Thursday, October 29, 2009

Respite of a quiet moment...

Yesterday, I posted about how I was sick and tired... how our whole house was sick and tired.

I got a comment from L.L. Barkat "Flu. Ick. May you find respite in some quiet moment soon."

This morning it wasn't perfect. But I did get a bit of a respite.

The kids were tired, and sitting on the couch, watching their morning cartoons. I snuggled back up in bed (just around the corner from them, but out of sight) with my bible and a couple of bible studies I have been working on.

I have been behind in these studies this week. I have gotten behind in the daily homework. Since I was too sick to go to my Esther study this morning, I decided to take the time to try to get caught up.

I was able to do one day of homework in my other study, and then switched books. I just love Beth Moore! This is the first bible study of her's that I have been able to do... Esther. Oh! It is so good!

It was like settling down to a good conversation with a good friend. It felt familiar and comfortable, and yet challenged me to look into the Word and really dig into it. It felt so wonderful. Some people would think that the mental exercise would be exhausting...

... even that early in the morning.. it was the respite I needed.

It provided the energy to deal with sick kids.
It provided the stamina to take a shower... (yes, its taken me while to even feel like doing that)

It provided the desire in my heart to have more of a connection with my heavenly Father, all day, rather than just that little bit this morning. It gave me a taste of Him and invited Him into my day today.

The respite of a quiet moment.

It was a much needed moment, a much needed respite.

Thank You, Jesus, for the chance today to start the day off with you, even with sick and cranky kids, and a sick and cranky me. Keep us safe this day, and help me to do what I need to, and have the energy to do it. Help me to know when to rest, and when to play, and when to work. Heal me and heal my kids. Keep my husband healthy. Bless us all with more quiet moments of respite. Amen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sick and tired, and a prayer request...

I haven't had much energy to write this week.

The kids and I have been fighting a losing battle with the flu. No idea whether it is the regular strain or not, but we are down and out.

I also have been working, though the last couple of days were half days, because of how I was feeling.

I feel like my brain is mush. It's been hard to concentrate, just cause of how I have been feeling. I have had a hard time quieting myself to pray, and when I do, my mind wanders so quickly. It has also been hard to write, or do a bible study or anything.

All that to say, there have been lots of ideas that float through my head to write about, but do you think that I could ever remember them long enough to write them down?

Yeah, you guessed it. Not even close!

I wanted to share with you a prayer request though.

My dear friend Cindy has just lost her father.
She is struggling quite a bit, as you can imagine.

She is on her way to Tennessee to meet up with her brother and sister, and her daughter. She is driving about 3 hours today, and then will drive the rest of the trip tomorrow. The funeral is at 1pm on Friday. I don't know how long she will be down there, but she needs lots of prayer to get through it all.

She wrote a brief post about her dad HERE, and about how God showed such grace to her, by allowing her one last talk with her dad. It's worth the moment it takes to run over there and read it.

Hopefully by the end of this week things will be slow enough, and I will be feeling well enough to share a bit about a conference I went to last week, and some things God laid on my heart.

Until then,
God bless and thank you for your prayers on behalf of my friend, Cindy, and our sick family!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

An important question...

"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
And through the rivers,
they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire,
you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

Isaiah 43:2-3a

This is the verse that I am going to hang my hat on for the next 2 weeks or so. It is my Scripture Memory Verse for October 15th.

I need to hang onto something.

The emotions are still up and down.
But I know that my God is worth hanging onto.
His truth, His Word is the light on my path.

He is my Savior.

He has led me through so much. He has brought me through the waters and the fire. He has brought me out of those things. No I wasn't consumed. The waters cleansed me. The fire purified me.

Again and again, God is going to use the painful things in our lives to stretch us and grow us.

This is probably another time such as that. I am working on a new schedule with my family. I am working out new responsibilities with a new job. I am working on trying to grow closer to God, to grow and mature in my relationship with Him.

However, I am realizing, as I am writing this, that I am making it all about me. My trying. Not God doing and me "being." As Cindy says, we are human "beings" not human "doings."

I am going to go have something little to eat, continue with the laundry, and in the middle of that, spend some time sitting in Jesus' lap.

Cindy asked me a question yesterday, that she was asked by her life coach, and she wanted me to think on it and answer it before we get together again for our life coaching.

The question.

What do you long for in your relationship with God?

It is one I am going to be working on and thinking about for a bit.

Anyone else want to share with me what your answer to that question it? I would love to hear. What better way to encourage each other in our walks, that to know, and to have others know what it is we long for in our relationship with God, and to hear each others' longings as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This week and prayers...

This week has been a long one.

This week has been a good one too.

I have started getting oriented to my new job. Bonus is, the person doing my orientation is Cindy, one of my best friends.

Another bonus?

My bosses are my pastors
Their boss?
Well, you know... :)

All in all, it is a pretty good job.

My husband is my tech support, so he is going to get up to the church in the next day or two, and assess my computer, the secretary's computer and our senior pastor's computer. All three are running really slow and need help. So we are going to get everything set up so that our computers are running smoothly.

I was thrilled and upbeat about the job.

Then the amount of hours started kicking in.
The lack of time with my family.
The rushing back and forth.

By the end of the night Wednesday, the "bloom" was gone.

I am still excited about the job, but there are other things.

It is a lot of driving back and forth. But the benefits of working in a safe environment are enormous. The long hours and staff meetings too their toll on me. But knowing I am where God wants me to be is huge.

I have no doubt that I am here because God wanted me to be.

But yesterday and today I was really struggling.

I am going to mention this because I know that I need prayer support. NOT because I am advocating one thing or another.

With my doctor's approval, I have stopped taking my Welbutrin, my anti-depressant. I am staying on my other daily medications, and my other meds I am using as needed. But I want to see if a lot of my problems were related to unresolved issues and pain from the past.

I have dealt with so many things and done so much growing, that I know I am in a way better place than I ever have been before. Though I do have a new job, it is a place I know I am safe, and where I have someone available to talk if I need to. There are stressors as I and my family transition through to finding out what is going to work best with us. But God is at work there as well.

I have been off it for about 4 weeks. I am starting to notice a difference.

My doctor told me that it would take me about 3-4 months for my body and brain to adjust the chemistry, to see where I am at. I am not entirely looking forward to the next 2-3 months. Thankfully I am through the first month.

Somehow, I think that might be the easiest month!

Really, I do want to go through with this. If, by the time Christmas is over, and we are into January or so, I find that things are still not going well, I will notify my doctor and start back up on the Welbutrin.

I hope this blog doesn't become about that... but at the same time, it was about my journey through my struggles with God, and my way out of depression. So, who knows where this will lead.

Cindy already knows that I am off my one medication. I asked her today to help me. I know that I need someone outside of myself to really keep an eye on how I am doing. She is one of the few people that I talk to at least 2 or more times a week. She also has been there when I have been in the deepest, darkest places. She was the person who took me to the hospital the second time I ended up on the mental health unit.

She has seen the worst case scenario.

I trust her judgment. If she says that she doesn't feel that I am adjusting well enough, or that I am not myself anymore, even 4-5 months out from here.... as hard as it would be to hear, I would trust that, call my doctor, and go back on my anti-depressant.

Please pray for me. I need discernment as I go through this process. So does Cindy and my husband, Dave. We need protection from the enemy. He would love to take down my family through this. That I do know. There is no way that Satan wants our family to stay unified, and grow in Christ. There is no way that the enemy wants us as a family, or individuals, to minister in Jesus name to people around us. There is no way the devil wants me to be effective and successful in my position at church.

He will use anything in our personal lives, in our faith walks, and in our thoughts to waylay us from God's purpose and plan.

We need prayer more than ever.
My stepping into a very visible ministry has put even more of a target on us.

Not that I am going to be living in fear! I know that our God is victorious and has already won the ultimate war. We can claim that victory,
I can claim that victory.

I need to know, however, that my brothers and sisters in Christ are standing in the gap for me.

Thank you in advance for your prayers.

I love you all.

There is so much more to say, but I am just too tired to write more.
Maybe I can continue tomorrow. :)
I plan on it... whether it will actually happen or not is up to God!

I am off to sleep so I can spend the rest of the weekend with my family, until I have to go to work again (wow is that weird to say!!! :) )

Saturday, October 10, 2009

trust, live, rejoice, rely in all these new things...

I (as I seem to have written before) have meant to sit down all week and write. It just hasn't happened.

This week has been eventful to say the least!!

Among many other things, I received a job offer at the beginning of the week. It's one I applied for a while back, but had to keep low key for various reasons. Now that it is more public knowledge in our church, I am able to share it here. I am now the new administrator for our church.

I am so excited. I have no idea what the job holds. It's part time, so I will be able to still be with the kids a lot of the week. I am going to be working Monday through Wednesday, and on those days, the kids grandfather (retired) will be watching Marina, and picking up Peter from school.

It is going to make our life extremely busy! (not that it wasn't before!!!) But it is needed income at the moment, and I think really fits a need in the church, and most probably a need in my personal life, spiritual life. I don't know for sure, but God does, and He knows what He has planned for me.

We also had the opportunity to take the daughter of a family friend with us to AWANA with the kids this week. She loved it. Our kids loved having her there.

In an un-typical move (for me) I told this young lady's mother that if she enjoyed it and wanted to go again, to just let us know and we could pick her up every week. I gave her some of the details in an email.... it now sounds like we may be adding V. to our number for Wednesday nights.

I am really excited about V coming with us. I am thrilled that her mom and dad want her to go, and that she was excited about it. She is about 2 years older than Peter, is reading, and is a very bright young lady. She is going to have no problems memorizing the scripture verses each week, and will very quickly be able to keep up with the class of kids. She and Peter will be in the Sparks group for this year, as they go from Kindergarten through second grade.

She is in second grade in Peter's school, and I think it will be good for both of them to be together for this year. The more I learn about AWANA (this is my first exposure through my own kids... I never had the opportunity for something like this myself as a child) the more I am glad that the kids get to be in it. Not only does it put value on learning more about God, Jesus, and who He is, and what it means to have Him in our lives, it gives ownership to the kids.

From all I have read and listened to, the kids are encouraged to make personal choices to follow Jesus. They are encouraged to read Scripture, to memorize it and to treasure it. It isn't just memorizing to get levels and patches for their vests. They are taught the meaning behind each verse and what it looks like applied to their lives.

I am so glad to have an outside source to try to bring these ideas home to the kids.
I am so glad that our friends want their daughter to come with us.
I am so glad that we got involved in AWANA despite my hesitation at the beginning!

This could be a really stressful few months for me as I settle in and adjust to the working environment, and settling in with the kids on a routine, etc.

Please pray for this transition!

I got off the phone with Karen, the kids' grandmother and my mother-in-law, and she and Joe (the retired grandpa ;) ) were not realizing that for the first 4+ weeks I would need their help 3 days a week. They were still anticipating only Monday and Tuesday needing to watch them.

When I clarified that I was going to really need them three days a week, so I could get my 24 hours in, she seems a bit taken aback. She understood once I told her that Dave's schedule was that far out, and he couldn't request off Wednesdays on schedules already posted. If he were to get a Wednesday off, he would have to trade hours with someone, if there were someone who wanted to trade.

It makes it harder for me to think of leaving the kids when I know that there might possibly be a problem.....

..... but I know that is borrowing from the future, and that isn't what God wants.

I am using a devotional to help focus me for just a few minutes in the morning before my day gets jump started. I later can come back to God and get a deeper refreshment from Him... but I start my morning with this devotional and a few moments of consciously resting in His arms.

Today's devotional I had to re-read just now, especially after finding myself starting to worry about expectations, and what my in-laws might be thinking about being "saddled" with the kids so I can work.. And I immediately started brainstorming ways that we could make things work without putting the kids on their hands further.

This is from the devotional given to be my a "bloggy" buddy. :) It's called "Jesus Calling. Enjoying Peace in His Presence." It is written in first person, as if it is God speaking directly to you.

Check out how timely this was!

October 10
Trust Me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Relax and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love. My Love-Light never dims, yet you are often unaware of My radiant Presence. When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help. This is a subtle sin - so common it usually slips by unnoticed.
The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending on Me each moment. Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in my abundant supply. Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent enough to handle something yourself. Don't divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help. Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation. This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day more confidently.
(emphasis mine)

Talk about speaking right into where I'm at. Rather than fearing, and focusing on the future that I am NOT able to change one whit, by worrying about it, I need to rest in Him, rejoice in God's abundant supply in my life. My own inadequacy, my own insufficiency is all opportunity for God to be glorified.

Oh God, I so want you to be glorified in all I do. I don't want to live only parts of my life surrendered to you. I want all of my life to be surrendered to you... every last bit of it. I am tired of trying to live on my own, of trying to make things work in and of my own strength, and only running to you when my strength runs out.
I can't thank you enough Jesus, that you take me as I am - many times flat on my face in the dust - and you redeem my life from the pit. How incredible that you love me that much!
May I live in the reality of that each day. I don't do well with that usually, and I find myself "planning" things out in advance. None of that really works. Only you work. Why do I constantly find myself trying to do those things on my own, when in reality only complete dependence on you works?
Reform my thinking, change my heart. Uproot old habits, refocus my gaze. May I be pleasing in your sight. May all the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you.
Show me more and more what it means that you delight in me, and how to further delight myself in you! Thank you so much, Jesus for delighting in me, for creating me for that relationship with you, for desiring to be close to me all my days. Thank you for giving me a purpose as simple and complex as delighting in you. In everything and through everything.
I love you.
Goodnight, sweet Jesus.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the end of a week, and the commissioning

I was sitting here tonight at the end of the night, ready to call it a day. I have looked around the house. Seen the mess resulting from the things I have done this week... and things I haven't done.

There have been late nights, little sleep, good intentions, some hard work, some accomplished, feeling that there is a lot more to accomplish (with not enough time). There have been good choices and bad ones. Some temptations withstood, some - well, not so much. There have been fights and anger to break up, tired kids to deal with, meals to think up... and many things that fell through the cracks.

Hopes for time away, to spend alone with God have fallen through as far as I can tell, and as far as I can plan on my own. But He knows better what I need, and where my attention and time would be best spent. So all I can do is grab what time I do have. Whether that is in the car driving somewhere, 10 minutes after I wake up, or the 10 minutes before bed, or the few moments I get alone in the bathroom, in the shower....

I know it isn't something likely to happen easily in the stage of life I am in; but what I wouldn't give to have a whole day... one whole day... to spend alone with God. No time constraints. No concerns about being home by a certain time, or guilt if I am gone too long. Somewhere I could sit and pray, sing and worship, or get flat on my face on the floor before God - sob and cry out to him as loud as I need to.

But God knows what I need. I keep saying that.
I have to.
Maybe that way I will get it drilled into my head and heart;
rather than resenting that I don't always get what I want.

I mean, for real...
I don't want to end up resenting the very gifts that God has given me. What does that say of me? What does that say of my relationship with my Father? What does that say of my trust in Jesus, or my faith in Him?

This growing and maturing thing really stinks sometimes. It's hard, it's painful, and "it's not fun in here" as a good friend of mine would say.

This stage of life I am maturing into is one of self sacrifice for others. Preferring others over self, and putting their needs and desires above my own wants. Trusting God to give what I need.

What is so hard about this is that I don't know where the line is between giving up "my stuff" to sacrifice for my family and still having an outlet and taking care of myself so that I will have something to give to my family.

Where is that line?

I suppose it is different for everyone, so I can't expect a pat answer. I just don't want to fall back into the old way of doing things where I completely forget about taking care of myself in the midst of being there for my family, doing everything I need to for them, and the extra things to help things run more smoothly (like looking for and getting a job, etc). I also don't want to seem (or be) unwilling to let go of "my" stuff, and place all my stuff and my wants and desires above my loved ones. I want them to know that they come first in my life... above all the things I could do, or other people I could be with, the activities and involvements.

I guess that was part of my dropping out of Wausau Lyric Choir. I felt like God was calling me to show my family that they are more important to me, and that I am willing to drop out of things that take away from the health of our family. That doesn't mean I won't go back (unless WLC has just been for this season, and God has something totally different for me).

I needed to show that I was willing to give up something I loved for someone else. I still have musical outlets and outside activities. It was a tearing up of roots though. It was painful. Still is.

God knows the desires of my heart, and the heart of my desires.
That's why I had to post the commissioning from the Living Proof Live Simulcast in Green Bay, WI. God keeps reminding me to delight myself in Him. He keeps reminding me that He delights in me.

So, for my sisters AND brothers who are reading this.... this is a reminder for me, and you to have faith in our Big God! Keep trusting. Keep doing the next right thing. Keep your eyes focused on Him. Even when it is scary and we can't see our next step, if we keep our eyes on Him, He will guide us through it all.

My Dear Sister (or brother!)

God has not overlooked you
He has not ignored you
He hears every petition
And intimately knows
The heart beneath it.

Give Him full access
To all your longings
Pray every single day
To become a person who delights in Him.

When it seems to disappear
Remember to check your JAW.

Are you jealous?
Are you angry?
Are you worried?

Roll it all on Jesus
He's strong enough to carry it
Big enough to handle it.

Trust God with all your heart.

Now leave this place
And go into the world
And do some GOOD.