You’re Not Trapped

My seventh grader’s school year ended about a month earlier than intended. It did not end well. In fact, it didn’t turn out like I thought it would at all.

I’ve been trying to home school my sons for a few years. Last fall it became very apparent that my youngest son did not want to be home schooled anymore and I was really OK with that. We made a few phone calls and enrolled him in a local Christian school. It wasn’t easy for me to admit defeat (again), but it was what he needed. It was what I needed. And I really thought it was going to fix everything.

But it didn’t.

Before my boys were school aged I had made a decision to home school them. I knew several other mothers who were doing it and looked like it was a really good thing for their family. I needed to do something good for my family. You see, I was falling apart and not mothering well. My solution at that time was to just do what the good moms were doing and everything would be OK. I tried teaching my kindergartner for about six weeks before realizing something was very wrong. He had a learning disability that I couldn’t recognize. Instead, I assumed it was because I wasn’t doing it right which made my depression even worse. I didn’t know how to get out of the mess I had made.

I didn’t know how to ask for help. Asking for help would alert everyone that I did NOT have a clue how to teach my child. Asking for help would expose me for the mothering mess that I was. I felt trapped. Months went by while I spiraled deeper into depression because I couldn’t fix it.

So now my boys are older, and by the grace of God, I’m not quite the mess I used to be. We have options. We’ve learned some tough lessons along the way.

But it’s still hard to ask for help.

I recently sat down with our home school coordinator and told her how things were going. I told her how my plan to fix everything had failed. I told her that the future plan is to home school both boys unless God provides another solution. The rapture sounds pretty good. I explained how I really just want to facilitate their education. I’m willing to write checks for tutoring or whatever it takes. And then I said the words I’ve been afraid to say to her for 8 years. I don’t like teaching. I don’t. There, I said it.

I waited for her to fall off of her chair or for some denim jumper wearing home schooling mom flash mob to drag me to the dungeon.  It never happened. Instead, she encouraged me by telling me she has friends who feel the same way. Never once did she look at me and say, “You’re right. You can’t do this. You are a failure and I’m calling the school district right now.”

We spent the next hour or so talking about some creative ways to educate teenaged boys while fleshing out the doubt and fear in my heart. It was incredibly helpful.

Now, I wish I had something fantastic to write here about how I woke up this morning with a burning desire to teach my kids and feed their minds with Latin and Shakespeare. That’s not my reality. I will tell you that I don’t feel quite as desperate this morning. It feels good to have admitted that I’m not a hard core educator like it appears most of the other moms in our group are. For the past 5 years I have gone to every single meeting wishing I could wear a t-shirt that says “I Love My Kids Most When They Are At School”. When educational ideas for co-ops were passed around and my turn to volunteer for something (anything) would arrive, I would ask if there were going to be any parties. I kid you not.

And yet, for reasons I do not understand, this is something that God has not released me from. So I need to hang on to that if He has called me to do this, that He alone will equip me to do it. With help. And that the way we educate doesn’t need to look anything like the way other people do it. We’re not trapped. We’re free. Do you know that?

You’re not trapped. You’re free.

I’d like to pray for us:

Heavenly Father, You know our every weakness and still, You call us to do things that are beyond our skill set not to make us look foolish or weak, but so that You can show your power and might. Kill the pride that keeps us from asking for help. You have not set a trap for us, but have set us free to live for You and to trust You with every area of our lives. Strengthen our hands to do the work that You have called us to do. Renew our minds so that we don’t have to spiral downward into depression because we think there’s no way out. I thank you for the encouragement I received yesterday and ask that You spread it beyond this page to every person who needs it. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

 

The Holes in My Coffee Cup

There are days when my cup runneth over and then there are days that no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to fill it with anything that lasts.

Last year I felt strongly prompted by the Holy Spirit to stop drinking coffee. When I say strong, I mean the kind of “STOP IT NOW!” where you know it’s not time to mess around. That very day I pulled out my hard earned Starbucks gold card and mailed it to my sister out in California. She was going to nursing school and desperately needed all the caffeine she could get. I should also mention that this happened about a week after my 40th birthday. Everyone knew Starbucks was the love of my life and had blessed me with gift cards. I was rich in Starbucks money. My card was truly gold. And it had to go. It was my way of drawing a line in the sand that day and saying, “Ok, God. I will do what you say.”

The days that followed were truly miraculous. If you’ve ever tried to kick a caffeine habit, you know the familiar headaches that come with withdrawal. I never had a single headache. God’s grace was all over this and even though I was exhausted, I knew He was carrying me. He showed me how I had been using coffee (espresso and lots of it) to prop me up and how it was actually hurting my body more than I really knew. I stopped eating dairy shortly after because if I couldn’t have half n half anymore…seriously, why bother? Ok, so I also had some food allergy testing and the dairy was amongst a long list of things that I needed to avoid. After a couple months I began to notice that I wasn’t having the sinus problems that had made my face hurt no matter how many rounds of antibiotics I’d taken. And I had taken a lot.

Fast forward to this year. I recently celebrated my 41st birthday with a trip out to California. While I was there I decided it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to have coffee. I actually prayed about it and didn’t hear a resounding NO…so I indulged knowing that it wasn’t going to become a habit. Good grief, it was my birthday! I was on vacation. There was a time difference. I wanted to enjoy my family with my eyes open. You get the idea. I had plenty of excuses and they were all really good. So was the coffee.

My husband drinks coffee in the morning. In fact, I bought him a Keurig for Valentine’s Day this year. He had been trying to stay off the coffee with me, but it wasn’t his line in the sand to draw. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean God asks both of us to do the same thing. Thank God, because when I left for California my man was a couch potato. While I was out there, he decided to take up running. I came home to a runner. God did not ask me to join him on his run. I cannot thank Him enough.

For the past few months I’ve been taking a sip or two of my man’s coffee in the morning. Not a big deal. It’s not like I drank a full cup. Ok, there were a few days that I made myself a cup…but not every day. It really wasn’t a big deal.

Until it was a big deal. Like about a week and a half ago when my lungs started bothering me again and the old asthma like stuff that isn’t really asthma hit me hard. I thought that was over…I thought God had taken it away, dare I say healed me. For good. What the heck?

While I was in California I watched my mother filling a large bowl of water for their dogs on the front porch multiple times a day. It was a big bowl and she was frustrated because it felt like all she did was fill that dang bowl. How thirsty could two dogs be when it wasn’t even hot outside? Finally, I asked my mom if she had checked for holes in the bowl. She assured me it couldn’t have any holes because it was made out of metal. She had learned her lesson with a big plastic water dish when the grandpuppy chewed it to pieces. But even as we talked I could see a wet area spreading out from beneath the metal bowl. My dad picked up the bowl and examined it a little closer. Sure enough, there was a small hole where the metal had rusted. My mom threw away the damaged bowl and replaced it with a large pot from her cookware cabinet. She wasn’t messing around.

It’s time for me to stop messing around. Time to stop flirting with something that I know I was told to “STOP IT NOW!” Again.

I’ll be honest, it’s been a rough week. I have a lot of questions…like why is it OK for everyone else to drink coffee, but not me? Why can’t I eat/drink the things I really enjoy without all of hell breaking loose? And even as I ask the question the thought occurs that maybe what I eat/drink is the crack in my self-made armor that makes me an easy target for my enemy. After all, I’m not fighting against flesh and blood, but against a darkness that is bent on destroying me. The truth is that I never just want a cup. I want one every single day. I want it throughout the day. If I could have an IV bag with coffee put in my arm, I would do it in a heartbeat. I can’t get enough.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued… Ephesians 6:4 The Message

What I put in my body has the ability to build me up or tear me down. This is true for everyone. But for me, staying away from gluten, dairy, and coffee is a a weapon God has given to me to protect me and to set me free.

Christ has set me free to live a free life. So I’m taking my stand! Again. I declare that I will never again allow myself to make myself a slave to ANYTHING. Galations 5:1  The Message (paraphrase mine)

Time to stop messing around and plug the leaks so that we (God and me) can just get on with it already.

Can you relate? I welcome your comments and insights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m A Slacker Mom

There’s a saying that goes something like this:

“God couldn’t be everywhere, so He created mothers.”

Well, it’s a lie. I know this because no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to be everywhere my family needs me to be.

For instance, yesterday my SUV had an appointment at the dealership to have some recall repair work done. The dealership is about 40 minutes from home. No problem. I would drive down to the shop with my almost 13 year old son and bribe him with Barnes and Noble purchases while my 15 year old went to work at his new job. Never mind that about a month ago we had signed up for some homeschool field trip and failed to let them know our plans had changed. (My brain has been on summer break for almost a month now and it shows.) I had it figured out.

Until I got a text from my 15 year old at 8am. He wasn’t needed at work. He didn’t check his phone before being dropped off at work to see the text sent to him at 7am saying just that. No big deal, right? Right. I picked him up and brought him back home. On the way home he mentioned that he’d still like to attend that homeschool field trip because his friends would be there and they really really really wanted him to go. I told him he’d have to text his friends and ask if their mom would be willing to give him a ride. She was willing. This meant that both boys would stay at home and I would take the car down by myself and not spend as much money in Barnes and Noble. Plan B was going to be OK.

The friendly courtesy shuttle driver dropped me of outside of Barnes and Noble and I proceeded to enter a mall that I hadn’t been to in a very long time. I sat down at a small table with the intent to work on the checkbook. Across from where I sat was the indoor playground area that used to be my sanctuary not so many years ago when my boys were little. No longer was I sitting on the inside watching my own children play while I talked with a girlfriend, I was outside looking in…alone. Cue the sappy music.

The next text I got from home was one saying that both boys wanted to go on the homeschool field trip. Of course it was OK that they wanted to go, but suddenly I was not OK.

Suddenly I felt like a slacker mom. Again. I was sitting in the mall working on my checkbook while my kids were 40 miles away relying on another mom. For some reason, it hurt more than it should. There wasn’t anything I could do about it. I didn’t even have my car to drive home.

So I cried. Yep. Right there in the mall, I had a good old fashioned three Kleenex pity party. I hoped one of the moms in the play area wouldn’t notice a middle aged blubbering mess and alert security. So what if the security guard circled the area where I was having my meltdown a couple of times? I’m sure it was perfectly normal.

Right in the middle of my second Kleenex, I got a text from my mom and decided to call her back even though I knew I couldn’t really talk yet. But if you can’t blubber on the phone in your mama’s ear, who can you blubber to? I mean, really? She listened. She countered the nasty messages I was believing with love and truth. Except that she told me that coffee didn’t taste good, and I know that’s a flat out lie, but she was trying to be helpful, so I gave her a pass. She never has been a very good liar. Before we said our goodbyes, my mom prayed for me. She wielded her shield of faith on my behalf all the way from California and made it OK for me to do the same right there in the mall.

This morning I’ve been reading some scripture out of Romans about offering our bodies as living sacrifices. These are verses that are very familiar to me, but this morning one particular phrase in The Message translation jumped out at me like never before. It’s one of those times that I question if it really was there before, even though I know it’s always been there.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you; Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Romans 12:1 The Message

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

This is the phrase that He wrote for me this morning. Yesterday God took control of my out of control morning and I need to embrace it. Embracing what God does for me is an act of worship. Yesterday I couldn’t be everywhere at once. Today I can’t be everywhere at once. Only God can be everywhere at once and I will choose to embrace what HE does for me and my family. May it be a holy and pleasing sacrifice and bring glory to His Name.

Does it bug you that you can’t be everywhere at once? There’s an app for that. 🙂 Embrace what God does for you today. He really likes it and He really loves you.

I welcome your comments and insight. Thanks for stopping by.

Lilacs and High School Graduations

Spring is a teenage drama queen.

It was only two weeks ago that I drove through a snowstorm. Two days ago it was in the low 90’s. It’s the kind of thing that drives me crazy because I was raised on the West Coast where temperatures are slightly more predictable.

I like predictable. However, I’ve also fallen head over heels with simple things like green leaves on trees…any trees, fruit tree blossoms, and Lilacs. I. Love. Lilacs. Over the years I’ve expressed the desire to have lilacs in my yard, but my husband doesn’t think they’re worth the effort. After all, they only bloom for a few weeks and then they just look like a bush.

lilac bush

But while they bloom…wow. The color. The fragrance. There’s nothing quite like it. Yankee Candle doesn’t even come close. For me, lilacs are the opening act after a long, hard winter…they are the first song that grabs my attention inviting me to a symphony of peonies, roses, pansies, petunias, and so much more.

Yesterday I shuffled through the pile of mail on the kitchen island and found two envelopes from the same address. One was an invitation to honor a family’s high school graduate. The other was an invitation to say goodbye to their daughter who is moving to California. I couldn’t believe how quickly this little boy had become a young man. My heart ached for the loss of this beautiful woman who has touched my life so deeply. And then my heart grieved for the mother, my friend, who is in the eye of the most unpredictable season she’s ever known. This ache reminded me that I needed to continue to pray for my friend.

So today I want to extend this prayer that I’ve been praying for my friend to you:

Father God, thank You for the blessing and the often painful privilege of mothering children. They have captured our affection in a way that even the most beautiful flowers have not been able to even come close. For every reader who finds themselves in the eye of this unpredictable season of change, I ask that You would remind them of Your great faithfulness. You alone have sustained them all along this long, hard journey and you alone will continue to sustain them. You’ve been there during the sleepless nights. You’ve caught every tear that has been shed. You see what WILL BE when it feels like everyone is stumbling in the dark. Your great mercy shines the Light that will lead the way one step at a time for these children and their mothers. In the beautiful name of Jesus, Amen.

I’m watching you, brave mothers, and I what I see is stunning. They are worth the effort. Thank you.

 

I’m Not a Good Mom

I’m not a good mom.

I’m not a bad mom, but I’m never good enough when I compare myself to really good moms. Like the ones who are constantly gushing about their children on Facebook or Twitter. I sometimes wonder if I would have slit my wrists if those things had been around when my boys were little. None of my Facebook friends’ statuses ever say “Losing my mind. Thinking about hiring a baby sitter and never coming back.” Oh, I’m guessing a few of them have thought it, but that’s not what they broadcast to the virtual world (for good reason).

You see, this mom has never measured up to what a good mom is supposed to be.

I’ve never been one of those moms who misses her children terribly while they’re at school. I love school. We home school now…and I don’t love it. Every year I hope that this will be the year that I fall in love with educating my children so I can be like the really good moms. So far, no. Maybe next year.

And what kind of mom doesn’t miss her kids when she’s gone for a weekend, or feel like breast feeding was the closest thing to heaven ever experienced? When I see young moms packing around their babies in those sling things, I cringe. That would have driven me crazy…er. Thank God it was OK to plop them in the stroller. While I’m at it, thank God for the five point harness and THANK GOD for baby food from a jar because I was too lazy to make my own!

What’s wrong with me?

This is the question I’ve been asking God for years.

His answer? “Nothing. Let’s talk about what’s right with you.”

I’ve been prompted to make a list that looks something like this:

*I love my sons fiercely. Nobody messes with them without meeting the Mama Bear. Just ask them.

*I pray like crazy for my kids. I know God has BIG plans for their lives and I want them to LOVE HIM more than anything in this world.

*If…no, when the devil messes with my kids, he messes with me. I fight back. My God is a warrior God. I am his daughter, therefore I am a warrior princess and I battle accordingly. Spiritual warfare is real and my children know it.

*I am head over heels in love with my sons’ daddy and they don’t have to wonder whether true love exists or not.

*Nobody plans and executes a better birthday party than me. Nobody.

*I think my sons are hilarious. They make me laugh daily…which helps when they make me want to cry. Mothering is HARD.

*My cooking isn’t half bad. Nobody’s going hungry.

For now, that’s what I’ve got. It’s not perfect, but maybe it’s good enough. Maybe good enough is good enough.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. My husband and my sons will go out of their way to honor me and make me feel special. They’ll take me to lunch and give me cards that will make me cry. I’ll read the messages of what a great mom they think I am and I’ll feel the familiar sick feeling in my stomach that believes differently.

Or I can choose to humble myself and receive the grace that God so generously offers. I can resist the negative messages that tell me I’ll never be good enough, ask forgiveness for believing the lies that I could be good without God to begin with, and drop to my knees in surrender to the Only One who will make anything good come from this mother. (James 4:7-10)

Maybe you’re reading this and can relate to not feeling like a good mom. I want to challenge you today, right where you’re at to begin to ask God to show you what you’re doing right. Grab a piece of paper, your smart phone, whatever…and make a list. He wants to speak truth and life over you today. Then take your list and thank Him for giving you the grace to allow Him to fill in your mothering gaps. He is more than able to do that and a whole lot more. The greatest thing we will ever do for our children is to trust God.

Let me say that again.

The greatest thing we will ever do for our children is to trust God.

It would be an honor to pray for you today.

Gracious God, I thank You for the mother who is reading this post today. I thank You that YOU are more than enough for everything she lacks. Strengthen her. Speak tenderly to her. Give her space. Grant her the rest that her body and mind so desperately need. May this Mother’s Day be different because she chose to humble herself and allow You to raise her up. Increase her faith so that she may trust You more than she has ever dared before. In the beautiful name of Jesus…Amen.

Feel free to leave a comment. If you share something you don’t want me to publish, just say so. I will always respect your privacy.

Happy Mother’s Day.

My Uterus Betrayed Me and it’s National Peanut Butter & Jelly day

Did you know that today is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day?

I read it on Facebook about 10 minutes ago. Just to be sure, I did a quick fact check on the internet and IT’S TRUE! So, of course, I had to jump on here and blog about something…ANYTHING. A blog with a name synonymous with a national celebration needs to act accordingly. It’s my duty as a blogger.

Lest you think I’m hopping on here with wisdom and deep insight that will change your life, think again. Nope. It’s SO not gonna happen today.

My seventh grader is on a field trip today with his class to hear the city symphony perform. Last night at dinner…you know, the meal that’s supposed to invite the kind of conversation that brings a family closer together…he complained about having to go hear music ‘without words’ and how boring it was going to be. It was my duty and privilege to provide examples of lyric free music that he likes in every single movie he’s watched since I plopped his chubby cheeks in front of the babysitter, I mean, television. Movies like Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, and on and on the list went. “Would Darth Vader be Darth Vader without The Imperial March?” OF COURSE HE WOULDN’T!!!!! My litigator would not buy it. He was determined to be bored and couldn’t imagine why a music teacher would waste his time with such dribble.

I love music. It’s part of what has kept me alive for nearly 41 years on this planet. It’s a reason I exist. Breathing is made easier because of music. I love it. It’s darn near impossible for me to find music to hate. I said darn near. I’m not into the angry screaming stuff…because it makes me angry and want to scream and Lord knows I don’t need any incentive to do what already comes naturally. Anyway. I LOVE MUSIC. You get the picture.

As I listened to my child argue with my examples, I started to flash (you know, like on that nerd show ‘Chuck’) on a few conversations I’d had with this child’s father that were eerily similar. I turned around and looked at the father of my children just about the time he said, “You know, I kind of feel the same way…” That’s when I put down my fajita and blurted out

“MY UTERUS BETRAYED ME!!!!!!!!”

How in the world? Nine…almost ten months in MY body, not his father’s. No. How in the world? By my account, this kid should have come out singing and demanding piano lessons! Did not happen. In fact, getting him to participate in music is sort of like giving birth all over again…and he was born C-section. It’s painful.

Don’t get me wrong, I know my kid was created by God to be unique and wonderful and blah blah blah. Would it be too much to ask that some of my passion would have worked its way through the umbilical cord into his soul? I do not know FOR THE LIFE OF ME how my kid wound up with his father’s ability to understand all things math and science related. NINE MONTHS, PEOPLE!

I can’t wait to hear how his field trip went. The last words I said to him before dropping him at school were, “Try not to hate the field trip. I love you.”

So that’s what’s going on with me. How about you?

Feel free to leave me a comment about how your uterus betrayed you…or how you’re celebrating National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Either way, we’ll bond.

Thanks for stopping by.

You Are More Than Lucky to be Here

Inspired by the ‘Bible’ miniseries, I decided to start reading the book of Exodus again. By the end of chapter one I was bawling over the kind of evil that would order newborn baby boys to be drowned in the Nile and how one courageous mother dared to believe God could save her son.

Moses’ mother hid him for three months (hello…I had trouble keeping mine quiet for three hours) but then couldn’t keep him hidden any longer. If you’ve been around a three month old, you know how adorable they are and how they loooooove to hear themselves ‘talk’. She then placed her baby boy in a waterproof basket in the river and waited for God to rescue him. (Exodus 1-2)

baby moses

 

 

 

 

 

Years later God would speak to Moses in a burning bush. Moses would doubt that his life was worth anything at all because of the mistakes he had made. He would argue with God over whether he was the right one to do the job God was calling him to do. (Exodus 3)

While reading these chapters I find myself wanting to shout, “Hey Moses! You were the only baby boy saved from infanticide! Your mother put you in a basket in the Nile river with crocodiles and you ‘just happened’ to be found by the Pharoah’s daughter??? You were raised a prince and nursed by your own mother! Are you kidding me? God saved you for something really special!!!!”

About the time I’m wiping my snot and tears over this story I am hit with the realization that we are all more than just lucky to be here.

Good and evil exist. And not just in really good books. In our every day lives. Deep down you know this is true. Think about your story. You know how hard it has been…how hard it is.

Take a good look at your child. As a parent it’s impossible not to think about the potential danger waiting for them on any given day. Don’t talk to strangers. Wear your helmet. Don’t go places alone. Don’t text and drive. The list goes on and on. We know that every night that we get to kiss their face and tell them we love them one more time is a gift. Their lives are worth protecting and as parents we’ll do whatever it takes.

Why is it easy to believe that God has saved our children for something really special and so hard to believe it’s true about ourselves?

God has saved YOU and ME for something really special. The very fact that life is downright brutal at times should be a clue that something is up. This life matters.

It’s easy to read someone’s story and be distracted by what God did for them and get stuck in the trap of comparison. It happens to me a lot. For just one day, let’s do ourselves a favor. Don’t fall for it. The truth is that the lives we’ve been called to live and the adventures we’ve been chosen to take are as unique as we are.

What would happen if we just pictured ourselves as that little baby in the waterproof basket…danger all around. What if we dared to believe that God isn’t just watching but is actively involved in making sure that we’re exactly where we need to be? He’s never taken His eyes off of us for one single second.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV

Perhaps, like Moses, you’ve been arguing with God about whether or not you’re the right person for the job. You were saved for something really special. Please, for the rest of us, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

If you’d like to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

I’m Learning A Lot From Pooh

Once upon a time there was a bear with very little brain named Winnie the Pooh who wandered over to Rabbit’s house for something sweet. Rabbit reluctantly invited Pooh to stay for lunch. After Pooh had eaten all of Rabbit’s honey, he decided it was time to go.

He tried to leave the way he came, but he could not. He remained stuck–a wedged bear in a great tightness. In a word, irremovable.

No matter how hard Pooh’s friends pulled and tugged they could not free him. There was only one thing to do. Wait for him to get thin again.

stuck

I’ve been waiting to write on this blog hoping that I would be un-stuck from the last post. Each evening I go to bed believing that tomorrow will be different only to wake up in the same place. For me, that place is very tired. Most days it’s tired with a heavy dose of brain fog and often a side of muscle pain. Words like ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ and ‘fibromyalgia’ are used to explain this rabbit’s door.

I don’t like feeling stuck. In fact, I’ve always thought that it would have been better if Christopher Robin had pushed Pooh back into Rabbit’s house where he could at least be comfortable. That would have merciful, but nooooo, Rabbit wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Instead, he left Pooh stuck in the hole so that everyone could see his shame. Remember how he turned Pooh’s south side into a moose?

Rabbit knew that if Pooh were made comfortable he would never do what he needed to get un-stuck. For Pooh, that meant losing a few pounds.

For me, it means rest and more supplements than I care to discuss.

Turns out that I’m not very good at rest…which is probably what got me into this mess in the first place.  While the majority of people in January are resolving to be more active,  I am in the process of learning to rest. I DON’T LIKE IT ONE SINGLE BIT. Like Pooh, I feel like everyone can see my shame.

In order for Pooh to get un-stuck he needed to stay away from the sticky stuff, but he couldn’t do it alone. He needed Christopher Robin to cheer him on and give him hope. He needed Kanga to nurture him. He needed Eeyore because he didn’t have all the answers. He needed Piglet to reassure him that he’d be there for him no matter what. He needed Owl to be wise and he desperately needed Rabbit’s tough love to make him stick to the plan.

I’m learning a lot from Pooh. I need God, my husband, my family, my doctor, my dear friends, and I need you.

Thanks for sticking around with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Can Anything Grow in This Hard Season?

Hello.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the blog because I’ve been in Fantasyland. Literally. Sadly, the Disney vacation is over and it’s time to dig back into reality.

Sometimes you don’t know just how much you need a break because your crazy normal is all you know.

It was soooo nice to escape the every day stuff here at home.  You know–laundry, home-cooked meals, homework, jobs, bills, dogs, sports, etc… I was in way over my head with all of the things that make for a full life, maybe a little too full, and needed a break.

Perhaps you can relate to being so stressed out by getting ready for your vacation that when you finally do get in the car to leave town you have a mini-nervous breakdown?

As hard as I might try to put on my brave face, I cannot deny that this has been a HARD season. It’s like being pregnant without having a due date. I anticipate and dream and get fat and uncomfortable never knowing when it will be over. When will I have something to show for all of this? It’s a question that remains unanswered.

While we were on our vacation I had an unexpected encounter with the Lord at of all places–a wine tasting event. I know drinking alcohol of any kind is often controversial amongst Jesus-loving people, so please hear my heart instead of being tempted to judge. My brother and his wife have visited several wineries in the Napa Valley and were kind enough to make reservations for the four us at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.

I know very little about wine other than whether I think it tastes good or not. When wine connoisseurs use words like round, buttery, oak, balanced, vibrant…my eyes tend to glaze over. What made this event bearable is that the winery representative used some of those words along with words that someone inexperienced like me could understand.

This particular brand of wine is called Las Rocas and comes from Spain.

It was when our host began to talk about where the grapes are grown that she really caught my attention. She showed us pictures of a landscape that looked more like an Arizona desert than a Spanish vineyard. Then she began to talk about the extreme climate where the grapes are grown. Hot summers and very cold winters.  She showed us close-up photographs of the soil. These vines are surrounded by slate and red dirt. NOTHING SHOULD GROW IN THOSE CONDITIONS. Except maybe cactus. But I don’t think cactus even grows there.

She went on to explain why the grapes flourish in their extreme environment:

Rocky, nutrient-poor soils are the key to Calatayud’s phenomenal terroir. As the vines struggle to survive, they concentrate their energy into fewer berry clusters, yielding Garnacha grapes with rich, robust flavors. The porous rocks retain rainwater and heat, delivering enough water to the vines, while protecting them from harsh winter conditions. The rocks here give Las Rocas Garnacha its signature spiciness and minerality.“– excerpt taken from lasrocaswine.com

Just when I thought my brain would shut down due to information overload and a vacation science lesson, the Holy Spirit began to stir in me. He whispered:

I know you don’t see how anything good can come from the conditions you find yourself in right now.

You see rocks everywhere and feel exposed to every wind that blows your way, threatening to knock you over and take everything away from you.

You feel alone.

You long for deeper things than you dare to even admit.

You don’t know how you’re going to make it.

But I can grow something rich and beautiful in you because of these conditions. You need Me more than ever. Your roots are growing deeper and deeper because the deeper soil is full of the nutrients you need to thrive. You cannot produce anything good without Me. Trust Me to make something beautiful out of this. TRUST ME.

Friend, I have wrestled with writing this post for days. I thought that maybe it would go away and I could just journal about it and keep it for myself and a few of my closest friends. It’s safer that way.

But that’s not why I write.

Today I pray that whatever you needed to read from this post will encourage you. The One who turns water into wine is able to do far more than we’ve ever dared to ask. He is making something beautiful out of your HARD place right now. It’s difficult to see, but rest assured…it will be stunning because it will be HIM.

To HIM be the glory for ever and ever.

Holding on to the Promises part 1

When I got married I thought traditional vows were so over-used and held no real meaning anymore so I wanted something a little more original.  After doing some digging, I found some that were beautiful…they said things like, “I promise to love you as an act of my will…and will respect you as the leader of our home, I promise to never belittle you.” My groom promised to lead family devotions. Seriously.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and man have they been hard to live up to! I remember Matthew’s dad telling him, “You sure promised her a lot.” Yes he did.

Hebrews 11 says

Now FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…Hebrews 11

Couples have no idea what the future holds and yet they make promises. GREAT BIG FAT PROMISES in front of a church full of people and document the whole thing with pictures. We have no idea.

A few months ago the Holy Spirit began to whisper “Just hold on” in my spirit. “Just hold on to what?” is what I kept asking. I’ll admit, I’ve been assuming something bad is going to happen. Perhaps it’s the Eeyore in me who’s lost her tail one too many times that has a hard time believing that something wonderful could be on the horizon.

At the time I was feeling discouraged because the plans I thought God and I had made together were not exactly working out like I planned. I know I’ve heard the Lord very specifically about certain things and I was tired of waiting for the grand finale.  I mean, good grief…I was about to turn 40 and I really thought we’d have some things settled by then. Then I began to experience some health issues I thought were long gone.  Again. I also know some people who have been living lives of great faith and I felt frustrated for them because they weren’t seeing a breakthrough in their circumstances either.

When your issue or a loved one’s issue doesn’t wrap itself up nice and neat with a bow on top in a reasonable amount of time…what do you do? What have you done?

Today I want you to think back to when your faith was new…or revived. Do you remember? Do you remember how you were willing to follow Him anywhere and do whatever he asked you to do?  How about that time he healed something you never thought could be healed? Remember how he restored that relationship you thought couldn’t be salvaged? Or provided for your needs beyond any reasonable explanation? Do you remember?

It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 The Message

Do you believe that he cares enough about you to JUST HOLD ON?

Heavenly Father, I don’t know what kind of situation my friend is in today, but I do know without any doubts whatsoever that you want them to trust you and HOLD ON. You know the future. We don’t. We have a past that constantly berates us with our mistakes. We have an enemy who lies to us and tells us that You won’t hold on to us and that we have to make everything happen on our own. Forgive us for believing the lies. We receive precious grace and mercy today to do what is beyond normal for us. Thank You for loving us beyond what we’ve dared to imagine. Open our eyes to the Truth today. In Jesus’ name.