Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Free Will

Yesterday I shared about how my devotional was spot on with what I'm dealing with, and well, I'm still going back over the ones I've left unread for the past couple months.  I shouldn't have, left them unread that is, but I can honestly tell you I wouldn't have really read them anyhow.  I had turned my listening ears off because I had turned my way of doing things on. 

There are a lot of things that happened this summer.  A lot of beautiful things and a lot of not so beautiful things.  I have a lot of memories that I will cherish forever and some lessons that I wish I would have never learned.  I think the hardest lesson, and this will be a post later on, is about the amount of people who will let you go, as a friend, acquaintance, etc because they only want to view one side of a story.  Again, we will revisit that later.

Back to a bit from today's devotional, which was actually from July 14th. 

"And your sin isn’t any better! Think of all the lies you’ve told, pain you’ve caused, and good you’ve left undone. It’s easy to look around at the consequences of our sin and wonder why God lets it continue. If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t he just stop our sin before it gets ugly? The truth is, one of the reasons God doesn’t keep us from sinning (besides wanting to give us a free choice) is that he wants us to realize how much we need him."

Truth, I really wish God didn't give us free will.  Bigger truth, I wish that the devil didn't know our biggest weaknesses.  Truth, biggest yet, I wish my walk with the Lord was stronger so that I could be here typing about all the ways He is building me up and making me stronger instead of thinking back on all the things that I want to undo.  By undo, it isn't that I'd take back any of it, but I'd definitely change the timing.  Timing.  It is always about timing with things.  Right and wrong, they are about split second choices. 

I marvel at those people who seem to have it all together.  Those people who have a rock-solid walk with God.  Those people who do not battle the battles I fight.  I fight some pretty mean battles.  A big one, and this, too, will be another post for another time, is my fight with alcohol.  Yes, it has been a war I've battled for years.  There are many who are reading this now that quite literally just had their jaws drop.  Surprise!  Transparency coming through.  Another battle, my need for another.  Yep, right there it is in black and white.  Some know this and others are forming their own opinions about me because of it.  Again, two sides, people, two sides.  Ask me for mine.  I will be honest with you. But my biggest battle, the one that makes those two soooo very easy to give into, is my strong will. 

Having a strong will has allowed me the power of justification, the need to lie to myself.  I do that.  I lie to myself mostly when that split second right and wrong needs to be determined.  In those moments I have caused pain.  I have caused pain to others that I wish I could take back.  I have caused myself pain that I wish I could take back.  I wish I was just willed a bit stronger, but we all have defenses that can, quite honestly, be broken down over time by the right thing at the wrong time.  Again, it comes down to timing.  Oh, and two sides.  Must stress the two sides.  But, in all of this, all of this strong willed, broken will, time offensive wrongness, I lost the biggest thing.  I lost the good I could have done.

I could have done good.  I could have let God win and make that Bible story out of me.  I could have been in a position where He could say, "well done good and faithful servant."  But I didn't, because of my free will.  Because in that split second I gave into the stronger will.  Yet, I can see it now.  Now that hindsight is quite literally all that I have.  I need Him.  I must have Him in my life, daily and not just when I want to pull out the Good Book for a quick reference.  He still has a lot of work to do in me.  A lot.  Too much perhaps even.  Then, again, didn't He tell us in John 3:16 that that was all the more reason for Him to be here?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Putting it Together

I find it ironic that, for the past couple of days, my devotionals have been almost word for word with my blogs. OK, that may be stretching it, but my blogs, now that I have caught up with my devotionals, seem to follow suit.  (Or the timing of my experiences I should say.)

EXCERPT FROM MY DEVOTIONAL:
Galatians 3:4 says, “Were all your experiences wasted? I hope not” (NCV). Don’t run away from your past. Because of pain, many people deny their past, ignore their past, discount their past, regret their past, or resent their past. They revise their past and make up stories because they’re happier dealing with the lie than the pain of the past. But if you’re in denial, God can’t use your experience for good. God can use every experience in your life for good, but you’ve got to stop running from them. You have to embrace your experiences. Maybe your parents weren’t that great, maybe you weren’t that hot in school, maybe you weren’t the football captain or the prom queen — so what? They’re your experiences. Own them.

And that is just it.  I am owning my experiences.  Finally.  Or fully.  Either way, you all are getting an open, honest assessment of my personal experiences.  Heaven's my entire blog is a level of my transparency.  It is the coming to terms with my experiences that I am most hard pressed to accept.  The thing that I struggle with.  I know all things happen for a reason.  That in all things God hopes that we lean on Him and His teaching to do the right thing.  I  also know that God will never trump our free will, but He will use the lessons from those choices for His good.  And that, that right there, is what I am hoping for.  Not that I think I need anything special, but that I truly do not want another to hurt the way that I hurt.  I do not want another to have to be in the same place I am in right now.  I'm not naive enough to think my words will fully deter someone, that I am the only one to have experienced such things, or that I will be the last, but, and this is a big one, I am the only one to experience them my way.

Hear me out.  God is teaching me something here.  Truth, I'm hating the lesson.  I'm hating the pain the lesson is creating, but just as with running a race you have to get through the pain to get to the reward.  I want the reward.  I'm eager to know what that is.  Oh, don't get me wrong I would love to personally tell God what I want it to be, but I know (and I STRUGGLE TO ACCEPT THIS) He knows better than I do.  He knows what I need more than I do.  I just have to have faith in that knowledge. I also know He will give me the desires of my heart.  But in so doing, they are going to be under His timing, His design, and ultimately ONLY when I have fully resigned to His will and have full dependence upon Him.  Basically, I have to stop chasing after it myself.  I need to let it all go and let Him have it. 

I know there are a lot of people who will read this and say, "atta girl, you're finally getting it."  I also know that these same people are not struggling with the same thing, that they don't know what the personal trials and tribulations I am going through actually feel like, but in all honesty, I may not know theirs.  I really want you all to know, if you stick around, I'm going to keep up the transparency.  I'm going to lay it all out there and at the end of this one, the one I am dissecting now, if you are still here, then I know you will understand that sometimes the good in a person has never left, but sometimes gets covered up by the stuff of the world.  But God came to free the world and I am just one person longing for that freedom while waiting for the rewards along the way.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Truth About Marriage

I have thought about this post so many times in the last 10 months. YES, 10 months! People, I am literally 2 months from the one year mark where the ex-Mr walked away. I know, I know, I am TOTALLY the last person to dole out marriage advice. I mean, hell, I've been divorced twice now -we'll leave it at they both moved on, but I am the woman that gets left for a different model. Ok, so I'm not being fair to this blog post or myself here. I have a point. I hope you stick around long enough to read it.

Truth, marriage is not easy. It is actually the hardest thing you will EVER do in life. I understand that many people do NOT want to hear marriage advice from a twice-divorced, single woman. But, it's my blog and you ARE here. Now, now, I am not trying to be a smarty-pants, it's just, well, sometimes you have to walk a mile in those shoes to realize the full extent of the blisters they create. So here are a few things I'd like to share. Again, I am not claiming to be Ann Landers, Dr. Ruth, Dr. Phil, Oprah, or any Deepak you may run across. I am me with MY story and MY view, hindsight granted of course, of what it takes for marriage to work.

1.  Don't go to bed angry.  Actually, this was something that I was told at my bridal shower the first time I got married.  I laughed at it then. I thought it was absolutely silly.  Then I realized that no matter how angry you were/are, make-up sex isn't going to cure what ails.  You HAVE to work it out.  Yes, it takes words and time.

2.  Don't sweep the crap under the rug.  Alright, I am a HORRIBLE house wife.  I admit it.  I stink at all things domestic cleaning.  Ask my girl T, she'll tell you.  But that isn't what I am talking about here.  This is an extension of #1.  Talk it out people.  DO NOT let it go.  It builds.  It festers.  It becomes the cotton pickin' elephant in the 10x10 room.  You think it's all good, then one day you trip over the rug.  DO NOT let the sun go down on your issue.  He/She is worth more than that.  Give it to them.

3. Don't forget the thing that attracted you to them in the first place.  Time has a way of changing who you are.  Who they are.  Time will make you look, act, think, be different.  But, that person you are with, the one you gave a solemn vow to, the one you promised to love until death do you part...he/she is still there.  At the root of who they are, they are still there.  Yes, you have both changed over the years.  Yes, you have both matured and grown and found new interests.  But, for the sake of all things holy, look at your mate, LOOK AT THEM, look them in their eyes.   In those eyes is the same youthful hope of the forever that was promised to them.  Don't steal that away.

4.  Don't speak in anger.  I know more than anyone the impossibility of this item.  In fact, there is almost a surreal amount of freedom that can be had in being able to talk in FULL HONESTY with the one you swore your tomorrow's too.  But, in the same breath, do not belittle, degrade, cut down, remove, abolish, or extinguish their view of you and the love you have shared.  Do NOT take this away.  No matter how much you think you are ready to move on...you aren't.  It is simply NOT that easy.

5.  Seek them FIRST!  Ok, this may seem absolutely, positively, without a doubt like the most absurd bit of advice.  It is not. I assure you.  Actually, I want to let you know the devil lives here.  He lives in those moments when you chose to go to another person of the opposite sex with your woes, your troubles, and your wants.  Just DO NOT go here.  I know it hurts.  I know it is so, very, very hard. But this person, the one you gave your tomorrow's to, they want to be that person you run to. Most especially when they do not express it.  Hurt creates hurt people.  Do not run from each other.  (Disclaimer - physical abuse in any form is a good reason to run.  Just saying.)

6.  Don't forget those 3 little words.  I can remember in the days leading up to and definitely the days following the ex-Mr's journey elsewhere, where I longed, LONGED, to hear him say "I love you."  Truth, I'd check my phone dozens of times a day to see if he texted to tell me just that.  You see, we didn't tell each other that every day.  It was something that we took for granted.  Something that we thought was an understood.  Or at least I did.  But, news flash...IT IS NOT!  Do NOT underestimate the power of what an "I Love You" will deliver.

7.  Talk to each other.  Oh my word.  If I had a dollar for every time I wish I had someone to talk to.  Someone to share my thoughts and feelings with. Hell, I'd be able to retire tomorrow and live like a queen.  But that is just it.  Your forever someone, your spouse, they are that person.  Now, I won't negate the power a best friend, of the SAME sex, has.  In fact, I have a few very, very close girlfriends I go to when I am in a particular frame of mind (and girls I LOVE YOU for your strength, honesty, friendship, and ability to be wholly you), but the truth of the matter is, NO ONE should go to a member of the opposite sex for consolation.  I know, pot and kettle here, yes...they are both black.  I accept my fault in this AND my lesson learned.  Do not go to someone else.  Go to them first.

8.  It is going to suck from time to time.  There is NO 100% perfect, always in love, I couldn't bare living a moment without you, type of love on this planet.  It doesn't exist.  No, HONESTLY, LOOK at it.   From all sides.  There is not an easy road when in a relationship, especially the forever kind of relationship.  There is talking, fighting, compromising, praying, silently choking...hahahaha...ok, perhaps not so much, but this is someone you COMMITTED yourself too.  This is someone who knows more about you than anyone else. You have to accept the suck.  You just have to.  And during that time, love them more.

9.  It takes unconditional love.  We as humans are actually wired for love.  Love is one of those things that God put in us.  He gave us the capacity, the desire, and the total want for love.  He created us to be loving beings.  And when he created us for this, He saw himself as the recipient, and also designed us to find a life-long mate to grow in that same type of love together, for each other and ultimately with him.  Yet, we are a fallen people.  I cannot get any clearer or more vague than this.  I don't want to lose you with this point.  I think this is where we fall.  This right here is where marriages fail.  You have to be able to look at that person and say, "no matter what level of hell we are going to enter into today, I promise myself and you, that I will begin and end it with you and with you only in mind.  And when I feel a pull anywhere else, I will seek God to direct my path."  I know I lost a lot of you at this point.  Honestly, I lost myself at this point a couple times in the past.  I hate that truth about myself.

10.  Give.  The last thing I want to leave you with is simply, give.  I know it hurts more than anything to give and give and give.  To want to provide for the other.  To give your time, thoughts, talent, heaven's ANYTHING to another and not have it returned.  It is beyond words the most heart wrenching thing that can happen to you.  Hurting people do not receive well and they most definitely do not give well, but give anyway.  Give yourself.  Time, talent, treasure.  All.  Love, in all that it is, is giving.  It is putting yourself aside to ensure the other person has.  I know it will destroy parts of you when not returned.  In fact, it WILL reduce you to nothing, but give anyway. GIVE ANYWAY.  Never stop giving.  And in that giving, one more thing you can do is Pray.

Pray without ceasing.

And there you have it. My opinion on what it takes.  Now, again, I am not an expert on keeping it together, but I am an expert on being left.  On being the one no one wants.  In that, I can see where I failed and what I'd give as my two cents.  People.  Listen.  Divorce is ugly. It will NOT free you. It will not give you what you thought you were looking for.  It also leaves the person  you left wondering.  Hoping.  Questioning for all eternity.  Yes, brokenness is awful and painful, but give it time to look past that and focus on what was fixed and right.  Because there WAS a lot of right.  You just have to give it the time necessary to find it again.

I do care for you...you people I don't know and most especially those I do.  Look inside, confide in the right ways.  I wish you the most beautiful of tomorrows and the unending joy of a forever kind of love.  I want, more than anything, for you to be happy in the ways I long to be. Please know I want you to be happy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Going Back

Tonight at Bible Study, as I was looking up the lesson's focal verse, I stumbled upon all the underlined verses that spoke to me and the notes to God that I had penned during that time I fought to keep the now ex-Mr. I can see in those words, the Lord's and Mine, the basis of my hope and strength.  You see, I had put it ALL in Him. I had trusted.  I had no where else to go.  I didn't want to go anywhere else.  I believed.  He's a big God.  He's a miracle worker. Then somewhere between the day the ex-Mr. moved out and today, I stopped going to the Lord for my hope and strength. I stopped.  I had begun to put that on something else. I've alluded to this over the months since then, quite a few times actually.  I really don't have the desire to tell you what that is, but I will.  I need to.  Not because I want sympathy, no, but because I need to share it.  I need to let you know that it is ok to be there too.  That is if you are, or have been. But also because I have nothing to hide. I started to put my hope and strength into relationships with others.  Building relationships with others.  Sometimes right relationships, sometimes not. 

Here's the thing, there is some merit to seeing the past through the eyes of the present. Hear me out.  At that time I didn't see myself as a strong person. I felt weak, broken, and insignificant.  I felt hopeless and helpless.  Despite how I felt I have had many, so very many, of my friends tell me that they admired my strength.  I look back at myself and see the outwardly quiet struggle and the heartfelt fight I put up.  I did it.  I was strong.  Then I stopped giving it to God.  I wanted to do it my way.  I wanted to fill the void. I wanted to stop the pain.  I wanted to move on. He wasn't getting me there fast enough. So, I wanted to help Him along.  I thought I knew better.  I.  Me.  Sigh...

But now, now I want to go back.  I want to go back and redo some of the choices I made along the way.  Oh don't get me wrong, I've read and prayed and attended church over these past months, not as much as I should have, but I still, at times, clung to what I knew was a core truth; especially as I struggled the hardest, particularly when the right and the wrong warred against itself in my head. And it was at those times with the original source of my hope and strength reminded me He longed to be that source again.  But I'd fight Him - harder.  Then, I'd struggle more. You know what?  Things went good for a while, perfect and beautiful actually.  Don't get me wrong here, I loved during that time.  I was loved during that time.  However, in the end I ended up with more lessons - and they aren't necessarily bad ones.

Tonight the lesson I learned, and it had nothing to do with the actual Bible study, which I am sure was good, but I was too busy writing this post on a scratch piece of paper to hear all of it (sorry Pastor), was there is no going back.  We can't. Sure, going back would be easier, safer, better even, but growth, change, new hope, and strength come from the going forward.  It comes from seeing where you were with the transitions and changes that occurred.  Perhaps even more important is that which still needs to occur.  So, as I contemplate all the ways going back would undo my current hurt, pain, and hard lessons learned, I'm going to live with it, accept it and take this moment to let you know that I am anxiously awaiting the going forward.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Words

Words are powerful things.  Words, over time, can create emotion, feelings, and circumstances.  Words are one of those things when not wisely administered or received can put you somewhere you never thought you would be.  Words are also those things that will lift you up, carry you on wings like eagle's, and deliver the most beautiful of moments.  Words.

It started with words.  It started with conversation.  One thought into another.  One idea shared, one dream uttered, one truth over time becoming daily revelations of truths.  Words shared continuously, never ceasing in some cases.  I giggle at the amount of words; beautiful words, true and honest words.  Not that they were funny, but that there were so many.  Epic levels of words.  EPIC! 

And that is where the words turned into the longing for a call.  An impromptu visit for a hug.  And time.  More time.  Then the time lead to anticipation of more.  So much more.  It became me, falling.  Falling hopelessly, deeply.  I won't lie.  I can't.  But he did too.  I will not deny myself this truth.  And it was real.  It was honest.  It was.  While it was.  Even now.  At least...

Then one day, a very important one day, after days, weeks even of not doing this, I prayed.  I prayed hard.  Tears streaming, nose dripping, heart aching, voice raising, deeply meant prayers.  In fact, I remember pulling out of the end of my street, onto the main road leading out of town, past the building that would, in a couple hours from that time, hold an important meeting, and starting to pray.  I prayed for him, for her, for them.  For all of it.  Yes, I selflessly prayed.  I had to. I felt the desire to.  I told him I would when he asked.  I just let God lead the words. 

And that is what it came to.  Words.  More words.  Yet these words, they had an impact because God did what God always does. He listened.  He listened to the words I was saying.  He took them and grew them, he planted them, and used them.  He was getting me to do what I not only promised to do, but to show that He was still in control.  He always is. 

And that day, that day was like a tsunami had hit.  The ocean pulled back from shore, the tide swelled, and it came rushing back to shore with ginormous results.  God had taken that prayer and answered it.  Oh, he does that.  He will always answer those prayers that are aligned to His will.  He has to.  It is in His nature and His nature never changes.  However, He always does this in His timing.  So, that day, when the shore changed, I didn't see it at first.  I was lost helping pick up the debris.  Then I noticed it.  The next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.  How?

The words.  They started to dry up.  The many, many words.  The sweetly intoxicating, deeply moving, significantly heartfelt words started to dissipate.  I tried to fight it with more words of my own.  Pushing, pulling, and in the end, the writing, the words, they were on the wall.  It was inevitable.  It hurts, I'm sad, but I know that God is at work. If not in every way, at least in the way He should be.  He is there, with His word.  The ones penned centuries ago to share, to fill, to comfort.  His words.

Today, I can't deny, because I am still raw with emotion, that I miss the sound of his voice, the calming and exciting feeling his words provided.  But also, today, today I did get one thing.  I got the answer I knew to be true, one that I will keep and hold on to, because truth, all three sides of it, are in those words.  They are mine.  They are his.  They are full of past tense.

So, friends, as I put these words down, know one thing, your words, no matter how simple or complex never fall unheard.  You can't unspeak them.  You can recant, retract, and work to negate, but once out they are there.  And these, these are my words.  The ones I can give of the ones I received. 

Now I am left to rest firmly in the words that can heal, lift, build, and restore.  The ones that can do so much for everyone.  The ones that speak the undaunting truth in love and firmness.  For the Bible says, "the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Again

This post will be broken into several posts; rather, this subject will be broken into several posts.  My mind has runneth over.  My thoughts, my feelings, my, well, everything.  There were days when the well-spring had dried up; when the words wouldn't come. Now, now when I have so much sadness, love, hurt, happiness, just plain emotion in general I can't seem to stop the words from fighting each other in my mind. 

Again.  It happened again. I hate to be so transparent, but I guess I'm the leaving type.  I know that isn't being fair to me or to him.  He had to do this.  He had to take care of things on his end.  I'm going to start this series about him.  Many of you who follow this blog know the him I am referring to.  Then there are many who don't.  It's ok whichever side of the story you are on, you will know him by the end of this.  You will know the him who stole my heart, made it grow, taught me a few things, and then, had to go do what was necessary for himself.  Either way, know he is a great man.  I have no regrets or hurt towards him.

I'd like to tell you his name.  I won't.  Those who know me personally, know us, know his name.  I respect him too much to do so publicly.   I met him again (read post entitled "Then There Was You") about five months ago.  It was a friendly encounter.  We met up to go shoot.  I had always wanted to learn how to shoot.  He was simply kind enough to show me how.  We had breakfast first, a bit of time to catch up.  I mean I honestly hadn't seen him since high school.  A lot had changed for the both of us since that day in June 1996.  Time.  Time has a way of doing a lot of things.  That morning, that morning I think I laughed and smiled more than I had in years.  It was so cool to catch up with an old friend.  And seriously that is all it was.  Old friends sharing old stories, then sharing new stories.  Then we shot some guns and that was it.  Until that wasn't it anymore.

Have you ever met someone that the whole of their being was enough to make you smile?  That just talking to them made your heart smile?  Have you ever had the pleasure of opening yourself up, being as transparent and truthful as you can be - no make-up, no fancy dress, no made-up stories, no omissions of failure or flaw, just 100% honesty over who you are and aren't?  Never in my life have I been that open with anyone but my friends. MY FRIENDS.  Guys I've dated...hell no!  I mean, after all, there is nothing cool about me they'd like, right?  I hate to reveal this about me, but it's a fact.  But with him, I was open.  Actually, I was honest to a fault I might add. I did not sugar coat a single thing about who I am.  I giggle now because I was asking him for relationship advice almost straight off.  You see I was dating someone at the time we met up again.  Funny now for sure.

And that is it, this guy who listened, who shared, who talked to me like an equal, who gave 100% of who he was, slowly started filling my heart.  This guy who would give his last dollar to feed you, give you the shirt off his back to cloth you, give you the last of anything he had so that you didn't go without.  This man, who is made up of so much heart, soul, and love - stole mine.  Oh, I don't mean that to sound negative in the least.  He is some kind of wonderful.  He has a laugh that sings in your ears, a smile that brightens the room, and a hug that comforts you and takes all your fears away.  He is a rare one indeed.  He is a treasure.

As we talked and shared the similarities started mounting.  The things we liked, disliked, believed in - all of it.  It became almost comical the way two people who hadn't seen each other in almost two decades, and weren't exactly close when we did know each other before, could align so much. We'd laugh about that.  He has an old soul, traditional actually.  He is adventurous, yet grounded.  He is easily excited, yet calm.  He is strong, yet honest enough to admit weakness.  He is a man and still has the presence of mind to feel the pain of others.  He is gentle and sincere.  He wears all this out in the open and if you care enough to really know him you'd see that.  You'd also see that his level of respect is profound. His love of life, his children, his family, people in general, is profound.  It makes him who he is.

And that is what I want to share with you today.  Him.  This man who brought me back to the again. I can't predict the future, but I know my past.  I know what these last months were.  I know what they proved and showed me.  I know that in these next few days, weeks perhaps, as I share my story, that you will see that sometimes, the again, though painful, is ok.  That the joy and beauty of what again can teach, far outweighs the hurt of not seeing the future.  None of us are promised tomorrow and we cannot live in the past, but we can cherish each now as it comes.  For my healing I'm going to cherish my past, my recent past, and use that to get through each day.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Run

I run.  I run miles and miles and miles.  I'd like to say that I do it because I want to be a contender for the Boston Marathon, but I don't.  I run because when I am overwhelmed it is the one way I release that pent up energy.  This energy I speak of isn't always from having it to burn, but from an over abundance of feeling that I cannot get through.  Some people, like the one that I love, work with their hands, brute physical force, it is what they use to get through the feelings.  They can channel all that emotion and make beautiful things.  Me, I run.

I'd like to say I'm making a beautiful thing.  Perhaps changing my shape could become that thing, but right now, it is a way to let go of the emotion that controls my life.  And it does.  I have been taken over by my emotions.  I had these in those early days and months.  Those days where I started to channel the energy into working out and getting healthier.  The healthy I dig.  Actually, the healthy I want.  Running is just a great way to get there.

But I also wonder if it isn't more than that.  Do I run because I'm working through the pain, or because I am trying to run from it?  I am improving my time for a 5k, but when it comes to distance, I'm not sure where I am.  That's the way with life too.  I can run from or work through things in the short go of it, but when it comes to sustaining the pace and making a longer go of it I flounder, terribly.  I've had a couple of good, long runs.  Literally, not metaphorically, but not as many as I should.  This is true with my life.

I seem to master the short run.  I am decently good at the 5k.  But when it comes to a 10k, a 13.1 or in some cases the 26.2 I'm a goner.  There is nothing there.  I peter out. I shoot out of the gate, get a good position, and then slowly slink to the back.  I become lost in the end.  Now, that said, I've not actually ran anything, competitively that is, greater than a 5k.  For grins and giggles I've ran 8 miles...yes, that is actually fun.  I'm competitive at heart.  I'm not a world class runner, but I will push myself until I can not bear the pain anymore and then I will kick it in just a bit more.

And it is that and that alone that pushes me through these emotions.  I seem to brunt the pain until I cannot anymore.  Then, when it becomes overwhelming, I run.  I run literally and metaphorically. I run miles, like today I did a 5k in 24:19, you know, just for fun...actually to get the pain out.  I run to my keyboard to put it out there, to get it out of me, I run away from the thing(s) that I perceive to be the cause of the pain, and even, when I don't want to run away, I run to - full speed ahead - to the thing that is causing the pain.  Sometimes for understanding, sometimes because I want to fix it and keep it, sometimes to be shown that the pain isn't real.

But, in any view of it, it simply comes to the fact - I run.  I run and run and run.  God talks to us about running the race.  The good race.  I'm sure there is a Bible story here, somewhere.  Somewhere with my life.  I've actually asked God many times over the years to make a Bible story out of me.  Not because I want the praise, but because I want Him to use me to show others that He really is in the business of loving and caring and building His people.  But with that said, I want to share, right now, in this same breath, that during the race, like the one I am in right now, I do not feel it.  I am not feeling like He is here, for me, with me.  But I know what the Bible says and what I have been taught, so I will hold on to that.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:1-2

"24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.." - 1 Corinthians 9:24-25






Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Propelling Piece

We all have that one thing that propels us, that makes us more of who we are than anything else. We all have that thing we have to tap into. Sometimes we tap into the wrong sources of it, sometimes we search for it in all the wrong ways and it crushes us when we are faced with the depth of the wrongness, but in the end there is still that one thing. Can you name your one thing?  Can you look deeply, honestly, and truthfully at yourself and pinpoint that one thing?

I posed this question of myself after talking with an old friend today.  That's the thing about old friends, they knew you before you were you.  I mean in the grown up sense of it that is.  They knew you when you were a kid, when you were going through the awkwardness of growing into your grown-up form.  One of the better things about old friends is that they may not have seen your progression through adulthood and because of that they have a smidgen of clarity on the basis of who you are.


There is a lot to be said for the way we grow.  The way the days, weeks, months, and years of life change us.  The ways we adapt to situations, people, circumstances and life in general.  And I guess that is the point here.  We humans have to constantly evolve, change, roll with it.  Now, don't misunderstand me here, we all have our core truths, our core basis for working through and dealing with these changes.  After all, at the end of the day we still have to have our integrity to hold on to.  Or in the least, we should. 

But how do we let changes define us?  Do we crumble and fall?  Do we sit and lick our wounds non-stop to a point they never heal?  Or do we look for the answers, get what we need to some degree, and learn.  And from that lesson do we move on?  How do we apply the lesson in the forward movement?  Do we go back and relearn it a time or two because we failed to read all of its little cues? 

And all of this, all.of.this.  it is defined by that one propelling force.  That one thing we all look at as a defining piece of the puzzle.  I know the shape of my puzzle piece, do you know yours?

Monday, August 12, 2013

If...

I did that one thing that I never thought I would do.  I questioned.  I questioned the one constant I have always had in my life.  I questioned the one person who has never left me.  I questioned him, his faithfulness, and his love for me.  I questioned God.  I think the bigger question is why.

Why did I question him, his love, his faithfulness?  Why am I in this position?  Because I am broken.  I admit it.  Actually I have admitted it many, many times over this past almost year.  I'm broken.  I'm human.  In my humanness I have reduced my pain, my struggle, my heartache to one thing...a question of God's love for me.

I have taken that stance where I have put myself in a place where I think I need to be more important than him.  I can't be.  I never will be.  None of us will actually.  It's a fact whether you are a believer or not.  We simply never will be, nor can be, better than God.  My moment of smallness, which was a way of exercising my self-induced greatness, made me try to be better than him.  This hurts.

I know he loves me.  Cares for me.  Wants what is best for me.  And yes, even in those wants he sees the desires of my heart.  He sees all that I wish for, dream for, long for, hope for, strive for, ALL OF IT, he sees it.  He also knows what part of it is what I need and what parts of it I don't.  He isn't a mean God.  Nope.  Never.  He is just.  And that, that right there is why I am where I am.

He will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER, give me the desires of my heart until they are aligned with his.  That takes a complete and total undoing of myself and a complete infilling of him.  But I'm scared.  I'm scared that what he wants for my life isn't at all what I want.  I'm scared that he is going to not answer the one thing I want most.  The one thing that I want more than anything else on this Earth.  I won't utter it here.  Not now.  Just know that he knows and I know.

That is the thing about God.  He knows all.  Even those things we hide from ourselves.  He knows that which is the best for us and that which is the worst for us. And I truly think that if we, heaven's I, stop long enough and listen I, too, would know which is which.  But it hurts.  It hurts more and more and more.  It hurts like there is no tomorrow.  It hurts like a hundred pound weight being dropped on my pinkie toe.  Pain hurts.  Reality hurts. 

I think the thing that hurts the worse is knowing that no matter how much effort on my own part, I will never truly have the desires of my heart.  That they will not come to me because I want them.  That I will not have the thing I want most because God simply won't give it to me yet.  I don't know if he ever will either.  He doesn't have to.  He doesn't have to give us anything.  Honestly, I think he wants to make sure I learn my lesson first.  Sadly time is not on my side, only his. 

So, as I sit here completely broken, having now officially questioned the one thing I never should while the tears run down my face, I think of all the ways my wish could come true.  If my wish will ever come true.  If...there is always an if...

Do you hear me God? 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Twas the Night Before School...

and all through the house.  Not a creature was stirring....WAIT????!!!! WHAT???!!!

Heaven's yes they are stirring.  I can't get these littles to calm down to save my life.  You'd think I bought them each a case of pixie sticks and a 2 liter of Mountain Dew with a Monster chaser and sent them upstairs.  Now, I know, it is all just nervous energy.  The excitement of starting another  school year.  The joy of getting to see some of their friends again after a long summer of not seeing them.  I get this.  I do, really.  After all, it hasn't been THAT long ago since...ha!  Who am I kidding?  It has been 18 years since I've had a "first day of school" - in the traditional sense at least.

This is a milestone year in our house for many reasons.  For happiness' sake I'm going to start with the positives.  They are all tear jerking in some manner or form.  I'll shed tears tomorrow.  I know.  Yes, I'll be that mom with the snot dripping, tear soaked face hugging her littles at the front doors.  It's truly a blessing getting to embarrass them like that.  Oh, come on.  I wouldn't DARE do that to them...or would I?  *insert evil laugh*

First, my biggest little, the one who started my path of mommydom is entering 6th grade. YES!  6th GRADE!  Holy hell here people.  This is epic.  I mean here lies the start of pre-teen angst, whirlwind emotions, puberty (ack), lessons about boys, changing classrooms for each subject, lockers, gym class, on and on and on...I just PRAY she has a better go of it than I did.  I can still remember my first day AND what I wore.  Yes, it is truly a gift.  No, it was that mortifying.  At least my little has the benefit of being with the same group of kids since pre-school.  I was thrust upon my peers in an ever so non-eloquent way.  Yes...angst....sigh... Carry on my head-strong, self-sufficient, independent girl.  Show them what YOU are made of!

Second, my middle little, well, she is in 4th grade.  She is the quintessential middle little.  She is a strong willed child with whom I butt heads at every turn.  She is also a very, very dramatic child, but mostly she just likes the reassurance that she isn't forgotten.  This year, she is the big sister in school.  So she gets to help her little sister.  This is a big role to hold.  I'm excited for her for this.  I think deep down she is also very excited.  She gets to have responsibility and help.  That and she gets to wield her new iPad tomorrow.  My generation had the ink pen...hers a stylus.  Carry on my little princess warrior and show them what YOU are made of!

Third, my littlest little.  My baby.  My precious little girl, who is also FULL.up.to.her.eyeballs. in mischief, is entering Kindergarten.  The BIG K!  She is so excited she is bouncing off the walls.  Literally.  I can't calm this one down.  We've already had a wardrobe meltdown of epic proportions.  We finally settled on an outfit only to have her put it on already and wear it for the past hour.  I'm thinking I'm going to have to make a midnight run to Wal-Mart and pick her up something special.  She is my clothes kid.  Don't laugh, this is going to be a REAL issue in the years to come.  I can't wait to hear about her first day.  The new kids she meets, the new teacher, everything.  I know her passion for making people laugh will land her in time out or detention or what ever it is they have now, but I wouldn't have her any other way.  Carry on my little class clown and show them what YOU are made of.

Last, and this is the milestone that could be left untouched, unspoken really.  This will be their first school year where mommy and daddy aren't together.  But, because the ex-mister and I really are decent friends, not to mention great parents, we are going to be there, together, for them this first day.  He will walk with us as in all years past, taking pictures, holding hands...with them, not me...as we send our littles off for yet another year of learning and adventure.  Who says that changes in life can't be modified and worked to the best of everyone's interest.  After all, it isn't them he divorced and compromise and working together for those who need it the most, is the best lesson learnt.  You, know, since we're all getting schooled here.  So, we will carry on and show them what WE are made of!

Happy School Year to All and to All a Good Night!!!!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mountains Out of Molehills

There are times when I over think things.  And by over thinking I really, truly, honestly mean
O-V-E-R       T-H-I-N-K-I-N-G!
 
The Bible tells us not to worry.  In fact here are a couple of verses:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:34

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? - Luke 12:25-26

Yet this is what I do.  I worry.  I worry for many reasons. The most prevalent reason?  I over think.  I create things that aren't there.  I take a situation and make it grow into something it isn't, then I worry about it.  I, quite simply, make mountains out of molehills.  There are times when these hills are warranted.  When there are enough slivers of truth,  yes the kind that is viewed from all three sides, that it grows greater than it should.  Sometimes the truth is just the truth.  Accepting it for what it is and not making it something it isn't is hard.  HARD!

Regrettably I am turning bits, slivers, crumbs, of truth into things they may or may not become.  I have allowed my perceptions, my basis for it all, to take these hills and grow them into mountains.  K2's in some degree. But the problem here is that once it gets that big, grows that far out of control, scaling it becomes difficult and in the worst case - improbable.  And from there - destruction.  This, this annihilation of the bits, via the mountain, do more than destroy you, a piece of you, but also anyone else that may be involved.  In many ways, no hill ever affects just you.

While climbing this mountain you are going to express or not express feelings and words.  You are going to fall in on yourself, wrap yourself in a cloak of darkness that consumes really.  You are going to have regrets and remorse.  You are going to have good days and bad days.  You are going to gain some  altitude and lose your footing.  In fact, when mountain climbing, the professionals always suggest you use the buddy system, a climbing partner.  That you always have another there to help you.  Yet, these mountains, the ones created from mole hills, we, rather I, never seek a buddy.  I wait until I've taken it so far in a direction it was never meant to go before I share or ask for help.  Often times it is too late to fix the damage done.  Even if that damage is only to myself. 

After, and always after, the effect has taken its toll do I remember.  I remember that my partner, my buddy, to get over this mountain, is one that has been standing there screaming...yes, screaming, in His still small voice, "I'm Here, Mandy, I'm here.  Have faith.  Trust.  Pray.  Ask me.  Lean on me."  And when I get to that point, where I see the summit and I stop long enough to really, truly focus, I realize that the climb was unwarranted.  That I wasted too much time and energy, because of one thing.  ONE.GREAT.BIG.HUGE.THING.  And it isn't a mountain.  But something altogether smaller.  Infinitely smaller -

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. " Matthew 17:20 (emphasis mine)

And that's it.  I made a mountain out of a molehill.  A mountain I tried to climb to get to the other side where things were to be better, but the truth of it was, had I just had a small bit of faith I could have moved it out of my way altogether.  Moved it!  Then the better could have been enjoyed more because I'd have had the energy to do so. 

That is what I have for you today lovelies.  I have a bit of faith that is trying to regrow.  I have a mountain that I'm tired of climbing, one of my own making.  I have me, myself, here that is ready to learn from what I know to be the truth.  Accept it for the truth.  Enjoy each day as it comes and love each person in the day as best as I can.  And I do love.  Completely.  (But that is entirely another blog.) So, I'm taking off the harness, hanging up the backpack and boots, trusting in my partner, and focusing on my faith.

So that when I get to the other side of this mountain, what's waiting for me gets 100% of me.  And I've got my faith intact and the energy to give.


DOES NOT EQUAL