The Mess of Miracles {And a little Avengers}

Have you ever waited for a miracle? I mean a real, God-supplied, supernatural, no-other-way kind of miracle?  I feel like my life is a series of miracles. All of them waited for, prayed for, hoped for, dreamed about, begged-G0d-for…I have seen many.

The Bible is full of miracles. But if you look closely at every miracle within the pages of God’s Word you will find that miracles rarely come packaged neat and tidy or without side-effects.  In fact, most of the Bible’s miracles have a story before and after that often get missed in the hype.

Take, for example, Eve.  All of the creation story is one miracle after another. God took nothingness and make birds and  fish, flowers and rain, gardens and rivers.  He made stars and light and darkness and lightning.  He created weather and oceans, horses and dragonflies.   I mean, it’s mind-numbing.  The creation story is millions of miracles multiplied.  It’s staggering.

And then there was Adam.  God created a likeness of Himself. A companion.  A caretaker of creation. The highest form of created beings. A communicator.  A lover. A soul-carrying tangible , immortal being.  Amazing. But then…Eve.  Miracle upon miracle to get to a woman.  ( there ought to be some sort of pause here taken for the sheer humor of it all~ even in the Beginning, woman has made an entrance).

So Eve, a miracle.  A created being. Helpmeet for man.  A lover, soul-mate, complimentarian to the only dude. Oh God…what were you thinking?? Just kidding. It’s miraculous. She was created with a uterus and therefore, obviously she was designed to bare children. But his miracle was not finite or simple. And ultimately, Eve succumbed to selfishness, fell out of favour with her Creator, was banished from the Garden , bore children, one of whom would kill the other…..oh dear. Eve.  A miracle….and a mess.

And then there’s Isaac.  One of my favorite all-time miracles.  Abraham and Sarah who waited till their 90s to see the fulfillment of God’s promise to them; a son.  They got impatient along the way. Sarah set up the maid, Hagar , with Abraham and thereby Ishmael was born.  Anyone read anything about the Middle East lately? The descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael have been duking it out for thousands of years.  But Isaac.  A miracle. How else do you explain a woman in her 90s who had never been pregnant before, giving birth? There is no explanation but God. But Isaac,  Jacob, Joshua….the descendants of Abraham struggled. They struggled to claim their land. The Promised Land. The Holy Land. God set it aside for them. He could have wiped everyone else off the planet and handed it to them. But instead. They wandered the desert for 40 years trying to make a trip that should have taken 2 weeks.  You gotta feel bad for them. I mean, how could they have been SO LOST??

David, a shepherd boy, killed Goliath with a rock.  A giant that an entire army could not defeat.  How?  A miracle. And David spent much of the rest of his life running, hiding, killing, committing adultery, sulking, floundering, and yet still finding favour with the Most High God.  A miracle.  But a mess.

The widowed woman who helped to feed Elijah. She had nothing. There was drought. No rain. No food. No hope.  And God, replenished her tiny bit of oil and tiny bit of flour each day. Just enough to feed her, her son and Elijah. For weeks. God could have provided chicken, cattle, a spring, gold coins.  He can do stuff like that. But He provided….enough. Just enough. And she never got rich.  She probably worried. She likely died poor and maybe even alone. A miracle. But a mess.

Why when we talk about miracles do we act like they’re going to come in like the Avengers, clean up the town and save the day?

Why do we assume that if God provides OUR miracle we’re going to be good to go, happy and carefree for the rest of our days?  Where do we get this from? It’s certainly not Biblical. It seems to me , that God, more often than not, provides JUST what is needed for the moment.  With not much fanfare or bonus material.  Our reliance on Him is key. And if we don’t need faith because we have all we *need*, or maybe if we’re just too greedy , or irresponsible….well, God knows.  And He provides healing, provision, shelter, children, companionship, friendship when He sees fit. In His way. In His timing. And maybe never. And that is the mess we must accept.

For a year, we have been trying to sell our house. I will not go into the boring details of what led us to be in this position. But suffice it to say , we’re WAY PAST needing a miracle.  I just want to move forward. A miracle a year ago would have looked like having a bidding war and getting more than we were asking.  6 months ago, a miracle would have been getting $30,000 less than asking.   A miracle 3 months ago looked like being moved before my son’s grad so that we could celebrate together, under one roof, without the stress of the unknown.  A miracle 6 weeks ago looked like being able to afford a house in Regina at all.  Well, none of those happened.

In fact, we came to a point of letting go of any and all expectations.  And maybe, that was the miracle that we needed all along. You see, we’re consumers. We’re spoiled.  We’re Westerners. We have come to see life through the lens of owning a house, living on a nice street, having nice things, going on vacations, wearing nice clothes and going to a nice church.  We’re nice people and how we look is more important than who we are or WHOSE we are.  And we have lost it all.  In the course of this year, we have lost the ability to have and control where we live. Painful. Sad. Lonely. Horrible, really.

So what does a miracle look like then?  A miracle is something that could not, would not , happen without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, God and Jesus intervening on our behalf. A miracle 6 months ago of our house selling and finding a new one wouldn’t be a miracle at all. It would be the market, doing what it does. It would be us pricing our house to sell and someone coming along and buying. Our miracle now, in financial ruin, in a dried up market, with no buyers and no ability to qualify for a new mortgage….well, the only miracle is the impossible.  And that’s exactly what we got.  There is no other way to describe it or explain it.  We have a house. We are moving at the beginning of August and it is completely surreal because of the fact that it shouldn’t be happening at all. If I told you that we did not rob a bank and we did not sell a child, would you believe me? It’s true. And there is no rhyme or reason for it. Except God.

But that’s not the whole story.  You see, selling our house did not factor into the buying of  a new house. But selling is still necessary. And that’s the messy part.  Getting under one roof and not having an extra mortgage payment is HUGE, but we still have bills to pay.  And we still have the weighty burdens of caring for one house while we’re far from the other. There will be costs. There are stresses and worries that sometimes cloud the fact that we got a miracle!

I wonder if the widow, or David, or Abraham , or Eve ever thought about the miracle behind them and the mess before them?  As wonderful as the miracles are, there’s more to the story. It doesn’t make me not want the miracles. But it makes me rely that much more on the Miracle Giver. If I didn’t have Jesus, it wouldn’t matter.  We said from the beginning, whatever happened we only wanted God to get the Glory. I can’t explain to you why we are getting a house that is half a block from our kids’ school, that is owned by a Christian couple, that has all the rooms we need  and no repairs needed.  I can’t tell you how we qualified, except that God is the GREAT Qualifier of all things good. He sees, He hears, He knows, He responds.  Sure, I’d love a clean slate, no outstanding debts, no bills to pay, no creditors on my tail. Sure, it would be nice if this would have happened a long, LONG time ago.  Yes, I’m sad at what we’ve missed this year as a family. NO, I wouldn’t recommend this kind of separation to any married couple. But you know what?  The miracle AND the mess that come with it are God’s way of teaching us reliance on Him.  And regardless of what miracles we get, don’t get, wish for, never see….HE WILL AVENGE OUR TROUBLE.  (it just might not be the way we think)  After all…the Avengers have been known to make a mess. ;)

John 16:33  (Jesus said,) In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Turning Points{Growing Deep Roots}

32 years ago today my life changed abruptly. I didn’t totally understand what was going on and for a moment I was caught up in the hype.  The only home I had known was a flurry of activity and most of our worldly possessions were either packed into boxes or being auctioned off.  It was a bit of a blustery day, much like today.  I only have two vivid memories from that day.

1.  Helping our neighbour ladies serve homemade pie slices to concession customers through our dining room window.

2. Watching a little girl walk away with MY tin doll house(I sure wish I had that now. It was the coolest thing and so vintage).

We were moving.  We slept on homemade mattresses that night under the new tied-quilts my mom had made.  The horse trailer was loaded with all that we owned and cherished.  I looked for my cat, Chocolatebar(she was a brown calico) the next day but she was no where to be found. She must have known the jig was up and purposely made sure she was not a part of it.  We all cried that day as we drove away from the family ranch.  My grandma was in tears; she could barely talk.

Looking back, I know there was way more going on than my sisters and I could comprehend. It took another 20 years for me to figure most of it out.  With the farming and ranching business being so volatile in those years and interest rates through the roof, no one was doing very well financially.  The winds of change were blowing and my dad had an itch to move on.  But that day, May 3, was the last day that our family was the family I knew from birth. Everything changed after that.

If you knew me then, you would know I was a quiet, shy and extremely introverted child.  The upheaval of leaving our secluded country life in Northern Sask/AB(we lived on the border) and moving to a city where I was thrown into a culture I neither asked for or liked was devastating.  It was so devastating I threatened my parents that they could NEVER, EVER do this to me again. I refused to be a part of whatever plans or schemes they had. Of course, I was nine; what did I know?  I probably shed quiet tears in my room at night.  I tried my best to make friends, and I did.  But I hated the city.  I missed the farm. I missed my family and friends and our old life.  I don’t think that I really accepted our new life for several years.

With this traumatic event came the separation of my parents and a new life of my mom and my 2 sisters living a difficult life where we often had little to eat and certainly there was no money for shopping or frivolous expenditures.  This is the time I grew up.  I got my first babysitting job at 11 years of age(barely 11).  That became my bread and butter and my escape for the next 8 years.  I loved kids. I loved the money I made.( $1 an hour!)  I loved the responsibility and the ability to be in charge when much of my life seemed so not within my control.

Looking back now, I am thankful for those years but there was much pain.  I stopped showing emotion and crying.  I saw too much pain within my family and I couldn’t add to it or join in.  So I shut down.  I didn’t release any of that emotion until I met my husband.  Poor guy. He had no idea what he was in for.  But for the first time in more than 10 years I felt free and safe enough with someone to let him know all of the pain of growing up in a single-parent home and all of the fears I had carried.  We had only been dating for a short time when I let it all out and I COULD. NOT. STOP.  I shocked myself.  Bless his heart, he stuck it out with me!  And I haven’t really stopped showing emotion since!  (Like I say~the guy is a saint!).

So here we are, on the 32nd anniversary of the day that changed my life.  I am so thankful for that move in spite of the hard years and pain.  If we had never moved, I would not be the person I am today.  I would never have met my husband or so many of the friends and mentors who have helped shape and guide me into being the person I am today.

And now, as we are on the cusp of moving our kids for the 3rd time in 6 years, I can only hope and pray that they are old enough to remember and acknowledge that painful, traumatic events can be character building turning points.  They make you or they break you.   And even if they break you, you come out stronger in the end.  We don’t grow when life is good.  We don’t find out our strengths and abilities when we’re not challenged and pushed.  My dad was telling me last week that drought is what makes a good wheat crop.  In times of flooding and rainy springs, seeds that are planted do not form deep roots.  The seed doesn’t need to burrow down deep because the water is plentiful.  So when the storms and winds come, the plant is wiped out. It has no strength and can’t hang on. Seeds that are planted in dry soil have to form deep roots to find enough moisture to germinate and grow.  Often it may seem like there is nothing happening;  no growth is seen because it’s so dry.  But under the soil, in the dark places, the roots are bearing down before the plant is ready to burst through the tough, dry ground. The difference for the seeds planted during drought is that they are so strong and able to withstand any storm, heavy rains, winds and pressure.

This is my life right now. I feel like we’ve been in a drought much like my life was in the 80s.  The advantage is now, as an adult, I can see that I am burrowing down deep and forming roots.  It feels like I will never see a breakthrough but it’s beginning to rain.  And the breakthrough is imminent.  I can’t   We WON’T be staying this way much longer.  The roots that God has been forming in our lives are the exact things we’re going to need to sustain us in the coming years.  And I pray that my kids will benefit as well.

You know it’s been too long when….

We’re in our 8th month of being a separated family, where my husband is living out of a suitcase and coming “home” only once a month.  We’ve developed routines, habits and inside jokes that are all growing old.   We’re rolling our eyes a lot.  We’re not having fun.  We’re kind of over *THIS*.

On the weekend we were out with friends in Regina(a very RARE moment to go out and socialize) and we were explaining that we are much like a  blended family making preparations to move in together.  My husband has *his* two kids and I have mine.  *His kids*  talk to him about their schedules and plans and go to him mostly for issues and advice.  *My two kids* do the same with me.  Rarely do the 4 kids interact and when they do there’s some awkward moments of over-stepping each others’ turfs.    Our home is now MY home.  Their home is not my home at all.  It is ridiculous.

My husband is also very lonely. He doesn’t socialize much and rarely has a chance to share a laugh with anyone.  So, he has taken to creating characters.   Yes, make-believe.  Believe it.  He has an East-Indian character he created years ago who he is now considering introducing to his new Japanese friend.  He also has Reba, the lady voice on his GPS who he can talk back to every once in a while~~ for old times’ sake. ;)   Anyone feel sorry for him? You should. The guy is going to crack!!

We also make jokes about people we shouldn’t be making jokes about.  Don’t worry, it’s not you.  Well, at least I’m pretty sure it’s not you.  It’s innocent and it’s all we have.   He calls me after work on his way home or to pick up or drive our daughter around.  He uses his Bluetooth so it’s all  legal and hands-free, no worries.  But , it’s background noise.  He chats with her, I chat with my girls.  I make supper, he gets gas.  We laugh.  I listen.  They talk.  I eat.  We do this for a long time.  Just to be IN the moment and in each others’  lives.

We’re starting another long stretch between visits.  He gets to go to a hockey game this week with our son so there will be no weekend visit.  Next week we have skating carnival here and then a concert where we’ll meet for an evening but that will be it for a couple weeks again.  Basically, a 4 hour meeting in the midst of 4-5 weeks of not seeing each other.

I enjoy when we get together because the first glance is like dating all over again.  But after that, it’s a series of house-keeping questions, discussions and decisions.  There’s always something that needs attention.  We have so few hours but we’re still parents and we still have obligations.  It’s not all romance and kisses…wouldn’t that be nice?

I’ve had to re-prime the pressure tank on our water system…by myself.  Unclog drains.  Rescue a dog in the middle of the night.  Drive myself home after hitting a deer.  Finish all of our business paperwork by myself and a multitude of other menial tasks which sound so easy and mundane but are so lonely and depressing.

He’s had to leave work early to tend to the needs of the kids.  Be on call for work several weekends plus dealing with meals, kid schedules and his own needed rest.  He does his own laundry and grocery shopping. He drops  off and picks up  kids from sports and often doesn’t get to stop till after 10 at night.  He is tired and lonely and he just wants to sleep in his own bed for more than 2 nights in a row.

And all through this I just keep asking ‘why?’  and ‘when? ‘   I just want to know when it will be over.  I just want to stay home with ALL of us for an indefinite period of time and know that when I wake up he’ll be there.  I am being selfish, I know.   I want all of this ” family ” stuff that others speak of:  Sunday dinners, walks in the evening,  laundry folding while watching a movie and the busy-ness of a door opening and closing regularly because teenagers have friends and a life. This is all I want.  It’s been too long.

The Prairie Girl’s Home Goals

I like thinking about goals. I like making lists and I like the planning.  The implementation?? Hmmm. That’s a whole other ball game!

I decided to link up with all these fabulous bloggers on goals for our homes for 2012.  Mostly because I just want to have a goal and fulfill it.  I want to be intentional this year and clearly, intentionality means accountability.

Last year my home suffered dearly for so many reasons.  Walls and cabinets that I intended to paint are still as they were, furniture that I wanted to repurpose is still sitting in the garage, crafts and curtains that were to be made have been left in the “to do” pile once again.  I have procrastinated and lost my motivation.  Mostly due to the fact that we were supposed to be moving last summer and we still haven’t sold and partly due to the fact that when I feel overwhelmed I freeze up and nothing gets done.

So, goals for this year?

1.  BUY a house, move in and get dirty right away.   I can’t do much about this house although I am going to paint a couple of walls that no new owner will like and it will help my mood to perk up.  But moving is top priority and getting a house that we can all live in again is always number 1 in my thoughts.

2.  I want my new house to be the landing pad for my kids and all their friends.  We have been many years without having the social revolving door happening and we’re so ready for it.  I need to make sure there’s a comfy room with comfy furniture, foosball and ping pong!~ these have long been family goals and now’s the time to make it happen!

This is our current basement with a pool table not being used. Gotta change that!

3. I want to make my master bedroom that room where my husband and I love to go rather than just a place to sleep. I’d love a fireplace if we could make that work somehow(it would have to be a fairly big room).  I want a big headboard and I’m also working on my very first handmade patchwork quilt for our bed.  Gotta get that done before our anniversary in April!

The beginnings of my master bedroom quilt. I think I'm going to love it when it's done!

4. And one of my must-do goals has got to be to make my kitchen functional and working for me every day.  I have slacked off on home cooking and baking  and I really want to take back those crafts and bless my family daily with homemade goodness.

5. Every bedroom is in need of a new dresser so my mission is going to be to find older dressers to refinish, paint and re-purpose into what will work for each member of the family. I’m actually really excited about this! And night tables too!  I’ve already started to pick up some pieces that will need attention sooner than later.

Picked up this little beauty at a sale in the fall.Hoping to give it some life with a new colour for one of the girls' rooms!

I made a list yesterday of things I need to do to start getting my house in order and stop being consumed by stuff! You can read it here: Clean up and Clean Out!

Okay, I think that’s enough.  I have a LOT of work to do!! Gotta get on it ! What’s your home goals for this year?

http://www.eclecticallyvintage.com/4/post/2012/01/imagine-the-impossibilities-challenge.html

Clean up~ Clean out.{Everything from Sheets to Spices}

Why do we purge in January?  I don’t know why the urge doesn’t hit in March or July or October.  But here we are, second week of January and blogs are practically exploding all over the web with de-cluttering  resolutions, organizational insight and the urge to purge.  People are even purging their bodies of toxins and an over-indulged holiday of gluttony.   Ah yes, January is de-tox month.

So, what are you cleaning up?

Are you attacking a closet or a storage room? Are you on a mission to figure out how you got to this  point of having more stuff than you know what to do with? That’s where I’m at.  So, in lieu of making resolutions I’m making  a list of things to purge and clean out.   I am planning on moving soon.  Like, sooner than later would be GREAT!  But in the mean time, I have decided that there’s no point in moving all of the things we have.  Because, well, we have TOO.  MANY. THINGS!!

Here’s where I’m starting:

  1. Clean out pantry and get rid of stuff we never eat. Actually, I’m trying to bake and cook my way through most of the pantry this month to cut down on my grocery bill as well as use up what we have.  I’m also going to move a lot of my dry goods into jars~ something I’ve wanted to do for years.   Here’s a great blog that has some good tips on what to store in your pantry: http://www.simplebites.net/9-foods-to-stock-in-your-pantry-in-2012/
  2.  I’m going to clean out my dishes. I have so many that I never use and then I have too many that we use which clogs up the dishwasher way too often. I’m pretty sure we don’t need 40 cups in rotation on any given day.  And I’m also very fine with not using 3 complete place settings of dishes.  At least one has to go.(There’s 6 of us in our family plus we have to be prepared for company but I’m done with these 6 piece place settings that I’ve had for 10+ years)
  3. Time to clean out linens.  I try to do this regularly anyways but somehow the closet has become the dumping ground for any piece of cloth that people don’t know what to do with. Tablecloths of varying sizes, colors and fabrics are overtaking needed space for sheets.  Which reminds me~ we need sheets!! I’ve been using the same ones for 20 years and they are thread-bare!
  4. Books!  Oh dear. It’s such a love of mine but we just can’t keep accumulating books.  I’m actually going to be doing a book giveaway starting this next week.  Watch for details because I have some really GOOD ones!
  5. Digital photos~ now, while these may not take up physical space , they’re clogging up the memory on my hard drive.  I have folders that are mis-labeled, photos from the past 6 years all on CD or some sort of memory drive and I’m losing track of where they all are.  I fear this will be a several-month long project.  But, I am committed to deleting. Yes.  DELETING. I have multiple shots  of the same thing, some good, others not. It’s time to pare down the folders to a more manageable state. That, plus I’d like to see them for a change and so I need to get them on my digital picture frame.    Once this is done, time to make some photo books. This is one of my major goals for 2012~ actually have published, tangible photos to hold and look at.

Okay, well, that’s enough.  There will be more added to this list but I have to start here.  My pantry is calling and the spices need some TLC!

Lessons from the Waiting Room

I feel like the 15 year old who has a ton of homework but instead decided to watch TV and now she’s panicking because the homework is due and there’s no time left. Why? A couple of reasons.  First of all, I’ve been wanting to post about WAITING for a long , long time but I keep WAITING for the inspiration to hit me and as I WAIT, nothing happens.  I look at this blank page and I got nothin’.  Maybe I’m supposed to WAIT? I don’t know anymore.  WAITING sucks~ let’s just get that out there right now.

The second reason for my panic is that I am embarking on a 31 Day Challenge with some other bloggers. You can read all about it here.  I have also linked up the 8 original bloggers’ sites on the sidebar for easier navigating.  Starting tomorrow, I will be posting about 31 Days to Putting Family First.  I could have done 31 Days of How to Wait More Patiently.  That might have been good for me actually.  Or perhaps a  more fun topic like 31 Days of Buntings(Because they’re my new guilty pleasure).  Or even 31 Days to Pack a House! Oh yes! That’s definitely something I could get on board with!  But no, I feel compelled..well, some would say convicted  to put all of MY wants and needs aside and instead focus on my family who currently is spread out over 3 different households.  **sigh** This is tough.  I am actually hoping that inspiration will strike early in the day each day so that I have something profound and tangible to pass on , but truthfully, right now I feel like I am failing miserably and I haven’t even started~ this should be interesting!

So, for now, let’s put 31Days on the backburner and turn back to the topic at hand: Waiting.

 

“I’m still waiting for my miracle, God.”  At least, this is what I’m telling Him.  (Did you know that you can TELL God stuff?)   It is September 30 and I am no closer to moving my family to Regina than I was on Sept.1.  Some days it just feels like no One is really listening.  **Ahem**

~Waiting~    It’s all I do. I wait for the phone to ring, for an e-mail. An update , please? A sign? Something.  I wait.

Not unlike the varied characters of a hospital waiting room~ I find myself expressing attitudes and emotions from one extreme to the next.  Given my mood, my hormone levels and my impatience, I have turned into one of THOSE people. You know, the ones in the waiting room you pull your child away from. The one who is too loud, sighing too often, fidgeting, pacing, arguing with the desk clerk.

Waiting rooms are great petri dishes to analyze and observe the human condition.  Most of us have been and will be in a waiting room at some time in our lives. We are there for ourselves, for our kids, for our spouse, our parents or a friend.  If you’re there for yourself, you may be too distracted by pain or illness to notice the other passengers on the  wait-train but if you have a chance, the next time~ check them out.  You’ll see mothers holding their babies, worried and tired from lack of sleep.  Husbands with wives, impatient and annoyed with no sports playing on the TV.  You may see adult children with aging parents looking worn and forlorn.  Frustration, fatigue, anger.  All common in a waiting room.

This past month as I have been in my own waiting room, I have been inundated with books, verses, songs and comments about waiting.  Is it a conspiracy? Because I’m starting to get a complex about this!  There is no option in the waiting room. If you want to see the Physician you have to wait.  You can leave, but the problem won’t leave you, so you return and sit.  And sit.  And wait..again.

As I look back on all of my waiting room experiences, I am thankful that not all of them were negative.  Oh yes, I was in the Calgary hospital with my friend sick with fever from West-Nile Virus for hours as she fevered and passed out~ angry with nurses who were too apathetic to care.  I have paced and cried in an ICU waiting room by myself as my husband was whisked away to life-saving surgery at 5 in the morning.  I have carried my injured child through emergency doors, only to be told that we would have to sit…and wait.  But I have had more positive experiences than negative: The day I went to the walk-in clinic in 1994, scared, alone and full of anticipation…the nurse returning to me with “it’s positive”! My heart in my throat and the joy in my tears! After a pregnancy that never happened, this was a well-spring of living water to my soul.

Or the joys of newborn visits to the doc.  The waiting room was just another opportunity to show off my big, healthy cute bundle of red-headed joy! I didn’t mind waiting~ the nurses would coo, the older folks would chat, the other moms waiting with bellies full would smile.  These were the good waits. The waits that don’t drag you down and suck the joy out of your existence.

In the years after , there were more waiting room visits. More smiling nurses, friendly doctors, good news reports and gleeful fits of anticipation.

My daughter and I have been reading this book and she asked me one night about the line that talks of the “ticking of the waiting room in a pregnant pause”…..hmmmm. I had to think of that for a minute.  How do you explain a pregnant pause to a child?   In the book, the waiting in that particular case was heart-wrenching and full of God-pleading cries. But at the same time, there was hope.  That is what a pregnant pause is all about. I always tell new/young moms, “you can’t be pregnant forever! That baby WILL come out!” And it’s so true. Being pregnant 4 times, I can tell you that there are days when you feel like it’s never going to end!! You just want to get on with it already! You’re tired, you’re grumpy, you’re lumpy and frumpy too.  Your clothes are tight, your bra’s too small, your feet swell and you have to pee every 20 minutes! It’s tough! You can’t get comfortable at night, your back hurts and you have someone kneeing you in the ribs.   But it will end.  That is beauty in the midst of the waiting. IT. WILL. END.

I keep telling myself that we won’t be in limbo forever. I feel like this past year has been one long visit to the Waiting Room of Life.  I feel suspended in time. I can’t go back because the problem isn’t fixed. I have to wait and get the answers from the Physician.  But for now, it seems that He’s got other people who are sicker(bear with me here. I know God has time for me and all my issues and that He can sill heal the sick, feed the hungry and sort out the finances of the free world, but it just appears like He’s put me in the corner with the outdated magazine pile).

This waiting room experience is going to come to an end and what will I have learned?

~ maybe that my problems are small compared to the mother with cancer?

~ maybe that getting angry just makes the nurse grouchy and she’s more likely to stick the needle in harder?

~ maybe that a smile goes a long way to the person sitting beside you in the waiting room and they’re wanting answers too, so don’t be so demanding

Maybe the waiting room is not about what happens next but more about how you act while you’re there. After all, there’s people watching you.

I read a blog this week which is fast becoming one of my favourites. You should check it out here.

In it, the daughter of the blogger(I have no idea how old she is but she is wiser than I) said this to her mom:

“Mama? Sometimes we have to walk to our future even when it feels like we want to run.”

I didn’t even know what to do with that. I had to read it over several times. It hit me like a ton of bricks. She’s right.  I want to run so fast into the future but that is not the way that God has purposed for me to go.  I must walk. I must wait.

Isaiah 30:18   Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
 Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 64:4    Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

Romans 8:25   But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Finding my Groove

If you have moved more than once, you may have developed the same bad habits that we have.  You start out with the intention of packing everything in room appropriate boxes for easier unpacking. You label(or think you have) every box.  You categorize and you sort.

And then……………..you get tired.  You get careless.  You don’t have the same attention to detail and you might even invite some friends to help you pack.   We did that.  Some friends were great…very thorough and detail oriented.  And then there were ……the guys.  Guys don’t really know how to pack boxes.

Let’s cut to the chase: I have boxes, several of them.  They are packed by men who don’t know how to set up a house , a kitchen or a bathroom.   I have screws and a hammer packed in boxes with dryer sheets and coffee cups.  Oh ya.  It happened.  As I was unpacking (and still am) I found all manner of boxes with labeling like this: ” Juanita’s Stuff she doesn’t need”  or “Juanita’s Scrap Junk”   or “Juanita’s Crap” ……ya, that’s what they say.  He was being funny…”He” knows who he is.  Oh and then he packed the wrapping cellophane and packing tape INTO a box with random junk and we didn’t find it till weeks after moving…wondering in the mean time where it went!   Goodness.

Okay, so now, 7 months later, I am still not sure where some stuff is.  One thing in particular is missing and must be found.  In fact, if I do not find it soon there may be a real crisis of monstrous proportions in my house.   It is, in fact…..my groove.   Yes, it is missing.   I don’t know where it is.  I don’t know who took it but someone did.  It is gone.  And for lack of a better word, I am pissed.  Yep. I said it.  I went there.   I cannot believe that losing the ONE thing that I need most right now has made me type a profanity.(Jenna will love this).  Okay, so it’s not the worst word that I could type, but it’s bad enough.

So, let’s recap.  I have lost my groove and I am swearing.  Oh …and it’s Lent.  Great.

Would the person, or persons involved in taking and hiding my groove because they thought it was funny please return it?  No questions asked.  No penalty  or fear of retribution.  Just give it back. Thanks.

Plans

I planned my wedding when I was 13. And then I planned it again when I was 16.  And again when I was 18, 19, 20…..ya, that one stuck.

I planned on having a baby in 1993…..sadly, that was not to be.  But in 1994 it happened!

I planned to NOT have a baby in 1995 but I did! :) The only kid that was planned and where the plan succeeded was Emily, who was born in 1998.

Plans change.  Plans get shelved.  Plans are not what you thought they would be.

I always thought that when I got married and had babies that life would be settled, normal and low maintenance.   Boy, was I wrong!   There is nothing settled or low maintenance about having a family.  And what is normal? I have no idea as everyone I know is abnormal including me.  The new normal is NO normal.

We are now 7 months into our new plan of moving, setting up shop, setting up a home and getting into our groove.  We have reached NONE of those goals. In fact, we’re beginning to wonder where we went wrong.  What was the plan? Did we really have a plan?  I thought we did but in reality the only plan was “get out”.  As in get out of where we were.  So , I guess in that sense we have succeeded.  Except….well, that’s not really cutting it now.

Maybe I’m just getting too old for this.  Maybe the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t?  Perhaps being dissatisfied with school and church would have been easier to deal with knowing we were living in a beautiful area and we had lots of work .  But no,  the kids are doing better.  School is much more challenging and rewarding here.  Athletic involvement is WAY up in our household.  This is good.   And yet…..we wonder.

Leroy’s plans of starting a successful electrical company have not proved to be rewarding or profitable.  In fact, he wants to quit.  He’s tired of the bureaucracy and the lazy attitude of his suppliers and shippers.   It seems that whatever we try to do comes against not one but several stumbling blocks.  And most of them are hitting us hard in the bank account.  It feels as though we are going backwards instead of forwards.   Is this a sign? Maybe.  What do you do when you’re really good at something but you’ve lost the passion and drive to do it?  How do you start over or motivate yourself? These are the questions we are asking.

Right now , we have no plans.  Well, actually, the only plan is to get through today.  That’s about all we can focus on at this point.  Thankfully, we’re not alone. And Someone else has a plan(though we don’t know what it is).

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.

Job’s lesson

My kids gave me an iPod for Christmas.  I admit I haven’t listened to it much. But today I decided to put it on while driving to town.  My son loaded it for me with mostly his style of music. I do like some of it but the rest gets sort of annoying.  One band is a bit different than what I would typically choose but they do a couple songs I like so I went to those.  It was interesting to me that a song that I used to sing and listen to ALL the time, I have hardly heard in the past year.  I missed it and until it started playing, I didn’t realize how much .  Music does that~ it connects a message within us like nothing else.

The song, Blessed Be Your Name, was originally written and recorded by Matt Redman but this version I like best….by Tree63

As I listened to the words, it’s like the Lord just started speaking to me.  It was literally one of those revelation moments you hear about but wonder if you’ll ever experience!! I kept singing the words over and over again:

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Now bear with me as I pull this apart…in reality it took all of 15 seconds for me to get all of this but it will take me a bit longer to type it out. 

Our world, up until 6 months ago, to most people was “all that it should be”.  Yes, we lived for years with the sun shining down on us.   The land was plentiful and the streams of abundance were definitely flowing.  The profoundness of that statement is not lost on me even now as I type it.  It is remarkable how aptly that described our lives. 

But the fact is, darkness came.  We went through a spiritual desert and it was no fun.  The abundance and riches that we once had were drying up and the Lord was clearly leading us away.  Do I still believe that? Yes, I do.  Sometimes, through my misery I forget though and I have to be reminded.

I made up my mind last summer that even though the “darkness was closing in” I was still going to praise.  And that’s what I did.  I privately and publicly made a CHOICE .  “My heart will CHOOSE to say Lord, Blessed be Your Name”..

I praised and the burden lifted.  Yes, the struggles were there.  Yes, the reality of our move was still there.  Yes, there were financial and housing issues that were unresolved(still are).  But in the midst~ I praised.

This song is based on the story of Job.  I highly recommend reading it.   It is quite a story and Job himself was a lot like me.  He doubted God.  He doubted a lot.  His family was taken, his children and all of his riches, land , wealth.  His animals died…he was stricken and it continued for a long time.  I don’t really know how he survived but he did.  Immediately following the news of his children’s deaths he says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

Woah.  Heavy.

You see, Job was a righteous man of God.  And God allowed Satan to do whatever he wanted to Job.  Satan figured he could get Job to sin against God and curse God.   He was allowed to do anything to Job but kill him. 

Now, my kids are living and we still own our land.  But I feel as though we have lost so much and are being stripped down to nothing emotionally, financially and spiritually. 

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away….

  • I miss my friends
  • My kids miss their friends
  • I miss knowing my neighbours
  • I miss our beautiful home
  • I miss seeing my dad’s truck at the A& W when I go into town, knowing he’s there to talk to
  • I miss seeing my nieces and nephews
  • I miss knowing the cashiers at the grocery store, the tellers at the bank and the clerks at the post office
  • I miss the trees, the trails, our rustic yard
  • our bank account is empty and so far the work has not returned
  • we’re stuggling to find a church that fulfills our needs
  • we’re lost, we don’t really know why we’re here….it’s lonely and it’s depressing

Yes, we feel in many ways that the Lord has stripped us down to nothing.

But today, as I was listening to the song and listening along….a light literally broke through the darkness.  I get it!! I get it!! Yes, I really get it. 

“You give and take away,  You give and take away , my HEART will CHOOSE to say, Lord blessed be YOUR NAME.”

It’s really easy to praise in the abundant times but how much more are we to praise in the desert places? !

The second part of the above verse says this:  “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”Job 1:21

Have I sinned? I’m sure I have.   Have I accused God of taking us down the wrong path? Not outright, but perhaps in my heart I have questioned Him.   God has not led us astray.

When I got home and had a chance to read through portions of Job, I actually started at the end first. And maybe…just maybe…God led me there.   

You see, after all is said and done and Job has lost it all…yet  he trusts in his Lord.   Yet he acknowledges his own sin, his own distrust and his own questioning.

It is in this moment that God restores unto Job blessing upon blessing.   Job 42: 10 And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.  Indeed the Lord gave Job TWICE as much as he had before.

Vs 12: Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job MORE than his beginning.

…it goes on to tell of the riches, the animals, the children he had….and his daughters, I might add, were the most beautiful in the land!

I’m in a Job moment of my life.  Maybe you think that’s a bit exaggerated but it’s how I feel.  Maybe you’re feeling it too for your own life.  In fact, I know of a couple of you reading this right now who are most definitely in the worst place you’ve ever found yourselves.  It’s okay because you know what’s coming if you remain faithful?  The end.  The end of the pain, the end of the taking away, the end of the disappointment, the end of the death and destruction that you see in the wake of your life.

It’s all about your attitude now.  It’s acknowleding that you don’t always trust God but you know He’s there.  It’s about that moment when you come to your knees and just like Job you say, “Though He slay me, Yet will I hope in Him…” Job 13:15

Though He slay me….I will HOPE.

I have HOPE.

He is my hope, He is my portion, He is my bank account and my best friend and the lady at the post office. 
He is my beautiful scenery, my awesome church service and my beginning and end. It is He. 

My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be your name.