chew on while I get a little shut-eye and explain more deeply when I've slept...

Get your eyes off you.

This little phrase has been rolling around my head for weeks. That's a long time for any phrase to stay in a mother-of-two-under-two's head. But I heard Matt Chandler say it during a message a few weeks back and it rocked my world. Get your eyes off you. Because what you look at, you will reflect. Don't worry so much about yourself. Worry about Jesus.

For now...let that phrase roll around your brain. And we will talk more in detail.

G'night all!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Power of a Hairdryer

Hello gorgeous!! 

For those of you who don’t know me personally, my husband (JD) and I were recently blessed with an addition to our family – a sweet baby boy! Beckett William Lowry graced us with his presence on March 20th at 3:04am. Yup… momma was tired and SO ready for him to be here at 3am!

With my new found title – mom, spit-up rag, diaper fairy, human swing – I have a whole new set of eyes on life. If you are a mom, you know that things just look different when you are looking at them through the lens of motherhood…

Middle schoolers all of a sudden seem SO BIG.
An hour is a really long time (especially if you are alone).
Showers become like mini spas.

You are exhausted, irritated, and messy... but feel like you could conquer the world on 3 straight hours of sleep.

And all of that said… it’s also the sweetest, most rewarding, most worth-it experience of your life. That 3am feeding (which Becks and I have every night consistently…his preference, not mine, haha) becomes one of your most precious prayer times. And when he finally catches your gaze and keeps it for the first time, your heart melts into a million pieces!

One of the most interesting things I look at differently through the lens of motherhood, is my hairdryer. Yes…hairdryer.

My hairdryer has become a companion of sorts – and it has gotten more use in the last 6 weeks than it has in the last 6 years. Why? Because I have learned that it has two incredible powers.

Let me explain…

Power #1: A hairdryer makes my baby super happy and content after a bath.

Every night, JD turns into “The Bath Man” and he spends about 10 minutes giving Beckett a full-service bath in our basement laundry tubs. After he is squeaky clean, the proud father opens the dryer that is actively warming Beckett’s towel, and wraps him in a heated heaven of cotton. Finally…he brings him upstairs, says “Mom, we’re ready”, and out comes my hairdryer.

For a good 10 minutes, Beckett has a date with the hair dryer, and I dry him head to toe – every nook and cranny of that baby skin gets warmed and dried. The minute I turn it on, his lips curl into a smile and his arms and legs fall limp in the warmth. It’s the best feeling – not just for him, but for us, because we simply love that he loves it.

Power #2: The second power that my hairdryer has is to put my baby straight to sleep.

I learned this one the hard way – after many hours of swaddling, “shoosh”ing, and swaying in the wee hours of the morning.

Every night, Beckett wakes up at 3am and he’s down right starving. So, I change him, nurse him, and try my darndest to get him back to sleep. Of course, no amount of nursing or rocking could get him to close his eyes and drift off to dreamland. One day, when I was talking to a friend about how hard it was to get him back to sleep, she passingly suggested turning on the hairdryer. It had worked for both of her daughters, so why not?

That night, on the hairdryer went and off to sleep my son went. VUALA! A MIRCLE!

I don’t what it is about that sound, but it can almost instantly take my little one from fighting sleep, to relaxed and snuggling into sleepy time.

Being a mom is absolutely incredible and nothing can fully prepare you for how it changes, not just your schedule, but your heart. I love this stage of life and if I can encourage new moms to do anything, it would be to embrace every moment because you can’t get them back once they’re gone.

All in all, the past six weeks have been somewhat of a blur…but this I can remember – I love my hairdryer.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Good, Great, Generous (REPEAT)

Hey all!!

Hope you are all starting your new year off well!

Here's a little known fact about me - I have an unhealthy "fear of the unknown." Now, let me tell you, this fear can creep up on me at any given point... and it can be downright horrible at times.

Fortunately, but unfortunately, the hubs and I have been registering for our baby stuff over the past couple of days. Unfortunately? least for me. You see, when I look at the price tags on all of this stuff that everyone says you "need" to rear a child successfully, my mind goes haywire. I start to wonder how in the world this stuff is (A) going to fit into our house, and (B) fit into our budget! And if I dwell on it long enough, I start to choke on my fear of the unknown.

Maybe you're going through a similar situation - one where you have no control and no clue how your going to make it through. Maybe you have already been through something like this. Or... maybe you have no idea what I'm even talking about. Either way, when you start to have that sinking feeling of "We're not going to make it.", just do what I do and repeat these words:

God is good.
God is great.
God is generous.

God is good: He is - His character is good. He is not out to get us, forget about us, or make us suffer. He is good, and He can be no other way. 

God is great: He is all powerful. He holds the whole world in His hands, and NOTHING is outside of His control. He truly is great.

God is generous: He desires to bless His children. Now, remember this: Generosity doesn't always mean finances. So, think of the other ways He has provided for you (i.e. family, health, friendships, His love). He gave us eternal salvation for Pete's sake! And scripture tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. His generosity cannot be outdone.

Remember... Good, Great, Generous, REPEAT.

God is good.
God is great.
God is generous.

Love you guys & I'm always here for you!

      ~ Suz

P.S. Don't forget to REPEAT!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saying YES to a Calling

Have you ever felt like God was pulling on your heart so hard that He might pull it straight out of your chest? Well dear friends…this has been the feeling of my heart for the past few weeks. Let me entertain you for a few moments with the backstory of what I am affectionately calling my “heart condition”.

A few weeks ago I gave a message in our Middle School Ministry services, to our church’s 6th through 8th graders. The theme of our message series was called Unwrapping Christmas – all about digging into the cultural details of what was really happening in the first-century Jewish world that Jesus was born into.

The part of this message that wrecked my heart came through this verse:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
(Luke 2:14)

Through my study I learned that the Hebrew word for peace is more literally translated, not as the peace that we associate with war-free times, but as complete fulfillment. In other words, when the angels proclaimed that the coming of Christ would bring peace on earth, they did not mean that He would bring forth a world without war or destruction. Rather, God was proclaiming that the coming of Christ would bring complete fulfillment to the earth.

In the midst of the Christmas season, where gifts and tangible objects are at the forefront of our attention, we try to find our fulfillment in all the wrong places.

Think about it: When’s the last time you were COMPLETELY FULFILLED by your iPhone? Or your car? Or your house? Or your newest gadget?

I can help you with that one….never.

We have never and will never be completely fulfilled by the things of this world. Complete fulfillment…peace…can only come from Jesus Christ – His presence in your life.

So what do we do with this new-found knowledge of peace?
We act.  
We ask for less.
We expect less.
We desire less.

And we serve - serve others.
People we know.
People we don’t.

Why? Because that’s what Jesus did. He served us with his life by leaving His Father in Heaven, coming to Earth, and dying on a cross for our sake and our sake alone. 

Where does my “heart condition” come in?
Well… my husband and I are expecting our first child this coming April - a blessing that we have been praying for and are so excited about. And just like any new blessing, there are hardships that we are preparing to face with this little addition to our family.

One of those hard conversations that we have been having revolve around our financial budget and just how we are going to make it work with another mouth to feed and all the time and attention a baby needs and deserves.

Sparing you the not-so-fun details… we have absolutely no idea about how God is going to help us make it through this time of financial change in our lives. Literally… no idea.

And for the past few days this fear-of-the-unknown has plagued my heart and my mind for hours on end. I kid you not – I have lost exorbitant amounts of sleep and sanity worrying about how my God will provide for me – knowing that he WILL – but wondering HOW? My heart has ached to feel financial security.

And the final answer is this… it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how He provides or even that He does provide.

What matters is my hearts willingness to follow Him wherever He leads me; To the ends of the Earth, through the valley of the shadow of death, to unknown places – just follow.

If I find myself and my family with our finances completely depleted…then I’ll be in the company of Paul when he penned these words:
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead….. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  
(2 Corinthians 1:9; 4:18)

My personal conclusion and my charge to you is this:
Say YES to the calling. No matter the price. Regardless of what you have to give up. Just say ‘yes’. And God will see you through. You won’t know how. I don’t know how.

But I know that the only way to get over my “heart condition”… to have true peace… complete fulfillment… is to embrace the calling that God has called me to. 

All My Love,
~ Susan Lowry

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Everyone Has A Nineveh

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish…
~Jonah 1:1-3a

Modern day Nineveh isn’t the loveliest of places, but it is nothing in comparison to the ancient city of Nineveh which stuck terror into entire regions. 

Modern Day Nineveh:

As the capital of Assyria, Nineveh sat along the eastern bank of the Tigris River.  At the time of Jonah, this city, which was referred to as the ”city of bloodshed” in Nahum 3:1, was considered to be one of the most powerful and unforgiving cities in the entire region.

Let’s answer the following “Why’s” about this Biblical story:

Why run?
There could be any number reasons that aren’t found in the direct Biblical text as to WHY Jonah ran away from where God was calling him. However, God did give us insight into the city of Nineveh when he talks about its treachery in the book of Nahum, specifically in verses one through four of chapter three.

Knowing what a scary place it must have been, especially for a prophet of God, it is easy to see why Jonah’s immediate inclination would be to run. Going to Nineveh would likely mean being mocked, treated as a fool, attacked, and even possibly killed. 

Why Tarshish?
Many scholars believe that Jonah fled to Tarshish because the city was considered in that time to be towards the end of the earth, and was literally as far east as you could go. The city of Tarshish sat on the coast of today’s Spain and to Jonah looked like his best option for getting away from the city of Nineveh

Why us?
As we read this story of Jonah, we see a man who hears from God and runs the other direction. It sounds so silly doesn’t it? Yet…we do it every day. We run from things that make us uncomfortable and things that frighten us. Dear ones, we can’t let ourselves be led astray by our fears. In fact, 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind.

Hear this: everyone has a Ninevah – a place that we feel God calling us to. We have two options in the midst of a calling: to answer or to flee. Beloved if there is one simple plea that I can make with you today, it would be this: Do not fear and do not flee! Answer the call. Take the challenge. Go to Nineveh.

I promise that God will not forsake you or leave you, and that you will feel his presence even more in the midst of your obedience.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Changing Our Filter

As I type this I am riding in a van home from a family vacation – totally exhausted & a bit loopy, but nevertheless, with a word on my heart from God…. to change my filter.

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a lover of all things tea & coffee :) So, I have a lot of experience with filters. However, for as much as I change my coffee, tea & even water filters, I have a burden in my heart to take a really good look at my “life filter”.
Everything we do and see passes through a filter before it reaches the place where our brain determines it’s worth. Our filter can be made up of our experiences, our trust, our personality – so many things. For the most part, I believe that our filters are made up of our emotions. If we are in a good mood – we will filter everything through a positive light. If we are grouchy – everything get’s filters more suspiciously. If we are tired… well, you get the idea.

Ask yourself this question today: What in my life would change if I started to filter things through a Godly filter? What would that do to my relationships? My conversations? Our lives?

Let me challenge you today to begin using your God filter – to filter everything you do, see and experience through a lens that points back to eternality and supremacy of God.

Praying for you dear ones.