Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornadoes

Growing up, I sat and watched the TV screen countless times as local meteorologist Glenn Burns tracked tornadoes through Georgia...

A tornado would be heading right towards a subdivision, and Glenn Burns would tell residents to put on bicycle helmets and get to a room with no exterior walls... His tone was urgent but laced with a collected calmness that made you believe if you did what he said you'd be okay...

This one time, we were watching Glenn Burns, and the tornado sirens started to go off. He said the tornado was heading towards a street that was right behind our house. It was just us kids at home. Paul went into "protector mode" and grabbed all of the cushions off the couch in the living room. Somehow all three of us kids and all of our animals got underneath the cushions and inside the downstairs bathroom to ride it out...

When the tornado hit my dorm in 2008, it was my sorority president, not Glenn Burns, who let us know we had to get down to a safe place.



It wasn't 30 seconds after I'd answered her call that me and 3 of my sorority sisters were running into the hallway for the stairwell... Everyone always says, "It hit like a train." And, that's exactly what it felt like.

Last night, I sat with my knees held against my chest with eyes glued to the television screen as the local meteorologists tracked a big tornado through Arkansas.

Sirens were going off outside, and the lights were flickering. I could see that it wasn't coming towards us, but it was going straight towards friends and family to the west... Friends and family who I knew didn't have basements or stairwells.

Praise God, our friends and family members all around the state are okay. Some have trees on top of their homes and/or are without power, but they are alive.

I turn on the local news to see the footage everyone keeps texting me about... And I can't watch it for more than 5 minutes.
Picture from KATV Channel 7

Because living here has changed me.

It's not just a news story. It's not just footage. Those aren't just country people in the next city. Those are our neighbors. I've never met them. But that doesn't matter.

It's like night and day compared to the tornado that hit Roswell, GA in 2006.  I grew up in Alpharetta (the city next-door to Roswell), but our church was in Roswell. We obviously knew dozens of families in that city, but we didn't personally know anyone who was affected by the tornado. Honestly, the greatest impact it had on our lives was that we weren't sure if I'd be able to have my makeup done for prom at the salon where we'd scheduled an appointment. It's not that we didn't care about the people whose homes were affected. We just didn't know them, and we didn't feel connected to them. There are almost 100,00 people who live in Roswell. Roswell might have been our neighboring city, but it's residents weren't our neighbors. Neighbors lived in the same subdivision as you. And even then, subdivisions are quite large in that part of Georgia, so you didn't even know a quarter of the families who were your neighbors anyway.

But, living here, I feel differently about neighbors. Neighbors aren't just in subdivisions. Neighbors are the people across the street from us and all of the other people on this side of the Arkansas River.

And when the meteorologists told us last night to wait before we drove to the cities that had been hit by the tornados so that rescue crews could get in first, I didn't understand at first why he said that.

Why would we drive up there? More storms could be coming. Why would we leave our homes?

But today, as I look at the footage of the damage that's just 20 miles from my house, I understand.

It's because I look at the destruction, and I see demolished homes that belong to our neighbors. Even though you don't personally know them, it still feels personal.

I never felt like that in Georgia. I never felt this tug on my heart loving and breaking for neighbors in this way.

Would it break for people in third world countries? Of course.

Or for people I personally knew? Definitely.

But, the stranger I don't know who lives two cities over? Not like this.

Living here is changing me.... Love your neighbor is taking on new meaning to say the least.


I'll be giving all of my profits this week from my Mary Kay business to help Arkansas tornado victims. Our products range from skincare for men, women, and teens, glamour, fragrance, and body care. Please consider ordering something this week if you don't already have a Mary Kay consultant at www.marykay.com/lwarford . Thank you for supporting our neighbors. God bless you. - Lindsay

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Reflecting on Lent

I was in Dallas for a weekend over lent. Being tired and hungry at the end of one day, I purchased a Mocha Frappacino from Starbucks. I told myself that it wasn't really coffee, so I wasn't really breaking lent.... And honestly, I felt like an ungrateful teenager even talking to myself that way.

The next weekend David and I flew to Arizona to celebrate a wedding. On the way, while we sat at our connecting gate, I considered the day ahead... the activities, the visiting, the celebrating, and the hours left of travel that would still need to occur before the activities and visiting and celebrating started. I looked at the Starbucks right there across from our gate, and without praying, without any reverence for the decision I had made to go without coffee during the period of lent, I ordered a double shot of espresso over ice. I drank it fast. It's bitter taste causing my eyes to squint and lips to purse. I didn't even let myself feel convicted about blatantly choosing to drink coffee during lent. I threw the plastic cup away and boarded the plane to Arizona.

The next weekend we were in Auburn eating lunch at my in-laws while we waited for my sister-in-law's boyfriend to pop a very important question. I was tired. It had been a VERY long morning traveling. The Keurig sat on the counter. This time, I considered my decision. I felt weak, and my head was starting to hurt. I brewed the coffee, added creamer, and slowly began to drink. With each sip, the guilt began to sink in.

Dallas.

Airport.

Now.

I went inside and poured the remaining coffee down the sink.

The caffeine did it's job. I perked up, but I was still aware of my weakness.

When we landed back in Little Rock the following day, we walked past the Starbucks in the airport. I whispered to David, "I'm so grateful our salvation isn't based on works. Because, if it was, I would definitely go to Hell."

David softly reassured me, "We all would, Lindsay."

So, as the season of lent ends, I rest even though I'm weak, not because I am.

I rest in the assurance that it is purely Grace that made a way for me to spend eternity in Paradise.

I rest in the forgiveness our Maker offers us in Jesus.

I rest knowing that we all need Jesus just as badly as the next person and every person. Whether it's the Mocha Frappacino sin or the double shot of espresso sin, both would keep us separated from God if it weren't for Jesus' sacrifice.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Happy Easter, everyone.

He is RISEN!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Joyful Troubles??

"When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." James 1:2

You know, this isn't often how we respond to troubles. We don't always (or ever) first see some hardship as an opportunity for "great joy."

Today as I carefully walk around our house, fighting every urge to straighten things up before David gets home this afternoon, I don't consider the pain in my back "an opportunity for great joy."

I consider it annoying.

Background:

I hurt my back lifting a patient a little over 2 years ago when I worked as an RN in the recovery room in Atlanta. The injury put me on light duty for 3 months. And, since I left nursing, I haven't had any problems. (PRAISE THE LORD!) 

So, when I woke up Monday morning, barely able to get out of bed because this sharp pain right at my "injured spot" hurt so so badly, annoyed wasn't the first feeling I felt... No. No no... I felt pain. And then I felt scared.

You see, there's nothing "joyful" about a back injury while you're experiencing a back injury.

And there's really nothing "joyful" when it's a re-injury.

There's nothing "joyful" about receiving lectures from almost strangers about proper back health when you've completely understood how to best take care of your back since you were diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11.

There's nothing "joyful" about pain that stops you in your tracks.

There's nothing "joyful" about the clerk at Kroger having to help you scan your items in self checkout like you're a weak and fragile elderly woman when there's a weak and fragile elderly woman next to you scanning her items all by herself.

There's nothing "joyful" about not being able to do the things you want to do or NEED to do.

Breathe Lindsay... Read Lindsay...:

Notice, the verse doesn't say the troubles are joyful.

No, James says, when the troubles are present, there is then an OPPORTUNITY for great joy to come and also be present.

Process:

I like how The Message translation unwraps this ...

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4 

Don't force it, Lindsay!

And don't ignore it.

Recognize that because I am in this situation there is now an OPPORTUNITY for JOY to come, for GROWTH to come, for some kind of BLESSING to come that wouldn't have come if I wasn't sitting exactly where and how I am right now.

Are back injuries annoying, incessant, slow to heal, all out irritating, crippling, and did I say PAINFUL???

Yes.

So, how blessed are we that The Word tells us to consider our troubles as a gift?

Our situation doesn't end with just resolution. It ends with joy.

Y'all, that's more than "seeing the silver lining."

Following a God like that, that's a whole lot of joy in itself.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Savoring the Sweetness

I sit on our back deck and feel energy infuse into my tired body through the warm rays of Arkansas sunshine.

The birds sing their symphonies as I I try to relax the tight muscles in my back

Sperry runs around the red shed through the purple wild flowers.

A light breeze makes its way across our yard, and I breathe in the fresh air.

Creation is invigorating.

I've yet to stop long enough to reflect on all that's happened over the past few weeks. The sanctuary of our back deck provides the space to be still, to meditate, to drink in The Word, to listen, to rest.

I sip on the fruity tea I just brewed, sweetened with agave nectar. In all of the hustle and bustle of the traveling, working, visiting, learning, and preparing that took place over the past few weeks, I desire to remember the sweetness that was present.

The special time visiting with my mom. Our adventure to Dallas, TX. Meeting and making new friends. Tangibly discovering a vision for our future.


Special family time with cousins, aunts, and uncles.


New job opportunities for David. The small smile I see across his face as he humbly processes his accomplishments.

Worshipping with friends.

Celebrating Bert & Vicky's wedding in Arizona. How I love to see families grow - especially ours.



My phone rings, and it's my sweet sister... full of good news, full of life, full of Light. 

I see that Jessica is out of surgery. It went well. She is fine. Her bone marrow is on it's way to another young woman who needs it.

"I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works." Psalm 145:5

I sit up straight. I breathe in deep. I meditate. I accept. I give thanks. I let go.

I savor the sweetness.