Monday, October 29, 2012

Almost November

Was thinking last night that I felt the urge to write.  It was almost 11pm, and there was no way I was getting out of my warm snuggly spot to get my laptop.  The sudden urge took me by surprise, because obviously, I haven't written in almost a month.  When did September become October, and October run into Halloween time?  If I am not careful, I will blink wrong and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here.  Where did this month go?

And, seriously, what a month.  The girls and I had an amazing trip away.  I have never felt so blessed and loved in my life.  Just knowing that God had answered my prayer for a short trip away in such a different way blew my mind.  So thankful He hears prayers, even those that aren't necessarily needs.  Funny how something so simple made me realize how much He hears me and loves me in spite of my failings.  In spite of my frustrations, my inabilities, and my weakness.  He loves me.  He hears me.  He blesses me.  And not with millions (haha, or even thousands) of dollars, but in the simplest ways.  Like the sun peaking through fall colored leaves on the green way.  Like laughter of two little girls filling up water bottles with dog food.  Like steam coming out of a cup of pumpkin spice coffee.  Like homemade chicken noodle soup and warm cookies right out of the oven.  Small things, yes, but so thankful.  I am capable of feeling life's greatest blessings without extravagant sources of money.  And, silly as it is, I am so thankful for that.  The silly things we can be thankful for far outweigh the luxuries of a rich person.  Seriously.  :)

Let me just say, the girls and I had the best time.  They experienced jacuzzi baths with more bubbles than I will willingly admit to pouring into the tub.  Jess was almost lost the first time.  Their laughter was such precious therapy for me.  We stayed in a cabin that was secluded enough to make me feel away from civilization, but in all reality, the next cabin was less than 20 feet away; it was less than 10 minutes away from the main stretch.  Kroger was 5 minutes away, three gas stations less than 3 minutes away.  This seclusion was a much needed illusion.  We enjoyed a few sunsets in a porch swing on the wrap-around porch, early morning snuggles in a king-size bed, and checkers by the lit fireplace.  And, yes, I feel like I could write an amazing ad for the cabin.  It was just that perfect.  Well, aside from the jacuzzi tub in the bedroom.  With mirrors.  That was a little more than I bargained for, but the girls thought it was funny that someone could do their makeup while taking a bath.  Thank God for innocence.  We were fortunate to be able to do a few things while we were there, and for that I am so thankful. 

We saw bears.  Real live black (or brown??) bears.  Lots of them.  Sara and I spotted a mama bear and her three babies.  That was both scary and awesome.  God is so awesome.  Watching her protect her babies was really cool.  Made me realize God put my Mommy instincts in me (lol, and every other female creature on the face of the planet) for an important reason.  No other beings create something inside of them.  No other creation gets to have two hearts beating inside of them, nor feel the connection like a Mom gets to.  It was amazing.  No wonder I feel the fierce need to protect these little girls like I do. 

It was so funny, because we went, and I was so ready to get away from life.  And, yet life is exactly what we were doing up there.  We took walks through woods.  We laughed over tree stumps in the middle of the dirt path.  We saw hundreds of squirrels, at least a dozen deer, and more bears than I am really comfortable with, I think 7 was the final count.  Thankfully, we had no snake encounters.  We laughed.  We connected.  And, really, none of us were ready to come home.  Packing the cabin up was a difficult emotional journey.  I felt so safe, so capable, so refreshed knowing this life God gave me is exactly what I want, even if it is hard.

I was telling a close friend of the family a little bit about my past last night.  It is really funny, because it was the first time I ever told it without feeling no anger towards the people that hurt me or turned a blind eye to what was going on.  Yes, I feel frustrated at the legal system, and I feel stupid at being so naive and willing to accept that life could be so painful, but the anger towards my ex is gone.  More than anything, I just feel bad for him.  I hate to think that he will never experience the giggles that come from having four bodies snuggled close in the same tiny bed.  I hate to think that he doesn't get the love, the memories and the experiences having three crazy little girls around him all the time.  Makes me sad, because it didn't have to be this way.  But, remembering hurtful times yesterday caused me no tears, no regret, and no anger for the first time ever.  It feels good to know my past is no longer my present or my future.  My past no longer controls my heart, my decisions or who I can be.  It is simply my past, and thankful doesn't even begin to express how that makes me feel. 
This morning, despite a rough start, I praised God for my past and who it has made me today.  I thanked Him today for my former life, and the closeness to Him I received for enduring it, one painful moment to the next.  And, I sit here, feeling so peaceful and so loved in spite of life's craziness and lack of someone physically present to love me and live life by my side.  While it is hard to wait for that perfect for me someone, I look around me, and know I will not make the mistake of doing marriage my way ever again.  It is so easy to just know God is up there working my next relationship so that it will be God and God alone.  And, the peace I find in not wondering how I can make it happen surpasses it all.  God is so good. 

And, while we are ready for things to progress, the girls are happy, they are adjusting well.  I feel so blessed I can't even explain.  It feels so liberating to know I am doing this.  I had the moment of realizing how much life passed over me in 2011 without me really mentally present because of so many factors, and how much different my life has been this year because I let my grip cling to someone bigger than my current situation.  I let go of what I thought I needed or wanted, and clung to something I viewed as unstable, and have realized that this "unstable" being is the firmest Rock I have ever stood on.  I am so thankful I am where I am.  I am so thankful I walked a rough road, because I can relate to people.  I wasn't so sheltered that I can't understand how someone could stay with someone who hit you or treated you less than you deserved.  I walked this crazy difficult road, and realize now that God never left me.  Things happened for His glory and His glory alone.  Through it all, his plans for my prosperous future unfolded.  And, my story is coming.  I can feel it starting to pour from my fingertips, ready for the freedom in knowing it is all behind me, and today and tomorrow are already taken care of.  I can feel little parts of me unfolding, stretching towards complete freedom.  And, I can't wait to see how God is going to work through me to help others. 

This post was not at all what I started out to write.  It is funny for me to have a purpose for a post, then it end up completely not what I had planned or thought.  Gotta get back to a massive Lego house, now.  Cassie wants a second floor on her cowgirl castle...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting Ready...

So, I am sitting in the middle of several piles of clothes, shoes, small things to keep the girls busy, and clothes I still need to fold and put away.  And a room that needs me to finish cleaning it.  And the girls' room that needs ten minutes of my time.  And the luggage that needs to be pulled out.  And yet I can't seem to get over some seemingly small things.

Like gorgeous fall colors.  I am loving watching the reds, oranges and yellows come out.  And sitting here thinking about it gets me all excited, because in 24 hours from right now, I will be experiencing those same intensely beautiful colors in a cabin, secluded with the girls, ready for a small getaway from the craziness that is life. 

Like God's ability to just love me.  Yeah, sorta fall related, cause I feel like He puts on this amazingly beautiful display of colors just for me, just cause He loves me like that.  Conceited, selfish, whatever.  It's probably true for each of us.  He does some pretty awesome stuff, just to show off how much He loves us.  For some of us, it is fall leaves, for others a fish that was this big.  Some find goodness in the quiet stillness of morning's first light, others sitting beneath the stars.  Regardless, He loves us.  He created this beautiful place for us to enjoy.  While I feel silly saying this is proof of how much He loves us, I happen to know God could've created it ugly just as easy as beautiful. 

Like peace.  Such a small simple concept, and yet such a massively powerful feeling.  Even despite not knowing what God's plans are for me, I have this amazing surge of peace, knowing He has called me for greatness.  Single, married, divorced, whatever.  Speaking to women or cuddling with kids, doesn't really matter, He is gonna get the glory.  It's really His story, after all.

Like laughter.  The amazing sounds of laughing women, giggling children, and all of creation just bursting forth with this sound that is just happy.  Like nothing could take the fun happiness out of this moment, and I am going to laugh.  Doesn't matter what tomorrow brings, I am right here in this moment, and it is good, so laugh.  Smile.  Delight in it.  Don't worry needlessly about tomorrow's battle. 

I am starting to seriously feel guilty, because I know in a few hours, I am going to wish that I hadn't sat down and written a few thoughts out.  I know that I am going to feel a little stressed at the thought of four hours trapped in the car with the girls.  I might snap a time or two, or cry, because I am a girl, after all. 

But then...  This moment of serenity is going to come.  Memories are going to be made.  Cabins and woods are going to be explored - cautiously, but explored.  Bubble baths and play-doh time, picnic lunches and blueberry pancakes, enjoying God's masterpiece that is fall.  Knowing the girls and I are safe.  We are loved.  We are forgiven.  And we are each capable of being so much more than these things that hold us where we are right now. 

My heart just feels so full, and while I know a short trip in less than 24 hours is part of it, I also know it is because God has consumed the whole of it.  I want to stand on top of a mountain and just praise Him, because He is just awesome.  And, honestly, I think the girls and I are gonna do just that... 

Not sure whether or not I will post this week or not, but if I do, I do.  If I don't, just know I am soaking up some massive doses of memories, fun, laughter and little girl time.  And relaxing soaks in a hot tub, thank you Jesus.  :)  So thankful for where I am right now, even though it has taken rough experiences to get here.  God definitely knows what He is doing, even if I don't understand it at all. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Armed and Ready

I have this massive urge to just start writing random thoughts and feelings and memories tonight.  And for some reason, none of it is flowing.  I have started several different posts, trying to explain what I am feeling and thinking and learning, and I delete them.  I believe this is the sixth or seventh shot at this.  And, if you are reading something, it means I finally got something worth publishing...  :)

I am working on something I can't wait to get out there.  I thought I would be ready this last weekend.  Turns out, it still needs a little tweaking.  I am good with that.  I have been walking down memory lane a lot lately, rethinking things that could've totally gone differently.  And, I have decided I wouldn't trade a single second of any of it.  I have realized that God sees me for who I really am.  Strong-willed.  Stubborn.  Rebellious at times.  He knew it would take a few hard knocks to get me to see Him.  So, here my life is.  Sorta full of hard knocks.  And yet, amazingly, I have no sense of dread over an uncertain future.  Kinda sorta amazingly awesome stuff right there.

I have been battling some emotional issues with Sara.  I kept hoping it was her age, and not real issues.  I am realizing it is real issues.  While I know that some things in life can just happen, and are not intentionally thought out by Satan to trap or trick me, I am learning he does use anything he can for evil.  Funny thing is, the God I serve is determined to use those same exact things for good.  :)  Sara has been having some issues.  For respect of her possibly reading this ten years down the road, I will not say what I am thinking, but will stick to the facts.  She remembers specific things that she saw when she was too young to be able to put them into words.  As she is getting older and seeing things from a slightly more mature perspective, she is starting to grasp the reasons I couldn't stay in the house with her dad.  It breaks my heart.  I hate to talk about it with her.  Really.  I don't like to talk about things that went down between the two of us.  It really doesn't concern her.  Except that she is remembering things that are making her mad at God.  And, let me just say, attacking my child is a low blow.  Satan better be on guard, cause my Momma bear claws are out.  And totally ready to fight.  And totally ready and more than capable of winning it.  So there. 

Turns out, Sara is mad because she has been praying and knows I have been praying for God's direction regarding some situations in our life.  I know God's got the situation, and is leading us towards the answer.  However, Sara is not quite eight.  She doesn't get it why He is ignoring her, and feels like it has been forever since she started asking.  And she's a little mad.  And, I was too, for a long time.  My heart aches that I refuse to do this my way, because my waiting on God for this seems to be increasing her hurt.  My heart aches that because I refuse to step away from what God wants, this thing goes "ignored" in her life.  I am realizing that Satan is totally attacking her, and in attacking her, it is causing me to wonder the same things.  Worry and discontentment are contagious, wretched feelings.  It is hard to get them under control as an adult, and when I don't have the answer she wants or is hoping for, it makes it harder for her.  We had a heart-to-heart Friday.  We had something that renewed her hope for a short time that turned to struggle Saturday.  And today, she questioned me.  Point blank questioned me.  While I am not going to say exactly what she did, I will give a brief overview.  She wanted to know why it was so important that I do this thing God's way.  Why do I keep believing for something when God hasn't done it for a long time?  Doesn't God love us?  What if His answer is no, or that we weren't good enough for it?  Oh. My. Word.  Why does being a parent have to be so stinking hard?  As a mom, I can sort of see a similar situation.  Sara wants a bowl of ice cream right before dinner.  It will kill her appetite, causing her to not eat enough of the healthy food she needs to grow and develop properly.  So, I tell her to wait.  Except, I am a little busy making dinner, keeping her sisters off of the stove, thinking about work tomorrow, updating my facebook status and doing five thousand other things, and I forget to tell her the "just until after dinner" part.  So, she gets mad.  She thinks I hate her, because come on, if you loved me, you know you would let me enjoy my favorite ice cream right now.  And, it is like Sara, or me even, coming to God with a request.  His answer is to wait for just a little longer, possibly until just after dinner.  Except he knows the hurdles we have to get through first.  He knows the meat and veggies He is providing right now are strengthening us for something bigger and so much better ahead of us. Then, instead of overwhelming us with what we have to accomplish first, he blinds us to the details and just asks us to wait, asking us to trust him with our hearts and lives so that he can get everything worked out for us, for just the right moment.  And, then, when He is ready, dessert will most definitely be served.  On a silver platter, no less. 

As I am writing this, I am almost laughing and crying at the same time.  It is so funny, because in the last three days, I have had three different things happen that have reminded me that God does in fact have this.  This thing is going to be answered for both of us; it is not going ignored.  Faith.  And, for those of you reading who were with me on Sunday morning, I still struggle.  So, I am thinking I am going to take my own advice.  First I gotta get my mind ready and armed for this battle.  Then, I gotta get Sara in the Word of God.  She isn't too young, nor is she incapable of understanding the meaning of faith.  Maybe I gotta preach the message one more time, for her and for me.  And, for those of you that weren't with me on Sunday morning, the message is coming here, too.  Soon.  Just gotta work up some courage and do it.  Faith and worry cannot go hand in hand.  You either trust God to do the things He says He's going to, or you worry that He won't.  And when you worry, you have  your own distorted control over the situation, and He can't do anything about it, except almost beg you to hand it fully to Him.  He will not rip something from your grasp so that He can overpower you to fix it.  He just doesn't work that way.  But, when we can fully get our grimy little hands off of "it" He joyfully works towards a solution. 

And, because these words keep moving and jumping all over the screen, I am leaving this post at that.  I know God is going to give me the strength I need to show her what faith looks like.  Yes, it is going to be hard.  But, I know, without a doubt, in just a short while, I will look back and say, it was totally worth it.