Friday, February 28, 2014

If These Walls Could Talk

Time to move is getting closer, will pack up a truck a week from tomorrow.  My mind is so preoccupied.  In the midst of trying to get everything into boxes, thrown out or given away, I am also dealing with some feminine issues that will involve an outpatient surgery on Tues.  (Appreciate prayers.)  As cancer is so prevalent, it is on my mind and robbing me of some of the joy of this move.  But as I spend more time in prayer and contemplation, peace is restored and I find rest in His arms.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

And now that the apartment is really looking different, I am reminiscing about what all has happened here.  This place was my miracle home.  The Lord arranged it all.  The gal that was living here was moving after about 15 years, she did not take care of it.  She raised rabbits in the floor of the kitchen where the drawers should've been for one thing.  I was prepared to do whatever it took to get back to CA, didn't work out, night before leaving for Monterey to see Molly, my good, good friend, Ginger, told me this would be available and if I wanted it, she would talk to the landlord.  Well, CA didn't work out, she wheeled and dealed for me, lol, and our sweet landlord gave me a great deal, plus he was re-doing it all, though spending was limited, Ginger & I got to pick the flooring.  When it was done, it looked like the Taj Mahal to me!!!  I had spend the year prior living with my mom, which drove us both crazy, lol.  So with all its funkiness, it was home and beautiful to me. 

Some other miracles took place here...big ones.  Molly & I, separated every other week all her childhood, and then when she was at college, got to be together.  Not the best circumstances, when she told her dad she was going to see me, he took her car, cell phone, everything and withdrew college tuition.  (If you don't know the history, it was HE who committed adultery and left me).  He really had no reason to act as he did, but he did, and no one was surprised.  So she came to live with me, eventually met Will and they married and lived here for a couple years.

Then my sweetest miracle of ever, God gave me David.  Long story, most of you know it, we met because our kids were getting married.....we were married 8 months later.  I thank God every day for the gift of this man.  He can make me crazy, lol, but I love him with all that is within me.
And we were gifted our Sadie-bug.  Another story for another time. 

But my mind is filled with sweet memories here.  Josh lived here a few times, my grandson, Caspian, came home here from the hospital after being born.

So, while it is clearly time to go, would've had to anyhow, the building has been sold and they are gutting our apartment, it does indeed hold precious memories and my heart overflows with gratitude to the Lord who works miracles every day in our lives. 

I was born with a melancholy bent, so this would be intense for me anyhow, just the way i'm wired.  Such beautiful things happened here.  There have been years of hardship, but the Lord was always with us, always provided and filled this home with love.  I will never forget it as long as I live.  I am looking forward to getting settled and writing about all these years and how faithful our Lord is.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pressing On

I am surrounded by boxes.  I did this 11 years ago, and it unsettles me again.  I believe God put it in women to "nest."  Most of us need a place to call our own, as Mary Kate Danaher said, "Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having my own things about me."  So while I know that "things" are not to be idolized, they are important to the feminine soul.  My joy is to create a home that me and my family can come to and find it a haven, a sanctuary, restful and nurturing.  So, to have everything so up in the air is difficult for me.  That said, this is an exciting time and I look forward to our home in Washington, apartment, townhouse, house, whatever it may be.

Because we learn from experience, which hopefully helps us do "it" better the next time, I have insecurities that rise from past disappointments.  Forgetting that the Lord has ministered to my heart, to forget the past and look to the future and what He is preparing for us.

Old hurts come to mind, an extremely painful divorce in 1989, the years of poverty and struggle that followed, and that is a LOADED sentence.  My kids still bearing the effects.  Then finally getting to relocate here to be near my brother and Sue, and having to live with my mom for a year, which should have been beneficial to us both, but rather turned into another ordeal.  The place we've been living in now was another miracle in my life and though it has lots of quirks and funky stuff, has been my home, my retreat and where Dave & I met and fell in love.  So to be packing up again without knowing where I am going is unnerving....until I remember Who is in control. 

So the days are full of bouncing between quiet panic and reminding myself that God's got us.  Whatever happens, He does not change, nor is He surprised by any events. 

I get discouraged at times because I know my response to things is not pleasing to Him, and I want to get to that place of faith that my knee-jerk reaction is not negative in the least, or panicked at most.  I praise God that He works with me and helps me, perhaps one day.

I have been recounting all He's done for me & Dave, it is truly amazing and I will share it later after settled.  But as I look back over my life, my whole life, He has NEVER failed me, ever.  So my soul needs to rest and trust and just move forward.  His eye is on the sparrow, surely He will continue to care for me & my love.

I know a few single moms, I remember those days.  I had it easier than those I know.  My marriage was of such long duration that I got spousal support, which was still well below poverty level, but with food stamps and family help, allowed me to be home with my kids.  I digress, lol, point being, I wish these moms knew Christ, really knew Christ and relied on Him.  His love & care never cease and He can comfort and encourage like no other.  I will continue to pray that they will.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What Lies Ahead

12Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.…~Philippians 3:12-13

I am thinking of this verse this morning.  Kind of an emotional time right now for me.  Moving from my home of almost 10 years, contemplating my life and some of that includes the losses.  My thoughts have been returning to view the scars that remain from some of these losses.  The first that leaps to mind is my divorce.  All the pain and trauma from being betrayed by the one I trusted most in life, the effects on my sweet children, etc.  I thought I would never recover, and wouldn't have if not for Christ.  Then my son's abrupt and disastrous leaving in 2000 and all that's followed to his imprisonment.  Out of my life basically for another 2 years.  Some ongoing medical issues, some a result of my not doing what I should for my health, some not.  And, because I am of a melancholy temperament anyhow, these have gotten the better of me at times, with Dave's absence especially.  He lovingly knows this about me and knows exactly what to say to calm me down. 

But the Lord gave me this verse this morning.  I never looked at it this way before.  I just always read it pretty generically.  But it has new meaning for me....He so often does this...forget the scars, the pain of yester-years, reach forward to what He has for me now!  I will explore this now and view things a little differently.

Everyone has things in their pasts that are painful, some have regrets or losses that seem to great to bear.  Ongoing things like a child addicted, a prodigal, illness, etc.  But the Lord calls us to the life He has for us NOW.  Even if there are no paradigm shifts, there can be mental evolution.  The Word says in Romans 12:2, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."  So, He does not leave us in our minds, stuck there with pain and suffering.  We are transformed by the Holy Spirit....IF.  If we will yield to Him, surrender totally.  Refuse to demand the right to suffer and allow Him to come in and heal and help us to think straight.  But sometimes we are threatened by this.  It means releasing excuses.  No more, "I can't, because...." or "I drink (eat, use, choose your poison) because i'm wounded and want to forget or numb the pain.  Christ died on the cross for that pain, it is finished!

Our minds hold painful memories, no denying that, but Christ can help us to remember and not let it overtake us.  While acknowledging the losses, He removes the sting and reminds us to "reach forward to what lies ahead"!  Life is not over!  There's an "ahead" in front of us!  I am encouraged.  All those things the enemy seeks to remind me of have been wrapped up in the love of Christ.  He knows, He is the God that sees, and He has come to heal and restore and give hope.  Every morning I am trying to remember to ask Him to help me through the day and make my thoughts straight and right.  The past is the past, I can't forget it, wouldn't want to really, but it has lost its hold on my heart and will not rob me of today's joys.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Recognizing Home

I have to be careful in writing this.  I have had to decide which approach to take, I have chosen the one of sheep to Shepherd, as opposed to sister to brother.  For truly, Ron always knew which was which, and so did I. 

But since he stepped down, we, and myself in particular, have been in a crucible.  Those that know me, know that I love my brother, still have some hero worship going on, etc.  And more than one person said, you will not like anyone as pastor who isn't Ron.  So much so that it nearly became a point of contention at times. 

Let me now say that Calvary's pastor has been so very kind, compassionate and loving towards Dave and me, it has touched my heart.  I am just writing about the furtherance of my journey, that is all.

That said, Calvary slowly has become "not" Calvary any more.  And with every change, my heart hurt a little, which I attributed to my natural resistance to change.  I hung in there, continued to attend and had/have a pretty good relationship with the current pastor.  But ever since Ron stepped down, something was missing...and the something got bigger and bigger as time passed.  It got to the point that every time I would go, just being in the building was painful, memories would flood my mind and tears would well up.  So after much prayer and soul-searching, I felt the Lord release me from Calvary.  Dave has other reasons he wanted to attend, and did so.  We just went forward waiting.  Then the job came and that pretty much decided things.

So, Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, WA was suggested by a friend.  I looked at their web page, found it interesting, but thought it would probably be too big for us.  I always said i'd never attend a huge church, and this is a HUGE church. Never say never.

Time was getting nearer for Dave to start the job, but he had nowhere to stay.  I thought, we are all the body of Christ, I will contact this church and see if they have anyone willing to rent a room.  I received an email asking if they could contact our pastor, so of course we gave them the information, and they did.  They contacted us again to say that they had a bedroom and would be glad for Dave to come stay.  I think this is really big.  I don't know that I could do that, that was my first clue that this church might be really good.

So Dave moved and began going to Crossroads.  And would call me so I could hear the heart leapt within me!  So then I found I could watch the services "live" on their web page.  Well, first time, I just sat and wept.  I knew, this was home.  The worship was the kind that ministers to us, lively, "rocky", loud.  I mean, they are appropriately soft and slow when it is called for as well, but how we missed the other.  Then I heard Pastor Daniel for the first time, which is what prompted the tears.  He positively radiates Christ, and his messages are very much like my brother's, filled with heart, compassion, humor, grace.  I could go on and on, having felt like that sheep without a Shepherd for so long, my heart is at rest.  And it thrills me to wake up and remember that there's church (even on a computer screen) and look forward to it so much.  I got to go in person last Sunday, and the minute I walked into the sanctuary....peace.  I got to meet Pastor Daniel, so very, very sweet.

Last night's sermon was so very needed and i'm thankful for it.  It seems that the DA in Wisconsin can re-charge Josh in the future if he wants to, so that wasn't real good news, and some other things going on, there's always something, right?  So the sermon spoke on tragedy and difficulties, and I came away, re-confirmed in believing that God truly is in complete control.  And because you can text questions to Pastor Daniel for him to answer after the message, I did.  How do we literally trust God when fear grips our hearts?  His reply:  It's a choice, fear feels natural, but it's not.  It's not from God.  Of course he had more to say, but the key is, it is a choice, he's right.  That is my new focus.

So for now, my heart overflows with gratitude for our new-found home and I look forward to meeting our new family.  I mourn the loss of our past family, but rejoice in knowing the family of God is everywhere.