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Today,  my husband took our dogs out to the bathroom to take care of business. Twas like most other potty breaks, beginning with Gracie whining at the door, the battle to put her leash on, the trip down the stairs hoping not to run into any other dogs in the narrow hallways, the quest for the perfect poopy patch of grass, and then the clean up.

However, unlike most other potty breaks, during the clean up time, someone driving by decided to take it upon themselves to yell at my husband between the big dump and his walk to the bag station a few feet away.  As this unidentified person drove past they yelled at my husband to “pick that expletive up!”

My husband shared this with me in his ever calm voice while on his way to pick me up while I was walking out the door ready to leave work for the day.  I thought about getting mad, and then just decided that this best represented my day, life, and people, so instead I laughed because after a day like today, laughter is what I needed.

Today has sucked.

For reasons I’m not going to share.  The only important thing to know is that it totally bombed and by God’s good grace I walked away laughing and loving what I do.

After being let go from my job last year I have been fueled by the insecurities of what I did wrong and what might go wrong.  I have been determined to show the world that I can do my job, that I can do it well, and that letting me go was a mistake that no other boss would want to make.

Today I have finally had to face the foolishness and emptiness in this motive as I learned one of the crappiest life lessons EVER:

Sometimes you can work your expletive off.
You can do everything by the book.
You can honor those in charge.
You can even be acknowledge as excelling.
You can do this with integrity.
You can give literally everything you have to do the job right

but one person is going to drive by, see a brief snapshot, make an assumption, and you come out looking like:

the lazy one
the rebellious one
the rude one

I was so angry. So angry today as I watched everything I had tried to build come crumbling down. By the book I knew I still had parents to contact about grades, but quite frankly I wanted the book to go to hell.  I wanted to go home, curl up in a ball, maybe cry, maybe just groan as I fell asleep, dreading the next day of work.

However, by God’s good grace I began my phone calls.

And I had one beautiful, wonderful, hilarious, student pretend to be his Dad when I asked to speak to his parent. Oh my gosh I almost started laughing while still on the phone! I was asking this student “are you sure this is the parent or guardian of . . .” trying to hold in the urge to burst out laughing.  It got even funnier when I called him on his obvious lie, made him hand the phone to his parent, only to end up talking with his younger sister. His sister was not as determined to keep the act up and quickly caved, admitting she was indeed not a grown adult responsible for this student.

I laughed and I laughed while talking with my precious wonderful hilarious student, reminding him to study for his final tomorrow and telling him what he needed to be aiming to make on his exam.  I hung up smiling, loving this student, with the faces of so many others flashing before me.  My heart grew warmer and warmer despite the heaviness of a truly sucky day.

And that is when I finally, finally, gave up on trying to please everyone at this school, maybe in this world.  These other people, they’re just people driving by, making assumptions based on their limited views and personal experiences, and they’re all different and inconsistent, and I can’t keep working and living to please them, because I will never be at peace, and I will never be fulfilled.  Maybe one day they will say great job, but the next they’ll be yelling from their car for me to “pick that expletive up!”

I am here for the students, for these wonderful, beautiful, hilarious, precious students.  For these growing adults with the hearts of children.  My heart beats for them, my service is to them, everything else is just expletive.

And finally, most importantly, I throw off these desires for the ok from others, seeing how God has compelled me to places where I face everything else I try to worship.  I see He brings me to a place where my soul says “all I need is You.”

I see in this place that I truly don’t care where I am, what I do or who I am with, so long as God is there and that HE is for me.

I am thankful that He is challenging me, breaking me, enticing me to come closer into His presence.  I am glad that he lets me see that life is not always fair, that things and people will not always make sense, and that sometimes, yes, you will do everything right and this world is going to yell at you to pick your expletive up. I am glad. So glad, because I can refocus on my home, refocus on my maker, my Father, and I can say: Your will be done.

Your will be done.  Wherever I go, whoever I’m with, whatever I do, your will be done.  I don’t care if I’m homeless, I don’t care if I’m in Houston, Malaysia, the moon, I don’t care if I do or don’t have money, I don’t care if I’m teaching, advocating, parenting, I don’t care, so long as You are with me and that You are for me.  Because if You are for me, everything else and everyone else can drive by all they want, who, who can be against me.

Bring on the rain, the war, the pain, the sorrow, drench me in the sufferings of this world, You are my God.

You hung on a piece of wood, bleeding before those who cursed you.

You gave up heaven to be born in a manger with livestock to welcome you to this world.

You took on flesh and death and said “forgive them.”

You made the way for a gentile named Hailey.

If you are for me, who, WHO can be against me?

I love You and happy early birthday.

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Second grade.  I don’t remember the why.  But I remember the who: me, the what: stress, the where: Pleasant Ridge Elementary,  but I don’t remember the why.  However, I do remember the moment.  Something had caused me to suddenly feel a surge of anxiety.  My little girl self was panicking and scared about something…. something.  When out of nowhere a strong sense of warm calm flooded my pounding heart and I simply heard “you do not need to worry… remember this.”

All the panic left me instantly.  The why I forgot, but I remembered.

I still remember.  “You do not need to worry… remember this.”

We all have moments, moments that define us, shape us, change us.  I’ve had moments like the one in second grade, moments that seem seconds long but will continue to affect me decades later, and I’ve had moments like my depression sophomore year of college that seemed to last decades at the time, but seem like seconds when I found myself collapsing after the storm finally passed.

Moments like when I finally stopped running and fell to my knees before Him my freshman year.

Moments like when I said goodbye to Tim swearing that I had made up my mind and walking away only to know my heart was left with him.

Moments like when I finally said yes, abandoning fear, and married the love of my life, my partner, and my best friend.

Moments when God finally gives me clarity after a season of confusion.

I’m having a moment, and I have no idea what the why is again. I just know the who: me, the what: God, the where: Houston, and the when: now, for months and most likely months to come, if not years.

Things haven’t been right for a while. My heart has been discontent with out reason.  As I have chosen in the past, I stepped away from my Father, avoiding him, getting angry with Him.  I assumed He was angry with me, comparing me to the many better people there are in the world.

I could feel Tim and I being uprooted, both of our hearts simultaneously disconnecting from where we are, and the sense that change was on the horizon.

The realization that I didn’t know where I would be in a year, sent me on a mission to create my own future.

I started to watch as friends invested in homes and welcomed precious babies into the world.  I decided this was where Tim and I needed to be heading.  We made sure we set our funds on track for this, and we created dozens of scenarios that led to payment of student loans, homes, babies, friends, careers, etc. We set dates.  We planned, and I pretended to pray, saying empty words to God while keeping him at arms length.

Rewind back to August for a second: I’m in Starbucks reading Kisses from Katie, a beautiful book about a woman who does exactly what I want to always do, Love the Lord, and love others.  She is a mom to 13 beautiful children in Uganda, she is my age and single.  While I read her detailed descriptions of each precious child I began to cry.  Please note, I’m in Starbucks, a public place, crying.

And that’s when it started, my heart breaking for children.

This is a significant change in my life because up until August, I had one view on who kids were: tiny unpredictable little monsters.

Children have always scared the living crap out of me.  If you made me talk to one on my own I would stand and stare awkwardly trying to talk to the tiny human like a grown adult.  If I found a rare child that actually liked me despite my awkwardness I would get so scared I would avoid the child out of fear that I would run out of things to say.

I am not EVEN kidding right now.

But something started happening in me, in my heart.  God started moving and my heart started breaking.  I began desiring to just love kids, to hug them, and tell them how beautiful and smart they are.   I wanted to tell children how loved and precious they are.  I just needed to be around children.

I had an opportunity to be at a clinic the drill team hosted and I loved it.  My heart melted at the sight of the little ponytails and smiles.  I spent the whole day chasing little girls around the gym, picking them up when they fell, giving countless hugs, and telling every girl I could how beautiful they were. What was once awkwardness and fear turned into unexplained joy with children.

This just hasn’t stopped. It’s not always at the surface, but it is always there.

But Tim and I have talked, and we know that children are not for us right now.  And everything else we have tried to create, just isn’t for us, and it is frustrating and scary, and frustrating, did I mention that?

This moment isn’t one of definition, but almost the opposite, it is a moment of unraveling, a time of questioning and no understanding.

God seems to be swirling in and around Tim and I, pulling us… somewhere.

I think God is pulling us somewhere.

But first, before we get to the where, we are being pulled from the here.

I’m so frustrated!

God is disconnecting us from something, He is breaking me down every day.  Making me question my dedication and analyze just how much I am willing to give. But why?

I have so many questions and I have no answers.

I just feel different and it scares me. Why aren’t Tim and I in a place where we are investing in homes, and babies, or vacations, or just something.  Why? Why? Why?

I am being broken down, and God keeps pointing me to Him, and I get angry and frustrated.  I am so scared to trust in God, for a very foolish reason.  I am always worried that God does not have a plan for me.  That I could sell everything and move somewhere, or sell everything and just stay here to Love God and others, but that God would forget about me in the process.

I go back and forth between surrender to denial.

No… God could not have a specific plan for me.  Maybe people like Katie in that book, or for people in full time missions, but there is no way He has a plan for me, I am just too insignificant.

These thoughts and fears overwhelm me.

But I have moments where I just know, this is not true, that there is a plan and that I need to be chasing it.

I am so scared, I feel so panicked, so worried.

“You do not need to worry… remember this.”

“You do not need to worry… remember this.”

Please pray for Tim and I.   My whole being wants answers.  I want to know.

I don’t want to worry, but I am full of sorrow and longing, wanting to just know something.

I don’t need the full picture, I just want something.

But God is perfect in His timing, my year of teaching is only half way over, and I know I have many more students to love, many more nights of focus on my work, and much more breaking down before God reveals our next step.

I do not need to worry, I remember.

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