Sunday, May 30, 2010

One burned, twice shy....

It's hard, once you've been burned, to trust that you won't be burned again. Before speculation begins, I'm not talking talking of marriage, but of other matters all together. But it's true, once you've seen the worst case scenario, or worse still, been the worst case scenario, it's hard to envision yourself as anything else, even if you've had better outcomes before.

So the past few days I've been quiet here on my blog, doing most of my processing internally for now. My marriage is doing well, my children are healthy, the future is bright, all is seemingly quite well in our worlds, and I am pleased. Very pleased.

And still I find myself standing on the brink of something exciting, the future and it's endless possibilities, and I am undeniably afraid. I'm afraid to charge into the future with trust and excitement and hope, because I've learned the hard way, that sometimes, that trust is broken, the excitement is unwarranted, and hope can die. But do I want to live this way? With cynism dictating whether or not I'll take joy in joyful things? Of course not!

I want to renew my innocence. I want to be naive again. I want to trust blindly.

So today I went searching for hope in the book of Isaiah, and of course God's word never disappoints.

Isaiah 40:31
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 41:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

Isaiah 44:3-4

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.

4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.

I am particularly comforted by this, it's worth repeating:
Isaiah 41:13
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

He will help us. Do not fear.

So, here I am, standing on the edge of life as it is, and facing life as it will be. Just like you, I have no idea what my future holds. It is certain that it holds both joy and sorrow, but what concerns me most is how much tragedy it holds. How much loss it holds. Because sorrow I can handle, sorrow comes from expected pain, natural pain, anticipated pain. Pain none the less, but easier to cope with then the pain of tragedy, unnatural loss, unexpected, bizarre, earth shattering sadness.

The future is coming.

It's practically here, and worrying won't do a single thing. It wont ensure joy anymore then it will deter tragedy.

Matthew 6:27 says:
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?

So, I'm trying my hardest to suppress fear and apprehension, and embrace the life I've been given. I'm trying to watch it unfold day by day with joy and gratitude. I'm trying to trust that the hardships and triumphs are not accidents but part of God's greater plan for me and my family, and I am trying to relish the blessings I've been entrusted with. And it's not easy. But it's better then the alternative, wresting each day with anxiety and dwelling on all the potential ugliness life could bring my way.

Like so many things that aren't easy, it's rewarding in the end.

“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly” – Patrick Overton


Friday, May 21, 2010

No man is an island......

Except, well, we kind of are.

Just making a random observation here, based on personal experiences and those of good friends and family.

We're all little islands.

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say we're all little countries. We all have distinct languages, culture, customs, rituals, exports (things we give or contribute to others) and imports (things we draw from, or need from others). We've got our own politics too, and rules for war.

I've been thinking of this little analogy lately as it applies to marriage.

Two countries, allied, united as one. They benefit from each others exports and imports, they're enriched by their culture, customs, and rituals, and enamored by each others languages, even trying to become fluent themselves so as to better communicate with one another, but, what about those politics? What about the rules for engagement?

That's where it gets tricky. It's hard to learn the intricacies of your spouses politics. Especially when you're not fluent in their language. And little misunderstandings lead to unintentional insults and offenses, and sometimes even bigger understandings that lead to all out war.

I don't think it matters who you are, or how in love you are with your spouse. You ARE an island. You are a unique little world, so is your spouse, and at some point, you're going to come face to face with your differences. Be it in how you communicate, celebrate, relax, show love, or argue, you're going to war over something.

And all though I seem to have my analogy all wrapped up nice and pretty, I don't have an actual solution to how we can avoid this. I think it's inevitable. You can love your spouse, deeply and with devotion, and still find yourself totally perplexed by them. What used to be adorable, charming, or even just tolerable will one day annoy you beyond belief. They will change, so will you. And you will fight.

You might fight a lot.

You might fight HUGE big fights.

And this is where we buckle.

This is where we want to cut our losses and run.

They've changed, we've changed. Maybe you don't feel like you know your spouse anymore.

Maybe you don't even like them anymore.

And I have a theory on this one.

It's because we think we're the center of our own little universe, not just one country among many. And I don't mean this harshly, it's true, it's part of the human condition (and again, I'm just making an observation here), isn't it true that we all feel entitled to something more then we have? We feel like we are entitled to whatever makes us happy, and that our spouses owe us something? Honestly, don't you think so?

I did, well, honestly, I sometimes still do, and then I have to check myself.

This is where I bring in God, so if you're not particularly interested in matters concerning God and Christianity, you've been forewarned.

When we see ourselves as the center of a universe, with a bunch of people including our spouse gravitating around us, it's easy to feel entitled. It's easy to feel important. But, when you see yourself as a floater in God's universe, one of billions and billions of floaters, that sense of entitlement diminishes, and you begin to realize how little you are. When you see yourself lined up side by side with all the other people living this life alongside you, you begin to feel humbled. And in marriage, I think we should all be humbled.

You are who you are. Your spouse is who they are. You have needs. They have needs. If we can revisit that "country" analogy again for a minute, we get used to having those needs fulfilled by our spouses exports, that we get frustrated, angry or depressed when those resources dry up. When we start to see our spouse as the only resource to fulfill our needs, eventually, we tap them out. No one person can completely sustain another, emotionally or physically or spiritually. It can't be done. But, if we partner with God, and make him a part of our marriage, and draw from him along with our spouse, and maybe more often then our spouse, well, we will never experience the frustration of a well running try. His resources don't tap out. His love is ever ready. He is always there to listen. You can cast your burdens on him 24 hours a day. He is always willing to give out grace and forgiveness, and He is prepared to be a mediator between you and your spouse.

Got a beef with your spouse? Stupid question! I know you do, I do! But, what happens when you go to your husband or wife with that beef? What happens if you bring your concern/complaint to them and they don't change whatever it was that was bothering you? Frustration? Anger? Arguing? More arguing? You got it.

But, what happens if you bring that concern to God? What happens if you lay out your problem with your spouse to Him? What happens when you pray for your spouse? When you pray for change, in them and in you? When you pray that God comes into the problem and offers a solution? Don't know? Try it!

Now I can only speak from personal experience here. If you don't pray, or you don't consider yourself religious, or you don't know what it means to have God in your marriage, this will sound quite unusual to you I am sure, I've been there too. I know how backwards it can sound, I know how completely ineffective you are imagining it would be. And if you don't consider yourself a Christ follower and you're not interested in what the Bible says about marriage, then none of what I've said will bear any relevance to you, and for that I am sorry, this must be a terrible bore.

But I see marriages so differently now.

Since my own marriage buckled and broke under the pressure of trying to satisfy my spouses every needing and expecting him to do the same. We disappointed and let each other down for years and years, allowing resentment to fester and grow until we just fell to pieces.

In our brokenness, we somehow found something to hold on to, our faith in God and his ability to make good from any bad, make right from any wrong. And I implored Him to fix what we had broken, and He did.

Piece by piece God has helped us rebuild our marriage, and I am learning how prayer can help me cope with fears, concerns, expectations and feelings of entitlement I have. Not that I never bring those to Elvis, but there's a discernment that needs to happen, and I've learned it's best to bring them to God first, and let Him guide me on what to do. He does.

He changes hearts.

He changes attitudes.

He changes marriages.

Now, I'm not a marriage expert, nor am I a counselor. What I am is a baby Christian, brand new and completely in awe of what God has done in my life, of what he has carried me through. And perhaps this is my testimony, that God can grow flowers from dirt, I know this to be true.

I've seen it.

He changed my life, and gave me new eyes to see the world with.

And I see struggling, sadness, discontent, loneliness, anger and despair in so many relationships, and even still in my own marriage (which is not perfect and never will be). And I can't fix anything for anyone.

I'm just a floater in God's universe. I'm a speck. I can't make anyone a better marriage. I can't change anyone or their spouse. I am on the grand scheme of things, insignificant (except in my own little family where I am quite significant). But I've got this one insight. Just one testimony to convey.

If you've tried it all and nothing's worked.

If you're tired of struggling.

If you want to jump ship.

If you don't know what to do next.

Try Him.

Just try.

And see what springs up from the dirt.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's quiet....

My house is absolutely silent right now.

Just the sound of an occasional car driving past, and the hum of some appliances.

Other then that, silent.

Elvis is working, Avery's at school, the dog's in her crate, and Landon's taking a nap.

And I am sitting at the computer in awe of the silence, and of the time I have to myself, but not at all sure what to do with it. It's the age old problem, so little time to myself, and such a long list of things I could do with said time. I really struggle with productivity. In theory, I want to be productive, I want to pack as many useful tasks as possible into my day, but when time like this pops up, when I have time for me and the rare opportunity to hear myself think, I want that time for me!

I can do laundry and dishes and get dinner started when there are kids tugging on my pant leg and yelling in the background, I do it all the time! But what I can't do with two rowdy children and yappy dog running around is think, or read, or relax, or pray, these are things that require silence, the very silence I am experiencing right now.

I've been thinking about my life, and the rebuild I started a little over five months ago. Things are for the most part coming along quite nicely. But, some areas that I was hopeful to jump in and dramatically change, are taking longer then I would like. Weight loss is one of those areas. I'm not sure how to get this area of my rebuild rolling, I feel like I've tried everything, except for actually trying, I just can't get my head in the game, but I'm keeping at it and hoping eventually the deduction will stick.

But, other areas are doing great, I feel different. I feel better about me, and the image I am projecting to the world. I feel like I've redefined me, and given me a "look", a more put together and polished one then I had before. I feel my marriage is continuing to grow and strengthen as is my relationship with God, and I am feeling more secure then I have in a very long time.

But, I'm also feeling spread too thin. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at times with all the "little things"I'm trying to keep tabs on, and blogging is one of those things. I love it because it's for me and it's a fantastic outlet, but I find myself sitting here at the computer writing, trying to find the right words to say what I'm feeling or experiencing, and I'm battling the frustration rising within me, and fighting off the urge to close down the whole darn internet and erase my whole post, because it feels insufficient, or inadequate, I feel like I have a bad case of writers blog, and I need to work on that as well.

On a brighter note, my children are fantastic and shine their amazing bright light into every dark corner of my day. My daughter is such a little me, she's truly paying attention to everything I say to her, and I'm starting to get some of it back now. She's started to tell me "Mommy, I love you" and "Mommy I think you're beautiful" and "Mommy I think you're special", because these are things I tell her on a daily basis. And I LOVE that she is considerate enough to tell these things to me, because she already knows how good it feels to hear them. And my boy, oh my boy! He's talking up a storm these days and I'm just so thrilled watching him transition from baby to real kid! Of course it's bittersweet, but he's going to be one precious, special kid!

Another reason to smile has popped up too! A chance to get away, just Elvis and I, has arose and I so hope we get to take that trip and get some much needed time alone together!

So, that's it for now, the silence has been broken, baby boy is up from his nap, my "me time" is now his time!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It feels like forever.....

Since I had time to blog!

I don't think I've ever paid enough attention to how full and busy my life actually is!

Between kids and work and home and husband, I've got a nicely filled in schedule, not that I'm complaining, not one bit. I love having so much purpose and so many blessings filling up my life, but sometimes, well, often, I crave some "me" time. Such is the life of a mother eh?

So, right now the kids are both in bed, and Elvis is due home in about 20 minutes, maybe less. The house is freshly cleaned, dinner's in the oven, yummy desserts and appetizers are ready to go, and I have a few minutes of absolute silence to do whatever I want with. I choose blogging!

This blog is so valuable in helping me sort through my own head and making sense of what I find there, I think I'd be truly lost without an outlet for my thoughts and feelings.

So, what am I feeling you ask? I'll tell you!

I'm feeling hopeful, overjoyed, in love, contented, excited and blessed!

Big change from just a little more then half a year ago!

I'm feeling in awe too.

In awe of how good God is to me.

How faithful He is.

How dependable He is.

And also, in awe of the power of prayer, and of trust, and of faith.

Through prayer and trust and faith and reliance on God, I've made it through indescribable lows in my life. It didn't change the lows, they happened just the same, but I made it through them, where without all those things, I'm not sure I could have.

On top of all the other warm and fuzzy emotions I'm feeling tonight, I'm feeling grateful!

But, back to hopeful for a moment, and you'll have to excuse me for being vague, but I have to for now. But I feel a sort of hope and excitement I haven't felt in a few years now. It's a nervous anticipation, it's joyful, it's dreamy and it consumes me, it's absolutely fantastic to feel this way again! I feel lit up and inspired and maybe even younger and more innocent, if that's possible, maybe I just feel reminiscent of young and innocent, it feels good just the same.

My time may be precious and limited, but my life is good, the rebuild is still going strong and God continues to amaze me with his support and love and the blessings he pours out on us each day.

I'll be back, as soon as time allows!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I'm feeling very nostalgic today. Mother's Day is fast approaching and motherhood is on my mind.

I'm thinking back, a little over five years back, when I was just freshly married and the desire to be a mother first popped into my consciousness. The desire to be a mother was instantly burned into my heart and took over my mind, and before I knew it Avery was on her way! I can remember the day I tested and found out I was expecting her like it was yesterday. Finding out I was expecting her was a flurry of emotion, anxiety, happiness, excitement, fear, but mostly completely unbridled joy.

Avery has been pure joy since the day she was conceived. From that day, the day I knew that just maybe I'd be a mother in 9 months, she changed me. She transformed me into a completely different woman with a completely different outlook, and I can't thank her enough for making me a mother and being my first introduction into the fantastic world of parenthood!

*Look at her precious chubby cheeks! Look how dark she is!*

*Look at all that thick black hair! She's beautiful!*

*First precious little smirk!*

*All dressed up for one of her first outings*

*Couch cuddles with Daddy*

Seriously, motherhood is not something to be undertaken on a whim, but man oh man is it ever worth it. It's worth the sleepless nights, the stress, the worry, the remarkable increase in volume you'll notice in your house, the toys on the floor, the clothes on the floor, the food on the floor.... It's just worth all the little "inconveniences" if you can call them that, to have these precious little people in your world, enhancing every day. They love you, they teach you, and they deepen your capacity to love, they change the way you view the entire world, whatever the "cost", they're worth it.

Everett and Landon aren't quite old enough to be "nostalgic" over their baby hood, though Everett is unique in that I am nostalgic for every day of his life. But even though I have young children, I am nostalgic for the baby days, and truth be told, I can't wait to do it all over once more. Pregnancy is a very unique stage in motherhood. It's filled with a very special and unique type of joy, and anticipation and love that is only experienced while pregnant. I want that again, once more. One more joy to add to our already fabulous family!