Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weeks in Review....a bit closer to HIS plans.

Hard to believe that for someone who LOVES blogging so much that it has been over two weeks again since I've let the words flow!  Time has had a way of just slipping past us in the last several weeks.  Week(s) in review:
  • Mother's Day came and went.  Though I have such mixed feelings about this particular holiday (previous post), I loved celebrating it with my three amazing gifts from God and my priceless husband.  They truly made it a day to remember.  Actually, they made the entire weekend special. 
  • Our daughter turned 14 and my heart skipped a few beats.  I could write about all the things she is and all the things she is becoming, but I would become a basket case.  Her heart for serving is so great and the love of Christ just emanates from her.  She is a treasure!
  • Had the pleasure of my husband planning and surprising me with a date night.  We are being blessed with more and more snippets of time to just be a couple and make our marriage thrive beyond our greatest expectations, but I tend to typically have to plan those times.  It was priceless to have him take the lead on that, arrange childcare, and completely take me by surprise.  It showed me how much HE values that time together and also how he has my best interest at heart.  He knew I was struggling with some issues that were weighing heavily on me and that the best thing for me was to just step away with him for a couple of hours.  Uninterrupted conversation with him tends to just soothe so many hurts and brings such a focus and calm to handling so many situations.
  • Went home for the first time without Dad being there.  This "first" had me physically sick for weeks just trying to emotionally process so much of that.  Thanks to some amazing, encouraging friends that spent time covering me in prayer and a supportive husband, that "first" came and went with my sanity still intact.  It was difficult to say the least, but I found the same calm that the Holy Spirit provided through those other impossible moments flooding my heart again.  Getting to spend time with Teresa and focus on THAT crucial relationship was a soothing balm to my heart. 
  • Our trip home also allowed us the great joy of seeing Kevin's younger adult son, wife, and their precious daughters.   Finally getting to TOUCH our granddaughters instead of just oooohhhh-ing and ahhhh-ing through pictures was amazing.  It was fantastic to see their little family together!  We love them so dearly despite how far the distance is between us physically.  Of course, getting to see other family was great as well. 
  • We saw the "date" come and go of the timing that our child would have been born had God not had other plans in regards to our pregnancy not being able to progress past the beginning weeks.  My arms were empty on that day, but my heart is still full knowing that God has a different plan and I just have to be confident to wait on His reasons/timing/direction. 
  • I finally did something that shocked those around me.  Something I should have been brave enough to do years ago.  I went cold turkey and quit drinking sodas of ALL types-----my addiction to diet coke had to go!  Tomorrow marks 4 FULL weeks with nothing except water and I will NEVER go back.  I may have one on a rare occasion, but for now I don't know when that will be.  For the first time in 13 years, I have had full use of my hands and wrists without any pain.  There have been countless other benefits (weight loss has unfortunately not made that list yet!), but the biggest has been the "victory".  For someone who has planned her entire day around getting her "polar pops" and has literally been as addicted as people are to cigarettes, it was HUGE to have broken free.  God had been laying it on my heart for a VERY long time.  I NEEDED to be turning to HIM FIRST----and not my other cravings.  Though it was a VERY big physical issue, it was greatly an issue of surrendering another part of me to HIM!  Stepping from disobedience into obedience of His leading has been remarkable.  I originally intended to reduce to one a day, but after that first day I knew that it was more about my "will" and doing what God was directing. 
  • Our 9th year of homeschooling is beginning to rapidly wind down.  I don't have our "end" date set because we have so many things going on right now that are requiring flexibility.  At last count, we had dropped down to less than 30 total lessons to finish middle school.  To know that next year we will be entering Kindergarten AND High School makes this mom's heart ache a bit!  Though I plan to do some specific educational enrichment throughout the summer and will continue Bradlee's workboxes more days than not, the bulk is about to wrap up!  Yippee!!!! 
  • I found a new passion and it is growing EVERY day.  I finally pulled out the sewing machine and fought my fears and feeling of intimidation.  I discovered that I have a bit more of Teresa in me than I originally thought.  I love it!  Most specifically right now, I'm loving how God is able to use that "me" time to do something for someone else.  My heart hurts so often to know that our dream of adopting can't happen because of my medical exclusion.  I ache for the orphan.  I can't change their lives the way I envisioned.  However, my new passion is allowing me to STILL do something.  I'm currently sewing dresses for girls in Ghana.  "My" original plan was to hopefully make 2-3.  God ripped that plan apart and put it on a grander scale!  I don't know the final count or what to expect, but it looks like when our friends leave for their mission trip I will have somewhere near 50 to send.  To me it has been less about the actual sewing (after all, my stitch work leaves MUCH room for improvement) and more about the connection I feel when I'm doing it.  Nothing heals a breaking heart more than looking outside of yourself. Change of focus=healing heart!  I also love that part of the process is connecting me to the past.  Many of the dresses have been pieced together from fabric that has been saved for years.  Lace from dresses Kevin's mother made Adriana.  Lace and fabric that was used to make dresses for ME through MANY different life points.  Though many of them have been made of materials recently purchased, it is those that have another connection that mean the most. 
  • Took some dings to the heart with some difficult situations we are facing, but I'm choosing to believe that God is in control.  Many days I throw my hands up and literally want to scream at God and tell him to STOP trusting us with more difficulty.  I don't believe my heart can handle much more.  Then He reveals himself and reminds me of HIS power!  He DEFINITELY has proven that His timing is perfect even when it doesn't feel that way.  The reminder came from a completely unrelated situation, but it still spoke to my heart.  WAIT and BELIEVE!!!!  Our reminder came in the form of an innocent baby that needed a home and in a set of circumstances that could ONLY HAVE BEEN ORDAINED BY GOD.   Witnessing a dear friend of ours become LITERALLY an instant Mom with ZERO time to prepare and how God has made EVERYTHING unfold-----priceless.  Faith restored!  It's unfathomable to wonder why we still tend to doubt God because He constantly proves His power!
  • Celebrated the upcoming arrival of another precious child that will also change the world.  We get more excited to see her every single day.  Watching the wonder and joy that radiates from her mommy's face as she waits has just touched me profoundly.  Knowing that her parents are entrusting her to us as her childcare provider is humbling and amazing.  God is changing me and molding me through this amazing gift. 
  • God also has been speaking to me about giving up another craving in some capacity.  Facebook.  Addict.  That's me.  It has been the most amazing gift of restoring priceless friendships, served as a ministry at many times, and has connected me to other Christian women and mothers in a great accountability mode.  It's kept our families connected to our children (at least to those who value that connection) and allowed us to connect to extended families.  I've grown incredibly close to family members that I would have never really known.  It's beyond amazing to have that connection.  Life has changed for the better.  On the flip side, it's caused great distress.  Constantly being connected, constantly being bombarded with friends that are turning their backs on God or living their lives with total disregard to His commands.  With my heart being so tender for children it has just become overwhelming with heartbreak and concern.  "That" personality trait is beneficial at times, but others it just breaks me too much.  So, to take our technology "curfew" to another level I have deleted almost 200 friends to simplify and "calm".  Though I know each and every one of them and they all have been part of my life, I needed to step back awhile.  In the past, my facebook page was open ANY time the computer was turned on.  Though I may have been working on something else, it was still open with it's automatic updates.  Now, I don't leave it open.  I am only "on" when I specifically sit down for that purpose.  It's working as a good compromise.  I'm still able to maintain my vital connections, but yet in a much more appropriate manner.  If God says "give up" more, then I will be willing to do so....but for now, I think we are both pleased and moving in the right direction.
  • 607 (our mid-week program at church) has come to an end for the semester.  We wrapped up the semester with a store night where the kids were able to spend their "bucks" earned from attendance and memory work.  I was so proud of them!  Our last night was spent with 3B---bikes, blades, and boards.  The parking lot became a madhouse of kids zooming & zipping all around us.  Between their joy and the popsicles dripping down their faces, it was such a fun night.  We will miss our kids over the summer (especially since we've spent 2 years with the same kids)----but come September we will be fired back up to spend time with them again!
  • PMO (Parent's Morning Out) also wrapped up this week and will start back again in September.  I treasure those 2.5 hours 3 times a month.  Spending that ME time was very awkward at first, but eventually it became a life line that made me a better mom.  It's a priceless treasure that I'm most grateful for.  No cost involved----volunteer hours "pay" for it.  Not only did I love MY time, I also LOVED my volunteer time.  Nothing EVER soothes my heart as much as holding and rocking a baby.  I definitely passed on that baby love to Adriana----Miss Baby Whisperer!  It has also been a great year for spiritual growth in our children.  It went FAR beyond babysitting services.  Bradlee gained so much Biblical knowledge this year that I was practically left speechless at times!
  • Made a made dash to the ER with a neighbor.  She showed up at our door not wanting to be alone because she wasn't feeling well.  Over the course of a few minutes, she wasn't herself in the least and was having pain in her left arm and shoulder.  Took off to take her to her doctor close-by and enroute they sent me to the ER. Bradlee and I spent the morning doing school work in the ER waiting room while the big kids did their's at home. Fortunately, God was with her and everything worked out for her. My heart aches for her because she is "alone" and God used that time to make me remember what it feels like to be alone and need help. On a side note, I now KNOW the fastest route to both hospitals should I ever need to make that trip again!!!!! We've lived here for almost 4 years and we've only made that trip once!
  • Kevin and I were blessed to attend a remarkable marriage seminar last night with Kirk Cameron (Mike from Growing Pains, Fireproof).  It was amazing!  I'm still soaking in so much we heard and I'm certain more blog posts will follow because what God said through Him was fantastic.  Kev & I have always wanted to spend time on these type events but money, time, child-care, responsibilities just never allowed it.  We are thankful that it ALL fell into place and allowed us this time together.  Our marriage has entered a stage that leaves us speechless.  We are more in love, more connected, and more on track than we have ever been.  Events like last night are icing on the cake.  They are giving us the tools that will help us take it to an even greater level.  We are beginning to see what a gift God has given us with a marriage centered in Him.  The treasure of beginning to walk deeper together along His plan is priceless.  We've seen the dark, broken days and are amazed of the beauty that comes from moving beyond surviving to thriving and growing together.  We have LISTS of issues to work through EVERY day, but knowing that progress is being made-----well, nothing else compares.  We are still waiting on Him to reveal His bigger plan and we do get side-tracked often, but to finally be feeling like it is in reach is extraordinary.  Our hearts are finally connecting and our ears are finally open enough to be faintly beginning to hear God speak to us.  Events like last night give us the tools and motivation to help make His voice stronger and louder.  Loud enough to be heard over the chaos that life can bring.  Thankful and humbled to be on this journey with someone that is greater than my best friend.  I also love the simple fact that we are laughing EVERY day together.  Two things tend to show me the "health" of our marriage----the laughter and the depth of the prayers together.  Sex/intimacy are important and can show "health" as well----but the real "thermometer" is the level of which we are enjoying being together JOYFULLY and the openness of prayers. 
So, there you have it....a few highlights of the last two weeks.  Every day has been about loving the ordinary and working towards the extraordinary.  I'm thankful for the constant reminders to soak it all in.  (Thanks Gretchen for that reminder of extraordinary ordinary every time I pull up your blog!!)  We are getting closer to God unleashing that BIG PLAN for us that we've felt him preparing us for.  We are spending our days living more on purpose and allowing our hearts to be shaped and molded more and more.  Our failures are great and seem to actually be greater every day as He continues to reveal what He is wanting for us, but as long as we are fighting for what matters.....IT WILL COME!


Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

You don't know how badly I needed to read that. I am thrilled beyond belief for you how God is working in so many areas of your life. You don't know what an encouragement you are to me. I miss you on FB. I miss all your posts and encouragement but I love reading your blog. I may do what you did on FB someday but for now I am still Facebook fasting. I was also excited to read about your sewing projects. If anything like that comes up again I would love to be involved. I love to sew and especially for a good cause.

Tracye said...

I miss you, too, Gretchen! We will definitely have to get together over the summer!