Friday, September 25, 2009

Such a Waste

Writing a blog is a bit like having your own personal confessional. You can spill out all of your shortcomings for the world to see (yeah, like the world is reading this!) and somehow come away feeling better. It's cathartic, to say the least. So here's my latest confession.

I spent the better part of this week angry. Not just a little peeved, but fully engulfed with anger and frustration directed at a group of people that I'd finally had enough of. And it was exhausting. I went to bed at night, and although I was weary, my mind wouldn't shut off so I could sleep. I'd get up in the morning and my neck was tight and my stomach was still in a knot, and I was exhausted. I even lost two pounds from the stress...well, maybe that wasn't a bad thing!

It's not that I wanted to continue to be angry. I just couldn't resolve the situation or completely let go of the feelings that had hold of me. And it's not that I didn't pray, asking for God to help me to get past the anger and to offer grace. But the feelings didn't subside easily.

Today, however, I was finally able to move on, let go, and even go and ask for forgiveness of one individual I feared I had offended.

But what a waste! A waste of energy and emotion. I can't get those days back. I can't make them something of beauty rather than the ugliness that, quite frankly, they were.

All I can do is be thankful that my Heavenly Father still loves me and will give me another chance to get it right. I hope I don't disappoint Him next time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My God is Getting Bigger

Yesterday, I has having my quiet time and reading in Chuck Swindoll's devotional, "Great Days with the Great Lives." Currently, I am reading about the life of Job. In Job 38, the Lord speaks to him "out of the storm," and we see the awesome power of God. At the end of the day's devotional, Dr. Swindoll poses these questions:

"How big is your God? Big enough to intervene? Big enough to be trusted? Big enough to be held in awe and ultimate respect? Big enough to erase your worries and replace them with peace? Remember, the more you know of God, the bigger He becomes."

That last statement followed me through my day..."the more you know of God, the bigger He becomes." And I am excited because I am experiencing this in my life.

Over the past few years, the events of my life have driven me deeper into my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I know Him better than a did a few years back. I am learning that He is big enough to be trusted with my most precious loves. Big enough to step into any situation and bring about His perfect will. And certainly big enough to overcome my greatest worries, replacing them with His gracious and healing peace.

It was a journal that made me aware of how much bigger God has become in my life. A simple little journal that I bought a couple of weeks ago so I could write down my thoughts, prayers and, yes, worries during this year that my daughter is in Russia.

I figured I would need this journal because I remembered how I was a couple of years back when she spent five weeks working in an orphanage in Ukraine. I was crazy about having to write in that journal every day...not because I had such interesting or valuable things to say. But, because I was so anxious and worried about her that I needed a place to spill all of those fears.

Now I have this journal, but I don't have this fearful need to write in it constantly. It's not that I care any less or that the situation is any less "fearful" to me. Instead, it's that God has gotten bigger in my life. I have learned to trust Him more with my family, my friends and certainly, the daily events of my life.

I would love to be able to tell you that I never worry anymore. That would be a lie. But I can say that I don't worry as much as I used to. God is getting bigger in my life each year. The steps I take to know Him better may seem small and very slow at times. But thankfully, I continue to gain a better understanding of just how big my God is.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day of Caring

Today I had the opportunity to participate in the United Way Day of Caring. About 16 of us from work spent the day at the Boys and Girls club doing yard work and cleaning inside the facility. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I loved every minute of.

The director of the center gave us a tour of the facility, pointing out the various jobs that needed to be done in each room and outside. After the tour, we jumped in and got everything done in record time. By the time we had finished, pizza had arrived and we all sufficiently stuffed ourselves.

After lunch, Gene, the director did a wonderful job of explaining the impact that Boys and Girls clubs have on kids' lives. They are places that provide continuity, encouragement and enjoyment to many kids who otherwise don't have those things. I could tell that this is a man who is committed to making a difference in the lives of all who rely on these programs. It was truly inspiring!

After lunch and a few photo ops, we all loaded up in our cars and headed back to work. I don't know when I've felt like I had accomplished as much as I did today. It was a blessing to be able to give a little something back.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Every year I love to plant containers full of annuals to brighten up my yard. But usually long before summer is over, I tire of the constant watering and plucking of spent blooms. I force myself to keep at it, at least until the weather starts to turn colder.

But this year, my poor posies really suffered. We had our house painted so during that process, all of the planters were gathered together in one place to get them out of the way for the painter guy. Seems like it should have been easier to care for them since they were all in one big cluster. However, I ended up neglecting them. Now that the house is all shiny new looking, I have tried to revive my poor flowers, but they just don't look all that great! They need a little TLC.

Yesterday morning I was out on my walk before getting ready for church and I started thinking about when our neighborhood Bible study will start up again. We've taken a few weeks off since several of the ladies have been gone. But in just a week or two, we'll be back at it.

The funny thing is that, as much as I love our Bible study and the women in it, there is a part of me that could just go along quite happily without it right now. I realized that my feelings are a little bit like the way I get with my flowers. I love them, but they require work! And sometimes, I'm just plain lazy.

How often do I let relationships wilt because I just don't have the energy to pursue them? How often to I miss out on the sweet fellowship of friends because I don't want to commit to a schedule to meet with them? Right now, I have a dear friend who I have been thinking about calling for MONTHS. I think about her often. But, so far, no call. It requires effort.

Lord, forgive me for the times I let the blessings you put in my life wither and die because I get weary or selfish or just plain lazy. You have blessed me beyond measure with wonderful family and friends and I want those relationships to thrive and grow. I need to give them some TLC.

So, I'm going to fill up my watering can and head out to my wilting flowers. But first, I'm going to pick up my phone and call my dear friend.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's a Big, Big World

For the moment, I have to take issue with Mr. Walt Disney. Over the years, he has brainwashed one generation after another to believe that "It's a small, small world." Well, I'm here to tell you, that from my viewpoint, it's not! It's a very big world right now and I'll tell you why.

A week ago, my daughter hopped on a plane for Russia. (Don't try to tell me that Russia is just a "small" distance away.) And then yesterday, my son and daughter-in-law hopped on another plane to Hawaii. Now, I just went to Hawaii last November and I remember the plane ride very well and I'm here to tell you that Hawaii is not a "small" distance away either!

So, from where I sit in my little house in Washington, the world is not feeling all that small. Not when my family is flung from one end of the globe to the other.

You can dress up dolls in all sorts of national costumes and have them sing, and sing, and sing, and sing...about how small the world is, Mr. Disney. But I'm not buying it. It's a big old world out there. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. It's just that I'm feeling a little lonely right now.

So, I think I'll go hug my husband. At least he's just down the hall.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roots and Wings

Part of my heart flew away this morning.

Before dawn, my husband and I said goodbye to our daughter, Elizabeth, in a very un-private corner of the airport. She asked us not to wait as she went through the security check. So, we didn' least not where she could see us. She needed to finally get past the goodbyes; they are always so hard. So we said our goodbyes and now she is on her way to teach in Russia for nearly a year.

On the way home from the airport, we listened to a CD that Elizabeth had compiled for us which she named "Parenty Songs." As tears poured down our faces, we listened to the songs she had chosen to leave with us. Songs that spoke of following God's calling; setting out on a new path; saying goodbye to the familiar. Songs that broke my already fragmented heart.

But songs that also comforted me because they confirmed what I already knew - she is a young woman whose roots go deep into family, friends and her God. She is exactly what I have always prayed she would become - brave, selfless, caring and funny as all get out. But most importantly, she is becoming who God is calling her to be... His hands and heart to this broken and hurting world.

When my children were small, I came across the familiar saying that says, as parents, our job is to give our children roots and wings. I used to stress about the roots. Was I doing it right? Would they grow up okay? Gratefully, both my son and daughter are doing way better than just okay!

But as they grew older, I began to realize that the more difficult task for me still lay ahead...the wings part. Could I let them go to pursue their own lives, their own dreams without holding them back? Could I even encourage them to step out and take the risks?

I admit that it isn't easy for me. At some point, a parent's dreams may collide with their children's dreams. I am grateful that God is giving me grace to step back and watch my children's dreams blossom and thrive.

So this morning, as I hugged Elizabeth for that last time, and watched her walk away, I swear it wasn't a backpack that I saw on her back, but a beautiful pair of wings.