Thursday, August 30, 2012

Potter and clay

     This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:1-4
     Recently my preacher preached a sermon about the potter and the clay. It was so beautiful and so fitting to my life at the moment. The potter (God) puts a lump of clay upon the wheel and starts to spin it ,working it masterfully with his hands until at last we see a beautiful vessel sitting before us. Or at least to the untrained eye it looks perfect. A good potter can see and feel imperfections in a vessel that we can't. So what does the potter do? He smashes it back down and begins the task of creating a new one, a better one, a stronger one. Do you know what happens to an imperfect vessel if thrown into the fire? It explodes , and then what good is it?
     A couple of weeks ago I was given some information that brought me to my knees, shook me to my core. I am not sick. I am not dying. This was something from the past that I wasn't quite sure how to handle. If you read my previous blog you know how I did handle it. There is no completely black and white answer to why this happened in the first place but now I am getting a grip on why I am only now getting this information.
     God , the master potter knew. He knew that if there was ever a time in my life that I was strong enough to be cast into the is now . I am not claiming perfection, I am proclaiming my faith ! I can see how this information would have made me explode years earlier. I am not the same person spiritually that I used to be. I am new, I am better, I am stronger, and praise God I am coming out of the fire all polished and beautiful. I am a vessel ready to be filled with all the good things I am sure HE is going to fill me with.
     So remember this my friends, when you are suddenly thrown into the fire...its because the potter sees no weakness and knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can withstand it .

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Climbing out of the hole

     At this time last week I was in a hole. Of course I am not being literal here, I had not physically fallen into a hole in the earth, but it felt the same. It was dark and cold and I was trying to find a footing to climb out when all of the sudden my hole caved in on top of me. I fell to the bottom of the hole and couldn't fathom how I might climb back out. The reason why I was in that hole , the details, don't matter. Its different for all of us. Something I may handle just fine might push someone else into the same kind of hole . What matters is that when I hit the bottom, I was bruised, shaken, and scared. What matters is how I managed to stand in the darkness and begin to work my way back up to flat ground where there is sure footing and the warmth of the sunshine on my face.
     I speak of my faith often. I am proud of my relationship with my Lord, its my passion, my life, and my strength. Without HIM I am nothing and most assuredly without HIM this last week I would still be curled in a fetal position at the bottom of that deep dark hole .
     The first thing that I did when I hit bottom was call a friend who is also strong in faith. No matter how much faith I think I have, it doesn't hurt to have someone around who has just as much. It never hurts to have support and encouragement from someone who genuinely loves you and will pray for you. It never hurts to have someone hold your hand or give a hug while you are hurting.
     The next thing I did was pray. That sounds easy but at the time I wasn't even sure what to pray for. So I had to rely on what my Bible tells me in Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. I prayed for hours, at times with words, at times with weeping. God knew my heart, HE felt my pain. He filled me with peace and strength to face what was ahead, the climbing out of the hole.
     I will not lie, my hole was deep and it took awhile to find a foothold. There were moments when I slipped and fell back down and had to start all over again. There were moments when I froze in fear and had to shake myself back to the task at hand. Just as I thought I might be almost to the top, I would just as Peter did as he was walking out on that water to meet Jesus, doubted and had to reach for HIS hand.
     For the rest of this week I have immersed myself into HIS word. I have spent hours reading my Bible, coming to an understanding as to where that hole came from and how I fell into it to begin with. I have held on to the promises contained within it to fill me with peace and strength for my days and rest for my nights.I have indeed made my way to the top of the hole and climbed out. The sunshine is warming my face and even though my legs are tired from all that climbing , they are feeling much stronger now. I haven't walked away from the hole yet. I am still standing there looking at it, amazed that I made it out alive. I pray someday very soon I can turn around and walk away never to see it again. Until then, I will continue to lean on my friends, pray, and read my Bible so that don't fall back into that very same hole again.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Epic Fail

     This week has sucked ! There aren't many times in my life that I have wished I could rewind and have a do-over but I do right now. Cara started running a fever and feeling bad on Sunday afternoon but by bedtime Sunday night the fever had broken and all seemed well. She felt fine most of the day Monday and she and I attended her open house . She was nervous but excited about her first day of school on Wednesday. After coming back home , her fever returned and her throat started hurting. Tuesday morning brought a trip to Mount Airy middle to pick up Ben's schedule and meet his teachers and then a trip to  Northern Peds for a strep test which was positive.Cara was going to miss her first day of school. Not just any ole day of school but her first day of school at a new school. New teacher, new schedule, new classmates, new building, new everything. So while most kids there have known each other since kindergarten, she was the new kid. And while everybody was there on the first day adjusting to the fifth grade and learning where they were supposed to be and when, Cara was home with me.
     I walked her into the building Thursday morning and left her in the hands of her principal who walked her to class since she had missed her first day. Around 9am I got a call from the school nurse who had Cara in her office not feeling well. Physically Cara was fine but she was having a rough morning. She had missed a bunch of information and just simply felt lost. The nurse kept her there for awhile to allow her to pull herself together before throwing her back to the wolves. By the time I picked her up, she was eating a cupcake , had made some new friends and was doing so much better. Somewhere between that moment and bedtime last night, she regressed . There was a meltdown of sorts before bed with some crying and begging me to not send her back. As a parent I hate to see my children in any kind of pain, physically or emotionally . I HATE to be the bad guy. I tried my best to reassure her that by this time next week she will have made tons of new friends and would know everything there was to know about where things are and what she was supposed to be doing, and then I sent her back to bed.
     Friday morning : Ben has been out late with his daddy playing music every night this week. Some would say that is irresponsible knowing that this is his first week of school but I say he has been spending quality time with his daddy and making memories and that is more important. Anyway, I was aware that it might be hard for him to get up and had made an effort to be very patient with him. I made 4 trips into his room to rouse him and when he finally got up he was upset that he had slept so late. Mind you, I had been working to wake him for 30 minutes before his feet actualy hit the floor. Meanwhile I had been dealing with another meltdown by my other child who had apparently cried herself to sleep and had woken up with a headache and swollen eyes and didn't want to go to school. Both children made it to school on time but not without Mommy having a small breakdown in the driveway before leaving. Cara called at lunch and wanted me to bring her an Ibuprofen for the headache she still had. When I picked her up from school she said that her head had hurt all day, she had feel asleep during library time and had not felt like even eating lunch. I have to say that I was very happy to pull into the driveway with both children in the van knowing that the first week of school was officially behind us.
     Cara did eat supper but I could tell that she just didn't feel good. After Eric and Ben left for Galax we talked about her headache and I believe that she just may have a migrane. I sent my child to school with a migrane! We layed down on my bed and both of us slept for 2 1/2 hours, which put us awaking at 8pm or so and then she went to her bed at 9 and hasn't gotten back up. I can only hope and pray that she feels better tomorrow morning.
     Eric took yesterday and today off work so yesterday I was lazy and just kinda hung out with him. Contrary to what some may think, being a stay at home mommy and wife does not include laying around all day , watching tv, and playing on Facebook. I just couldn't stand doing nothing again all day so I did my usual thing. I swept, mopped, cleaned toilets, scrubbed the tub and shower walls, and did some laundry. Eric left the house at about 12:30 to buy some batteries and a few other things . He called around 1:00 and asked me if I wanted to go out for lunch. I turned him down ! What ? I rarely get the opportunity to go out with my husband without kids and I turn him down? I wasn't hungry so I said no . It wasn't til later that I smacked myself for that one. He had been home most of the day and I spent most of the day cleaning house and turning down a lunch date with my husband.
     This whole week has been an all around epic fail. I most certainly have not earned a mommy or wife of the week award . Apparently I won't be winning the friend of the week award either because I forgot a friends birthday this week. I would use the "Facebook didn't tell me " defense but thats really not a defense at all. She had mentioned it earler this week and truth is I just plain forgot.
     It is after midnight now so I can say "Thank God this week is over" . I can only pray that next week is better

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Its all good

     A couple of weeks ago I posted about the company my husband works for closing down. I made the comment that I wasn't stressing about the situation but rather giving it to God and resting on HIS promises to take care of us. Several people publicly and privately have commented on the peace I have about all of this amid the chaos that this has caused in our lives.
     Immediately after the closing was announced , Eric started getting job offers. Let me be clear, Eric really hasn't had to do anything. People have came to him. Finding a job wasn't going to be the issue. Finding a job in Mount Airy making the money he was making with Clark was. NONE of the jobs he was being offered didn't even come close and NONE came with ANY benefits except maybe the opportunity for overtime. Even though technically he could stay with with Clark til September, He wanted out and I can't blame him. Conditions were getting stupid and it isn't a good working environment.
     I applied for a job early last week that would have solved a multitude of problems only to find out that that job wasn't open any longer. I have applied for several others and if I get an offer I will most certainly take it.
      I said all of that to say is the reason that I do not stress when my world gets all crazy and out of control. God answered a prayer in a massive way today. Eric was hours away from calling and accepting one of those previously offered jobs when he was offered yet another. When you give something to God and truly let him work , HE WILL come through every time. When you trust in HIM as I do HE WILL work things out even better than we would have ourselves. This job offer with bonuses will put him making MORE than he does right now and comes with benefits even though I think we have decided to buy our own private insurance after he seperates from the military in July.
     When he called me I was in a public place and I just started to cry. When I hung up with my mouth open and with tears streaming down my face I took a minute and right where I was offered up a thank you to God . A couple of weeks ago I finished a post by saying "Its all good my friends, its all good." Well friends, its all good.

14,600 Days

     Well, God allowed me to awake this morning so I have officially been alive on the earth for 14,600 days. If you suck at math as I do, thats 40 years.I do not feel any older than I did yesterday but feel much older than I did say 20 years ago. I have heard that wisdom comes with age . I do not feel any smarter today than I did yesterday but I feel much smarter than I did even 2 years ago. I have spent some time over the last week pondering the 40 years of my life and I am humbled.
     God chose to place me within a big family filled with love . He chose the best mommy in the whole world for me. From day one til now she has been the ONLY earthly constant in my life. Others have come and gone but she has ALWAYS been there for me, every day of my 40 years. She has taught me so much and influenced the kind of woman I would become.
     Sixteen years ago I married the man that God picked out for me. He was and continues to be the love of my earthly life. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for this man and the marriage that we have. Then God allowed me to carry not one but two babies within my body and entrusted me with beautiful, healthy children. The joy that my marriage and children have brought into my life is incomparable to any other kind of joy til I see Heaven.
     Not every single one of my 14,600 days have been filled with sunshine, rainbows, and happiness. There has been heartache, heartbreak, pain, loss, and trouble but I have no regret. I thank God as much for the hurt as I do the joy because it has shaped me into who I am today. Through it all I have learned only to lean on God all the more. I have learned who I can really count on in times of need and who I can't. I have learned to appreciate what I do have instead of wanting what I don't or can't have. I have learned to love completely and unconditionally. I have learned how to truly forgive. I have learned to treasure moments that really matter. I have learned that without pain you cannot fully appreciate what joy feels like. I have learned time passes in an instant and to make the most out the time I am given. I have learned that love is the single most important possession you have and can give away. 40 years of learning and I know I am not finished.
     As I have gotten older I have realized that I spend more time doing things that I want to do versus what I need to do. There will always be laundry or cleaning that needs to be done but if today is my last day upon this earth I don't want it to have been just about work and no play. As I have gotten older I have realized how much more people mean to me instead of things. I have realized that there are less things worth waiting in line for. There have been times in my life that I have had self esteem issues so probably the most important realization I have ever had was this : My father is God, I am the child of a King. I am a princess, which makes me special even if only to Him. Everything belongs to Him so when my life is over, the race has been run, and I cross the finish line, I have a pretty hefty inheritance coming my way.
     I did not wake up this morning psychologically scarred because there is now a number 4 starting my age instead of a 3.I do not look back on my first 39 years and wish I had done anything differently or better. I am proud of who I am . I am the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, friend, and child of God that I can be. There are a few things that I want to accomplish before my next birthday , we'll see how that goes. I am thankful for my first 40 years and I am ready for ever how many more God chooses to give me.