Monday, January 23, 2017

Maybe I Should Be Seeking Instead of Waiting

I haven't wanted to write in over a year.  I just haven't had much to say.  Suddenly, tonight, I decided that I had something, although I wasn't quite sure what, to say, so I sat down at the computer with some things on my mind.  My intentions were to write about all of the changes that I've been through over the course of the past 8 years and maybe a word or two about what I think of women's rights, but after reading my post from last year, I have had a change of heart. 

My last post was written last October, just over a month after I lost Daddy.  It wasn't long.  It was my confession that I really didn't know what to do without him, and I certainly didn't know how I was going to deal with the inexplicable pain of watching him fight with all his might and still die a painful death.  For the past year and four months, I have done what I said I was going to do.  I have gone about the daily tasks of living, and I have waited on peace.  Please don't think that I have been wallowing in misery every day; I have not.  I have had moments of joy and happiness, but I realized tonight for the first time that I have yet to have that peace that I've been waiting on. 

Tears began to flow as I read that blog because the thought crossed my mind that I may never truly experience peace like I once knew this side of Heaven.  After all, I've been waiting for over a year, and it hasn't come.  I have talked to my pastor.  I have prayed.  I have cried out to God.  I have carried the burden that my prayers weren't earnest enough, or God would have healed him this side of Heaven.  I have even thought that maybe, and I know this is crazy, God took Daddy from me because I loved him too much.  Through tears that are even now still coming, I am beginning to realize that God doesn't want me to wait on that peace any more.

You see, I have been in a desert for over a year.  The funny thing is that I haven't even been thirsty.  I mean, I have been reading posts from a few years ago on my Facebook time hop and honestly wonder how in the world those words of faith and hope came from me because I certainly don't have "it" in me lately.  Still, while I wondered, I wasn't thirsting.  For a few months now, God has been calling me to drink again from His fountain, but I have not been responding to His calls.  I can't really explain why.  Maybe a part of me felt that if my prayers couldn't save Daddy that I wasn't worthy.  Maybe I just haven't been ready to let go of my grief.  I don't know.  What I realized tonight is that I have never been more thirsty in my life.  I don't want to be in the desert any more.  I don't want to just live.  I want to live in the fullness of Christ.  I want to walk with Him and talk with Him, and I need Him to help me be all that He wants me to be in Him.  I need to pray with the faith that moves mountains again and know with all my heart that God hears my prayers.  I need to get out of this God forsaken desert and get back to the promised land.

I know that I will never stop missing Daddy this side of Heaven, but I need to be able to let go of this pain.  I need to somehow focus on his laughter and his love and let go of how he suffered in those last 2 months.  I can't let those miserable 2 months deprive me of a lifetime of love and joy! I know that I will never be able to do it without Jesus, and I feel Him telling me that it's time to stop waiting on peace and start seeking it.  I need to be in His word.  I need to surround myself with people who are filled with His love and are passionate about sharing it.  Ironically, I'm going to have to make some changes, and my angst with all the changes in my life is what I set out to write about tonight.  Please pray for me.  Pray that I will be open to following God wherever He leads me, and pray that my thirst will be quenched by that very same water that Jesus offered a lonely woman at the well so long ago.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Waiting on Peace

What do you do when you don't know what to do?  If time and money weren't an option, I would pack some clothes and head to the beach.  I would go to the northern most point of the NC Outer Banks and rent one of those houses that you could only access by letting some of the air out of your tires on your vehicle.  I would take plenty of water and food with me so that I wouldn't have to leave the beach for a while.  I would sit in a rocker on the front porch.  I would close my eyes, and I would listen to the tide roll in and back out again.  I would let the breeze run its fingers through my hair and stroke my cheek.  I would cry until I couldn't possibly cry anymore.  I would read my Bible and talk to God and wait for that peace that I know is coming eventually.  That's what I would do.

Since my bank account and my teacher schedule are telling me that I must stay home, I have returned to writing.  I love to write, but life often gets in my way.  It's been over a year since my last blog.  I cried as I read it tonight.  It was a blog about perspective.  A blog about a friend battling cancer.  I never even dreamed that 1 year later my Daddy would be diagnosed with brain cancer.  I never dreamed that 2 months after his diagnosis he would be gone.  I believed with all of my heart that he would beat brain cancer.  I believed that God would give us a miracle, but the miracle that I prayed for didn't come.  So, what do you do?

I'm doing the only thing I know to do.  I'm living life the best that I can.  I'm getting up and going to work.  I'm cleaning house.  I'm paying bills.  I'm going to the grocery store.  I'm giving thanks for my family and friends who have helped me more than they know.  I'm going to church.  I'm talking to God, and I'm waiting on Him.  I'm waiting on that peace that I know is eventually coming.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Grateful for Perspective

One of my favorite writers and speakers, Andy Andrews, often talks about how important perspective is to us all.  I completely agree with him, and I try to always keep perspective in mind when I'm faced with big decisions and even little ones.  Changing perspective can often open our eyes and our hearts to things we are missing and remind us to focus on the things that really matter in our lives.  Yes, perspective is a wonderful thing.

As those of you who have read my past blogs know, my husband and I have had some financial struggles during the last few years.  We have had to make some tough decisions, but we have learned many lessons and are grateful for the things God has shown us during this time.  I made the decision to go back to school to add a teaching license to my degree, and I am super excited to have graduated and begin my first teaching job this Fall.  My husband has had to rebuild his business from ground zero, but he has been blessed with new, different opportunities. 

It is usually when things seem to be going well, that we hit a rough patch.  For those of you who have ever flown, it's like turbulence.  It doesn't show up on the radar, you know you'll get through it, but it can still be a little scary, or a lot scary, at times.  So, with my new job on the horizon and things looking better every day, we flew into some turbulence at the end of last week.  I know we will get through it, but it is one of those a lot scary patches.  Well, it was a lot scary until I changed my perspective.

We ran into turbulence late Friday afternoon.  Earlier in the day I learned that a very sweet friend had gotten the news that the breast cancer that was originally thought to be only in her right breast had been in her left breast (both of which she had removed last week along with lymph nodes from her right side).  She will go back to the hospital this week to have surgery to remove lymph nodes on her left side and have a scan to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of her body.  Talk about some turbulence!  So, as scary as my situation is at the moment, it is nothing like waiting to find out if and how far the cancer has spread.  My news could change my lifestyle, but it certainly didn't threaten my life.

I didn't sleep well last night, so I got up pretty early this morning to begin checking email and getting a few things done while everyone else sleeps.  I read the Caring Bridge post that our friend had posted late last night.  She expressed her gratitude for cards, visits, meals, and phone calls.  She very honestly stated that at times she is worried but that she is moving faithfully forward knowing that God is in control.  She is amazing!  As I wrote down her schedule for the week so that I would remember to pray each day for whatever she was facing, my perspective on my situation was once again changed.  This is what I wrote down:

                               Wednesday............................Pet Scan
                               Thursday................................Follow-up with Surgeon
                               Friday.....................................Meet with Oncologist

Yes, my situation is serious, and we will have to address it this week.  If all goes well, it will be taken care of by the end of the day today.  My week will involve some phone calls and some emails and maybe some old-fashioned letters.  My week is nothing in comparison to the week that I just outlined above, and I'm so grateful for the gift of perspective to remind me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Sting of Rejection

Boy!  It has been over a year since my last post!  I have indeed been very busy!  I had so much reading and writing to do in order to complete my graduate classes that I just couldn't bring myself to blog.  But, the great news is that I graduated last month and am looking forward to making time to blog again!

I started applying for jobs earlier this month.  My first interview went okay, but I knew that they weren't going to call and make me an offer, and I would have turned them down if they did.  It just wasn't the school for me.  Last week I had another interview, and it went very well.  I liked the principal and assistant principal that interviewed me, and I truly felt that the school was somewhere that I would be happy and be able to make a difference in young lives.  I really was hoping and praying for an offer.  I followed up a few days later and was told that a decision hadn't been made yet but that I was on the short list.  I was very hopeful.  I prayed that night and thanked God for the opportunity and told Him that I really wanted the job.  I also told him that, if it was His will, to direct the principal to make me an offer.  I got a call yesterday from the principal.  He got straight to the point and told me that he had decided to go with someone with ten years experience, but that he was really impressed with me.  In fact, he said that he would call a fellow principal who was also looking for someone and recommend that he bring me in for an interview because he wanted me to work somewhere in his county.  I thanked him for taking time to call me and told him that I would appreciate it very much if he would make the phone call for me.  It wasn't the news that I had hoped for, but it wasn't really bad news either.  Why, then, did I have to fight back the tears and change the subject when my daughter asked me if that was the principal when I hung up the phone?  It was surely the sting of rejection!  The negative thoughts tried to invade my mind all evening.  Thoughts like:  What were you thinking going back to school and changing careers at your age?  Are you sure this was God's plan for your life?  So many experienced teachers from neighboring counties want to work in this county!  You will never get a job!

Finally, I said to myself, "Wait a darn minute!  These negative thoughts are not who I am!"  I remembered that I had prayed for God's will to be done, and I reminded myself that, if it had been God's will, He certainly would have made it happen.  Last night I thanked God again for the opportunity and told him that even though I didn't get the job that I knew the interview was preparation for the next one.  I told Him that I was choosing to trust Him to open the door that He wants me to walk through.  In the meantime, I will keep applying and waiting and praising Him for all that He is and the unbelievable love that He shows me every day.  I hope you will do the same!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Who or what?

My homework has been a little stressful for me this week.  The workload is heavy, but the content this week was not in agreement with my personal beliefs so it seemed even heavier.  Tonight I took some time to turn to my Beth Moore 90 day study of David that I got for Christmas year before last.  Hey, I said it was a 90 day study; not that it had to be done in 90 days!  LOL!  I know that a lot of people go to the Psalms for comfort, and David wrote many of them, but I like to go straight to Samuel and revisit the trials of David.  After all, if anybody can relate to feeling the pressure, I'm sure David can.  Being chased through the wilderness by a jealous king will definitely put some pressure on you!  I guess that's why David is my favorite man of the Bible.  He was very real.  His rise to the top wasn't easy.  He made his fair share of mistakes, but he always had a heart for God. 

The topic of the study today was the devastation David felt when, in the midst of a celebration, God struck Uzzah dead.   David was celebrating because he was returning the Ark to the land of David.  Ussah was struck dead when he reached out to steady the ark, which wasn't being carried in the way that God had instructed the Isrealites to carry it.  David became angry at God for killing Uzzah and left the ark at the home of Obed-Edom.  He felt that the ark would never be able to return to the land of David.  See, even great men of the Bible like David had times when they were angry at God.  If you want to find out the rest of the story, read 2 Samuel chapter 6.

Beth talked about how unexpected tragedy is always hard to deal with, but that it is even more difficult in the midst of what should be a celebration.  She gave examples of people left standing at the alter or joyful parents who experience a miscarriage.  Then, she goes on to say, "In times like these, we find out whether we have based our faith on who God is or on what He does."  Wow!  I have heard something similar before, but in the context of David and the examples she gave, it really struck home.   My week has been difficult, but it has been, thankfully, free of tragedy.  I did take a moment, however, to reflect back on my life and the personal tragedies that I have experienced. I can definitely see that as my faith has grown I have been able to better deal with the tragedies.  I have a long way to go, but I do know that my faith is based on who God is and not what he does or what I think he doesn't do in my life.  So, tonight, I have a few more things to be thankful for when I lay my head on the pillow.  I hope you do too!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just Wondering?

I've been thinking a lot today about gay marriage.  Well, not just today, but often given the recent push to legalize gay marriage in various states.  I am not one to dive into controversial topics, and I have debated whether or not to do so this time.  That being said, writing is most often how I process things that are floating around in my head and in my heart, so I have decided to put some thoughts out there.  Let me be clear before I begin.  I am not posting this blog in order to attack any person or lifestyle, and I would very much appreciate not being attacked by others for putting my thoughts out there.

I am a professed Christian.  I try to live my life not in order to please people but in order to demonstrate God's love.  I have been blessed in my life with many mentors who have and do set great examples for me to follow, but I am ultimately, as a Christian, always looking to how Jesus lived His life so that I might become more like Him.  Jesus didn't come to Earth to participate in politics.  His followers were at first disappointed when they learned that He wasn't going to deliver them by ousting the Roman government and placing himself on the throne.  He came to demonstrate His unfailing love for us.  He gave His life so that we may have eternal life.  I am so far from being an expert on the Bible that I hesitate to ever quote it.  I do, however, feel very confident in saying that the greatest commandment is to love; love God first and love each other as God has loved us.  In demonstrating this love for God and in an effort to live by the principles that we hold true in His word, we must be careful that we don't force our beliefs and that love on other people.  Jesus, after all, never forced His love on anyone. 

The United States of America was founded by men and women who came to this country seeking a fresh start and a place to worship free from government persecution.  Our Constitution was written so that the basic rights of freedom would forever be protected.  As citizens of these United States we are promised life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I have learned through the years that happiness is just an emotion that can't compare with the joy that comes from knowing Jesus as my Lord and savior, but I do still enjoy being happy.  Some of the things that bring me happiness are silly: a clean car, a clean house, an ice cream sundae, and finding a great deal on an item that I have had my eye on.  Some of them are more serious: spending time with my family, being able to go to church on Sunday and worship without the fear of persecution, seeing my children's face light up when they reach a goal or see an old friend or watching my niece prepare to marry the man she loves later this year.  All of these things I often take for granted despite my best efforts not to do so.  Today, as I thought about the decisions the Supreme Court handed down and the ones I'm sure it will face in the near future, I pondered something.  What if my niece were not marrying the man of her dreams?  What if she were gay and wanted to marry the woman of her dreams?  Would I love her any less?  Certainly not.  My love for her isn't based on her sexual preference.  What would I do?  What would I say when my friends and fellow church members looked at her with disgust and told her that she didn't have the right to the same pursuit of happiness that straight couples have because we believe that homosexuality is wrong? 

So, with all of this on my mind and in my heart, I've been asking myself what would Jesus do?  Is it right for us to impose our beliefs on consenting adults who are responsible, loving members of society?  Is it right for us to condemn and pass judgment when we know that our own lives are riddled with sin?  Does giving someone else the same basic right to marriage that we take for granted somehow diminish or dismiss our own faith?  If we insert our religious beliefs into our Constitution in such a way that we deny the very basic freedoms that we have fought so hard to protect, are we any better than the governments that we sought refuge from so long ago? 

Certainly something to think and pray about.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Winds of Change

As I write today, I am enjoying a much needed break at home.  My first semester of graduate school wrapped up on Wednesday, the class that I taught at the local community college wrapped up on Wednesday, and I wasn't scheduled to substitute yesterday or today.  As much as we need the money right now, the Lord knew that I needed time at home even more!  Morgan has been sick, as have I, and it was nice to be home and just be able to be there for her.  I have still managed to catch up on a few things like laundry and cleaning the bathroom, and I am almost done with my to-do list for today.  Morgan is feeling much better and returned to school today, and I am thinking that I have just about conquered my cold.  Outside of my window the sun is shining and a gentle breeze is blowing.  There will be no complaints from me today!

This year marks a year filled with change for me and my family.  My oldest daughter will graduate from high school in a few weeks, and my niece will be getting married in November of this year.  I'm so proud and so excited for both of them!  Where has the time gone? 

And me, back in school after all of these years!  Praying that there will be a job for me when I finish and knowing that God has a plan no matter what mine is. 

As excited as I am during this time, I am also very reflective.  I look back on the years and wonder if I have done enough for my daughter.  Have I set a good example?  Have I loved her enough?  Have I taught her all of the things that she needs to know before heading out into the world as an adult?  Did I yell too much?  Have I shown her compassion and forgiveness?  Have I shown her courage and strength?  The list goes on and on, and my first response is that I need more time!  The problem is that she doesn't need more time.  She reminds me daily that she is an adult, and she has stepped on my heart more in the past year than she ever stepped on my toes when she was learning to walk.  I guess that is my answer.  When she was learning to walk I had to be willing to let go and let her fall if I truly wanted her to succeed.  Now, she has got to learn to be an adult, and I have to be willing to let her go and let her fall if I want her to succeed.

We have talked a lot about modeling behavior and skills for our students in my education classes this semester.  It turns out that students really do learn from watching us do things rather than telling them what to do.  As parents we have to do the same thing.  I can't possibly tell my daughter everything that she needs to know, to do, or not do.  I have to hope that I have lived my life and will continue to live my life in such a way that I model being a loving, responsible adult for her.  Have I made mistakes?  You bet I have!  Have I owned up to them and learned from them?  Yes, that was one of the hardest lessons that I ever learned.  I am still learning everyday, so it is unwise for me to expect my child to know it all at the young age of 17.  Instead, I just need to pray that God will guide her and protect her and that He will help me to always show her unconditional love and a safe place to fall when it happens.  After all, isn't that what He does for us?  A couple of years ago my daughter came home from school excited about something called wordle.  You put in words and the program spits out a word cloud that looks like art.  She gave me one and told me it was for me.  Tears came to my eyes as I read the words proud, funny, helpful, brave, generous, dazzling, delightful, courageous, go getter, cheerful, determined, encouraging, follower of God....all surrounding the largest word on the paper, kim.  All of the things that I hope to be but most days feel like I am not were right there in print and were words that my daughter thought of when she thought of me!  This is now in a sheet protector and in my notebook everywhere I go!  There are days when I feel like I am doing everything wrong.  There are days when I am sure she hates me!  There are days when I ask aloud, "Where did my daughter go and who are you that has taken up residence in her body?"  Those are the days when I feel like I have failed her.  That is why I keep that wordle!  It is a reminder that despite all of my mistakes and the hateful words that come out of both of our mouths at times, she sees something in me that even I don't and loves me regardless.  I must have done something right.

Yes, the winds of change are blowing.  I am learning to turn my sails and enjoy the breeze instead of fighting them, but I am also not going to hurry them along.  Last night my husband told my youngest daughter, now 10, that she was going to have to do something about all of her doll houses and stuff on the floor behind the couch.  I couldn't believe my ears as I told him that the mess could stay.  I know now, without a doubt, that the winds of change will take care of that mess for me soon enough.