Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June

I'm going to try to make this short, more because I only have about 20 minutes before I have to leave for work than because I don't have much to say.  I hate this time of year.  I try really hard not to hate it, really I do.  In fact, today is a very special day for someone I love.  Today is my Mr.'s birthday.  I truly hope he likes his gift and that today is filled with blessings for him.  However, outside of that one thing, there isn't much I care for in this month.

Why is this month so horrible?  Well, for the days leading up to my own birthday they serve as an anticipation for a day that has never been special for me, and for the days that follow it, they serve as a transition back to life as normal.  Why do I hate my birthday so much?  It has nothing to do with aging, after all, none of us can change the course of that.  I hate my birthday so much because it is nothing more than a reminder of the day I was born to someone who hates me.

I have no fond birthday memories growing up.  I didn't have birthday parties and celebrations, my brother and sister did but they aren't the ones who ruined our mom's life - I was.  She's told me that.  When I was younger.  I ruined her life.  I didn't ask to, but I did and it is a weight I have carried my entire life (well, since she told me) and who likes to think their existence is a reason for someone else's pain? Mine is.

It is hard growing up knowing the only people who wanted you were your grandparents, yet those people are no longer here, so I am left with the nothingness of love that parents should give their children. I think this is why I try so hard to give my Littles the best birthdays ever.  Birthdays should be a celebration of the gift of life the Lord gives us, not the reminder of how much of a mistake you were.

I was a mistake.  I have been told this time and again, my brother, 20 months younger than me, was not.  He is a boy.  He has always been more special because of that.  Then my baby sister, 10 years younger than me, well, isn't it the way of things the baby of the family gets more attention.  I know, you are reading this and thinking why is a woman, nearing the last year of her third decade of life writing like a sullen teen?  No matter how old you get, you are still someone's child. For some of us, that is a cause of great joy, for other's it is a cause of great sadness.

I can never do anything right.  My life is nothing to my family, most especially my mom. I wish she could love me like my siblings, but perhaps the pain of the way I ruined her life, all those years ago, is too much. I am sorry for that.  I truly didn't mean to.  So, with that I say this - I cannot change where I came from.  I cannot even change who I came from, but I will love those who the Lord gave me with all of my heart - because He loved me enough to bless me with them.

Should I bump into you in the next few days, please don't take my withdrawn nature personally.  I will snap out of it.  I will be ok.  It has nothing to do with how I feel about you, it has everything to do with how I feel about myself and the reminder of the date that is the biggest reminder of what I am.

Happy June.
- M

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Little Food For Thought

I'm reading in Exodus right now.  I have to tell you, the names of the people in ancient times were something else!  I love the old testament stories.  I love reading about all the ways God cared for His people, about how He made ordinary people into leaders and protectors of His people.  I love reading how much God loves us.  It is absolutely amazing.

There is something else that is absolutely amazing to me - the way His people missed all the ways they were being loved and cared for.  Now, I'd like to tell you I would never, ever in a million years behave, react, or otherwise compromise the blessings the way the Israelites did in the Old Testament.  However, I am most certain telling you that would be a farce.  You see, I do.  I do behave and act the way they did.  I do compromise the blessings I have been given the way they did.  How?  Let's look.

In Chapter 16 the Lord tells Moses he is going to provide some food each day for the Israelites.  Wait, let's back up.  Here are thousands of men, women, and children, along with all their livestock and household necessities, traveling to this far off place called, "The Promise Land". These people have just spent many years in brutal, harsh slavery in Egypt and now they get to live the good life.  God uses Moses and Aaron to take this group to their destination. We are at the beginning of this journey - God had just parted a sea and let them walk across it on dry land and then closed it up behind them to protect them from their slave owners.  WOW!  He totally had their backs.   I guess where I'm going with that is this - if He can make a dry path through a sea, He can totally provide food for His people.

However, I think this story is a lot less about what God can do and more of how we perceive it.  Work with me here.  These people were on a long walk.  They were tired, hot (traveling through a desert can do that to you), and hungry.  I don't know about you but when I get hungry I get a wee bit testy.  You could use the word, hangry if you'd like. I am most certain these people were just as hangry. Multiply that by thousands and you pretty much have a lynch mob on your hands.  What do they do?  They complain.  Yep.  Stellar, thumbs-up move.  By the way, I have Littles, I am quite accustomed to this phenomenon of complaining.  (HA!)

Moses and Aaron take the full brunt of this complaining too.  Despite that, Moses puts them in their place.  He calls them out on their antics - "Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord." (16:8b) He knew what was up.  Here these folks were being given manna in the morning and quail at night.  Given.  As in the quail were just wandering freely for the taking and the manna was there, covering the ground each day.  I mean, free food - why grumble, right?!  God gave these things with 2 stipulations - one, they could only take what they could eat each day except for the 6th day where they could take double portions and two, on the seventh day they were to rest.  "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions'." (16:4)  Sounds easy enough to me.  What could possibly go wrong?!

Yet some did.  They tried taking more.  And in so doing it would get maggots and stink to high heaven (pardon the pun).  Yuck to the Nth degree and then some.  Why on Earth, if they knew they had enough each day, and there would always be provisions for the next, would they store the stuff up?  Here is what I think and how it all made sense to me:

How many times have you crammed for something?  Like a test?  I am the best at this.  I wait, wait, wait, and then cram in as much as I can last minute to help me to my destination (acing the test, presenting my idea, etc).  I'd like to think this worked well for me throughout my schooling.  It did too, until my last degree, but that is neither here nor there. Like the Israelites, I tend to cram.  After all, a single dose of cramming is far easier than a daily dose of doing, right?  Wrong! We're going to take this up a notch now.  We still have seven days in a week.  For those of us who do, we use Sunday as our day of worship and time with God.  This day, the last day where we are to rest, we use it to cram in as much of the word of God as we can so that we have provisions for the rest of the week.  Here's the thing.  It doesn't work that way.  Nope, not a lick.  In fact, it gets filled with maggots and stink.

Now, it isn't the truths we hear on Sunday that is bad, it is the environment we take it into that pollutes it.  (Kind of like the rocky, weed infested soil in the New Testement.)  But God gives us a daily provision.  He has given us His word and His spirit.  Each day we can spend time in the word, filling up on the truths He has for us and each day we can talk freely with and come before Him.  You see, we don't need to cram for (or store up) provisions on a single day, we can take what we need each and every day to grow stronger and healthier.  Why is this so important?

We will all, at some point in our lives, walk through a desert time.  Some of us will have a short trip and some of us will get a 40-year experience. Neither scenario is worse than or better than the other, it just simply is what it is. Regardless of the length of the stay, our God is unchanging.  He is unwavering in His love for us and He is undoubtedly steadfast in His provisions for us.  While I don't see us out chasing a quail or gathering manna in a ceramic jar, I do see us opening His word and bowing our heads.  Daily. 

Hope you have a good week and get plenty to eat ;)

-M

Sunday, June 11, 2017

While Making Other Plans

I think the hardest thing as an adult is accepting life happens while you are making other plans. It is frustrating, to say the least. It isn't that I feel I should be entitled to any one thing in particular, but that I should be able to have something go my way - even if it is every once in a while.  I've held on to the dream of becoming a teacher for so many years.  In fact, the idea of teaching is one that I get horribly emotional about.  To me, teaching is the most important profession, the noblest and most honorable one too.  After all, without teachers, no one can become what they become.  Think on that.  However, be as it may, that is not the reason I have always wanted to teach.  No.  I have always wanted to teach because I love to share knowledge with others.  I love to read something and learn something new, then pass it on to others. I cannot say I am the best at it because frankly, I've never had the opportunity in a structured way to actually do it.

Now, all that said, in the months following the completion of my MBA, I have hit several closed doors.  One could even say brick walls - simply because they hurt more. I have applied to many universities and colleges, even my Alma Mater. All of which have been to no avail.  I did get a promising hit a couple months ago, I even went through a rigorous process only to not hear back - neither in the affirmative or negative.  It's a good thing I can read between the lines!  In addition to all of this, I have come to learn that our state has some pretty interesting rules for becoming a teacher.  I have a degree that allows for an alternative license, but I have to have a year of teaching (not substitute) to be eligible or I have to go back and get another degree.  The only benefit of my current education in that option being I won't have to take the big test at the end!

So, what does all of that have to do with anything?  Not too much really other than I think sometimes closed doors are for our own good.  Sometimes we can have passions and desires, hopes and dreams in life but that doesn't mean we have what it takes to arrive at them.  And it is ok!  Sure it hurts but it isn't the end of the world.  I have learned that taking the working world approach to my education has helped me appreciate the value of my education even if it was at the expense of my dreams.  That said, I know too, that the Lord didn't give me the Spiritual Gift of Teaching for nothing.  I trust He has the exact thing already mapped out for me, I just only have to wait. See, I am still the student!  It is a good thing that I love to learn.

I guess what I am trying to share is that no matter what you want in life unless God is someone you want more you will always be disappointed and hurt.  I won't lie, there are days I hate myself for not having my dream job, but I am finding it easier and easier to let go of as these days turn one into another.  Instead of hurting, I am working to find thanks in it all.  Here I was given a gift and passions and I know, without a doubt, God has a plan for it all.  It just appears mine and His aren't the same.  Praise the Lord for this, that means the plan is perfect...I just have to wait for the details to come through.