Saturday, December 1, 2007

Holiday Happenings

This is the first holiday season in 5-6 years that I have enjoyed. Wayne and I attended Thanksgiving meals on both sides of the families and I, surprisingly, felt like it was the best time that I've ever experienced in regards to both families.

Both Wayne and I participated in a "service project" with my congregation on Thanksgiving Day. A group of 15-20 of us spent the afternoon at ETMC delivering fresh cut flowers to patients who most likely, would not have had any holiday visitors. It was a supernaturally amazing day. Along with being blessed by the patients we visited and those participating in the project, I was also able to get a small glimpse of the hospital environment. I am hoping to "shadow" a nurse and a chaplain this summer to help me decide about pursuing a nursing degree within the next 2-3 years.

Michael, Candace, and I had made plans to paint the living room; dining room and kitchen over the 4 day Thanksgiving Break but I postponed the plans. I had a prior commitment to arrange flowers for the ETMC project and strongly felt that Wayne and I were in desperate need of some laid-back days at home with just the two of us. I was prayerfully concerned about us spending that much time together because of how shaky our relationship has been lately but the time together proved to be a graciously blessed time of renewal and reconnection.

All at work is going well. This upcoming week is the last week for my student teacher, Mandy. I have really enjoyed having her as a part of our class and all of us are going to miss her. The kids and I will have 2 full weeks of the Christmas schedule before the 2-week holiday break then hopefully, we will be able to adjust back to our "normal routine" at the start of the new semester.

My little one in class that I have been so concerned about has ended up moving away. My heart was broken. Damien, his family and his home situation helped me to remember that even the smallest gestures can mean so much and was also a not-so-subtle reminder that I CANNOT CONTROL OR CHANGE the life circumstances of my students. I am only responsible for creating a safe, loving environment during the times they are entrusted to my care and that my largest responsibility is to love them well while praying for God's protection and provision for all of them.

Bailey and I are headed to the vet this morning. Poor little buddy is due for shots along with having the Dr. looking at some possible abnormalities. Wayne has his last "speech" today (Yay! for him) so we will go to record that event over at Michael's and Candace's. And I may venture out to do some Christmas shopping.

Abby's pups have all opened their eyes and are discovering their legs and their ability to truly whine, growl, and bark. If only they would stay this little and dependent on their momma, I would keep 'em all. We have found a home for 1 out of the 7---looks as if some of holiday break will be spent at the Walmart parking lot being assertive (ha!) and trying to find 'good homes' for these cutie-pies.

Outside of the usual prayer concerns this week are the following:
  • Cheryl and Kip's infant grandson, Dalton, who is currently at Children's Medical Center
  • Wayne's complete healing
  • Wayne, Michael & Sheryl with up-coming finals
  • Jim's traveling to and from Austin for his DPS Regional Chaplain training
  • Elizabeth's immune system and health which has proven to be weak over the past several months
  • Both Mandy's, Michelle's and Amy's job opportunities along with the "future plans" of BISD
  • Emotional healing for both Jason and Kaylyn as they grieve the loss of their twins
  • Both Wendy and Rhonda as they adjust to the deteriorating health of their mothers
  • Debbie, Lisa, Carole, Naomi, Rae, Chris and Betsey as they all go through their 1st holiday season without either their mother or father
  • Both Randy, Cora, and the congregational families as changes are being made. May all be done in a loving, Christ-like way and serve to further God's purposes for all of their lives
  • Dan and Cay as they travel to and from the Christian Camping International conference
  • Feliciano family's awareness efforts and garage sale to ensure that the life and death of little Jackson will be a blessing to all who come in contact with his story and family
  • Jackson, Johnna, and all of their family as they "make-the-most" of the seemingly insurmountable difficulties regarding their Jackson's health. May he, through God, prove the doctors wrong, and receive total, complete healing and live a long life.
  • Holly's pregnancy
  • Home-placements for all of the puppies
  • Family stability for "my" Jackson and "my" Damien
  • Shana's divorce proceedings
  • Health, safety, and well-being for both Wayne's mom and dad and my mom and dad
  • Relationship "issues" with Sheryl and Mitch
  • Financial concerns for Melissa and her 3 young children
  • Judy as she recovers from car accident injuries
  • Thomas, Susan & Jake as "dealing with" Jake's recent Army enlistment
  • The specific patients at ETMC that Wayne and I have become acquainted with. May all of their spiritual, physical, and emotional needs be met.
It's amazing to me the needs of others that God places upon one's heart. I am, once again, reminded to be thankful that all is within HIS hands, power, and control and that I am only to be what He is calling me to be in my life and in the lives of others. What an awesome and relieving thought!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wacky Week!!

This past week has been memorable. I am really enjoying working with Mandy and am slowly relinquishing control of my class to her for the next few weeks. Letting go hasn't been as hard as I had imagined because I feel "freed up" to do some classroom tasks that never seem to be a priority. I have been able to plan a little bit ahead and I do not have to bring so much stuff home. The kids also adore her though a few are still trying to figure out just how far they can push. The most difficult part for me has been in keeping quiet when I see that the kids are taking advantage of her. I've teased about needing to get one of those doggy-shock collars so that she can push a button when I am about to open my mouth, snap my fingers or raise my eyebrows.

Tuesday of this past week was bizarre, to say the least. Mandy and I were team teaching and playing a fake-competition with the kids and I had one of those "intrusive memory moments" that caused my blood pressure to skyrocket. Apparently, I turned beet red and then eerily white---I could inwardly feel the panic but didn't realize that I was having outward signs until one of the kids mentioned that I looked funny. It was downhill from there. Thankfully, Mandy took up the slack and the kids’ day hardly missed a beat.

I left campus as soon as possible to go to the doctor because the spike in blood pressure was causing nausea and dizziness and the anti-anxiety medicines didn't seem to be helping at all. The clinic was closed for lunch so I went down to the church building to sit with Kay and Betsey until it re-opened. The minute I saw Kay, I started bawling and probably scared the poor woman to death. Sweet Betsey immediately called Jim. I was there for about an hour feeling foolish until Jim arrived.

He and I talked for a while. Actually, he talked...I sat, stared, cried, and excused myself a couple of times because of being so sick to my stomach. He, wholeheartedly, assured me that this reaction was "a normal, healthy breakthrough and to be expected". Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find much reassurance in that idea. I ended up falling asleep in the youth lounge after finally being able to 'keep down' some Sprite and crackers and spent the majority of the afternoon with a small group of some of the kindest people I have ever met.

I didn't go home until Wayne was home from work. He was amazingly understanding and supportive throughout the evening. Wednesday was pretty much a blur despite returning to my routine and the exhaustion hit early that evening.

Amy, Melynda, Susan and I were talking Thursday and they helped me to see that this was one more "(?)memory" that would never be able to catch me off guard again and even more proof that, THROUGH GOD, I AM STRONG ENOUGH to handle whatever comes my way.

The rest of the week went well. School has been chaotically busy. Wayne is buried under A&M assignments. Holiday plans are in the making. The days are flying by. 'Tis the season, I suppose.

Raynard, Sandra, and Wayne are working hard on the newly bought property. I still have mixed-feelings about the whole thing. Due to asthmatic and allergy reactions, I wasn't able to help out in the first steps of the process. I am still battling resentment so it was, probably, actually better for all for me to not be involved.

Michael and Candace are going to help me paint the downstairs over the Thanksgiving Break. Candace feels strongly that this is a "pick-me-up" that I desperately need. They are cracking me up because I am not a decorator BY ANY MEANS and they seem more excited than I do about making the changes and I am thrilled with the idea. I was headed to Lowe's today to pick out some colors but they called last night after making the trip themselves and have an assortment of ideas ready to go. Wayne and I are going over there this afternoon for the recording of Micheal's and Wayne's 3rd speech so we'll take the next step in the painting process afterwards. I'm looking forward to a fun project.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

In a land, not so far away and not so long ago, lived a woman who had, long since, lived in the dark confinement of a pit. She did not enjoy where she was nor did she entice others to join her, yet she had become convinced that this place of darkness was where she was to call home.


She, vaguely, remembered times before her life in this pit, but she couldn’t recall if she had been thrown in by others, willingly jumped in seeking adventure, or if she had simply lost her footing and stumbled down into the opening or maybe a combination of them all. As time passed, the reasons behind her captivity seemed irrelevant. She was where she was, assumed that she deserved to be there, and was determined to make the best of it. She attempted to make the pit as comfortable as possible. She, endlessly, scrubbed the mud floors and walls. She even etched hopeful designs of sunnier scenes within the dirt. Regardless of her efforts, it never felt like home. The pit remained dark, dirty, lonely, and dangerous.

The woman believed that there had to be something she could do that would deliver her from this despicable environment. She decided that she would form bricks from the mud and from the small pool of water, created by her many tears. She worked long and hard to create what she hoped would become the stepping-stones leading to the opening of the pit. As she shaped the bricks, she envisioned what labels she could place upon each stone: futile efforts, self-protection, blatant sin, denial, compliance, anger, betrayal, heartache, selfishness, pride, shame, despair and fear. Each label could have easily represented a few, of the many ways, that may have led her to this pit-dwelling existence.

After much effort, she was able to form enough steps that would, hopefully, hold firm as she took herself, step-over-step, up to the pit’s entrance. Though exhausted, she began to climb. Amidst much sweat, blood, and tears, she was finally able to grasp hold of the edges of the pit. She felt exhilarated and her excitement only increased as she felt the warmth of the sun upon her face. But before she could even fully rejoice at her self-directed accomplishment, an Enemy came over to the pit’s edge and stomped on her sore, bloody hands until she was no longer able to maintain her grasp.


She, rapidly, fell downward, causing the stones to crumble and further injured herself. When her descent finally ended, she realized that she had landed at an even deeper level within the pit. The crumbling bricks had created a hazy layer of dust and debris that not only blocked out the light but also soiled what little water remained. When the woman realized how far she had fallen and that there was absolutely nothing she could do, on her own, to get out of the pit, she was devastated. She sobbed, bitterly, while contemplating how the jagged stones and contaminated water may hasten her departure from this overwhelming darkness. Eventually, her body gave in to her physical and emotional exhaustion and she slept.

She awoke, hours later, with thoughts about the God who she had heard about before her entry into this dwelling place. She believed in His existence but couldn’t imagine Him caring about her, especially in her current condition. She had, long ago, came to the conclusion that He, too, felt she deserved to be in this dismal pit.


As her tears, once again, began to fall, she noticed that the dust was settling, allowing her to see a rope along the wall of the pit. The rope had, obviously, been there for quite a while and she couldn’t believe that she hadn’t noticed it there before. In the silence, she heard the words: “I’m here. I’ve been here all along. You have not been abandoned. You have not been alone. I have heard your cries and longed for you to look up and see that I have provided a way out of this darkness. My love is all you need to be rescued. Accept my gift and you will be lifted up into the light.” Through the tears and with a bit of hesitancy, the woman reached out to the rope. At her initial touch, she was effortlessly pulled from the pit.

She was so grateful to have been set free, yet God was not content to leave her standing at the edge of the shifting ground. He carried her far above and away from the place that had once held her captive. He set her feet upon a rock and explained to her that the ground was firm and steady because she had made up her mind that is where she wanted to be. She, immediately, noticed that there were others standing with her on this solid ground. They welcomed her to this remarkable place of safety.


The woman felt such appreciation, comfort and joy at her deliverance but she was still covered in dirt, blood, sweat, and tears. Within moments, God, and those whom He allowed, lovingly cleansed and bandaged each wounded area. The Lord was even able to heal the wounds that weren’t visible to anyone else.

She was amazed at the testimonies of the people who told her how God had once saved them from their own darkness, yet she was in awe of the words that came from God, Himself. She knew, without a doubt, that regardless of what life brought her way, she would never, again, be alone in a dark, slimy pit. She, whole-heartedly, clung to the
words of her newfound Father, who had promised her security, stability, protection, mercy, guidance and unconditional love.

The woman is eagerly anticipating the day when this graciously loving and forgiving God will enable her to call out to others who are battling their own personal pits. This eagerness is developing, because she knows, that when that time comes, those who turn towards her voice of hope and rescue will no longer be able to see her standing before them, but they will be able to see the very essence of God.
Stacy Golden
Summer 2007
(Written after reading Beth Moore's Get Out of That Pit)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Catching Up After A Brief Blog Break

This past month has been difficult. I am changing, for the better, I believe, but nonetheless, change seems to "rock the boat". Unfortunately, I still allow conflict and threat of abandonment to throw me into chaotic thoughts and emotions but hopefully, I am learning better ways to deal with what I have always adamantly attempted to avoid.

I'm not sure what the future holds for me in any regard to relationships, job situation, familial relationships etc. but I do know that God is holding me securely in His hands and I have asked that His will be done ABOVE ALL so now to only have the faith to BE STILL, wait it out and see where He leads.

I am reconsidering the possibility of becoming an RN but it's merely a thought on the back burner. I have rediscovered the passion for teaching but the thought of doing so for another 20-30 years is a lil' overwhelming. I need to keep in mind, "Do not worry about tomorrow..."

I am so enjoying my students this year and surprisingly, really enjoying having a student teacher. Mandy is so good with the kids and she is so receptive and flexible to whatever comes about. Having the opportunity to work with her has been a true blessing. I cannot believe how fast this semester is going by.

I am excited for a friend who has recently taken hold of a long-time hope of becoming a DPS Chaplain. I am excited and am, prayerfully, looking forward to where this new ministry may lead him, personally, as well as opportunities for those of us within the congregation.

Our 2nd dog Abby is expecting puppies any day now so I am looking forward to that. I only hope I am home when she is giving birth. I love to be a small part of such miracles. I also want to be here to insure the health and safety of her and the new pups.

Wayne, Raynard, Sandra and I closed on the "land deal" today. I am still struggling with feelings of resentment that I am praying will rescind. It was far more difficult than I had anticipated sitting through the process and repeatedly signing paper after paper. We all went out to eat afterwards. I spent some time alone for the remainder of the afternoon and ended up going to bed around 6 p.m. The emotional exhaustion from the past couple of weeks has caught up with me along with recovering from one of those yucky 24-hour viruses.

This is the first weekend since school began that I have not brought home "work" so I am looking forward to catching up on household tasks and having the time to visit with friends I haven't seen in a while. I am also hoping to take the time for some correspondence to dear friends who have recently lost loved ones. Even when death is anticipated, the grief is still difficult to bear. May God bless those, such as Kaylyn and Jason, who were totally caught off guard by the losses of their children. May He use me in any way to be a source of strength, comfort, and encouragement to them.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Looking forward to greater things...


I look forward to the day when someone asks me "How's it going?" and I can enthusiastically and honestly answer, "All is great!" The loss of Jason and Kaylyn's twins has been incredibly difficult. I hate that they are hurting as much as they are. Burying Jason Jr. and Joshua Lyn was hard enough, in and of itself, but it seemed to bridge a double meaning.

Burying those precious little ones also seemed to serve as a time for me to bury my hopes of being a mother. Seeing how Kaylyn and Jason literally clung to each other during this horrific time helped me realize that neither Wayne nor I cling to each other in times of crisis. We are both much too self-protective and there are issues of trust that seem next to impossible to resolve.

I was also so touched and encouraged by how many compassionately handled the loss of these unborn lives and in absolute shock how irreverent and cold some were with all that was happening. Guess I'll never cease to be amazed at how high humanity is capable of soaring and how low it may also sink...I suppose this contrast is God being in one's heart and the effects of a fallen world.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Relationships

This past week has been full of life in general---full of highs and lows. I've come to realize that "speaking the truth in love" is freeing but not pain-free.

I have hurt with some who are hurting and rejoiced with some who are rejoicing. Being involved with a "small group" of those searching for the same thing and becoming involved with another for accountability purposes has been incredibly difficult and overwhelmingly refreshing at the same life.

When considering what all this worldly life has to offer, it all boils down to relationships. Sharing with one another, depending upon one another, feeling with one another, attempting to love one another in the un-demanding way that God loves us while trusting to God the consequences of the actions/words chosen has proven to be life/attitude-altering.

Many of my self-imposed-protective-barriers are coming down and though it is frightening, it is also liberating. While looking through some "old papers" the other day, I came across the following writing by Lois Cheney. May I never regret the "bits and pieces"...


Bits and pieces. Bits and pieces. People. People important to you, people unimportant to you cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave such a gaping hole. Children leave parents; friends leave friends. Acquaintances move on. People change homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and move on. Friends love and move on. You think on the many who have moved into your hazy memory. You look on those present and wonder. I believe in God's master plan in lives. He moves people in and out of each other's lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who ever touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched. Pray God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question, and never regret. Bits and pieces. Bits and pieces. By (Lois A. Cheney, God is No Fool, 1969)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blurry existence

These past couple of weeks have been such a blur. Thankfully, the hormonal issues seem to be working themselves out--yay! --Maybe it won't take the dreaded 3-month estimation, after all.

My classroom has been keeping me incredibly busy. I have an amazing group of students and I so want to make sure that I "do right" by them and I also have put pressure upon myself to make up for what I so desperately "lacked" with last year's group. Most of last year's group seems to be doing all right in 1st grade so hopefully; I didn't fail them as badly as I feared.

My kids this year are totally different in attitude and personality yet enjoyable, nonetheless. I am deeply concerned about one child in particular but have contacted the proper authorities, openly made myself available to him and his siblings in any way that may needed, and am fervently praying that God will watch over and protect these precious children from the imagined horrors of their daily lives.

Counseling has hit a new level of difficulty that is strangely accompanied by a sense of relief and peace. I am in the process of discovering the fact that "The truth shall set you free." Over the past couple of weeks, I have been able to identify and articulate my life's #1 need, outside of a relationship with God. May God bless Jim a little extra after the poor man (lol) had to 'deal with me' for 5+ hours over the past week or so. He has to be one of the most patient people in this world.

I think I have also 'finally' been able to break down/through to 2 core beliefs (that are proving themselves to be false) that I have unconsciously based my life upon. This was a double-edged sword type of realization because upon these realizations, I can now honestly/openly turn them over to God yet I am also having to see how basing my all on these false beliefs has effected how I have allowed myself to treat/view God, others, and myself. Humbling, encouraging, despairing, and relieving all at the same time.

I will close with some thoughts that truly resonated with me from Brian Mashburn's blog ON BECOMING TRUER. He articulates so many of my thoughts much better than I would ever even hope to.

Definition of Terms
On a scale of one to ten...one being worthless (even damaging) and ten being useful (even life-giving)...

If "optimism" is the denial of reality for the sake of avoiding pain: [1]
If "optimism" is the acknowledgment that there is good and usefulness in everything: [10]

If "giving" is done out of guilty obligation, legalistic righteousness, or to feel better about oneself: [1]
If "giving" is done out of the discovery that sacrificial love is the best, most rewarding possible life available to a human being: [10]

If "judgment" is the determination of what is right and wrong in people's lives and behavior [1].
If "judgment" is the determination of how to best love other people most profoundly despite what is right and wrong in their lives and behavior [10].

If "critical thinking" is primarily used to "point out what is wrong". [1]
If "critical thinking" is used to determine "what I need to be". [10]

If "unconditional acceptance" is the decision to not care how anyone else lives for the sake of being okay with them [1].
If "unconditional acceptance" is the caring so much that I can attach to anyone because of my realizing I have nothing personally at stake because of how anyone else lives [10].

If "giving everyone the dignity to choose" means "do it my way or your free to leave." [1]
If "giving everyone the dignity to choose" means "I'm striving to living life at ever-increasing levels of truth and love, and I'd love for you to join me, but no pressure." [10]

If "telling the truth" is the blunt, careless, and uncensored speaking of my mind. [1]
If "telling the truth" is the loving exposure of the introspective searching of my heart for the purpose of being a loving mirror for a friend or to engage in the humble, confessional healing of my own heart. [10]

If "spreading the word" is the academic teaching that certain religious practices, outward sacraments, and accurate doctrinal beliefs are the means of getting to heaven. [1]
If "spreading the word" is the sharing of Jesus Christ's message, Jesus Christ's heart, Jesus Christ's mission, Jesus Christ's priorities, Jesus Christ's character, and Jesus Christ's life that can be enjoyed here and lasts on into eternity. [10]

If "seeking to understand another" is the listening to others and applying your own definition of terms to what they are saying in order to hold them accountable for "what they said." [1]
If "seeking to understand another" is the holistic hearing of another person's heart regardless of the words they use and definitions they attach to it in order to "be with them right where they are at". [10]

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Triumph of Today's Blessings

It's official...this year's kindergarten group has, once again, stolen my heart. I am enjoying my job so much and am so thankful for the blessings of the innocence and honesty of children. This past week has, personally, been emotionally topsy-turvy, but the hours with these precious little ones have fed, rather than drain, my soul.

I am grateful for the weekend. I felt in desperate need of some down time. My sleep is still somewhat fitful so being able to take advantage of 'sleeping in' has helped. The only plans for the weekend are worship services and the congregation's annual family picnic tomorrow. I am looking forward to both. Wayne is going to meet me for the picnic---yay! I'm glad to have the opportunity for him to meet some of the people that have become such an important part of my "new life".

I continue to struggle with some heavy emotional issues. Talking with Jim this past week was way more difficult than I even expected. As I was leaving the office, I had the thought of wanting to go straight to the physical arms of God for comfort. I did so, spiritually, and was so thankful for the physical arms of Amy. A lot was said and I'm not sure where those particular admissions will lead but I know, thankfully, that God will lead me, through this experience, to a better place.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Holding on to Logic

Today has been hard. I ran the shower and simply sat in the tub and cried. Rationally, I know that this is the effect of the YAZ pill. The doctor actually wrote out what to expect so I wouldn't get discouraged. She assured me that this will be worth it in the long run, but as for the here and now, I am prayerfully having to fight off the fears of returning to the 'darkness'.

I was so looking forward to this 3 day weekend after going non-stop for the past 2 weeks but now I am longing to get back to work and KEEP BUSY. "Down time" simply doesn't suit me well when struggling so. I had an action plan today to thwart off these emotions but just didn't pull it off. I don't want to talk or listen. I want silence and solitude. I want to escape into a laughable movie, a good book or restful sleep. Probably not the most productive use of my time but who said that every moment had to be productive?!

I am feeling way too much, way too deeply. The 5:00 news sent me into a tailspin until I wised up and changed the channel. I will not give into these feelings. I will remember the cause, keep all in proper perspective, and not make any major decisions until running a "rationality test" with those more clear-minded.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Adventures of a Sunday afternoon...

I know the hormones are playing a huge part in my emotions but it's still hard. I didn't make it through Bible Class or Worship Services because of the tears that threaten at the most inopportune times. I left class and went to the restroom to get a grip. Thankfully, no one noticed so no undue attention was received. I wasn't as lucky when stepping out of worship services but thankfully no explanations were expected; just hugs and offers to help, if needed along with promised prayers. I hate when moments like that come upon me but oh, well...part of life right now. All will even out. I am feeling the stress of the emotional upheaval but not the sense of depression so simply ridin' this one out. Once the meds are fully in my system, I have been assured that "this short amount of time that will seem lengthy" will be well worth it. Wonder if I could get that statement in some sort of written guarantee:).

Sheryl, Kaeden, and I met Wayne and his family for lunch at Luby's and that was an adventure in and of itself that one day I'm sure will be looked back on with laughter. Afterwards, Sheryl, Kaeden and I then headed to the mall. I am the kind of shopper that goes in to a store, picks off supposed sizes off the racks, makes sure that returns are acceptable and checks out within minutes. I can't remember the last time I saw the insides of a dressing room but today was all about "girl-y mall shopping". The time with Sheryl and Kaeden was nice but I've had my fill of the mall for at least a year or more. I am thankful for discount stores and online shopping. I can't imagine the mall scene on a regular basis!!

So much for plans...

Yesterday didn't run as smoothly as hoped but thankfully, it's over. The family reunion was more difficult than I had anticipated. I ended up excusing myself early and drove around for a while in tearful prayer. I am in this strange sort of 'grieving process' over the relationships I never had and relationships that I may never establish. Par for the course, I imagine, but not enjoyable.

I am also heartbroken for 2 friends who have recently lost their mothers and concerned for another who is inevitably facing some big changes/obstacles. I so easily lay down requests before God but I must learn to LEAVE them there so not to carry around excess worry and concern.

I spent some time at the Christian bookstore and finally found the Bible I'd like to purchase but will have to wait a while for the funds to be available. Unfortunately, all were incredibly expensive. I went by Mom's and spent some time with her, Sheryl and Kaeden. I had an enjoyable visit outside of having a reaction to one of mom's cleaning supplies. My allergies went berserk!! I ended up coming home, crawling into bed at 7 p.m. and slept until 7:15 this morning. At least now, I feel well rested. :)

I am fixing to head out to worship services. The afternoon plans are lunch with Wayne's family at Luby's and then to go shopping with Sheryl. Tomorrow, my only plan is to wash my car and hang out with my hubby. Guess I'll see how things play out.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Blessing of a 3-day weekend


Unfortunately, I woke up entirely too early this morning, for a Saturday. Not quite sure what is going on with me but the bad dreams have begun again, and I continually feel on the verge of tears, though smiles come just as easily and I am functioning pretty well. I imagine it's a hormonal thing...Dr. Klouda warned me that adjusting to the new Rx may be a little difficult.

I am also concerned about my ability or maybe lack of ability to keep a balance in the "day to day" living process. I think that I have only made it home before dark once in the past 2 weeks when leaving the house well before 7 a.m. I am feeling the physical exhaustion, which doesn't benefit the emotional state very well. The term "ability" isn't honest; it's simply a matter of choice and following through. I can handle that. My principal holds to the teaching philosophy of "work hard, play hard...come in and leave work at reasonable times...enjoy your family and friends...the tasks of maintaining a classroom will always have loose ends so prioritize...". I need to grasp hold of that philosophy rather trying to control every moment and every relationship.

Our campus theme this year is based on the book, How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton. Below is the excerpt off their web page section: "About the Book".
How did you feel after your last interaction with another person? Did that person -- your spouse, best friend, coworker, or even a stranger -- "fill your bucket" by making you feel more positive? Or did that person "dip from your bucket," leaving you more negative than before?
The #1 New York Times and #1 Business Week bestseller, How Full Is Your Bucket? reveals how even the briefest interactions affect your relationships, productivity, health, and longevity.
Organized around a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket, and grounded in 50 years of research, this book will show you how to greatly increase the positive moments in your work and your life -- while reducing the negative. Filled with discoveries, powerful strategies, and engaging stories, How Full Is Your Bucket? is sure to inspire lasting changes and has all the makings of a timeless classic.

I've only had the chance to glance through the book but it appears to be an easy and interesting read. Michelle bought each of the staff a copy and had logo t-shirt specially designed. Sounds like an interesting concept. Maybe reading the book should be one of my top priorities.

This holiday weekend, thankfully, isn't filled to the brim with obligations or expectations. The Golden Family's Annual Reunion is this afternoon but they have always been enjoyable. Worship services on Sunday which I live for from week to week, spending time with my wonderful husband, making some time to play with Kaeden, do a lil' shopping with Sheryl and Mom and maybe even spend some time at the apartment pool are all in my agenda. I also need to check on a co-worker friend whose mother just died and whose father is terminally ill. She, understandably, is having a difficult time. I'm (slowly) learning to prayerfully live moment-by-moment and allowing God to take care of the details.

                                     

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The School Year Has Begun

Whew! We have survived the first two days of kindergarten. I am amazed at how selective my memory is when it comes to what k-students are truly like when they first arrive at school. Thankfully, I am once again, blessed with an amazing group of students and involved parents. There is one student that I am concerned about. He has a heart of gold but would so benefit from pre-k. I am afraid that these state expectations are going to eat him up alive. I have to keep reminding myself that the only aspect of these children's lives that I can "control" (for lack of a better word) is the 8 or so hours of a day that they are with me. I can't change their home lives. I can't change their upbringing. I can't change their experiences. I am so thankful that I serve a God who CAN do all these things and so much more. I am also thankful for the upcoming 3-day weekend. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

First day back to work

Today was a good day. Our in-service day began rather slowly but the afternoon picked up the pace and we actually were dismissed 30 minutes early. If I had chosen to be prudent with my time, I would have worked some in my classroom, but nope...I dropped my training materials off and immediately left. My co-workers are finding this "new side" of me amusing. I know I'll pull it all together by the time it matters so I am simply taking things as they come. Hope that decision doesn't come back to haunt me.

I skipped out on the in-service luncheon and enjoyed lunch with my sweet husband. I also had the chance to talk with 2 dear friends and enjoyed "catching up". I am truly blessed with wonderful people in my life.

I have come to so appreciate days such as today when agendas run smoothly and time with friends is enjoyable.

“Miracle of the Moment”

Steven Curtis Chapman - Miracle Of The Moment (From the album The Moment)
It’s time for letting go
All of our if only’s
‘Cause we don’t have a time machine
And even if we did
Would we really want to use it?
Would we really want to go change everything?
‘Cause we are who and where and what we are for now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

Chorus:
So breathe it in and breathe it out
Listen to your heartbeat
There’s a wonder in the here and now
It’s right there in front of you
And I don’t want you to miss
The miracle of the moment

There’s only one who knows
What’s really out there waiting
In all the moments yet to be
And all we need to know
Is He’s out there waiting
To Him the future’s history
And He has given us a treasure called right now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

And if it brings you tears
Then taste them as they fall
And let them soften your heart

And if it brings you laughter
Then throw your head back
And let it go, let it go
You gotta let it go

Listen to your heartbeat.

Beginning Another School Year

Well, my summer break is officially over. Teachers return tomorrow beginning with an 8:00 donut breakfast. We will have in-service for a week and the students will arrive next Monday. Overall, this has been a good summer break. I never would have imagined how fast it would go by, especially since I wasn't working, but it has flown. I have mixed feelings about returning to work. I think what I most need to remember is to develop and keep a balance between work responsibilities and other areas of my life.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone and getting a new group of kids always presents its own set of joys and challenges. I am still so unprepared, in terms of room set-up but I know that it will all come together. "Meet the Teacher" is Thursday evening so I will need to do some prioritizing to insure that I am ready for that event.

Kaeden's 1st birthday is on the 26th so much of next weekend will focus on that milestone. He is such a charmer. I hope that all of his years don't go by as quickly as this one has. He has a mouthful of teeth, lots of curly hair, a red-hot temper, a pair of feet determined to walk wherever he chooses and a smile that can light up any room. What a blessing he has been!

I heard a song today on K-LOVE that talked about appreciating each moment. I am in the process of searching for the lyrics. Those lyrics will most likely be my next post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ending of summer routines :(

These past few days have been good. I missed going to church on Sunday because of a migraine. I was surprised at how much I missed being there; the week just doesn't start out the same without beginning it at Bible class and worship services.

Wayne and I enjoyed a weekend at home. He is through for the summer semester and ended up doing A LOT of yard work. My mom came out on Saturday and helped me begin to re-organize the guest room. I decided to set it up as a playroom for Allen, Elizabeth, and Kaeden. There are 2 twin beds and a "girl's toy side" and a "boy's toy side". I am going to let Allen and Elizabeth pick out some posters for 'their' side of the room on their next visit. Most of the toys are not suitable for Kaeden so I will have to make him a special play area in the small entryway into the room. When that room re-do is completed, it'll be time to tackle Wayne's office area.

Mitch, Sheryl and Kaeden are out of town for the week. I miss them; it's strange because I probably wouldn't be seeing them anyway but knowing their out of town feels different.

I FINALLY found a person to regularly cut my hair. She is from this area and has no intention of leaving or quitting any time soon so hopefully, she will work out. Unfortunately, there is only so much she can do right now with my attempt at growing my hair out so the "awkward stage" shall continue. UGH!

I met with Jim yesterday and that went well though not easily. We are discussing some tough subjects that leave me kinda sullen and thoughtful for the remainder of the day but nothing that I, with the Lord, can't handle.

I made a trip to Adventures in Learning with the hopes of getting inspired to go to my classroom and prepare for the fall semester---it didn't work. I ran into 4 co-workers while in the store but still didn't feel the need to head out to school. This is totally unlike me; my room and plans are usually done WAY before now. The teachers begin in-service this coming Monday so ready or not, the time has come.

Doug, Sherry, and Tim brought Cameron and Jordan out to go fishing last night. We didn't have much luck with the fish; only one mid-sized mud cat but all seemed to have a good time. The Loughs graciously allowed us to use their boat dock. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the peacefulness of fishing. Our fishing rods were stolen a while back but Tim left his rod here at the house so I plan on going more often when it cools down a lil' bit. I enjoyed having people out here. I wish that Wayne and I had more couple friends to hang out with every now and then. Maybe in time.

I am spending today cleaning, doing laundry, and Biblical research on doctrinal issues. I am beginning to wonder if ANYONE can know with 100% accuracy that they have the correct interpretations. Some of the "arguments" regarding the same issue both seem to make sense. The whole process is a bit frustrating but I know, that God, will lead me to where He wants me to be. I pray that I may be open and receptive to His call/direction.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Reminder of One I Know So Well

Tornado (song by Sara Groves)

You live your life like a tornado.
Destruction follows everywhere you go.
And you have no plans to stop or slow (oh).

I will not let this bitter root grow in me.
I will not let you leave that legacy,
But it gets so hard when pain is all I see (oh).
And every time I find healing, you're making a new mess,
And I am learning the real meaning of forgiveness.

And I tried to remove myself from your path,
But I keep on waking up in the aftermath.
So I pick up again and say I won't look back (oh).

And I will not let this bitter root grow in me.
I will not let you leave that legacy,
But this constant fight is breaking me (oh).
And every time I find healing, you're making a new mess,
And I am learning the real meaning of forgiveness.

And it hurts when you hit at the hearts of the ones I love;
When everything you touch is rubble and dust.
And it gets so hard to know how to trust,

But I will not let that bitter root grow.
I will not let it, no no. But it gets so hard (oh).
And every time I find healing you're making a new mess,
And I am learning the real meaning of forgiveness.

And I could move and never send you a forwarding address,
Or I could learn the real meaning of forgiveness.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Busy Day

Today has been quite a day. The morning began a little earlier than most other summer mornings due to 2 doctor appointments. I had hoped to run a few errands after meeting with Dr. Wick but failed to remember that some of the places I wanted to go didn't even open until 10 a.m. so I had time to spare while waiting for my next appointment. I was able to make a few phone calls; one of which informed me that a dear friend's mother had passed away. These past few days have been saturated with loss. My heart breaks for Debbie.

After being thoroughly up-front with Dr. Wick, he believes that I could benefit from yet another medicine to add to my repertoire but after some prayerful consideration and research on the medicine, I have chosen to not pursue that "suggestion" any further (at least for now). I don't feel 100% confident about going against the 'advice' but both my husband and therapist support me in my decision and I can always "change my mind" if improvements don't continue to be made.


After pretty much making that decision, I ended up canceling the other dr. appt and headed back home for a couple of hours. Thought that I might do something productive, during that time, but I ended up laying on the couch and watched an "old classic movie" that I had never even heard of until recently. Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford back in 1972). There were some funny parts in the show but most was a little too graphic for my taste.

My dad, indirectly, briefly popped back into the scene mid-afternoon. There is some sort of investigation going on (I specifically sought NO details) and I was contacted by the investigators, with the hopes that I would/could assist them in their attempts to contact him. I politely explained the current situation regarding the family 'relationships' and simply didn't have much to offer.


I have mixed feelings about that. The man I talked with was very kind and immediately removed me from the "main data base" so hopefully phone calls and letters such as this will FINALLY stop. Of course, the man couldn't make any guarantees but he seemed sincere in his efforts to do what he could. Maybe all of the drama will end one day!!

I received the new school schedule this afternoon. Usually, that is something exciting but I actually dreaded opening up the envelope. I am just not ready to return to work but ready or not... the time has come.

I met with Jim this afternoon. May God bless his patience and persistence. I don't mean to be as difficult as I can sometimes be but regardless of intention, the difficulty persists. I'm finding it easier to be open with him but felt out of sorts today. He commented that he liked this 'fighting side' of me. He said he had seen it before when it came to other people but not when it had to do with me. That 'fighting side' seemed more like b****iness to me but I'll trust his judgment.

Another friend and I had the time to discuss my possibly placing membership at the congregation I've been attending but I have some questions needing answers before making that decision. I have several options on who to talk with but my mind is simply too worn out right now for any deep discussions.

The evening has been spent in helping my hard-working husband prepare for one of his finals. He amazes me with how well he can keep it all together while working, attending school, taking care of me, helping out his parents...the list could go on. I am truly blessed.

I also found out that one of my favorite people, "Nurse Amy" will now be working for the Bullard School District as the 7th grade Science teacher. YEA for her. Another person of amazement. It would be great to have her on the elementary campus but it'll still be good to have the connection with her through school.

I am hoping that tomorrow will be a day of calm. I have to get this house clean!! I have let it go for far too long. My mom is coming to help me out on Saturday but I would like to have the heavy-duty "stuff" done by then. Procrastination has become too close of a 'friend'!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Improvements

Tuesday was a lot better.
Yesterday was ridiculously mopey & pretty much a waste of time so I have made some decisions.
  • I will immediately get up and prepare for the day. Lounging around in PJ's seems to contribute to the lethargy.
  • I will leave the house, at least once per day, even if it is just for a neighborhood walk or a visit with a neighbor.
  • I will read my Bible daily and commit at least 2 verses/sections to memory each week.
  • Each day, I will think outside of myself and will do, at least one thing, for another.
  • I will highlight my calendar on specific dates as a reminder on when situations/circumstances only seem majorly significant due to factors beyond my control. I will also take recommended medications during those kinds of days.
  • There are only 12 days until school begins. I will complete my home responsibilities and begin preparing for school.
  • I will meet with both Dr. Wick and Dr. Roper and make any medicinal adjustments recommended.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Today

Today is not a good day.
Don't know whether it is to blame on a bad attitude, residual effects of hormones, a natural part of this "healing process", signs of needed changes in medicine, getting too emotionally involved in the crises of others/boundary issues, maybe a combination of all or simply just not a good day.
I have not slept well for the past couple of nights because of tossing, turning, and bad dreams.

So far today, I have read from my Bible and a historical fiction novel, attempted to get rid of and organize some clutter, talked with a couple of friends, watched part of a soap opera and shed a lot of tears. I am wondering if this "process" will ever end?

Matthew 6:34 "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
                         
Nice verse.
Good thought.
But what do you do when all of the days seem to, ultimately, be the same?
The todays, tomorrows, and yesterdays seem to be one long extension of the same times.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Foundations to STAND upon

Psalm 344 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. 17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalm 31:3-15: 3
You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. 4 …for I find protection in you alone. 5 I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God. 6 …I trust in the Lord. 7 I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. 8 You have not handed me over to my enemies but have set me in a safe place. 9 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. 14 But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” 15 My future is in your hands…

Psalm 28
I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. 2 Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary. 6 Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. 8 The Lord gives his people strength. He is a safe fortress... 9 …Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.
I John 4:8; I John 4: 18
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear...

Something to Consider

I woke up earlier than usual this morning and was able to hear Charles Stanley's message.
He discussed one of the "foundation Scriptures" that I've held onto throughout these past several months.
Isaiah 43:2: When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
He focused on the term "walk"; a thought that hadn't occurred to me before.
I tend to want to RUN or even deny times of fire but that's not necessary or even advisable.

God is with me and I will not be consumed by the flames.

My, How Time Flies...

I am having a hard time believing that it is already August. I went into the summer with all sorts of plans and very little has actually been done according to my plan but, nonetheless, it has been a "good break". This is the 1st summer since I was 15 that I haven't, at least, worked part-time. At the start, I didn't think I would like having that much time off but I have really enjoyed the freedom of very few schedules and plans. I have really appreciated the time to process a lot of new learning, along with re-fanning a long, lost spirituality flame.

I attended a teacher's conference a couple of days ago and am just now getting in the mindset of returning to school. Usually, by this time of the summer, my room is organized and ready-to-go but not this year!! I haven't worked in my classroom since the last day of school. Before the school year ended, I did prepare the 1st 2 weeks of lesson plans for the fall and have things for that time period set aside in one of those many boxes still stacked along my classroom walls so that puts me at ease (provided I can find those papers!)

One important thing that I learned last year is that I don't "always" have to have it all together and that it is "okay" to ask for help, when needed. I still have a lot to do to prepare for the upcoming school year but I am not feeling the usual pressure and that is nice.

I will have my 1st student teacher this fall. I have become used to being observed by college students but actually "sharing" my class for an extended amount of time will be something new. The student teacher happens to be one of my favorite ex-room mom's so that has taken a lot of the pressure off. I had both of her boys as kdg. students and absolutely adored the entire family.

I hope to enjoy and appreciate each moment of the remaining 3+ weeks of summer break. Maybe I can still accomplish some of those initially laid out plans.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hesitancy

I don’t understand my hesitancy about going before God and ‘laying down’ what is really on my heart.

I have never felt so aware and so sure of His goodness, faithfulness, love, mercy, and His desire to have a personal relationship with me.
I can feel His “tugs” at my heart to come out from my hiding place and into His presence of genuine love yet there are times that a single step in that direction leaves me trembling inside.

I long for the feelings of consistency.

I can so relate to Susan Ashton’s lyrics
“Sometimes I feel like I’m as close as Your shadow and sometimes I feel like I’m looking up at You from the bottom of the Grand Canyon…”

I find comfort that someone else has recorded those words---leaves me hoping that maybe those feelings are just a normal part of our humanity.

I know that He is worthy.

I know that He is capable.
I know that He is willing.

But there are moments I feel as if my very soul has been captured by a sense of fear and shame.
I want God to create in me a willingly obedient spirit that above all desires His will.
I want to be molded into what He has planned for my life.
I want to see what He sees and feel what He feels. I want to, courageously, be able to address any and all issues with the full assurance that He will not allow more than I, through Him, can handle.
I want to repent where/when repentance is necessary and forgive where forgiveness is needed.
I want to allow/accept His healing and follow in the paths He sets before me.

I am fearful of returning to the darkness that threatened my very life but I know He desires to be my Light.

I know that my God is bigger and stronger than ANYTHING Satan puts before me.

I simply have to “hold on to” what I know to be true and trust that I am being “held in everlasting arms.”

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stumbling Through

My motivation is still lacking along with the desire to retreat and isolate coming on strong.
My mind is going non-stop yet it remains difficult to put any of these running thoughts into something understandable.

Lots of question-type issues.
Why did...?
How do I...?
If...then.
Why can't...?
Am I doing/saying...enough?
If only...

Some thoughts are relevant and could be helpful to pursue, some not.

I am relying heavily upon Scripture right now and digging to find passages that accurately mirror what I seem unable to articulate at this time.

I know that I am on the right path; I can feel God's leading.
My hang-up seems to be the pace that I'm keeping.
I either feel like I'm moving to slow or moving so quickly that I'm passing by important 'landmarks' along the journey.

I am seeking, through my Biblical studies what it means exactly to "be still/stand and wait/position yourself and see..."

  • What does this require of me?
  • What will be accomplished if I will simply obey?
  • The art of doing nothing evades me but I know it is necessary.
  • It's strange to me how "being still" can be so emotionally exhausting.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Flexibility

My motivation is lacking today.
I didn't sleep well; weird dreams and too many noisy interruptions.
When I went to bed last night, I pictured today as being a “productive day” which included house cleaning, pet care, and running errands, along with spending the evening doing something “fun”.

But now I just want to crawl back into bed with my Bible, journal, a good book and some praise music.
Guess that’s not necessarily a “bad thing”; just a total change of plans.

It’s still early in the day; maybe doing what I truly desire will lead to more “productivity” later in the day.

I am so grateful for the time and freedom that summer vacation brings and I need to adjust to the concept that most things are flexible without being considered failure.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Scripture Personalized

Psalm 27: 1, 5, 10, 14
The Lord is my light and my salvation. I do not have to be afraid. The Lord will protect me from danger. I do not have to tremble. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. The Lord will hold me close. I must wait patiently for the Lord. I must be brave and courageous and wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalms 28: 1, 7, 9
The Lord is my rock of safety. He is my strength and shield from every danger. I will trust in Him with all of my heart. He will help me and fill my heart with joy. The Lord will protect me and carry me forever in His arms.

Psalm 30: 1-3, 5
The Lord will rescue me. He refuses to let enemies triumph over me. He will restore my health and keep me from falling into the pit of death. His favor will last for a lifetime. My weeping may go on all night but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 31: 3-8, 14, 15
The Lord is my rock and fortress. I can find protection in Him, alone. He is a faithful God in whom I may place my trust. He has seen my troubles and cares about the anguish of my soul. He will not hand me over to the enemy but will set me in a safe place. I am trusting in the Lord for my future is in His hands.

Psalm 32: 7-8, 10
My God is my hiding place. He will protect me from trouble. He has said that He will guide me along the best pathways for my life. He promises to advise and watch over me. His unfailing love surrounds me.

Psalm 33: 4-5
The Lord's words hold true. I can trust in everything He does. He loves whatever is just and good. The earth is filled with His unfailing love.

Psalm 34: 4-7; 17-18, 22
The Lord answers me when I pray. He will free me from all of my fears. When I look to Him, I will not be ashamed but be radiant with joy. When I cry to the Lord, in my sufferings, He hears me and sets me free from all my fears. The angel of the Lord will guide and rescue me. The Lord hears me when I call to him for help. He will rescue me from my troubles. He is close to me when I am broken-hearted and rescues me when my spirit is crushed.

Psalm 37: 3-5, 7, 23-24, 34
I will trust and take delight in the Lord. I will commit everything I do to Him. He will help me, as I trust in Him. I will be still in His presence and wait patiently for Him to act. I will not worry or fret. The Lord will direct my path and delight in every detail of my life. Even when I stumble, I will not fall, for He is holding me by the hand. I must travel steadily down His path and wait patiently for Him to act.

Borrowed Words

I still feel like I am wandering around in darkness. Tears, sleep, cookie dough (!) and reading have been the tasks of the day. Tears are coming way too easily and frequently for my comfort, but my thought processes seem to be clearing up.

I have spent much of today and most of yesterday in Scripture. I am not having difficulty approaching God in prayer but I am struggling with what to say or request. I am glad that He knows my heart and that the Holy Spirit is willing to intercede amidst the tears but the ability to present my thoughts and feelings into words would also be nice.
I have been going through the Old Testament and re-discovered some "old favorite passages" along with coming across new verses that tug at my heart. I "re-wrote" some verses for the sake of personalization, not for quoting. The thoughts, the promises, and the truths have been comforting and thought provoking. Hopefully, soon, I will be able to put some of those thoughts into coherent sentences.
(Deuteronomy 34: 6, 7, 14) My God is a gracious and merciful God. He is slow to anger and rich in faithfulness. He is filled with unfailing love and willing to forgive me of every kind of sin and rebellion. He is passionate about His children and truly desires to have a relationship with me.

(Deuteronomy 30:4, 6)The Lord, my God, will come and find me even if I am at the ends of the earth. He will find me and bring me back to Him. He will cleanse my heart so that I may love Him with all of my heart and soul and so that I may live.

(Deuteronomy 30:19-22) Today the Lord is giving me a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I choose life. I choose to love the Lord my God and to obey Him. I commit myself to Him for He is my life.

(Deuteronomy 31:6) The Lord is my rock. His work is perfect. Everything He does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who is just, upright, and does no wrong.

(2 Chronicles 20:3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17, 20) I will seek the Lord for guidance. He, alone, is the God in heaven. He is powerful. He is mighty. He is the ruler of the earth. No one (nothing) can stand against my God. I can cry out to Him to save me. He will hear me and come to my rescue. I look to Him for help because I am powerless and do not know what to do. He tells me to not be afraid for He will fight my battles. I only need to take my position, stand still, and watch His victories. I must believe in Him and I will be able to stand firm.

I Know This to be True

The inability to articulate much, except irritation and frustration remain. I am continuing to search Scripture for those type of "hold-on-to-these-truths-kind-of-verses". I started in the book of Psalms this morning. Again, these aren't direct Biblical quotes; I am writing the verses out to make personal application.

(Psalm 3:3-5)The Lord is a shield around me. He is my glory. He is the one who lifts my head high. I cry out to him and He answers me. I can wake up in safety because He is watching over me.

(Psalm 9:9, 10, 12, 13, 16; 11:1)The Lord is my shelter and refuge. He will never abandon me as I search for Him. He is known for His justice. He will have mercy on me and not ignore my cries to Him for help. I will trust Him for protection.

(Psalm 13: 5, 6)I will trust in the Lord's unfailing love. He will rescue me and I will be able to rejoice. He is good to me.

(Psalm 16: 1, 2, 5, 8, and 11)I can come to the Lord for refuge. He will keep me safe. All of the good things that I have are from Him. He, alone, is my cup of blessing and He will guard all that is mine. He is always with me. I do not have to be shaken for He is right beside me. He will show me the way of life while granting me the joy of His presence.

(Psalm 18:1-3)The Lord is my strength. He is my rock, my fortress, my Savior. I can find protection in Him because He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.

(Psalm 18:16-19)The Lord is reaching down from heaven to rescue me. He will uphold me and lead me to a place of safety. He rescues me because He delights in me.

(Psalm 18: 28-36)The Lord will bring light to my life. He will light up my darkness. In His strength, I can crush an army. With Him, I can scale any wall. His ways are perfect and all of His promises prove to be true. He will be my shield when I look to Him for protection. He is a solid rock that arms me with strength and He has made my way safe. The Lord will lead me safely. He will prepare me and strengthen me. He will give me the shield of His salvation and uphold me with His right hand. His gentleness will make me great. He will make a path for me to keep my feet from slipping.

(Psalm 23)The Lord is my shepherd. He will give me everything I need. He will give me rest and lead me to peace and safety. He will renew my strength and guide me along the right path. I do not have to be afraid for He is close beside me. He will protect and comfort me. He will welcome me and will bless me. His goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Comforted by Scripture

These past few days have been very difficult.
My emotions have been all over the place: sadness, anger, disappointment, despondency and despair.
During some of the "dark moments", I read in the book of Isaiah and found comfort in the following verses.

I paraphrased the verses for the sake of personalization.
I know that these written things are true and I will cling to the promises of God and trust Him to bring me through this time of darkness.
Isaiah 40: The Lord will come in all His glorious power. He rules with awesome strength. He feeds me, a part of His flock, like a shepherd. He will carry me in His arms, holding me close to His heart. He will gently lead me. The Lords sees my troubles. The Lord hears my case. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows faint or weary. I couldn't begin to measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to me when I'm tired and worn out. He offers strength to me when I'm weak. He knows I will become exhausted and want to give up. But when I wait on the Lord, I will find new strength. I will fly high on wings like eagles. I will run and not grow weary. I will walk and not faint.  
Isaiah 41: God has chosen me and will not throw me away. He is with me; I do not have to be afraid. I do not have to be dismayed because He is my God. He will strengthen me. He will help me. He will uphold me.
Isaiah 42:  Jesus will reveal justice. He will be gentle and not crush those who are weak or quench the smallest hope. He has called me to demonstrate His righteousness. He will guard and support me.
Isaiah 43:  I do not have to be afraid because the Lord has ransomed me. He has called me by name. I am His. He is with me as I go through deep waters and great trouble. He will not let me drown when I go through rivers of difficulty. He will not let the burning flames consume me when I walk through the fire of oppression. He is the Lord, my God---my Savior. I am precious to Him and He loves me. I do not have to be afraid because He is with me.
I cannot imagine my life without God.

Heavy-Hearted

My heart feels heavy today.
One of those moments that I have to remind myself to breathe.
I hate the anxiety that sometimes seems to overwhelm my soul.
I realize that I must "jump in to be saved" but it is difficult to willingly jump where you know pain will surface.

My God is bigger than the pain.
My God is stronger than the memories.
My God is more faithful than my humanness.

I will not believe the lies of Satan.
I will not give in to the desires to shut down and hide.
I will not retreat through sleep rather than engage in the blessings of life that I now have.

I will enter this day with confidence in Christ, and face whatever comes my way with the knowledge that I am not nor will I ever be all alone.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Secure in His Hands

I awoke this morning feeling a bit unsettled. I know dreams don't necessarily mean anything, but the one I remember has a grip on my heart.

I was at a riverside where the waters were calming, peaceful, and refreshingly cool.
I was jumping into the water off the side of the rocks with the comforting laughter of friends nearby.
As I was floating down the river, suddenly the sky grew dark and the water temperature began to change so I quickly got out of the water.
The crystal-clear water had turned to a moving torrent of hot lava and I realized that my friends were gone.

I was panic-stricken and frozen with fear when I felt a hand upon my shoulder as I was being covered with protective gear.
I heard the voice of Jesus tell me to hold on to His hand.
He told me that I had to jump in to be saved but that He would be right beside me to protect me from the heat and burns.
He directed me to jump in, with Him, at the count of three but it took me to the count of ten.
I was ashamed at my hesitance but He just warmly smiled and strengthened His grasp of my hand.
When I (we) hit the hot surface, I woke up.

In my Bible study last night, I was reading about the "armor of God" and what each piece of that armor entailed. I also completed re-reading Laughter in the Dark by Chonda Pierce and wrote down some thoughts from her book within my prayer journal:
"I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Realistic Expectations

Today has been a good day. I realized that I must "lower my expectations" in regards to what I expect from myself and from others.

Not in the sense of expecting the worst but in being more realistic about what others and I may accomplish, offer and simply be in terms of our humanness.

I am coming to realize that some of my biggest disappointments stem from expecting to receive what isn't possible for others to give or attempting to give what I don't possess.

People are imperfect.
Only God is good.

All can and eventually will be lost.
God is never ending.

Sinfulness is within each of us.
God is Holy and without fault.

Relationships with family and friends are important but God is to above all.
May my heart hold fast to these truths.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Amazement

God is good.

I pour out my heart and not only does He faithfully listen but He faithfully responds.

I know that not all responses will be quick but today, He answered almost instantaneously and I am grateful.

I sought His guidance in prayer and sought confirmation through Scripture and sit here amazed by His faithfulness, mercy and direction.
I realized that I don't need to seek personal strength.
I need to seek HIM.

I no longer want the ability to "handle everything";
I want to have the ability to rest in Him and trust that HE will handle whatever comes my way.

I want to be broken so that He may build.
I want to be set free so that He may live within me.

I want to rest in His arms and live in accordance with His will.
I want to be healed and be filled with the peace that can only come from Him.

I seek the courage and the faith to face each and every circumstance with honesty, emotion, and clarity.
I want to be able to see what God sees and address any and all unresolved issues.

I want to repent and allow His healing and direction to take place.
I asked that He grant me the ability to face these "giants" with the knowledge and understanding that He is capable and willing to conquer and destroy the sinfulness in my life and in my heart (in HIS own way and in HIS own time).

I hold fast to the promises that He will never leave nor forsake me, that He will work out all in according to His purposes, that He is my strength, my shield, my Redeemer and my guide.

He has helped me to re-frame a specific event and I can now see His hand in the circumstances.
What an awesome, empowering moment to realize that He had His hands upon me even when I was 5 years old.

During a time of loneliness, panic and fear, He had already set in motion ways in which I would be comforted, consoled, and led to peace.

As I said, God is good and I am thankful!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Initiating Changes

Today is a frightening day.

Upon my new realization that God truly desires a personal relationship with me, comes the realization that I MUST trust him with everything---including events from my past.

Not simply the acknowledgement of the past but the feelings and fears associated with the events.

I fear the feelings causing Him to turn away.

I fear the feelings will overwhelm me and lead me back to the darkness (another trust issue!!! God WANTS to lead me to the light!!).

I have to confess to Him my "running away", trust that He won't run, and lay it ALL before Him in repentance and humility.

Am I strong enough to do this or is that the point?!

It's not about my strength but HIS strength, HIS character, HIS promises.