The Myth of Control

Recently my husband, Adam, preached a message at our church. One of his main points was that any type of control we think we have is a myth. I was immediately reminded of this moment. #1 and #2 were at camp and I had taken #3 and #4 to the beach. They were standing in the water taunting the waves. “You can’t get me!” they screamed. I laughed because the very next moment a wave came and literally knocked their legs out from under them. God whispered to me, “that’s you. You scream at life and tell it that you can take it on, but you can’t. You need me and you need to start realizing it sooner.”   IMG_4611How I crave control! I want to know that if I do A, B, and C my boys will be amazing Godly men who will do no wrong. I want to determine my steps by laying down a formula that I think God desires or wants so that good things happen. I strive and work to make life happen the way I think it should. I long for Shalom and think I can create it on my own.

Then life knocks my feet out from under me. It doesn’t have to be big earth shattering wave, but just enough so that I am aware that I am not in control. So what do I do then? Often I work hard at putting life back in order so that “control” is maintained, but what I should and need to do is release the control I think I have, acknowledge that God is and pray.

Seems like an easy thing to do, but I am finding it so hard to open surrendered hands and allow life to go on out of my “control”. My boys are going to mess up (they are human). My husband is going to mess up (he is human). I am going to mess up, let people down, and be a big fat sinner. (I am human). My hope is that in those moments I will come back to this place of complete surrender and allow God to be in control. Shalom (peace/the way things ought to be) will come and is coming, but I am not the one to make it happen.

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The other side of the waiting

_MG_4585-2I just read the last post which was over a year ago and I think, WOW! How God has moved so much since that point. Last year I was sitting with the decision to move schools. It was so scary and nerve wrecking. I was a crazy mess for a good month.

Should I, shouldn’t I, what if I didn’t get what I wanted, what if I staying, what if, what if….

I ended up making that jump and I am so glad that I did because I was able to see God’s mighty hand work in amazing ways. I was able to get the school I wanted with the grade I wanted. I have an amazing principal, that I knew, and I would be very excited to go to this new place.

Then began the next journey, trusting God with my kids. Perhaps one of the hardest things for any mom to do. I had to apply for a transfer, but had to get it done late because I didn’t know where I was going until the end of the school year. Let’s just say I was in suspense until the Friday afternoon before school started. I had no plan B y’all. If it didn’t come through I had no idea what I was going to do. At 2:30pm, my principal came in and shared that the transfer was granted. Phew! God is faithful.

Then came the integration of myself to a new staff. Yikes! I felt like I was reliving my childhood all over again. Will they like me? Will I like them? What am I walking into? So many questions. And I would like to say they are not perfect, but I do love the people I work with. I have found them to be fun and helpful. Quite the little family. My kids are so loved too. They received us full force.

It was a good year with good students, good parents, and good staff. I don’t think that I could have asked for anything more.

Now on the to next year where I am moving up a grade. Yes, another change, another move. Thankfully, same school, but even the grade change is good. I will get to work with one of my closest co-workers, and also the worry of having to teach one of my own kids is put off another year.

It is amazing to watch God move when you take that step of faith. And just in case you are wondering how I did this so seemingly perfect, the answer is I didn’t. I stressed, I worried, I fretted. I had to cling to Jesus more often than not. It was not devoid of the struggle. It was all about the struggle and watching God reassure and bring peace into the storms that seems to be brewing.

He is good and worth the struggle. The lessons, the faith that is built I would not trade for an ounce of gold.

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WAIT

Oh how I hate that word. It has been haunting me for weeks. I am in the middle of making some tough decisions about kids, schools, positions. It has been crazy. BUT every time I end up praying about all of it, I hear the word WAIT.

 

This, my friends, is not my forte. I am a do-er, a person of action, see a need, fill a need kind of gal. I am the person you want on your team because I will git-er done. More times than I would like to count, this has gotten me in trouble. I tend to jump the gun and end up paying for it. Sometimes we do need to just wait, sit, listen.

Psalms 27 is perhaps one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. The very last verse says “Wait patiently for the Lord, Be strong and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

(Hmmmm, does it require strength and courage to wait?)

And there there is Psalm 62:5 which I have hopefully committed to memory “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him” (not quite, almost got it)

(Our hope is not in the circumstances we face, but rather God.)

Then I begin to think about all the people who had to wait on the Lord, Abraham (100 years old and just having a baby) or Job (who lost everything and then was restored) or Jonah (3 long days in the belly of a fish) or Anna (she waited at the temple for many years until she saw the Messiah)

God doesn’t work on our time. He wouldn’t be a good Father if he did. We don’t give our children what they want when they want it.

SO I wait. The answers will come eventually….

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Now What

Well, the story is done or at least you are caught up to date. What do I have now to write about? I guess I will let you in to what has been stirring in my heart for a month or so.

With a family of 6, things in our house can get cluttered and crazy real quick. Last January of 2012 (I can’t believe it was that long ago. I could have sworn it was last year) we invited our friends over and had a radical simplification weekend. We purged like crazy. It was hard and freeing all at the same time. I got rid of 4 black trash bags of boys’ clothes. We downsized furniture and made space. This is not the be replaced with things, but to leave the empty space.

Future bob sledders? Or just creative boys? (I claim the middle one, although the other two are pretty special to me as well.

Future bob sledders? Or just creative boys? (I claim the middle one, although the other two are pretty special to me as well.

Oh how quickly things pile up again. We do have an ongoing “get rid of pile”. Shirts that I just don’t wear or have grown too small, pants that have holes in them, toys that we have outgrown or just don’t play with. BUT even still it seems like the battle to stay simple is a losing battle.

Let's just say, windy days are no good for curly hair.

Let’s just say, windy days are no good for curly hair.

I have begun reading the book Seven by Jen Hatemaker. It is an experiment that Jen decided to take on by simplifying her life for 7 months in 7 different areas. It has challenged me to continue the battle, but perhaps tweak it a little. For example, I have the give away pile, but what if I gave it to people instead of Goodwill, what if I gave not out of my excess but out of their need. Do I have any intentional relationships with the least of these? Not to make myself be feel better, but rather to live out what Jesus said.

My life is full of baseball at the moment. Here is #3 ready for a pitch.

My life is full of baseball at the moment. Here is #3 ready for a pitch.

I am not done with the book, but need to finish soon. I am borrowing the book to save money and to save space. I will let you know if and when I take on my own experiment to fight the battle in a more extreme way.

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Faithfulness

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness” Psalm 115:1 NLT

As stated before, my sorrow because to subside. A new season was beginning to dawn. I had/have many things going on which distracted me a little. Baseball season alone for only 2 of my boys is enough to make me crazy. One day at the beginning of March, my good friend began to tell me about a new opportunity for the people of our church. I was listening, but feeling like she shouldn’t be doing that. She is doing enough and perhaps someone else should be helping. BUT she had had a dream and well dreams are important so she was going to do it. A few weeks later, guess what! I was asked to join this endeavor. I was reluctant because there was so much already going on, but said yes because you can’t really argue with God. Amazingly there was a meeting with the IMB (International Mission Board) rep and I decided to make the opportunity to go and get more information. My friend and I had gotten together to talk about the details and I began to get pretty excited.

If you remember way back to part 2 or 3, the original plan was to go to somewhere where they spoke Spanish. I felt like God brought me back full circle. Also, I get to bring people into God’s purpose to redeem ALL peoples.

We had the meeting with the IMB guy, and I walked away amazed. This place was my sweet place, I could tell. I was in the center of where God wanted me. The things we talked about and how our church could help these struggling pastors gave me goosebumps. I was already dreaming and thinking about what could be. We were NOT to go in a take over, but to walk along side them as they minister to the lost. This place in Mexico only has about 2% evangelized so I was pretty jazzed about getting to reach a primarily lost people. The planning has begun for a group to go this fall. I can hardly wait.

GOD IS FAITHFUL.

Me in Southeast Asia with a vendor I had bought a hammock from

Me in Southeast Asia with a vendor I had bought a hammock from

Within that same week or close to a week, we had a friend over. He was sharing about one of the other areas we are focusing in on as a church. A special place in Southeast Asia. They were looking for people to go on the trip. I was trying to stay cool, but inside I was jumping up and down like a little child saying “Can I go? Can I go?” Adam knew exactly what was going on and said it would be a good idea for me to join that team. Praise God the finances were provided and both son #2 and I are going this summer to be a part of a construction team (thankfully it is mainly painting and I can paint pretty well, always messy, but I can get the job done). I am so excited to be going back to a place I love and to get to go to a different part as well.

GOD IS FAITHFUL.

A friend and I that I had met while in a Central Asian place.

A friend and I that I had met while in a Central Asian place.

This June, I will be teaching one of the classes for Perspectives. I am really hoping this is not my first and last opportunity to do it. I love that I get to help and draw people into his global purpose that all people will know who He is.

GOD IS FAITHFUL.

The mode of travel in SE Asia. I am sure this made my mom and dad cringe.

The mode of travel in SE Asia. I am sure this made my mom and dad cringe.

This week I was asked to help contribute to the Go Conference we are having in June at our church. Some other people and I will be trying to help put together what they kids are going to be learning and how to expose their hearts to God’s love for the world. So exciting!

GOD IS FAITHFUL.

 

 

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My Story Part 8

This is where it gets a little muddy because I’m trying to convey the process that went on inside my head and heart. My husband can testify that I am not very good at communicating feelings or thoughts when there is a chance of not being understood or hurt in any way. I will do my best though to go through the ups and downs.

Refinement. Just like I said in the last post, I was feeling boxed in, trapped. I had for so long put my hope in this dream of being on mission with God in a place far away from here that I didn’t have a second plan. So now what? I was still drowning in this sea of sorrow. On top of this Adam had by now gotten a job at Sandals. Was this about him? What about me? Is there a lesson about submission? Oh so many questions, so many fears, so many tears left to be shed.

Adam's parents and our family

Adam’s parents and our family

There was a lesson to be learned and I am still in the process of learning it. I had made missions an idol. I had put that in place of really knowing and loving God. No matter what, God wants ME. ALL of me. The plans I had made had superseded this desire. When it was taken away from me, I had to face the facts. Did I really love God or did I love the idea of living overseas?

In the middle of February, which also happens to be my birthday, I went to Houston, TX to be a doorholder (volunteer) for Passion 2014. Such an amazing, heart lifting, soul filling experience.

In the middle of February, which also happens to be my birthday, I went to Houston, TX to be a doorholder (volunteer) for Passion 2014. Such an amazing, heart lifting, soul filling experience.

I was brought back to the startling fact that God loves me not what I do. I needed to rest and trust in that alone. I needed to allow that thought to permeate through my heart and mind once again. I was still sad, but my heart was healing.

I realized, also, that I could no longer deny my heart or the passion that God had placed there to love people who have not heard the gospel. I needed to find ways to allow that to live out even if I am here. This meant I had to say no to other things like leading a small group for Real Healing because I wanted to be available for might be in store.

On March 9th, I ran my first half marathon which happened to be part of the LA Marathon. I had a great running partner/friend/encourager.

On March 9th, I ran my first half marathon which happened to be part of the LA Marathon. I had a great running partner/friend/encourager. We wore orange socks because we ran for World Vision to raise $ for clean water in Africa.

Thankfully, He has done just that. (to be continued)

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My Story Part 7

I really trying to wrap this up, but I know that I like reading short snippets on people’s blogs because I am usually reading between or during activities throughout my day so bear with me.

We sat down with these two ladies and shared our story. I was emotional and began to realize at that moment how deep this passion ran. I started to see how I had let this become dormant in my life. I had given up and decided there was no chance of it ever being realized. By the end of the meeting, they said we are not going to say no, but we can’t say yes either. You see we (Adam and I) have this thing called a school loan and it is mighty large and with this organization you are only allowed to have a certain amount. We had a creative solution to that problem, but wasn’t sure it was going to fly with the organization. They were going to talk to their supervisors about it all, but basically said it’s up to you to begin the process.

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WHAT!!!! I wanted a clear answer. Didn’t you hear me God? What are you doing? So no clear answer, but in my heart I felt a no. I asked to hide out in an office at church and I cried and cried. Adam did too. I think we both knew even though we didn’t know. I reluctantly went into service, sat at the back (not my norm), and tried to not be bitter, but I was.

 

My thoughts were: Look at this God, all these people have the opportunity to not only know who you are, but worship with other believers. Why am I here? I am not really needed. There are others who are more than happy to stay. I am ready and willing to go so why the no? I don’t understand you God? Why did you create me this way only to say no?

January in So Cal

January in So Cal

The very next day, I was at the church for a rehearsal with one of the boys and the representative was there. She and I sat down, and she began to tell me that she had heard from her supervisor that morning. The answer was officially no. God answered the prayer, but my heart had already heard the answer. So I cried again.

I want to be real and honest here. I was MAD at God. I did not understand this decision. BUT because of the work I had done in the past 4 years, I was still willing to TRUST him because I knew that He is good even when we don’t understand the whys. Did that mean I was not allowed to feel sad or depressed or angry about it? NO! I actually had a good cry about the no every two weeks. I would be doing fine, then we would sing a song about the lost and I would lose it. Not just a little, A LOT.

On the road to Oklahoma

On the road to Oklahoma

It was super hard to not get bitter feelings, but I kept/keep reminding myself that God has a plan and it must be better than what I was thinking. Slowly, but surely I was started to heal and am still in that process.

At the end January, Adam and I went to a ministers’ meeting. They sent us off for some solitude and I was so grateful. I hadn’t had a moment to myself in awhile and needed to just feel. I was coming back in at the end of our time, but needed to freshen up in the ladies’ room. Of course, there was a sweet woman in there who can read people because the Holy Spirit had gifted her that way and she asked one simple question. I got to lose it all over again. She could tell it and knew it. She said it was like I was boxed in. That was exactly how I felt.

(to be continued – you will get to hear more about the heart issues)

 

 

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