Friday, January 27, 2012

Lesson 4

     One of the things that I needed desperately that I am so glad I got while I was away was something many people take for granted. It was something that I had in overabundance when we first got married and I was pregnant with my first child. It was something that so many people have and either don't realize it's healing and magnificent power or it's something that is all encompassing them and wears away at their very nerves.


Today's Lesson: Take the Time to Sit in Silence

     If you have ever met me (or spoke with me for more than 10 minutes) then you will know how deep my love runs for the ocean and beaches. I grew up never living further than 15 minutes from the beach. The "shore" is where I went for free family fun, to meditate on the Lord, to cry and sort thru things in my freeze moments in time with my camera for all eternity. I was so in love with the beach that I made it a priority to take stale and leftover food down to feed the seagulls every day...and would store away stale cereal and bread for them for the winter.
taking my calamari
ok,group shot.Everybody look this way!

     Well, it's been about 3 years since I've been near a beach, and let me tell you- the soft sand and crashing waves of my destination were calling me like a lover's voice in the night. As soon as I could, I headed down to the water's edge and just breathed in its powerful beauty. And although there wasn't complete silence around me (waves crashing, the occasional couple strolling by with their happy go lucky yappy dog) there was a silence and peace about me that I haven't felt in forever. The freedom to guiltlessly sit in the cool sand with my eyes closed and the salt air lifting my was like waiting for God to kiss my forehead. The lack of screaming and/or fighting children, blaring tvs, cars honking, phones ringing and utter chaos that swirls around me on a daily basis left me feeling like I was floating; that feeling you get when you spin as fast as you can then just STOP and stand as still as you can. 
     I couldn't help it. I began to cry. It started with the lump in the throat, then a rogue tear...then a few tears. Thank Heavens I managed to keep myself from losing it completely,lol.It never ceases to amaze me how whenever God is depicted on TV or in stories, He's either a flash of lightening or thunder rolling. It's like we expect to hear God's voice in loud scariness. I guess that's not a new concept-
9"And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
 10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
 11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
 12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
 13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"1 Kings 19:9-13 KJV
     Elijah was waiting for God to be in all the noise and hooplah also- but He wasn't. He was in the stillness of a small voice. I guess that's why I cried. Because it was the first time in such a very long time that I could feel Him again, near me.
     Yes, when I blog I pray.And when I sit down to meals or tuck my babies in,or when a friend is going through a trial or test I pray. And I praise Him that I have learned to hear and know His voice, beyond a shadow of a doubt (and let me tell you, It truly IS small. If you don't sit still and purposely listen for It, you may miss It.) 
     Now I am fully aware that many of you reading cannot get away alone to a beach; heck, you'll be lucky if you can get away to use the restroom in peace (this issue I know well)! But nighttime always comes. So does early morning. There is always some point in the 24 hour day (no matter how long or short it lasts) where there is peace and quiet. It may take effort on your part to seek it out , but I implore you to find it and revel in it. You have no idea what sitting in silence can do for your soul unless you give it a chance. You may feel ridiculous at first, or exhausted if it's at an obscene hour...but carving out this time is imperative to your mind and heart's health and well being. Removing the peace of silence in someone's life is like a steady drip of water on a rock- it will eventually erode and fall apart.
When the world seems to be flying around you like rays of light in warp speed, "be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10a KJV



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lesson 3

     Acrophobia is the fear of heights.
     As a psychologist in training, I am forever analyzing myself and trying to "read" people. One of the things I have come to believe( and correct me if I'm wrong) is that people-myself included- aren't actually afraid of heights. They are afraid of falling from those heights. Think about it: whether you are standing on a 4ft step ladder, the edge of the Grand Canyon or strapped snuggly in your seat on a plane 35,000ft in the air- if there was no gravity, no possibility of falling and the unknown level of  pain resulting from hitting the ground after said fall, would you be as afraid? I don't think so. That being said, the week before my trip I was experiencing this irrational fear myself. The funny thing was, I have already been on a plane a few times before-going to and from Disneyworld in 2000 when I got engaged and then again in 2002 for my honeymoon. Each time I was not afraid, but rather filled with wonder at the sight of a sunrise from above the clouds, as well as the beauty of the blanketed floor of fluffy clouds below the wings of the plane. I loved the rush of the plane speeding down the runway and the sudden tickle in my tummy as we became weightless.
     Yet for some reason 8 years later, not having been on a plane seemed to have done a number on my nerves. Or maybe it was the countless news reels and fantastic cinematography of action movies depicting planes coming to fiery ends that had me thinking this was a bad idea. I mean, being single or married and dying is bad enough; leaving behind 4 small children that you promised to return home safely to with armfuls of gifts not understanding why mommy didn't keep her promise is hugely another. Like I said in the post before, no one can guilt a momma, like that momma herself.

Today's Lesson: Trade Fear for Adventure.

     Did you catch that? I don't think that's a mistake. Fear is a horrible crippling weapon that the Enemy uses to keep us from truly living and experiencing life. Now I understand what you may be thinking- a healthy dose of fear is what keeps you alive. The fear of dying and pain is what keeps sane people from walking out in front of cars or testing fate by drinking poison. I got that. But I don't think that that is fear, as much as it is common sense, or better yet wisdom. Knowledge is the learning of what works in and for your life and what doesn't. Wisdom is understanding the difference between the two and making the correct choice. Of course you won't want to do anything that you know for a fact will cause you bodily harm, because you know the end result. That is wisdom.
     But fear, that is a whole different animal. Fear is an unfounded belief in which you believe something to be true before you know for a fact whether it truly is or is not true in your case. I have never been in a plane crash. I have never witnessed a plane crash firsthand. But because the news doesn't cover every single successful take off and landing, but rather the sensationalized crashes and fire storms of disaster, we are lead to believe that there are more tragedies occurring in the skies than there really are ( and then they have the nerve to try and tell us the truth- that it is safer to fly than to drive! The nerve of these people and their head games!)

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7KJV
    Power: having the authority and upper hand over a situation or foe. 

    Love: What God is (1 John 4:8)Who else better to have on your side when taking on Fear?

     Sound Mind: the state of mind where one is adequately able to make rational decisions (read:not confused). If God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), guess who is....

     God created this world and the life He gave you for our enjoyment as well as to learn and grow in Him. Fear is not of God because it hinders us from attaining all that He has for us.
     I challenge everyone who reads this to stare Fear in the face and have an adventure.Maybe it's not traveling and flying. Your adventure could be as simple as not hiding the fact that you are a Believer, it could be opening up-just a little- to someone you feel led to trust and letting Love back into your life. Allowing yourself to feel is a huge fear in this world. Why else do people self medicate with casual sex, drugs and alcohol, but to wall up their hearts from ever feeling pain again? 

Facing your fears can be (duh) terrifying, but breaking through them....there isn't a better from which you needn't fear falling from. He will only take you higher.
 views from the plane at 9pm

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lesson 2

There is one God, I am not Him.

     Sounds kind of obvious, but think about it. How many times have we tried to control our situations by running around like chickens with our heads cut off, or even less productively...worrying? We pray for situations to change or better themselves, to work out in our favor and before we even give God a chance to move...we are up and trying to run the show ourselves. 

     Today's lesson: Patience: It's all in God's timing.
As I said yesterday, my wait at the airport was only supposed to be about 15 minutes with 90 minute flight to my connecting flight, then another hour flight to my destination. This is basically  how it went  in reality:
...waited 15 minutes til I boarded at 9:30am/sat on the plane for 10 min before being told to get off and that we would be delayed an hour due to inclement weather/reboarded around 10:45, sat 5 minutes and was told to get off due to technical difficulty/was called to reboard around noon but was told there was another weather delay for an hour/ a half hour or so later was told the flight was cancelled due to the weather again. At this point I wandered out to the cafeteria since I had been up since 5am and had not yet eaten...and began to reflect on why this was happening. Why does everything I go to do have to be such a headache? Why was I stuck sitting here having to sit  and watch other planes taking off and coming...going to and from where I was trying to get to?
     According to wikepedia, Patience:" is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity."
     There is a reason certain versions of the Bible use the term longsuffering. It is the 4th Fruit of the Spirit and I am wholly convinced that I have every fruit but this one,lol. It's really not funny, but it's true. What is funny though, is the fact that while everyone around me were driven to swearing fits of rage at the inconvenience of it all, I found myself being very chill. Yes, I know I should have been at my destination for at least 5 hours at the precise moment that I was finally boarding my first flight out...but it didn't matter. I loved kicking back in the airport waiting area and watching the planes come in and take off in the rain. There were so many people of all different sizes and colors and styles- yet they were all united by the common fact that they all had a place they needed to be and this was the way they were all traveling. 

     After I graduated I highschool, this was the way I wanted to live life for a year- traveling around my country,heck-maybe the world-living out of suitcases and hotels and airports. But I wasn't allowed to do that, so I always felt like I missed out on the adventure my life craved. Here, in this seemingly endless waiting game, God gave me a tiny taste of the thrills I had missed out on.One of the most awesome parts of this time, was the kid sitting next to me who had OneRepublic's Good Life blaring so loud through his earbuds I could hear it clear as day!
     In a sick way, I am so glad that my 9:30am flight became a 5:30pm flight. If it hadn't, who knows what kind of disaster could have happened due to the weather or a malfunction?And even though I had really wanted to see the world below during the day, and then looked forward to seeing a sunset from the sky, I got to see some of the most beautiful lights below and the moon and North star from above the clouds. And not that it was a HUGE deal, but after a nearly 2 hour flight squished up against a window with a complete stranger practically on top of me smelling heavily of cigarettes, my thrice rescheduled flight ended up seating me behind first class with incredible leg room and no one beside me!
     I know for a fact that God has been trying to teach me patience for about 8 years now. Sometimes I pass the test with flying colors( these are normally the times that I can recognize I'm being tested), but most times I fail miserably and don't see the test or the benefits that would have come from exercising patience until after the fact. But the way I see it, if He hasn't given up on me and for some reason believes that I will finally get this, then maybe I shouldn't give up on me either...because I've seen the beauty of the reward that comes with waiting on God, rather than rushing for me.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lesson 1

     How many women have sat and watched The Oprah Winfrey show and have seen this woman give away extravagant gifts to audience members as well as those who have done and achieved things that any one of us could do (or have done for that matter); things like losing weight, doing something selfless for another human being or just being an exceptional wife and mother. How many of us have stared in envious disbelief at the TV thinking, Why couldn't that be me??
     I was given that rare gift for Christmas. I am not wealthy by any means and I am no celebrity. I barely understand how my husband pulled this off, but he told me for Christmas, I was going to get what every mother across this planet needs and deserves: quiet me time. I got to pick where I wanted to go and I got 4 days there. In those 4 days I learned some seriously valuable lessons- of which I will be writing about: one day at a time.

     Today's lesson: My Heart belongs to my Family more than I Thought
     I think to some degree, most moms on their most overwhelmed days have taken a weary look around their disheveled homes and as they take in the amount of work they've done ( and how little that work seems to be reflected in the piles of laundry, dishes and toys strewn about) have thought What I would give to just get away for awhile.
I too have thought that but let me assure you, the second I was standing in that airport ready to pass through security alone I realized just that- I was doing this alone.
I've always loved doing the family vacations- packing for 6, double checking the lists' lists(lol) and color coding the print out of the mapped out route we would take. It's hard and tiring and strenuous work to make sure you are fully prepared for the "what-ifs" and that no "foofie" is left behind, but in the end you are left with a family of beaming faces and excited little ones.

     This time I was alone. I was going on to a never-before-visited destination and I was completely alone in the journey. I kissed 4 little tear stained faces goodbye as well as 1 fuzzy goateed face that was hiding welled up tears behind a weak but accomplished smile and walked through the security machine. As I was motioned on, I turned around one last time and saw half my kids walking away absolutely fine, half of them wrapped up in their father's arms crying and the brief vision of what my husband's life would look like if I were to pass away suddenly. Let me tell you, no one can guilt a momma like that momma herself. 

     What was supposed to be a 15 minute wait leading to an hour and a half flight to my next connecting flight turned into a nearly 10 hour time of reflection, waiting and prayer filled with delays, headaches, rain and cancellations. And in that 10 hours I learned my first of many lessons: My heart goes wherever my family goes. My children may be loud and not always obedient, and my husband may be messy at times and I may be recovering from a broken and betrayed heart....but I would rather spend the rest of my life complaining about them, then to have everything just so and be alone.My children are, as I've said many times before,my heart...the very air I breathe. My husband- he is my best friend- one who I feel I'm just meeting for the first time, as of late.

     Too many times we get frustrated and overwhelmed ( and rightly so) and without fully realizing the strength behind what we are saying, just wish to God He would give us a moment of peace.

Be careful what you wish for.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Children are a Gift

What would you do if the very thing that you live and breathe for comes under attack? What words can be said to convince others that you are who you say you are? What happens when you are falsely accused of something and the consequences for someone else's ignorant lies could mean the most innocent souls in your life will be the ones to suffer the greatest?

That is what I'm facing right now. I have been falsely accused of neglecting my children, not keeping them clean and being stressed out. My first question is of course- who would/could ever say such hateful unfathomable things? My second question is- when did being stressed out become a crime? If it was, then the prisons should be filled with single fathers, stay at home dads and mothers straight across the board. I have been taught so many lessons in the past few days I don't even know where to begin, but I'll give it a try. Maybe my anguish will bless someone somewhere.

1. You are nothing more than a surrogate
You may have given birth to or adopted your child, but trust me when I say this: your child/children is/are not yours. At any point someone can come to your home on the "tip" of an anonymous someone and accuse you of horrendous treatment and conditions and all you can do is pray the truth is seen and God's will be done. It is during times like these you realize it doesn't matter how many children you have, what their genders are or how old or young they are- they are literally in God's hands, 24/7 and you truly are just a surrogate. To bring them into this life and reveal the mysteries and wonders of life on this planet is a precious,precious gift that the Lord has generously blessed you with- don't take it for granted. Had it not been for his creating Hand and breath of Life, there would be no children. They are precious miracles and daily reminders that God wants Life to continue and that there is Good and Innocence left in this world. They are His, not yours.

2.You quickly learn what is important in your life
I am highly organized, but I am also highly sentimental. I have notes from my husband from when we dated in high school, VHS tapes of movies I grew up watching (despite not owning a VCR anymore)because there is so little things left in this world worth viewing as a family and I have also organized literal mountains of children's clothes by gender/size/season....."just in case" God blesses us with another angel. This has served me 3 times over- I can't remember the last time I bought clothes since the ones we were given and blessed with have been kept in such good condition and are readily passed down to the next waiting child. But let me assure, at the first accusation that my place was unnecessarily messy- such dear memories became purely saved in my mind and either given away or trashed in hopes that my home would appear less cluttered. Same with toys...many gone. And it broke my heart to throw toys away. In an age where if it isn't brand new or the latest blinking/whirring/high tech thing,my children play with such simple toys to the point of dilapidation- and they love them dearly. But at no point would I leave a toy lying around that could be seen as a hazard to their well out went the frizzy haired Barbies and the ride on trucks missing as single wheel. There is not a stitch of clothing, a single letter of a note or  an ounce of plastic on a toy that can compare to the worth stored up in my children's beings. Memories be darned.

3. Your children are your air;and if they are not, something is wrong with you.
In the nights that followed this event in my life, there was much sleeplessness. And I don't mean I stayed up late until 3am or tossed and turned uncomfortably; I mean I literally would stay up all night just staring at the ceiling and crying or sneaking from room to room and kissing each warm forehead or squishy cheek....just once more. It felt like they were felt like I was dying. I had no idea if that night would be the last one I got to tuck them in as their mommy and pray blessings and sweet dreams over them. My children are the air I breathe and without them, life is meaningless and I have failed miserably at truly living. I will never understand the people who have children for status or to feel important and needed by someone. You want status? Upgrade your seats on a flight. You wanna feel important and needed? Get a dog. You want to feel the unspeakable joy of tiny chubby arms cradling your face as a munchkin sized voice proclaims its love for you?Be a parent.

When I started this entry it was 3 days after the event happened. I was told by this worker that she would be returning in 7 days. My family and I waited on pins and needles day after day until that day came and went...and the next...and the next. My children would make statements that destroyed me like "I will write you letters everyday, even if I have to have a new mommy"; "I will never forget you if that lady takes us away" and things of the like. It infuriated me as well as killed me to know that some unknown monster (yes, monsters are very real) had caused such fear in my children that they would rather hide under the bed with their imaginary monsters than face the real ones asking them questions like "Who teaches you how to read?" and "How old are you?" To be fair, the woman that came here was very sweet and soft spoken, but it was what she was there for that made her unwelcome. Anyone that even has spoken to me for 10 minutes knows I live for my babies and that I thank God every day for them- so what I was being accused of made about as much sense as my being accused of robbing a bank.
It just isn't possible.
But I thank God that it's been 29 days since she came and we have heard nothing from her or her office and I am just fine with it. If they don't feel the need to keep tabs on me, they must have seen the truth--- at least I pray to Jesus they have. I cannot have my babies go through that again. I thank God for the trustworthy (very)few who knew, kept this to themselves for the time being and supported us with prayers.
I just pray the damage is minimal and that there are only sweet and happy memories as a family left in store for us.