Saturday, June 30, 2012

What a Week!

This week has been insane for me.  So thankful I was able to set my priorities this week and do what needed to be done before I did what I wanted to, but I really missed stopping, sorting through my thoughts, and sharing my feelings.  I had no idea that a 4 or 5 day break would leave me so full of things I want to share!  I sit here with so many things going on in my head, and yet, I have no idea where to even start. 

I feel like all I have done over the last few weeks is ramble over this connect group.  I have felt almost every emotion I have while preparing and have been so completely blown away by God's goodness and grace.  I have been so incredibly terrified of what God has told me to do.  I have been excited to be able to share things that other women took their time to share with me.  I have been nervous about whether or not I would mess it up.  Here it comes, but God....  :)  The last week has proven to me He will never leave me.  He will never ask me to do something and not walk me through it.  Even when it is hard.  Even when I don't want to do it.  He laid some incredible tools on my heart, requiring me to have my nose in my Bible every spare second of the day.  And, let me say, wow.  It has beyond blown me away.  Did you know that it says in there somewhere that we are his masterpieces?  Talk about a tissue moment for me.  I am not a screw up.  I am not a failure.  I am a masterpiece.  Carefully, lovingly created.  Each part intentionally placed, to make the bigger picture that much more priceless.  Not to just sit in a dusty basement, but to be put on display, and used for a purpose.  That one really got me.  Anyway, I was so amazed at the spiritual muscle I have stretched.  There were so many times I felt last night like I wasn't sure what to say, and immediately, I would be reminded of a scripture, either encouraging me or someone else.  I have never been one to be able to quote the Bible with any accuracy.  I always mess up the reference, or the wording, or the meaning.  And, let me just say, when I can do that, I know it is God in me.  And, I did it well.  I am so incredibly thankful for God consuming every piece of me last night.  I was emotionally exhausted.  Even then, I felt so incredibly awestruck at how awesome God is, and what he is going to do for the women that signed up, as well as the women who will at one point be impacted by this group.  It is truly going to be amazing. 

All of the planning, tears, prayers, all of it was so worth it.  Sacrificing who I am, and where I have been was so incredibly difficult, and yet, I feel a little stronger in God's ability to work through me.  Someone once told me that I would feel so tremendously blessed by leading others.  At the time I thought this person was totally crazy.  I get it a little better now, and as much as I hate to admit being wrong, I was.  While this study is going to absolutely change the lives of these women, it is going to change my life, too.  I can't wait!

On a totally different note, amidst all of my excitement and happiness, I am a little sad tonight.  For some reason, between the girls being gone, the house being quiet, and a slightly disgustingly hot run this morning, I am a little sad, a little reminiscent, and ready for the next bit to be over, and all the while peaceful and excited.  Yeah, aren't you glad you don't live in my house??  :)  I know this is ridiculous, because the girls have only been gone for 24 hours, but it seems like this week will never end.  I am ready to have them home.  Jess wasn't feeling well when they left, and this momma hates that simple fact.  I am sure she is fine, but...  I still long to wrap my arms around her and make sure of that on my own.  I know this experience will stretch me, make me realize something important, but right now, honestly, I am just not feeling it. 

While I love the fireworks, summer festivities, and general happy moods of most people this week, it is so hard for me to go through this time and not to think about the awesome man that took such incredible care of me, my mom and sisters for so many years.  I cannot believe it will be six years this coming week.  There are times that I still struggle with frustration that two of my kids will never know their Grampa, I know the man who went on to bigger and better things would never have wanted his body to be the way it was.  I look back and cherish baseball playing in the house, pranks pulled, names called, and honestly just wish I could hear him a few more times.   I wonder if he would be okay with the woman I have become, and know he would adore the girls so much more than anyone else could ever dream.  I often wonder what he would think about the loud music at church, or the fact that Cass' favorite ice cream is the same as his.  As thankful as I am to know where he is, and that he is no longer suffering, I get selfish and want one more hug.  One more sparkle in his brilliantly blue eyes.  I know that won't happen this side of heaven, but my heart still wonders every once in a while. 

I don't want to end this post on a sad note.  I want to say something sappy and sweet that will make me feel better.  No wise words come to mind.  Nothing powerful or mind boggling that will change my mood.  I know deep down this mood will pass.  I will make it through the next little bit and will be fine.  As much as I miss the girls, I know this experience is going to be good for them and for me.  I know that as a mom, I need to be recharged, and as kids, they need to experience different things.  Just gonna keep reminding myself I am amazing.  I am strong.  And, I really can do this.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Taking the Week Off

As the dining room table is buried under 3 inches of Amazing truths, I think I need to take this week off and spend it getting the last of my little ducks in a row.  I can honestly say I cannot wait to see how lives are going to be changed. 

For the first time in a really long time, I feel like I have a purpose outside of being a mom.  I wake up every morning to the sound of my cell phone singing "Good morning, good morning..." or to the sound of little voices saying, "Mommy?  Can we wake up yet?"  I often feel overwhelmed with Mommy stuff.  For years, I have relied on my kids for a sense of self-worth, knowing that as long as I am a good Mom I can feel great about who I am.  I felt as if the only purpose for me even being alive was for the girls.  While I am thankful for them, they should not be my purpose for living. 

The last few weeks have been so incredibly different for me.  Yes, I still wake up to my kids peeking over the edge of my bed, but I get up knowing that I have something besides the girls to accomplish for the day.  I have gotten so used to praying about everything (and, seriously, I mean everything) that I almost feel silly.  But, God wants to know the smallest detail of my life, so I feel good about feeling a little silly. 

I seriously have tons to do today, but I am really looking forward to this week!  Amazing stuff today, zoo tomorrow, church Wednesday, getting stuff ready for the girls' away time Thursday, and finalizing the Amazing stuff Friday.  I will run (or walk, or die) a 5k Saturday morning, and then we will see where life goes.  Praying for God to use me in a big way this week.  :) 

If I make it to the finish line and survive the 5k, I am sure I will post over the weekend.  Please keep me in your prayers this week! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Glass Walls

Back some time ago, I made a discovery of about 30 empty liquor bottles.  Though each bottle was glass, no two were the same.  Some were tall and thin, others short, a few were different colors, but each bottle seemed to represent something significant to me.  Some reminded me of painful memories, as the contents seemed to change the love I once knew.  Some represented anger, in that the liquor the bottle once held was so much more important than me or the girls.  Some represented fear of what the future would hold.  Some represented money literally down the drain, because the contents once held inside only created a bigger monster, for instead of taming life's problems the bottles only made life more unbearable for each person in my family.  For a while, those bottles just sat there in the cabinet.  Every time I would open that cabinet, fear, anger, hatred, depression would hit me all over again.  I despised what that cabinet held and hid for so long.  It didn't take much time before those feelings would hit when my eyes would just skim past that cabinet.  A little longer, and those feelings hit the second I entered the room.  As time passed, instead of me feeling any signs of hope, those stupid glass bottles sucked every ounce of joy out of me.  They served as this huge reminder of what my life could have been, had they not taken the place of family and the fun times we had.  I hated those bottles.  I hated the past that those bottles reminded me of.  And yet, I couldn't even fathom doing anything with them.  I couldn't imagine throwing them away.  Couldn't imagine leaving them there.  As silly as this sounds, those bottles began to make me crazy. 

One day, I realized it wasn't the bottles that was making me crazy.  It wasn't the memories or the pain.  It was my inability to fix what my life held.  I couldn't just fill those bottles back up and pretend they had never existed.  I couldn't fit the pieces back together, like a puzzle.  I couldn't continue to look the other way.  At the time, I was separated from my now ex-husband, not sure what steps to take.  I had this dream about there being an earthquake and while the earth was moving and shaking, those bottles in the cabinet all fell out and broke.  And you know what?  Nothing happened.  I put on shoes, grabbed the broom and cleaned up the mess.  I moved on.  I know that those bottles held nothing.  They were empty, full of air.  But what they reminded me of caused me tremendous pain.  That night, I remember putting the girls to bed, and the house was quiet and empty.  I took those bottles, and remember hurling them off of the deck into a trash can.  I remember the way the glass bounced off of the broken glass.  I remember realizing how beautiful the sound of shattering glass is.  One negative emotion after another being shattered to pieces at my feet.  It was freeing. 

I have been walking this new difficult journey for the last 18 months.  This journey has been filled with many moments where I didn't want to allow people to see me.  I didn't want to allow anyone to help me or get to know who I am or where I had been.  I started to put these walls up around my heart, just knowing that without them, my heart would surely break.  While much healing has taken place in the last few months, and the walls have been getting a little shorter, they have still been there.  Making sure no one got in, seeing those innermost parts of me.  Until a phone conversation a few days ago, I thought these walls were working.  Keeping anything from really affecting me.  Late Thursday night and into the wee hours of Friday morning, I realized those walls were just like the bottles that put them there.  The walls aren't made of steel or concrete, but instead glass, which is completely ineffective of truly protecting me.  Glass that could shatter at any moment.  One stone, one pebble could cause those walls to shatter and crumble, causing all of my hidden, protected emotions to come pouring out.  Thursday night, I sat remembering moments of intense agony, remembering what it felt like to wonder if I would ever feel truly happy again, or if I even knew what being truly happy would be like.  Thursday night, I realized how thankful I was that I had the opportunity to remember what those things felt like, instead of having to still live them out firsthand.  I went to bed exhausted, way too late, and woke up feeling as if I had never slept. 

Friday morning, I was listening to little girls play, feeling overly tired, knowing that God wasn't asking me to do something simple, but resting in the truth that he was giving me the strength I needed to do it.  I turned the radio on, as this song was just coming on.  This isn't the first time I had ever heard it, as a matter of fact, I know most of the words already.  But, for the first time, I listened to what the song was really saying and really understanding its message.  I realized that I was in fact still struggling with things that God just wanted me to deal with and move on. 

For several years, I have had this constant prayer, regardless of the situations in my daily life.  I have prayed over and over for God to show me what I am supposed to do, where I am supposed to be, and how I am supposed to go about getting to that place.  I received direction.  I was told what to do.  Specifically told what to do.  But instead of embracing that, I struggled with it.  Fought with it.  Really, genuinely didn't want to have anything to do with it.  I thought about it.  A lot.  I always came back to the same answer, that I had to obey, even when I knew it was going to hurt. 

In early 2011, I had a lady contact me, offering help and hope in dealing with the situation I was facing.  She has been my constant go-to person, and as time has come and gone, I have realized so much of what she has said is true.  She has been in shoes quite similar to mine, and I have benefited enormously from her kind words and past experiences.  I have prayed often that I can be the same blessing to someone else that she was to me.  In reading the book earlier this year, I heard God tell me where I was supposed to be going.  Out of nothing more than absolute fear of what would happen if I didn't obey, I started this connect group.  As I have shared over the last few weeks, I have also been told to hold nothing back.  As anyone who has read more than this post knows, I have struggled with this thought.  I hate having my "dirty laundry" so visible to others.  I hate seeing judgement cross people's faces.  I find it strange my first thought about sharing my story is what people are going to do with it.  I hate that I am so insecure about who I am that I don't want anyone else to see it.  Even when I have learned we are all insecure.  Not one of us is blissfully unaware that people can hurt you. 

But God, in his absolute amazing-ness, showed me some incredible things.  God didn't just let things happen to me in my past, nor will he just let things happen to me in the future.  He didn't just allow Satan to have control of my life.  You see, he created me for that path, specifically because he knew I would turn to Him for help.  That I would know I couldn't do life without him, especially a life filled with so much pain, hurt and agony.  He didn't let something bad happen to me.  He counted on it.  Not because he is some evil God who wants his children to fall, or be hurt, but because he also created me to do some pretty amazing things that would require suffering and healing to take place.  Over the last few weeks, I have felt like such a push over.  You know that one person you can always count on saying yes to anything, no matter how much else they have going on, or what struggles they are walking through?  I have felt a little bitter and upset that every time I turn around someone else is asking for just a little more of me.  But, I was also reminded that I am not a push-over.  I have a heart geared towards helping others.  God created me to be a helper of others.  To be around when they aren't sure who else to call.  He didn't create this problem or that struggle so that he could see how I would handle it, but instead created me ready to tackle this problem or that struggle, not in my strength, but in His.  So tonight, and throughout this week, my healing is taking place.  My weaknesses are being made strong so that His strength can be poured out.  Come Friday night, I am going to speak from my heart, with God's strength running through me, knowing that this is why I was created.  If my past hadn't been there, I would have no purpose.  I would have nothing to base this study off of.  And, remarkably, I am thankful I have experiences that I can and will talk about, for the glory of God and hopefully, the benefit of someone else.  Without those experiences, I am sure I would not be the woman I am today. 

Last week I was worried about what people would think, what these women would say about me later.  Tonight, I am not even worried about it.  God is going to move in this study.  I can feel it.  I have to allow my pride to be taken down, so that God's incredible power can come in.  I may not feel equipped or ready, but that is really unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  God can see the big picture, and I am going to trust that He has a reason and a purpose in asking me to share parts of my life that are difficult for me to remember, even more difficult to talk openly about.  His plans are far more incredible than mine and I seriously cannot wait to see what this week holds!! 

I also want to take a few seconds to thank each of you who has encouraged me through this silly struggle.  I know that it is so easy to say, "Get over it already, Cil."  I am sure I have a few of you thinking that you can't believe I am still stuck on this.  But, even so, you encouraged me.  You held me hand, letting me know I am not in this alone.  I really appreciate each of you, for taking the time to read my silly ramblings, as well as letting me know I am supported and loved, in spite of where my yesterdays held me.  I have the most amazing friends in the entire world, and I am so incredibly thankful!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


So, apparently God knew exactly what he was doing in not allowing me to have 5 kids under 7 full time.  :)  I have two of my nieces for several days this week, as my sister and hubby are stay-cationing for their anniversary.  I have had an interesting week, though I cannot imagine being a single parent for longer than three days with all of them.  It has been interesting.  Not interesting in a bad way, just interesting.  For example, I had a woman stop me today at Wal-Mart and count.  Out loud.  In front of me.  She remarked how close together they must be, then explained why she was asking.  She wanted to know what my fitness plan was, because, apparently, I look remarkable for birthing 5 kids.  :)  Oh, the things people feel they have the right to say to strangers...

Watching them have fun and go crazy has shown me that I really am capable of more than I think I am.  I have often wondered what extra kiddos my future may hold.  Having the girls longer than just a few hours has shown me that with a little planning, I can obviously handle more than 3 kids, not have any of them harmed, and still have every strand of hair still in my head.  Might twitch a little more than normal, but...  There have been a few times today that I have reminded myself I can do all things through Christ, whjle praying fervently for a little more strength and patience.  And it has let me take a few steps back from my "Amazing" study.  Ha, having the extra kids hasn't let me do anything except having the extra kids.  I have enjoyed them, but think it will be strangely calm when they go home tomorrow night.  Might even miss them.   

I should have taken pictures of the chaos yesterday.  It was last night in the middle of the night that I realized activities were going to be scheduled around the clock for today and tomorrow.  No downtime. Ever.  Instead, I post pictures of the chaos from today.  Controlled chaos.  I am happy.  :) 

On totally different thoughts, I am really excited about so many different things going on.  I was totally blessed with a few things I needed for my connect group.  Gotta love the way God is so faithful when you are doing something for Him.  I have had one thought after another after another about the group.  I am actually excited that I have a week until the first meeting.  Not dreading it at all.  There are a few parts that are going to be tough, but I know that I can do this.  Play-dough time is no longer entertaining, so I must wrap this up in a hurry, but I am looking forward to sharing insights to some awesome things I have found hopefully sometime this weekend.  Feeling so blessed tonight.  Exhausted, but blessed.  :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Anything

Isaiah is seriously one of my favorite books of the Bible.  It seems like anytime I have any problem, I can grab my Bible and immediately be lifted up.  I have been struggling this morning, with feelings of inadequacies.  God has clearly spoken a job over my life.  I am excited about it, and thoughts and emotions are pouring out of me like I have never seen before; God thoughts.  I know it is all God.  As soon as I walk away from my Bible, doubt, fear, worry and panic set in.  I wonder, am I really capable of this?  How am I going to accomplish all that God wants me to?  How do I face what my past has held and still move forward with what I know God is asking me to do, and do it well?  What are people going to think of me when I tell them I am not as together or perfect as they think?  I saw this picture a few weeks ago, and it has really stood out in my mind today:
So, I feel like the feelings of doubt, fear, worry, panic, and feelings of inadequacy are like this tree.  They are blocking my path and until I figure out how to accept what God wants from me, I cannot continue. I am going to write this out as I sort it out, because I still don't know the answer.  Well, I know what the answer is, I just don't know how to be brave enough to do it.  I long to do what God wants, yet I fear what people will say (or think) when I do.  I fear speaking about my past, present and future, because I do not want to feel the hurt or pain of the past any longer.   Thinking about the past I have gone through, and not just the marriage part of my past, but my past church, losing babies, longing for miracles that never happened, as well as so many different types of abuse.  Lately, I find myself comparing everything to running.  No, running isn't my life, but it is so easy to compare life's struggles with running.  If I were out running on this trail, what would I do?  Would I allow the downed tree to stop that perfect run?  Would I admit defeat and turn around?  Honestly, that is what I feel like doing today.  I feel like telling God I can't do this and quit.  Every fiber of my being says just quit while you are ahead.  My brain keeps reminding me that no one knows my complete story, except for me.  A large part of me really wants to keep it that way, and quit now.  Except I am not a quitter.  I refuse to give up on pretty much anything.  It is who I am.  I know I can easily avoid this tree (which pretty much represents the emotions I feel when I think about where I have been) by simply going around it.  I can hold back parts of who I am, and avoid these feelings completely.  I can avoid telling what God has really called me to do, and simply skip over my past.  I can use the plans God has given me, without having to turn around or deal with this silly tree in my way.   

Options B & C include crawling under it, never touching it, never worrying about the obstacle.  I can pretend it isn't in my way, pretend it doesn't exist.  Except, in avoiding it, I haven't truly overcome it.  As I don't normally run with a chainsaw (that would probably seriously frighten other runners, huh?), cutting the tree up isn't really an option either.  That is probably good, as taking a chainsaw to my heart and the feelings it holds doesn't sound very promising, either. 

I was reading a blog a little bit ago that had a post titled, "What is Your Anything?"  The post talked about things that hold you back spiritually, that leave you feeling less than competent, or that are roadblocks in your path today.  Today, my anything is fear.  Fear of opening up and not being loved in spite of my past.  I fear sharing my hurt, pain, shame, and emotion, for fear of having my words and feelings used against me.  I realized this morning while reading another blog that the abuse I suffered for years will shadow parts of me for a really long time.  But those fears must be laid aside, so that I can move on.  I have been praying specifically for certain things to happen in my life.  How do I know that this isn't part of the answer to those prayers?  What if I ignore what God is telling me to do?  If I choose to ignore his plans today, what plans will that decision ruin for tomorrow?  I absolutely must rest in the fact that as soon as I admit my fears to God, he can wipe them away.  He can and will give me the strength I need to do this.  God is bigger than each of these things, and when I turn to him, in obedience and faith, those fears will wither into nothing.  I pray that when the time comes for me to share what God has asked me to, I can do it in full obedience and hold nothing back.  I want to see what the path looks like from the other side of that tree. 

I know that God has placed these obstacles in my path for a reason.  He intends to make me fully dependent on him for strength, comfort and courage.  He knows I cannot do this alone, and He doesn't intend to leave me abandoned.  I am going to have to let those comforting scriptures go around and around in my head today, instead of allowing the fears to take hold. 

Flipping through my Bible just now, I came across Isaiah (seriously, my go to book...), chapter 40.  I was looking for the run and not faint part, but instead got something slightly different.  Apparently, I have never read this chapter in the Message.  It goes like this:

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me.  He doesn't care what happens to me."  Don't you know anything?  Haven't you been listening?  God doesn't come and go.  God lasts. He's creator of all you can see or imagine.  He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.  And he knows everything, inside and out.  He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.  For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.  But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.  They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don't get tired.  They walk and don't lag behind.  ~Isaiah 40:27-31

This afternoon, I will focus on the fact that God placed that tree specifically in my path today, not for my harm, but for my good.  So that I would know what it is like to run over obstacles without stumbling, without fear of doing it alone.  He isn't going to leave me stranded at the base of this tree.  He is going to pick me up and carry me over it.  

Monday, June 18, 2012


So, I have been re-reading the book I read earlier this year in preparation for the connect group I started.  The first meeting is still (only?!?) 10 days away, and yet I feel so inadequate.  Everything in me is screaming, "Seriously, Lord????  You really want me to do this???  Me??  Do you know who I am??"  I have had nothing but confirmation after confirmation, so I truly know I am doing exactly what God wants me to do.  But...  I am still nervous.  I still do not feel capable.  I do not feel amazing enough to tackle this.  And yet, His strength and abilities flow freely through me, and I am given one scripture, thought and idea after another.  I have this excitement and energy about this group and what God is going to do in it and through it. 

I do not want to give any of what I am planning away (but it really is going to be amazing!!), but I will say this.  God has been throwing words at me.  As I am given a new word, I write it down.  I was looking over this list of words I have been praying over for three days.  A few words have left me confused, and wondering if maybe I misunderstood, but they still remain.  I have thought long and hard about where I have been, the woman I was for so many years.  Underneath all of the pain and stress was this amazing person.  She was created for so much. But without that past, without the pains, losses and valleys, I would never have this incredible understanding of what today feels like.  As I grow and stretch and step out, I realize something amazing.  I am whole.  I am free.  I am me, and I am okay with that.  It absolutely amazes me to realize I am still that same person I was a year, or five, even ten years ago, and yet, I am completely different in the most amazing ways. 

I do not know the plans God has for me today.  I do not know what His plans for tomorrow hold, either.  But I do know this: His plans are far better than mine can ever be.  I know that I have this massive anxiety about speaking in front of people.  I also know that 12 (twelve!!!) women signed up for my connect group.  While that may seem like a small group to you, that is 24 eyes, all focusing on me, waiting to hear what I am going to say, how I am going to lead, and whether or not I really am amazing, as the book says.  In all honesty, I do not know what I am going to say, but I know God will speak the words through me, if I seek Him fully first.  I do not know how I am going to lead twelve women through the process of really seeing how amazing they are, but I do know God's word says He made each of us, numbered each and every day and created us for a unique and very special purpose, which really amazes me.  Today, I do not feel amazing.  But then, I look back over the last 5 years of my life and have this huge reality check.  I realize I really am amazing.  I could have easily become angry at God.  I could have walked away.  I could go sit at a bar and cry into a beer.  And, really, any of those things would be acceptable to so many people.  Lucky for me, acceptable isn't enough.  I want to be amazing.  So, as you read this, please pray for me.  :)  God is giving me so many ideas, plans and dreams for this group of women.  Please pray that I can have the wisdom I need to know when God is telling me to do something.  Please pray that as I am told to do something, I have the courage I need to do it.  And, please pray that I receive some of God's strength pouring through me, because I feel so completely weak and inadequate to lead this group.  This is truly going to be one of the most amazing summers of my life.  I can feel it, and I really am ready.  Haha, sort of....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hold Nothing Back

This week has left me feeling a little overwhelmed, exhausted, and crazy.  Totally worth it, but by last night, I was pretty much over life.  VBS was amazing; I always love the feeling I get watching these kids learn more about Jesus.  I think the final count was 66 little kids dedicating their lives to Jesus.  Totally worth every struggle and ounce of exhaustion.   I will admit though, this was the hardest week I have dealt with in a really long time.  By yesterday afternoon, I was really looking forward to bed last night.

Sara didn't want to go to VBS.  She continued to tell me it was silly to go, when she couldn't participate last night.  I kept on her, explaining we don't go for the fun night at the end.  We go to learn about our awesome God.  She quit complaining, but her heart wasn't entirely in it.  Makes me sad, but I know deep down, she had fun.  The pictures that were taken throughout the week prove it.  I am so blessed for teachers who encourage and engage a little girl who has behavior issues, attitude problems, and a desire to give up at the first sign of things not going the way she wants them to.  I am hopeful that she will come home with excitement, not frustration. 

Cassie was so excited to be a part.  I can honestly say she loved every second of it.  Even on Friday, she was still ready to go back and be a part.  It makes me heart so thankful that I am part of a church that focuses so intently on the lives of children, reaching them and helping them to know that God doesn't love them less or differently because they are little. 

Jessica was ready for the week to be over by Wednesday morning.  She was done.  I am sure she was fine after I got her in and dropped off, but she cried when we pulled into the parking lot Wednesday morning, Wednesday night (for nursery), and both Thursday and Friday mornings.  I have seen several pictures of her, smiling and playing, so I know she was fine, it just made going hard, when I felt like I was forcing two of the three girls. 

By last night, I was a mess.  Between exhaustion, anger, sadness, and a few other things, I just about lost it.  No, I did lose it.  And, looking back, I think it is okay.  Losing it every great once in a while isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when you can focus in on the important parts of life instead.  Not exactly what I did last night, but definitely what I should have done.  I really feel the need to share a few things.  Last night, coming home to an empty house, reallysucked.  Really, really, really  sucked.  I was so incredibly discouraged.  I felt alone and punished, to be honest.  I felt like I had poured out so much into the lives of so many kids, then coming home to complete silence was like being sentenced to prison.  I know it probably seems over dramatic, but I really was struggling.  A few other situations left me feeling angry and hurt.  Almost betrayed.  Instead of immediately realizing I needed God's help, I tried to do things my own way.  Almost immediately, I realized it wasn't going to be my way, and that I needed help.  I reached out to a friend, who was nice enough to talk me through my emotions and thoughts, as well as give me some kind advice.  I am so thankful God has given me friends who can relate to the struggles I go through from time to time, and remind me that I am not the only person that struggles.  God is so amazing that way.  Anyway, by the time I went to bed, while I didn't feel as great as I wanted to, I felt a million times better. 

Woke up this morning (after sleeping an entire 12 hours!!!) a little sluggish, but ready for the day.  I started today with my devotion, which blew me away.  It talked about staying on the path God has designed for me.  That this path was specifically designed just for me, and that only I can accomplish God's goals for me.  As excited as I am about the connect group I am starting, I am so nervous.  I have this insane peace that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing, but all of this is requiring my to step out of my comfort zone and walk down this path that is a little scary.  I have been really praying about where I need to start, what parts of my testimony need to be shared, and what needs to be kept private.  When I am comfortable with someone, I tend to not share my deepest thoughts, as I don't want to lose the relationship.  When I am not comfortable with someone, I fear opening up will make them run screaming in the other direction.  Three times in the last week (well, four if I count something from this morning), I have been told hold nothing back. 

Hold nothing back.  For me, this is the scariest sentence on the face of the planet.  By this morning, I was seriously doubting that these people had the slighest understanding of what they were saying.  I knew that I had a little more insight to what not holding back really meant, and they must be wrong.  I wanted to read a specific part of the Bible this morning, and knew I also needed to start getting prepped for my first session of the connect group.  I say it often, and am saying it again.  God is amazing.  I opened up my Bible, and was reading when it hit me.  Hold nothing back.  God has given me an opportunity to minister to a group of women in a way I have never been ministered to.  If I can (and, I pray that God gives me the strength to do what I need to do) do what I think is being asked of me, I can allow others to see what God has done in my life.  If I do not share, these women (half of which I do not know) will never understand exactly what God has done in my life.  They will not understand that I am doing this connect group because I struggle with esteem issues on a daily basis.  If I share, God gets glory.  End of story.

To this day, I do not know why I allowed myself to be degraded and humiliated the ways I was.  I do not understand why God did not restore my life the way I thought he would.  However, I do know that because of my past, I have my present.  I have this amazing journey that I have walked through, all because He never let go.  He held nothing back from me.  Why should I hold things back from Him?  The answer to that is don't.  There is no reason.  There is no God glory in that. 

You know I hate most?  When someone totally kicks my butt, tells me what will change me, how to handle this better next time, and then they are proven right.  But, I hate it in a good way, so I hope that really makes okay.  :) 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Simple Reminders

I feel so stinking blessed tonight. Things are not going at all the way I planned them.  And yet, I sit in peace (and quiet, too!!!) knowing that my way isn't always the right way or the only way.  I am resting in the fact that I have given up control, and am in the process of happily accepting a different way of life than I expected. I know God has me sitting calmly in the palm of his hand, even in my craziness, because I can sit back and look at these amazingly precious little girls, and feel SO incredibly thankful to be there Momma.

So often, I feel overloaded with the responsibilities of what being a mom really takes out of me.  And not just the work and schedule part, but the role-model part.  The attempts to control what I really want to say, and instead say what I don't mind people overhearing.  The late nights when I really just want to sleep, but instead, get to spend three extra hours rocking a little girl that just won't stop crying, and all with a joyful heart.  I want to do this mom-thing amazingly awesome.  I don't want to ever doubt my mommy capabilities.  I want to just know I have what it takes.  I want to be that mom that is enough of a mom to make them step up and be good kids, while still being "cool" enough to be the house their friends want to be at.  I want to do a good enough job that my girls want my advice and opinions, instead of being the example of what not to do.  I want to show them how to have an amazing time, and find joy in the simplicities of life.  Joy just like this:

Seeing this girl's smile makes me so happy.  A $2.00 carousel ride was worth a million bucks in my book.  Watching the girls enjoy something so simple and enjoy it so whole-heartedly just made me overjoyed with life.  There are so many times I feel so down.  There are so many things I can't do for the girls.  So many things the girls will do without.  There are so many days I just long for a padded bank account to be able to splurge every once in a while.  But the last week has really made me rethink what I want and what I need in life.  These days have made me realize it isn't the iPod's, the Justice clothes, or those new cowgirl boots that really make life worth it.  It is moments like these...

Moments when we can take totally random moments in life and make them fun.  When we can turn something a competelyordinary, normal day and make the day extra-ordinary.  When I can ignore the girls' dirty faces, the way their hair falls 20 minutes after we leave the house, the crazy looks I get from perfect strangers and just sit back and laugh with three little girls who are living fully in today.  Not worrying about what others think or are saying.  Not worrying about when the bills get paid.  Not even worrying about what tomorrow will or won't hold, but just being perfectly happy to be right where they are.  Even when they are covered in three layers of grunge...

This girl was covered from head to toe in dirt.
She absolutely loved every single second of it!

Moments when we focus on what is in front of us (or in Cassie's case, underneath us), instead of focusing on what we quite possibly may never see.  Trying to see things with the girls, through their eyes, has been such a blessing this last week.  Cassie  was absolutely overjoyed when she saw this picture.  She loves anything that has to do with horses, cowgirls and boots.  She loved posing on this fairly large cow, and did a great job doing it.  Later, when she saw this picture, she laughed and said, "Mommy, look, I really am a cowgirl now!  See, cow and girl!"  She even sat like a lady while on the oversized plastic (fiberglass, maybe?) cow.  These girls are such an amazing gift.  Even on days like today, when I am so tired I can hardly think straight, I know they are amazing gifts.  So, tonight, I go fall pretty much exhausted into bed, but still so excited that I get to do more life with them by my side tomorrow.  :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Two Little Hands

So, the girls and I had a road trip today several days ago (oops! Forgot to hit the publish button).  We took off and hit a faraway zoo for the better portion of the day, leaving me and the girls slightly over 4 hours of car time.  They were quite entertaining the way up, and the two littles crashed on the way home.  It left me with a lot of thinking time, though.  First, I listened to Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue.  Come on, Disney, really???  Nothing wrong with the movie, just a little stretched for originality, in my opinion. 

One good point of the story...  Somewhere in the movie one of the characters says something about seeing is believing.  I was really provoked.  Not mad provoked, just trying to rationalize all the thoughts going on in my head.  I realized how easily we all can fall prey to that thought concept.  It is so easy to believe in something we see in front of us.  But what about the unseen?  I am so guilty of saying, "I know God has this," or "I know God has it already figured out," but how often do I allow myself to really believe it without ever doubting?  In the end, after the father saw what the daughter believed in, he, too believed.  It really made me wonder why our faith has to see what God can do before we will truly believe.  Why is it that we, as adults, cannot just blindly trust that he has our best at heart? 

I remembered I have a free trial of satellite radio for the summer.  I changed it to listen to something I wanted to listen to, instead of trying to follow the quite interesting (NOT!) Tinkerbell storyline.  For some reason, it just left me longing for something more.  We got to the zoo, and I started to unload.  My goodness, you would have thought I was planning on setting up camp, for the amount of time it took to unload the car.  First, the stroller, then the canopy for the stroller.  My purse, camera, and Jess' extra clothes came next.  The bag of cold lunch, the bag of snacks, drinks, one thing after another.  And, remarkably, it all fit in the basket of the stroller.  I rock.  ;)  Anyway, by the time I got it all ready, I let the girls get out of the car.  At this point, they are mad at each other, tired of being confined and waiting, and restless.  Very restless.  We got halfway to the entrance, where I realized two of my three kids were crying.  Yes, crying.  Talk about feeling like a failure.  Got them settled down, and into the zoo.  The zoo was quite larger than our home zoo, and it was a little overwhelming.  The last time I had been to this zoo, it was large, but not like it is now!  At one of the exhibits, I decided to park the stroller, as the two littles were growing antsy, Jess was tired and crying, Sara was complaining and I was still trying to smile.  I had the two girls by the hand, and a delightful (hmmm, touch of sarcasm?) little lady made the comment that I definitely had my hands full with three energetic girls, and where was my husband?  I wanted to run.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to punch someone.  Yes, it would be easy to assume a woman with three young kids would have a husband.  Instead, I stood there.  In shock.  I said nothing.  The tears were stinging my eyes, wondering why the woman would even ask me that.  I remember praying.  I was suddenly blissfully aware that Jess' tears had stopped, two little hands were still clinging tightly to mine.  Looking up to me, waiting for me to respond.  I felt so overloaded with emotion.  Overwhelming responsibility to protect these girls from the real world.  Fear of them growing up without a Daddy that will go on spontaneous zoo trips to look at animals in cages.  And, those two little hands just kept squeezing.  Cassie said something to me, about it being okay that it was just me with them at the zoo, because we were having fun, and we even got to watch a movie in the car!  I honestly cannot even remember how I got away from that lady, because all I could focus on was those two hands, holding tight, waiting for me to guide them to the gorillas.  Reminding me I needed to show them the way a good mom just keeps walking, refusing to let one woman steal our joy.  Reminding me that while my hands were full of little girls chubby fingers, His hands were holding me, guiding me, teaching me patience and kindness.

I am amazed at how crazy it feels to know that the girls are completely my responsibility.  I want to show them so many amazing things about life, love, happiness.  I want them to rest assured, knowing that God is their sole source of comfort, peace, strength and joy.  I want them to be strong women of God, never wavering in their faith, but accepting that mistakes happen.  I want to remind them that money will never buy happiness or joy in life.  I want to live the life that shows them people mess up.  People forgive.  All of it is okay.  It isn't about failure, it is just about what we do with it.  God wants my life to witness to others what His amazing love can do.  What it can overcome.  And, knowing that at the exact second I need it, He will deliver it. 

Saying Yes Really IS Saying No

Ever play the opposite game as a child?  You know the one... Yes means no, no means yes.  Stop means go, go means stop.  Don't means do, do means don't.  This was one of my most treasured memories as a child.  Well, not really, but I do remember it well.  The ability to pester my mom and sisters so easily, as the game always ended with a fight being started between one of my sisters and, typically, me.  I will say, I was really good at tricking my younger sister into saying precisely what I wanted, which always used to make her mad.  Although, I never remember it actually ending in getting what I set out for.  Hmmmm...  Maybe I should re-think that one.  Ha, maybe I should re-think even admitting to that.  Yeah, definitely gotta think this one out.  :)

So, I was reading the first few pages of this book I am thinking of borrowing, and something really profound hit me.  Not really related to anything I am going through currently, but just the concept has got me thinking.  This might be dangerous...  :)  Anyway, the statement is, "It's funny when you say "yes" to something (like the man of your dreams), you don't think about the fact you are also saying "no" to something else." ~ Angie Smith (or Amy Spiegel, but I am thinking Ang is referring to Angie, not Amy...), in Letting Go of Perfect.  This might not be a "light bulb" moment for any of you, but it certainly was for me.  I don't usually make decisions on a whim, but there are times that I have said yes or no quickly, without thought, and regretted my decision later. There are things I say, "Yes! Absolutely!" to, that I suddenly realize I will have to accept my response means I can no longer do this other thing over here, too.  When I say, "Yes!  Absolutely a fourth scoop of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch (Ben & Jerry's most yummy flavor - ever), please!" means the scale will say, "No, Cil, you are absolutely not down four pounds anymore."  By the way, my example was in no way stating that I have ever eaten four entire scoops of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.  Five scoops, quite possibly.  Four, absolutely no way.  I will also say those times where I have said, "Yes, I can do that," that has led to that phone call that says, "I am sorry.  I took on more than I could handle, and should have said no."  Words are power.  Even simple ones like "yes" and "no." 

In Matthew 5:37, Jesus tells us, "Let your yes be yes.  Let your no be no."  Obviously, Jesus didn't like the opposite game.  Maybe he was tired of breaking up the disciples' fights over yes meaning no and no meaning yes.  Or maybe he just was tired of remembering it was opposite day. I am totally getting sidetracked thinking of all the silly random thoughts of the opposite game.  Moving on...  Christ was a man of his word.  When he said yes, he meant yes.  Yes was an absolute promise.  When he said no, there was no moving him.  He meant no.  As humans, how often do we allow ourselves to be pushed into doing something we really don't want to do, or know that we shouldn't be doing?  And all because we didn't allow our words to have the power of yes or no.  I have found myself, at so many different points in life, found myself praying, begging for that no answer to be changed to a yes answer.  And, I can honestly say, when God has shown me his answer is no, it has never changed.  It has also never led me to a situation he wasn't bigger than.  Allowing our faith and trust to be so strongly tied to a simple yes or no is an amazing process.  Knowing that even when God's "No, Cil," answer comes along, it isn't because he wants me to beg louder, tithe more, serve longer, wear certain clothes, or DO anything.  It just means, "No."  When God decides the answer is, "Yes, my love," does it make it anymore special?  It really shouldn't.  Sometimes a "no" answer is so much more than a "yes" answer.  The book explains that when you say yes to one thing on the menu, you have said no to every other thing on the menu.  So, when God says, "No, Cil.  That isn't what I want for you." He isn't saying that I can't have anything.  He isn't even telling me he won't allow it.  He is just simply saying, "No."  No part of that answer means I am alone, he doesn't love me, or that I am not good enough.  He is saying, "Yes, you can have so much different.  Choose my way.  Just trust me." 

I have been struggling with happiness not being an emotion lately.  Happiness is not an emotion.  It is merely a state of mind.  I can choose happiness, like I can choose anger.  I have prayed and prayed and prayed over something.  I really thought God was opening doors, showing me his blessing, and telling me, "Yes, Cil.  It's your turn."  I have begun to realize I overlooked his subtle, "No, Cil.  This isn't it."  No means no.  Why do we struggle with a "No" answer?  Do we doubt God's amazing goodness?  We, or maybe just me, really struggle with having the faith that God will show us the way, then when He shows us, we don't accept it.  We don't like it.  Why is that?  The "no" answers are just as amazing as the "yes" answers.  As if I don't say it often enough, "For I know the plans I have for you... Plans to prosper you, not harm you, to give you hope and a future."  The Message reminds us His plans will not abandon us.  His "no" answer doesn't mean I am going to be destroyed.  It doesn't mean I am alone.  It doesn't mean I should despair, give up, or stop serving.  It just means His best is on the horizon.  Why should I fight so hard to settle for what I want, when I can easily have what He wants to so lovingly give to me? 

This statement has really made me reflect on the past that I said yes to.  I made decisions and said yes to quite a bit.  Quite honestly, I said yes to more than I could have ever imagined taking on.  I do not regret these decisions, and thankfully, will not have the chance to rewind and make over.  I saw something a few days ago that reminded me of some really amazing factors in life.  Life is a journey.  Sometimes the path is clearly marked and visible.  Other times, it is dimly lit and overgrown.  Sometimes, the path leads us through valleys, with no other way out but through.  At times, the path leads us over mountains, and the view from the top reminds us how beautiful the path has been.  Other times, the path leads us to obstacles, like a tree in the road.  These obstacles present us with different choices.  We can say yes, climbing over that tree and moving ahead towards the goal, or we can say no, turning back, looking for an easier way, any way to hang on to try and re-write our story.  When you say yes, and choose to move on, you must say yes, and move on.  When we say no, and choose to linger, turn back, or search for the easier route, we must remember that at some point, we are still going to have to climb over that tree to reach our destination.  We can't get to the destination by moving backwards.  There are times we must choose to let go and move on.  It doesn't mean we didn't cherish the moments along the journey to that tree in the road, it just means in order to get anywhere, you have to get over it. 

I am not really sure how I got to this place of maps, trees, and paths, but I am pretty sure I am done thinking for the night.  I need to remind myself me yes means yes, and sadly, that means no to the possibility of other things.  God's no for me is more encouraging, because that means His yes is still coming, and I have something amazing to look forward to.  Gonna climb over this tree, maybe shedding some baggage I can't carry over, and get to my destination already.  :) 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not Holding Back

Ok, I am seriously thinking I need to have this framed and hung somewhere I can see it all the time. 

So, I saw this earlier today.  By the end of today, when I couldn't stop thinking about it, I thought I absolutely must write about it.  It is one of the simplest things I have honestly ever read, and yet, it has spun around and around in my head.  It propelled my run this afternoon (and because you asked, yes, it was my best run. EVER. ), allowed me to let go of silly stuff and concentrate fully on the girls tonight. 

A quick overview of the day: Chaos reigning this morning, leading to all three girls losing TV privileges.  I am so done with the constant background noise (ha, unless they are gone and the house is altogether way too quiet).  It only adds to the madness of three little girls and the ever present odd one out.  Luckily, Jess gladly steps out of the chaos as soon as the arguing starts, preferring to cling to me.  She hates the drama.  Seriously.  Anyway, by 3:00 this afternoon, the girls were at it again, and I banished them back to the TV.  Yeah, mother of the year.  I know.  It really was for their good.  This time, anyway...  :)  Anyway, left for my run feeling so frazzled and totally not in the mood.  Was talking to a friend who even knew I was going to try and back out.  I never even had to say I was thinking about it.  I just really wasn't feeling it.  Really.  Needless to say, I blasted my iPod and took off.  At first, I was simply trying to outrun the thoughts going through my head.  The failures of the day, the constant unchecked items on my to-do list, the arguments that would probably occur upon my return.  Then, when I finally outran the thoughts, and the only focus I had was the fact that breathing, at this point, felt completely the least natural thing to do, this picture re-entered my mind.  And I ran.  Reminding myself that the only thing holding me back from my best run ever was me.  This afternoon, I had everything I needed for a great run.  I have been taught well, have the most amazing shoes, great music, and the most gorgeous day ever.  The only thing that could ruin this blessing of a day would be me.  So, again, I ran.  I went two miles in an absolutely mind blowing 15:37!!  Let me just say, I hit the two mile mark, and seriously, as soon as I turned around, I remembered I would have to go UP monster hill. For those of you not local, monster hill is a quarter of a mile steep incline.  It reads at the base: challenging slope.  Challenging is an understatement.  I contemplated (seriously, I am not joking) calling my mom to come rescue me.  I didn't know how I was going to do it.  I prayed, then took off running at the base.  Ran all the way up.  Walked the last mile to my car, and realized I ran (ok, and walked) 4 miles in less than 40 minutes.  Ecstatic doesn't even come close the overflow of emotions I felt on the drive home.  So, I told myself I was an amazing, strong woman, with legs that would carry me as fast as my feet would keep up, and went with it.  My mind said I could do it, and I did.  I still feel giddy when I realize what I accomplished tonight.  I know this won't happen every time, which makes the night even more special.  Came home, still pumped, grabbed dinner, and declared it movie night.  The girls have never been so happy to camp out in front of Lady and the Tramp with me ever.  We went out to attempt firefly catching, and caught an astounding 6 fireflies.  Unless you count the one Jess accidentally let free.  Then we caught 7.  Four people, seven fireflies.  We should win a trophy for our catch.  But, it was fun.  Jess kept yelling, "Tireties, tireties, please come back!  I want to catch you!"  She would pause for a minute or two, run to a different part of the yard, and yell it again.  It was too cute.  However, those fireflies were really smart, turned off their tails, and flew way as fast as the possibly could.  When we realized firefly catching was pretty much a no-go, we decided to play flashlight tag.  Let me say, I have never ever heard so many giggles.  Or run so fast with a 25 pound child clinging to me, laughing the whole way.  I think it is going to become a Tuesday night summer tradition from here on.  That is how much fun we had.  The girls didn't even go to bed until 9:30, and for those of you that really know me, you know this never happens.  Ever.  It was worth every second.  They crashed.  I am feeling the need to do the same.  Desperately. 

Ok, moving on...  Every once in a while, I am really blown away by a few words placed delicately in a sentence together.  Like the one above.  I glanced at it quickly at first, moving quickly on, because I was in a rush.  A few minutes later, I realized I really wanted to concentrate on what it said.  This is what I read: It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not.  This is what I thought: The only thing stopping me from accomplishing goals is my feelings of inadequacy, which are only feelings.  Really, I am so much more than my brain tells me I am.  The thought really reminded me of the book I finished a little while back.  Totally goes hand in hand with it, actually.  I have really been praying about something I felt God wanted be to do.  I felt like I needed to start a connect group on the book, You're Already Amazing.  I read it a few months ago, and the concepts have seriously changed the way I look at myself.  It showed me that I am already amazing.  It taught me that the style of clothes I wear don't determine my amazing-ness.  It showed me that the speed or distance of my runs doesn't determine how amazing I am in God's sight.  It showed me that nothing can change what or who God made me to be.  Only I can fulfill God's purpose for me, and that makes me amazing.  I am one-of-a-kind, completely irreplaceable daughter of the king.  The book seriously is amazing.  Anyway, I had been praying that I would get some small confirmation that I am not in over my head.  Pretty much feeling like this picture is more than enough confirmation for me, and I am really thankful.  I may not feel like I can do it, but I know in my weakness, He will give me the strength I need.  And that makes me really really happy.  :)

So, getting back to my real thoughts on this issue, this really has been going through my head all day.  When I found myself frustrated at my incapabilities (like, seriously, I only have TWO hands??), I was easily able to re-focus and remind myself that my mind would hold me back much more than the lack of eight arms.  There were many moments today that I really fought my mind.  So many moments I thought, if only this, or if only that.  If only I had money to put the girls in daycare (yes, that thought really did go through my mind today) so that I could actually finish more than one task during the day.  If only I had more patience, so that I wouldn't be frustrated by walking into a disastrous kitchen that was clean the last time I walked out of it.  If only I could plan activities to keep the kids totally happy all the time.  And, then, I remembered: I was only thinking of the things I am not.  I never allowed my strengths to come through.  I only berated my weaknesses.  I didn't accept them, and find ways to allow those benefits to strengthen me.  I am quite talented at making $10 feel more like $25.  I am so blessed to have enough time to research fun, inexpensive (sometimes free!) ways to keep the girls entertained out of the house once, sometimes twice, a week, saving the money for other things that may be slightly more important.  While my patience is not overflowing, I get so many people reminding me that I am doing a good job.  I am nowhere near perfect, but I am blessed.  I get to spend very important moments of time with my kids, where some Moms are required to work, because of finances, the absolute need to get away for a few hours, or any other reason.  Being a stay at home mom is a blessing for me.  For other moms, it could feel like a curse.  I am just thankful I find it a blessing.  The lack of every day excursions do not hurt the girls.  This morning, we had a pajama Lego party.  It was fun.  The little girls and I (Sara was too big for such silliness - party pooper) stayed in our jammies and dumped out every type of block and Lego out all over my room.  We built some crazy things, and used the Lego people and animals to do some amazing things.  Who knew that Buzz Lightyear could drive a tractor, pulling a trailer filled with chickens, cows, horses, pigs and children?  Might have even had a dog or two thrown in.  All right, who am I kidding, if it was in the trailer, it was absolutely, most definitely, thrown in.  Anyway, a little bit of creativity and imagination never hurt anyone.  Getting outside, riding bikes, doodling with sidewalk chalk, attempting to climb trees, it's all beneficial in so many ways.  All of those thoughts I struggled with today did hold me back.  Until I realized I was allowing them to make me feel inadequate.  Then those thoughts got kicked out.  I moved on and had an amazing day.  I will seriously never again underestimate the power of perspective.  :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Thousand Words or None at All?

I have debated over posting all day.  Feeling the need, but never really figuring out where to start.  This really is therapeutic for me.  My head needs my fingers to write.  To hear the soft clicking of the keys as my thoughts appear in front of my eyes.  I need the lulling hum of the laptop that so amazingly helps me process my emotions and thoughts.  I seriously desire the release of so many things going through my head tonight.  I want so badly to lay it all out there, and yet, at the same time, really want to say nothing at all.  So, here I sit, my emotions and thoughts battling between pouring it all out and knowing I will regret doing so.  The struggle continues. 

I fought sleep last night.  Really no reason for it.  No fears or anxieties, no feeling the need to pray for someone, just restless.  It was rough.  I went to church this morning with such a crazy amount of mixed emotion.  I have really missed the girls this weekend. Again, not because I was anxious about anything, just because the house is so quiet with them gone.  I feel as if my purpose has been stolen when they aren't around.  I hate hearing the creaks and groans.  I hate being asked where they are.  Completely innocent questions, but it stings still.  I despise facing my failures so often. 

God saw my need (and I am sure there were others, too, but...)  and met me.  Pastor Derek reminded us today that God does indeed have incredible plans for us, and will hear every single prayer, but we must seek him.  We must ask.  We must let our struggles, worries and fears go, and just trust him.  It is so incredible what God will do when we obey and seek him.  It is also so incredible how fast our peace can be stolen from us, if we drop our guards and allow it to be. 

I temporarily allowed that peace, that trust, to be taken from me today.  I really struggled with some things happening.  To be honest, I am still struggling to get that peace and faith back.  I am not sure what God is doing.  I am trying to remember I can't see things the way God does, until he reveals his plan to me.  When the time is perfect.  Until then, I just have to wait and trust.  Regardless of the things happening in my life right now.  It shouldn't matter how big this storm is.  God is bigger.  A friend told me a long time ago that God is above this storm.  The fairly large storm she was referring to then is definitely not the same warm summer storm I am walking through right now.  But, the statement is the same.  He is here.  We were so gently reminded of that at church today.  He sits here with me, even when I can't feel him.  He knows what I am going through.  He sees my pain.  He sees my heart, knows my longing.  He knows I feel so incredibly broken right now.  The amazing part is that he is just waiting for me to ask him to fix it.  He can do it.  But, he won't, because I can't ask.  I am struggling so badly tonight because I can't figure out what needs to be fixed, so that I can ask him.  I am not angry.  I am not holding grudges.  But my heart aches, nonetheless.  I feel as though I have been shredded to about a million tiny pieces.  I struggle to reveal the way I feel versus maintaining this stupid fake smile that I have mastered over the years. 

God is doing such astounding things to so many I am close to.  I am so incredibly thankful that people in my life are finding happiness.  I am so thankful that prayers are being answered.  I have several people that have been praying for certain situations that are receiving answers and seeing God move.  And, I am so happy and thankful for them.  Honestly, I am.  I can see God in my life.  I can see him providing exactly when I need it.  I can see protection and am so deeply appreciative.  And yet,  I am really struggling tonight.  I am trying to trust God and know that he really has my best interest, and is leading me towards it.  It is just difficult to sit back and watch it happening in so many people around me.  Kinda makes me wonder how God chooses how long each person has to wait for their miracles, for an answer to a prayer, for deliverance.  On earth, I fully understand that we will suffer.  I understand that right now, when I am my weakest, the potential for God's inhuman strength is overwhelming.  But, I have to let go of the questions, the inability to comprehend what God is doing.  I have to just accept life for what it is today and rest in it. 

Today was beautiful.  A gorgeous blue sky day.  Slight breeze, not too hot, not too cold.  Today, I had the incredible blessing of attending a church service that I really needed to be a part of.  I had the sweetest lady take time and pray with me.  Today, I got a decent run (and walk...) in.  Up then down a "Monster hill" mile in about 8:30.  The next three were nowhere near as great, but I had legs capable of getting out there.  I am trying so hard to focus on the positive things happening, instead of focusing on the why's, how come's, when's and what could have been's.  The Message Bible clearly reminds me tonight, "I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home.  I know what I'm doing.  I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plants to give you the future you hope for.  When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen.  Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed. " (Jeremiah 29:10-14)  So today (I really should say tomorrow, because in less than an hour today will become yesterday), I have got to just remember and concentrate on the facts: he really knows what he is doing.  He has it all planned out.  He loves me.  He is with me.  Even when I feel alone and abandoned, he won't ever leave my side.  He won't let me fall.  He has started an incredible thing in my life, and I can't allow any enemy to steal it from me.  I want what God has for me, even if it means I wait seventy years for it.  Granted, I don't want to wait seventy years, but I have this funny feeling, it would still be worth waiting for.  I want what he has planned far more than what I have planned.  I just have to remember God's timing is way better than mine.