Thursday, February 26, 2009

Habakkuk ~ Again

I have been thinking a lot about the last few verses of Habakkuk 3. Verses 18-19, “18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” (NLT) The NLT study Bible says deer instead of hind, and the study help says “sure footed CONFIDENCE” (emphasis mine). I saw three deer on the big ditch the other day. They run so fast and they are so sure footed. I run along the big ditch, and it’s pretty uneven terrain for me. I watch where I put my feet, I don’t run with the same confidence I do on the pavement. I can’t run in a straight line, because I’m always looking ahead for the smoother places to run. But these deer, they just bound right along, they don’t look down, or worry about the path. I thought of that in context of this verse, and how sure I can be of my path, when I walk with Jesus. I also realized this morning when I was trying to pick which dress shoes to wear to work how difficult I make things. These are the two pairs of shoes I was choosing between.




How could I be sure footed walking anywhere in these insane things? I know these don’t look comfortable or easy to walk in, and I spend 10+ hours a day in them sometimes. I’m just really practiced up. But I would not wear these to run in, or even to walk on uneven terrain. I walked across the backyard in them this morning, and liked to have killed myself.

I wonder how much harder I make my life. (I think life would be harder in ugly shoes). Sometimes, I am not sure footed, and my burdens certainly do not seem light. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30, “28Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (NLT). One definition of the word yoke is “a connection (like a clamp or vise) between two things so they move together”. What a great idea. Clamp myself to Jesus so that we move together. Don’t fight against the yoke, but move within it, where he wants me to go. I’m going to have to work on this. It’s such a simple concept, so why the neck ache?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Questions with no answers

For the last couple of weeks I have been asking God a lot of questions. Some legit questions, some just whining. Why me? Why not me? Why does this happen? Why doesn’t this happen? How come? You get the idea. I have lots of opportunity in my life to be a better person and to do the right thing, to really honor God and be a blessing to people in my life. I just don’t always want to. See, I don’t think life is fair. I know mine never has been. And I’m okay with it most of the time. Periodically though stuff piles up. Notice I said piles up, this really is the problem. And it’s a problem of my own making. I don’t deal with stuff when it happens. I let it pile up (like my laundry.) When stuff piles up it becomes harder to deal with. It also gets nastier (like my laundry, when there are wet towels on the bottom or heaven forbid Nate’s gym clothes.) And until I deal with it, it stinks. And it makes everything else stink too. A couple weeks ago my daughter uncolored her hair, she stripped the dye out of it. The chemicals used to do this stunk. REALLY STUNK! The house smelled terrible, even worse than salmon night. I scrubbed the bathroom. Febrezed the shower curtain, her bedroom, took all the trash out, lysoled; I tried everything short of taking a brillo pad to her head. A few days later, I could still smell the stuff, and IT SMELLED BAD. I was sorting through laundry, and moved some towels to wash, and one of the towels had this chemical on it. The smell had permeated to all the laundry. Once I washed everything, the smell was gone. Cleaning hadn’t helped. Spraying Febreze didn’t help. Burning candles didn’t help. Making Ashley leave the house didn’t help. I had to search out and find the root of the problem and deal with it.
This is true in my spiritual life as well. I can cover the outside with a pretty dress and make up and fix my hair, I can shower and wear perfume. But that’s not the problem. It’s the inside me. It’s a selfish heart. It’s thinking life should be fair, that something is owed to me when it’s not. This is not fun to admit. And today, as I wrestle with doing the right thing for someone else, which will be a big deal for them, and several others as well, and mean a lot to many many people including my husband, but will make me uncomfortable, and truthfully hurts, and will cost me more personally than I have to spend, AND REALLY, IT IS UNFAIR TO ASK ME TO DO THIS. I would say that God leads me to the right passages on the days I need them, but I believe if I’m reading the Word everyday, the answers are there, in whatever passage I am in. Its God’s Word, I will always find Him there. I read Habakkuk. Yep, God even speaks through the Minor Prophets. Habakkuk asked hard questions of God. In Habakkuk 1:2 (from the Amplified) he asked “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and You will not hear? Or cry out to You of violence and You will not save?” Here I have to say that I am very glad he tolerates wrong, because, that means he tolerates me in my rebellion. Then in 1:13 “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil and can not look [inactively] upon injustice. Why then do You look upon the plunderer? Why are you silent when the wicked one destroys him who is more righteous than [the Chaldean oppressor] is?” Do you ever feel like you are getting swallowed by the wicked? Not a fun concept to think about. As I read the book (twice) I don’t find that God really gave Habakkuk a direct answer to his question, the closest thing I could find is in God’s reply when he said in 2:4 “Look at the proud; his soul is not straight or right within him, but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall [a]live by his faith and in his faithfulness but the righteous will live by his faith”. Also 2:20 says “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth hush and keep silence before Him.” At this point in my life, my faith has to carry me. There doesn’t need to be anything else. The Lord is in his holy temple. Nothing needs to be added to this. He is where he always is. The last few verses of Habakkuk 3:17-19 are very moving to me. Somewhere between Habakkuk’s questions in the first chapter and these four verses Habakkuk gets it. I don’t know if he managed to get some stuff in the rest of the book that escaped me, or if God spoke to him and it’s not recorded, or if he realized (like me) he’s not going to get an answer. God really doesn’t owe me an answer for what he does in my life. I know my life needs work, and life is not fair, you just move forward with your faith in an unshakeable God. You move forward knowing he is in his holy temple, and knowing that you don’t need the answers, you just need God. 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!”
No matter what the situation in my life, no matter how hard it is, how can I fail when The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and MY invincible army? I love these verses in the Amplified. I CAN walk forward and make progress.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary to...ME


Steve and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary this weekend. I thought about sharing some things I love about him, (like my very own 25 random things about Steve). He’s a daredevil, he’d give his right arm to help someone, his amazing smile that makes me melt, but it would be easiest to say that there is nothing about him that I don’t love. From the soles of his too tender feet to the top of his multi-colored head of hair, I love everything about him inside and out, (and I’m so very grateful that he loves me).
Our lives together have never been easy, but they’ve always been good.





These are our then and now pictures, my favorite wedding snapshot and the last snapshot we took together, 4 months ago. I really need to better about getting pictures of us.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Change...


Change…your goals

Mark’s last sermon in the series “Change” was on goals. I am going to share a goal I had. Last July, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon by the end of the year (I didn’t, but more about that later). I told people my goal. I got derision, sarcasm, and indifference. I also got support. One friend of mine said to send her my training plan and she would run with me. This is the kind of friend everyone needs. (I am fortunate to have more than one of this kind of friend).
We started training, and we still talk about our training runs and our strength training and cross training now. We run together. She has encouraged me and kept me going when I would have given up. Due to illness and work schedule changes, I did not run a half marathon by the end of 2008. I did run the 10 mile Turkey Trot in November, and in January of 2009 scheduled what I want to run this year. I have a half marathon planned in March, with races in April and May also. Then I have races I plan to run in September, October and November. The half marathon is no longer a goal. It is a milestone.
The half marathon is a trail run, so over the last month or so, I have changed my running path. I no longer run the same 3 or 4 routes I had run for the last 6 months. I decided that I could run in the 40 degree temperatures, just dress warmer. Then I decided that I could run off road. I read an article in a magazine that talks about trail running and it’s harder, because you have to be more aware of the terrain you are running on. It’s harder because you don’t really ever get into your natural rhythm. There are some pretty steep hills, rocks, and some uneven ground. I tried it, and you can see in the picture the trail I run. I love it. I run out my front door, past one house, down the ditch, and I have this beautiful trail to run. It is harder, no doubt. I discovered many things about it that are better though. The air is clear. There are no cars going by letting off exhaust when I’m trying to breathe. I also don’t have to use ear phones. I turn the volume up on my phone / mp3 (this is a safety thing for me, I always run with my phone) and I can listen to the music without shutting out everything else. There is a feeling of solitude, which I love when I’m running. Yesterday, that 3 mile run was the happiest I was all day long.
How many times in my life have I done this to God? Wanted to stay on the tried and true path that I’ve always been on? Wanted to continue to do the same things the same way because I was comfortable with them? Wanted to avoid the rocks and hills and uneven terrain? How much have I missed out on by doing this? Have I missed times of peace and solitude? Have I missed hearing God because to hear what I want I have to shut out everything else? Have I allowed the pollutants and exhaust from everything around me to take away some of the joy of what I should be doing because I love it? I will still run on the pavement. I will run my old paths again. But I don’t ever want to be afraid to try something new and different, because what if I love it that much more?

This has always been one of my favorite hymns, and today, I can’t stop thinking about the words. Written by Joseph H. Gilmore in 1862. I have a recording of Steve singing this with an acapella group, but I don’t want to violate any laws. So if you would like to hear it, let me know.
He Leadeth Me
He leadeth me, O bless├Ęd thought!O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!Whate’er I do, where’er I beStill ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,By His own hand He leadeth me;His faithful follower I would be,For by His hand He leadeth me.
Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,By waters still, over troubled sea,Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,Nor ever murmur nor repine;Content, whatever lot I see,Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
And when my task on earth is done,When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Confession…



Date night for Steve and was not a romantic dinner and movie. It was not a trip to music theatre. I bought 2 racquets, 6 racquetballs, and 2 sets of goggles. We had a blast. We played for an hour. My only injury is on my left hand where I hit myself with my own racquet. I'm proud of my bruise.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What is that smell?

For the last couple of weeks I have been asking God a lot of questions. Some legit questions, some just whining. Why me? Why not me? Why does this happen? Why doesn’t this happen? How come? You get the idea. Today was especially rough. I have lots of opportunity in my life to be the bigger person and to do the right thing. To really honor God and be a blessing to people in my life. I just don’t always want to. See, I don’t think life is fair. I know mine never has been. And I’m okay with it most of the time. Periodically though stuff piles up. Notice I said piles up. This really is the problem. And it’s one of my own making. I don’t deal with stuff when it happens. I let it pile up (like my laundry.) When stuff piles up it becomes harder to deal with. It also gets nastier (like my laundry, when there are wet towels on the bottom or heaven forbid Nate’s gym clothes.) And until you deal with it, it stinks. And it makes everything else stink too. A couple weeks ago my daughter uncolored her hair, she stripped the dye out of it. The chemicals used to do this stunk. REALLY STUNK! The house smelled terrible, even worse than salmon night. I scrubbed the bathroom. Febrezed the shower curtain, her bedroom, took all the trash out, lysoled, I tried everything, short of taking a brillo pad to her hair. A few days later, I could still smell the stuff. IT SMELLED BAD. I was sorting through my pile of laundry, and moved some towels to wash, and one of the towels had this chemical on it. The smell had permeated to all the laundry. Once I washed everything, the smell was gone. Cleaning hadn’t helped. Spraying Febreze didn’t help. Burning candles didn’t help. Making Ashley leave the house didn’t help. I had to search out and find the problem and deal with it.
This is true in my spiritual life, and I know what my problem is. It’s the inside me. It’s a selfish heart. This is not fun to admit. And today, as I wrestle with doing the right thing for someone else, which will be a big deal for them, and several others as well, and mean a lot to many many people including my husband, but will make me uncomfortable, and will hurt me some and cost me more personally than I am really willing to spend, AND IT REALLY IS UNFAIR TO ASK OF ME. I would say that God leads me to the right passages on the days I need them, but I believe if I’m reading the Word everyday, the answers are there, in whatever passage I am in. It’s God’s Word. I will always find Him there. I read Habbakuk. Yep, God even speaks through the minor prophets. Habakkuk asked hard questions of God. In Habbakuk 1:2 he asked “how long Lord must I cry for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you; Violence, buy you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?” Here I have to say that I am very glad he tolerates wrong, because, that means he tolerates me in my rebellion. Then in 1:13…”why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” Do you ever feel like you are getting swallowed by the wicked? Not a fun concept to think about. Habakkuk asked hard questions. As I read the book (twice) I don’t find that God really gave Habakkuk a direct answer to his question, the closest thing I could find is in God’s reply when he said in 2:4 “but the righteous will live by his faith”. Also 2:20 says “But the Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before him.” At this point in my life, my faith has to carry me. There may be nothing else. The Lord is in his holy temple. Nothing additional needs to be added to this. He is where he always is. The last few verses of Habbakuk 3:17-19 are very moving to me. Somewhere between Habakkuk’s questions in the first chapter and these four verses Habakkuk gets it. I don’t know if he managed to get some stuff in the rest of the book that escaped me, or if God spoke to him and it’s not recorded, or if he realized (like me) he’s not going to get an answer. God really doesn’t owe me an answer for what he does in my life. I know my life needs work, and life is not fair, you just move forward with your faith in an unshakeable God. You move forward knowing he is in his holy temple, and knowing that if you know God, you don’t need the answers, you just need God. 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights”.
No matter how I feel about things in my life, I CAN choose to rejoice in the Lord, I CAN be joyful in God my Savior.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

And the winner is...

From random.org

List Randomizer
There were 6 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
Edie
Lance
Jenny
Belinda
Becca D.
Becca G.
Timestamp: 2009-02-16 00:24:07 UTC

Edie & Lance, I will catch you at church as I will be giving prizes to #1 and #2 again.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Confession...

After yesterday's post I had about 10 chances to exhibit I Corinthians 13 love, between my kids, my husband and one or two non-related persons. It's pretty hard to not fly off the handle at teenagers. It's even harder not to remind them of their past wrongs and how it didn't work out for them when they do it again. I guess I need to be careful what I say, because most generally after I write something, I get the chance to put it into practice. And I regularly have to remind myself where Steve is concerned that love is not jealous, I CANNOT outrun him.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

22.5 Ton Capacity

I saw a tool at work today that said 22.5 ton capacity on it. That’s a lot of weight. This tool is designed to hold the fuselage of a Boeing 737. It’s hard to believe a piece of machinery that heavy (the airplane, not the tool, the tool itself weighs 50,000 pounds) can defy the laws of gravity, lift and thrust to get off the ground and fly. (This is one of many MANY things I don’t understand in life. I’m kind of like the mom on the Waterboy that tells her son that alligators are ornery because they got all those teeth and no toothbrush, I would make up things for my kids when they asked why, but was afraid it would backfire on me, so I had to quit. Of course, my kids never believed me they were smarter than me by 2nd grade.)
I thought a lot about a tool that will hold 22.5 tons. I have no frame of reference for that. I know it’s more than I can lift. When I lift weights, I can curl a 40 barbell, and by the tenth rep, my muscles are quivering. 22.5 ton capacity would hold anything I can imagine.

This is how I see God’s love for me. He has a 22.5 ton capacity for love. (Okay, I know his love has no limit.) I have questioned how God could love me, and I love the answer. He just does. He loves me because He is God.
Love is ordained by God. I believe love is a Spiritual concept. Not spiritual as in crystals, karma and Buddha, but Spiritual in that it comes from God. I read 1 Corinthians 13 and in the list of things love doesn’t do, I do some of them. I’ll spare you the gruesome details and not list the ones I struggle with. I will say that this passage is in the back of my mind most of the time, because I use this when dealing with my family and those I love. Love doesn’t fly off the handle means I don’t fly off the handle at my kids when they do stupid things. Love cares more for others than for self means I take care of Steve first, even if it means not getting what I want, and trust that he loves me this way in return. And since he is good to me, I’m pretty confident that he does.
I’m giving you this passage, from the Message. Mostly because I loved the words “love extravagantly”. I have some work to do, because I want to show extravagant love to everyone in my life. I know that if I start looking for ways to show love, I will find them. I CAN love more. I have plenty of love to give, so Happy Valentine’s Day from me. No flowers, no chocolates, no jewelry (unless you win the bracelet), just a heartfelt I love you!
1 Corinthians 13 ~ The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3 -7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
8 -10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. 11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. 12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The line is a dot to you...

This is a line from a popular 1990’s television show. It’s not one of my favorite television shows, I watched it, but it wouldn’t make my top ten list. (I don’t have a top ten list, but now I feel the pressure to make one). It’s from Friends, Joey has a girlfriend that Chandler likes, and Chandler goes out with her behind Joey’s back. Chandler says that he knows he has crossed the line. Joey responds that yes, Chandler did cross the line. In fact, he is so far over the line he can’t even see the line, he yells, “THE LINE IS A DOT TO YOU”.

I found this really funny in a poignant kind of way. I have been so far across the line that the line was a dot to me. I know how it happened. It was one step at a time. I didn’t jump on my Tarzan vine and swing as far away as I could and then jump off the vine. I lowered my standards inch by inch. I changed my conduct and behavior just a little at a time. It started with boredom, then new (wrong) friends, because I was bored. Then the wrong places to hangout, more wrong friends, wrong activities, and even more wrong activities until I wasn’t even close to the line. When I did finally realize how far a way I had gotten, it was a long way back home. By that time I was expecting my son, and had no intention of marrying his father. Heaping mistake after mistake (or sin on top of sin) was not the right way to go, and I knew it. Getting married was not the answer, it would have made me look better, but it wasn’t the right thing to do. At that point, I looked at the line and started back. And that meant leaving friends and activities behind. I knew God had never left me. I had never been alone, but I was so far from where he wanted me to be, it was a rough journey back. Sin doesn’t let go easily.

Sin is enticing. It looks fun (and even is fun) for a period of time. I had a boss who traveled to Switzerland and brought me back a box of chocolates. Swiss’ finest chocolates, they weren’t in a box, they were in a little treasure chest. They were covered in white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate. They were round, square, rectangles, triangles, swirled, drizzled, they were beautiful. The girl at the next desk and I decided to try them. One bite, and I’m bent over my trash can spitting and I look up at my co-worker and she is rubbing her tongue with a napkin. My beautiful box of Swiss chocolates was laced with fine liqueur. (I’m not much into fine liqueur or any liqueur for that matter). Translated, they were nasty. Worse yet, it took a long time to get rid of the after taste. It kind of stuck to your tongue and the smell lingered too.
Sin is like this. Very tempting, presented like it’s a great time and all the cool kids are doing these things. But when you get to the heart of it, it’s a different story. And it does leave an after taste, and eventually, it ends in ruin. Ruined lives. But God builds from ruins. The God that restored life to dead bodies in the Bible and has promised to restore life to those who have died and their spirits are in Heaven, if he can breathe life in once, and then again, he can restore a ruined life. Even use it for His glory. There is no life so broken that it can’t be healed. The healing for me was not in putting things back together the way they had been. It was in putting one foot in front of the other as I made my way back to the line. It was and continues to be in allowing God to use my ruined life, not pretending I had or have a perfect one, which is what I want. Perfect life, perfect husband, perfect kids. But I got none of that. The only perfection in my life is God and as I have been reminded in the little things over the last couple days, he orders my steps. He makes no mistakes. And he never leaves me.

I have been reading Ezekiel, it’s a book that shows God’s judgment on His chosen nation of Israel, (and his purpose and plan to save the whole world). Israel has made themselves unclean in their worship, and God has removed himself from them and he is judging them with national destruction. But God’s faithfulness is shown, as he revives and restores his people again.
Our God rebuilds from the ruins. And the last verse of Ezekiel ends with “and the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.” I think, and this is just my thought because I’m no theologue, of the powerfulness of the Book of Ezekiel covering the ruin and destruction and ending with the description of Heaven. I definitely want to live in the city called “THE LORD IS THERE”.

I praise God that he is a God of mercy and forgiveness, redemption and restoration. I am so thankful that he rebuilds from the ruins, and builds beautiful from the ruins. I want to walk as close to the line as possible. I never want to drift again. And if I do, I pray that something, someone, will turn me around quickly. I never want to be in the place where the line is a dot to me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Giveaway #2


My friend Cheryl makes these cool bracelets. Register in the comments section for a chance to win.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Keep it to yourself

I have listened for two days to a gentleman at work talk about his daughter’s basketball team. Kansas sports do not allow for more than 3 or 4 kids that played together on the same school team to be on the same club team. So he has 4 girls that played together in school last year and he will have to cut one of them. He said they will probably draw straws because he doesn’t want to hurt their self-esteem. What? Seriously? Your child’s self esteem is tied to whether they make the club basketball team or not?
In the last two years my kids have all tried out (and not made) sports teams or auditioned for parts in musicals and all-city/all-state choirs (that they didn’t get). It didn’t destroy them. It made them work harder. I don’t believe our self esteem should be tied to whether or not we are good enough for the team. When we do this, we allow someone else to tell us whether or not to feel good about ourselves. Being the best doesn’t last forever. Michael Jordan set a new standard in basketball many years ago. But now, there are lots of players that play as well as he did. When you raise the bar, set a new standard, someone will come along and beat it.
I believe our self esteem should be tied to who we are in Christ. God tells us in Jeremiah 1:5 that “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” In Genesis 1:27 we read “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”. How can I think God made a mistake when he created me? How can I think if I’m made in his image that I don’t measure up? Unfortunately, I do have self-esteem issues. What women in this day and age wouldn’t? When I think of the things that have been said to my face, I can only imagine what people really think about me. I’ve been told (by women at church, no less) that I’m a bad mother, bad step-mother, bad wife, and twice, in two different pair of shoes, that they didn’t like my shoes. I have never told anyone I didn’t like their shoes. I may not, but I respect their individuality and admire the fact that God made us all different, so the idea they don’t appeal to me is not a negative mark, it’s a mark of individuality (and poor taste?) Couldn’t resist. These comments make the fur on the back of my neck stand up, well, anyway the ones about the shoes. The others, they hurt. What mom/wife doesn’t worry that she’s not good enough? That she doesn’t do enough for her kids? That she doesn’t meet her husbands needs? Am I alone here? I ask these questions often. When someone else voices these things, it is devastating, even if the person is immature or it’s said in a flip, off hand sort of way.
And don’t even get me started on body image. I have discovered though, that because I really want to look good, I exercise and eat right. This has already kept me from genetic health problems I would most likely have; diabetes, cholesterol, osteoporosis, etc.
I know that God has ordained every step of my life. So the quirky things that I love to do, and the weird interests I have, they work for my good. And while I have not followed the perfect roadmap for life, it’s definitely not the path I should have chosen, when I am willing to continually to confess and repent and try again, God has amazed me with what he can do. I see this in other areas of my life also, when I look at my kids and my husband, I think God is pretty smart. He gave me kids that complement my natural parenting style. I’m not a nurturer. I’m a “suck it up and work harder” mom. If you know my kids for 5 minutes, you’ll see that it works. I enjoy their cracked sense of humor. I love to watch them do anything they like to do, even eat. Good thing, because they eat a lot.
My husband and I enjoy a lot of the same activities, but we are polar opposites in many ways. The areas we are opposite actually complement each other. We make each other better and stronger with our differences.
When I look in the mirror, I like what I see most days. When I open God’s Word and put that mirror up to my interior self, I see a work in progress. I see my failings, and my self esteem dips. But I also have figured out that this is a tool Satan uses on me, because he knows it works. I will fight to believe I am who God says I am, and that I am loved and forgiven. So please, if you are reading this, I am always open to loving, constructive advice. I am willing to hear from people who love me and want me to be better how I can do that. But in general always be kind to me, otherwise, I may think you are a tool of Satan. And if you don’t like my shoes? Keep it to yourself.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Form, function and mechanics

I went to my weight watchers meeting last night. Got on the scale and was so excited when I had last weight. Not very much, but it went down. I was thrilled. I was nervous when I got there. I pay to hear what I should eat and how much, and then I let someone else weigh me. Of course I want to be successful. But this morning I realized that last week when I went, I wasn’t nervous. What was the difference in the two weeks? The first week I had done everything the way I was supposed to. The second week, I knew I hadn’t. Weight watchers is pretty flexible. It’s not really restrictive. If I just follow what I know I’m supposed to do, I will see results, I don’t stress, I don’t worry.
This made me think of sports training. Whitney’s volleyball team is taught how to do things the right way. They practice fundamentals. Do things right and the points will come. This way, when the game is on the line and you get the ball set to you, your approach is perfect, without thinking about it. Both arms in the air, and you get the ball down for the kill. You just do it naturally. Her coach’s would rather her team do it right and lose the point then to do it wrong and win.
This applies to the rest of my life as well. Newspring Church had a sermon in our Dreams series, which was based on Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. The back story is that the Israelites were in captivity, and God told them to build houses, plant crops, find mates for their grandchildren. They were going to be in captivity for a long time. While they were in captivity, they were to function. Personally at the time, I found this discouraging. I don’t want to just function. I want to do great things. I realized today though, that there is a lot of victory to be found in functioning. And if we function to the best of our ability, we are more prepared when opportunities arise.
Another sports illustration, last year in our high school regional baseball tournament, my son’s team was down by one run in the bottom of the 9th inning. We had two runners on, second and third base. Two outs and the nine hole batter at the plate. In an elimination game. Worst possible scenario. The batter hit a blooper to shallow left field commonly referred to as “no man’s land and didn’t watch the ball or the other two runners, he ran as hard as could to first (he is really slow). He got to first base and then looked to see what had happened, because he could hear his fans cheering. The runners on second and third had followed their training and mechanics, and had their secondary lead and both had scored. The batter had followed his training and mechanics and had put the ball in play and was safe at first. The opposing team, two players had followed their training and mechanics, and were where they were supposed to be. Left fielder called the ball; third baseman backed off but was close enough to back him up. Perfect situation for them, they should have had the game won with a routine catch. Their shortstop didn’t follow his training, and ran into the left fielder, two players on the ground and no one caught the ball, no time to make a play at first, and the team that just functioned won the game.
I want to function in my life so that when the hard things come, I have trained and prepared and functioned in a way that makes it natural to do what needs to be done. Don’t have to think about it, no nerves, just function. I don’t see that as a negative anymore. It doesn’t mean God has put me in captivity and this is the best I can hope for. Maybe, just maybe, as when Esther was in captivity in Persia and became queen, it’s “for such a time as this”.
When the games on the line I may not be at bat, heck I probably won’t even be in the game. Most likely I will be sitting in the stands cheering at the top of my lungs. But where ever God puts me I want to function and work on my mechanics. I want to perfect my form. I want to do the right thing without even thinking about it.