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.