Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A little something from the heart.

So here we are, starting our third month in Chattanooga.  I have to say, I love everything about it.  I don’t miss the city of Atlanta at all (well, I miss the people, but that's it), in fact of all the places we’ve lived Atlanta ranks last in my list of favorites.  Ironically, Chattanooga is near the top.  Funny how that works out huh?  We’ve finally seemed to find some kind of a family routine, which is a lot harder when dad’s schedule at work changes every two weeks.  Will has started baseball and LOVES it and Gracy…well…she’s just Gracy, what can I say.  She’s as diva-licious as ever haha.  I have become so crafty that I’ve been invited to an event at Will’s school.  Talk about nervous!  But it’s fun to make money from doing fun stuff for sure.  Even if it is just enough to pay for the habit.

After two months, we’ve finally found a church we think we like.  We’ve met a few people and they all seem nice.  We’re meeting with a new small group this week, hosting it at our house.  You guys know me, I’m nervous as can be right now.  Shew! 10 people I’ve never met and they’re all coming to my house haha! God sure does work in funny ways and I’m convinced he has a sense of humor.  I prayed Sunday he would help us connect with people…Sunday night he said ok and now he is sending them all to my house.  Funny ….very funny.  It’s an odd sort of feeling, not leading the group, but we’re excited for the stage we’re in where we get to be led and learn for a season.  That is, if I can keep from jumping all in like I always do, so I’m asking for God to help me take a season of following and learning.

We all know the theory; you are either heading into problems, in the midst of problems, or heading out of problems.  I’m pretty sure right now we’re somewhere between heading out and heading in.  I love this time in the cycle.  Everything is predictable, we’re happy and content.  Resting happily in the presence of God and each other.  It is easy in this time to sit and reflect on the wonder of God.  The back of our house faces east and has no window coverings, so I see the sun rise almost every day. I see the world awakening to spring (in freaking February lol). I see my children laughing and happy in the arms of their father every night. I am amazed at how easy it is to feel the same way as my children every morning when I am meeting with my heavenly Father every morning as the sun rises.  Laughing, content, learning from his word, and awed by the gift of a life that for today seems perfect beyond measure.  I know the storms will come, I can’t say we’ll be happy when they get here, but I will face them with joy and perseverance, knowing all the while that I am wildly loved and blessed beyond deserving.

Love to you all,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The blessing of company.

When we first begin our lives as adults, we always do what we have always done. Meaning if you grew up in a house that served a huge weekend dinner you will usually cook a huge weekend dinner.  If you grew up in a house where you were taught to turn off all the lights except for the room you are in then that's probably what you'll do in your first house.  It comes down to habit and tradition.

I grew up in a house where my parents had a few close friends but we never really had guests or company unless they were from out of town.  Now mom and dad would hang out with their friends, don't get me wrong.  But we never really were the house party hosting people.  Now my husband's family is a completely different story.  They had people over all the time or they were at some one's house all the time or they all went camping together.  Luke grew up with a family who were party hosts for sure.

Luke and I together have always been somewhere in between.  Just a few friends...parties every now and then.  But it would get old and we would retreat and just be us.  After the about 7 years or so of our marriage  spent away from home we got used to lots of retreat, less company.  However, over the last 2 years (thanks to my New Season Church family) I have become quite the opposite.  I love having company.  Small groups, onesies, twosies, huge groups...I just love when people come to see us.  But we're usually happy when they leave lol.

Since moving to Chattanooga I have had the joy of having my brother in law live with us and having my own brother even come and stay the night a time or two.  My in-laws have come to stay twice now and we have had SOME kind of company every weekend since we moved.  I keep waiting for it to get old but it doesn't.  I was worried about being lonely with out my friends here when we moved and so I prayed that God would put people in my life that needed us, needed our help in some way or maybe just needed a real friend.  Like it usually goes with God I have been surprised at who those people have been.  It has been a blessing.  And now starting tonight we will have another long time guest for a while and we're so excited to be able to help out.

It's funny sometimes, how God uses us and how we don't always see it because it's not the way we thought it would be.  I prayed for prospective this week and got it.  Luke and I above all else want God to use us.  We hoped to fall into a good church just like we did the last one...hasn't worked out that way.  We were starting to feel like we were letting God down, like we weren't serving and connected.  Then I got that perspective.  We have been able to help our brothers and I am growing great relationships with their wives, who have become such sweet friends.  We have reconnected with old friends who needed some encouragement. And now we're in a position to help out a sweet girl who had few good options.

Bottom line, just because we don't get used by God the way we want to be doesn't mean we aren't getting used.  God puts us where he needs us even when we don't understand why.  I have spent weeks being disgruntled because I didn't have a church home.  Now I'm content to be patient, God is using our lives and our place in life to work in the lives of others.  He has given us the responsibility and the blessing of company.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A time in silence...now a time in joy!

Wow, it's been so long since I wrote I might forget how! It's been over three months since my last post and oh at the changes haha. Most of you you know that the kids and I have moved and are now living up in Chattanooga with Luke.  While I'm quite sure our second honeymoon won't last forever right now we're pretty much in heaven.  As wives we take for granted that our men will be there every night.  It's just a given.  Speaking from experience, I will do better at being grateful to God and to my husband that he is home.  The alternative was not always easy.

As I sit here with a dozen posts running through my head, so much I want to say I'm not sure where to start.  This move has been a huge blessing to our family.  We have reconnected with old friends, made a few new and are searching out the place we're supposed to be.  I'm starting a new business...or hoping to get paid for my hobby...depending on how you look at it!  Our new home is amazing.  The move hasn't come with out it's struggles and trials. But each one comes with a lesson learned.  Now that we're back in routine I'll be able to post more...at least more than every 90 days! I have lots on my mind...hope you don't mind listening!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sitting in Silence

I have struggled for a few weeks with how to word my new blog post.  Transparency is the goal.  Most of you know that Luke has a job he loves, unfortunately it takes him out of town for most of the year.  Most of you know that Luke and I have struggled in our marriage and come out the other side closer than when we started.  We have an amazing life.  We have been blessed beyond our deserving.  We have two healthy beautiful children.  I would put our families and friend in the running for the best on the planet.  We have lived from one side of the country to the other.  All in all a great life.

But lately, I have found myself sad, discontent with our circumstances.  So I have spent a lot of time working through this with God.  I have sought advice and comfort from family and friends.  And I have come across some things that have been very surprising and a little frustrating.  There seems to be a prevalent thought that just because you have it all you should be grateful and happy.  As though those two things are mutual.  Or that because you know the end game or out come you should be happy.  I would like to propose that grateful and happy are two different things and that peace in the process is different from being happy in it.

Case in point, my husband is an amazing man.  He leaves a family who loves him and he loves fiercely in return every week to go and make the best possible living he can.  However, in doing so he is missing our life.  He is missing our children growing.  While I am grateful to God and to him for what he does, I am saddened by our separation.  I know that this is a season in our life, not a forever.  We face coming changes in this circumstance, I know the outcome.  Any one who knows me knows I struggle with fear of whats to come.  For the first time in my walk I feel at peace about the coming changes or lack thereof.  It doesn't matter what happens God will provide, I am convinced.  But that doesn't make the patience in waiting easy or the pain in separation any less acute.

For a while now I have struggled with these feelings.  How do these feelings all live together in one person? Am I showing an ungrateful heart by being sad or discontent? So I turned to God for help...his example was Jesus.  Wow.  The creator of the universe knows your pain.  He's been there, done that.   Jesus cried in the garden over the separation that was to come between Him and His Father.  He begged God to take this pain from him, but was willing to face it anyway.  He knew the end game, the outcome, He knew his purpose and still felt sorrow. Here's what else I saw, it wasn't for nothing.  There was a reason for the pain.  An amazing joy and gift for all the world was the out come.  But, there was pain in the wait. Jesus knew all of this and still felt it, still faced it.
I am grateful for the job my husband has that provides for our family.  I am sad that it means he misses our life.  For weeks I have felt alone, no one seemed to understand what I was going through.  I prayed for peace and comfort and found none.  I tried to seek those things from the people around me.  Then, I searched the bible and read about peace and provision and comfort that is unending from a place of such love that only God can offer.  Finally, I heeded it's word and stopped struggling and am sitting in silence.  Waiting for God to bring me peace and waiting for God bring our family back together. 

Let me encourage you today.  Whatever your struggle, whatever your circumstance or sorrow, you are not alone.  God is with you in your pain. He hears your cries and when your heart is broken and there are no words, the bible says he hears your heart.  I have been there, I'm there still.  I finally understand what James meant when he said count it all joy when you face many trials, I know I am learning perseverance and patience. I know I am growing. This week he brought me comfort that my sorrow is not for nothing, there is change in the trial.  Growth for me and Luke.  I am comforted that I am not alone in my sorrow over our separation. I am not alone.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Exquisite Loss

Webster's dictionary defines exquisite in several ways.  One is marked by deep sensitivity and subtle understanding.  Another is acute or intense.  Such descriptions are perfect for understanding exquisite loss.  Such loss can be from a possession or a dream.  For today, for me, it is the loss of a person.  My brother.

Most people who know me know I have 1 brother.  Know me well and you know I had two.  Know me longer and you'll know he died of a drug overdose.  That was 9 years ago today.  I have learned so much in 9 years about loss.  My brother was the first in a long line.  Between my husband and I we experienced major loss once a year every year after Josh died for 5 years in a row.  I don't mean we knew some one who died every year.  I mean we lost close loved ones, fathers, grandparents, mentors, close friends. We know the pain of loss so deep it changes not just you but your entire family, not just for a season but for the rest of your life.  So when I say I know what it means to deal with exquisite loss, I mean it.  I have experienced loss so painful that it takes your breath away, not once but everyday for years.  I have carried this pain and experienced sorrow so deep you arent sure if you can legitimately get out of bed.  I have also experienced living with loved ones who are going through ranges of emotion so wide you don't know what to do or how to help.  Afraid always of saying the wrong thing.

After 9 years, I'm always surprised at the depth of sorrow that still remains.  It catches me off guard now and again. Usually when I see people at the stage of life that he would have been at. I have learned in 9 years that it is a pain that will never go away.  It is a moment of life that I will "get over".  It was a moment when my life shattered and when I put the pieces back together, the picture was very different.  A hole that will never be filled.

But in the last 2 years, after finding Christ, I have found peace. I have learned by God's grace to let go of my anger.  I have lived through God breaking down the walls of my heart and while he has not taken the pain of that loss he has replaced it with more joy than I deserve.  I have been given a great gift and responsibility.  I have been able to share the story of my brother's life with other people.  People struggling with addiction and people struggling with exquisite loss. I have seen God use a senseless death to heal and help others.  Some days it eases this ache and gives purpose to a why.  But then there are days like today.

My brother was the first man outside of my father who made me feel like I was worth more than the life I was living. He made me feel loved and beautiful. He told me I was stupid if I didn't hold on to the man who would become my husband.  He told me he wanted to be like me when he got older.  He said wanted to make me proud. I miss him today with part of soul.

Fragile and sad, I face this day with hope that can only come from resting in the knowlege that even those who leave are never really gone.  They live on in those left behind.  They live on in the hearts of parents, and siblings, and friends.  They live on in the legacy's leave...Legacy's of love and joy and hope.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sufficiency and Prayer

Wow...what change can happen in a month.  I'm sure I've said it before, but I'm amazed at my life and so grateful for every moment.  Even the bad ones.  In the last month I have changed.  I am fascinated by these changes.  They're all through me...and all around me.  I have seen God move in my life in new and totally unexpected ways.  I am physically stronger and spiritually rested for the next step of my journey.  I watched my first child get baptized by a young man who I love like a brother...it was one of the most joyful moments of my life. I have had front row seats to watching lives of friends and family fall apart. I have learned prayer and patience in situations that were well beyond human capabilities to fix and been angry with God for what I felt was a lack of proper response on His part.  I have seen new lives grow and been blessed beyond measure to be a small part of those tiny little lives.  I have discovered a renewed passion for the institute of marriage.  Not just mine but in coming long side others who are struggling in theirs...young and old.  I don't have the answers but God does.

Mostly this month has taught me to really mean it when I say that my God is sufficient to meet my needs. I have struggled with my faith, believing fully God would fix things and when he didn't, dealing with the aftermath of shaken faith.  In all these times of spiritual, physical and emotional weakness I have persisted.  I have beat down the door heaven with prayer. I believe with all my heart that God blesses our struggling faith. He shores up the defenses of our hearts while we take wobbly toddler steps into new and bigger faith.

No matter what is going on in your life, what secret sins you carry, what battles you are fighting, what broken situation you are facing, I believe with every breath and fiber of my being that God has you in his hands.  I believe that God is sufficient for your every weakness, your every hurt and worry and need. I believe in the power of His Great name.  I don't know what the future may hold for me or for the people around me who's struggles I'm praying over or for the people around me with secret struggles. But I know where my hope comes from. I'm praying for you...wherever you are.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Insecurities & A New Month

A month....such a short time in the span of a life. But man, what changes God can make in a month.  It has amazed me, how did I ever have time for a job?  When did my kids get so mouthy? Why is everything on my nerves haha?  I can only imagine that every woman making the transition from full time employee to full time mom must have these thoughts.  If not, don't tell me, I'm already feeling a little guilty!

What. Was. I. Thinking.  This is hard.  Because the truth is, my house is not spotless, I'm not Mary Poppins.  My kids aren't perfect and I don't want them to be.  They are screamin, fightin, toy throwin, no pickin up their trash kids.  They are getting on my nerves haha!  AND I miss my job!  Some one tell me I'm not alone.

I knew this whole adventure would be more than I could even imagine.  I have loved every blessed second, even when I was dealing with meltdowns, arguing, crying, and the endless mess that comes with kids who know how to be kids. I started this blog with the thought that I would document everything.  Not just the happy sunshine and roses posts but an honest look at what this new adventure really is.  I almost didn't even write this post.  You see, no one wants the world at large to know that this isn't easy and we're not perfect.  We want to show up in public never having a day with well dressed (or at least clean) and well mannered kids.  We want to look like we have it together.  Because if "they" really knew...shew...no one would like me...much less love me.  So I decided, in all my 32 fantastic years of wisdom, to be transparent...lay it all out there.  Give some one the courage to do what God is calling them to despite their fears or worries. Tonight was a gut check. It is hard to admit my sweet little angel babies are holy terrors.  It's hard to admit that while I want this life still, that today working doesn't seem so bad.

I am unfailingly grateful that I serve a God who knows my moods.  That I have a Father who sees MY unholy tantrums and behavior and loves me just as I am.  That I have one safe place to turn and cry out to, one mighty God who created me for this purpose that he has set before me.  That humbling feeling that even after today when they've made me insane that God has entrusted the lives of the two precious babies asleep in their beds to me...with all my short comings and imperfections. Wow...Jesus, help me with my perspective.  Create in me a clean heart with pure motives.  As I practice patience with my children, remind me of your patience with me.  Help me take one step at a time in your direction, guide me as their mother on your path. Help me love them better...help me love them like you do.