Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Warning! It is 4 am, and while I am usually able to bring these posts to some worthwhile, uplifting conclusion, this may not be one of those posts. Please keep reading, but be warned.

I am discouraged, and wow, did it come on fast. I am guessing much of it comes from feeling horrible and the fact that it is 4 in the morning and I am blogging instead of sleeping. You see on Sunday, I woke up with a slightly overall cruddy feeling. My throat hurt, but it was more of an annoyance than an issue. So, on Monday, when I still had a sore throat and felt a bit more cruddy, I went to the doctor. He said that my ears, sinuses and chest were fine, but yes, my throat was somewhat infected and he put me on antibiotic. Thus began the downhill spiral.

For the last two days, I have had a cough which intensifies at night when I lay down. It wakes me up, as I am sure it does Jay. My throat still hurts, mainly because I wake up in a coughing fit that makes me feel like I am gasping for breath. And, a few minutes ago, when I woke up, I found that I couldn't hear properly out of one ear because the sound was muffled.

My house is a pit - which it was not on Saturday because we had it all cleaned up. I have nothing ready for Spring Break. I also have an overwhelming dread about taking the week off from work - which is crazy! Eric (my boss) is not worried about it, and he has been encouraging me to have a great time. I am relatively caught up except for some big tasks which I am currently working on. I know that it is all in my head, so why can' t I shake this?

Adding to the discouragement is the guilt over being discouraged to start with. Honestly, this is stupid, and I know that, so why can't I let it go. There are people who are dealing with real-life issues that I cannot even fathom, and I am whining because I feel cruddy. There are people who are caught in make-it or break-it situations and I am feeling guilty for taking vacation time which I have earned from a job that I love. There are people who have lost children and I am frustrated because my children are slobs.

I think it is times like this that I realize how far I have to go in my Christian walk - times when I question whether I am really walking the walk. I have no doubt that my faith in my eternity rests in Christ, but does my faith in today? Does my concern for others outweigh my selfish nature? Apparently not at 4am!

So for today, the prayer of my heart will be Psalm 51:10-12.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

May I rest in God's complete care and rest in the knowledge that He has a plan for me - even in the midst of the crud, even at 4 am.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The time is fast approaching that every school child older than kindergarten/1st grade looks forward to and every parent scurries to arrange childcare (or in our case cat-care) for - Spring Break. I honestly think my children have taken it a bit too easy this year with their classwork to actually warrant a break, but the teacher's insist that spring break must happen, so it goes.

I have had numerous people ask me if I am ready, as in looking forward to and/or actually packed and ready to go. And to be honest, I am not - on either count. Don't get me wrong, I will thoroughly enjoy the mid-80 temperatures and sunshine that our destination is sure to bring. It will also be nice to not have the carpool lines twice a day for a week that are inter-mixed with sports practices of varying forms and varying locations. But, I am actually pretty content right now with where I am. House is relatively clean - love my job - children don't fight constantly when they are in school...

I am guessing that my ambivalence actually stems from one of two things:

Serbia. I am very much looking foward to boarding the plane for two weeks in Serbia later this summer God has brought together an awesome team of people that I am looking forward to getting to know better and working with during our trip. He has already started to prepare me both financially and emotionally for the trip. I can't wait to see what He does and how He uses us during our trip.

Finances. I started reading The Total Money Makeover this weekend. (I know...really stupid before a vacation. Don't judge me.) It's not life-shattering, mind-blowing, new information. It's just info that I already knew to be true presented at the right time to make a difference in my perspective. Unfortunately, it also means that thanks to Uncle Sam, and a certain President who shall remain nameless, our vacation budget is several hundred dollars short of where I would like it to be.

I know that we will have fun as a family, but compared to our last family vacation, this one is going to be very simple. Simple is not bad, but I have to admit that I have a little bit of grieving to do because what I had secretly hoped would happen, just cannot - not if I want to be faithful to staying on budget. So, it is what it is.

God has actually been speaking to me a lot about simplicity lately. He doesn't call us to the life of chaos that I have been living. He calls us to live for Him. He doesn't call us to keep up with the Jones'. He calls us to do the best we can with what we have been given. He doesn't call us to a life spent caring for "stuff." He calls us to a life of caring for people. It's when I learn to follow in the footsteps that He has left me, that I learn what it is to be content and at peace.

So I guess, all that said, it is kind of a good thing that I am a little ambivalent about our upcoming break. I think that I am currently experiencing a peace that I have not known in a VERY long time, and I am blessed. It reminds me of a simple phrase that I have often heard repeated:

God is good - all the time! All the time - God is good! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Not Who I Want to Be

Have you ever met someone who is confident in who they are as a person? Someone who has it all together. They look good. They have a great personality and everyone likes them. They aren't afraid to take risks? I am not that person.

I have been working on his post for almost an hour, and I have started over at least 3 times. I am just not sure how to approach it. I know it is wrong to compare myself with others. God created me to be who I am, but it is a gift for which I struggle to be grateful. I want to be little, to blend in, to be feminine. I want to be secure. I want to feel secure.

I am getting ready to go on a short-term missions trip to share God's love with a people who don't know me - a people whose native language I don't speak and have no hope to understand. Talk about putting myself out there. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I am afraid. Not so much of the culture that I am going to visit anymore. I am afraid of who I am. What if the people I am going with see the real me? The insecure one. What if in my self-discovery I find out that I don't even like who I am? How will anyone else like me? What if I actually have to wear the bathing suit I am supposed to pack?

These are the random thoughts holding me captive today. I wish I could just rest in the knowledge of who I am in Christ - that I am fearfully and wonderfully made - that God has a purpose for the way He created me - that He formed me to be who I am (whether I like me or not) - that He is sufficient for all of my shortcomings. I want my head knowledge to be heart knowledge. I want my security to be found in that.

...and I want to be assured that I will NOT have to wear a swimsuit in Serbia. I am guessing the latter will not be the case as it is a youth camp, but hey...we have not because we ask not, right? :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another Step in the Journey

I think I have a serious medical condition that the doctors have not yet diagnosed - and probably never will. I am not sure where it stems from, although I think I may have a pretty good idea after re-reading my last post. You see, I have a serious abnormality in my DNA. It is common knowledge that most people learn from their mistakes. I on the other hand, do not seem to have that issue - especially in the area of commitments.

I am finding there is a very distinct difference between commitment and passion. I am an all or nothing kind of girl. In or out. Right or wrong. Black or white. Unfortunately, I am finding that sometimes my commitments don't line up with my passions.

I love my family. I want to provide a home that is peaceful and safe, and I am failing at that miserably. Some of it is financial. Some of it is 3 on 2 - and sometimes 4 on 1 (but don't tell Jay I said that. :)) But creating a sense of peace and security in my home is something that I am committed to and passionate about.

I love my job. I know that I have said it before, but I am truly, truly blessed to have the best boss in the world. It is honestly hard for me to consider what I do at Pathway work. It is ministry, and for me it is also fun because I am passionate about serving God and supporting Eric. Because of that, I am committed to being the best ministry assistant I can be.

I love my friends. Although I do not spend nearly enough time with them, I care for each and every one of them. I want to be there for them when they have a need. I have given them a piece of my heart, and I am committed to them for the long haul.

I am passionate about my faith. I want to be a person of integrity when it comes to all things faith. The longing of my heart is to be near to God, I don't want anything to stand in the way of my pleasing Him. I am above all else, passionate about that.

Yet, I find that I am once again over-committed and under-rested. I have all of these commitments, and they are all good things, but they are draining me of the energy I need to pursue my passions. I have said yes, when I should have said no.

I wish I could put into words what a big step this place in my life is for me. Busyness used to be my friend. I think it kept me from facing all the stuff that I had been trying so hard to ignore for so long. But now, I long to rest - not a lazy, do nothing kind of rest, but a resting in Jesus kind of rest. The introspective kind. I want to allow God open access to work in me and to create in me the person that He longs for me to be. I want His peace. And, that is hard to find amidst the chaos of my life at times.

I am not sure where my new insights into commitment vs. passions will take me. They are causing me to take a hard look at some of my current time commitments, and I am unsettled. I don't want to just go through the motions. I think one of my new favorite words is "intentional." It may be time to do a little "spring cleaning" on my calendar. I know a weight would be lifted, but I am not sure I have the strength to do it just yet. I also know that as it is now, my schedule is hindering my journey, and I can't have that. I am way too passionate about my faith.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Journey - Part 1

So, last night I posted a teaser about all that God is doing in my life, and I have to be honest, I don't know that there will ever be a time when I could share it all. I used the term amazing last night, and it truly has been an amazing ride. And, it all began with a Taylor Swift song.

Why, you might ask, would I be listening to a girl who sings about high school romance and being fifteen? Well, because she is awesome, duh, and because God knew that He was going to use her in a mighty way in my life so He set the stage several years ago for me to be introduced to her music.

One of the songs she sings recounts the great relationship that she has with her parents. It talks about her dad taking her places and her mom and her going shopping when all of the kids were mean to her at school. She ends her song with the verse:

And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin' this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today.

My parents divorced when I was young. Before the divorce, I remember riding in the car with my mom while she went to find my dad or pick him up from one of a number of local bars. I have heard stories of other women, and although I know that at one point he had a factory job, he was also quite familiar working with travelling carnivals.

Once my parents divorced, I can remember only one time when my dad visited. It had been awhile, and we really had nothing in common. In my mind, I remember sitting on the couch holding a bear. It was uncomfortable. And then, he just stopped coming. For the longest time, I thought it was my fault. I thought I had pushed him away. In later years, I found out that in reality, he couldn’t visit because child support was never a big concern for him and the local authorities would have loved a visit with him as well.

I came to realize that if he had remained in my life, I would not be the person that I am today. While most of my class married and divorced, some have been in jail on drug charges, I am happily married. I have a great family, a nice home and a stable job. My life isn’t perfect, but it is good. I have been blessed. My father, on the other hand, married a woman who was six months younger than I, and had a son, a half-brother that I will never know. They also divorced, and he died, alone. The amazing thing…his ID still listed me as next of kin.

The rational side of me decided long ago that it was all for the best. I was certain that my dysfunctional past had not affected me. Although I knew that I struggled with the concept of “dad”, I had convinced myself that God had protected me. I had a wonderful, hard working grandfather who stepped up to the plate and helped to raise me, and more often than not, provided for me as he came alongside my mom who was doing all she could to provide for me the future that I have now.

Then came Taylor Swift, and I realized that I am still that wounded child waiting for her daddy to visit and to be proud of her. That as good as my childhood was, and as bad as it could have been, it left in me an insecurity that I have fought desperately to hide – even from myself. Taylor unknowingly opened a floodgate of emotions that I didn’t even know that I had, but God did. And, he was waiting patiently. It was the beginning of a journey that is far from over. I have only begun to untangle the feelings and emotions and allow healing to take place. I am still learning to trust.

I may never be totally comfortable with the term “daddy,” but I can say that as I allow God to take me on this journey, these truly are “the best days.” I can also attest that “I have an excellent (heavenly) father, and His strength is making me stronger” everyday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I am struggling tonight. There are just not enough hours in my day. I have faced this struggle more times than I can count, but this time it is different. I am not longing for more time because I am behind. Are there things that I need to accomplish? Sure. But there are so many things that I want to DO. I want to blog more. I want to exercise more. I want to spend more time with friends. Ok. Let's be honest. I want TO blog. I want TO exercise. I want TO spend time with friends. I want to LIVE my life.

God has been doing some AMAZING things in me. I can't wait to share them. But, I have so much that I want to share, and I cannot do it in only a few minutes. So for now, I will leave you with this little teaser. It is an excerpt from an e-mail I received from a friend - an e-mail that speaks volumes of what God is doing in my life.

Well, I hit my goal weight this morning ... about 2.5 years into the Lose It For Life Journey, and a little more than a year later than my plan. It almost cracks me up thinking I had all this laid out. But God had a different plan for me, and oh how thankful I am. There has been so much healing in my life, but it's been from the inside out, not the outside in. Can anyone imagine losing 94 pounds without "dieting" ... no counting points, no strict food regimen, etc. Just lots of inner reflection and healing with God right by my side. I finally learned how much God loves me and I began to love myself and took the necessary time and steps to make lifestyle changes that brought me improved health and weight loss. When I say health, I always mean emotional, physical and spiritual. Sure, it has taken a lot of work, time, struggles and challenges. But it's been more about the journey, not the goal.

Have I arrived at my destination? No, but I am learning that the scenery along the way is amazing.