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 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 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 me love them like you do.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jesus and Christina Aguilera

Shew! The end of July has been a whirlwind.  When I quit working I worried about what in the world I would do for a month before school started....haha....silly woman.  We had a great time in Texas and even hijacked my cousin Sarah for a few weeks and brought her home with me.  She's been a blessing beyond her knowing.  She's brought me joy and pushed me to be better.  I'm so glad she's been here.

Some of you know and some don't, I joined a gym.  Laughable right?  Me, the girl who's always said I'm just fine the way I am and meant it with all my heart.  Unlike a lot of women I've been large my whole life.  I don't have memories (or clothes in my closet) to remind me of when I was petite.  I thank God for that, I have no expectations to live up to.  When the personal trainer asked me "When and what size were you your most happy?" she seemed surprised when I answered, I've never been UN-happy.  Now that's not to say I haven't wished to be smaller or have a perfect body, I mean come on what girl hasn't looked at picture and said/thought "if only I looked like that I could be happy".  But for the most part I'm content.  I love food haha! But as I've passed 30 I've started to notice that life has gotten harder to live.  I'm tired and my stairs kill me.  I want to be around for my kids and I don't want to look like shamoo when my grandkids get here haha! So I joined a gym.  With thoughts of starting slow with no results.  Then Sarah happened.  She told me to suck it up and move my fat but hahahaha!  Because of her, the first week I lost 7 pounds! And I didn't pass out or die.

Yesterday started week two.  I walked on the treadmill and worked out with weights.  I've never been an exerciser (obviously).  But in my list of one day wishes, I've always wanted to run.  There seems to me to be a sort of freedom in running.  It's my learn to be a runner.  But I'm afraid.  What if I can't, what if it hurts, what if I try all this and fail? Once a week I have a small index card book that I write in a read.  It's full of my favorite scriptures.  I was reminded yesterday of the promises I cling to, of all the things I was made for, of the the gifts and strengths God has given me.  So yesterday I got back on the treadmill to cool down and was thinking of scripture when I decided to run.  Christina Aguilera's song Beautiful came on my ipod while I was like a hug from God.  I truly felt beautiful for the first time in a long time.  A sweaty and nasty and breathing hard kind of beautiful.  God is my portion and my strength and I am not afraid.  Right after that Carrie Underwood started singing How Great Thou Art and I started crying.  It was a shock to me.  I really can do this.

For me, yesterday was a release.  I think some times I put this label on God.  A label that says he's here for me emotionally or spiritually.  I've heard him heal (and seen it myself) people who or sick or need a physical touch.  But yesterday, when I prayed for strength and courage to begin my goal he was right there for me.  ME, the woman with every I can't excuse. He helped me take all the excuses away.  He gave me time, a husband who supports me, friends and family who are pushing me, and most of all he gave me the want to. I really can do this....with his help, I really can. What freedom there is in Jesus.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Hotel, 5 Minutes and a Little Grace

While I'm writing this, I'm laying in bed in my jammies with my baby girl.  She thinks I'm doing a lot of work haha!  What a week!  We've been on our first trip to Chattanooga and had a great time! But let me be totally honest. 4 days in a hotel with two small active children would make the most saintly mother crazy!  I know you'll be shocked, but the people in the room next to us called the front desk to complain about the response? This ain't the Ritz.  Kids are kids and it was 3 in the afternoon.  My kids think living in a hotel was the coolest thing ever!  They stayed up late, swam in the indoor pool a thousand hours and just plain ole had a grand time.  I enjoyed seeing them have a new experience.  We went to a kids museum where we learned about liquid density and dug for fossils! We spent the day in Knoxville with old friends shopping for new babies (always a favorite of mine). Mostly we spent 4 days as a family just hangin out.

What I wouldn't give for just 5 minutes alone in the bathroom with out SOMEONE calling my name haha!  The weekend was full of new experiences for me too!  Namely how do I balance their need for me with my need to potty alone?  At one point they were both standing out side the bathroom door talking to me at the same time AAHHHHH!!!  So we made a new rule...when mommy is in the potty no one can talk to her.  That lasted twice....sigh...oh least they want to talk to me.  And once we got home yesterday it was better.  Thank you God for giving a super nice home with lots of room....and doors that lock!  What a great time I've had and what a blessing to be learning through the struggles and growing pains.

I've learned this week a whole new appreciation for God's Grace. How undeserving I am to have been given such a gift.  I was reminded of this gift shortly after the bathroom incident (when everyone was trying to talk to me through the hotel bathroom door).  It was on day 3 of our hotel stay and sadly, I flat lost it.  I must have looked like a crazy lady yelling at everyone to "just give me 5 freakin minutes alone in the bathroom to my self!"  Of course then everyone scattered (as far as they could in a tiny hotel room). Immediately I was reminded that I do the same thing to God.  With little or no patience I talk to Him and tell Him what I need and when and how much and for how long and why not now and can't you hurry and do you HEAR ME? And He never. loses. patience. Instead of yelling at me, my Father patiently listens to every request and when I throw a fit like my 4 year old He calmly waits then offers me Grace.  An undeserved reaction of love and peace when I deserve a swift kick in the butt.  This was never more evident than when (after my 5 minutes haha) I came out and apologized to my kids, who where quick to come hug me and my 8 year old said "it's ok mommy, we still love you" humbling.  God uses my kids everyday in amazing ways to teach me that I'm no different from them with I'm in my relationship with Him.  I'm thankful today that I am not who I was, grateful that I have people who love me as I am, and so very excited about who God is working me into being.  With His help, one day I will be all I was created to be.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 1 - Dominated!!!

I know what you're thinking right..."Anyone can be a good mom for one day, let's see how's she's doing in a month or two."  Haha!! It's ok! I thought the same thing a little while ago, but you know what? I'm not going to belittle my first step.  Being a mom is tough PERIOD! Whether you work or not it's never easy navigating this world with little ones in tow.  Life is full of road block and obstacles and growing pains.  Today was a good day, a really good day.  So here's my philosophy in this journey...I'm going to have blow out celebrations for every little milestone, miracle, happy day or even ordinary days.  When they're not fantastic, well, I'll just be glad that God promises HIS mercy is renewed daily and that he gives me each day what I need to make that THAT day good.

Today was full of hugs and laughs.  Trying to mediate peace between male and female, 8 and 4, well we didn't make it ALL day with no drama but when the good out weighs the bad, it's a good day.  I cleaned (a lot compared to last week haha), I shopped (suitcases are expensive), I played video games with Will and babies with Gracy.  Most of all, today I saw every small thing that went on around me.  In the hugs of an 8 year old boy and the kisses of a 4 year old girl.  I am blessed beyond measure and grateful beyond words. I am clinging to the promises of God and praising Him all the way!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Optimistically Schizophrenic

Well, it's official.  I'm no longer  I am intentionally unemployed and we didn't move somewhere.  I have no excuse.  To be honest, I'm not quite sure how I feel yet.  This week I met a young lady who asked me (more than once) if I was schizophrenic.  When she asked me that we were discussing how I was feeling about quitting to stay home. I told her I was excited and sad all at once.  I have been working as a secretary for nearly half of my life (haha that makes me sound old...I'm not).  I've seen so many changes in what's status quo for that position.  I've been so lucky to work in many different industries, from manufacturing, to professional services, to religious.  I have learned so much and worked with some incredible people. So much of who I am as a woman is tied up in what I  do professionally.  I think it's this way for every woman who's ever held a full time job out side of the home for any length of time.

I'm working through a book and a bible study in my personal times right now.  Beth Moore's Esther, It's tough being a woman and Victory Over the Darkness.  God's timing is impeccable as always.  This week when I've struggled with letting go of who I think I am (and have always been) to embrace something new, God has worked in my life to remind me who I really am and who he's called me to be.  I am first and foremost HIS beloved daughter, called to his purpose, fully equipped and capable through him to do what he has laid in my destiny to do. I am a wife. Entrusted with a man who is not perfect and just as in need of grace and mercy as I am...I AM his helper, his companion, his support. I am a mother. Entrusted with the next generation of believers. Given the tasks and privileges of growing Godly children who can function in a lost world. Beyond these three He has called me to serve others, love the lost, and be a light. Shew! Glad He loves me even when I'm NOT these things.

As I make this transition from one lifestyle to the next I find that I am sad that one part of my life that has held so much joy and meaning and self worth for me is over. I will miss the sense of fulfilment that comes at the end of every week. I will miss the people that I see every day. But don't doubt for even one second that this is where my story ends.  I know that I will find new joy and meaning as the weeks go by.  I am learning everyday that my self worth is not tied up in some job I perform but simply in being who I am in Christ. I know that the senses of fulfilment will now come from a new set of skills yet to be learned and from two small children who think I'm the best mom on the face of the planet.  I hope that by the Grace of God some how I will not let them down, but will exceed not just their expectations but mine as well.  Because I believe with every fiber of my being that just as the bible says, I have been chosen (by God) for times such as these and that I can do all things that God has called me to through Christ who gives me strength.  So I'll end this week by saying this, I am optimistically schizophrenic and completely ok with it.

Love you all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The first step of a new journey!!

So I'm pretty sure this could be probably the scariest thing I've ever done.  I have been working full time since I turned 18.  I have been an admin assistant (secretary for us old school gals) for as many years as I've been working. Nearly 15 32 that seems like SOOOO long.  But for the last 6 months I've become most acutely aware that in reality, that is a blink of an eye.

My husband has a job that takes him away for roughly 3/4 of the year give or take.  The first year we were moving, last year sucked, but this year has been pretty ok.  He found work close to home so we get to see him almost every weekend (I'll go into more about his job in another post).

So here I sit, with two active, sassy children, a husband who's gone a lot, and a full time job as an admin assistant and leader within our church. I have never felt more blessed and overwhelmed in my short little life.  I am lucky that my boss is also my pastor and his wife is also my friend.  When I told them what I wanted they supported me whole heartedly and lovingly told me they hated to lose me.

So here's my first step.  After 15 years of working (minus a yearish off for each sick baby) I am quitting my job to be a stay at home mom.  I know one thing for sure...I could not do any of this with out the support of two very important people. One being my husband, who loves me enough to lead me and our family by God's word and with a loving heart.

Most importantly, I will not be able to do this with out God.  You see, I'm deeply flawed.  Impatient, short tempered, spoiled and those are my good qualities haha!! I really felt God speaking into our lives and my heart, whispering "You're missing it." With all the loss that Luke and I have had over our young lifetimes, we know how fleeting life can be. So I'm listening and following my God's whisper.

I'm starting...A new adventure in motherhood! And I hope you'll join me.