Moments In The Story

Taking time to appreciate the journey….


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Starting with Sincerity

“Mama, I just want to play with you”. Believe me – I hear that statement about 15 times a day. And the other day, in particular was a rough day. You know…the kind when both kids are taking turns crying, or crying at the same time all….day….long. And like most days lately, I thought I had broken my record for the amount of times I’d said “no” in one day.  And while I was trying to find yet another thing he could play with so I could take my 5-minute “wash only the important parts” shower, he stopped me in my tracks.

“Mama, I just want to play with you”.

There was a soft tone, his eyes meeting mine, and I really saw him. I didn’t see the “whiney” child who will not obey, or the older brother who knows not to take things away from his younger brother…I saw his sincere need. I prolonged my shower again and sat down to play with my son for a few minutes, but with a calm demeanor and a genuine desire. Just a few positive moments with his mama was all he needed. And I needed it even more. His sincerity brought a unique restoration that our relationship was in need of.

Twice in the past few weeks I have sat across the table at coffee shops from someone I dearly loved as we approached a delicate conversation. In each situation both of us listened and received what the other person had to say. And each of us felt heard. We processed, rather than blamed. We saw it as an opportunity to grow as individuals. And we put the person above the issue. Each situation was different, but one thing was the same – we each chose sincerity.

Now doesn’t that sound nice and simple? Well I can’t tell you how much frustration, hurt and confusion I had to work through prior to these meetings. In one case, I was feeling hurt and helpless…and I was getting ready to formulate my position on paper so I wouldn’t forget my points. I was going to do that right after I whizzed through my Bible reading for that day. As I was skimming through my reading, I saw the phrase “draw near to God with a sincere heart”. I stopped and immediately softened. I talked to God about it and I told Him how I really felt. I sensed His mercy and love for the situation. And I stopped planning and kept praying for His help in communicating and listening through a heart of sincerity.

Many times we approach conflicts or miscommunications as a battle to be fought. But I believe that our deepest longing underneath it all is to be understood. It’s scary to ask that of someone who has hurt us or is angry at us. I’ve heard people say, “well I’m just keeping it real”. What they are really doing is spewing – but without transparency, and with an agenda. Or there’s the person that postures as if they are listening, but uses deflection, blame-shifting, or “spiritual” reasoning to avoid owning their part of the problem.

I don’t think we even care about receiving an apology as much as we long for sincerity. It disarms us. It takes the angry breath out of our chest. It brings tears to our eyes. Even love without sincerity means nothing. But our words, spoken through the lens of sincerity can love others well beyond even well-meaning, truthful words. When someone communicates with me through sincerity, their words are received in my heart. And when I choose a path of sincerity, I end up speaking truth, being transparent, and avoiding the tendency to manipulate.

Our lives are busy and our days are full. We don’t always have the time to think through how to respond to every encounter we will have that day. We also don’t have the wisdom on our own to navigate through every difficult, even long-term problem with someone. But there is one thing we can do…we can start with sincerity….and see where it leads. Even if the person does not receive our sincerity, we will have a peace because we have been honest in a loving way. And we will not have regrets. Sincerity is the only “real” way to be. It may not lead to complete resolution, but it will lead to restoration – even if that is only for our own heart.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…….and let us spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10)


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Waldo Canyon Moments

Ironically, this was written a few weeks ago and I put it aside. For some reason, at the time I wasn’t ready to share this. The picture on my homepage is a beautiful mountain landscape, taken from my favorite hike at Waldo Canyon (and posted prior to the recent fire and destruction of Waldo). Many years ago in 1998 I discovered that hike during a difficult summer of going through a life-changing, traumatic experience. I was very young, and I was trying to put the pieces of life back together. My wonderful parents were with me on most of my many hikes on that trail and were a huge support to me that summer. We spent each two-and-a-half hour hike processing my circumstances and decisions. Most importantly, their unconditional love and support pointed me to God and taught me something about crying out to Him in my time of emotional turmoil.

The years following, I spent many days hiking and running at Waldo Canyon with various friends and family members. I think it became my favorite hike not only because of the beautiful scenery but because of the many important moments I shared along that trail. The best way to describe it for me is I always felt close to God when I was at Waldo Canyon. Sometimes you don’t even realize the meaning behind something until you look back on it, even years later.

In 2002 I began dating my amazing husband. We have almost been married seven years! During our three years of dating, we experienced a lot of outdoor adventures, as we both love to be active. We hiked a lot of trails, including this one! One gorgeous day in May 2005, we decided to hike here. As we were hiking and talking, I was looking at the ground and I noticed a few rose pedals on the trail. The rose pedals became thicker and soon led up to a large rock overlooking the many peaks around us. It took me awhile to get my bearings and piece together my husband’s upcoming proposal. Beside that rock, with my hands in his, he asked me to marry him. One of the pink roses given to me that day was placed on the “rock” and we took the picture you can see on my homepage. That flower was preserved and now sits in a commemorative glass box in our bedroom so that we can remember that special day. But to tell you the truth, this picture means more to me than anything and here’s why: it wasn’t until a few days after our engagement that I was able to realize that a bad story journeyed on this trail intersected with a new story of love and joy. Same trail, different story. The rock where I used to stop and take a water break while pondering a painful journey became the same spot seven years later where I would find a man kneeling with a ring. My husband did not know the meaning of this trail – he did not plan this out. It just happened. And I didn’t see this symbol of redemption until I thought of it later.

Since writing this post, Waldo Canyon had been consumed with fire, and today it still burns. My heart aches. But I’m grateful for the memories and moments I enjoyed there…and I will never forget. And more importantly, I continue to pray for the fire to be contained, and for protection for the homes in jeopardy.Image

© Kristin Gordley and Moments In The Story, June 2012.