Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thriving During Lent. . .and the rest of the year too.

Every January instead of making resolutions I pick a word for the year.

I haven't shared it until now because it's personal (I know that's funny for a blog writer to say)

and in some ways embarrassing too, so, besides my family and a few close friends I've kept it pretty


Now, we are in the season of Lent and as I was thinking on Lent and how it related to me (I'm

a good little Baptist girl so the whole thing is still pretty new to me) and how it related to my

word for the year they just weren't coming together.

My word for  the year is Thrive.

I want my prayer, my goal, my aim to be to Thrive in all areas of my life: Health, Family and

Relationships, Ministry-and how this all ties into my Spiritual life.

Health- getting my weight under some sort of control, getting fit-not skinny, getting active.

Well as of today I've lost 34lbs. I've got 100 more to go, but I am making good progress and I'm

excited.  I'm working out 3x a week.  And, this may be one of the most

important components for me, I'm taking my meds regularly (I have Hashimoto's Disease and I

can be a really bad patient).** BTW, thriving, in this area has nothing to do with a number on a scale

and everything to do with control and who has it.**

Family and Relationships- investing in those I love at a deeper level than I have been.

Often I am tired and worn-like any other mom/wife/woman and the LAST thing I want to do

is invest more in people. Even the people I dearly love.  But, I want my husband, kids, family,

friends to look back at their lives and know I gave them everything I could. Not just everything

I wanted to.

Ministry- Can I be honest here? I hope so because I'm going to be and I hope it doesn't scare you. . .

ministry can be draining with a capital D.  I have two sides of ministry: I'm the women's ministry

team leader for my church and also I have the ministry (writing/speaking/listening) of Lessons From

Aisle 12.  (And I also work 16 hours a week at my youngest school-which I love, which is ministry

which I am so thankful for. . .which is draining.)  But, this year I want to Thrive in ministry.  I want to

see the ministry of Lessons From Aisle 12 to grow and blossom-not for personal glory, but the

message that God has given me to be broadcast to women  everywhere, that God sees you, He's right

there where you are at work in your life-Yes EVEN in the aisle of the grocery store.

Big dreams.  Big Big Dreams.

Thriving this year -this life-not just surviving.

So, back to Lent.  How in the world does thriving  have single thing to do with Lent?

Lent which has the connotation of giving something up, of sacrifice.

I could not stop churning this over trying to see how the two could go together.

And then it hit me.

John chapter 10. . .Jesus is talking about why He is here and what He came to do-and this is the

phrase I've got rolling around in my head that I just can't let go of :"I have come that they may 

have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

Abundant life-Thriving. . .that's what my prayer for the year is and so that is what my prayer for this

Lenten season is as well.  

What does that mean on a practical level for me?  Well, I don't have all the answers but I know it

doesn't have anything to do with 'giving up' of something that most associate with the concept of 

Lent.  For now it is taking on the shape of service. Service where it's not expected or where there is

 no personal recognition. For me, this is how I am "Thriving" this Lenten Season.

This is a very personal post, that some will misunderstand, some will mock, but I know for others

they will be able to relate.  Mere survival is no longer an option for me.  For some, that's all you

can do right now, and I get that too.  But, for me, the time is up on survival. It's time to Thrive.

To live this abundant life fully and completely, after all the Savior came and sacrificed all He had so 

that I could.

I would love to hear your personal stories of Thriving.

Walking this road with you,

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Imperfect Hearts

Belle, our sweet 8 year old, made homemade Valentines for her classmates this year.

Which, don't get me wrong-I LOVE that about her-but you should understand that homemade

Valentines take MUCH longer to make than writing your name on a box of 23 cards.

But, that was ok, we had a plan and we were going to work our plan.

While I was at work Daddy was going to print off the saying she was going to glue to the hearts

she'd cut out, then when I got home we'd decorate the Twinkie's to look like Minions.

A little teamwork and we'd be go to go.

And we were.

Except I forgot to mention to Daddy that he might want to show her how to fold the paper in half to

cut the 'perfect' heart, instead of free handing them.

When I got home this is what I found

Adorable, right?

You know what I was having a hard time getting past? The imperfect heart.

She was so proud, they were almost done, so I didn't say anything.  

I've been thinking about those imperfect hearts though these past couple of days as the

world celebrates love and personally The Mailman and I celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary.

Two imperfect hearts.  Yep there's probably no better way to describe us.

Two broken kids (that's what we were at 20/23-CHILDREN I SAY -who let us out of the house??) 

carrying a lot of baggage  were either handed or packed ourselves.

About has imperfect as you can get.  But in the middle of ALL the imperfections we've found

love and a whole lotta grace there.

Perfect people don't either. We need more than our share.

So, today and tomorrow we celebrate our imperfect hearts made perfect by a loving and oh so patient


All the tears, fights, misunderstandings and hurt feelings. . .all the kisses, love and three beautiful 

babies, all the hospital stays, sleepless nights and fatigue, all the adventures and misadventures, the

wild nights and the quiet ones.  The laughter that outweighs the anger.  The tenacity to stick it out and 

hold on even when it would've been easier to let go. The love that gets better and grows deeper every


Every time I think of Sis and those imperfect class Valentines, I'm going to think of my own

imperfect heart and how God took two broken imperfect kids and wrote them a love story where they

could only point back and give all the credit to Him.

And, if I may be so bold to offer a word of advice. . .stop waiting for the perfect valentine. . .whether 

you're married to yours and waiting to find them.  There's no such thing.  And the beauty, love and

overwhelming grace you find in the imperfections . . .well it's just about perfect this side of Heaven.

You are deeply and dearly loved,

Friday, February 6, 2015

Peace and Quiet- and the reality of that never happening.

My blog has been hugely ignored for almost a month now.

Not out of desire but necessity.

Hubby had knee surgery and because of some complications what was supposed to be on outpatient

surgery landed him a couple of days in the hospital.

As soon as he got home, two other family members had ER visits, both of them physically and

emotionally draining.

Oh and the day of an event I was facilitating and speaking at,  I fell down the stairs and broke my toe.

And it was 5:00 in the morning-

talk about insult to injury.

All the while trying to balance work, home, family and ministry.

In the middle of all this chaos I am reminded of Galatians 5:22 where I am told "Peace" in a

Fruit of the Spirit.

My reply, "Ok Lord, bring on the peace! I'm here and waiting-make everything and EVERYONE

around me peaceful!  If these people could just get it together I WOULD BE THE MOST


And yet it just never seems to quite work that way.

(Maybe your family is different, maybe you've always got it together. But, that's not life here

at the Wilkinson's and I hope my honesty doesn't terrify you.)


As I've been pondering these thoughts about peace over and over in my mind, the Lord kept brining

me back to Peter.  Boisterous, impatient, impetuous, imperfect Peter-who was loved and chosen,

 flaws and all by Jesus and who followed Him-even in the middle of the storm.


Mathew 14:22-34 tell us the familiar account of Peter stepping out of the boat and walking on the

water to Jesus.

And, if you're around my age and grew up in church you can see the flannel graph characters clearly

in your mind.  But, we've got to remember these were real men with real fears.


When we read or remember the story of Peter walking on the water, I think in our heart of hearts

many of us would say we want that kind of experience.  A grand faith explosion-but what happens

is instead of walking on water we're waiting for Jesus of calm the storm around us.

Listen I know we've all got storms, whether they are financial, health related, relationships or

emotional-- or maybe we've got all of them at the same time.  Storms are apart of the broken world.

Either we've just passed through one, we're in the middle of one or there's one brewing on the


Just like storms were apart of the Faithful Fisherman's life they are apart of ours as well.


Peter didn't wait for things to calm down before he got out of the boat, in fact if you look back over

the entirety of the chapter it is remarkable to realize what all the disciples have just gone through in

a very short amount of time.

Verses 1-12 they learn about their friend and Jesus beloved cousin, John the Baptist had just been

beheaded.  They go from grieving to the crowds pressing in to hear and see Jesus (verses 13-21)

and finding themselves needing to provide dinner for 5000+ with only two small loaves and 5 tiny

fish.  From witnessing and experiencing that amazing miracle, they find themselves being put

into a boat in verse 22 and Jesus sending them off.

And then that little boat finds itself and it's occupants being beaten about by the wind in the middle

of the night. . .

I don't know about you, but after reading how quickly those events followed one another in

succession, I need a nap.

But, when Jesus said come, Peter didn't ask  Jesus to calm the storm, he got out of the boat,

and because of that was able to experience an event like no other that has gone down in the

pages of time.


That's where I find myself these days, and I'm guessing many of you do as well.

The storm swirling all around us and even IN us and Jesus says, "Come".

Now, don't get me wrong, He CAN calm the storm too, but we have to wrap our weary souls, bodies

and minds around the fact that He doesn't have to for us to have peace.

Our circumstances do not dictate our peace.  Our peace comes from The One in whom we put

our trust and hope.

So, whether we rise up to face the wind, or find ourselves dropping to our knees in humble prayer

let's hide these words from Isaiah 26:3-4 deep in our hearts:

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Our circumstances may never be peaceful this side of Heaven, but we fix our eyes on Jesus-because

He is our peace.

Join me in praying these words from Psalm 29:11 back to the Lord:  The Lord gives strength to his people ;the Lord blesses his people with peace.

We are promised strength and peace and we find them both in one name-Jesus.

May our minds and hearts be fixed on him in the middle of our storms.

Journeying with you,