This is Real Life…

Today we’re using the #RealLife Filter, because sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. And that’s okay.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself this afternoon. It was 3:00 and not only did I actually know what I was making for dinner (which is a minor miracle), but tomorrow’s dinner was already thawing on the counter! Impressive, I know.

It was a simple dinner with very little prep. After squeezing in a quick walk, I washed my hands and pulled all the ingredients out of the fridge. Tonight’s menu included French dip sandwiches, salad, and roasted brussel sprouts. Sounds delicious, right? (Again, total rock star.)

Well, unfortunately (or fortunately, for my kids) the brussel sprouts spent a little too long in the crisper drawer and ended up in the trash. Not wanting to be outdone, the lettuce I bought last week plopped into the bowl as a giant pile of slime… so I had to toss it out as well.

I was 0 for 2; it was not looking good for the home team.

Thankfully, French dip sandwiches are easy to make and pretty hard to ruin! I heated up the au jus (that’s a fancy word for beef broth) and added the roast beef slices from the deli. Carefully, I transferred the roast beef into the perfectly cut rolls, gently adding a layer of provolone cheese over top. Then I slid them in the oven to broil while I figured out what to serve in place of the slimy veggies.

Since this was supposed to be a simple dinner, I gave myself permission to go the easy route. I dumped some baby carrots on a plate and grabbed the ranch dressing.  I cut the bad spots off some strawberries and dropped them in a bowl. Then I picked out a few grapes left in the bag that weren’t yet rotting, and added them to the table.

[Side note: Am I the only one who buys a bunch of produce only to end up throwing half of it away? Seriously… why do we bother? Anyway…]

As I congratulated myself for creating a healthy rainbow of goodness from what was left of last week’s groceries, I suddenly smelled something burning.

Y’all.

I burned the sandwiches.

Not just a little bit either; like, blacken-the-bread and fill-the-kitchen-with-smoke kind of burned.

Seriously??? Make that 0 for 3…

So much for my simple dinner and rock star mom status! I officially struck out, ruining my ENTIRE menu.

And the truth is, sometimes life is just like that.

Sometimes we plan ahead and have everything all figured out, and it just doesn’t turn out like we expected it to. Things sit too long. Things that seem healthy turn out to be not so healthy after all. Something that started out good ends up decaying from the inside. Other things can’t handle the heat.

Jobs. Friendships. Ministries. Relationships.

Real life happens and we find ourselves suddenly needing to come up with a new plan.

When that transpires, I am tempted to just throw the whole thing out and order a pizza… and occasionally, that’s the best plan! But more often than not, I just need to get creative. I need to give myself permission to stay simple, and then I need to work with what I have.

Cut off the bad spots and save the rest. Pull out what I was saving for another time. Replace the original with something good enough for now. Then put it all on the table and thank the good Lord for providing what I needed…

Manna. Daily Bread. Just enough.

Are you struggling with something that’s not going quite the way you planned? Maybe motherhood is a bit more than you bargained for, or marriage has left you lonelier than you were when you were single. Perhaps you stepped out in faith following God’s leading, only to find yourself suddenly stranded in a wilderness. Maybe your job or your friendships or your faith feel like they are imploding from the inside.

This is real life without a filter. It’s hard and imperfect and unpredictable. And sometimes the best we can do is bring it to Jesus and make the best of what we have to work with, trusting Him— our author and perfecter— to make it enough.

Our Father doesn’t expect perfection from us. He doesn’t mind bruised strawberries and stale hot dog buns; He knew dinner wasn’t going to be perfect before we ever started. He simply wants us to trust Him to provide what we need when we need it, and to believe that it’s enough.

Sweet friend, what you have to offer Him today is enough; burned bread and all.

Transforming Your Perspective: New Things are Coming!

It’s that time of year. Spring is in the air, and my social media feed is filled with all the things…

Senior photos. Prom pictures. Graduation announcements.

Lots of “lasts.”

This weekend, some of Abby’s friends participated in their final drama show. A few weeks ago, a friend posted a “bittersweet moment” of his son playing in his last high school tennis match. I get it. We were just there with Sarah. (Has it really been a year??)

COVID may have changed a lot of Sarah’s Senior Year “lasts,” but that January they were looming large. I wanted to embrace them all, but honestly I was filled with dread. Then a friend told me something that completely transformed my perspective.

She said, “Kelly, it’s okay to embrace these ‘lasts’— shed the tears, grieve the losses, feel all the feels. But keep in mind there are a ton of new ‘firsts’ just around the corner! There is so much to look forward to!”

Y’all, those words changed everything for me!

The truth was, there were already signs of “firsts” everywhere. College brochures in the mailbox, an LU sweatshirt crumpled on the couch, and piles of dorm décor scattered around the house.

New things were coming! But I was so focused on what I was losing, I hadn’t noticed what was emerging. A shift in perspective completely transformed my experience. It gave me the hope I hadn’t even realized I’d lost.

As a result, I have been able to offer that same hope to others.

In Isaiah 43:19, God declares, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

If you are walking through a season of “lasts” (or loss), let me encourage you to look up and around. Look up to the One who holds all time in His hands, who is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. And look around— at those He has placed in your path, at the hidden things that may only now be beginning to grow, and at His Word which is living and active in our lives.

A slight shift in perspective might just bring you a much-needed glimpse of hope.

Look up to the One who holds all time in His hands, who is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. And look around— at those He has placed in your path, at the hidden things that may only now be beginning to grow, and at His Word which is living and active in our lives.

-Kelly Callen Heath

I’ve shared a lot about transformation this year because it’s my word for 2021. (You can read about that here: 4 Tools for Transforming Your Life in the New Year). Romans 12:2 reminds us transformation only happens through the “renewing of our mind”, which involves actively embracing a new way of thinking. Choosing a new perspective transforms what we see. We go from lasts to firsts, from loss to gain, from despair to hope.

 As we look around, signs of Spring are everywhere. The earth is declaring Heaven’s glory in a myriad of color. Buds are beginning to bloom, unveiling the blossoms hidden within. Baby birds are busting out of their shells, hungry for nourishment, filling their nests in a tangle of beaks and squeaks.

God is doing a new thing all around us! “Behold, it springs forth…”

Don’t miss the connection between what’s happening on the outside and what’s happening on the inside.

Even in the winter, in the middle of a pandemic, and amidst the monotony of ordinary living, there has been growth happening beneath the surface, preparing us for Spring. And now, as we turn a corner in the seasons, in the pandemic, and in the school year, there are new things popping up all around us if we have the eyes to see them.

What are some “lasts” you are dreading? Name them. Then figure out some ways to embrace them and remember them.

Now, shift your perspective (remember, look up and around!). What are some “firsts” you can begin looking forward to?

NEW THINGS ARE COMING…

Friends, I have a few “New Things” I am excited to share! Both of these have been developing underground for awhile, but it’s finally time for me to tell you about them!

First, I am launching a new website!

My “Jarful of Manna” blog has been just that for me over the past few years— a place to gather the faithfulness of God, to hold it in my hands, process it, record it, and share it with you. It started out slowly, then grew into a hobby, and eventually became something more to me (and hopefully to you).

The Lord is calling me to write not just as a hobby, but as a ministry. It is my heart’s desire to faithfully obey Him, even when I don’t know exactly what that looks like or where it will lead. And honestly, I don’t know either of those things! I just know this is the next step.

So stay tuned… KellyCallenHeath.com will be launching on May 1!

Second… I am writing a book!

 Like an actual book you might want to read and tell your friends about! If you have teens, work with teens, interact with teens, have friends who have teens, or have children who will one day become teens, this book is for you. And if you’re a teen, I’m hoping to adapt a version of this book just for you!

That’s all l can say for now. I am super excited about it! Will you please pray for me? Pray that I will remain faithful to the message God has given me, and that He will continue to guide the entire process. Also, pray that I will stay committed to making time to write, which can be a challenge in the everyday busyness of life.

Friends, I share these things to encourage you. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Listen for how God is leading you. Look around; see where God is at work and figure out how you can join Him.

What new things are just around the corner for you? I want to know!