Wasted Worry

Ever since I read Fight Back With Joy, I’ve been thinking a lot about my level of worry or anxiety.  My daughter Mackenzie and I were having a conversation the other morning and I tried to share with her what’s been brewing inside me on this subject.

Mackenzie and I were in the kitchen and over cooking breakfast she told me about an awful nightmare she had.  In her dream, her little brother had been hurt and she couldn’t help him.  Mackenzie being the amazing big sister she is (12 years older than her little bro) and the kind soul she is, felt shaken deeply by the dream.  I could identify.  I felt her pain.  When Mackenzie was small, sometimes feelings of anxiety would overwhelm me and I couldn’t leave her or let her go with someone else because I was afraid she’d be hurt.  I lived in fear of car accidents or broken bones or kidnapping.  Sometimes I still do.  But you know what??

None of that has ever happened.

Ya’ll I’ve worried myself sick over stuff that’s NEVER HAPPENED.

Now some horrible stuff HAS happened to me, but I noticed as I considered this that I never worried about any of the stuff that actually occurred.  They always came on without warning as tragedies tend to do, and I had no inkling that I needed to be afraid those things would happen.   I was never scared that my ex-husband would leave me for another woman, or that my superhero daddy might have a terrible stroke, or that a hurricane might turn my life upside down, or that one of my darling friends might get cancer. When those horrors DID occur, you know what?  We got through. We’re getting through. God sustained us, provided for us, healed us, drew us closer together.  And it’s all right.  There has been sufficient grace for every awful moment in my life so far.

This proves two things:  One, I’m absolutely terrible at predicting the future.  Sorry if you were hoping I’d hang a neon sign on my door and open for business.  It’s not looking good.  And two, God is very good at being God and I need not attempt to do His job for Him.

The absence of worry!!

The absence of worry!!

So why do I waste my time with worry and anxiety?  I was sharing with Mackenzie after her nightmare that even though life can and likely WILL hand me some terrible things, I’m often haunted by fears of things that most likely won’t occur.  Why spend time worrying and entertaining anxious thoughts of things that probably WON’T happen?  I’ve got to trust God to get me through the bad stuff that does happen, but I can’t predict what that stuff will be, so why take away from the joy of what IS by trying to be clairvoyant about potential pain?  Ya’ll, I can BREATHE… quit braking on the passenger side, and enjoy the ride.

This is not to say that anxiety or worry won’t come knocking.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed, blindsided by a fear or a sudden horrific thought.  But it occurs to me that I don’t have to entertain the thoughts.  I don’t have to sit in them or let them take over.  I can go back to trust, back to grace.  I can shift my focus to something joyful.  I can fight back with joy, embrace the grace that has been extended to me, and be grateful for the wonderful things in my life.

They’re there, you know.  The wonderful things.  The fairies far outnumber the monsters in my world.

So how do you do it?  How do you fight the fears that threaten you?  How do you control the temptation to worry wastefully?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Fighting Back, Guns Blazin’!

Done any life-changing reading lately?  I have.

Fight Back With Joy by the lovely Mrs. Margaret Feinberg reduced me to a puddle.  It ate my lunch.  Blew my mind.

I loved it.

Joy is the prize.  The cheese.  The coveted jewel of every life, no matter what race, class, or religion.  We all want it, we all NEED it, but few of us master it or REALLY live lives marinated in joy or defined by joy.  Who wouldn’t want a joyful life?

I certainly do.  Or I SAY I do.  And yet, so many days I choose to fight my battles with irritability, anxiety, nervous energy.  I fight with caffeine, chocolate, or macaroni and cheese.  I fight with closed-fisted anger, or seething sarcasm.  I fight with eloquent arguments. (If you don’t think I can make a good argument, just ask my husband.)  Sometimes I don’t fight, but I retreat under the covers or hide behind a busy schedule or zone out on social media.

But what if I fought with joy?  What if joy were more than an elusive state of happiness and well being?  What if it were more than a fleeting feeling I get when everything goes my way?  What if, instead of letting joy slip away when I’m faced with a battle, I picked it up and FOUGHT, using it as my weapon?  What if I ran into the battlefield of life, screaming like a banshee, with the sword of JOY glinting in the sun?  What if JOY was the weapon with which I slay the dragon of stress, slice up the monster of pain?  What if joy were what I slide back into the sheath as I stand over the slain giant of loss, foot propped on its chest like a winner?  And what if, in learning to use joy as my weapon to fight life’s battles, I ended up with a life FULL of joy?

morethanwhimsyThat’s what Margaret’s book suggests and what, in fact, she decided to do when she received a devastating diagnosis of cancer.  Fight Back With Joy is the account of her training in the weaponry of joy, and if you’re interested in learning how to wield joy as a weapon it’s the place to begin.  I’ve enjoyed Margaret’s work for a long time, and was saddened to see her diagnosis when she shared it with her readers.  She’s been to hell and back but the product is a book that challenged me in the kind of deep, meaningful, more-than-churchspeak-cliche’s-I’ve-heard-a thousand-times way I was starving for.

I’ve got a nephew who shoots sporting clays professionally.  He started as a kid with an old beat up shotgun and a knack for shooting, but he got good.  Really good.  And along the way he’s amassed quite the collection of guns.  A hundred year old gun that belonged to our great grandfather.  A brand new state of the art gun that is worth more than a small car.  He’s got all KINDS of guns because he’s GREAT at using them.  If we think of joy as a weapon, and start fighting back our demons with it, I’ll bet we’d end up with quite the arsenal in our proverbial weapons case.

I read Fight Back With Joy in a few short days, mostly on my lunch breaks.  I read with tears rolling down my cheeks and with resolve growing in my gut.  I needed to hear it, needed to know it.  The last post I wrote, I was headed into the new year, struggling with fear of the unknown.  Enter Fight Back With Joy and my perspective has shifted.  I’m still a lil scared.  What if that other shoe DOES drop?  What if…?  I don’t even know.

What I DO know is that I don’t have to sit back in fear.  I have a weapon.  More than just a salve for my wounds, or a bandage for my broken heart, joy is a WEAPON I can use to guard my life.  I can USE it.  Pick it up, wave it around, practice with it, FIGHT with it.  It’s a strategy that puts me on the offense.  I ain’t no helpless lil’ thang out here just waiting for the next horror to take me down.  I’m a woman, a warrior, with joy as my defiance against a hopeless, sad existence.

Ya’ll.  I love this.  I love the idea of defying the difficulties of life with one of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit:  Joy.  I love the thought of choosing to celebrate, practice, seek out and create joy as a way to avoid giving in to the sorrow and despair so prevalent in our world.  I gotta admit, I’ve got some target practice to do.  But I’m ready to get to it.  I’m ready to tackle life with my joy guns blazin’!  How about you?

You can get Fight Back With Joy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Go.  Get it.  Read it.  Or get some of your tribe together and ya’ll study it.   Tell me what you think!!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Resolution

It’s a new year!  And I’m kinda scared…

Just telling the truth.

I’m having a hard time being positive.  Do you ever feel like that?  Like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop?  Like you know everything’s good but are ever looking for whatever might lurk ahead?  Like you can’t fully appreciate the beauty of now because you let imagined and real fears steal the moment?

Just me, huh?  🙂

I’ve been thinking about resolutions and wanting to make some and yet have felt kind of paralyzed by the what-if’s of 2015.  It’s a new year.  A new slate.  Another gift.  And yet what if if holds things that hurt?  This is so depressing isn’t it???

This morning I cried while telling my husband how I feel like I should be past this.  I feel like it’s a rookie faith mistake and like God deserves better from someone He’s brought so far.  I mean at some point, faith comes outside the Sunday School and enters the everyday choices of a believer’s life.  That’s when the real adventure is.  I’m not a rookie.  I’ve been following Jesus a long time. So what do I do?

Here’s what:

1)  Reflect on where I’ve been with God.  See, God and I have been some bad places already and He was enough.  He will be enough no matter what the future brings.  I have His impeccable track record to go by.

2)  Release my grip.  Even in the face of fear, I can make a choice to open my clenched emotional fist and let go of my expectations, good and bad.  I can choose to trust Romans 8:28 and believe the truth of it.

3)  Run toward my life.  Once I’ve made a choice to trust God, I am free to embrace life and not resist it.  I don’t need to back up, or even walk timidly forward.  I can RUN right into my great big overwhelming life.

Fear happens.  Sometimes the feeling is more intense for me than others.  I think it’s not the presence of fear, but how we deal with it that makes the difference.   So even though I feel like a big chicken, I am not going to BECOME a chicken.  Chickens aren’t really notorious for joyous living, ya know?  True believers on the other hand… well, they ARE.  So I’m gonna go ahead and resolve away, alright??  Alright.

2015 Resolutions:

* Make some basic doctor appointments and dental appointments, (Another fear to overcome)  and keep working toward a healthier life by continuing my exercise and continuing to practice balance in my diet.

* Do something I’m not sure I can do.

*  Laugh more.

*  Unplug one night each week.

*  Take a family vacation.

So there they are, out there for the world to see.  My resolutions for the year 2015.  Bring it on!!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Friday Feeling

Me at Ultimate Change

Me at Ultimate Change

There’s a feeling I lost.  One I forgot how to feel for a while.  The busyness of life and the feeling of overwhelm can sometimes… well… overwhelm other feelings.  Back in late February, before my birthday, I started exercising at The Ultimate Change.  One of the many benefits of regular exercise is one I didn’t expect:  The Feeling Of Accomplishment!  Every morning the class starts, and yeah, somewhere about halfway through I’m thinking I can’t do anymore or sweat any more or whatever.  Encouragement is yelled out from the front of the class “Push a little more!  You can do it!” and I somehow get through.  Before I know it, the cool down starts and a giddy feeling sneaks up on me.  I did it!  It’s over!  I feel great, want to laugh out loud, and can’t help the smile I get.  I’m actually a little bit hooked now.

Some people call this runner’s high.  I don’t even know because I would not call myself a runner by any stretch. (See what I did there?)  I think it’s a little more than that because I’ve noticed I can cultivate that feeling at other times.  At the end of a work day.  At the end of a project I dread.  At the end of the week.  More than runner’s high, I like to call it Friday Feeling.  What I’m discovering is that Friday Feeling pops up all over the place.  Most of the time I’ve just ignored it.

But lately, I’ve decided to maximize Friday Feeling.  By maximize, I mean stop.  Just stop and let myself feel the giddy feeling of “I did it!  It’s over! Yay!!!”  I guess most of the last few years I’ve let good accomplishments slip by with little more than “What next?”  By neglecting to celebrate, I cheat myself out of so much of life’s joy.

I’m doing amazing things.  So are you!  We’re raising kids, putting ideas into practice, finishing books, cleaning bathrooms, scoring great deals on toilet paper, finding the guts to try something new.  Little accomplishments happen every day and they’re miracles.  So outside the 26 inches I’ve lost (FRIDAY FEELING!!) I’ve gained a way of  recognizing and celebrating the gift of life.  Somebody Else did this, too.

“And God saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Genesis 1:31

“..fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

So God did this.  God celebrated the good things.  He celebrates the good things.

I’ve spent a lot of years letting perfectionism take for granted the wonderful-ness in life.  Living like Friday never comes.  Ignoring the cool reasons to celebrate because I forgot how to appreciate things, or I’m moving too fast to have time to bask in the goodness.  I’m thinking, however, if God places this on priority… perhaps I should, too.

It’s Friday, y’all!  Time to take a deep breath, a sigh of relief, a little cheer of “I did it!”  What’s giving you Friday Feeling today?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Give the Lettuce to the Fat Girl

 

Date Night

Date Night

Sitting in a  romantically lit cafe during a  long-awaited evening out with my husband, it happened.  We talked easily,  sipped our wine and waited for our dinner.  My handsome, effortlessly thin husband ordered Mediterranean lettuce wraps.  I ordered a cheeseburger. The waiter (someone different than the one who took our order)  swooped over and.. you guessed it… set the lettuce wraps down in front of me and gave my cheeseburger to Thinny McThin.

I’m not that sensitive about my weight.  Really, I’m not.  I live somewhere between wanting to drop about 30 pounds and trying to learn to be happy and at peace at whatever weight I am, since I know being thin isn’t the key to happiness.  Yeah, I’d like to be a couple sizes smaller, but I also know that there are pretty features about me.  My husband loves me, and I know that constant obsessing about my weight doesn’t make me sexy to him.  You can’t be married to a chef and be shy about enjoying food.  They aren’t really into that.   Plus, there’s sugar.  And I ain’t talkin’ about the kind you give your Granny on the cheek.  I can’t give up hope that there’s a way to be healthy without totally sacrificing bread, cookies, and cake.

At the end of a long, emotional week, the cheeseburger thing just rubbed me wrong.  I know that magazine covers are airbrushed, that stretch marks can’t be erased, and that a woman’s weight and shape don’t define her value.  I really wish the rest of society knew it too.  There are still enough smart remarks, fat jokes, and judgemental looks out there to make a girl feel like a less-than because of her weight… especially in a weak moment.  I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the waiter’s assumption that the fat girl needed the lettuce wraps.  Couldn’t help feeling a little embarrassed at his quizzical expression as my husband corrected him and handed the cheeseburger over to me.  Couldn’t help wondering if the guy walked away shaking his head at why a handsome, thin guy would be with a Mrs. Sprat like me.  Depressing, huh? I know.  AND a little crazy.  AND I totally projected my feelings onto the poor, unsuspecting, stereotyping waiter.  It was enough to ruin a perfectly good first-date-night-in-a-long-time with grumpy sighs and over-obsessing defensiveness.

When I was a little girl, my mom and dad used to sing a song about how God made me special.  They believed that, and still do.  I do, too.  Most of the time.

The cheeseburger was great, by the way.  I ate about half and took the rest home, a normal part of my attempt to practice balance and moderation every day.  My head’s still held high, and I know I’m loved.  My shape’s not perfect but it’s me, and no one else can be my husband’s wife, my kids’ mom, my parents’ daughter better than I.  There’s so much more to life than bodyweight and so much more to me than my physical appearance.

The Salad We Had TonightI’ve recovered from my temporary insanity and remembered that other people don’t get to dictate whether I enjoy my life.  I shall continue to laugh, love, and eat sugar.

Lettuce is nice.  Thanks for the gesture.  But stereotypes just don’t fit me right.  I’ll have the cheeseburger.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

A Crazy Little Thing Called Love

It’s made me drag myself out of bed on a rainy Saturday morning to drive my daughter to a volunteer event at school.

It’s made me spend time and money in a counselors office to enhance my marriage and motherhood.

It’s made me give away my last piece of pie, my last French fry, the last of the milk in the jug.

It’s made me drive fast and slow, reckless and extra careful.

It’s made me ask God to take a suffering person who was precious to me and broken my heart when He did what I asked.

It’s made me stay awake when I was too tired, keep walking when my feet hurt, and open my arms when I’d rather be alone.

It’s made me braver than I ever thought I’d be able to be and it’s made me the biggest coward on the face of the earth.

It’s made my cry tears of sorrow and just as many tears of joy.

It’s made me cook and made me eat, made me go out and made me stay in.

It’s made me give everything my body and mind have to offer and more.

It’s been my lowest low and highest high.

And this was all in the past week!!!

It’s a crazy little thing called love and I’m grateful tonight to have a life full of the stuff.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Pit Avoidance 101

So remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I managed to avoid my annual Pit of Despair during the summer?  I totally promised to tell you about that.  So I am:

If you’ve read for a while or know me at all, then you know I dread summer, and it ain’t the New Orleans heat.  Summers are when my big kids have to go away for a several weeks and…

I.  Hate. It.

Like, deep depression, crying most days, eating everything in sight, hate it.

I miss those babies, what can I say?!?

This year, however, I managed to cope a bit more effectively with my summer emotions.  Here are a few reasons why:

1)  Homemade Vinaigrette.  I’m totally serious.  I got kind of interested in a bunch of homemade things and I made some awesome vinaigrettes this summer.  Most included honey and lime. (How can you beat that?)  I also made some yummy cocktails like key lime pie martini and a salty dog with fresh grapefruit juice.  So. Good.  Not to mention I kept up with my biscuit project and became a Joy the Baker disciple.  With only one kid at home and he had an age 3-sized tummy, it was easier to make grown-up food for dinner without having to coerce anyone into trying what was on the plate.  So, things like arugula pesto went down easy.  And I had fun with the distraction.

2)  Friends.  Not the TV show.  The real kind.  We have some darling friends down the street who invited us like crazy to swim in their gorgeous pool.  I learned a few water aerobics moves, but mostly had a fun place to move my body and have fun with my littlest boy and enjoy time with some great grownups.  And of course our house church friends stick close during summers.  They run straight toward the crazy.  They hover near, show up on weeknights, and call to see if I can have lunch.  I have some long distance heart friends (Christy and my sister) who also video chat and such.  It’s hard to BS when they can see my face. And then there are the girls night friends.  Friends help.  A lot.

3)  I started reading the Bible.  Ha ha!  Like I’ve never done that before!!  Yeah, I’ve totally done that since forever, but not like this.  Untangling myself from Bible reading/study as a vocational requirement has been a little awkward at times.  It all started with the “quiet time” one year at youth camp.  They taught us how to have “time with God” every day and then I had another thing I could be a perfectionist about.  Another thing to add to my “things that make me an awesome Christian” list.   Over the past few years, I’ve questioned it all and picked it all apart and set aside most of the stuff on that list.  BUT… this past April we as a home church started a chronological read through the Bible in a year.  We’re using Youversion.  This time, my journey through scripture has been compelling and nourishing AND completely disconnected from my reputation.  I’ve rarely missed a day, even though I haven’t obsessed about making it happen. It’s been so much fun to connect with God for no other reason than just… to connect with God.  He was my Lifeline, my Safety Net, my Secret Weapon for Pit Avoidance this summer.  It was so natural, so lovely, to have God and His Words to me remain when so many other things have changed.

4)  I prayed.  Again… not a new thing for me.  But this time… you got it… different.  My kids had quite a bit of anxiety about their summer and since my own anxiety nearly swallows me whole, what could I do but grab their hands and pray out loud and trust God to make it ok?  There’s this thing about praying something in front of your kids.  You kind of have to mean it or else what would that teach them?  So I did it.  I threw myself and my darling children on the mercy, the vast and amazing mercy, of God.  I gave up control.  I didn’t know whether He would resolve the anxiety producing situations or whether He would give us extra guts and grace to handle them, but I squeezed my eyes shut and jumped into trust.  I had to do it for my kids.  I had to do it because I’M a kid.  Whatever… it worked.

This is hardly a 12 step or anything.  It’s actually only one-third of a 12 step. (See what I did there? I can do math since I’m a homeschool mom now.)  Heh.  What I’m saying is I don’t mean this to be a formula or anything preachy like that.  It’s simply the real nitty gritty of what got me through one of my most anxiety producing events with WAAAAYYYYY less anxiety than I’ve felt in past years.  This is me, being real with you, about what a sincere but imperfect Christian girl does to try to cope with her dark and scary emotions.  No pie-in-the-sky here.  Nothing lofty or super spiritual fakety fake.  Just me stumblin’ and bumblin’ and grateful for any progress I can make.

So what do you think?  What keeps you out of your pits?

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Under My Nose

Distracted.  That’s the way so many of us live our lives.  I know I do.

So much on my mind, from finances (or lack thereof), to parenting, to school, to work, to marriage, to theology and more.  I get so overwhelmed with my life that I walk around in a daze, unable to focus on any one thing for the cacophony of things that need my attention.  And then there are the “on purpose” distractions like social media or blog reading that  I do to just get my mind off of everything.  Ironically those things usually add to the volume of my mind’s congested grid-lock.

This week I was reminded to stop.  Stop.

Stop and NOTICE what is already here.  Quiet my drive toward what I’m trying to produce and actually experience what’s already around me.

How sad.  How embarrassing, really, that I get so stressed out about paying bills that I completely walk past three miracles living in my house.  Three beautiful souls with names and hearts, and lovely faces.  Three little human beings who were formed inside me.  I forget to notice what’s ALREADY THERE.

Today I will open my eyes.  I will breathe in the cool air and notice it’s cinnamon scent.  I’ll drink in the heat from my coffee cup and revel in the blessing of a full fridge and pantry.  I’ll wake those lovely faces and look at the miraculous eyes light up with sleepy/happy fun.  I will notice what I already have, and when the tide of crazy comes in, I’ll remind myself to take a few moments a few times through the day to realize where I am, what I love, and how good it is to be alive.  I’ll put down my phone and be present in my great big wonderful life.  I’ll refuse to let what’s over my head make me forget what’s under my nose.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Uncharted Territory

Caleb and his ABC scripture cards

Caleb and his ABC scripture cards

Ok, again… too long since last post.  I promised I’d avoid the POD (Pit of Despair) this summer and I’m happy to report:  I DID!!!  Another post will outline my strategy for success on this.  For now, I have other news.

We’ve spent this summer, Dwayne and I, wrestling with a major decision:  What to do about school for the kids???

Our oldest has been getting by with online school, middle had a sad excuse for a fourth grade year, and baby is only 3.  Bottom line, we were looking for some good solutions for our kids when it comes to school.  Private school is out.  Can’t afford tuition, plus our last experience with private school was not too great.  Public school, while I have no problem in theory with it, didn’t do the trick for my kids either.  Especially Levi struggled mightily this past school year and nothing I tried seemed to work.  Nothing major, just barely passing grades and little actual growth. Translate this: 2 frustrating hours of homework every night until somebody or everybody cries and nobody knows what we’re doing wrong.  Now that Mackenzie is accepted to NOCCA, meaning we won’t arrive home until 7pm to start the aforementioned homework torture routine, we needed a new direction.

I had a thought, a daring, crazy thought that I knew my husband would immediately reject but I couldn’t keep it out of my mind.  So I brought it up.

He didn’t reject it.  He thought about it.  I thought about it.  We prayed about it.  We sought advice of trusted friends.  We decided to go for it.  I’m going to say it really fast so it won’t seem so ca-razy.

I’mhomeschoolingmykidsandstillworkingfulltime.

Oh my gosh, I said it.  I know this is taboo so you’ll still be my friend, right?  Even if you think I’m nuts?  Thanks, I knew you would.

I’ve rearranged my schedule a bit, so I’m up at 5:45am, and by 7:00 the kids and I are doing school core studies. (The bus for public high school stops on our street at 6:45am in case this seems crazy early to anyone.)  Roughly three hours later I head to work and then tap out with stepdad who does afternoon reading, driving to field trips, music lessons,  P.E. and the drop off at NOCCA where Mackenzie has been accepted as a student of culinary arts.  Around 6 I leave work and head to NOCCA to pick up my girl, and we all reconvene at home around 7:00 to have dinner, get baths, and drop into bed.  Weekends include some prep time and coaching from my very own homeschool professional, Janet, is in abundance.

Ya’ll, for a while I totally doubted if I could do this.  I sought help from various sources, validation really.  I asked a homeschool blogger for advice, but got something like “I understand.  I work full time AT HOME too.”  Hmmm… I know it came from a good heart, but I felt like it meant “NO way can a work OUTside the home mom do this.”  But the truth is, it’s doable.  Not easy.  But possible.  Kids who are professional entertainers, missionary kids, and even regular old American families, all homeschool in unconventional ways…so why not us?

Since this IS still the US of A and my school choice for my kids is still my business, I considered keeping quiet about this because I fear the judgemental attitudes of others.  However, I’ve had so much fun the past three weeks and so much joy with my kids that I had to share this with ya’ll.

We’ve memorized scripture verses, learned about sea turtles, dolphins and alligators, learned spelling rules and cursive handwriting, analyzed and written our own poems, studied prohibition and Lewis and Clark and more.  And this was all during our “trial run” before regular school started.  You know, in case we couldn’t handle this schedule we’d still be able to start regular school and keep trying to figure something out.  But the trial run only served to prove to me that this CAN work.

I’m looking into my children’s eyes.  I’m spending the FIRST and best part of my day concentrating on them, not just the last and most irritable moments.  My son has learned more in three weeks than I saw him pick up over the entire second semester of last year.  I’ve been able to determine some areas that need attention, ones I didn’t realize were lacking.

Since Levi was a baby, I’ve been haunted by a night when I, against what I KNEW God was telling me in my heart, allowed a doctor to catheterize him.  I knew it was unnecessary, but was afraid to go against the doctor’s orders.  I never want to feel that way again.  It turned out, my “feeling” was right, he was fine and there was no bladder infection.  I caused my baby unnecessary pain by being scared to just be his mom.  Not anymore.  In my heart’s deepest places, I want to give whatever it takes, do whatever it takes to love these babies and introduce them to God and give them a happy life.  I know that God will direct me and give me everything I need to do what He wants done for these three amazing creatures He created in my womb.  I’m so excited for what we’re doing.  Whether we do it for the next year only or for the rest of their school careers, I’m enjoying every minute in this uncharted territory.  Maybe it’s a lil’ weird, but I’m cool with that.  I’m happy to be mommy to these three, wife to Dwayne and whatever else God asks me to be.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

For Real?

I’m a terrible faker.  Really bad.  I can’t figure out if it’s because I’m no good at faking or because faking is fake, in and of itself.  Yes, I said faking is fake.  The idea of faking is a mirage because fake effort yields fake results.

You can’t fake being sober if you’re drunk.  Don’t ask how I know, and if you’re one of the ones who know how I know, quit snickering.

You can’t fake being an athlete if you’re a couch potato.

You can’t fake right relationship, either.  Once you’ve gone there, once you’ve experienced real connection with someone, then try all you want but you won’t be able to fake that if something gets in the way.

Here’s where I struggle:  Sometimes I “fake” because I’m not completely trusting God for the results.  It’s a form of self protection.

Here’s an example:  Part of my job is to build relationships with the residents and families at the assisted living home where I work.  I love that part of my job.  I work hard to make real connections with people, show them real love, and give them a sincere hand of friendship during a difficult life transition.  This week, during a pretty hectic day, a family member showed up during my lunch break.  I was irritated.  I had already bent over backwards on more than one occasion for this person and I was a bit annoyed at having to cut into my precious half hour’s peace.  I pasted on a smile and did what I thought was an excellent job of faking it while I handled what was needed.  The family member gave me a quizzical look and said “You seem upset today.  Are you ok?”

BUSTED!!

Now, I know there are times when an honest, painful heart to heart is necessary to clear the air.  But there are some times when it’s just me.  In that moment, when I was asked “Are you ok?”, God whispered to me.  “Why are you trying to fake this?  Why not just get your heart right?  Why not just decide to go the second mile, love above and beyond, and surrender your annoyance to Me?”

Part of having real relationship is being able to “bear with one another,” “forgive one another.”   Part of loving other people is deciding to leave the “fairness” up to God.  You can’t fake that type of surrender.  Start holding onto your “rights” or keeping score, and something shows up in the curl of your lip, the hesitance in your smile, the dullness in your eyes, and your feelings are betrayed.

When it’s needed, nothing can take the place of a true, honest confrontation with another person who has hurt you.  But that’s for another blog.  Sometimes, when I can’t keep my feelings in check, what I’m really trying to fake is trust in God.

Can’t be done.

Real trust and real surrender to a very real God make for the realest of relationships with other people.  I’m learning that you can’t go back to fake once you’ve had what’s real.

Harder work?  Yep.

Painful sometimes?  Yep.

Worth it?  Of course!

I’m for real about that!

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather