Posts by traceymetzger

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One of the greatest games my mom ever taught me to play was the Glad Game.

She adopted it from a character from the 1913 book Pollyanna.  Pollyanna’s philosophy revolved around this “game” that she learned from her father.  The object of the game is to find something to be glad about in every situation.  It’s ironic really because in the book the Pollyanna’s Glad Game was put to the test when she was hit by a car and lost the use of her legs. I’m sure that my mother had know idea when she read it that she would suffer a similar fate.

When life throws challenging and difficult situations it can be very hard to keep “playing” but my mom was the Queen of the Glad Game.  She could find always find something to be glad about. We used to make fun of her for it but now I am so grateful because it has shaped how I respond to life.

As some of you reading this know, my mom was traumatically brain injured in a car accident in 1991. It left her almost completely immobile, unable to speak, eat on her own or do anything for herself.  She required 24 hour care and so she lived in a nursing home for almost 20 years before she died this past September.

Yet, when we would visit her we were always greeted with a big smile and she would type out happy encouraging little messages on a machine.  We could print out those messages and they have become treasures now that she is gone from us.

My mom played the Glad Game right up until the end of her life on earth.

Mother’s Day could potentially be a tough day for me but I chose to play the Glad Game in honor of my mom this year.  In the morning when I woke I realized that I am glad that her suffering is over.  I am glad that this Mother’s day instead of laying in a nursing home she is free and whole in heaven. That is something to be happy about.

I invited my sisters over with their families.  And I was so GLAD they could come. We had tea and I got to enjoy my brand new nephew and all of the family.  My step mom and mother-in-law were there and I am GLAD I have them in my life.

It is a temptation to dwell on the negative when your heart hurts but there is joy when we can choose to find something to be grateful for and glad about. That was part of the legacy my mom left me and I am so glad she did 😉

glad game,positive thinking, happy, glad, mother, sad.

Think about some things in your life that you can be glad about today.  Feel free to share them in the comments.  Sometimes it’s good to say it out loud.

I know it’s a day late…but love and blessings to all the moms. It is by far the hardest but most rewarding job there is!

dream, perseverance, faith One of my favorite books is called The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. It is a modern day parable of a man named Ordinary from the Land of Familiar who is visited by the Dream Giver and given a Dream.

I read it at least once a year. It reminds me that the ups and downs that I experience as I pursue the dreams God has given me are all part of the journey and common to any dreamer.

The chapter outline alone comforts me. It helps me recognize where I am in the dream cycle. Here is the outline and maybe you can identify where you are.

1. Ordinary Embraced His Big Dream
2. Ordinary Leaves His Comfort Zone
3. Ordinary Meets Bullies in the Borderland
4. Ordinary Enters the Wasteland
5. Ordinary finds Sanctuary
6. Ordinary Reaches the Valley of the Giants
7. Ordinary Thrives in the Land of Promise

This past fall I entered the wasteland. In the winter I found sanctuary and gained the strength I needed to face the giants. Now, I am ready to enter into the land of promise. How about you? Can you identify with any of these stages of the dream cycle?

Be comforted today as you pursue your dreams that as we are tried and tested we are still making progress towards the land of promise ~ it is there waiting for us if we persevere.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

perseveranceThere is nothing worse than being in limbo.  I’ve been there many times it’s no fun.

You can see the “next” thing in your mind. You have already moved on mentally from where you are and being stuck there physically feels like being imprisoned.

In retrospect though, I can see that in those times there was some unfinished work that needed to be done before I moved on.  Of course it’s much easier to see with hindsight.

The one thing you don’t want to do is take matters into your own hands and try to force things to happen before their time.  I’ve tried that – it’s not pretty.  You can read about it in this blog.

Most of the times that I have been in a prolonged waiting period it has been for one of these three reasons.

1. There was something I still needed to learn before I was ready for the “next thing” 

Waiting is often a character building and testing time.  It is easy to shine when we are getting exactly what we want and desire but in those times when we are waiting we are developing character that will help sustain us once we get there. Ask God to show you exactly what He wants you to learn in the limbo time.

2. Someone else needed me right where I was (and it wasn’t all about me – imagine that!?!) 

It could be that you are in a holding pattern because there is someone right where you are who needs the hope that you have.  Look for opportunities right where you are to finish out that season strong.  I remember longing to begin FTGI and start ministering to women but I was stuck working in a job that didn’t give me much time to devote to it. Praying on my drive to work one morning I felt God whisper – start right where you are.  When I got to work a young girl and I started chatting and she asked if we could meet for coffee because she thought she could learn from me.  Ministry was right in front of me and I was overlooking it, anxious to move on.

3. Whatever I was moving on to was not ready for me yet.

My daughter’s adoption always comes to mind when I think of waiting. When I was “ready” to have my baby already and so “done” with the waiting, I still had a year to go. Now I know it was because she had not even been born yet.  Thank God that in His providence He did not grant my wish for it to happen sooner.  There is no doubt that she is my child and I would have waited even longer just for her!

Sometimes it’s one of these, sometimes two and it could be all three but know that there is something being accomplished in your waiting time and it is not in vain.

Let patience have it’s perfect work (James 1:4) One day soon you will mount up with wings and FLY!

You can’t rush God.  I’ve tried. strength, strong, depression, anxiety, stress, waiting, courage, heart

Patience is not one of my virtues.  Most people don’t like to wait but some are more impatient than others. I run with that crowd.

As much as I don’t like waiting I have come to embrace it, knowing that in those times when we feel like we are in a holding pattern, we are actually gaining something invaluable – STRENGTH.

My husband works out on a regular basis doing WEIGHT training – and sometimes he drags me along. I don’t like it, but I do it because I know that I will gain strength from it. If I choose the weight myself I usually go for the lighter, easier option.  When my husband comes along he always makes me increase the amount I am lifting.  He explained to me that unless I am pushing my muscles beyond their normal limitation I will not be accomplishing anything but conditioning.  If I want to build muscle (strength) I have to push myself and increase the weight to a somewhat uncomfortable amount. This causes the muscle fibers to actually tear.  But what happens after that is amazing. After the workout the muscles fibers heal and it is a scientific fact that they come back bigger and stronger!

There are times in my life when the WAIT training I have had to endure seemed endless and beyond my normal limitation. When all I felt was torn down and ripped apart it was hard to imagine that I would ever feel strong again. That is where patience and endurance come into play.  The word of God tells us that if we are patient and endure we will receive all that we have been promised.  It seems that patience is a requirement of the waiting period. In my experience, I have never been granted deliverance from a waiting period until I have learned to patiently endure.

Of course there are times in life when we have to fight for a breakthrough but more often than not I have had to wait for the breakthrough. Knowing that my heart was being strengthened in the process was a comfort.

Do you find yourself in a holding pattern? Be brave and wait patiently for the God to reveal all that He has planned for you.  And in the meantime take courage that you are getting stronger every minute!

I grew up on Long Island.  Although I have lived on the west coast of Florida, which boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches for the past 20 years, Jones Beach will always be the most beautiful beach to me because it is home.

If I close my eyes I can feel the gritty sand in my toes and hear the seagulls and the waves crashing to the shore. As a little kid I would play on the shore line, building sandcastles and jumping over the remainder of the breaker waves as they rolled up towards the beach.  As I got older I became more adventurous and learned how to ride the waves in as they broke.

It is an exhilarating feeling to catch a good wave at precisely the right moment and get a nice clean ride in. But occasionally you can be blindsided by a wave and get pummeled by it because you weren’t expecting it. Sometimes in an attempt to ride a wave you can jump in at the wrong time resulting in being creamed by the force of the current. This is a scary experience.  In a matter of seconds you are being spun uncontrollably and it is incredibly difficult to find your bearings. It feels like the ocean is sucking you downward. If you are not accustomed to navigating the unpredictable activity of an undertow it is easy to panic.  I have been caught in some crazy waves that in the moment have made me wonder if I would survive.

Fortunately like most kids who are raised by the beach, I was taught at a young age how to handle such situations and even though it could be frightening I knew that if I followed some simple rules of survival the wave would eventually subside and I would once again rise to the surface and be able to breathe.

The first rule was HOLD YOUR BREATH AND DON’T PANIC.  The duration of even a huge ocean wave is shorter than the amount of time you can hold your breath. The tendency when we panic is to gasp for breath but if when the wave hits you just hold your breath and don’t panic in time the waters will smooth out and the air in your body will cause you to rise to the surface.

The second rule was DON’T FIGHT IT – GO WITH THE FLOW. Our natural reaction when we’re being knocked around and feel out of control is to fight to regain our footing but this is actually counterproductive when trying to react to a wave. All you will end up doing is completely exhausting yourself.  Instead the trick is to relax your body and let yourself go with it until the wave passes.  The force of the wave is far stronger than you are and fighting against it is futile. If you can calmly wait it out you will soon be released, your feet will find the ground and you will be able to push up to the surface and find your bearings. This is easier said than done when you are being tossed about by the waves!

Some kids (and grown-ups for that matter) having been pummeled by a wave once decided it was not worth the risk and do not engage in the joy of riding the waves. They didn’t learn the survival tips for managing the undertow and so they settle for just playing in the shallow breakers. They are missing out on the exhilaration of swimming in the ocean.  It is an incredible feeling to be carried by the rise and fall of the ocean swells and something thrilling about playing in the vastness of the sea.

Life is often like this. A series of waves, some invigorating and awe-inspiring and others downright frightening and disorienting. But it shouldn’t stop us from engaging. If we want to experience all the joy and wonder that this life has to offer we need to pack up our coping skills and dive in deep.

crashing waves, panic, depression, coping, fear

This is not me – but what a great picture!
photo credit
Young girl in the waves, Jones Beach, New York. July 1951, by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
www.entertaininghouse.com

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Instead of playing in the shallow breakers I am ready to dive in.  This is an unedited, first attempt excerpt from a short book I am writing. Stay tuned!

If you are in the swirl of an undertow please know that this too shall pass.  Hold your breath (or since you are not really in the ocean – take some deep breaths) ~ don’t panic.  Before you know it you will be in smooth waters once again. 

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. ~ Psalm 107:29

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