Autumn Grace

Finding Your Sweet Spot

I’m in a sweet spot. I’ve arrived at that season of parenting where my children can get ready to leave for our weekly home school co-op, piano lessons, or a road trip, independently.  They can wake up to their own alarms and fix their own breakfasts. Getting loaded into the SUV doesn’t require bulky car seats and strong biceps. No more diaper bags or coolers of bottled formula on our road trips. It’s a much less complicated business traveling with kids who aren’t ages 8, 4, 3 and newborn. I’m yawning just typing that- four kids aged 8 and under.

Though travel now is less complicated, life is still complex. It’s just complicated in other areas. Now it’s college tuition, driver’s licenses, sibling spats with hormones in play, broken hearts, and serious big life questions. But it’s still sweet.

Sweet that the Man-Cub, 20 next month, calls to ask advice about class registration, or how to mail a letter. Major Mom fail that he didn’t know if he definitely needed a stamp to mail a letter. True story. Sweet that the 6 foot, 16 year old smiles his crooked smile at me while one upping me with his wit or brain power. All of my kids are definitely going to be smarter than me. Please don’t tell them because sometimes they think they already know everything. Sweet that the 14 year old says I’m her best friend. I hang on to that the days her eye rolls outnumber her smiles. Sweet that the 11 year old hugs me a dozen times a day. I mean literally a dozen times.  So I often need to remind myself that this won’t last forever, and I need to cherish all 12 times.

In days gone by, despite my sleep deprived state of functioning, there were lots of sweet spots. Sweet that I could rock 8 pounds of perfection to sleep. Sweet that my clothes were covered in sticky peanut butter and jelly fingerprints, after snuggling with a toddler while watching Elmo for the 800th time. Sweet to be woken up by bright green eyes and a head full of ringlets demanding breakfast at 6AM. Sweet in the sacred moment when all four were finally tucked in and my head was blissfully hitting the pillow.

In our everyday, right now, I believe we can find our sweet spot. Hopefully a lot of them. It often means asking God for His bigger picture perspective. Or taking a step back, laying aside some emotions and taking a long term view of our right now circumstances. It might take seeking the wise counsel of a trusted friend who can point out the truths we need to hear. Often an objective viewpoint from a counselor or pastor is what it takes to help us see past the deep fog of grief and blur of tears when we’re in a suffering kind of place. Because even when we’re in those hard places He’s there. Jesus is present. Always.

It’s Jesus present, that causes my dear friend, knee deep in the chaotic trenches of raising six children to find a beautiful melody in the midst of it all. It’s Jesus that helps my favorite pastor, serve hundreds of seniors in his community while living with congestive heart failure. It’s Jesus that enabled me to find a sweet spot of midnight Oreos and talks with my 13 year old son, when I was a single mom. It’s Jesus that shows me the sweet spots in the mundane Monday that’s filled with mounds of laundry, sixth grade math corrections, and making dinner- again!

So, what’s the sweet spot in your life today? Maybe you can’t see it. Maybe you’ve forgotten that Jesus is in this with you. Maybe you need to ask Him for a different viewpoint? A bigger picture? What if you considered your right now circumstances in light of eternity? Maybe you need to pick up the phone and set up a lunch date with that wise friend. Maybe you need to read the promises He gave us in His Word. It’s so easy to forget. Maybe you just need to make some time for your soul to rest.  Take a slow, scenic drive or even better, a nap! Maybe you need to reach out to a counselor or pastor for some help to see where the sweet spots are in the midst of your difficult right now.

My prayer for you, and for me, is that we will walk and talk with Jesus daily.  Because journeying with Him in our everyday, is the secret to finding our sweet spot.  ~Cory-Lynn

Psalm 34:18 (NIV) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Further Still

Further Still.

Ever found yourself there?  It’s a lonely place.  It’s a hard place.  No one wants to go there.

Beth Moore shared those two words, Further Still, during a Bible study I attended a decade ago.  She expounds on it beautifully in her book by the same title.

Further Still.  The words resonated with me.  They stuck.

My Further Still began seven years after that Bible study, in my bath tub.

It was a great bath tub.  A dozen jets, all of the bells and whistles that a    bubble-bath-loving-Mom-of-four could dream of.  A relaxing refuge after a busy, kid-filled day.  Sanity really.

This particular day, it was empty but for me.  I sat in it, fully clothed, shoes on,   shocked, shaken and completely empty- me and the bath tub.

“What do I do Lord?  I don’t know how to do this.  What about these precious children?  How can this be happening?  Please don’t make me walk this path Lord…”  I begged.  I pleaded.  Body racking sobs- surely enough tears to fill that bath tub.

Divorce.  I could not even say the word.  It was not in my vocabulary and it certainly was not in MY plan.

I thought God and I were on the same page about MY plan.  I’d served Him wholeheartedly.  I’d  followed His Word.  MY plan was His plan, wasn’t it?

Married to my high school sweetheart for fifteen years.  He was hero status around our house and in my heart.  We had four healthy, sweet children.  We faithfully served in ministry together.

I was living my happily ever after.

Divorce.  Eighteen years of my life unraveled by sheer free will.  It was a harsh reality filled with stinging rejection, the responsibility of four little hearts who counted on me, and more questions than answers.

My friends would tell you that I’m a strong, determined kind of a girl but it was clear to me that I could not pull myself up by my bootstraps in this place.  I was too broken.  I could barely breathe, never mind find my bootstraps.

Jesus Himself, went to a place of Further Still.  It was not an empty bath tub like mine, but it was surely a pain filled place.

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  He took Peter, James and John with him and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul  is overwhelmed with sorry to the point of death,” he said to them.  “Stay here and keep watch.”  Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.  “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will but what you will.”  Mark 14:32-36

The disciples that accompanied Jesus that night stopped short of where Jesus went.  We read in later verses that they actually fell asleep.  Jesus had to go to that place alone, and travail in prayer before the Father.

I called out to Him from my empty bath tub.  He answered me.  He met me there.  We’d often meet there, in that empty bath tub.  But no matter where I was, He showed up every single day.

He whispered unconditional love to me through His Word.

The book of Psalms became a healing balm to my shattered heart.

He reminded me that He still had a perfect plan for my life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

He understood my distress, promised to rebuild the ruins of my life and give my children peace.

“O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise,your foundations with sapphires.  I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.  All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.  In righteousness you will be established: tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear.”  Isaiah 54:11-14a

Everyone has their own place of Further Still.  Mine was divorce.

What’s yours?

Maybe you lost a loved one much too soon.  Maybe you’re really sick.  Maybe you have a wayward child.  Maybe you’re in the midst of depression.  Maybe you long for a child, and find your arms empty.  Maybe you’re stepping into a recovery program for an addiction.

Life on this imperfect planet is filled with trials and heartbreaking seasons.

God knows the way through every single difficult and painful circumstance we face.  He sees the path to the other side.  We cannot fast forward through it.  It’s step by step, moment by moment.  Oftentimes, it’s just doing the next right thing.

The wonderful thing about God is that He knows all about everything.  He knows every detail of your life.  He loves you BIG!  He delights in you, just because you are you.  He will speak to you through His Word.  He will lead you.  He will comfort you.  He will hold you up.  He will strengthen you.  He will see you through.

Psalm 46:1 says it wonderfully—

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

~Cory-Lynn

Copyright (c) Cory-Lynn Hatton.  All Rights Reserved.

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The Journey

So here I am.  No fanfare.  No drum roll.  Just me filled with humble anticipation!

Welcome to Autumn Grace.

Wholly dedicated to Jesus, as this was His idea in the first place.  Really.

Special thanks to my husband Dan, my biggest cheerleader.  Without him, my courage would waiver and the contents of this blog would remain hidden in the pages of journals or in quiet conversations with just a few.  He makes me brave enough to share with you, my heart.  I’m forever grateful for the gift that he is.

And thank you to my dear friends who walk beside me in the everyday journey that is my life.  You, sweet ones, are my inspiration!

One of my favorite songs is Desert Song by Brooke Fraser.  The last verse in that powerful song says, “And this is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and Providence flow, I know I’m filled to be emptied again, the seed I received I will sow.”  That’s the season I find myself in. It’s a new place, a happy place, a reflecting place and a new beginnings kind of place, it’s autumn.  Autumn Grace.

I hope here you will discover truth,  love, hope, comfort, encouragement, and most of all, a glimpse of God’s great BIG heart.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!   Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21NIV

~Cory-Lynn

Copyright (c) Cory-Lynn Hatton.  All Rights Reserved.

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