Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
- My kids in the youth choir - they are delightful!
- Kaki - my mom's dog
- My brother; I love him so dearly
- Beautiful Fall Weather (80 degrees in October in Texas is a cold front)
- Good Music
- Cell Phones
- Alone time at work
- Cute Jewelery!!!
I thought this would be a good time to do a fun list. Go visit Jill. It'll be lots of fun, I promise!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I have discovered, thru recent events, that I'm great at enduring a situation. I'm great at gritting my teeth and just getting through it.
I suck at DEALING with it.
I ignore my feelings. They don't matter. All that matters is that I grit my teeth and get through it.
And once that's done, it's time to move on. Put those feelings away and just move on.
I am screwed up.
So much so, that I have allowed that way of responding to things that impact me deeply to color the way I handle the people in my life.
I seem tough. Not so much.
I seem hard. Not so much.
I seem aloof. Not so much.
What I am is afraid.
Of being judged. Of being criticized. Of not being good enough.
I thought I had gotten past this.
Or maybey I have, with everybody but the one person that counts the most.
Because I am screwed up.
And if I don't get un-screwed up, everybody around me is gonna be screwe up too.
Since we ALL know that is NOT ok with me, I guess I just need to woman up and get in touch with my emotional self.
I need to learn to embrace that chick that wants to feel things and understand all that good stuff.
Me and her are gonna be buds.
Oh boy. *rolling my eyes in exasperation. with my hands on my hips*
This whole repressed thing is SO not working for me. Not at all.
*sigh* back to work on my inner-self we go.
Friday, April 8, 2011
2009... the year is almost over. I'm not sure how I'd categorize this year end, except to say that almost two years to the day, we had opportunity for a re-do.
And while the situation didn't end in nearly such a volatile way, I'm struggling to be okay with the way things are right now.
Apologies given on my behalf that are not at all justified and hardly warranted. Conversations relayed and the most vital parts excluded. Chastised for being unwilling to bear the responsibility of someone else's pride and what-not. Fault-finding where there really IS no fault, except that what bothers you is not really true cause to BE bothered...
I just don't know how to be ok with that.
Sadness permeates my spirit. I long to see God open up the windows of heaven and reveal to the rest of the masses publicly what He has long revealed to me privately.
I long for the rest and the peace of promises fulfilled and vindication made obvious.
We don't live in a perfect world, among perfect people. Nor are we perfect ourselves. And most often situations are not optimal on at least one side of the fence. But that knowledge doesn't lessen this pain... Not at all...
But then a friend reminds me: we are privileged to share in the sufferings of Christ. Because it teaches us to truly appreciate the Blessor and the blessing in the way that most honors His heart toward us.
In some ways, this is a comfort. In many ways, I'm still trying to navigate this...
Wish things were mended. Wish they weren't awkward. Wish it just didn't hurt so bad.
Ecclesiastes 5 says that the end of a thing is better than its beginning and that sadness is better than laughter because it does a refining work in our spirits. And oddly enough, this is comfort for me. Deep comfort. Because it acknowledges that sadness is part of this journey. That it is ok to feel it, to acknowledge it, and to accept it as simply par for the course.
I feel absolved of the need to put on a good face, when the only face I have inside is a somber one... I feel free to not be 'ok'... It is utter relief that I don't have to fight this tidal wave of tears. That I can indulge them, because they have a purpose and a place in the transformation God is working in my heart.
Somehow this is a tremendous comfort to me...
2009... began with tears
and is ending the same
And that's really alright. Because it all has it's place in the process of deeper intimacy with Christ.
It's really alright...
See ya'll in the new year. Have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
And to build on this theme of Noah and the Ark... There was a time even when they were safe in the boat, after they had all gotten away, where they felt trapped. Stuck. No way out.
And Noah had to be riningin' his hands sayin, 'God I've done all this stuff. Built this boat, gathered people and animals and what-not. And sealed us in all safe and sound. But this provision. It doesn't last forever. Please tell me You didn't just bring us here to leave us literally floating on all this water to perish?! WHERE THE HECK ARE YOU?!'
Poor Noah. He had to be afraid, tired, ready for what he had always known as 'normal'. He had to just want some simplicity and mundaneness back in his life. For real.
And then God gives him some more direction: send out the dove (i think it was a dove).
Think about that. God starts givin' Noah signs that the water is receding and dry land is near. God, who is the creator of all, who does not OWE us anything, chooses to give a glimpse so that Noah's faith doesn't waiver in the home stretch.
And in the end Noah gets a rainbow as a promise that the Lord will never destroy the earth again with water.
That moment had to ROCK for Noah. He had to be on a cloud knowing that the God of the universe had chosen him for such a task and such a promise.
All kidding aside, thank you for the dove and the olive branches. Thank you for the glimpse and the glimmer. Thank you for the reminder of crazy faith and hope and how it all looks. Thank you Lord for Your Holiness. And thank you for the promise at the end of the rainbow. I love you and I appreciate the glimpses. I appreciate the olive branches. All i see is water right now, but Lord I know that the water is receding; the signs are all around me. No more resignation. No more consolation prize. The promise is beautiful and I look forward to the refreshing drink of it's fulfillment.
I love you and I apologize.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
But I'm doing this post today because seriously I have a ton for which to be grateful this year.
I do any other time as well, but this year is significant.
And maybe it's not that I want to give thanks for any one thing in particular, but that I'm grateful for the changes I've seen in me and in those around me...
I've come to learn that growth never comes without a cost. Life never arrives without some sort of death. And truly I've seen that around me. Old things are being made new and things that have lain dormant are being revived.
Prayers I've been praying for almost 6 years now, in some way, shape or form, are being answered and I'm seeing the very precious fruits of my labor. Situations that I wasn't quite sure would work out in my favor have begun to come together. So many uncertainties have been my companion, but not anymore.
This past year has been a victorious one. I wasn't always so sure of myself or the wisdom of following this path, but this year has shown this a wise thing.
And so I'm grateful for my life - the life He has given me.
Happy Thanksgiving all!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
How many of us really do this? How many of us really follow the instruction to do all things as unto the Lord.
Because the question really becomes, if the Lord Himself were in that office next to you and He said 'I need this by 3pm' and it was already 1:30 and the normal time to get it done was 2.5 hours, would we have the nerve to complain, or would we fear Him enough that we simply made it happen to the best of our abilities?
Or even closer to home, if He were in our homes and He said to us that we needed to cut out all distractions and focus on our families and our the state of our homes, would we be so bold as to say that we need some 'me time' or an outlet, or would we fear Him enough to say 'Yes Lord' and then do just what He has said to the best of our abilities?
Notice the repetitive phrase. Not perfect. Just your best.
Yeah I know. I'm as guilty as anybody else. There are plenty of times where good enough wins out over exceptional - and it isn't because I'm not capable. It is because I am lazy.
The last several weeks, the Holy Spirit has put in my heart the phrase 'with a spirit of excellence' and I find myself repeating it over and over again. I have been convicted that it is not enough to just do something, but that we must do it fully and in the way that pleases Him.
So that job that you don't like where they all get on your nerves, but you know the Lord has you there and that you are there until He says differently? Put the attitude up and do your best to reflect God in all ways in work ethic and demeanor.
That man that has gotten on your last good nerve - and the kids and dog too, and who is the last person on earth you want to serve? Get over it and serve him ANYWAY, in the way that glorifies the Master.
In scripture, slaves are told to work for their Masters as unto the Lord -which in my mind means that they possess self-control, wisdom, and a joyful countenance. They would also have to be long-suffering, steadfast, and beyond skilled at controlling their emotions in any given circumstance...
For the Believer, his master IS the Lord and this life is our assignment from Him. Within that framework, anything to which He calls us, He expects it to be done fully - excellently. His word says that He does not like lukewarm - that He spews it out. Says to be either hot or cold. Serve Him or not. But none of that halfway stuff.
Think about it. If something is supposed to be cold and it is lukewarm, it is mediocre. If it is to be hot and it is only warm, it is mediocre. There is no in-between.
Kinda-sorta just doesn't cut it.
Excellence. That seems to be the name of the game.
Yeah. Not really.
But I have come to a couple of conclusions on the subject.
The first is this: you never get used to it. You never get used to losing or letting go of the things in your life that you have amassed. You never get used to the feeling of desolation that comes when you don't have your *own*... you just never get there. At least not in my estimation. And you never ever get used to losing people. Not friends, not family - no matter if you simply lose the relationship or if they leave for eternity. You never really adjust to all that comes with that loss.
The second conclusion is this one. There is almost no more effective way to get to know God, to really know where He stands on your list of priorites, or to understand and accept His Sovereignty. Loss is one of the things in this life that hurts the most. By its very nature, it is the sort of pain that forces you to look to be comforted outside yourself. It is the sort of pain that draws you to or pushes you away from God.
Loss is always a crossroads and a pivotal point in our lives. It's just all a matter of our perspective. And no matter what road we take, we always know that ultimately in the losing, we are not in control. We can fight, we can resist, we can argue, we can hold on. But when it is all said and done, it is always always always God's choice.
And no matter how we feel about the choice He's made, no one can deny that a God so powerful is one worthy to be worshiped. He proves through loss that He is God all by Himself and that there is no other god like Him.
I've been working my way thru some things and processing some other things and what I have finally wrapped my heart around is this: God is love. And He is perfection. If He chooses to take from me what I hold so close, then it means that He knows something I don't. He knows better than I do. And though I can be sure it will hurt to the depths of my soul, I can also be sure that He is the God I want to continue to serve. I can trust His Sovereignty and His Omniscience. I can know that He is God and He will be my Comforter, My friend, My Safety, and the Lover of my soul.
I know that I can rest in Him no matter what comes next. I want with all my heart to run TO Him instead of away from Him. I am willing to know God this way.
He has orchestrated my life with the utmost precision and perfection. He has been constantly allowing that knowledge to rest on me, I think in preparation for this next stretching. And that is what I choose to do. I choose to rest in that knowledge and serve Him in spite of my humanity.
Because He is my God.
Monday, April 4, 2011
This weekend we had a family reunion. I found a spot and stayed in it most of the evening. I was tired and wasn't really feeling it to begin with; I went out of obligation. I don't play cards. I barely play dominoes. In general I'm totally outta my element at those sorts of functions. I'm much more at ease if I'm working than if I'm just a guest. Working keeps me busy and out of the limelight - just the way I like it.
Oh, and let me add that part of my tired was that we had just spent several hours in the sun and the pool that same morning. I had had a late night Friday night and then was up at before day a.m. Saturday because my dad decided that I should want to go on a walk with them and the dog. I didn't go, but I did get up. So. By 5pm, I was tired and really just wanted to rest. And since being with people is NOT my idea of rest... u get the idea.
All this comes because of a conversation me and my dad had this morning. Seriously, he made me cry. "I'm worried about you. You avoid people because you are self-conscious of your weight. You are such an extrovert. You love people. I dont want your life to pass you by." And I'm sitting thinking, all this because I stayed to myself at a get together.
A couple things: Mind you, I was already overly sensitive because he looked at me with pity and worry and disappointment at 6:45 am Saturday morning because I didnt' want to go walking. 1) I am not a nature girl. Me and the outside are not buds. Haven't been ever in my life and I doubt we're falling in love anytime soon. 2) I just flat didn't want to get up before day to bond with the family. Seriously.
So. Fast forward to this morning and my frustration is two-fold. Lets conquer the easy one first: the fat-girl thing. I have always been fat by everybody else's standards. It has always been much more of an issue for other people than it has for me. In high-school I looked at myself and was pretty pleased with what I saw reflected back. In adulthood, I have been pretty ok with myself. I have begun to truly want to lose weight for health reasons, but as to my confidence -for the most part that has remained (and still is) in tact.
My dad (you had to know) has been the one withe BIGGEST issue of all. Add insult to injury, I actually HAVE begun taking small steps toward my goal. The real issue is this: I DO NOT like to exercise. Never have, seriously doubt I ever will. I like certain activities because well, I see them as enjoyable. Walking and biking and all that are not necessarily fun to me. So, given the choice I will most likely not elect to get up before day to walk several miles or ride several miles for ANY reason. Exercise will have to be a learned discipline for me and will most likely be a couple miles on a treadmill or a 45minute ride on a stationary bike.
And that's ok.
The other part is this: I do not want to work-out with my dad. He's critical and it messes me up. I don't like eating in front of him as it is and for me, when I set out to accomplish something personal to me, it has to remain that way. PERSONAL. I am like a deer-in-headlights otherwise. This is a me and God thing. And I frankly just don't want to share that with anybody besides my man. This is one of those intimate things for me that I want to be an 'us' thing. There is a comfort there that I have that I can trust him not to judge, but to encourage and to support - and to do it with me. And that is as I believe it should be.
My lack of comfort in groups.
I AM self-conscious. Because usually I'm being doted on or fawned over. I don't like to be the center of attention, positively or negatively. I prefer anonymity. Always have. I am NOT an extrovert. I am NOT a people person. I don't even take compliments well. (I have no idea how to respond without sounding dorky or conceited.) I have just learned that sometimes I can't be by myself so I have to learn to deal with people in a way that doesn't leave them feeling judged or criticized. Being with people is work for me. My natural tendency is to analyze and to watch. It makes everybody else uneasy because it translates as very quiet and not very warm. And, frankly, I feel very judged in groups of people. My family, to be exact. Everybody expects something from me. Everybody wants something. Everybody thinks they know who I am. And none of 'em really truly get it. My own immediate family has been so critical and judgemental the last few years that I all but shut-down with them. I sincerely don't like it. Call it what you like. I just dont like it. They don't like my man. They dont' like my job.They don't like my friends. They don't like my spiritual life. I'm jealous. I'm mean. I'm judgemental. I'm critical of everybody else and it's WRONG. But they can all do ME that way and it's all good. NOT REALLY. I'm SO over putting myself out there to be scrutinized. I'm really good to be left alone.
I told my dad honestly the way I feel about the whole 'judged' thing. And his answer was that when I truly get comfortable with my 'lot' and truly know where I fit I wont' be hurt by people's perception. Dude seriously, I know that for YOU feelings don't matter. But for me, in spite of your best effort to teach me otherwise, they absolutely do matter. I know my lot. I've accepted it and I know where I fit. I JUST DON'T LIKE IT. And it leaves me feeling hurt and abandoned more often than not. And for right now that's just the honest truth. In time, when I'm feeling more like the Lord has proven that I haven't lost my whole mind, I'll probably feel better about it all, but right now, in this season: it hurts. And that hurt comes from my family. And so I dont' do well with too much too often.
In all this talking, Dr. Suess couldn't manage to listen. He decided he knows me better than I know me. And he continued to worry. And then he was hurt that I was not in a great mood. Dude. I am a GIRL. We are nit-wits by nature. My emotions were all outta wack and I just wasn't right. But it will pass. Because that's just how it is. And really, that's ok too. Because the Lord did not make me to see or respond to things like a man would. He made me female and womanly and all that goes with it. It's ok for me to accept it and to sometimes simply let that part of me have it's way. Nobody will die if I lose it once every six months for approximately 24 hours. Sheesh.
I did not hide out because I'm fat. I hid out because I'm tired of all the dramatics and the tensions that I feel with my family. LAWD HAVE MERCY. Can a girl not just want a break?
DA-RA-MA, people. DRAMA & KA-FLAMA.
*sigh* Oh well. Can't win 'em all, can ya?
Sunday, April 3, 2011
You know, family so often is the source of frustration, tension, hurt, and conflict. But they're still family.
As I'm working thru some things, what I realized yesterday during a conversation with a friend is that my family is seriously ride-or-die. The last few years have been difficult and stressful, but as flawed and as messed up as we all are, they love me. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. And I love them the same.
There's not a thing in this world that they wouldn't do for me or give for me if I needed. As many trials as have come our way, there have been that many more great moments to recall and hold tightly. My will and theirs may not always match. My passions and theirs may be different from each other. And my perspective on life, faith, love and lots of things may be based on a different set of experiences pesonally than theirs. But none of that - absolutely none of that - changes the fact that what they want for me is what I want for myself: God's very best for my life.
They love Him. They love me. And at some point, those two will fall in line together, and His best for me will look the same for us all.
As one season ends and another begins, I am recognizing what a gift family is. We go thru seasons together. And sometimes separately. We learn together. But sometimes at different paces. No matter, family is ALWAYS family. Love is love. And right now, that means the world to me.
The season is changing. The landscape of my family is changing. We have gained some people; we will lose some. There will be births and deaths, marriages and divorces, and always that blacksheep. But even with all that, we are all that we have. And I cherish them.
Lord, thank you for the family You've given me... Thank you that they love me with a passion that really is nothing short of amazing. As transition knocks on our door, please ready us. Hold us close, make us brave, teach us how. Not our will, but Yours. Not our way, but Yours. Forgive us. Cleanse us and move us into the large place that You have reserved just for us. Reveal destinies, break curses, destroy strongholds. Open eyes and ears, hearts, minds, and spirits to experience You in a new fresh way. Keep Your promises to our fathers and their fathers before them. As for me and my house, we will serve You alone, Oh God. We will serve You alone.
In Christ' holy name, amen.
Iris is the host of this meme. Pop in and visit. There's lots more of this good stuff.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
I want so BADLY to be pleasing to the Lord. I want SO much to do what He wants. And then humanity strikes and I find that *gasp* sometimes I'm just a spoiled little brat who pouts and throws fits and has tantrums because she doesn't understand or it doesn't look like it's gonna ever be right.
I get scared and uneasy and I panic. Because I'm human. And sometimes that stuff just wins out over being all faithful and confident. And sometimes I even threaten to just quit and not do ANY more because I'M SICK OF THIS RIDE.
And then the Lord speaks to me. And instead of speaking to me harshly, He simply gives me direction. Simply walks me through the fit and lets me get it all out. And then, once I'm done and once I surrender, He comforts. And He confirms. And He restores me. And He says something like 'you have pleased Me, not because you got it right, but because your heart stayed firm in me. You did not give up. You did not walk away. You did not quit. You chose me ANYWAY. Your heart is Mine and I am pleased.'
For that, I am thankful. That in my humanity and my failure, God still finds me redeemable, loveable, and pleasing.
I am thankful.