Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hanging Onto My Hat



My seven-year-old niece and I spent the day at an antiques market. She headed straight to a booth called the Paris Market, where she tried on a bunch of vintage hats. 

She’s loved wearing hats, even from babyhood, but I’ve never been much of a hat-girl. 


Except for a short phase when I was a teenager and wore a baseball cap everywhere as proof of my devotion to the Pittsburgh Pirates, which didn't do much for my blossoming femininity. During my college years I wore a red hat that made me feel like a princess since I had seen a photo of Princess Diana wearing something similar.


I still have the red hat. It sits on my dressmaker’s head atop my 1940s suitcase on display in my living room.


Baseball caps and princess hats are fun to try on, but sometimes I think about the hats I wear in my life's roles and relationships.



My responsibilities of being an aunt, sister, daughter, friend. 


My professional positions of writer, communicator and colleague.

My spare time pursuits of reader, baker and decorator. 


Some of these hats are bigger than I am and wearing them makes me feel kind of small.


God has been reminding me that contrary to what I might think, there isn’t just one wonderful, superb and exceptional way to fulfill all the roles and relationships he’s given me in my life. 

Because I want to do things competently and confidently, I end up worrying about what I'm doing right or wrong and focusing too much on myself. 



Just this week, once again I read the beautiful story in II Chronicles of King Jehoshaphat gathering the people of Israel for a battle and leading them in prayer. 

“Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (II Chr. 20:12)

When I look beyond myself, I’m discovering that I’m an encourager, listener and supporter. And even though these might not be actual words, I'm also a persever-er, pray-er, hope-er. 


I'm trying on a new hat too.


I've always wanted to learn how to cook. I want to cook real meals that could taste delicious, instead of my very limited repertoire of one pasta dish, salads and quiche.

So I've registered for a six-week beginner’s culinary course. It's way outside my comfort zone but I'm excited to try something new.



As I've arrived at the mid-point of my life, I wonder if God has something more for me. He's been stirring things up. Getting my attention. 


As if he wants me to realize that there are new chapters of my life still to write and he invites me to join him as together, we write new passages. 

A while ago, 
I started looking for God in the middle of my ordinary days. And I started seeing him. Everywhere. I saw him in the little details of my life and I watched him move a few mountains.

Over time, I noticed a subtle shift in how I was thinking about God and approaching the days of my life. 

I wanted to be right beside him so I could hear what he was thinking about me. I found myself eager to do things that scared me, stretched me and opened my heart.


My life started quaking. Cracks appeared in the stony walls around my heart. 


Uncertainty and possibility sparkled as I took a few risky footsteps of faith and began to hope.

I continue to be amazed at how perfectly this movement of my heart is tailored to me. 



I am extremely slow to adapt to change. I consider and contemplate for a long time. Spontaneous will never be a word to describe me.


But God knows this about me. 

I don’t think he’s bothered by it because so often he gives me just what I need. 

He gives me considerable amounts of time to think and pray and wait on him. 

So he can show me that even when my life feels stale and stationary, I can believe that God’s plans and purposes are still moving forward.


Following God is inexplicable and mysterious and strangely powerful and captivating.


Sometimes I want to tell him that I’ve waited here long enough and I’m ready to move on to the next place he has for me. But he seems to say, “Just trust me. When I’m ready to turn the page, I will.”


So I unpack my suitcase and hang up my hat for a while longer. 

But I’m prayerfully going to be ready to move on ahead at the drop of a hat.


I'm linked up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart and with Sarah Ann at Faith Along the WayWill you join me there?





21 comments:

  1. Amen to all of this! Especially " 
Following God is inexplicable and mysterious and strangely powerful and captivating."

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    1. Sarah,
      Always happy to see you here, friend! :)

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  2. Thank you for this uplifting post. It's good to know our hearts have so much in common & that God knows exactly how to work in our lives. Blessings, Valerie!

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    1. Renee,
      Love meeting another sweet sister and yes, God's work is amazing in our lives! Thank you for your kind words!

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  3. Your words are uplifting and your images, delightful. I especially loved this simple sentence: "A while ago, 
I started looking for God in the middle of my ordinary days." It's a game changer, isn't it? Thanks for sharing with us today.

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    1. Natalie,
      Yes, it's amazing how looking for him changes our perspective! Thanks so much for reading!

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  4. This quote speaks to me so much. I was watching the movie "About Time" this week, and one of the main themes is about how we can choose to live in the past or choose to move on to enjoy what we have yet to discovered. I love that we have so much more to do that what's in the past is only about where we find ourselves today. Another great post that is thought provoking and enlightening!

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    1. Bree,
      I think looking forward gives us hope. I can't wait to enjoy what is yet to be discovered -- love that!

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  5. "When I look beyond myself, I’m discovering that I’m an encourager, listener and supporter." - Perfect!

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  6. I think my comment went to the note below. Enjoy the articles.....have had difficult times - lightning hit and Eric's health issues - plue work challenges! I always enjoy your articles - thanks for letting God use you thru your writing - your articles are a light in my stormy days!

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    1. Sharon,
      I've missed your encouragement here! Praying for you!

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  7. Valerie, I'm a new visitor and already a new follower. What a wonderful look at the daily. It's just too easy to leave God in church on Sunday or in our prayer closet throughout the week. I absolutely love the way you take everyday activities and apply His love, grace, and mercy. Blessings as you where the many hats He hands you.

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    1. Deb,
      Thank you so much for your sweet words and I'm thrilled you're here! :)

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  8. How I love this post and the photos. I am so glad that you stopped by my blog this week, so that I could get to know you by visiting your blog as well. I just read this a few minutes ago and it is a good fit for what God is speaking through your life in this post: "We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God." Chambers. I am pinning your post to my weekly favorites board on pintrest.

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    1. Ginger,
      Thank you for your wonderfully encouraging words! So grateful you stopped by and now we are friends! :)

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  9. Valerie- once again you hit me right in the heart. It's time to just wait, trust, and hope... Thank you for the reminder!

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    1. Tami,
      So grateful for your encouragement -- praying for you as you hope and trust. Praying that God meets you in the midst of it.

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  10. I love this - “Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Thank you for another inspiring post. More importantly (not really), is that a menu for a vegan restaurant? Where? xoxo

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    1. Diana,
      The vegan restaurant was in NYC! It would be nice to have one of them here since they had delicious biscuits and scones!

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  11. Beautiful, as always, Valerie! I love that God challenges us and stretches us beyond the roles we think we are called for. Let us know how your cooking class turns out! How fun and exciting! Thanks for linking to the Saturday Soiree Blog Party!

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