I need to write. I need to write. I need to write.
I got nuthin’.
I need to write. I need to write. I need to write.
I got nuthin’.
Why does it always seem much more difficult to loosen up your grip and just let go of something than it is to hold on with all your might?
Before I begin, I’d like to preface this by saying I don’t consider myself a particularly religious person. I’m not very good at sharing The Word or telling people what to believe. I believe that God loves and accepts everyone. Period. The End. I know that isn’t exactly a popular opinion…therefore I tend to get a little “mouthy” with people who want to point out all the people God does not love and why.
Normally I like to write about light hearted things that make me smile. I “think” that God should be that way in my mind, but lately I feel like I’ve lost the connection with Him that I have had in the past, so I reached out to a friend, Jenny, to see if maybe I could get a friendly “kick in the butt” in the God department. I told her…”I can’t seem to let go”…
I think all my life I’ve tried to control everything myself. At times, I’ve gotten to the point out of sheer desperation that I’ve let go and said, “Ok, God…this is yours – I just can’t do it”. I don’t know why I have such a hard time doing that I my everyday life. I know that if I trust in Him that He will take care of me…and I know that He wants me to lean on Him, but I still try to hang on with every ounce of energy I have. He knows I’m stubborn. Heck, everyone reading this knows I’m stubborn. He also knows what I need. Jenny sent me back an email about the same struggles in her life. She is absolutely not perfect and she will be the first to tell you that, but she is one of the few people I know who, at the end of the day, has every intention of living her life to glorify God…even if it didn’t work out so well THAT day.
She also sent me a link to this website:
I clicked around and clicked on Every Day Life and then Relationships and got the link to the article below. One of the things she said to me was that when she knows that she feels that connection to the Lord that she always hears the right song on the radio, or sees the right verse, or hears just what she needed to hear from God. Well, after reading this, I can absolutely agree.
by Amy Carroll
“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the
man who falls and has no one to help him up! … Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:10- 11 (NIV)
I really hit the end of myself after 2 1/2 miles. My breathing
wasn’t the problem this time, but I my legs felt like lead. I gasped to my
friend, “Rhonda, I’ve got to stop and walk.” She reminded me to stop
thinking about this difficult run. I needed to focus on finishing for my friend
who had died from cancer and for my friend who had lived. Rhonda urged me to
praise God for the use of my legs and the strength of my body. I turned my
thoughts to Jesus and kept running.
Even when I’m just walking through my daily routine, my focus
often wanders. I can start off a morning with glorious prayer and Bible study
only to become clouded over by noon with the demands of life. Paul tells us in
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks
in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(NIV) During my race I pondered the intentional act of turning my full
attention on God. Sometimes it takes a faithful friend to remind me.
About a fourth of a mile later, I turned to Rhonda and pleaded,
“I’ve got to stop and walk….REALLY this time!” She reminded me that
Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy. This time he was after my dream of
being able to complete a 5K run. Are you in the midst of a spiritual battle? Is
Satan attacking your family, your job, your body or your mind? Grab a godly
friend and pray! So many times I become unaware of my enemy as I become
consumed by my circumstances. A good friend protects my back with hers as we
face outward and swing our swords with the power of God’s Word and His
presence. We do have an enemy, but our God is stronger. My friend Rhonda
reminded me of this fact as we ran onward.
Homeowners in the neighborhood had turned on their hoses or were
wielding super soakers to refresh the runners as we passed. Rhonda encouraged
me to run through the streams. Toward the end when I began to despair of
finishing, Rhonda looked up. “Did you feel that sudden breeze?” she
asked. “God knew that you needed a cool breeze to be able to finish, and
He sent it!” she rejoiced. I hadn’t even noticed. I was bogged down in my
own misery again, but I took notice of the breeze as she spoke and lifted my
dragging feet a little higher. Thank goodness for friends who point out God’s
goodness!! Even in the darkest times, God sends His children glimmers of light
if we are watching. The problem is the watching. We need friends to remind us
of His promises like, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake
you” (Hebrews 13:5b).
We were close to the finish line, but I just couldn’t go any more.
I took two walking steps and Rhonda immediately grabbed my arm. “Don’t
stop! We’re almost there! Your husband and kids are waiting for you!” Even
now when I had given up on myself, she wouldn’t let me quit. I ran on toward
the finish line and threw up my arms to praise Him as I finished. Sobs caught
in my throat and erupted when I finally fell into my husband’s arms. A former
couch potato had finished the race!! The main lesson I had learned was clear.
God created us for fellowship with Him and with others. I absolutely would not
have finished the race without the encouragement, refreshment and prodding
provided by my friend. It is the intertwining of our lives with God’s and
others that gives us a rope strong enough to sustain us through even the
How did they know JUST what I needed to hear?!?!?
I explained to Brian how I was feeling and this morning he sent me this:
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
Our 4 year old will always come to our room once she hears the sound of thunder, and most often I will ask her, “Why are you so afraid?” Her reply is “Daddy, the noise scares me.” In those moments, I would give anything to calm the storm, to make the noise stop. And just like our Heavenly Father, I calm her down…she isn’t scared anymore. Our Father in Heaven does the exact for us…when we are scared, yet our faith is strong…He is there, when the wind is closing the walls in all around us, yet our faith is strong…He is there. Friends, let us not doubt the miraculous strength of our Lord and Savior.
So many of my friends are going through hard times that are much more difficult than the things in my life that, at times, make me feel like I’m all alone. If just one person reads this and feels like they can “let go” and let God take control again…then I’m glad I shared. Life is never simple but it’s ALWAYS worth it. Now for me to put
my God’s plan into action and let Him take the lead for a change.
My incredibly intelligent and compassionate niece, Sarah, had a post on her Facebook page this morning about a group of idiots in Florida who want to ban a TV show because it appeals to teenage girls and has characters who are gay. Though I understand her plight, I’d like to heed a word of caution to anyone who is angered by these kinds of groups. Groups like this one and the Westboro Baptist church thrive off of people who become angered with them and give them a voice. Every time you post an article from one of these groups, you are sharing their thoughts with others. Anger only breeds anger. The only way to stop them is to ignore them completely and spread a message of love and acceptance.
I was thinking about this all morning and wondering how all these groups with Christian ties can preach the hate of any one and still call themselves a church in the name of God. I believe in God. I know that God believes in me. Being raised in a non-denominational Christian church, I was taught a few things that have stuck with me and are a part of the foundation of what I believe:
Finding love is hard enough without putting race and gender limitations on people. Especially when I truly believe people are born gay. And if you believe this, then you believe that God created them. What the? Honestly…who would choose to live a life where they are hated, ridiculed, criticized and mocked by so many. Do you really think that someone wakes up one day and says, “Today I’m going to do something that will make my life way harder than it was yesterday…yeah, that sounds like fun!”??
I’m off my soapbox now. Just remember the next time you see an article or a story that enrages you and you want to share it with friends on Facebook – every time you tell that story or share that article, you are an advertisement for that group. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in what they are saying…you’re spreading their hate. Instead, post a positive story that encourages the way we SHOULD behave as a society.
Last week my future sister-in-law, Jessica, found out that she was pregnant. Almost suddenly, her Facebook status went from happy thoughts of being a newlywed to the “oh too familiar” sound of complete exhaustion. There is something about a person in a white lab coat telling you that you have committed the next 60+ years of your life to another human being, a human being the size of a pea, which sends your body into a tailspin. I honestly don’t know if it’s psychosomatic or if realizing that you just gave up “your” entire life really makes you that tired. Either way, the moment you find out you’re pregnant, you become utterly exhausted for a minimum of 8 weeks.
If only it ended there.
I’ve always laughed at couples who say “we’re pregnant”. There is honestly no “we” about it. If there were, then he would have stretch marks and morning sickness while she drank beer and ate all the spicy food she could. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. It would be nice if a man would announce his wife’s pregnancy like this: “We are going to have a baby! I really didn’t have a lot to do with it. She is quite the trooper for enduring 10 months of Hell for 8 minutes of pleasure. I really do love her”. Yeah I know, but a gal can dream, can’t she?
A woman’s initial response to finding out she’s pregnant is so completely different than a man’s. When most women read a pregnancy test, they are ecstatic. They have visions of cute little outfits, teeny tiny socks, and unconditional love beyond compare. A man’s initial thought is also excitement at the prospect of being a daddy…until the reality sets in. Next, he is consumed by thoughts of the things he will have to give up once the baby comes. So much for the 2 door sports car, now we need a 4 door grocery getter! Then there’s the baby stuff in the car. His car will have a car seat, many homeless Cheerios, and a sippy cup with an ounce of week old chocolate milk that he won’t find until it’s too late. (By the way….a sippy cup full of week old chocolate milk smells much like a dead body…you get pulled over with one of those in your car and the cops will have probable cause. Trust me…I’ve been there.) None of these things are cool for a guy. He used to be cool. Now, he’s a dad.
Sleeping is a thing of the past once you find out you’re having a baby. During pregnancy, you don’t sleep much because of all the crazy thoughts running through your head about how you will afford it and if you will be a good parent. Once you get to about 7 months, you just don’t sleep because there is an alien in your body doing continuous flips and getting its toes caught between your ribs. No joke…not a good feeling. I remember being 7-8 months pregnant with Hayley and poking her back. I figured turn about was fair play.
Once the baby comes, all she will do is eat, sleep, and poop. You’d think that this would be your opportunity to catch up on some sleep lost during pregnancy, but no. God had other plans for you AND a sense of humor, obviously. You will spend the first 6-9 months of your baby’s life waking up every 30 minutes to check to see if she is breathing. Seriously. You will go into the room…sneak up quietly on her, and watch to see if her chest is moving up and down. If it’s too dark to see, you will put your hand on her chest to FEEL to make sure she is breathing – and if that doesn’t work and you still can’t tell, you will, like a complete DUMBASS, wake her up. Then you will both be awake.
Doctors will tell you to wake your baby to get her to eat. Do NOT do this. They are crazy. If she’s hungry, she will let you know. Plus, you will wake her up enough on your own checking her breathing – she can eat then.
After the 9th month of no sleep, you will not sleep for an entirely different reason. The baby will be pulling up on everything and on the verge of walking. So, every little noise, the floor creaking, or the air conditioner turning on will lead your sleep deprived mind to think that she is escaping from her crib. You will go to check on her – see that she is asleep – check her breathing and go back to bed until the ice maker drops ice cubes and once again you wake to make sure she hasn’t pulled a Houdini. Cribs really should have a LID. Just a thought.
At about the age of 2, you will decide that your baby doesn’t need to be in the crib anymore. This is the biggest parenting mistake you will EVER make; purchasing the toddler bed. Now you won’t sleep because the kid is free. She is now able to walk and get out of bed. Which means you will not have sex for at least 2 years unless you’re in a hotel without her. There is a smell that lingers down the hall into a toddler’s room that tells her if you are even THINKING about having sex. Your child has an involuntary response that makes her walk into your bedroom…stand at the foot of your bed completely silent…and grab your foot with her little cold hands. If you don’t think God has a sense of humor, wait until the first time this happens. Go ahead and try to lock the door to keep her out. Then you won’t be able to even think about sex because now you will be thinking your baby is locked out of the room and she will get up, unlock all three locks on the door including the chain and the deadbolt, and wonder out into the street and get hit by a car…or even worse, she will open the BACK door and fall into the pool. It doesn’t matter if you have a pool, she will find one to fall into.
So now she’s four.
Four is a fun age. You don’t sleep when she’s four either though. Now you don’t sleep because SHE doesn’t sleep. At four, they don’t want to miss a thing. She will get up every 30 minutes once you put her to bed because she’s scared to death that something might happen that she isn’t a part of. Four is also about the age we start invoking the afternoon nap rule. This isn’t for them, it’s for us. If they fall asleep for even an hour we can get the laundry done, put away the dishes, and maybe even catch up on a show we missed. That never happens either. The house remains a mess because the minute she falls asleep, so do you. Naptime is actually for the parents, not the children.
So after that, she’s about to start kindergarten and a whole new slew of issues arises that keeps you from sleeping at night. How did she get to be 5 so fast? Did I teach her enough to prepare for school? Will she be able to sit still all day and not drive her teacher nuts? Will she make friends easily? Will she use the word “asshole” you’ve been trying to un-teach her for the last 2 months since that guy cut you off on the freeway? Elementary school is good…you will get a little more sleep during these years because school WEARS THEM OUT. Kindergarten will be your saving grace. She will come home and crash out for 2 hours and then be ready for bed again at 8. It’s a beautiful thing. The BIG mistake we make as parents is that by the time they are in kindergarten, we went to a hotel ONCE and now we have another baby – we are really gluttons for punishment.
I haven’t experienced much of high school yet, but I do find myself worrying if they will hang out with the right people & God forbid the late nights staying up waiting for them to get home when they start to drive!!! I can’t even imagine! I honestly believe that childbirth should come with a diagnosis of temporary insanity – or at the very least, amnesia, because most of us do it more than once KNOWING what is in store the second time around.
Last night, Brian and I went out to a club with some friends. To be completely honest, it’s been YEARS since I’ve stepped foot in an actual club. I found myself looking around at all the “young” people (does it make me seem really old that I said “young” people???) and thinking, “Oh my Lord, did I really TRY this hard to fit in when I was younger???” I’m sure I did and it seriously freaks me out.
I had 2 beers…and with the 3% alcohol content of drinks in Oklahoma, I don’t think I’d be legally drunk if I weighed 50 pounds, so I know my drinking days are way over. I cannot afford to even get a buzz in the state of Oklahoma at $5 a beer! Instead, I truly have figured out all the things our parents taught us about what is really important: faith, family, & friends. It’s such an “ah-ha” moment when the things your parents tell you actually start to come to fruition.
I used to believe that 40 was old. I remember being in high school and thinking my parents and teachers were so old. Now I AM that age and 40 seems young! Honestly…60 doesn’t even seem that old anymore. I really don’t mind though. Every day of my life since the day I turned 30 has been better than the last. I’ve figured out who I am. I’ve figured out the people in my life who are true friends. I’ve figured out what it truly means to love and be loved. I’ve figured out that the invisible lines that separated so many of us from each other in high school have been erased and now we’re all basically doing the same thing. Just trying to live our lives and be happy.
So I decided today that of all the things I’ve done in my life, getting older has to be one of my absolute favorites.
Our mother, bless her heart (that’s a saying used in the South when you know something just isn’t right with a person), was Martha Stewart, Vera Wang, and The Cake Boss all rolled into her 5’4″ frame. She could make prom dresses, create beautiful wedding cakes, and probably could have fixed the BP oil spill with a hot glue gun and some duct tape. She was that good.
As children, my sisters and I would marvel at the presents under the Christmas tree. That’s really all we could do because we weren’t ALLOWED to get close enough to actually touch them…or the tree for that matter. Our Christmas trees were usually ‘themed’ and resembled something that belonged in a Park Avenue hotel lobby. Each year she would choose new decorations and skillfully place each ornament using a tape measure, a level and a compass to make sure that each of the perfectly tied red and green plaid bows were exactly 3.74 inches apart. I know you think I’m kidding, but I’m not. We had the most beautiful tree you’ve ever seen…but we didn’t hang a single ornament. We joked that she ran the “Jackie Wooden School of Wrapping” at Christmas time because she watched like a hawk when we were wrapping presents…she was never harsh, but she wouldn’t hesitate to unwrap and re-wrap a gift if it didn’t live up to the standards set for placement under her tree!
As I look back on my childhood, I can’t help but have this vision of how perfect Christmas “should” be. I remember our mother baking pies and fudge and pralines (that’s a Southern thing too!) for neighbors and friends. I have such fond memories of Christmas as a child and I have NO idea how she did it. Between a full-time job, attempting to get to the gym more times a week than McDonald’s, and five kids…I don’t have time to shower most days (sorry babe) much less decorate, bake, AND wrap presents perfectly!
So I’ve given myself a reprieve this Christmas. I let all the kids decorate the tree. There are red bulb ornaments RIGHT NEXT TO other red bulb ornaments and I’m ok with it. The kids have wrapped most of the presents under the tree and, to my surprise, it has yet to result in the Apocalypse! The house doesn’t smell like baked goods like I’d like. However, that Glade candle that smells like pumpkin pie does a very impressive job of masking the burnt sugar cookie smell. Christmas was wonderful as a kid…and I wouldn’t change a thing about my memories, but I am so glad I didn’t inherit the perfection gene. Our home isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s perfectly ours and I wouldn’t want it any other way.