Tuesday, December 1, 2009
There it is. In black and white. It is so stark. So bold. I am not sure how to wrap my mind around it. I have known it for a few years, actually, but I have been holding out for a miracle. I still am. Yet this morning, I am feeling like I should start preparing myself in case the miracle doesn't arrive. Up until now, I fully believed and expected God to deliver. I didn't allow myself to think about saying good-bye. It just wasn't a possibility. Janet was going to be here to see Naomi head off to the first day of school, the first school play, the first school sporting event, the first school dance, the first day of high school, then college, and be there to see her get married. Now I have to be ready for the possibility that Jim and I will be there with John but no Janet. I don't deal with change well, and trying to reconcile this is not going well. A miracle would be so awesome. Janet would touch so many lives- she already has touched so many lives- how many more would be touched if she stayed with us? I need a miracle. I don't want to bury my friend. I am still struggling with so many of my own demons as this all plays out in my head and the Bible verses are running through my mind, I just wonder how God is going to use it all. How is Janet's death going to be used for good? How is Naomi going to be better without Janet? It is because I cannot reconcile those questions that I realize that I have very little faith and I go back to my original stance of needing a miracle. I cannot see how it can be in God's plan for it to be better for Janet to return home to heaven, so I hold out for a miracle. I refuse to believe in anything else. I know I should be rejoicing that she will no longer be in any pain. I should be thankful that she will be with Jesus. I should be praising God for bringing her home. I am not. I can pay lip service to all those things. I know that she will be pain free. I know that she wants to be with her Savior. I don't have the faith it takes to let her go. I can say that I do, but in reality, when push comes to shove, I want her here. I will be there for Naomi on all those firsts, because I told Janet that I would, but I am not ready. I want Janet to be there. I should know that I don't have to worry about finding the strength because it won't come from me, it will come from God, but I don't have the faith to believe that it will be there. I can pretend to be a pillar of strength, but the truth is I just really want to have my friend. I don't want to say goodbye. I don't want John to have to walk alone. I don't Naomi to wake up one day without a mom. I am not mad at God. I just don't understand. My friend is dying.
Friday, October 9, 2009
I am past the halfway point of raising of my first born daughter. I mean to the point where she will be off at college on her own. It is terrifying and liberating at the same time. We sent her to a Lutheran school with amazing teachers. We are at a vibrant church with an explosive youth ministry. We are trying our best to set an example of a personal relationship with our Saviour. We feel we have deep roots in our faith to give to our children. When we give them wings we fully expect them to fly. We know it is not up to us, but all up to our Loving Father. We feel so blessed that God has chosen us to be parents to the 4 beautiful, talented, spirited daughters we have. My heart overflows when I look at each one of my girls. They are unique individuals, and each one has the ability to drive me to knees- either in praise for the blessing she brings or in pain begging God for respite from the bickering that pervades a house with 4 females only 6 years apart! In either case, on a day like today, where they are not around all day and I am in a quiet house, I am reminded just how full my life is because of my children. I am not made to be still. I am wired to be moving, to be in action. I love serving, using my gifts to be doing something. I have enjoyed the time to be going through things, and getting things organized, but I couldn't do it every day. I like to be on the move!
It is raining today. A crisp fall day. 3 of the kids do not have school and yet I am alone in the house. It is supposed to be a productive day. So far I have not been that productive. I have a lot to get done. My house is in shambles and my life has been running at warp speed. I feel the need to write, so here I sit. I have music playing and I hear the familiar tick tock of the clock. It is reassuring. The mess is waiting for me. I am going to attack it room by room. I feel like I also have thousands of ideas in my head waiting to burst out and not enough time to let them all out. I wonder how things got so busy, so out of control. I love my children, my spouse, my life. I wouldn't change the way I spend my days. I am so blessed to be able to volunteer in school. I love doing what I do. I am involved in my children's lives. I know their teachers, I know what happens in their days. I am at their games, at their field trips, at the school store. They even know me at the high school. I feel I am right where God wants me to be. Yet, it is still chaotic. That doesn't seem right. Somewhere I am missing the mark. I am trying to discern where it is I am not hearing His voice. I truly believe that if you are doing what God wills, you will not feel overwhelmed. There are many days I feel overwhelmed. I do not like living in a disorganized, cluttered house, and mine is the definition of one. The basement is a scary place to be. I don't like it. My goal this weekend is to bring the house back to the level of organization that is to a standard where I will not be embarrassed to have people see how we live. Then I can take a deep breath and face the day. I know God will direct my path, give me strength and get me through the weekend. I may very well be a new woman by tuesday!
Friday, September 25, 2009
I saw a rainbow today. It was perfect timing. My life is a little out of control lately. I was in the car at the end of a 30 minute wasted trip in the corridor of waste as I like to call the strip of car lots that line the way to get to my home. I was behind a moron who inexplicibly had to slow down to go up a tiny little bump due to the never ending construction that is present in the northwest suburbs. I almost rear-ended said moron as I turned left and then I saw the beautiful rainbow. I giggled "OOOH look at the rainbow!!!" out loud even though I was alone in the car. I then realized the lyrics to the song that was playing in the van. "Your name is Jesus. Your name is Jesus. You’re the Wonderful, Counselor, my Friend. You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through All the days of loss, to the cross you knew I’d need a Savior.Light of the world You stepped down into darkness. Opened my eyes, let me see. Beauty that made this heart adore You Hope of a life spent with You
How amazing is that? God is so good. It was right in front of me. I have been stuck concentrating on all the things to the side of the road instead of looking at what was right in front of me. I didn't see the beauty.
I continued driving so thankful that God gave me a gift to see the beauty of the rainbow. It took the tenseness of the morning away. It was only 9:15- but the morning had already been filled with chaos. I had done my devotions. It was supposed to keep me centered. The rainbow had brought it back. My vision had been distorted. The next song started with these words:
I think my day will go much better now. My eyes have been opened.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Our church family suffered a great tragedy this week. A tragedy that reminds us how precious life is, how important it is to love one another unconditionally, and from the center of who we are. I have spent the last two days wrestling with God and crying, getting angry, staring in disbelief, praying, and then starting all over. Yet tonight I had a conversation with someone I love about something that is not going well in my life and I am left feeling very disappointed in this person. Considering the tragedy that I find myself immersed in, I should be loving this person without regard to how I am made to feel by his/her actions. Yet, I am hurt. As a result of that hurt, I want to put up walls and defend myself from further hurt. For me, that means not speaking for awhile. This is my routine. I need time to sort things out, to let them make sense to me, to come to some sort of rational conclusion. I need to calm down. I need the hurt to go away so the anger will go away and I can move on. However, this person does not roll that way. This person wants to talk things through immediately. This person is a pleaser. This person does not like it when people are angry with him/her. In this instance he/she is angry, so it probably doesn't matter, but it is really difficult for me, because I don't want to be angry, especially when it has become so evident to me to not take love for granted; and yet, I cannot help how I feel. I am having this conversation with God and it feels as though I am talking in a foreign language because the words are coming so quickly. The odd thing is I had dreams for two nights in a row that I was angry with this person before any of this happened. I thought it was quite peculiar, and was perplexed. I know I will never figure out the mind of God, but sometimes I would just like to know a little. Even just a little of His plan for me on any given day. I don't want to save the World- I just want to discern His will for me! Ever since I began praying for surrender, I have been seeing over and over how He has been giving me "opportunities" to truly surrender. It has been the most difficult period of my life to date- and also the most fulfilling in many ways. I still feel as if I am barely getting by, and I know that cannot be way He intends me to feel, and yet I am seeking another way through Him and haven't found His answer. I have amazing support, and I know I will get His answer, but it is nights like tonight when I am amazingly disappointed by someone who Christ Himself sent to me as one of my strongest supporters on a regular basis, that I feel as though I am adrift at sea. I am so thankful that I am at a point in my life that my reaction is now to immediately pray and let the tears of disappointment flow instead of react in anger. I have come a long way, but I have so far to go, and I am still not sure what it is I am supposed to be doing. Is my call to write a book? Is it to parent? Is it to teach? Do I go back to work? What are the answers? I know God knows, and I want Him to clearly tell me. Is that asking too much?
Monday, April 27, 2009
It is a monday morning. The girls just got on the bus. It is amazing how quickly we settle back into our routines. Last week I was in West Virginia on a mission trip with Aislin and her class. We spent the week with the most amazing people. My work group was working on an addition for a church. It will be a Fellowship Hall for a Nazarene Church. We wired a few rooms, hung some drywall, moved some things, cleaned up, burned some trash, basically did whatever they told us to do. It didn't seem like much, but they kept telling us how much we got done and how helpful it was to them. It was an uplifting week. The best part was seeing the 8th graders working together and having fun while doing whatever we needed them to do. It is somewhat of a let-down to be back to a normal routine now. Sitting at a kitchen table going through email and checking blogs just doesn't seem so important. I have always said that being a stay at home mom is one of the most important jobs there is and unfortunately it comes with the least amount of tangible recognition. Perhaps that is why I am wrestling with so many emotions this morning. It is not that there were tangible rewards last week- but there was a sense of purpose and accomplishment. The people we worked with were so grateful and so kind. I really felt good about being there and wanted to get to know them and grew to care about them in the short time we were there. Then it is back to the same old routine here. Children bickering, taking everything for granted, not even beginning to understand how amazingly blessed they are. West Virginia was a breath of fresh air, and I pray that I don't let the routine overtake the blessing that was given to me last week.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sometimes things just keep spiraling. There are days when things are just really really good and there are others when things are just not good. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. It is much like the seasons. There have been times in my life when I have felt really in tune with God. I have felt His presence and "heard" his voice. Not audibly, mind you, but I felt His direction, His calling. I knew I was headed in the right direction and I had a clear purpose. There have been other times when I begged Him to make things clear, when I wanted to have discernment and just felt like I was wandering in the wilderness. Those are very isolating times. It does not matter how many people surround you- there is still an overwhelming sense of isolation and abandonment. Decisions needing to be made, tasks need to be completed, appointments needing to be made, and all of it going by so quickly, with nothing really getting accomplished with any real meaning. Those are the times when I beg God to let me know what I am missing, what I am still holding on to, what have I not surrendered to Him, that is keeping me from hearing His voice, from the clarity that I seek. When all is disconnected, I know I just need to reconnect to Him, and then all will fall back into place, but sometimes that is not so easy to do. Although God does love us as we are, in our imperfection, those flaws run deep and block many blessings. Imperfection makes a difficult path to follow. Even when things are good, they are flawed. It is bound to crack at some point. It gets tiring. It makes one wonder why God bothered with earth at all. Why not skip the imperfect earth. Why let us mess things up for thousands of years. Why not just skip it all and head right to Heaven. Then I think to those glimpses of Heaven I have seen on earth- the pure joy the moment of giving birth, holding a newborn baby, every time a child says "I love you mommy", the strength I feel in my grip of my husband's fingers as they wrap around mine, the tenderness of his touch when he gently moves my hair out of my eyes, the love I have for my daughters and the way my heart swells when I hear them singing together, the joy they give me when they hug each other just for fun- those moments of heaven on earth that make me so thankful that God did bother with earth and gave me the time to be disconnected. Now when I am connected, I can remember to be that much more thankful, and to be purposeful with that time, and to cherish it, and to remember it is a gift.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I was reading my devotions the other day and I hit a speed bump. It was talking about how we have to get to a point where we don't just go to God or appreciate Him for blessings, but love Him for who He is. I get the point of that to a degree, but I also think that God Himself is a Blessing. My journey with God is a blessing. Walking with God is a blessing. Waking up each morning knowing I am a redeemed child of God is a blessing. Knowing that no matter what happens throughout the day I am secure in the knowledge of an eternal life in Heaven is a blessing. Maybe that is what the author was getting at, but it was not the way I read it. In any case, it has made me think this entire week. Holy Week is an amazing week. It is so filled with emotions. From jubilation on Palm Sunday to deep fellowship on Maundy Thursday to such agony on Good Friday. The choir sang an awesome song last night- What have We done. It was an amazing way to sum up what happened on the cross and the anguish of the people that were there and how we feel now when we do those things that we should not do, but continue to do over and over. It was emotional to hear the choir sing. We started a new tradition and watched the Passion of the Christ when we got home. We sent the 2 youngest to bed, but the 2 oldest watched it with us. The 12 year old covered her eyes for a lot of it. It was good for us to watch together. I kept reminding them (and myself) that Jesus knew the price that He would pay and He paid it willingly. He chose the cross. His love is that great. We got to bed late, but I am glad that we took the time to watch it. I think it was a good thing for the girls to see with us. It was a good thing for me to see again. The anguish of it all breaks your heart and reminds you just how much love Jesus has for each one of us. It can only be a blessing.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
So far Lent has been scattered. We are 3 weeks into Lent, and it has flown by. It is still difficult to put things into proper priority. There is a proper order, but it is often confusing trying to figure out just exactly what that is. My devotions have been focused on God's calling. I have often struggled with the story of Jesus telling the man to leave all his possessions and follow him (Jesus). The man then asks to bury his father. Jesus tells him to let the dead bury the dead. That is where I struggle. I have a hard time finding the balance between putting Jesus first and taking care of myself so I can take care of others. I consider my family my first church, so how can I neglect them to do other "godly" things? It is a balancing act that I don't balance very well. The more time I spend in prayer and in the Word, the more I wonder about what I am doing and how I should continue. I love volunteering at school and spending time there, and feel called to do so. However, there are things at home that have to get done. How do I make the time to make sure they get done? How do I make the time to take care of myself in the way that the doctors are telling is now a necessity? There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. I know that God does not make mistakes, so surely He did not give me more children than I have time to nurture, did he? Six people in a family makes for a lot of stuff- and a lot of things to clean up, clothes to wash, to dry, to fold, to put away, papers to go through, to file, bills to pay, just a lot of things to do. Yet, I also know that ALL things are possible with God, so I just need to stop trying to do it all myself and start letting Him take control and maybe instead of being in the passenger seat I need to get in the back seat. Although I am a back seat driver. I am starting to have a few revelations about myself- I think God is slowly leaking information that I can finally handle- and it is starting to sink in. There might be some interesting posts to come in the future.....
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Today is Ash Wednesday. We had our Paczkis yesterday to celebrate Fat Tuesday. I thought about being good and not having any, especially since I haven't been able to walk in over a week due to the bronchitis, but I just didn't have the willpower. Chocolate with custard. Yum. It was delightful. I went to chapel this morning and thought the Pastor did a nice job of explaining Ash Wednesday to the kids. Gretchen always comes and sits with me. I love that she still sits on my lap for chapel. Even Aislin and Taryn came to say hi to me today. It was a nice surprise. I was able to get to Curves and get a walk in, so I am back to a routine- except I didn't have Crossways because of the Ash Wednesday service. I like Ash Wednesday. I like having ashes on my forehead when I pick up the girls from school. It always starts great discussions. I love hearing what the girls are thinking about and how their minds are working as they get older. I also want them to know that my faith is important to me, and that my days are spent doing things with God, just like they do in Religion class. I don't want them to think that you ever get too old for God. I want them to see life as a journey with God, one that grows and grows over time, and that only ends in Heaven. I want to lead by example for my children. I don't want to have expectations for them that I don't have for myself. I think that I may like Ash Wednesday so much because it is a day that reminds us to repent. It is a day that reminds us that we fail each and every day to live the lives that we could. It is a day that reminds us that our Lord and Savior went to the cross out of love for us. It is a day that reminds us that no matter what we have done, are doing, or will do, our Savior loves us and forgives us each and every time we repent. Our family does "give up" something for Lent. We discuss it each year and let the girls decide if they want to participate. We use it as a tool for the girls to see how difficult it can be to sacrifice something they like. It is by no means any comparison to the sacrifice Christ made, but it does give them a glimpse into the depth of His love. He didn't have to go through with it. He chose to go to the tree. His love was that strong, that true. Ash Wednesday is the start of the build-up to Easter when we can sing Lift High the Cross and I Know My Redeemer Lives. It is a somber day, but it is also the start of the party. It is reverent, but I think I love it because I know how the story ends. I can feel the excitement building, and I want to share the story. I want everyone to know that it doesn't end with the ashes, it doesn't end with the "giving up", it doesn't even end at the cross. It ends at the empty tomb! It ends when My Redeemer Lives! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!!!!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
A family member made a life altering decision recently. I am in awe of the strength it took to do so. I am so proud of her. It is quite possibly the hardest decision she will ever have to make, and she did it with grace and dignity. I talked with her shortly after wards to offer support and encouragement and she was telling me that she was surprised at how she felt. She thought she was going to be a mess, but she really was doing much better than she had thought. She is a planner, and for the first time in her life, she had no plan. Everything she had thought was going to be happening in her life was now up for grabs. The direction her life was taking had all of a sudden taken a huge change. She said she was really ok. It was so reassuring to hear her say that. I told her that she needed to remember that Jesus lives inside of each of us, and when we feel that sense of peace it is because it is coming from Him. I am just blown away by the maturity and faith that is being exhibited. I don't know that I would have been able to do the same thing at her age. She was so concerned that she was setting a good example for my girls- she didn't want to disappoint me or them. I let her know that I was nothing but proud of her and that she is amazing example for my girls. She made a difficult decision- and one that most definitely goes against the tide of society- but she stayed true to herself, she stayed true to her faith, and she stayed true to what she believed to be the best decision in the long run. I believe God gave her the strength to do what was right, even though it was very very difficult. I am so proud of her for doing it, and for relying on His strength to get her through. She is an amazing young woman, and I am honored to be in her family.
Monday, February 23, 2009
It is funny how our perspective changes through the years. Awhile back my small group was discussing persecution and I just didn't see how people in the US were being persecuted for religion. Now that my children are older, I see it differently. It is difficult to have different standards than other families- even in small things. There are so many television shows, movies, music, that are just not good choices for adolescents. It is a lot of work to research it all. Jim and I fail miserably at being as thorough as we should. However, we are apparently much more strict than our children would like us to be. Many times I feel like an island in a raging storm. I have become the Funsucker. I just don't want my children to be forced into growing up before they should. Once the images are in the brain, they cannot leave. There will be plenty of time for the content of PG-13 movies- I don't see the need for the children to start seeing them at young ages. I do feel like I am standing up to amazing pressure to just let the children do what they want and not check out any of the shows they are watching, movies they are seeing, music they are listening to, games they are playing. We gave in and allowed wii to enter our house this Christmas. I am still not sure it was a good idea. It was nice not having any video games in the house. The positive is that the girls play the games together and we control what games we have in the house. I know the persecution is nothing compared to worrying about losing your life for your faith, but I have changed my mind about persecution. It is just a different kind of pressure. I tell my girls all the time that life is about choices, and that sometimes it is not always good and bad choices. Sometimes it is about good and better choices, and we need to think about what choice is the best choice for us, and what choice is the choice that glorifies God. What choice draws us closer to our Savior. We always want to be walking closer to God. I want them to think about everything that happens in their day in that context. I want God to be the center of their day, not the afterthought. Unfortunately, I don't think that is happening in the majority of the daily lives. I think that is the issue with the world today (but that is another post). I want them to get comfortable with that so they can handle the pressure that comes with it- people aren't used to a God first perspective. It catches them off guard. It changes the way things happen. It is a good thing, but it isn't easy. It isn't supposed to be easy. I am thankful that God has provided the strength for us to be able to stand by our decisions on some very difficult things. Hopefully we are making a difference. We don't know yet, and we may not know, but we feel we are doing the right thing. We'll just keep asking for wisdom and discernment and keep believing that God will provide them!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
We sang two of my favorite hymns in church today. It was really nice. It made me grateful. I don't think I ever give my parents enough credit. I had the privilege of attending a parochial school. I remember going to chapel every week and loving it when we sang Beautiful Savior. I loved the old hymnals. I loved the familiar words and tunes. It was comforting. That is perhaps why it is now one of my favorite hymns. The words are not only beautiful, but the tune is as well. It is comforting, and I know it by heart, and it reminds me of my childhood. It takes me back to the beautiful church of my youth and the "carefree days of old". As we sang it this morning, I was sitting in the pew with my children, and I had a friend's child on my lap, and my husband to my left, my pastors in front of me, surrounded by my church family. It was almost a surreal feeling. I had the past and present meeting and the future was there as well. It was very comforting and peaceful. It was an unusual feeling for me. Things are slowing down at all for me, and yet it just feels different. This morning was a great reminder for me of my history. I have been born and raised in the church, and I am so thankful for the roots my parents have given to me. There was never any question that Jim and I would send our children to a Lutheran school- that was what you do. I am blessed to have the background that I do. I didn't take full advantage of it at the time, but some things did sink in, and I am so glad they did. The hymns, the Bible verses, the creeds, the liturgies- all the things that are just part of who I am because I heard them, sang them, said them, read them, over and over again until they became natural to me. That is my ultimate goal- that each day there is a little more of Jesus in me and a little less of me. I want my character to be more Christ like each day. I want to surrender myself. When Jim's grandpa married us, he told us to "Aim for perfection" since we will not achieve it this side of Heaven. So that is my journey- to keep aiming, to take the good, godly things that have become natural to me and add to them. I want to have more moments of peace and comfort and fewer moments of chaos. I know that is God's plan as well. I just keep getting in the way of His plan. This morning, though, I stayed out of His way, and I was rewarded. He truly is a Beautiful Savior.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Yesterday I was sitting in the house and all of a sudden I realized it was completely silent. Not just quiet, but silent. No noise at all. I stopped what I was doing and just listened to the silence. I couldn't remember the last time I had heard silence. It was comforting. It was nice. It didn't last long- the furnace went on or something- but for a few glorious moments I was basking in pure silence. It was really peaceful. It would have been the perfect time for a booming voice to come down from Heaven saying "STEFF, MY PLAN FOR YOU TODAY IS........" but no voice. It was a gift though. I live in a very loud world. Six people in one house makes it noisy, but the six people who live in my home happen to be loud people. Boisterous. We enjoy life. We don't hold back. I don't think anyone would describe us as quiet, shy, introverted, or reserved. My girls are not the soft feminine dainty girls. We are more of the tornado kind of a family. You know when we have been around. It is always noisy in our house. Someone is always talking and usually someone is playing piano, somebody else is singing to whatever song is playing on the ipod, and there is music on the wii. Quiet doesn't happen, let alone silence. So I am still just so grateful for the gift of silence that was given to me yesterday. It was just a passing moment in the middle of the day, and yet it focused me and centered me. It reminded me that there can be moments of silence in the midst of chaos, and that God is always in the middle of whatever is going in our lives. He is there, and He knows what we need. He is in the chaos, and He is in the silence. There was a time in my life when I didn't think I was ever going to get all of my kids in school all day, and here I am in the second year of it. Although I wouldn't want to go back to the days of infants, I do miss it now and then. Yet, I am done with that time, and am grateful that I survived it. 4 kids 6 and under was nuts. I loved my babies; I loved my toddlers; I look back and have no idea how I managed to do it. So- I guess God gave me moments of silence back then as well. Just enough moments to get me through. I do believe that God gives us glimpses of Heaven on earth- because we cannot physically handle the joy/love/goodness that is Heaven on earth in their entirety. Therefore we get glimpses. In the same way, I guess He could give us glimpses of whatever we need to keep us sane while we are here. I use the term sane loosely. I just have to laugh because I really enjoyed the silence, and yet it really is not something I can count on to happen on a regular basis. The life God has given me ( and I do believe my life is a gift from God) prohibits it. I cannot be married to the man I am married to, mother to the children I birthed, and have regular periods of silence. I cannot be me and be silent. I am not wired that way. Isn't that ironic. I guess I will go ponder some more as I go help with homework as the natives are restless.... (and you know that means it is no longer quiet in my house).........
Monday, February 16, 2009
I am perplexed. I just got through a very interesting week. To say it was busy is an understatement. I had 3 very important events happening. I was very excited and looking forward to all of the events. On Tuesday, I was out walking and got a call that Meghan was in the office not feeling well. She had a temp of 99.4. Normally I would tell her to see if she can just make it through the day, but I needed her to be well for an event thursday night, and I was informed that Meg was the 3rd 4th grader in the office that day. I finished my walk and picked her up from school. I then decided that I was going to keep the rest of the girls home from their activities that night as well. I am so glad I did, because I started feeling cold clammy, and then I was hot, and then cold. It was awful. I ended up going to bed at 8. Looking back, I just have to thank God. He gave me just enough energy to get through each day. I should have been in bed, but I just didn't have that luxury, and God provided everything I needed to get through. I was fighting a fever each day, I was hacking up alternating lungs, but I was able to get things accomplished through His grace and mercy. I made it through all 3 events and I am positive that God met us at all 3. It was awesome. One of the events was a gala for school. My girls sang. I know I am biased, but they sounded like angels. It was beautiful. The other 2 events were on friday- Gretchen's birthday and Valentine's party. Friday night Gretchen told me the best part of her birthday was her party, so I guess I did alright there. The moms did a great job running the party, so I am thankful for them. I had plenty of people praying for me ( I know I sounded terrible, and I must have looked terrible as well) and it truly got me through the week. On saturday morning, I got up and went to the doctor. I actually had a fever at the office, so that was nice-you know as opposed to showing up at the doctor's and looking great and telling them you have spent the last week feeling miserable and having them give you that look like you are the biggest hypochondriac they have ever seen. It was determined that I have bronchitis. I was told to go home and rest. I spent saturday and sunday on the oversized chair. I had no energy. Walking up the stairs made me wheeze. I have no idea how I made it through the week other than prayers and the grace of God. I am seriously perplexed. It blows me away. God is good. I count this last week as a miracle. There is no other explanation.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
My life is chaos. Complete chaos. It is a great life. I have an amazing husband, beautiful children, friends who would do anything for me, a great family, a huge extended family who drives me crazy, and yet who I couldn't imagine getting through life without, and yet my life is in an extreme state of disorder. I look around my house and wonder what I have done wrong to live in such a state of mess. My husband and I often talk of selling our house and moving to a smaller house in an effort to have a smaller mortgage. I am beginning to believe that God is telling us that is not the answer simply because putting our house on the market would put me in a pure state of panic. I think my anxiety would go through the roof. My family is just not meant to be the family who lives in a state of model home living. We really live. Things get messy. Our house looks lived in. I want to walk in to my home and have it look completely neat and orderly. I want everything to have a place and everything to be in that place. I want it to look like Alice lives here. However, I am slowly beginning to realize that what I want and what is realistic are 2 very different things. When I started praying for complete surrender a few years back, I really had no idea of the depths of what I was asking for. I also am just beginning to realize how far I have to go in the prayer, and it is a bit daunting. Prayer is painful. I know it is entirely worth it, and I am excited for the changes that have happened, are happening, and are yet to come, but it is not easy. I am not always skipping and jumping along gleefully with this plan that Jesus has for me. More often than not, I am dragging my feet as He pulls me along, doing only what I have begged Him to do in the first place. As the parent of a teen, I am beginning to see the difficult job he has of dealing with children who think they know it all but really know oh so little of the world. I wonder how many times a day He shakes His head at me and "Oh my precious child, You have no idea what you are doing. Please just listen to me. I do know what I am doing. I can help you with this. Do what I say, and life will be so much easier. Do what is say, and the chaos will cease. Just listen, my child. Just listen."
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I have been thinking about Job a lot lately. I just want to know how he stood so firm in his joy and faith. I want to be content in my circumstances. I want to praise God in all things. I have an amazing life. I have been abundantly blessed. I seem to continually struggle with the same "thorns in my flesh". I make the same mistakes. Over. and over. and over. and over. It is tiring. I don't know how God puts up with me. I want to change my behavior pattern, and yet I fall into the same rut. I have begged God to help me. I had a revelation the other day that perhaps things hadn't change because I was always trying to come up with the solutions on how to best "fix" the problems. I realized I needed to just let God do his thing. That is easier said then done though, when bills need to be paid and money has to come from somewhere. I look at some of the things I struggle with on a daily basis and I just have to shake my head. I don't know how I arrived at this place. I don't know how to leave. I am stuck in a moment and I can't get out of it. I have been praying for surrender for quite some time, and it has been a painful process, but I still have along way to go. I don't feel much closer to the destination, and that is disheartening. However, I do know that God is walking beside me, and oftentimes, He is carrying me. He is the only way I am making it through each day. He is the only way I will be able to continue to shine. He is the reason why someday I will understand how Job was able to be content. He is the way I will someday be content myself. I am just waiting for that day to arrive.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
It is a beautiful sunny saturday. I am going to get a 3 mile walk in today, right after I get this posted. I usually don't walk on the weekends, but I didn't get a walk in yesterday, so I am making up for it today. We had an open house for school on thursday night. It was encouraging. There were 30 families there. I am throwing it at the feet of God. There is so much good happening at Immanuel. I want it to prosper. I want more children to be able to have the opportunity to be influenced by the amazing teachers that are there. I feel so honored to be able to be part of the community there. I feel Gd at work in the classrooms. I feel His presence so clearly. His love is overflowing and it is such a special place. There is plenty of work to be done. I have a laundry list of places where I feel improvement needs to happen and where actions do not match words, but for the most part, that is not in the classroom. The teachers love the Lord, and the examples they set for the children are wonderful. My heart bursts when I think of it. I have procrastinated long enough- it is time to walk.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I was at a retreat this weekend. It was awesome. The theme was Body by Christ. The presenters did a great job and I feel that God was really present. Some healing took place. I had been struggling for quite some time and I had been feeling like I was on an upswing, but that really helped me up out of the pit. I am not on the mountain top, but at least I am on level ground and no longer falling. I know it will be a lifelong struggle and something I will have to put at the feet of Jesus each and every day, but I do feel that I am getting a better view of it and I am seeing it for what it is and naming it and ever so slowly doing what I need to do it to fight it. Exercise really is key. I am beginning to see that getting out and walking is no longer a luxury for me. It is something that has to be done if I am going to be able to function at all. It is no longer about losing weight- it is about some semblance of sanity. I can no longer try and muddle through on my own. I need Jesus. I need therapy. I need exercise. It is that simple. I may eventually be able to get rid of the therapy, and maybe even the exercise, but Jesus will be the constant. I am always amazed at how the daily devotions seem to be chosen specifically for me. It cannot be coincidence. It happens far too often for it to be that. God is at work. He is always at work.