Friday, December 31, 2010
See, Bruce(my dog), trusts me to get up and do two things every morning. He trusts me to feed him and to let him out to do his business. Now my order of priorities with that and his are different...he wants to be fed first - I would rather him pee first! It's a thing I have about my carpet! Anyway, that is what trust is...he has placed his confidence, his hope to be fed, in me. He completely expects me to be at home and get up when he decides it time, which has been later than usual the last few weeks, and let him out the back door and fill his bowl with his favorite yummy dog food. Seems simple enough. But what if I'm not home, what if something happened to me? I think of the story of the man and his dog in Japan - if I weren't lazy I would look it up...but the dog met him coming off the train everyday from work...then one day the man died and the dog continued to meet the train - hoping, trusting that the man would finally come home. Makes my heart hurt just thinking about it.
So here is where I am going with all this. Trust is something some of us do very easily, some of us do it too easily, and some of us seem to be unable to do it at all. A friend recently told me that they tend to trust the people they don't have reason to trust and don't trust the people they should. I had to think about this for a minute - but it makes sense really. We trust the people we know the least because they haven't had the opportunity to cause us to NOT trust them. Yet, more than likely, those we are closest to have had more than their fair share of times that they have broken our trust - be it intentionally or not.
I have always considered myself a fairly trusting person. I have always given people the benefit of the doubt in most circumstances. But then there are matters of the heart...it's one thing to trust someone to take the garbage out, clean their room, make you dinner, pay for something, etc...you get the idea - these are more or less physical things that, sure, people might NOT do, but for the most part you know whether you can trust them to do it or not. But when it comes to less physical things and more emotional experiences this is where trust gets a bit more interesting.
The definition of trust according www.dictionary.reference.com is - reliance of the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing, confidence. In my Bible(NIV) it is described as - to place one's confidence in, to hope.
When you get to be in your mid-40's you have certainly experienced having your trust broken, especially in relationships. I have trusted friends and others I care about with my heart, with my feelings, with my deepest desires, dreams and needs many times in the nearly 46 years of my life. Many of those with whom I have placed my trust have proven to be steadfastly trust-worthy. But there have also been times of great heartbreak from my trust being broken by someone. I know that I have broken the trust of those who trusted me as well. It's part of being human, that human condition thing again. As imperfect beings, we are subject to failing others, others failing us and even failing ourselves.
So how do you allow yourself to put your heart out there and trust again? This is what I found myself waking up to this morning. Can you trust, do you trust - not only the other person, but myself! Can I really trust myself this time? It's a risk I know I am willing to take. But not all of us are willing to take that risk to trust others or ourselves in areas of our lives that have caused us hurt and pain before. But for me, in my desire to live a life that is bold and courageous I don't think I have any other choice but to trust again. But there is one I know, without a shadow of a doubt, whom I can trust - God.
The Psalms and Proverbs are full of the word trust. The word trust appears to be mentioned more in those two books of the Bible than nearly any of the others combined!
Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Ah, there it is! That's the verse. If I trust in God, not myself or someone else, and stop trying to understand it all - which I do to my own demise - and simply acknowledge that HE is in control - He will make my path straight! OK - this sort of makes me laugh because my path has been anything but STRAIGHT! But if I had lived a life on this super straight path would I have what I have now? Would I be who I am now? Not likely. Which is where I realize that I have to trust that God is in control and that by leaning on him and acknowledging him as best I can - He will guide me down the next path...and from His point of view the path is straight.
Psalm 56:3 - When I am afraid, I will trust in you. David had been through some STUFF...but he knew above all he had to trust in the Lord. He had experienced the pain caused by human - but he knew time and time again that he could run to his Lord and be safe, protected from the pain and suffering of mortal man.
So as I embark on this new chapter of my life, and move forward into living my life with boldness and courage, I cling to the knowledge that God is the One I can trust. He has seen me through the tough times everytime before and the blessings that He offered as a result were greater than any I could have imagined. I can trust Him with my heart, so I must trust Him to guide me on the path He has made for me. I will trust that those He has placed in my path, though they may at some point cause me pain or hurt - be it intentionally or not - have been placed there by God to be part of my journey. And in that knowledge - as long as I am turning to Him for my guidance and assurance - know that the blessings He has in store for me are even greater still!
That is hope. That is trust. That is the promise of my awesome God!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Paul expresses it so perfectly in Romans 7:15-20...I am using the Message translation.."I'm full of myself -after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary! But I need something more! For I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize I don't have what it takes. I can will it but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but then I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time." Oh boy! Does this describe you? It certainly describes me!
So, it is here that once again - I look forward to a New Year, a fresh new calender - with no marks on it, no scribbles, no mistakes yet. And I have this amazing opportunity to FINALLY GET IT RIGHT!
Oh wait ...see above, Merit - I won't get it right! It's impossible! With every fiber of my being - I alone cannot get it right!
Yet I set these goals for myself today:
- I will be the best mom I can be - teaching my girls that they can be strong AND loving and caring all at the same time.
- I will strive to be a good and effective teacher at my school for the rest of the year -understanding how I can make a difference in the lives of my students right now.
- I will work hard to do my best in graduate school - managing my time more effectively as best I can - knowing full well this is a challenge for me.
- I will strive to keep balance in my relationships - the new ones and the old ones - allowing them to grow and mature in a healthy way.
- I will work to clean out the clutter that drags me down at home - but give myself some grace to know that it isn't the most important thing I need to focus on.
It all sounds great doesn't it? No problem - I've been called Super Mom more than once in the past 4 months. But that's not who I am striving to be...remember - See above verse from Paul! Sounds admirable and noble and inspiring and blah, blah, blah! I CAN'T DO IT! So what's the point?
The point is this...I CAN do it! If I keep my eye on the prize - the Prize that sets things right, that in this life of contradictions - where I want to do good , be good and live good - offers me the strength and the hope to achieve the victory. It is only through my devotion and focus on the Prize of Jesus Christ that I can even begin to hope to achieve the very least of my dreams and goals. Yet He has even bigger and better plans for me that I understand!
The verse that follows me around...2 Corinthians 12:9..."My grace is enough; it;s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness."(Message again - my favorite!) This, to me at least, says it all. You see that precious list above - those are all the things that I am really weak in...yet - with the strength I have through my relationship with Christ and His abundant grace for when I totally mess up on a daily basis - I have hope! I have the hope that:
- I will be a positive influence in my daughters' lives even in the times I make mistakes...by admitting them.
- I will survive the school year without losing my mind(just being honest here) because I feel called into another vocation that hasn't opened up for me yet AND still have a positive influence on the children I teach.
- I will do the best I can with the time I have to get my work done for school and most importantly enjoy what I am learning even if I don't manage to get an "A" every time!
- I will be okay even when relationships die or change and realize that new ones are always around the corner.
- I will continue to have clutter! There is no getting around this one I am afraid!
So as you look forward to your new year...what are your hopes and dream? What is the source that will sustain you when you break your resolutions, fail at something, are broken hearted, hurt someone you love, see a door close to something you had hoped for? Do you have the source that will offer you peace and abundant love, grace and mercy? I hope you do. Let Christ take over! He can handle it! His mercies are new and shiny every morning!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
2 Corinthians 12:9
This is the verse I was very clearly given in the Spring of 2009. I basically said - "Yep, I hear ya, God! Now if you wouldn't mind just stepping over there - just so I can still see you...I'll go on with MY business."
In the infamous words of good ole Dr. Phil(not my History of Christianity professor, but the bald one from Texas)..."how's that been workin' for ya?" Well, not so good!
This is the part where I am about to "brag" in my weakness...
You see, I am feeling very weak right now. Perhaps it is the insane schedule I keep, the fact that my house is a disaster zone, I have a paper due every week from now until the end of time, my job has me less than enthusiastic, I am mourning a relationship that I just can't seem to shake off, I feel disconnected from my girlfriends, blah, blah, blah! Yep - weak...perhaps the clinical term is depressed!
I hate feeling this way too - it's not who or what I want to be. I have moments of just wanting to run off- grab one of those darn suitcases I was talking about in earlier blogs and run away! Start over. But the 2 darling daughters I have prevent that from happening...
So where does His grace or kindness fit into all of this. I'm supposed to be happy in my hardships and suffering...I'm sorry...I signed up for this? This is the God I want to worship and serve? One who expects me to be happy..content...worshipful... in my discontent? No problem-o! HA!
And yet...deep in my soul..sorrowful as it is right now...I know...He does have great things planned for me. That much of my discontent is from my own disobedience, my own doing. And this is where HE does His best work! He uses this to draw me nearer to Himself. He knows that He is the only One who can quiet my soul, heal my heart and ultimately give me the peace I so desperately yearn for.
I recently have been hearing about HOW much HE LOVES ME! The words ferocious and crazy have come up. His love for me is ferocious. His love for me is crazy. He wants to be MY ALL. He wants to be my everything. How can I pass that up? How could I want ANYTHING else - isn't that what we are made for? To be loved? I want to be loved with an extraordinary love that I KNOW can only come from Jesus. There is no one on earth who can love me that way. Without condition, without merit, without strings attached, without the hurt and pain that so often comes with human love.
I want to surrender my whole heart to HIM! To be able to set ME aside...to live FOR Him. Yet, I don't think I have figured out how to do this exactly. Must be the control freak in me. To live my life with abandon for HIM! Yes, many people would think I was a "Jesus Freak" - but what is so bad about that? Isn't that how I SHOULD be living my life? In total commitment to Him. Crazy Ferocious LOVE!
So I am thinking that there is still a suitcase somewhere in the attic that I haven't found yet that is keeping me from living in total abandon and surrender to Christ. Cause the benefits sure sound pretty enticing at this point!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I think most people tend to view New Year this way...or Spring...but there is something about the smell of pencils and school supplies, the falling leaves, the crispness in the air, pulling out the long sleeves and seeing the clearness of the (cough, gag) Carolina blue skies. (that is hard for a Wahoo to spit out) I have been yearning for the fall in the past few weeks. Perhaps it is the extreme heat we have had to endure this summer and the fact that we seemed to have gone straight from winter to summer. Or maybe it is just the knowing that I am about to embark on a brand new and very exciting, albeit daunting adventure.
In just a little more than a week, I begin furthering my education! It's been 23 years since I graduated from UVA. I've taken a few classes here and there since then...including an online class in Spring 09 on middle school curriculum - I got an A!
But this time - it's for real! Masters in Practical Theology. Okay - I know - even I think it's an oxymoron! But it is where I am being led on this crazy journey called MY LIFE! And I am trying to just hold on and go for it! He(that would be God) has led me here and so I am going to trust like I have never trusted before and go. I am elated, excited, enthusiastic...and scared to freakin death! How will I get the reading done? How am I going to pay for all this? Can I really drive 2 hours each way, sit through a 3 hour lecture, find time to read, sleep and work AND raise two very active daughters? Oh - and of course I am always steeped in my work at the church - but I wouldn't have it any other way!
So, I pick up the much lighter suitcases...and fewer these days too...and pack my school supplies in a new bag. Here I come graduate school! Cause this is one of those bold and courageous steps I have been planning to take!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Life has been a whirlwind since my last post. I think I reached a point where I wasn't sure what else to say. I had to be still and listen for awhile. God speaks in the oddest of ways.
I have spent the last 3 days telling my father goodbye. Seems nearly impossible to say much more than that. But what I have experienced in the past 3 days is almost beyond my comprehension. The sadness, sorrow and pain of losing a parent is nothing you can explain until you have experienced it. Even if you HAVE said all that there is to say - it seems you think of just that one other thing you wanted to say...or do.
My father wasn't perfect - but for this one night - he was. Not just to me - but to many other people. The people he has spent the last 10 to even 20 years of his life with - remembering him, toasting him, sharing the stories of him. The stories have left a profound affect on me. I will never forget them and I am so thankful for the people who felt so moved to tell me how much my dad meant to them. Several of them, men even, crying as they spoke of him.
May 20, 2010...
I obviously didn't get finished with that post - originally written on April 28th - just 2 days after my father died. I think it was too hard. Not that reading it today makes it any easier. But I have learned so much about myself since then. And isn't it funny how you end up reading something at just the right time - to remind you of what it was you needed to know in the first place.
What I learned about my father was that he was loved. He was loved by many - because he seemed to love them - unconditionally and the least of them. He didn't care what they did - where they worked, what they looked like...he just loved them. The stories I heard were so moving to me - I stood there and cried. Because he just loved.
And this weekend - as I journeyed with my Lord Jesus Christ, on a long anticipated three day Walk to Emmaus - I learned that HE loves me. He loved those who were the most unlovable. I think my dad did that too. I think of some of the people I knew in his past - people who many would typically avoid...that is who he loved. I knew my dad loved me - I could hear it in his voice and see it in his soft blue eyes.
So I returned from the week of his funeral - realizing how incredibly blessed I am - like my father - to be loved by so many. I have the most amazing community of friends a person could ask for. They have been there for me - regardless of my many mistakes and poor choices in the past 2 years. They have helped me with my kids, made me food, called, sent cards, given me their company - many of them giving abundantly of their time and energy. NEVER expecting anything in return.
And now, after this weekend I realize I MUST love just like my dad loved, just like my friends love and most importantly just like my Lord Jesus Christ loved! Can I do that? Only with the ever present help of the Holy Spirit. But I will seek It and call out for It every morning - so that I can be the same love to others as they have been to me. So that they will see the difference in me. I didn't wait 10+ years for this Walk and it happen when it did by chance! It was God's time.
I was yanked back into reality when I heard something I simply didn't want to hear today. As my heart sank my instinct was to respond to the person who had caused the hurt - in my usual sarcastic, yet wanting a reaction way. And as I sit here - the pain still in my heart - I realize that they want the same thing I do- to be loved. So with my new eyes and heart - I try to handle it in a whole new way. I will love them in a new way - not the way I had planned, but as a child of God. Knowing that God has other plans for me. He has been trying to tell me this for over a year. It doesn't make the hurt go away - but I know that I will be okay - and that I have heard this for a reason. And God will show me how to handle it from here on out - as long as I seek Him.
What I am finding is that the choices we make every day will result in the love we give and the love we get. I will make my choices very carefully from now on. To be honest, open and to expect nothing less than what I know I am worthy of. So how do I learn to love abundantly as I am called to do - yet guard my heart from pain and hurt? Is this possible? Perhaps guarding my heart might just be the answer. I think the suitcase just got a lot lighter!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I want to drop them at His feet and put my hands up and be done! Maybe that is the next step - learning to listen in order to let go. I haven't had a lot of time to listen cause I am so busy dragging around the suitcases and trying to manage them that I haven't stopped to do much listening. And this is hard for me! I am a doer - I don't sit still much. Allows for too much time to think! That's when the latch pops open and things start flying out of it. I then have to start stuffing it all back in - lest someone SEE what I have in there! That would be bad, really bad.
It's pretty messy. I didn't do a very good job of packing in the first place. So to let people actually SEE it...that would be scary. Those close to me have a pretty good idea - but what if OTHERS saw..what would they think? Would they still like me? Accept me? Even though some of the heavier stuff in there wasn't my fault? Would they see beyond that to the hurt and the brokeness that resulted? Maybe some would, but others wouldn't. But why does it matter?
And there we are again - back to giving it to God! He will use it for HIS glory! All of it - all of the pain and brokeness. All the not so pretty stuff that is hanging out of the sides. And He will take it for me - if I will just trust Him enough to know that He desires to give me mercy, forgiveness, abundant grace and most of all love. What more should I desire?
Monday, March 22, 2010
Well - I must have left my bags unattended. I was having a lovely Saturday - enjoying the warm spring weather - when my suitcase was snatched and returned without my ever knowing it. I didn't realize it until I heard what was coming out of it. I heard words that were truthful - but words that I didn't see coming. Words that I REALLY didn't want to hear. The very thing I am trying my hardest to let go of, yet having the most incredibly difficult time doing, came screaming right back at me. And it wasn't from my own doing this time - which is usually how it happens. No, it was the words from others. All the raw and painful emotions came rushing back. This thing I am trying to move forward from has some kind of hook that has me unable to let go. My heart physically hurts from it. The pain, disappointment and confusion, even jealousy - that I so deperately want to be free from - and thought I was getting there - feels as raw and fresh as ever right now.
And I know two things are working here - which seems odd to me that they can work in tandem.
My first thought is that Satan knows where I am weak and he comes at me - especially as he sees me growing stronger and more faithful. He always hits us right in our soft spot. He has that knack. But what I am sure frustrates him to no end is the next thing I know!
That is that God is using the words that I heard to bring the truth more clearly to my eyes. He (God) KNOWS that I am still not giving it all to Him. He longs to be the Lover of my Soul - to comfort me, to be sufficient for ALL my needs. Yet, I continue to let the hook keep me from giving it all to Him. I hold out hope where all of my HOPE should be souly placed in God and God alone. There are no guarantees in life - NONE! But I do have the guarantee that God will be sufficient for my needs. That HIS love and grace will be more than I could ever need or get from anything or anyone on this earth. My head knows that - now - I just need to get my heart to listen a little more closely and see.
The song "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord" comes to mind...maybe that is what He was doing Saturday when my suitcase came back with more than I bargained for - he was opening the eyes of my heart.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
So that would be the "Ah-ha" moment! I CAN'T! As long as I am trying to do it own my own - of my own accord I will continue to fail. So how do I do it then? I know the answer - I know HIM well! God needs to take my bags - or more accurately I need to hand them over to Him. Check them at the counter and walk away! Leaving the pain, the hurt, the disappointments, the guilt, the mistakes - all behind at HIS counter of mercy, grace, forgiveness and most of all love.
This sounds like an easy thing right? I mean why wouldn't I want to leave it all behind. Go buy some fresh new luggage? Because we as human beings have a tendancy to want to hold on - to the stuff, the hurts, the life that didn't turn out like we planned, and most of all the control!
It is so hard to just let it go. For one thing what might He ask me to do? To truly give up something that I love - even though it might not be good for me. Or He might ask me to go somewhere and be something I am not comfortable being. To step out of my safe and familiar place in life.
So how do I do that? Am I really willing to do it? If I truly want peace and healing - which I believe will lead to living a bold and courageous life - don't I have to? Because just like checking your bags at the airport now has a price - so does checking my bags with the God who loves me and wants to give me the freedom to live the life He has planned for me!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Seems like what is going on in my head these days too. There were things that I thought I was done with. Thought I had "dealt with" years ago. They lay dormant for over a decade. And now - in the midst of everything else going on in my life - they have been stirred back up. This goes back to the teapot analogy - bubbling or boiling up. Guess the fire has gotten hot enough and God has some pouring out to do. The thing about what comes out of the teapot though is that it is HOT! And therefore painful if you touch it - you know what I am saying?
So back to my original suitcase analogy. Try to stay with me here...
It occurred to me this morning that it's sort of like an old suitcase. You discover it in the attic and think - ooh -what treasures might be inside? When you open it - the smell of mustiness over takes you. You know you need to clear it out now that its been opened - but who wants to touch the stuff?! So not only do I have heavy and overloaded suitcases - it seems I have some musty items as well. And I REALLY don't want to go there! But I am being challenged enough in my daily journey to become the woman God made me to be - that bold and courageous one - to know that I really don't have any other choice. So I am putting on the gloves, so to speak, and digging in.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I spent an entire day going through one box, ONE BOX, yesterday! At this rate it'll be 2020 before I get all my STUFF sorted and discarded! Is it going to take that long with my heart and soul too? Like our entire generation I want to be whole and healthy NOW! I want my heart to soar NOW! I don't like this waiting stuff. Why does it take so long? Why must I look at each piece out of the box and be reminded of things I might not want to be reminded of? And do I really have to? I yearn for the freedom that I know awaits me! I long to feel like I have beautiful butterfly wings of blue and pink and purple...to soar and land on lovely flowers here and there. Yet, part of becoming a butterfly requires spending time in that dark cocoon. Peeling away the layers of the stuff that held me to what I was before. A caterpillar?
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
So how does one purge? I know it's not easy. My first thought always goes to someone who binges and purges...and I always think - yuck! I have no desire to throw up if I don't have to! There is nothing worse than that if you ask me! I had terrible morning sickness with both of my daughters and might have had one more child if being sick and hanging over the toilet was guaranteed not to happen again! Hence the reason I only have two children!
So to purge requires ridding oneself of whatever is impure or undesirable. Yikes. I have plenty of undesirable stuff - and not just in all those boxes that are stacked to the ceiling of my garage waiting for me to open them. God is showing me some things about myself that I certainly desire to be rid of. Some things that have been part of who I am for over 30 years. So now the question is how...how do I rid myself of the things that have kept me from becoming who God designed me to be - that keep me from my true authentic self. And do I even want to meet her?
Friday, February 19, 2010
— Tina Turner
So I just spent the better part of this weekend moving. After living in a rental for 18 months - that was costing me a small fortune... I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a home for myself. Two years ago if anyone had told me that I would be a single parent AND purchasing my first home(as a single person) I would have told them they were nuts! So anyway...back to the moving...
I have a lot of stuff! A LOT! Now I have managed to justify it - we lived in a very large home and we had all of our childhood things, and I have two kids, and I love to decorate for Christmas, and blah, blah, blah! You would think that moving it from the large home into the rental would have taught me a lesson - not so much! My garage became the storage unit - and I should have spent this summer sifting through it - but at that point I think it was still too fresh and too hard. I was overwhelmed. I never intended to move it AGAIN! There is so much - well, just junk!
So 10 of my friends from church and work came and carried all my JUNK into the new house. It is all stacked up in the garage...and there is plenty in the house too! Not what I would have preferred but - here it is! I have this lovely home, that is all mine - the colors I want - will eventually be decorated the way I want...but all this STUFF! So when I read that quote by Tina Turner - I thought - YEP! Gotta purge! Here I am trying to empty my physical AND emotional suitcases...and Tina Turner speaks to me! Purging...not something I have ever done but I am about to learn more!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I look around my home and see all this STUFF. Stuff - not even stuff that I really want. Just stuff. And we've all heard it said that the way things look on the outside is how they are on the inside.
I have done a great job over the years of presenting myself as "all put together". I appear to have it all - great kids, good job, nice house, decent car, take good vacations, fabulous friends, even at one point most people would have thought I had a good if not even great marriage. But as the saying goes...you just never know what is really on the inside. Don't get me wrong - I am not a complete and total mess...well, I don't think I am! But as I continue this journey toward wholeness - I become more and more aware of just how much stuff I do have - not just on the outside, but importantly on the inside. And at 45, I think it is really time to let it go.
So I begin the job of unpacking the suitcase(s) that I have been lugging around for about 30 years...
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So if you are out there somewhere reading this - what will be ramblings at times - I hope you are able to journey along with me and find your bold and courageous life!