Just Walking It Out

November 8th, 2017

I spent hours on the phone with an old friend from seminary days today. We had a lot of catching up to do. So much has happened since our last conversation; I’ve been on a faith journey with my hubby’s unemployment and she, along with her family closed the door on a “cushy” ministry life/job in Alabama and moved to NEW YORK CITY to church plant.

Yea, I’m thinking of changing the name of my blog to The Chronicles of a Whiny Christian at this point. Who am I? What is my problem? Why can’t I be holy enough? Sacrificial enough? Willing to let THINGS go? All things. Not only stuff things. Dumb life things.

I appreciate that God is so loving to me that He lavishes me with life perspectives in all sorts of creative ways. Obviously, He knows my wormy pathetic’ness and goes above what He must have to with “normal” folks just to get my attention.

I have the flesh of a hundred humans.

I feel everything. Times a hundred. If it can be dramatized, sister has a show in store for ya. All I’ve done in this life is behave like a dang drama queen. I am the worst!

Don’t feel sorry for me (there I go again!) because I need to crash here and there to recognize my need to rest from all my chaos. Self-induced chaos at that. I’ve confessed repeatedly my tendency to pick up trouble & worry as attributes. I cannot hide that I love to fret and freak over just about every single thing.

Got an issue? Just let me know, I’ll stress over it for you.

I fired off questions to my fancy NYC friend and she answered every one of my curiosities with grace. As if, she had a choice. I’ve never been to New York, ever. All I know about the Big Apple I’ve learned from others and tv. Surely, I sound pretty lame but everything I’ve ever heard makes me feel completely intimidated. It’s also DANGEROUS there! Like, people die or get killed every day in all sorts of ways. Okay, they die here in the Indy area too. But, NEW YORK CITY!!! Come on. You know what I mean, right?

I know about those muggings!!! I watch movies!

Do you know how hard it is to buy a bedroom dresser? It’s ridiculous! In my world, if I want to purchase furniture….I do it and go get it. With my fancy vehicle (yea, they ditched their cars to serve Jesus in NYC!) I cruise on down the road (and yea, if I sit in traffic at a red light too long…I get JERKY!!!) and pick up my furniture and go home with it. That’s not quite how it gets done in NYC. She told me some of the crazy hoops they’ve had to jump through just to buy a dang dresser from IKEA.

They travel by foot and subway.

My life. Seriously.

I’m not trying to put anyone on a pedestal of faith here, she wouldn’t dare let me. I told her how impressed I was by her willingness to sacrifice so much and she mentioned all the need for Christ in NYC. Did I mention this lady is leaps and bounds ahead of me in spiritual maturity? Why WOULDN’T she give up her cushy life to serve God in bustling New York? Uhh, duh. Yea. I was thinking all that too.

Not.

After talking all morning, I got the feeling that all my troubles…the things I’ve felt so wrecked over here in my easy life are really not so gigantic afterall. I have so many simple luxuries that I take for granted. The things that I think I cannot do, I absolutely CAN DO! Nothing is so difficult, perhaps…challenging that I cannot push on through and do.

My ministry (and I do have one when I’m not succumbing to my own disasters) is to walk my walk right here where I am this very moment. Like my precious friend in NYC, she’s walking her ministry out there…doing just what God has called her and her family to do. God isn’t expecting me to do what she is doing. He’s called her to walk her road (or busy 5th Avenue, whichever) and me to mine here in Indiana. I need to stop comparing my journey with everyone else and so do you!

Just walk out your faith friend. Wherever it is God is calling you to walk.

And, something very important…. Don’t look back!

Who Are Your People?

October 27th, 2017

I’ve learned some very valuable lessons this last year. Not everyone who’s in your circle is in your corner. People who you think are your friends aren’t always genuinely your friend. Maybe acquaintance is a better label.

I have 2 friends that have reached out to me just this week that are hurting and struggling with job loss. Both friends are deep into their pain right now. I can relate after all this last year has prepared me for job loss battle. While I don’t have much to offer either sweet friend, I do have the ability to love & encourage them.

So, that’s what I’m doing.

Just being there, listening. Letting them pour out words, tears and fears. Times like these do not call for attitudes of “pick yourself up and get over it” messages. Those come. Right now, both friends need gentle love and understanding.

I’ve felt so alone, so many times over this last year. Friends that I thought were my friends have all but disappeared. I can’t say why and I won’t even try to explain their actions. I have even felt that their shun or absence was because of something I’ve done.

People don’t like weakness. Some people, anyway.

I haven’t needed anything big. Just encouragement. Or a listening ear. Maybe even a “how are you guys doing?” here and there. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had friends do that….I’m talking about the ones who I thought were IN MY CORNER!

Look, I’ve learned that God puts people in your life for a reason. Some are to love you, some are to wreck you, some are to wisen you up and some are to teach you how NOT TO BE. I thank God for every one of them.

Those who stand by and watch you burn…stop giving them the matches.

Back to what I’ve learned, God will reveal YOUR PEOPLE. Pay attention. Stop fretting when He removes the ones that don’t belong there.

Let.
Them.
Go.

In spite of losing a few friends….God opened up the door to some real and lasting relationships for me. I’ve never been a superficial surface kind of friend anyway. God knows friendships take work. I’ve experienced some great support from people who never had a reason to get involved in my chaotic life.

Honestly, it’s a reflection of their heart and of course, God’s love for me.

So, to the people who aren’t my people. Thank you. Thank you for the friendship that we’ve shared and for the lesson on true friendship. I’m not dwelling on what could’ve been or even mad that you’re gone. I’m grateful that I have a heart to love others and see them for who they are – just people.

Who are your people?

Do you know?

Lord,

I want to be a good friend to the people you place in my life. Let me be just what they need, even if it’s temporary. Not every relationship is meant to go the long haul. Help me see every friend with your eyes and not my own. Everyone deserves love, a listening ear and the truth. I want to love like that.

Amen

Call Me Back

October 20th, 2017

For over a year, I’ve wandered around trying to figure out what God was doing in my life. Why was this very terrible thing happening to me and my family? If you’ve read any of my posts in the last 14 months then you’ve picked up on my desperation and fear of all the damage losing a job can cause.

I’ve been a mess.

Losing a job is NO JOKE! Sometimes I feel like no one understands just how horrible being in this position feels. I appreciate every single person who’s encouraged us, prayed for us and hoped alongside us for a job offer. Wow, what a blessing it has been to see friends and family rally for us. Thank you!

Still, here we are wondering what in the heck is going to happen to us.

Can you imagine applying for countless jobs (which is like a full-time job in itself!) and never ever ever hearing back from the companies? Throughout this whole long year, we’ve sat waiting while employers give a time frame for “getting back to you” AND THEY NEVER EVEN EMAIL BACK! Who does that? What’s so very difficult about sending a NO THANK YOU message? Who are these people? And why in the world do they even have jobs? Clearly, they don’t know what they are doing!

Several weeks ago, my hubby interviewed for a job that took over 4 long hours and by the time he arrived back home, he felt it went very well. The company told him they expected to offer “someone” the job by the next week.

Crickets.

He’s never heard diddly from these jokers. What? Unbelievable! Why not shoot out an email that ends the relationship? As in, “Hey…So & So, thanks for taking time to meet with us. We appreciate your interest in our company. At this time, we’ve decided to go a different route. We have found our candidate and we wish you luck in your search for employment.

How hard is that? What in the world does it cost someone to offer such a simple courtesy?

I’m baffled. I’m frustrated. I’m shocked.

This world is not my home. But, I’ll tell you…the longer I’m stuck here the greater my dislike for pathetic behavior grows.

I don’t know what your life looks like right now. Hopefully, it’s on the right track and loaded down with blessings. Here’s what I’m learning about my own situation — Be good to others. Help them when you can. Encourage those who are struggling or hurting. Ask God how He wants to use you (right where you are). Be ready to stretch your own faith. Look for opportunities to share God’s love.

I believe for certain that my struggle has not been in vain. I’m not the same person I was over a year ago and that’s a good thing.

Thank you, Lord that I never have to wonder if you’re going to get back with me. You are always willing and ready to meet me, if I will just call on you!
Amen.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

September 1st, 2017

For the last year I’ve felt as if my life has skidded off the rails. In my human strength I’ve held on for dear life. I clung to whatever life preservers came my way; homemade furniture sales, IT consult jobs, security camera installations, support help jobs…retirement monies, hocking stuff and whatever else that would save us from going under. It’s been humbling!

Some days, I’ve been a real peach. I’ve taken our circumstance to be a part of God’s plan and moved forward. Other days, I’ve cried, fallen in the pit of desperation and wanted to go to bed and give up. I’ve been ugly and felt miserable… I’ve not handled the situation like a lover of Jesus at all.

I’ve let Satan push me (it wasn’t even a hard push) into feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy and revenge!

What can I say, my whole world came crashing down the day my hubby came home to tell me his company decided to outsource him for a lame crappy IT support company. Everything changed. Poof. One minute I was smiling, excited about my new car and the next I was on the floor crying and feeling the ultimate betrayal. Wondering how we were going to make it. Looking back, it was a gift from God that I could not see it would be a long year of unemployment. Still. Going. Strong.

My hurt feelings have intensified over this year. Imagine how it feels getting calls for IT help from the very hand that slapped you down. Wow. More embarrassment, more frustration. More anger.

This morning as I stepped out of the shower my mind went to a memory of a big kickoff meeting with the employees of my husband’s former company. Happy employees were sharing kind words and boasting as to the goodness of the family. It was heartwarming! At the time, I felt so honored to be a part,on the same team as them. Even handpicked! And like all memories, I thought back to all the other folks who left their lives to follow and work for this family only to eventually lose their jobs too. Just because they changed their mind.

God gave me a clear message through that memory – He decides WHO good people Are! Many will boast of the goodness of others or maybe even of themselves. But, the truth is only God can say who is truly good & honorable. I’ve learned the hard way that the world is full of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

It’s painful to be burned and forgotten.

This year I’ve learned so much about my flesh & all it’s weak spots. I’m vulnerable to all the same frustrations and setbacks the rest of the world feels. My heart knows better than to wish ill or worse. Still, I fought with it like a lion!

Focus on the difficulty and God is difficult to see. Focus on God and GLORY seeps through the broken places.

My faith has been strengthened through the darkness of this last year. I’ve turned to God and leaned on him when the world made me feel like giving up. That’s all I’ve had. People fall away, they ditch you or disappear from your life when calamity hits. I get it, it’s depressing to live my reality.

Imagine, the breadwinner of your life losing his bread. No money, no prospect of a job, thousands of job applications and resumes submitted….tons of crappy bigfatjoke phone interviews that you NEVER hear back from — just imagine that for a whole dang year! That’s been our life.

I’d avoid me too.

So many times I’ve thought I’ll never recover. The pain so deep, the embarrassment of being jobless has wrecked me and nearly beaten my husband to a pulp. I feel all the feels of helplessness…

Still, I’m learning.

God does have a plan. He keeps waking me up every day for something, he loves on me when no one else bothers and He shows me all the ways I need to let go! My flesh has run roughshod over my emotions and I’ve learned to trust God with every ugly detail of my situation. When I am at my lowest (which I have been many times through this) – Romans 15:13 reminds me, I’m going to make it! There is HOPE!

My life isn’t going as planned, it’s going as God planned.

Lord,

Let me see You and not my circumstances. Seep through the broken places and fill up every cracked hole inside me. Do all the great things in and through me as you’ve planned. I trust in You.

Amen

You Think You’re Anxious?

August 9th, 2017

It’s back to school time and my calendar is already filling up with sub days. This morning I was thinking about all the sweet punkin’s heading back to routines, classrooms, early bedtimes, homework and even all the teen drivers. That’s what I do, I’m a mom and I mom up every situation. Even though all my darlin’s are out living big people life, the body has a hard time forgetting to be mom-like.

If I could wave a sign outside in my yard to all the cars going by with kids heading to school – I’d wish I could tell you a few very important things about the stress your kids experience after you peel out from the drop-off line. I know, I know…they’re kids. What in the heck kind of stress are they feeling? Well, that depends on the kid.

Just about every single kid experiences school anxiety. Trust me, it’s scary walking into school after being home and having the freedom to be themselves all summer long. Especially for the teen & pre-teen group. The pressure on them is enormous! They are in this constant battle with themselves and the world. Everywhere they look, expectations are staring them in the face. The amount of kids without cellphones right now is pretty minimal. So, imagine everything they see just on their phones all day and night.

If you didn’t know it, the world is pushy. The most easily influenced people of all society right now are teenagers. They are searching! They look for acceptance, they want to fit in and they are fighting their toughest battle with their crazy adolescent puberty infested bodies! Everything is racing at them at mock speed and then we send them off to school.

They are anxious and they aren’t always telling you that either.

The pressure to look a certain way, to have a particular type of clothing….to be from an important family, that stuff is STILL GOING ON IN SCHOOL! Just like when you were there! I swear it! I wouldn’t lie to you. Only now, it is magnified to a level you cannot even imagine!

Your kid is growing up in a society where a teen girl can sell out of a lip plumping product on Home Shopping Network in record time just because of the family she was born into. They see how the world swoons over the successes of young kids like Kylie and they long to be loved like that. I read a head-line yesterday of the lip plumper reality starlette admitting how guilty she feels that she doesn’t drive her Lamborghini enough.

Your kids wants to borrow your car. Pressure. [feel the feels MOM]

Now don’t get me wrong. Kids have to do a particular amount of struggling to get to the kind of person they eventually need to be. Do not run in and rescue your kids like the helicopter mom I was. Step back, think about your next move but whatever it is MAKE SURE YOU ARE A SAFE PLACE FOR YOUR KIDS!!!

My mom days are much different these days. I sit around wishing one would call or text me (they don’t!). I don’t have to blow my cash on school clothes or fight with some outlandish little skinny twerp in the middle of TJ MAXX over an outfit. I’m free. Man, I miss them! 😉

Just remember to love on and pray for your kid. Pay attention to the signs of worry or anxiety. Spend some time talking with them and really LISTEN. Ask them how you can help when things are getting too much for them. Don’t barge in, but ask what they need from you most. The truth is, they are scared. They’re afraid people won’t like them, they have just enough awkwardness to them to feel like they are freaks. You play a huge role in escorting them on into the real world.

They need you. They may not act like it, but they do. And they want you to place boundaries on them. DO IT! (You can thank me later!)

Oh and when I flip my sign over as you drive by….it will say —>

I’M NOT JEALOUS OF YOU, MOM & DAD!
These are the hardest days of your ever-lovin’ life!
BE STRONG!

Best Summer Ever

August 7th, 2017

Today is the official last day of summer break. It’s time to put the swimsuits back in the drawer and to clear my “hanging out schedule” for more serious things like going back to school.

I’ve had a great summer! I can’t remember having a summer this good in a long time. Maybe it’s just an attitude or perspective thing. Either way, I’m diggin’ it!

It’s been a time of growth and change. I think I might be getting the hang of it. Why it’s taken me so long to accept, I don’t know. I’m just grateful to have gotten there.

During this summer, God has done some great things in my life. I never doubted Him, but…. I admit, I have put Him in a box a time or two – constricting His full power over me and all that He wants to do for me. Did you know you can hinder your faith that way?

Don’t misunderstand, God is all-powerful! I can’t stop Him or His goodness, ever. However, I can surely wreck my belief in His power with my DOUBT. I’ve gotten so low before that I’ve thought, “God cannot fix this!”. Or even felt like it was so hopeless that I should just give up and let go!

In all my struggles, I’ve never turned away from God or cursed Him but I’ve fallen so deep into a hole of fear that I’ve literally hindered everything that I know is true and right in my faith.

Ever been there, done that? It’s harsh!

Not this summer. Not the summer that my hubby was over 10 months into an unemployment. Nope. God had all sorts of other plans for me. He does for you too, if you’re willing to go for it.

Every morning, the entire summer….I got up early and went outside with my Bible and journal. Not meaning to, but…. I sat alone with God for hours at a time. I read scripture, I prayed, I sang, I let my mind wander….I got quiet and listened. I stopped letting the world push me around and God had so many sweet lessons for me.

I feel so good about my future.

I have no idea what’s going to happen. I don’t know that I even care to know. I just believe that God is there and He has a perfect plan. I don’t have to know everything.

Trusting God with every little detail isn’t for the faint of heart, I’ll tell ya. I have wasted so many stomach aches and headaches worrying about my life and the lives of the people I love most.

Spending the summer digging into God’s Word has worked like a healing balm for me. I am so thankful for the free time to let God work in my mind & heart. The only negative I’ve felt about school beginning is that my morning routine will have to change and I’m not ready to give up my QUIET TIME with God.

So, I’m going to have to revamp!

After all the messages, the hints…everything over the last year. I know that God wanted ME to really stop and spend time with Him. Because of that, I’ve had the best summer ever!

Wanna see God work in your life? Spend time with Him. Read your Bible. Pray. Listen. Trust. Then, look out!