Archive for April 2013


Sunday, April 21, 2013

I have such a longing for my posts to be brimming with hope, joy and a positive outlook.  I try to be a "glass is half full" person as much as possible.  I've noticed that when I'm not feeling overly optimistic or hopeful, I withdraw--from people, from connection, and from my own family.  And I am silent in most areas of life.  Those who know me well, know when something is up because of my silence.  I'm pretty predictable that way.  But, in an effort to be authentic, I am getting on here and sharing my heart in spite of my desire to hide.

I am in one of those seasons where the blows keep coming.  There hasn't been much of a respite for a while.  I truly believe that when you step into your glory and walk closer to true freedom, the enemy will step it up.  As I get closer to my calling, the heat has been turned up on my confidence and faith. When I reflect on times in my past where the pain has felt unbearable, I remember that the heat is always turned up the highest before a huge blessing unfolds.  I am trying to hang onto that memory to sustain me in this current valley.

If you're familiar at all with the story of our move back in September and all the miracles that took place  during that time, then you may remember the verse I clung to back then.  When I was in the midst of despair and losing hope that we'd ever have a happy ending, God did more than we could have ever asked or imagined. (Eph. 3:20)  At this juncture I'm feeling the same way.  And, like back in September, I have had a new verse show up time and time again. It's on the picture at the beginning of this post.  I hope that very soon I will be on the other side of this and can look back and rejoice over how yet another one of His promises to me has come true. Clinging to hope.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If I ever have to answer the question "what is your biggest pet peeve?"  Almost without hesitation, I will say: "selfishness" or "narcissism".  They essentially mean the same thing--an obsession with getting one's own needs met.  It rears its ugly head in me more than I care to admit but I happen to have married someone and birthed people who have no problem bringing it to my attention when they see it--and vice versa.  This is both a blessing and a curse.

I come from a long line of narcissists so it's a trait I have battled against most of my adult life.  Extreme selfishness caused my immediate family to be irretrievably broken--and the family preceding ours, too.  Sometimes I know I can go overboard on my quest to not repeat that pattern in my own family of five.  My kids roll their eyes when I start in on my observations about how our culture has become so "me obsessed" that common courtesy and thoughtfulness are virtually obsolete.  I've been known to come down on their friends for calling me by my first name, not saying hello to me when they come in our house or just having plain old bad manners.  Boy, does this go over well on the popularity meter.  Not.

It really does concern me that we live in a society that is not other-centered.  And look where it has taken us.  I can really get down in the dumps (and bitter) if I spend too much time thinking about this.  This afternoon I was having a little complaint session with God about this very subject while I walked down the driveway to the mailbox.  Inside, I immediately spotted a large envelope addressed to me with a stamp on it. (this usually means its not a bill) The return address was a P.O. Box.  Hmmmmm. I tore open the envelope and found a beautiful thank you note with a gift card enclosed.  I have recently found myself in the middle of a very heartbreaking custody situation between a couple I love very much.  The card was from the dad with these words inside: "Thanks for being you.  This is a small token of our appreciation for how much you have helped us through this extremely difficult time."   I was humbled and blown away.  Just when I was ready to thrown humanity down the drain, God swoops in and reminds me that, one: all that I do, I do unto Him not others and two: kindness and thoughtfulness still exist.  And they come from the most unexpected places.


Second chances

Monday, April 1, 2013

Not only is my social media fast over but so is my short-lived spring break--just as the boys' is getting started.  Thankfully, this will be the last time we won't share this vacation. Tomorrow marks the last 10 weeks until I get to be in an actual classroom teaching.  I remember when I was contemplating this endeavor 3 years ago.  I knew I was being called to take this path but I honestly didn't think I could do it.  I've never been good at sticking with something from start to finish--or I simply don't start as to avoid the "not finishing" part.  Over the break, I had high hopes of all the tasks I was going to accomplish.  After day 2, I was already feeling burned out and realized I hadn't given myself time to rest.  As I looked at my list of house projects, I found myself paralyzed and overwhelmed.  Where was this coming from?  Why was it so hard for me to simply move forward?

As I contemplated why I was struggling, I came to a couple conclusions.  One, I hate wasting anything: time, money, energy, etc.  Oftentimes, I spend a lot of  hours perusing ideas online or in magazines, gathering supplies, choosing paint colors and buying materials only to have the project be a total disaster.  Because I can't get that time or money back, I beat myself up over all that was wasted. Second, I have believed that I have to get everything right the first time. If I don't think I will do it perfectly with the time and conditions set before me, I won't do it.  I put such high expectations on myself and then make excuses as to why it won't work. And yet, time still passes, whether I choose to move forward or not.

Suddenly, I realized something very profound that tied into what I was wrestling with.  Both of the books I chose to read over my break had the exact same theme: second chances.  I always say that the attribute of God I love the most is that He is a god of restoration.  And restoration is about second chances, and third, and fourth chances too!  The first book was a fictional story involving a couple who separated, their only child who chose a hard path after her parents' marriage dissolved, and the way God orchestrated the events of their lives to restore all their relationships.  The second one was about a popular Christian music artist whose first wife died 100 days after their wedding from ovarian cancer.  He endured pain greater than a young husband would ever expect and three years later, he was given a second chance at love and family.  He's now married with three beautiful children and a thriving music ministry. 

I don't have to get it right the first time.  Nothing is wrong with trying but when the result isn't what I hoped it would be, I don't have to let that stop me from taking risks with my future endeavors.  And I have to remind myself that if it had, I wouldn't be sitting here packing my bookbag and preparing for my final quarter of classes.  Three years ago, I remember saying to a very wise friend, "But I'll be 46 by the time I'm done."  To which she replied, "You can be 46 with a teaching certificate or not but you'll still be 46 in 3 years."  I love second chances!