Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bad "Luck"

Another week, again? Wow---could time please slow down for just a bit?!

My daughter & I have been laughing at our "luck". It's not really funny, but it's a joke in our house. See, we have this magic power. Actually it's not a good thing. We tend to get excited about something, it falls apart. We THINK we get something worked out, it crashes. We THINK we are on track with something, it derails. It just doesn't occasionally happen. It seems to happen EVERY time we open our mouth, think the thought, or breathe a sigh of relief. It is SO not funny, but if we don't laugh about it we would stay too focused on the pain it brings and get too caught up in it.

Just a VERY few hours after I submitted my last blog, everything changed. At the same time, Adriana had just told our neighbor how great things were going and what a relief it was that things were calming down. No surprise to us----it all crashed down. Kevin's headaches returned with a vengeance. Back to stressing over that, not sleeping, every emotion possible--just absolute pure frustration. Along with not sleeping and extreme stress comes my body breaking down. It's a vicious cycle. I did everything possible to avoid it----but it only worked for so long. I found solace, stress relief, extra energy, mood boosting endorphins from taking long walks to get "through" the rough days. That worked until my body said enough is enough. BOY, do I miss those de-stressing walks. CAN NOT wait until I'm recovered enough to get back on it----that is one thing I am not giving up on!

Financially we struggle to keep our heads above water due to the fact that we've been one income for 13 years. Just about the time I think we have everything balanced, something goes wrong. Finally getting insurance worked out to pay for Kevin's medication and oxygen was a HUGE relief. However, everything else seems to be going wrong. Even with insurance, a doctors visit still wipes out $30 (which is HALF of my weekly food & household needs budget!)Bought a part to fix the washer. It only partially fixed the problem & the washer is still not functioning enough to use. I never realized how "spoiled" I had become by not thinking twice about throwing a load of clothes in at any time. With TWO incredibly messy boys, a dog that constantly needs his paws wiped, a gym rat that goes through workout gear constantly, a husband that has to change clothes as soon as he walks in due to the chemical smells that are attracted to his clothes, it ADDS up quickly. A trip to the Laundromat, yields ALL clothes done at once, but wipes out $11-$13 in quarters! My dear husband failed to fully stop at a stop sign in the lovely town of Arcola at 5:30 in the morning.......with NOT a single soul in sight.....except the cop. Doesn't matter that he he NEVER does that or that he was running late because of a stupid headache. Another $75 to deal with. Came out of work at lunch the next day to find his tire flat. Thought it would be an easy $10 fix.........of course not. Can't be repaired and you know you can't just replace ONE tire. Where will that $400 come from? Got the bill for Bradlee's ER adventure. The trip we tried EVERYTHING to avoid. Our pediatrician refused to see him & gave us no choice but to be seen by the ER. Walked in and the DR said, we did NOT need to be there and that if any medical professional had looked at him, they would have seen immediately that he was in pain from a neck injury NOT meningitis. DID nothing for him. Our cost AFTER insurance $475. The list goes on and on. The problem is that it all falls just after we prayed for financial blessings for God's help to get us through some difficult times. NOT quite the answer we were looking for.

It goes on and on. We thought we were going to get a resolution to a painful situation we were dealing with. Got VERY excited to see God had opened a door that needed opened in a MAJOR way-----but as soon as it opened, it slammed shut. Reached out to specific people for support and encouragement to get through these rough days.....came back empty handed. Learned that some friendships just really aren't worth it, but have yet to figure out how to fully accept it and move on.

Now what? Lay down & give up. That's what a huge part of me says. OK, that's what almost ALL of me says. However, the little inner voice that keeps me going is speaking louder every minute. IT knows that we've been through hard times before MUCH MUCH harder times, and we came out. Now is no different. LIFE can and will return to "normal". WE will find doors open again. Some of those painful relationships will not survive, but others will spring up. THAT is a fact. I've already been blessed by some AMAZINGLY supportive women in my life over the last several months. My tender heart & emotions may make things difficult some days, but most other days they make me the person that I am and love to be. They give me a heart for God, for my family, and for making things better for others when I can. Bruises & wounds heal. Lessons get learned....some just painfully. I will keep moving forward. I will keep looking for the ONE that my eyes should be set on. I will keep trying to find ways to stay connected & maintain the right priorities. I will keep digging deeper & finding where my true source of happiness & contentment comes from.

Just maybe next time, we will try it the opposite and see what happens. Maybe we will say it's horrible.....or please take money away.....or anything negative.....and maybe just maybe GOOD will happen! Nah......we'll just keep praising God through the storms & know that there is no other way that we survived and that he is the one that is TRULY deserving of every ounce of praise we have to give. Maybe that is all He wants and needs from me. He just needs me to have all of my focus on Him and less on the outside world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Checking Back In

WOW...It's been a week already? Shame on me. :)

This week is UNBELIEVABLY better than the last two weeks. I'll admit, there were times I thought all of the situations around me where going to get the best of me. Things around us are FAR less than perfect, but I'm feeling MORE able to handle it EVERY day! Thanks to those of you that have taken the time to pray or encourage us along the way.

Kevin is still having extreme headaches, but they are settling down to one a day, two at the very most. Granted, that's still too many, but MUCH improved. Fortunately, the oxygen works AMAZINGLY when they hit. Unfortunately, that is usually about 1:30-2:00 AM. I'm becoming a pro at waking up, getting him set up, making sure it has worked, and getting everything shut back off. Now that something IS giving him fairly quick relief, I don't have that same panic I had, so I'm much more able to get back to sleep than before. So at least now, it's like getting up to take care of a newborn and going right back to sleep instead of the state I was in where I was too concerned or too worked up to get any sleep. Fortunately, he's beginning to not even remember the next day whether or not he had one! I'm usually easily peeved by his ability to fall asleep SO quickly and his short term memory lapses, but in this case I'm thankful!

We're still struggling with so many other issues & obstacles, but feeling more confident in our ability to handle whatever comes our way. Our faith in God has delivered us during some VERY dark times & we should have known better than to doubt him now.

I'm still HUGELY battling with trying to maintain balance & not being overwhelmed with so much going on....but with each day, I'm feeling on more solid ground. I'm not saying that the struggles aren't still there and that Satan is off our backs. It's ALL still here AND still very painful at times, but again I see our faith growing with every prayer we pray, every conversation we have, or any tear I cry (notice I didn't say we...!).

It's been a chaotic few weeks THAT is for sure! Sleep deprivation is a place I don't want to return to! Being pulled in a thousand different directions is unsettling. My body shutting down & a lupus flare up hitting hard was expected. Thankfully, not only have I recovered but I also feel EVEN stronger than before.

I've not been blogging because there hasn't been enough time, but also because I have TOTALLY gotten wrapped up in a new Beth Moore book. I keep reading and re-reading each and every page. I can't get past the first few chapters, because I keep getting drawn back or something else sinks in and I have to go back! I imagine there will be lots of blogs to come based on what I'm reading. It's just TOO good to keep to myself. I highly recommend it (even though I don't know when I'll EVER finish it!) Ok---I only have a few weeks left since it's a library book and since it's requested I can't renew it! I may have to break down and actually buy it! It's "So Long,'ve been a bad friend to us".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Mommy No More

I can't put my finger on when it all happened or even tell you the first time I heard it. I am sad to report that I'm no longer a Mommy.....just a mom. It's a vivid reminder of just how fleeting the moments are with our children and just how short of a time we really have to make a difference with them that will last a lifetime. I don't know when Bradlee made the transition from calling me Mommy to Mom, but now that it has happened it's sad. It's especially sad since he is the last little one in our home (unless God changes our path). If I had known it would have happened this quickly, I would have savored EACH and EVERY one of those moments. I wouldn't have been so quick and short when I heard it for the millionth time in a day. It's quite sad to know that your three year old is really growing up so rapidly and that you can't keep up. I've said from the very beginning that he was SET ON GO from the moment he was born and that is so true. He isn't content with doing ANY thing slow. Fortunately, the Mommy word does occassionally slip out and I'm trying to soak it in on those rare occassions. For now, I'm going to cling to him when he says "Hold You Me, Mommy" because I know it won't be long before he stops saying those words too or at least stops saying them in his cute little mixed up order. Since that is also the only time left that he says Mommy, I think I will find as many chances as possible to hear him say it! Well, that is if I can catch him.... :)

An honest prayer....and encouragement for my husband!

"OK God. Enough is enough. You have our FULL attention. Please take away this horrific pain that Kevin is going through. Though it may only be 30 minutes at a time, it's the most terrifying, helpless 30 minutes you can imagine. I'm exhuasted, broken, stressed and overwhelmed. We have remained faithful to you in such hard times and put as much effort into being as pleasing and devoted to you as we can. We see those OBVIOUSLY living outside of your will and yet they seem more blessed than we can ever dream of. God all we are asking is for this to stop. I don't feel like I can watch him go through another one. It literally rips me apart and shakes my faith EVERY single time. I know that when we are growing in you and getting closer to you, that Satan throws EVERY temptation, trial, and obstacle he has to try and derail us. It's working. We are SO wanting to surrender, but we AREN'T. Please take that into consideration and get Satan OFF of us. WE just need some good things to happen for a change. SHOW us that YOU are in control & that YOU have our best interest at heart. RESTORE us, REVIVE us, BLESS us. WE need miracles right now that you can only provide. You know EACH and EVERY desire of our hearts and our most immediate needs. We aren't asking for trivial things. We don't deserve your favor, but God we are asking anyway. Your word says to ask and believe. We've been asking & we've been believing, but that believing is getting harder each & every second that passes. Don't allow these trials to continue to steal our confidence and joy we have in you. REVEAL your plan for us. We are tired of wandering & searching. Help us find our purpose, path, and direction. We are physically & emotionally tired. Stop Satan from hindering us & keeping us from You. Give us peace that only you can provide. Let others see our faithfulness so they can SEE YOU. "

Prayer is a VERY intimate & personal thing. Some people can publicly pray without a second thought. I AM NOT like that. I'm not one that feels comfortable praying out loud. It's not in my personality. I'm not a verbal, people person in the very least. I'm the poster child for introvert. That's ok because God hears my silent prayers just as much as He can hear those that are freely spoken. However, I felt led tonight to make it "public".

There is no denying that we are struggling with some VERY real issues right now. I'm in a near panic mode needing God to answer prayers immediately and I'm not going to lie. It doesn't feel like he is listening or answering them. At least he isn't answering them to MY satisfaction. We ALL know that is a hard place to be in. We've ALL had the answer of "No" or "not yet". We ALL know that frustration. What is really hard & is ripping me apart is that I'm not asking for frivolous things. I'm JUST asking for some VERY BASIC needs. How can those answers be "no" or "not yet". As a parent, the last thing on earth we want is for our children to hurt. How can God as our heavenly father allow us to suffer? All I know is that whatever God has in store for us MUST be amazing and MUST really be something big for Satan to be attacking us so hard. He really must be terrified of God's power in us because he is doing EVERY single thing he can to silence our voices and create a wedge between us and God. Unfortunately, it's getting easier by the day to let that happen. Some how, some way......we will come through all of these obstacles and God will have been the only way that it could happen. Others will see how God delivered us. I'm just praying for that day to come MUCH sooner than later.

Kevin: hang in there. It hurts so much to see you going through this physical pain & it does terrify me. Watching my normally calm, solid as a rock husband torn apart like that is suffocating. It's 3:00 in the morning and you've been back asleep for about an hour, but I'm wide awake despite being physically & emotionally DRAINED. Watching you tonight and being RELIEVED to hear you snoring beside me just brought me back to that hospital bed with Peyton. It's that same helpless & exhausted feelings we experienced with him. God brought us through that and at times we doubted Him then. He's going to bring you through this AND all the other issues we are personally dealing with. We just have to hold on & hang on to that. We both had that moment with Peyton of feeling like we couldn't go another second, but we did.....and did...and did.....for days on end. I know you are physically in pain and even worse at times emotionally & spritually hurting. Don't give up. Don't run. Don't shut down & build back up those walls we've worked so hard to knock down. Despite the message you get from so many people, YOU ARE AN AMAZING man! NEVER doubt it. YES, you sometimes fail and at times failures come more than successes, but that DOES NOT diminish how amazing you are & how much I love you. You will NEVER get the credit you deserve and NEVER get the understanding of why you've made some of the decisions you've made, but I GET IT and there will be a time that everyone else will. Baby, just hang on and keep moving forward. EACH and EVERY word of our wedding song is coming alive for us MORE every day in ways we NEVER dreamed just keep holding my hand and know that I will be here.....and focus on THAT special moment that "sealed the deal" for us & told us that we belonged together and nothing would EVER effectively pull us apart. When things are the hardest, I can look at the picture on our bedroom wall of that night & remember where I was in life and what had gone on up to that point and RELIVE that moment so VIVIDLY....the moment that changed EVERYTHING for both of us. God brought us together for a HUGE reason & I'm still anxiously waiting for him to reveal his FULL plan for us.

Sorry for the sappy, mushy note----but I felt it needed to be said and "on the record".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

JUST go to the 10:45 service you big goof!

A real look at this morning and REAL honesty.

I know nothing is ever really a waste and that ANY day given by God is a gift. But today, was a waste. It was a waste because I let it be. Today at church was one of those days that I should have just stayed home. I feel like an alien has overtaken my mind and body these days. From the second my eyes opened this morning, NOTHING has gone right. We stayed up late, lost an hour with the time change and couldn't get going and slept through alarms/hit snooze too many times. Kevin was wiped out and a grouch after having YET another unbelievable headache that didn't quickly go away. I'm by nature NOT a morning person. Well, when you are running late to start with, you know what happens because of Murphy's Law. So this morning was one of those if it could go wrong, it did kind of days. It doesn't matter that we tried to plan ahead for the time change and morning mad dash by laying clothes out last night. I REALLY did plan ahead and hoped for today to be a GREAT day of COMPLETE focus on God. It just didn't happen that way.

Instead of what being at church SHOULD have been like, I found myself letting EVERY little thing snowball until I lost ALL focus. I smiled, waved, acknolweged those around me----but inside my emotions were flipping and flopping all over the place. Even when we got in the van, as soon as I finished writing our check for offering and passing out the kids "Jesus" money as we call it, I paused in my spirit and asked God to calm me and help me to focus back in on Him. Normally that is all it takes after a mad dash to get out the door. IF it doesn't immediately happen, I do find that peace come over me during worship. That made no difference either. It wasn't the worship leaders fault.....their hearts were in it just like normal and they sang some of my normally favorite songs. I sang the words, but they never reached me and they never connected me to the one I was singing those songs for. Worship was NOT worship in my heart was just a sing-a-long. The message never really pierced my heart either. It was an important one and I DID hear the words and I did think about what he was saying.......but my own thoughts were swirling around in my head too much that HIS words got crowded out. I did catch a few thoughts that did give me pause and did BEGIN to minister to my heart and make me think, but I wasn't able to give them enough time to root and grow. Communion time is usually a time of reflection and a "calming" few moments that I usually CRAVE. The "silence" was defeaning and I couldn't find that peace today.

Today should have been a day of getting my batteries recharged. I should have found that connection with God that normally inspires me to keep going another week. I normally find an intimate connection with Kevin. Nothing has been more helpful to our marriage than the spiritual intimacy of being in church ALONE together (now that ALL 3 of the kids have their own place to be and LOVE being there!). Not being pulled in a million directions, just being there together solely focused on the same page has been amazing. I look forward to that "oasis" of being connected to each other by being connected to God. His arm around my shoulder or my hand on his knee, his arm around my waist or holding my hand during worship & prayer.....those things recharge me like NOTHING else. THAT was also missing today. What should have been an amazing bonding time for us, especially after reconnecting last night on some issues, was instead like sitting next to a stranger.

Because my mind was so full of EVERYTHING else and I couldn't get my mind on what DID matter, I'm still finding myself out of sorts. I was REALLY looking forward to being FULLY present at church this morning and now that I wasn't, waiting another week feels impossible. I'm almost panic stricken and I don't know what to do. I know God can find me ANYWHERE and use ANY person or ANY thing to minister and that he is truly just a prayer away. Worship doesn't just take place in church. I GET that-----but it's just not feeling the same at the moment. I already feel like this week is going to be a horrible, stress filled week because I was already feeling that way AND just needed this morning to give me a boost----but because I allowed MYSELF to get in the way of that happening, I don't know what to do! I can't get my mind to slow down and I can't get my spirit to calm.

So, if next Sunday morning starts out this way again; if the rush out the door gets me in this big of a "mess", I've learned a lesson. One I wish I had thought about this morning. Slow down, breathe in and out and JUST GO TO THE 10:45 service you big goofball!!!!!!! Yes, we would have to drop Adriana off so she could have attended her small group like normal, but we could have come back to worship in a better frame of mind. Yes, it would have been a different set of faces in a large church like ours and I may not have gotten my typical seat or my favorite pastry, but by gosh, I might have been CONNECTED to God and not feeling so insane right now! Maybe because my stress levels ARE intense right now it wouldn't have been perfect, BUT I'm certain God would have had a much easier task at reaching me than he did today. Gosh, where is that rewind button.....if I had one, I KNOW I would be using it now to just go back and start this day over again. Starting this day over would surely be like starting the whole week back off with a better chance of keeping it ALL together. Right now I'm not carrying that same confidence.

Friday, March 12, 2010


No, I haven't disappeared. No, I didn't give up on blogging as an attempt to get Satan off my back. I don't give up that easy. However, it has been a TOUGH week or so and it just hasn't been easy to think clearly. Between caring for Bradlee's neck injury and pain last week and now Kevin's insane headaches, it's been an unsettling week!

Time for some real world honesty. To say that things are stressful for us right now is an understatement. LAST week's priorities have been changed to deal with THIS week's needs. The courage and energy I had last week, both physically and spiritually, have been zapped. Phsyically I'm struggling because stress and lupus are not good combinations. BUT I have no choice but to keep going and trying to fight through it. These days I feel like if I slow down, I may drop permanently!

Spiritually it's a huge struggle. Kevin and I constantly feel like JUST when we really feel like we are getting on track and feel like God is really leading us in a positive direction, we end up getting slammed from every direction. We are constantly in that mode of feeling like two steps forward, three steps backwards. Why can't Satan just get off our backs and leave us alone for once? Normally, when tough times come like this, it creates a wedge between God and us and between each other. We tend to back-off and stop trying to move forward.

NOT this time. I'm refusing to let these "rocky waters" push me off course. No matter how hard things may get, no matter how many mountains are in the way. Whatever it takes, whatever I have to do.....I'm not taking those three steps backwards. If I need help, I'm asking. If I need to "walk away" and get a few minutes of peace, I'm going to take it. If I need to stop and hug the kids and apologize for being moody, I'm going to do it. If I have to let some things go in order to focus on something else, I'm going to do it. I'm allowing myself the freedom to temporarily drop my perfectionist attitude and needs. I'm not going to look at others and feel "less" than or wonder why they seem more blessed.

The other thing that I am trying to focus on is letting God lead me where he needs me. I get chopped down so often for thinking to deeply and not being able to "shut down" my brain. I take NOTHING at face value. I'm always looking for an underlying message. This is no different. Instead of asking God "WHY" are you allowing these obstacles to come at us, I'm going to ask "WHAT" instead. WHAT is God wanting to teach me? WHAT does he need me to do? I don't have that answer yet, but I'm earnestly seeking. Perhaps, He just wants me to be right here, right now feeling on shaky ground so I have no choice but to focus on Him for EVERYTHING. Perhaps, he just wants me to be right here, right now so that I can prove to myself that I'm stronger than I think I am. Maybe He just needs to prove to myself that I don't have to run away when the going is tough! Perhaps He just wants me to be able to find peace despite NOT being able to "fix" everything. When you are a "fixer" by nature, it's not an easy place to be.

Learning to take one hour or minute at a time. Learning to not let fear and worry overtake or paralyze. Learning to not run when times are hard. Learning..........that's what it's all about. Sometimes it doesn't come the easy way.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Too Blog or not to Blog...

I've had to consider ending my week long journey in the blogging world. Putting things in black & white for the "world" to see is like signing a formal contract. If I'm going to talk the talk, I have to walk the walk kind of thing! It sure is like Satan is waiting to see what my thoughts are and then working overtime to make sure I have plenty of situations to "put my money where my mouth is!" Blogging is now what I consider "Accountability" on steroids.

Part of me says, just write about non-spiritual issues and keep it "light" and maybe he will leave me alone. That would be the easy path. That would surely keep me in my comfort zone and in my own "little box". That would be the coward's path. I starting blogging because I was tired of being a coward and pushed around. I was tired of having to "water down" my faith.

Guess, it didn't take too long for me to figure out what my decision was going to be. Despite how being truthful and honest is not necessarily the easiest path, I'm going to walk it. I may have to walk REALLY slow and even have people lead me along the path, but I'm going to keep moving ahead. IF the path gets rocky, muddy, or I get bogged down....I'm still going to move forward, even if it is at a snail's pace. Eventually even a snail gets to where he is going!

So Satan----for those numerous temptations you have thrown my way these past few days---I say thank you. Thank you for letting me see that my faith may waiver, but I'll never give up. Thank you for reminding me that MY GOD is bigger than ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you have! I may struggle to make the right decisions, say the right things, maintain the right attitudes, and LISTS of other things.....but I KNOW who can help me overcome EVERYTHING you have to throw at me. Thank you for reminding me that I'm weak, but HE is strong. Thank you for reminding me that people fail and there is only ONE who walks in perfection.

I've been working on a prayer binder for probably at least a year, but it flopped. Or I should say I flopped. I never got past the planning stage, just like so many other things in my life. However some people lit a fire under my tail lately and inspired me to get back on it! I can officially say it is in process. The binder itself is complete and now I'm working on the content----the part that really matters. Right now I'm working through Stormie Omartian's books---specifically at this point the praying wife and praying parent----and typing out notes from each chapter, her closing prayer and scripture references, plus any thoughts I have at the time about each topic. Each topic is then put in my binder and each day of the month will eventually have it's topic. I have other sections as well, but the "bulk" of "work" will go into these sections. Being at this stage of life, it's taking a little longer than I want, but I'm moving forward. I thought about just speeding through and just getting it done for the sake of having done, but in my heart I know that it's better to go slow and deep.

Just this Thursday during my FIRST time alone in years thanks to ALL 3 kids being involved in some capacity at Parent's Morning Out at church, I worked on the 1st section and only got finished with the "wife" part. Wouldn't you know it....just because I wrote it down, Satan found ways to already attempt to make me give it up. He has already tried to derail my attempt at going even deeper in my relationship with Kevin. Section one talks in depth about the need to pray for my own heart before I can effectively pray for him. Specifically it talks about how to handle our thoughts and hearts when our spouse has hurt us. My response to Kevin, my thoughts/feelings, etc.. are just as damaging and can be just as sinful as whatever he may do that hurts me. God considers my sins of unforgiveness, anger, self-pity, lovelessness, bitterness, etc... (anything not of "pure" heart) JUST as bad as whatever "it" is that he may have done (or not done).

Well, in my experience, you write it down and commit to it.....yes, you guessed get an opportunity to put it into action. That is where I am now. For the sake of privacy and maintaining respect of one another, I'll just say today is vividly about "love in action". He hurt me deeply in an action/inaction and God is speaking to me about how to handle it. My flesh side says make him suffer, beat him down, make him hurt as much or more than I am. Unfortunately that is my initial reaction. However, because of where God has been leading me and leading us together, I can't maintain that attitude. I have to remember that there are times I have hurt him and times in the future I will as well and I have needed or will need him to show me grace and forgiveness. Does it make the hurt any less real to release a spouse (friend, child, parent, co-worker, etc..) from their "action" by forgiving them? Yes and no. No because actions/inactions REALLY do hurt emotionally and healing doesn't instantly always happen. Yes, because that forgiveness is what DOES bring about healing.

I have to let God work on ME so that "conflicts" don't grow and develop into something larger. If my heart is full of unforgiveness or other impurities, a wall will grow until there is not only a wedge between Kevin and I, but also between myself and God. That's a path I've been down MANY times, but I don't want to take again. So despite the real feelings of hurt, I'm choosing to say change ME, Lord. He will work out the details with Kevin, it's not up to me.

So, Satan.....again thanks. Thanks for giving me that opportunity to love my husband through each and every fault. What you expected to use as a tool for your glory will instead belong to God. He will get the glory of restoration, you won't get the glory of destruction. God will get the glory of healing ALL hurt feelings, you won't get the glory of allowing bitterness and hurt to grow. You loose. WE win!

So, I'm going to keep on. I'm going to keep on blogging and know that Satan is going to make me have lots of opportunities to "put my money where my mouth is". I know that Satan is going to give me MANY opportunities to put those specific prayers for my husband and children into action. I know that it is going to be worth it! However, would be nice if you would just back off and give me a little bit of peace. You already know who is going to be victorious, so you could just go ahead and give up....... :)

Too blog or not to go forward or backward......I already know the answer to that question. Bring it on!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Slow Fade"

****warning, rant coming........ :) *****

I want to be completely honest. I'm extremely frustrated and broken. I'm struggling with the attitudes of people around me and my own as well. My thoughts keep coming back to the words of Casting Crowns' song "Slow Fade". To watch an actual video with the lyrics (This particular video is based on marital infidelity, but it applies to MANY MANY other issues).

The song talks about how "things" just don't happen. You don't wake up in the morning and decide to break you wedding vows without having made some previous choices to take you down that path. You don't wake up and say today I'm going to become addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc... It's about the small decisions we make, the things that we don't think matter at the moment. It's about those first steps that "blur" black and white. WE are living in a world that tends to only see gray, without distinctive definitions of right and wrong. And it breaks my heart. Finding people that see the black and white is becoming more difficult all the time. Kevin and I have almost a daily discussion about the alienation we feel because it just seems like we are "freaks".

Let's get it down to where the "rubber hits the road" as one of our pastors used to say. Many of us can say, we aren't addicted to drugs. We treat our marriage vows with respect. We don't do anything nearly as "sinful" as that. WE are above those sins. Maybe.....maybe not! What difference does it make as to "what" sin it is? Sin is sin.

As Christians our lives ARE supposed to look different from that of non-Christians. Romans 12:2 tells us to not be conformed of this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds.... Kevin and I feel like we stick out like a sore thumb! We get told VERY often that our morals are just so outdated and not "normal". As lonely as it feels MANY days, we are making a daily choice to not back down. The problem is that the further we go along on this journey with God, the more it seems like we ARE "freaks".

What happened to parents BEING parents and not best friends/peers? I'm thankful I have a close relationship with my daughter and that we are able to talk about ANYTHING. However, there is not one instance that she doesn't know that FIRST and FOREMOST, I am her mother. When did we as a community decide that it was better to be concerned with our kids "liking" us and less about what MATTERS MOST! For example, I have an almost 13 year old daughter that isn't allowed to watch PG-13 movies, except in very RARE circumstances. For the most part, we check movie reviews with Plugged In from Focus on the Family BEFORE we watch most movies as a family (even PG or G). Adriana is just about the only one in her group at church that doesn't have her own facebook, yet. Why are so many parents signing up their children as young as elementary school age? Even if you CLOSELY watch your child and "protect" them from what they may see or who may see them, you still are teaching them it's OK to LIE. Facebook policy states you must be 13 . What are we teaching our kids by "fudging" their birth dates? I don't want to teach my daughter that's it's OK to lie just so she can fit in with her peers. Our kids are WATCHING every tiny thing we do. They see the good, bad, and ugly.....and I give her enough of the bad and ugly that I SURE don't want to add to it!

Kevin & I are also hard pressed to find other adults that choose not to socially drink alcohol. WE are no longer the "norm". We have MANY reasons of why WE choose not do, but our biggest reason comes back to that "do not be conformed" and believe it hurts our Christian witness. It's also about believing that we teach our children BEST by example.

The problem is that I feel when we make those "small" decisions that don't seem to really make much difference, we fail to realize that they set us up for the next step. Before long we will find that our comfort zone changes. What once gave us a pause in our conscience no longer even has a flicker.

I'm finding that happening especially in our choices of TV shows. At one point in our lives ANY usage of "poor" language....even the "softer" words.....bothered us. Now it seems to fly by without nearly an alarm going off unless it's one of those HUGE no-no words! I'm no longer comfortable with that. I'm not happy with myself in becoming "used" to language, images, and such on TV. I think it's time I step back and see where my own lines of black and white have turned to gray. As the song warns, be careful what your eyes see....... For example, I admit I LOVE the show Brother's & Sister's because I have always enjoyed some of the actresses and I find myself ALWAYS finding something to laugh about and get pulled into the "drama". However, I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed that I'm drawn into that world. A world I KNOW is wrong. A world that promotes MANY of the things I'm against in real life. Where did I cross my own line of black and white? At what point did I let little choices lead to compromise?

Perhaps the big question is where else is God going to lead me to show me that I've compromised? Where is he going to lead you? Are we going to listen to Him when he shows us REAL black and WHITE or are we going to walk in the gray? I guess I'm going to be finding myself being called "freak" more often, because I'd rather be listening to HIM than trying to fit into a world that no longer can see what is right and wrong. Sometimes it's going to be a painful choice, but the benefits FAR outweigh the temporary discomfort!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Tiny Little Angel, With An Amazing Impact

A few months ago I met a woman that really inspired me. However, I will probably NEVER met this woman in person and our actual physical paths may never cross here on earth. BUT she has changed me, challenged me and made me look at things from a whole new vantage point.

She's a mom just like me. A "normal" every day type person you would meet in the grocery story. She's a homeschool mom with 8 blessings. That in itself is inspiring....I can barely balance my three! I "met" Nancy on another blog of an amazing Christian, homeschooling mom (again with LOTS of kids). Amy began asking for prayer for Nancy's unborn baby. I began to follow her story and was immediately drawn in.

At 15 weeks gestation, a normal ultrasound showed significant problems. The diagnosis was Alobar Holoprosencephaly (HPE) and of the most severe form. They knew their daughter would only live a few days at best. What amazed me every day was the way they handled the news, put their amazing faith in action, and made sure that EACH and EVERY second of the remainder of the pregnancy and whatever time they had would COUNT! They chose the name Kara Faith---with Kara meaning pure and faith being a name God revealed to them.

Kara Faith was born January 8th and lived on earth until February 26th. The family's ultimate goal was to be able to bring her HOME and they did. For such a short life on earth, that little angel's impact has been so far reaching. By the world's standards, many would never see past her physical imperfections. In the eyes of her family, God, and those who let their hearts SEE her----she was the ULTIMATE view of perfection and beauty. She truly was a little piece of heaven on earth.

As I daily read the families posts on various blogs & social networking sites, I found myself inspired by such love and devotion. It was about more than just their faith helping them "survive". It has been one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. At one update on the 25th, the dad said he was going to shower, shave, and get dressed up because he was going to take his baby and wife on a date. From the outside, I thought maybe he was talking about a nice dinner at home to celebrate them or something along those lines. In actuality, the date he was dressing up for was the date of "taking" her to meet her Daddy Jesus. They made the decision to not use extreme measures if she struggled to breathe. The description of how those last few hours proceeded absolutely struck something deep within me. I think "my view" gave me the most vivid picture of pure love I have ever seen. They didn't let her last days be of mourning and "dark"....they celebrated EVERY second they had with her. Obviuosly, their hearts were broken and their pain was immeasurable.

What has been really sinking in with me is thinking about how I would handle myself in something only slightly as painful. Would I have exhibited such breathtaking beauty and grace? I doubt it. Just thinking back to our scares and struggles with Peyton's illness is enough to show me that answer! What about them made their faith so vivid in struggles? How did they turn the unspeakable pain into such praise offering and joy? I don't have the answers, but I'm making sure that I'm allowing God to continue to build my faith and trust in Him MORE every day because when difficulties come my way, I want to make sure that people see my actions exhibiting the love of God JUST as profoundly and vividly!!!!

Thankful that God allowed me a "peek" into the life of a family that He obviously had his hands on and thankful for what a difference one little short life is making on a great big world. As someone wrote in a post on one of their facebook pages, "She was so perfect that she only needed to be here for a moment to obtain her body and return to her heavenly father. She did not need to be tried and tested like the rest of the world. Kara Faith, a true servant of the Lord..." Thankful that tiny little angels can make us see God.
Thank you Kara Faith. (