Thursday, March 29

Waiting...

Several months ago, I posted a list of prayer concerns. They were pretty general, and you were so faithful to encourage me in those requests.

I've been the recipient of so much encouragement that I haven't wanted to seem to needy in this process. In fact, God has been so good in providing for us that I didn't want my concerns to overshadow what He has already done.

At least, that's what I've been telling myself. Today, I'm concerned that PRIDE is showing its ugly self again. Perhaps I haven't listed some of my concerns, because I want to look like I'm keeping it all together. YUCK! I hate pride, and I truly desire to walk in humility, honesty and truth.

So, truthfully, I've had a difficult week. I have grown weary in waiting for direction. REALLY weary! I'm so ready for Scotty to have a job! I'm so ready to know if we are going to stay in Clinton or move somewhere else. I'm so ready for ANSWERS. And, I'm confessing this to you, because I'd love for you to pray for this area of distrust that I'm experiencing.

Yes, I said it. I'm lacking trust. It sickens me to say it out loud. My God is faithful! He's proven THAT over and over in my life... my WHOLE life, not just the recent months. So, truly, I should trust Him fully even in the waiting time. I can say that I do. But, my thought life screams that I don't.

So, in complete humility (like it almost hurts me to be asking), would you lift up these concerns of mine with me and for me. And ask that the Father would give me MORE trust, MORE belief and MORE faith!

I shared my weariness with a friend earlier this week. The very next morning, I had a text from her with about four scripture passages that spoke of waiting on the LORD. I was so encouraged by them. If you have a minute and know of a scripture that speaks to this state that I find myself in, please post it here on this blog or on my Facebook page. I've got index cards just waiting for new scripture passages!

Thank you!

Thursday, March 22

Calling all Cheerleaders!

We're all looking for a little inspiration. Right? There's a certain part of all of us, I believe, that needs to feel INSPIRED by something or someone in order to get moving, change a lifestyle, or simply make a decision.

The Biggest Loser inspires me! It's had the affect on me since I first began watching. I can honestly say that I've not gotten through a single episode without tears. The #1 reason I love this show is because it restores HOPE to its contestants, their families and really to most who are watching.

Each season begins with a group of people who are EXTREMELY overweight. The producers tell the stories of the contestants and how they wound up in the situations they are in. But, the basis of each story is the same.... Life got hard and they turned to food. And, when food began to control every aspect of life, each person became HOPELESS in their situation.

Now, I understand that the show isn't completely realistic. These contestants are given full time trainers, chefs, and anyone else needed to take care of life's daily hassles. Their number one job is losing weight; and, at some point, they'll have to enter the real world again. But, each week I watch as pounds fall off and HOPE begins to be restored. In the beginning of the story, a lie was believed and contestants felt they were powerless to make a change. As they work hard, eat right and live a healthier lifestyle, they gain the strength to fight and the LIE loses its power.

Well, this week, Bethany Hamilton visited the contestants. They were on vacation in Hawaii, and she showed up to provide surfing lessons. I loved the whole scene prior to them actually getting on boards and learning to surf. There were 8 contestants. And, while they've lost SO MUCH weight, they are still pretty big. So I was looking at this group of people and thinking, "I'm not so sure they are going to be able to surf." Then, I looked at Bethany Hamilton. She'd just glided in on her surfboard.... and she has ONLY ONE ARM!

So, as you can imagine, there were lots of wipeouts! Editors put it all to music and it was so much fun to watch. But, I saw EVERY contestant stand up on their board at least once. Even the ones that were a little afraid to try, eventually set fear aside and rode a few waves.

HOPE! It conquers fear every time!

But, here's what really got my attention. These contestants are like family at this point in the show's progress. They've lived together in shared space for months. But, I feel that what really makes them family is that they share a common struggle. And, not only do they share in the struggle, they've conquered pieces of the struggle together. As they were floundering in the water and trying to lift themselves onto boards and surf the ocean's waves, their fellow contestants (family) were cheering them on!

Each time the cameras panned the shore, contestants taking a break were enthusiastically CHEERING for their friends. Some of their cheers were for contestants visibly struggling and maybe even frustrated. Some of the cheers were for contestants who began to surf with relative ease. In some cases, it was clear that a contestant was being wooed back towards the feelings of hopelessness and the trainers and fellow contestants couldn't allow that to happen. So, their cheers were meant to reignite the feelings of hope.

I'm sure you know where I'm going with this. There was NO ONE on the shore saying, "You know, you're just not there yet. You probably need to lose a little more weight before we try something this big."

I didn't hear any of the trainers saying, "Good grief! Have I just been wasting my time? All this work, and you can't do better than that?"

And, clearly, there wasn't an editor that said, "O.K. we're just going to show the successful attempts, because the others aren't pretty AT ALL."

Encouragers! Have you ever had someone that spurred you on during one of life's hard "rides"? Do you remember the words that someone spoke to you after one of your most televised "wipeouts"? Can you imagine what it might feel like if someone raved about your less than perfect attempt at life, because they recognized that it signified even better things to come?

I'm so thankful that we've all been able to be the recipients of that kind of encouragement and acceptance. But, why can't it be our default response? And, the 'our' I'm speaking of is the CHURCH. Not my church or your church. But, THE church.... BELIEVERS.

Why is it that one of the most difficult places to hear HOPE being spoken into HOPELESS lives and situations is among a body of believers? Please hear me... I'm not angry! Really. My family has been shown more grace and love over the past months than I ever knew could be given. I'm so grateful. But, as I hear that it may not be the experience of everyone who has recently experienced a 'very televised wipeout', it's caused me to wonder 'WHY'.

For those of us that believe, we are FAMILY! We don't inhabit the same living space, but we DO share the same struggle. It's called sin, and it has a variety of different faces... PRIDE, SELF HATRED, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, GOSSIP, UNFORGIVENESS, JEALOUSY, HATRED, and this list could go on and on and on.

I don't have an answer to the "why" question.  But, I do know this...

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded." Luke 12:48

In my lifetime, I've fallen and blown it. I've messed up more times than I can count. And, I've been given MUCH forgiveness. My mess ups of pride, selfishness and apathy are more acceptable than some of the uglier sins. But, they are sins and this truth remains...

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD." Romans 6:23

So, by my understanding, as believers we all have the same struggle (sin) and the same Savior (Jesus). Wouldn't it be better for us to take off the shoulder pads and pick up the pom poms?!?!? Wouldn't it profit our family (believers) more to cheer the fallen back to their feet rather than tackle them to the ground?

"Let us not give up on meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

In God's great plan for redemption, He chose to demonstrate forgiveness, grace and a LOT of mercy. So, why would I choose to live life withholding mercy and nurturing  bitterness and unforgiveness?

I want to see HOPE restored in this world where so many have settled into HOPELESSNESS. But, I believe I'd be the biggest hypocrite in the world if I stepped OVER my fallen brothers and sisters to take the message of grace, mercy, forgiveness and redemption to the unbelieving world.

I'm getting really long winded, but let me say it this way... if God allowed a MAJOR fall to bring one of His children to the point of REALLY experiencing the grace and freedom HE offers, I really don't want to miss out on the gospel at work. This is redemption at its best! Only OUR GOD can pull someone from a pit of sin, turn their world upside down and set them on a path of ABUNDANT, ETERNAL life!

Now, THAT'S something I'd like to cheer FOR not AGAINST!

Tuesday, March 20

From Scotty

I hope this post can be beneficial in some way. God willing it will be, not for my sake, but all those who have been hurt by my choices, my sin, my shame, and my regrets.

One of the darkest hours in our marriage was when I called Amy on Friday, August 26, 2011 around 10:15 am, to tell her I had been unfaithful to her. It was like an earthquake hit our lives, our marriage, our family and even our community. The pain was and is deep. On August 28, 2011, I resigned publicly from the church, and we started the process of sorting through, picking up and repairing the pieces of our broken life. 

The words, "I am sorry" seem so inadequate. The pain I have caused Amy is very real, deep and long term. The extent of my sin and choices even surprised me. I knew I was capable of much sin, but this...this was beyond what I ever imagined. The darkness I had lived in, the shame, the fear, the anger, the regret and the guilt all came out and in the open that day. No more hiding. It was out and there was no denying it, running from it or blaming anyone. I was guilty as charged and had to face it head on.

I want you to know that I have told Amy repeatedly how sorry I am. Not because I got caught. But because of what I have done to her, our marriage, our family, and many others. I can never say that "I have always been faithful to Amy." I can't take it back. That is very difficult to admit and live with. My regrets are many in number.

By the grace of God, Amy and I are still married and actually growing closer as a couple. We have never once said we wanted a divorce. We have never even separated. That fact alone is a testimony of God's grace, her faith in Him, and the result of many prayers being answered. I KNOW that she had (and has) every reason to leave me. Who would have blamed her? I am SO thankful for her sticking with me. I am so grateful that God has enabled us to stay together, and work through this process. Someday by His grace, we will be fully healed, whole and see His amazing plan fulfilled. We never say that God wanted this to happen, but we know He can make something amazing come out of it. That's our prayer for sure.

Since August 26, Amy and I have walked a painful road that has been up and down. We have experienced the presence, peace and grace of God like never before in our lives. There is much baggage to sort through and pain and loss to be faced and grieved; however, God has shown up in so many ways as you have probably read about in Amy's previous blog posts.

God has broken through on so many levels. He has broken me down, humbled me, and forced me to face my sin, shame, and say NO MORE!! I have realized more and more that shame will never set me free; only He can set me free. Trusting Him and surrendering fully to Him is my only chance of healing and restoration.

This coming Friday will be (7) seven months since I told Amy. The emotional turmoil that Amy has to face daily and "take every thought captive unto Christ" reminds me that it is still so early in the process. Pray for her strength to face her thoughts, emotions and feelings, while abiding in Christ. Pray for us to face this head on and fully give it to God. By His grace, we will stay married and even continue to thrive as a couple. We know it is a journey that will take years. We want to honor God for His name sake, our sake, our kids sake, and even for our community and beyond.

Thank you for loving Amy and encouraging her throughout this process. I have seen how her blog speaks words of hope and encouragement to so many, including myself. She is the real deal. May God be glorified through her life, even more than it has already.

Because of Him,
Scotty

Thursday, March 15

It's SPRINGTIME!!!!

When my mom first started using email, every email would come through in ALL CAPS. It was so difficult for me to read, and my sister would always say, "Why are you screaming at me in every email?" Turns out, it was just easier for her to type in all caps rather than to have to find that difficult shift key. ;)

Well, today, I feel as though I should type this post in all caps. Not because I don't want to bother with the shift key, but because I feel like I should be shouting.

I had a rather long and focused time alone with the Lord this morning. You may know that my children are with MeMe and Sassy right now. So, I was ABLE to enjoy a longer quiet time due to the fact that the house is quiet. But, I NEEDED a longer quiet time than normal, because this morning was going to be huge.

I had a scheduled meeting with someone I was once very close friends with at 10:00. (I realize that you all know who I'm speaking of AND that I chose a very silly way to be vague. I just don't want to include names on this blog.) I've shared in previous posts that God has brought me to a place of love and forgiveness that shocks and amazes me, and I needed to share those things with HER! I knew that my motives were pure, but I needed to spend some extra time praying that God would inhabit EVERY bit of our fellowship. I wanted ALL of our "talk" to honor HIM!

During that time, I also felt led to pray over the details of our journey.... WORK, JOB, MOVE, ETC. I haven't spent focused time praying over those issues lately, because God has called me to focus on abiding in Him and trusting that HE will take care of the details. I don't doubt that at all. But, this morning, I felt led to pray over them and confess to God that I am a little weary in the waiting. I'm weary in waiting without any knowing. I prayed specifically that He would give us a small demonstration that there are answers on the horizon.

And, this is where I feel I need to start shouting...

God gave me this sense that He is up to BIG things. I can't describe it perfectly, but I felt an overwhelming sense that some of our waiting may be over, and we are about to be faced with some answers to so many of our questions.

At 9:00, I got a call from Scotty that a verbal offer had been made on our house! It's not a perfect offer. BUT... it's an offer. Twenty minutes later, we got a call that another realtor wanted to show the house. Immediately. We still haven't heard how that showing went, and we are in the process of negotiating the first offer. But, I just got a text from our realtor (who is a believer and is praying through this with us). She said, "The funny thing is that I was going to call Scotty today and speak with him, because your listing is up tomorrow."

God's timing! He's never early, late or absent. I don't know for certain that THESE are our buyers. I still don't really know for certain that we WILL move. But, I know that I asked God to show me that He is working on the details of our life, and.... He did! In a BIG way.

And, now I'm struggling with how much of my meeting I need to share for readers here on this blog. I KNOW that any meeting of any sort with her seems abnormal to people looking on. I understand that, due to the nature of the sin that separated us, most would look at our relationship as unable to be redeemed. In it's previous state, I'd have to agree. It was shattered to pieces for a PURPOSE. And, my heart is OVERJOYED to hear that those purposes are being accomplished. And, if my response to her seems abnormal, I'm so VERY pleased. Because God's response to us is abnormal! His redemptive plan makes absolutely NO worldly sense.

As I sat on my couch and heard from her about what God has taught her, how God has restored and strengthened her marriage and how He is leading her daily, I was overcome, YET AGAIN, with how awesome our God is. And, I was hit with the undeniable truth that NOTHING is impossible with God.

During my run on Monday morning, the sun was shining and the air was warm. It was the perfect weather for the first day of Spring break. I'm full of tears these days, so I was crying as I ran along with my praise music. I was caught up in the beauty of Spring. Winter is so dark and dreary. As Spring blossoms, I always see it as an expression of God making us new.

In many ways, I've been experiencing both a seasonal and personal winter. My personal winter has consisted of heartache, waiting, loss and heaviness of heart. As clearly as nature is ushering in Springtime for us, God is ushering in a new season in my own personal life. The winter has been so necessary, but it makes the spring appear all the more beautiful.

"Forget the former things,
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland."  Isaiah 43:18-19

Sunday, March 11

Shared Love

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death." 1 John 3:14

Doesn't this seem simple?

Obviously, we don't want to remain in death. So, the answer is.... love your brothers. But, wait. Sometimes, although it's simple, it's VERY difficult to put into practice! I feel the need to emphasize the "VERY" and the "DIFFICULT".

As I'm reading through 1 John, though, it's the difficulty of the command that I am so grateful for. It's difficult because only God can accomplish it. Throughout the first and second chapters of 1 John, he is pleading with the letter's recipients to come to KNOW Christ. Then, he urges them to OBEY His commands. The next step is ABIDING in Christ. When we abide in Christ, we are completely dependent on Him. He becomes the supplier of ALL that we need. This kind of relationship is what we were designed for in the very beginning. Abiding in Him is God's ultimate goal for mankind.

When we abide in Christ, things that once seemed so difficult (maybe even impossible) to achieve become almost natural. I believe that loving others... truly loving others... is one of those things. It is the natural overflow of a growing relationship with the Father. When I'm abiding in Christ, His goodness, mercy, grace and LOVE are freely given TO others because they are completely experienced FROM Him. If I'm operating in the flesh, my love for others is dictated by THEIR actions, THEIR failures and THEIR behaviors towards me.

Why are we called to LOVE others rather than disciple others? Why must we LOVE rather than just forgive? The answer could be found a couple of books before John's letter when Peter writes that,

"love covers a multitude of sins..." 1 Peter 4:8

True love for others causes us to share the gospel with them, because we want all to experience true life in the One that offers it.

True love for others allows us to forgive them when their behavior seems unforgivable to the world. It allows us to the see that "hurting people hurt others", and that reality causes us to pray for their healing and redemption.

And, true love for others keeps me focused on what I can do for fellow believers rather than what is owed to me.

Last Fall, I knew that I would have to forgive others. I've experienced the Lord enough to know that harboring bitterness and anger for any amount of time was going to bring about a sense of death within me. I knew that it had NO place in the abundant life that God has planned for me. But, LOVE? I can tell you that I didn't have THAT on my agenda.

Thank goodness God had a different agenda. He has given me a love for 2 individuals over the past couple of weeks that shocks and amazes me. In some ways, it is an even deeper love than I experienced prior to our trial, because God has allowed me to see them a little more as He sees them. And, honestly, 'love covers a multitude of sins.'

John is certainly correct. We DO know that we've passed from death into abundant life when we LOVE our brothers. But, maybe our mistake is in our trying too hard. At least for me, my efforts to DO the right thing and forgive my betrayers fell ridiculously short. Therefore, loving them was very much an impossibility. However, when my focus became KNOWING, OBEYING & ABIDING in Christ, the love for others poured out naturally. It's almost as if I was able to give what doesn't even belong to me. God's love bouncing from me to another. That love led to forgiveness. When I found Him to be the perfect Healer of my hurts, forgiveness came quickly.

What an amazing God! He doesn't call us to do ANYTHING that isn't for our best and meant to usher us towards Him. His every work in our lives is meant to draw us into fellowship with Himself. He keeps demonstrating that it's the very safest place for me to be, so WHY would I ever resist?

Friday, March 9

Amazed...

It's really crazy that I'm going to attempt to blog tonight. My heart is so full, and my brain in overwhelmed. It's 10:30 p.m. on the Friday night of a long week. So, I'm giving you fair warning that much of this post may be scattered (at best) and unreadable (at worst). I can't help it. I'm amazed, and I must share it.

God is AWESOME! His work in our lives is breathtaking. And, by 'our lives', I'm not simply referring to the Roger's. He is actively working in EACH of our daily lives! How is that possible? How can He be THAT big?!?!?

I can't even begin to tell you all that has gone on over the past couple of weeks. But, God has been "showing off". I hope that doesn't sound disrespectful to anyone. No! I don't really think God "shows off". He doesn't have to. He's been being Himself! And, thankfully, I haven't missed it. I can't share all of it, because it would take several posts. And, I won't share all of it, because I don't have permission to. But, trust me, He's been working overtime.

You may be thinking that Scotty has been offered a fabulous job. You'd be incorrect. There is still no full time job, and there really isn't the certainty of a promising lead yet. However, we are totally at peace with where we are right now. And, even more amazing than that is the fact that we have all that we need and more financially. Our Provider is taking care of us. WELL!

O.K., so now you're probably assuming that we have sold our house and have direction as to where to go next. Ummm... Wrong again. While visitors have been looking at the house pretty regularly, there hasn't been the first offer made. Nothing. But, we are certain that God will sell this house IF we are supposed to leave it and move on. And, if He is not in control of that move, WE DON'T WANT TO MAKE IT!.

No. None of the things that have been at the top of my prayer list over the past couple of weeks have answers yet other than to keep following the One that knows ALL of the answers even if He's chosen not to share them with me.Yet. :). So, why is my heart so full...

Spiritually and emotionally, He has brought me to a place that I NEVER would have imagined that I could be in only 7 short months after my tragedy. HE has birthed in me a level of forgiveness that I thought I'd never see. And, He did it suddenly.

On top of that, Scotty was pursued by and granted forgiveness from another person involved in our story. The manner in which this took place was unexplainable. So much so that in the beginning stages of communication, Scotty and I felt very uncomfortable with it. I know this doesn't make sense, because I am being so vague. But, I just can't share details. This person has every right to be angry and stay angry forever. However, he understands God's will and God's sovereignty. He sees the bigger picture, and he doesn't want to miss out on the ultimate goal God has in mind for all of this.

As today has progressed, I realized that I have NO IDEA how God intends to use all of this bad for His good which, ultimately, is MY good. I really want to get out of His way. I am so amazed and overwhelmed by Him that I just keep saying, "Show me what you want me to do. I'm in!"

I think it is no coincidence that a crisis of such magnitude happened in such a small community. It wasn't by accident that a small, Baptist church was hit hard by the sin and moral failures of so many. I believe the very public nature might just be the very point. In other words, Could it be that God is about creating change in MORE than only the lives directly affected?

So, while many people who KNOW our story aren't INVOLVED in our story, I just have this feeling that it doesn't matter. He has big things in store for us, and I am looking on with great anticipation. And, if just one person could be changed, matured, renewed or rescued WITHOUT having to go through what we have gone through, I can honestly say, "It was worth it."

I'm ready to move on! It happened. It was gross! I don't ever want to go through it again. But, I want to know what's next. I desire to follow the Spirit's leading and begin using these life lessons for some good.

Now, having said that, let me QUICKLY say that I'm not in favor of sweeping HUGE matters under the rug. I would be totally disgusted with anyone who chose to cover up serious issues and move on as if NOTHING happened. It's not healthy, and I don't believe it's Biblical. That's not at all what we've done or plan to do. There are BIG issues to uncover, learn from and heal from.

So, if you still have questions, confusions, etc. about any part of the story, I'd strongly urge you to go to the Lord with these things. Allow Him to show you how to deal with them through His Word and His Spirit. Maybe there is a work that must be done ONLY between you and Him. Maybe He'd have you reach out and voice these concerns with someone else. NO! I am not asking anyone to mask their feelings. If I've learning anything, I've learned that we've got to start being real. Genuine! Authentic!

And, from there, I invite you to look, with me, in anticipation for all the He is going to do. I'm truly overwhelmed. I've said it before. But, God is at work, and I don't want to miss out on what He's doing. The Bible is very clear... God WILL accomplish His plans! I can either join Him, or I can pout in the corner and forfeit my privilege of joining the party.

The choice is easy for me, because I SURE love a good party!

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in he church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Monday, March 5

Everybody Needs A Collin

I don't like to use this blog to brag on my kids! I know that most people that read my posts have children who are equally as bright, sweet, and precious as mine. But, since it's his birthday, is this the cutest face you've ever seen or what?!?!?


On Caleb's birthday, I posted about all the ways that God had used him to teach me various lessons. So, I'll follow that same plan for Collin. Man! Have I learned a thing or two about life from this lively being.

Collin was due around the 10th of March, 2005. But, on February 28th, I was at Bunko and my water broke. We were finished playing, but my group had surprised me with a shower. I knew that Caleb took a little while getting here after my water broke with him. So... I sat down and opened presents before making the 20 minute trip back to my house to meet Scotty. Needless to say, by the time we pulled in my driveway, I was having full blown contractions. And, by the time we arrived at the hospital, my extremely stretched out maternity jeans were SOAKING wet (sorry, guys!). So much for the magazine cover mom pulling up to the hospital looking like a million bucks. I looked like a giant MESS! And, I felt like one, too. But, the delivery went smoothly, and a beautiful baby boy arrived at 12:01 a.m., March 1st.

 

Fast forward a couple of years. Collin was about 2 years old, and my mom had come for a visit. We drove out to Lakeland to eat lunch at Backyard Burger. I'd recently discovered the playroom with the tree house. Everyone had eaten. We sent Caleb and Collin into the playroom, closed the door and sat down to visit. I was sure that we'd have a nice piece of time to visit, because THIS was a new playroom and it looked so fun. Well, they hadn't been in there long when a woman from the drive through pulled up to the side door, opened it and ushered Collin back in to me. YEP!!! He'd let himself out of the playroom and wound up OUTSIDE of the restaurant IN the drive through driveway. So much for looking like "Mom of the Year". No one in Backyard Burger (and it was packed) thought that I even deserved to have children much less any award. However, no one got hurt and we learned a valuable lesson that Collin was going to require a little more supervision than Caleb had always needed. (Although, this same thing was repeated in two other eating establishments during that year! I'm not proud of it, but it's the truth.)

Now, picture Collin about 4 years old. Our sports fanatic, Caleb, began playing ball that year, and we spent MUCH of our time at the field. Collin loved being there. But, I had many plans about how he would look and what he would wear as we sat at the field watching Caleb play. Well, more times than not, Collin insisted on going to the ball field as, Batman, Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper or any other costumed character! Boy, did we get some looks. Again, so much for looking like a magazine cover! Collin wasn't interested.



And, earlier I posted this story abbreviated on Facebook. But, here's the entire version. Collin had a small run in with fact families in Math a couple of weeks ago. His teacher warned me of the bad papers coming home. And, we worked on everything until he had little to no trouble with them. However, the damage had been done. When progress reports came home, Collin had a C in math. Now, I realize that's not terrible. But, I taught school in Clinton. I know his teacher, and I somewhat know the curriculum. And, for some reason, I have in my mind that my children must do well in school. ALL the time. NO exceptions. Seriously, what would it look like if a previous teacher can't prepare her children to do well in school! I had a small fit when I saw the "C" and tried to explain to Collin why I was so upset. He looked at me VERY seriously and VERY respectfully and said, "Mom, I'm not going to the devil over it!"

You see, this precious child has taught me, on more than one occasion, that IMAGE isn't the most important thing. He's pointed out that, often, I focus on things that are of VERY little importance and miss out on what's truly valuable. In other words, he calls me out when I'm majoring on the minor things of life.

Collin came into this world with such LIFE and LAUGHTER. At the same time, he has one of the SWEETEST spirits. We are so blessed to have him. As my sister often says, "Everybody needs a Collin." I don't know about that.  But, we sure do!




Thursday, March 1

From Strength to Strength

What a week! First let me say that, very soon, I will be posting about our precious Collin who is 7 today! I could write a book just on that sweet child. But, with only a few minutes, I will have to do that later. "Happy Birthday, Collin."

The reason I'm writing is because my emotions have been ALL OVER the place this week. And, Monday, I had a complete break down! I had a headache that I'd had for about 7 days, a project that I am in charge of at Collin's school was looming over me with a few more details to work out, and Collin's birthday and party were coming up. The house was messy, clothes to be put away, TOT supplies to get together, and blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.

On top of all of that, my emotions concerning family and this new life were bottoming out. I could just feel the heaviness of financial, job and house stress, a comfortable friendship lost, and the certainty of routine spinning out of control. Then, my grandmother passed away. This passing is not sad in the least bit, because we had to say "goodbye" to our Mamaw years ago. She is finally free and well today. But, still, there are emotions involved when a loved one leaves.

Well, here's the thing. Keeping it together is "my thing". It's what I do and who I am. Whatever the problem is, I can handle it. And, when I can't, I get completely frustrated with myself which only adds to the stress. So, Monday night, I had a crying session. A big one! It wasn't pretty, but it felt good.

Immediately, my headache began to fade. It was a great reality check needed to remind me that what we have gone through is VERY big. There is no way to minimize it. And, I am operating, DAILY, under a pretty significant stress level. So, when other things -- small things -- pile in, I have to be careful.

But, I came away with some questions. I've been writing here and journaling on my own about where I am in life. I've boasted of the Lord's goodness and the strength that He provides me with daily. I've expressed the fact that He is providing above and beyond what I could have ever hoped or imagined. So, in the middle of my fit, I felt fake. I felt as if I'd just been writing/saying words over the last 6 months; because, when the stress crept it, I fell apart.

This morning, though, I came across a scripture in Psalms that has given me peace.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
Who have set their hearts on the pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca, 
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength, 
till each appear before God in Zion.  Psalm 84: 5-6

What I've experienced with the Lord has been very real. And most days, He has granted me a strength that I can't describe not only to live this life, but to REALLY enjoy it. But, there are days when I can't get past the fleshly person that I am. I bottom out, and I need a break.

The encouragement of this Psalm is that, in my most fragile state, I can look back at the times that God has granted me strength and look with anticipation to the next time that He will do the exact same thing.

From strength to strength.

So, my heart is set on this pilgrimage -- the one that God has chosen for me. And, I know that my strength is in Him. Thank goodness! Because, Monday night is only one indicator that this pilgrimage is headed south if it's my strength we're counting on.