Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting Through the Tough Times

I certainly have had my share of tough times as most people my age have.  (I grew up with the Brady Bunch & David Cassidy - just to give you a hint.)  I have experienced great depression, anxiety, stress, and exhaustion to the max.  And most of those reactions have been because of my situation.  So how do I get through it and come out on the other side in a good healthy place?

Psalm 138: 7-8 says "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand... And Your right hand will save me.  The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;  Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever."

God revives me and saves me and takes care of what concerns me.

God's peace that I experience comes through a greater faith in Him, that He truly is there for me and will take care of all my needs.  My faith in God only grows through relying on Him through my trials and learning and experiencing how He is working the situation for His glory.  His glory is manifested through me as I tell others my story of suffering and blessing...suffering and blessing...suffering and blessing.

Sometimes God revives me through a great sermon or spending a quiet time talking to Him and reading His Word - the Bible.  Sometimes He revives me through other people bringing light into my world of darkness.  My girlfriend Sue took my daughter and I in to live with her for 11 months when we had no where to go.  My girlfriend Beth Anne spent hours moving my things, packing, and unpacking.  Friends at work chipped in.  Even my mom, who is suffering with illness, gave me a dinner or picked me up some groceries to make my load a little easier.  That's God's people working in my life and serving God's purpose - to revive me, save me, and take care of what concerns me.

I just have to balance relying on others to revive me and relying on God.  Sometimes people revive me and save me and I forget to rely on God.  It's balance I guess. I get through it through trusting God with my circumstances no matter what they are - that He will revive me and save me - including the ones I love.  I trust God with the outcome.  And I have faith that His ways - his moral ways - will work the best for me.  That takes a lot of faith sometimes.  Thank you Lord for getting me through these awful times and allowing me to come through it praising you with the telling of a great story.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scary Verses in the Bible That Make Us Cringe

You want to get beat up? ...just quote Ephesians 5:22-23.

The New International Version (NIV) says, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior."

Does this really work in 2011? And if it does, how?

The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church...really?

"The Church" is all the people who follow Christ...all the Christians in the world. So you have to ask yourself first, "What did Christ do for all the Christians in the world?"

Christ, in one sense, left the most loving relationship possible, with the Father and Holy Spirit, and came down to Earth. Christ limited himself by becoming human. Christ, with complete love, taught and led the people. Finally, Christ died for "The Church" so that they would have eternal life.

A husband's responsibility is not small. It's huge. He cannot just do what he wants and what feels right to him. He must separate, limit himself, teach, lead, and then sacrifice - all in complete sacrificial love.

The husband separates by leaving his mother and father. He separates by accepting that his role is different. He limits himself by being gentle in his touch, rather than tough. He limits himself by being submissive at times, rather than commanding. He limits himself by allowing God to make the rules, not himself. He limits himself by going against his nature - to conquer - but rather live in harmony in a family.

He teaches and leads his wife and family by encouraging them and gently reminding them that the decisions that the family makes must first go to God. He makes it a priority to gather his family together for devotions, gather his family together for prayer, pray with his wife alone, and teach his family how God works in his life and in his work. He makes it a priority to grow in his faith in God so that he can be a living example of Christ.

And finally he acts in complete love...and love is sacrificing. He puts his wife's needs and his kids needs up high on his priority list. He knows that his hard work and earnings must go to his family. He has to let go of the selfish nature that is in all of us and sacrifice for the betterment of his family. He must make his relationship with his wife his number 2 priority. His faith in God is number one.

So many men have a gift of looking at the future, fearlessly, and planning it out naturally. They look at the big goals and where their family will be in 5 years and 10 years. This tendency in men fits so perfectly with their role in the family. They bring their ability to focus on the big picture so that the family stays on target. They are goal oriented so that the family doesn't forget what their most important goal is - to love the Lord God with all their hearts and to love each other.

Before you freak out at the verse, just think about it. Yeah, I know, the woman has responsibilities too. But today, I am thinking about the husband.

Let me know your thoughts,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Does God Get Frustrated with Me?

Does God bang his head on the wall while he tries to work with me everyday? I worry so much about my daughter's future and my own actions...she's 14 and very teenagerie. I analyze my words and thoughts way too much. And then... And then... I tell a friend to trust in God, and that we need to just do our part and let Him do the rest. What a loonie I am.

Today, I read how Abram (Abraham) in the Bible had so much faith in God, that when God told him to leave his family and country and move to an unknown place, he just did it. But when God spoke to Abram personally, and promised him more offspring than he could imagine, Abram doubted God and had a child with Sarah's maidservant, Hagar. Abraham's inconsistent faith made me feel so ordinary and average and normal. Thank you Abraham. And God still worked around Abraham's sinful nature - creating the greatest nation.

So I remind myself for the millionth time...God is in control. I just need to do my part, what I have control of, and trust God for the rest. Remember Remember Remember.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From Pain to Gain

The problem started when my sister dropped off her adorable 3 1/2 month old lab/pitbull puppy. We were anxious to spend time with Rosie...then pleasure quicky turned to pain. Poop and pee in the house became the instant norm. The pup hadn't figured out how to go potty outside of her own backyard. Chasing our cat and playing/brawling with our little Shih Tzu came next. Barking, chasing, running, jumping, biting...we were a little overwhelmed and ready to quit.

How quickly my simple life can turn into a complicated stressful experience. Yours too? Someone gets sick, is angry, gets hurt, or loses a job, and I am feeling the stress and worry. But over time I have seen the worst turn into the best. I have seen what orginally caused me stress and anguish bring me future joy. The burden typically comes first and then the blessing. The pain forces me to try something new or change my direction. Later, that new course, though painful to get on, becomes my accomplishment.

So we had to change our routines with Rosie. We eliminated throw rugs - instant potty depositories - and minimized time with the other animals. We brought out the crate to help Rosie calm down and rest, and we set up a place for her to run outside. We started taking more frequent walks with both dogs and used treats to reward responsible outdoor potty practices. And the stress minimized. And my daughter and I feel like we accomplished something. But more than that, I know that a blessing may come, when I don't expect it. Sometimes I try to think creatively about it... Maybe what I learned or remembered to do with Rosie will help me in the near future. Or maybe helping my sister will be more of a help to her than I imagined ... and she'll thank me with homemade chocolate chip cookies. Hint. Hint.

In the Bible, the beatitudes say:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Even Jesus spoke of the suffering coming first...then the blessing.
Hope you will creatively anticipate the joy that will come out of your current pain. :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Power of our Words

When I was pregnant, I didn’t know if I was having a girl or a boy. I carried my baby way way out front, and repeatedly people told me I must be having a boy. The day the baby was born, Rick and I were truly surprised to hear “It’s a girl.” Those around us – friends and strangers, by way of repeated guessing - had truly convinced us we were having a boy. That situation showed me how vulnerable we are to the power of persuasion.

We possess a great deal of power as humans to convince people of reality. We have the power to raise people’s hopes and expectations beyond where they should be. And when their hopes and expectations are not met, the person who has accepted “our truth” falls farther emotionally than they would have if we had said nothing.

How responsible are we for what we say? Should we be held responsible? When does it crossover into lying and manipulation? I hold myself responsible to be true and real. When I become part of a conversation and say things I shouldn’t, I try to approach the person later and correct my error. But often it is so easy to just leave it. Let the other person deal with it.

Should we be holding other’s accountable? Telling them when their words of authority lead me in the wrong direction – a direction that they had a hand in; a situation that they had some control over. I can tell my spouse, my family members, & my friends if they lead me down the wrong path. Can I tell my co-workers and my boss?

Do you? When your co-worker or boss manipulates you or lies to you, do you talk about it with them? In some ways, shouldn’t we be doing that in love? It's on my mind today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Slowly Learning about Single Guys

So I started dating lately...a little. And I have learned a couple of things recently. I went out with a guy I called "The Trainguy." These are my reflections after our date:

The Trainguy date was a bomb. But I learned a little.

1. Ask them if they believe in God.
The trainguy said he was a Christian...but at the end of our date I found out he believes in a higher being but is not sure if it is God. His psychic has been helping him, though. :)

2. Plan a "Get out of Dodge" phrase ahead of time.
I didn't know what to say when i realized this was going NO WHERE. I don't like to be rude or hurt feelings. He was nice. So I need to let them know that I want them to be truthful and I will be truthful if we don't connect. "Our cars are not linking...The train has left the station...Toot toot, you get the boot."

3. Ask if they have a good relationship with their parents.
During the date he told me that he thinks his parents are the most selfish people he has ever met. Really? What a lovely thing to say. Funny how all he talked about was HIMSELF! The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Anyway, it was a nice day...a beautiful day...and I had a nice time. Not terrible. I was just a little unprepared. I'll do better next time.

Enjoy your day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chaos and Drama

What a crazy weekend. My daughter had events for 3 hours Friday night and from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday (Science Olympiad) - with me there for everything. Church and then helping my mom - happened on Sunday. Is this what it is like for all you parents with multiple kids in sports. Ugh. I bring my laptop to many places I go to get a little more work done. I find it a pleasure and an escape to use the laptop to work on internet marketing for someone elses' site, escaping into the land of industrial scales (need a scale to weigh trucks? go to www.loadmasterscale.com Ha!) or the land of clocks and wine cabinets (www.brunings.com) :)
It is a thrill to see a site get more and more traffic and to see a client get more and more sales or sales leads - knowing that I had a part in it. My director at Cazbah laughs at me for working on the weekends, "You need a life." He is correct in his observation that my life is simple - my daughter, work, dinner, sleep... That's about it. What is behind me is over 10 years of chaos and drama and more chaos. Getting a new job and learning all this new stuff at Cazbah has been tough. I often reference it to learning a difficult language like Chinese - everyone around me is speaking it and I am lost and feeling stupid - trying so hard to learn it, but the process never seems to go fast enough.
Well, in the last few weeks, I am starting to feel more confident that I am "getting" my new job. And with that has come the realization that my life is a little boring, a little uneventful, slightly routine...and it feels soooo fantastic. Do I need a life? No way cause I just got mine back. I am not giving it up for choas and drama anytime soon.
But the strange thing is, I am not a drama queen. Am I? I am low maintanance. I'm the helper so often. I ask God: why have you surrounded me with drama kings/queens or those who need so much physical and emotional help? I keep trusting Him fully that I have much to learn and the plan for my life will fall into place someday letting me see how I can help others with what I have learned.
And boy, have I learned. I've learned to be humble. I am humbled to realize that I am now that struggling single mom (that's not really what I planned for my life when I finished college and graduate school and got married.) I am humbled to realize that on my own, I have made a lot a mediocre and sometimes down right lousy decisions. (I know I've made some good ones, but that is not what I am talking about.) I am humbled by the fact that under an enormous amount of stress and desperation, I can be a real jerk. 10 years ago, none of those things were a reality for me.
I have also learned how empowering it is to do the right thing, even though it is so personally hard and involves personal hardship. Knowing I haven't caved to temptation to take the easy way out - what a boost to my internal stamina.
So now, looking at the chaos, I am grateful for what I have learned and how I have grown. I am thankful for my life of calmness and peace of mind I experience now. This is an awesome life.