Saturday, November 15, 2008
That sounds kind of morbid, doesn't it? I don't mean it that way. Yes, I'd love to be living in heaven, but I'm not looking to get there anytime soon, and that's not what I meant by getting off the roller coaster ride. Oh whatever...I'm going to leave this train of thought and get on with it.
Work is as stressful as ever. We had yet another layoff yesterday; this one involving almost 500 people companywide. It breaks my heart, and I just pray and pray for all those affected. And for all those (including me) who wonder if they're next. It is not a good time. And, my workload just keeps getting more and more overwhelming. And my dear husband is tired of hearing about it, and I'm tired of being resentful that he doesn't work. Well, actually, he does work...around the house, doing all of the shopping, and taking the youngest wherever he needs to go. (The 17-year-old now has a car, and boy does he use it.) Yes, my husband really does work A LOT.
My oldest son is not in a good place right now. He's starting to exhibit much more concerning behavior that is reminiscent of when I started my blog and the intense challenges we were having with him. Tonight he and I really got into it for something he had done. He accused me of never being here and that his dad is always yelling at him. As I explained that he alone is responsible for his choices, not us, inside I felt terribly, terribly guilty. I am in a job I'd love to leave, making an income I don't know how to replace somewhere else, traveling extensively, and working an insane amount of hours. He's pretty nearly right. While "never" certainly isn't accurate, "rarely" probably would be.
My husband saw an ad for the program Total Transformation (which is about transforming your relationship with your child...and seeing a total transformation in their out-of-control life), and I ordered it. While doing some research about it, I found a blogger who recommended it (http://holymama.org/), and you've got to check it out. She is so funny, so real, and is a self-proclaimed "sorta shallow Christian mom", though I don't really believe it about the shallow part. Anyway, you're sure to love her blog.
So, I am also looking into studying for a real estate license. Oh, I know it's a HORRIBLE time to get into real estate, but for some reason I just feel led to do it. I can't get it out of my mind. Perhaps this is a way to get ready for a life (and career) change.
And then, if I'm not busy enough, I signed up for Heritage Makers because I wanted to make some keepsake books for family members this Christmas. And since I can't do anything halfway, I decided I needed to be a consultant. Ha! But, hey, feel free to check it out...it really is an amazing way to tell your life / family stories and give a truly unforgettable and meaningful gift: http://www.heritagemakers.com/330883.
My current password at work is based on Psalm 9:9-10 -- "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You."
I am seeking Him. He is my refuge. I could not survive these times of trouble without Him. How I wonder how people make their way through their crazy roller coasters of life without Him. I think they end up dizzy, nauseous and completely disoriented. Thank goodness He is our compass, and also our stronghold. While I'm on this crazy ride, He's keeping me secure so I don't tumble out on one of the loops.
Thank You, Lord, for never foresaking me, even when my son is right. Thank You that You never leave me...may my son, my husband, my other son, and those reading this blog feel Your love around them and know You are there...ALWAYS.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
A 92-year old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably coifed, and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
“I love it,” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged…it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice – I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away just for this time in my life.”
At the end, my realtor wrote (or borrowed from someone else):
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
- Free your heart from hatred
- Free your mind from worries
- Live simple
- Give more
- Expect less
We have a great example of choosing happiness in Paul . Reading his accounts of where he finds joy, in the worst of circumstances (i.e., Acts 16:25), is simply inspiring.
I have found myself lamenting a number of situations in my life over the past month. God is so gracious...sending me pockets of joy even though I am not obedient in seeking them. Visiting a Christian friend in KC that I hadn't seen in months brought joy as we talked, prayed, and fellowshipped together. Receiving an email from a Christian co-worker (in a secular business) that said, "Remember, God is in control"...which was sent not knowing what I was facing and how much I needed to hear that. My 17-year-old son sending me a text message right after I landed at the airport after a business trip, asking "Are you in town yet?" and when I answered "Just landed," he responded with "Coolio!" He then hugged me when I got home, in front of a guy friend...and if you know his story (and the reason I started this blog to begin with), you know how amazing this is, and just how far we've come.
So, today I praise God. I sing to Him. I worship Him. I thank Him. In the midst of enormous financial trials. In spite of a marriage that seems to be fading. In spite of job that is overwhelming. He is merciful. He is awesome. He loves me. He comforts me. He suffered and paid the ultimate price for me. I choose to praise Him in all circumstances
"The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!"
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan..." (Psalm 42:5-6)
"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4)
I choose Love. I choose Life. I choose HIM!
Blessings, dear readers friends.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
As I want to relish in God's answer to prayer, I won't write anymore. However, would you pray for my husband and son's relationship? And also for their choices -- how they respond to each other, how they treat each other, and that they will make decisions that show respect for themselves and for each other.
Praise be to God who is so faithful, loving, and who works all things together for good for those who love him. We know that not "all things are good", but God is able to replace ashes with beauty. He is so good...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
- My friend and coworker, Cynthia, just found out this week that she has breast cancer. (She was called by her doctor while she was traveling on business with me and other coworkers.)
- Cynthia got on a plane and flew back to the doctor the next day. She will have a lumpectomy next Wednesday, followed by radiation (hopefully) or chemo, depending on what they find during surgery.
Please pray for Cynthia. She is a Christian, and she is at peace about this situation, but this comes at a very stressful time for her (for a whole host of other reasons). Please pray for God's hand to guide the doctor's hand during surgery. Pray for no complications, and that the cancer is fully contained. Pray that chemo won't be necessary. Pray for her health, her relationships, and her family (mom, sister, husband and kids in particular) -- for them to have peace, to be her pillars, to strengthen their faith through this situation, etc.
Thank you for your prayers!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Thank you for the reminder of Psalm 139. The Lord searches me and knows me. He hems me in. He lays His hands upon me. He reminds me that I can never flee from His presence. As the psalmist, David, said, "...even there [anywhere], Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold hold me fast."
Thank you for your words of encouragement. They lift me up and strengthen me. It is amazing how people whom you've never met in person care so much for you. Know that I love you and pray for you...and I thank God for you.
Thank you for directing me to your blogs. As I looked for the song, "Reachable" that I read about in someone else's blog, I visited Steven Curtis Chapman's website. I had heard of the tragic loss of his daughter, but had not heard or read his family's interviews. WOW...what incredible faith this family has. Their faith does not necessarily lessen their grief, but yet they maintain their hope and share that hope with others. If you want to be humbled and lifted up at the same time, visit his website and listen to his Good Morning America and Larry King Live interviews, and read the article in People magazine. This coming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday he will be also be on Focus on the Family. (By the way, I can't find the song "Reachable"...does anyone know what CD it is on or where I can find it online?)
I had to change my password again. (Our company's network prompts us regularly to do so.) This month I chose my password to be based on Psalm 9:10 -- "Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You." Our God is so good. He is with us wherever we go. He is our "stronghold in times of trouble." Not only that, but His works are wonderful. Which means that I am wonderful. You are wonderful. My children are wonderful, as are yours. What we do may not always be wonderful, nor what is done to us, but we are all wonderful in His sight. He loves us through it all.
As I reflected on Psalm 139, I came across verse 14 -- "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." I have just started reading "Living Life on Purpose" by Lysa TerKeurst. I know God has so much more in store for me, and I need to take a step back from the busy-ness of my life to listen for His direction. And, then, be willing to follow, wherever He leads. Please pray that I will Hear Him and follow, no matter how difficult it may be.
My husband is also reading a book right now, called "Why Your Life Sucks". Now, if that isn't enough to cause doubt and fear in a relationship, I don't know what is! What I pray for is that as my life changes and takes new shape, and as I continue to seek and find joy in ALL circumstances, my husband will see that and want it for himself. God fills the void...not the empty words and promises in that book on how to not make your life suck. May he learn that and may we take this journey together. And ultimately, may my boys follow God's path for their lives as well.
I feel much weight on my shoulders as I know much is at stake. Thanks to God that He walks this way with me and shoulders the burden -- as I take on His yoke rather than try to carry it myself.
Blessings to you all,
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I am living in the suburbs of Las Vegas, and thankfully my family has FINALLY joined me. My oldest son came in May, and my husband and youngest son came in July. I've missed them so much, but work continues to keep me away from them even now a month later. (I travel A LOT!) Deep inside, I wonder if this move was a result of following my and my husband's will, rather than God's. I wonder if it was driven by greed, as I received a large raise to come here. At the time I made the decision, I certainly didn't think so, but now I'm not so sure. Particularly since I have less in my bank account now than ever before, and I am deep in debt (really deep) from the move, having a house in Colorado that hasn't sold, and basically just overspending. My husband and I are not on the same page about money at all. Nor about a myriad of other things.
What else? My youngest son has developed a really poor attitude. He is surly and disrespectful. My oldest is entering public school as a Junior in high school. (And I am scared. He has been in Christian schools since Kindergarten, other than being homeschooled the last year and a half.) We just had a layoff at work that involved 244 people, and I was one of those who had to make some of the decisions whom to lay off. My heart aches for those who lost their job. Have I mentioned I travel a lot? I will be on the road part of every week between now and the end of September. I am so tired. And I feel so far away from my family, and my God.
Oh Lord, keep me focused on Your Word. May I breeze through the beginnings of Lamentations and get to the part about hope, Your love and compassion, and Your mercies (3:22-23). And then, bring me to the later verses...where I call on Your name, oh Lord, from the depths of the pit. Hear my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief." Lord, come near when I call you, and tell me not to fear. Oh Lord, you take up my case; you redeem my life. (3:55-58)
I wonder, do the peaks and valleys ever become more even? How is it I go through them so often? I am in the valley right now, much like my physical location in the Las Vegas valley. It's dirty and stifling. I had to take a one day trip to the "peaks" -- the mountains of Colorado -- earlier this week, and I cried at the beauty. Lord, bring beauty to my life in this valley...
I look forward to the morning...and Your mercies. Great is Your faithfulness!!!
If You Want Me To...by Ginny Owens
The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I dont know the reason why you brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I will go through the valley
If You want me to
CHORUS: Now I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
I will go through the fire
If You want me to
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone
So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Currently, my password is based on Joshua 1:9 – “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I chose this verse due to the new job I have accepted (within the same company) and my pending move to Las Vegas, NV. Many of you know I currently live in the Denver metropolitan area of beautiful Colorado. This is where the “discouraged” part comes in. I mean, really…who would leave Colorado for Nevada?? (Other than me, obviously.) The “afraid” part correlates to moving my teenage boys back to Las Vegas. For those of you who haven’t been there, the billboards and taxi toppers are enough to keep you in your house, or at least with blindfolds in your car for your kids. Luckily we don’t plan to live anywhere near downtown. “Be strong” is apropos for my current situation in which I am working two jobs during the transition, and traveling weekly back and forth between locations. I am REALLY tired, as both of these jobs are more than full time as it is. Sleep is limited to four (five on a really good night) hours each night. I need “courage” that this is the right move for my family. God has opened the doors (they were closed for some time on this job) and also given some confirmation since the decision was made that this is what we should be doing. Also, I’m stepping into a position held by my mentor, and someone who was incredibly successful, so courage is needed that I really can do this job! Add to all that I am heartbroken at leaving my church. Every single week I would swear that the pastor has peered into my life and decided to teach a message specifically for me. There are incredibly special people there as well. Any time I move I am afraid I will “never” find another church as wonderful as the last.
The good news is that God outdoes Himself EVERY time. Each church I have come to call home in each town I’ve lived draws me closer to God. I always end up changed in incredible ways through the church and/or the church family. So, that is where “For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” must come in. That portion of the verse gives me great hope. No matter where I go…whether it be Los Angeles, Kansas City, Denver, or Las Vegas, God goes also. Not only that, he prepares a way for me and my family. I can’t wait to see our new church, meet our new friends, and embrace the changes He has in store for our lives. Ultimately, I truly believe He will call me out of the work I’m in and pave the way for something more. Not more money or prestige, but more about Him. In the meantime, I will take this as part of the journey, and continue to praise Him, share His Good News, and live for Him as I go.