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Friday, September 24, 2010

Perspective

Yesterday on my way home from work, I was listening to Magic 96.5. They are having a fundraiser for Children's Hospital.

There was a Mom on there. She was talking about how her child had obviously lost hope. I do not know what this child had. I hit the station after the introduction. She went on to say how she would watch him look out of the window and the interest in his eyes had gone. He no longer wanted to watch his cartoons. He no longer interacted with people. He was giving up. As I listened to the hysterical woman talk about her child, I was gripped with certain horror. This is no exxageration. I was horrified.

She had a talk with her child that went something like this - "Baby - you know the difference between living and dying don't you?" The little boy replied, "Yes Mama". She continued, "When you quit wanting to watch your cartoons and quit wanting to get out of the bed and play, you know you will probably die right?" The little boy answered, "Yes Mama." She beseeched her son, "You must keep on wanting to live, because I can't imagine this life without y-."

I changed the channel. My throat hurt. My eyes began to water and I began to cry the ugliest sounding cry I have ever heard.

Oh my goodness. Oh - my - goodness. How thankful I am that my children are healthy. How thankful I am that they are happy and that I am not sitting by their bedside begging them to find the will to live.

My heart is mush.

It puts things in perspective doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Huh....


I was watching High School Musical 3 tonight. Seriously. There were no children in the room either. I didn't watch it all...just a small part. I guess what made me stop was Troy said he wasn't sure what to do. He was frustrated and he went to the place that seemed to give him freedom to vent his feelings. The drama teacher just happened to be in there. She gave him an encouraging little speech and one of the things she said was, "Living out your convictions takes courage."

Holy cow.

I think that it's an amazing thing to hear something so encouraging and convicting from a cheesey Disney movie. But there it is. Living out your convictions and dreams DOES take courage. And faith.

What are my convictions? What are my dreams? What do I think God wants for me right now? This month? This year? This lifetime?

I heard a man on the radio being interviewed. He was the winner of The Biggest Loser. He said that he laid aside his dreams to follow a more practical route to care for his family. I am all for practical...I am about the most utilitarian person I know. But the whole idea of "laying aside his dreams" kind of stuck with me all day, and then when I heard Mrs. Darbus - my mind raced.

Is life too short NOT to find the courage to live out my convictions? My dreams?

Making the vapor that is my life count is expected of me by God. I believe that.

Ephesians 5
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Silver Lining


You know, in every hard thing - there is always a way out. It seems to me that God has always made a way for me to handle the things that I think will be the hardest.

So many things that I have loved are no longer there. I have not considered them much of a sacrifice until the last few months. Probably because I have felt so lost lately.

I loved Mobile, never intended to leave. And yet I did. I loved my church in Mobile, had every intention of staying there my whole life - I loved being a member there. I was surrounded with people that "got" me. I loved singing - it was truly a passion - now, I only sing in the car or in the bathtub. I loved being at home with my children. And yet, here I am working full-time.

Each and every one of those things was an identifier for me. It was how I defined myself. I am a Mobilian. I am a Baptist. I am a singer. I am a full-time mother. I loved each one of those things passionately. As each one was lost, I felt more and more transparent. I could no longer see myself. I felt lost.

I have been so caught up in the hardness of work, or duties at home, of the boys activities and homework that I haven't always been able to see the good that comes from each one of them.

I have made unhealthy substitutes that are not in my best interest. I have been miserable. I put on the happy face. I tell my friends, "It will be fine". And honestly, I am coping. But who wants to just cope?

Last week I stopped by a co-worker's office. She told me about a book she was reading and how God was using it for her to share the love of God with others. In her conversation I heard a sincere desire to serve others well, to love others well. Her words of encouragement were such a help to me. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the life buoy she lobbed at me - probably without knowing it. She handed me this tiny card and said, "Have you ever used these? They are amazing".

It was a tiny little card to write your prayers on. I took it, hugged her and moved on. I looked at that little prayer card for a couple of days. When I went back in on Thursday morning, I wrote a short prayer. "Convince me you love me Lord".

I don't think that little card was anything more than a gentle nudge to go before God with my heavy heart. But I think that small nudge helped me be more aware of things. I realized I truly do love my job. I will admit this scares me a little sometimes because when I get home I have very little left to give to my family. But for 8 hours a day, I enjoy what I do. I absolutely love the people I work with in my department. And we are all women. Not completely drama free but a wonderful group of women. Not many people can say that.

My boys have friends that have precious moms. God has given me fellowship in areas I never expected to find it. I have been uplifted and loved well by these precious sisters in Christ. They have come about me and lifted me up, especially in this last week. How very thankful I am to them! I am loved. And very well loved at that.

Friday morning another co-worker dropped by my office. She proceeded to tell me about God's hand in her life. I sat amazed as I listened to her faith in God in obvious hard times. And how she is content and knows God's love. She knows nothing of my situation. God obviously moved her to come in there. I have been there three months and we have never exchanged more than a good morning or a how are you.

For the last few months, though I have seen how blessed I am in God's provision for me and my family (we have all that we need, we are healthy - PRAISE GOD!) I have felt disconnected. I have felt unattached and that God had left me to drift.

But upon reflection, it seems that God took away those things I identified with, in order to make me see what my true identity is. His child. First and foremost - without question - it is the one thing that is foundational to my life. Those other things mean nothing if they are not based on my belonging to my heavenly father.

I forget that.

I am not through all of this yet. I know I will still flounder. But I am more encouraged than I have been in so very long. Thank you to those friends who have allowed God to use them in such amazing ways. Thank you God for loving me enough to strip it all down and get down to the bare bones of the problem.

There is always a silver lining...I just have a tendency to focus on the dark parts.

1 Corinthians 10:12-14
12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Only Thing To Fear...

I sat and watched show after show last night. They depicted the horrifying scenes that I can't forget from September 11, 2001. That was a day that will be forever marked in history. A horrible thing for the United States and especially those who lost loved ones in that horrible event.

It also made an impact on me. It was the beginning of a very real feeling of being unsafe. We had been invaded by people that hated us - for no other reason than being American. I remember that carved out feeling of fear...of my world never being the same again. I was prickly and insecure about my future and that of my children.

My Mom called me and told me that my Dad had stage 2 testicular cancer and was going to have to have surgery and go through chemo. Again my world was shaken. It made no sense that there was a possibility I would lose my Dad. There were many hours of extreme fear and crying to God for my Dad.

Katrina blew into New Orleans over two hours away from my parents river house in Mobile. When they called me and told me that the river house was gutted, I couldn't believe it. It was a mess. I went down to Mobile on my own and was heart-broken at the sight of my parent's home. I mourned the loss of a place I had grown up. The fact that something so far away could totally destroy my parents home was horrifying to me.

When Obama became president, I was scared. The images that the talking heads placed in my head made it hard for me to sleep at night because of the insecurity that change brings. And he was bringing change, there was no doubt about it.

Commercials even started scaring me. I feared termites and my dogs dying of heart worms and my children getting swine flu.

The economy took a plunge and I feared that it would impact us, and it did. My husband lost his job, and I had to start working full time. Two things I prayed and prayed that God would never allow to happen...and yet it did.

So where does this leave me as I sit and ponder the turn of events in the last 10 years? I am at a hard place. Have been for a long time. And I keep choosing to put one foot in front of the other and to move forward the best I can. I keep clinging to that tiny grain of faith that has been given me and I berate myself for the lack of it's strength and growth.

You probably see a consistent theme with me and it seems to be struggle. I am no different from anyone else I guess. It seems that other folks deal with things better than I do. It seems they look to God and bravely shoulder through the difficulties. I feel like I am wallowing in my fear and insecurities. I don't even recognize myself somedays.

But one thing keeps coming to my mind.

Romans 8:14-16
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.


If I can believe that God loves me at all like I love my children, then this should be an immense thing to comfort me. Something to cling to when I am afraid. And it seems I am afraid a lot these days.

My prayer will continue to be let me know that you love me like a Father loves his child, Lord. Give me that confidence. I beg it of you.