Why You Just Need to Do It Already!

You know that thing – the thing God keeps nudging you about? The thing you sort of push aside or life gets busy and it gets put on the back burner. Or maybe you push it to the back of your mind because you don’t feel accomplished enough or you don’t have the right experience or maybe you have too much of the wrong experience.

Whatever excuse your using to give yourself a pass – just stop it!

I know because I’ve been doing it. Lately, I’ve been restless, restless to do something that matters, that has worth. I look around me and not to sound melodramatic or anything but I kind of feel like I can hear a clock ticking loudly in the background. Maybe it’s as big as world events. Maybe it is as simple as being 41 and realizing that I’m half done if I live a normal life span. Whatever the reason, I yearned for more than the same old same old.

Being a Christian has to be about more than going to church on Sundays.

Whatever the reason for this restless yearning to do more, I’ve been praying about finishing well, about using whatever talents, abilities, gifts for His purposes. So, when he nudged me again to contact a woman I know who runs a home for unwed teenage moms who have nowhere else to go, I emailed her about teaching at the Wednesday night Girl Talks.

Surfer at the beach

I had met this woman through an article I did on her vision for the home, and then another article about the year anniversary of when they opened. I’ve thought about volunteering there before but the timing never seemed right. My schedule would get crazy and I felt overwhelmed, with no extra time to add a weekly obligation to my to do list.

What God has opened my eyes to is how very effective the enemy is in tying me in knots over perceived busyness. I FEEL like I don’t have any time, but when I step back and take a realistic look, I DO have time. My six weeks of full time subbing, while challenging, had the positive benefit of shining a glaring light of how much time I really DO have – time to give away where God directs me to. See, while I congratulated myself on not holding onto my money tightly, I was very stingy with my time. I held it clenched in my fists, unwilling to trust God with my to do list and my time.

It was amazing, how easily the enemy was manipulating me once God helped me to see this constant overwhelmed feeling for what it really was – spiritual warfare.

It was at this point that I finally I decided if God wanted me to do this, I needed to just make the commitment and do it already! Hence the email. After I sent it off to cyberspace, I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into.

But I was excited. I love to teach the Bible and I love teaching about the women in the Bible because of all the interesting stories. And let’s face it, the Old Testament women were not a boring bunch! I was excited to share the life lessons I had learned by studying these women who lived in a completely different time and culture.

As the time drew closer to my first visit, my excitement drained away and doubt started to replace it though. Who do you think you are? Why would anyone want to listen to you? They’ll think you are some pretentious, self righteous, do-gooder who has no clue about their lives. How can you dare to think you can make any difference with your piddly little lessons?

Even though I recognized the enemy and his whispers fairly quickly, I still was really tempted to call the woman up and make an excuse about why I couldn’t come. After all, the doubts he whispered to me were similar to my own. Maybe I could push it off until next week – like delaying things that are scary make them any less so.

But I knew I needed to go. That Wednesday, it seemed like Girl Talk hung over my head all day. I looked at the clock and knew I only had a few hours until I went. To say I had butterflies in my stomach was an understatement. While I can stand in front of a large group and talk with no problem, one on one is always a crap shoot for me. Sometimes, I click with people and can chat away. Other times, I feel tongue tied and awkward. When I’m nervous, the whole feeling awkward thing just gets worse.

I pulled up to the curb, parked my car and took a really deep breath. I said a little prayer and walked up the sidewalk and knocked on the door.

And you know what? It was awesome! I just went to introduce myself and get to know the young women there that first visit, but I had a really wonderful time. After years of life in church and at Bible studies, it renewed my spirit to see women who were HUNGRY for God, HUNGRY for His Word. Because these women did not just give lip service to needing God – they KNEW their only hope of changing paths was sticking close to Jesus’ side.

I went there hoping to bless someone. I left feeling like I had been given a gift – a gift of seeing God, His Word through fresh eyes. Eyes that saw Jesus as new, exciting and the answer to real problems.

What I feared would be awkward and just weird ended up being a beautiful time of fellowship with sisters in Christ – and sisters that are still seeking what it means to know God and make Him their Savior.

So, that thing that God is nudging you to do? Just do it already because if you do, the blessings you’ll get out of it will far outweigh any benefit you end up giving. God is just cool like that.

Blessings, Rosanne

Sarah – When Fixing It Isn’t the Answer

A look at Sarah’s life wouldn’t be complete until we take a closer look at the whole Hagar issue. Who is Hagar you might ask (and you might also be wondering why did her mother give her such an ugly name but I can’t help you with that one)?

Hagar was Sarah’s Egyptian maid. In Genesis 16 it starts with this verse, “Now Sarai, Abrams’ wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar.”

 

You just know that with a start like that, trouble is brewing and the next verse bears that out. “So Sarai said to Abram, ‘Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”

Now before you accuse Sarah of a lack of faith, it’s important to know that most commentaries say that she didn’t just grow impatient with the wait. She had gone through menopause, and could no longer physically bear children.

Based on the physical evidence, Sarah came to the conclusion that her biological clock had ticked its last tock. She was past the age of childbearing, and so she decided to take matters into her own hands.

idols no grace

Of course, by doing this, she didn’t just affect herself and Abraham, but also Hagar and Ishmael, the child Hagar eventually had by Abraham.

What’s even MORE interesting is if you read the chapter before this one. The whole of chapter 15 is taken up with God making a covenant with Abraham, promising him many descendants.

Abraham even brings up the fact that he and Sarah have no children and since they are getting up there in age, the likelihood of that happening seems less and less. God tells Abraham very clearly that HE will give Abraham descendants that are his blood children.

This leaves us with the question of why in the world would Abraham go along with Sarah’s scheme after this intense interlude where God Himself made a covenant (which Abraham would have realized was serious stuff)?

The answer is in verse 2 – “And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” If these words sound familiar, that’s because they are.

If you remember back when we were talking about Eve, when God told Adam his portion of the curse, He explained why, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife.” As in – you listened to your wife and not Me!

Can’t you just see Sarah persuading Abraham. “Well, God did say you would have a child of your own blood, but did He specifically say it was <i>ME</i> you’d have the child with? Be reasonable – I’m past the age of childbearing – how would I even get pregnant at this point when I was never fertile in my young years? This is the only way Abram – it’s not against what God told you, is it?”

Obviously, I have no idea what Sarah said to Abraham, but he went along with her scheme. The result is the Middle East mess we have today – the descendants of Abraham still are feuding today with no end in sight.

Before we are too quick to criticize Sarah, though, how many times have YOU decided God needed a little help when all circumstances seemed to point that things were hopeless and it was up to you to fix them?

I know – I’m guilty too.

The other thing that hit me about this part of the story is that we <i>DO</i> have influence with our husbands. I remember Beth Moore once saying that while women don’t have the authority in the home, they have the influence.

There’s a reason for the saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” So, what kind of influence am I having with my husband? Am I encouraging him to follow God wholeheartedly or am I instead persuading him in a different direction – particularly if it makes my life easier? This story makes me very aware that I need to use my influence prayerfully and with wisdom – not throw it around casually.

The final lesson I learn from this part of the story is that sometimes, if allow ourselves to get so desperate with longing for what we want that we are willing to do anything to get it, we end up hurting ourselves and often those around us.

How many women have insisted on a relationship; married and then been miserable? How many women, once married, have destroyed that marriage in the quest to have a baby? There is nothing wrong with wanting to be married or wanting a baby. Those are natural desires. But, anything that is raised to the status of an idol in our lives has the power to hurt us badly.

Idols demand sacrifice but offer no grace in return.

Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham and it says he took her as his wife. So now, after all these years, Sarah has to share Abraham. Even if she was probably only a concubine, Hagar was now clearly more than just a maid. She had gained a bit of status.

Then Hagar did end up getting pregnant which gave her even more status – after all Sarah couldn’t have children and the number of children, particularly sons, a woman could produce gave her worth, value and status in that ancient culture.

Now, the Bible says, Hagar despised her mistress – the original word means that she looked at her as trifling or inferior.

Sarah just wanted a baby, but by trying to manipulate the circumstances, what she ended up with was a mess.

I don’t know what Hagar and Sarah’s relationship was before this whole thing went down, but afterwards there seemed to be a continuous strain – even after Sarah had her own child, Isaac.

It’s interesting to me that even though Sarah inserted her free will and jumped way ahead of God’s plan, He still carried it out. God said He would give Abraham descendants and He meant for them to come from Sarah and that’s what happened.

It’s sort of comforting to me to know that even if I mess up – even if it is in a big way – I can’t thwart God’s plans. Yes, I have to live with the consequences of my choices – just like Sarah had to deal with the problem she created for a long time – but God loves us so much and is so merciful that He works out His plans in our lives anyway.

Despite her big mess up, Sarah still gets a mention in the Biblical faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11:11, “By faith, even Sarah herself received ability to conceive,even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.”

I guess Sarah finally realized that God’s promises were more reliable than her own solutions.
~ Blessings, Rosanne

Sarah – Not Just a Pretty Face

The Bible makes it clear that Sarah was incredibly beautiful. She was so beautiful, in fact, that old Abe asks her not once, but twice to say she is his sister so the king of the land they were passing through wouldn’t kill him in order to have her.

I guess Helen of Troy had nothing on Sarah. The first time this happens, Abraham and Sarah, along with their entourage, had gone down to Egypt due to a famine. Abraham had an idea that the Pharaoh would want Sarah for himself, thus decreasing Abram’s life expectancy – at least in Abe’s mind anyway.

starfish

A little side note: The truth was, Sarah WAS Abram’s sister – his half sister, that is. They had the same father and different mothers. I know this is rather icky to us – incest and all that – but back in the day, this was not unheard of or really frowned upon. It wasn’t until Moses’ time that God forbade the too straight family tree.

The next time, was much later in Abram and Sarah’s life. In fact, Sarah was in her 90’s at that time. So, either love really does make someone appear more beautiful or Sarah had some killer genes. The thing was, King Abimelech DID take Sarah for his wife.

In both cases, God had to step in and protect Sarah since Abraham, sadly, was not doing the job. In the first case, God struck Pharaoh and his household with great plagues. Pharaoh was understandably upset since he had no idea Sarah was anybody’s wife but his! He gave Sarah back to Abraham and escorted them out of his land. I don’t think they got an invitation to stop by the next time they were in town either!

The second time around, God visited Abimelech in a dream and basically told him he was a dead man if he didn’t return Sarah to Abraham. Needless to say, Abimelech couldn’t return Sarah to Abraham fast enough.

So many times, we see women who are beautiful, thin or super stylish. They seem to have it all together in some way that we do not, and we imagine their lives are just perfect and overflowing with happiness.

Things like Facebook, blogs and Pinterest play into this idea that somehow, someway everyone else has it all together <i>but us</i>. Every woman out there seems to make homemade meals from scratch after harvesting their organic vegetables from their raised bed garden out back where their free range hens are scratching around. All this is in between homeschooling their children who have retained the innocence of childhood (captured in wonderful, candid photos featuring sunny meadows, adorable overalls on equally adorably mussed children) while recording these moments in a literary award-worthy blog.

Oh yes, while the children are romping in the sunny meadow absorbing their education through fun, one-with-nature type projects, the mom (who happens to also be thin, fashionable without being too fussy and radiantly wholesome) is handcrafting a wreath while simultaneously re-purposing an old wardrobe into a very chic piece of furniture with yarn, a power drill and the kids’ finger paints.

I don’t know about you, but my life doesn’t look like that. On any given day, I am fortunate to have dinner on the table and clean clothes for my kids. It’s an added bonus if I get the floor mopped and bathroom cleaned that week. My idea of decorating is setting a couple pumpkins on the porch. I usually forget about them until I discover that the entire bottom has rotted out.

As women, we tend to compare ourselves with other people – at least I do at times. We compare our marriages, our children, our homes and our physiques. The problem is often what we are seeing are the best moments of someone else’s life, not the day by day grind. We don’t see them with bed head or when their children are threatening each other with bodily harm or they are sniping at their husband for not feeding those stupid chickens.

Yes, Sarah was incredibly beautiful, but she carried the heartache of being barren in a culture where the ability to have children equaled a woman’s worth. I bet she would have traded a plainer face or dumpier figure for a houseful of kids any day.

She left a thriving metropolis to be dragged around in a caravan with no real destination in sight. She could have coined the phrase “living out of a suitcase.” She suffered the humiliation of being passed off as her husband’s sister and given to two different men. It’s unclear if Pharaoh had relations with her, but it said that God stopped Abimelech before he “knew” (in the Biblical sense) Sarah, but still the fear and uncertainty she must have felt during these times are hard to imagine.

Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the saddle bag during the ride back to their camp after Sarah had gotten out of another guy’s harem? I mean, what would Abraham have to say for himself anyway?

<b>While Sarah’s outward appearance was breathtaking, it certainly didn’t guarantee her an easy life. <i></i></b>

As women, we long for close friendships, but sometimes, I think the comparison game keeps us from experiencing that. We get so busy feeling inferior and trying to impress others, that we miss the real wounds and sorrows of those around us. Worse, we never get real with each other because we are too intent on trying to appear all with it.

So, this week, call that woman who you think has it all together. Invite her out to lunch and really listen to what she has to say. You might be surprised that she thought <i>YOU<b></b></i> had it all together.

~ Blessings, Rosanne

Sarah, the Princess – part 1

The first woman we’ll get to know better is Sarai, or Sarah, the name she is better known by. She was the wife of Abraham, and the mother of Isaac. Of course, what makes her story so unique is that she was 90 years old when she gave birth!

We meet Sarai, whose name means princess, in Genesis 11:29, 30, “Abram and Nahor too wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. Sarai was barren; she had no child.”

Coffee Beans

So, the first time we meet Sarai we learn three things about her – she lived in Ur of the Chaldeans which was a thriving metropolis; she was married to Abram; and she was barren. Just in case you don’t get what barren means, the verse reiterates – she had no child.

While infertility is something modern women face, and nobody can say it isn’t very painful and difficult, there was an added component in ancient culture. Because ancient culture was very cause and effect, if anything happened to you physically, it was sort of a given assumption by those around you, that you had done something bad to deserve it.

I have never personally struggled with infertility, but I have several friends who have, and one thing that seems to be a repeating theme is they feel somehow broken or defective – like their bodies have betrayed them by not working the way they should to conceive and/or carry a child. I’m sure that is very hard to work through.

Now what if you are infertile and you feel that way AND everybody is saying the fact that you can’t get pregnant is all your own fault – you must have done something to become barren? That’s how it would have been in ancient times. It wasn’t just a heartache – it was a shame. That woman walked around with a stigma hanging over her head like a neon sign blinking above her head – barren.

A woman’s husband could get rid of her because she couldn’t have children. Nobody would have looked askance at him either, if he took on another wife or two. In fact, the people who knew him would think he was very generous to keep his barren wife, even if he added more wives.

It kind of tells you the type of man Abram was because not only did he NOT divorce his wife because she couldn’t have children, but until Sarai basically threw her maid at him, Abram didn’t take any additional wives either. It appears that Abram saw Sarai as more than as a means to perpetuation his gene pool.

Added to the shame was the practical implications of being barren. There were no nursing homes. There was no social security or medicare or council for the aging. Your children were the ones that took care of you. If you had no children, well, it was a pretty scary prospect.

The word barren is the Hebrew word aqar which means sterile. The root of the word means to, “pluck up; rooted up or hamstring.” In other words, being barren meant the roots of your family tree were rooted up. It’s interesting that this word is also translated “lamed” elsewhere in the Bible. To not have children, certainly did cripple you in practical ways as you got older.

While not being able to have children is still a heartache for many couples, things are different these days. Not only are there medical options that weren’t available in Sarai’s day, but there aren’t the stigmas attached either.

That’s mainly because these days, as a general rule, we don’t believe that if you get cancer or a tragedy befalls your family then you must have done something bad to deserve it. There are those who still have this view, but they are in the minority.

At least, we <i>SAY</i> we don’t believe that. On the flip side though, there are a lot of people who question why bad things happen to good people. There are books, sermons, study series – all on this topic. If we believe that bad things aren’t a result of bad behavior, why do we believe good things are a result of good behavior? Or inversely, righteous living shouldn’t equal bad things happening.

There is a great quote – I <i>think</i> it is by Ernest Hemingway – that I had hanging in my classroom for years. It said, “Expecting bad things not to happen to you because you are a good person is like expecting a bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.”

Even though I <i>love</i> that quote; even though I can chant the line that bad things happen independent of behavior; even though I can spout the promise that God works all things for good – I still fall into this thinking. I still tend to feel like it is unfair if unpleasant or difficult things befall me even – or to be honest especially – when I think I am doing the right things.

I guess the first thing we can learn from Sarai’s life is that following God is not an insurance plan against suffering. I think if we can truly understand that God is sovereign and He really DOES work everything out for good, we can let go of our expectations or at least not be completely blindsided when (not if ) bad things happen. I think there is a lot of peace to be found in truly accepting that life is not always fair or even understandable at times.

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:22

Blessings, Rosanne

Barren – A New Series in God’s Uncharted Paths

I was doing a series of lessons in my Sunday school class about women in the Bible. We studied the usual suspects, as well as some lesser known females that figure in the pages of Scripture. As I studied and looked deeper into the lives of these women, many of whose stories I had heard since I was a little girl in Sunday school, it hit me that many of them struggled with infertility to one degree or another.

Sarah was an old woman, well past menopause, when she had Isaac. Rebecca also had to wait a long time before she finally gave birth to twin boys: Jacob and Esau. Rachel watched her fertile sister Leah produce child after child, while her womb remained empty. Not even having her husband’s love filled the void she felt.

Barren series pic

As I looked at these women who struggled with infertility in a time when answers for empty arms were few and far between, I also saw another pattern that emerged. The  majority of these barren women went on to become the mothers of key players in the Bible’s pages.

Think about it. Isaac was Abraham’s heir. Jacob became Israel and father to the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph saved a nation of people from starvation.

Over and over again, the barren women in the Bible played a key role in bringing up chosen children who made a big difference in the world. While their path to motherhood was not necessarily the one they would have chosen, God had a bigger plan in mind.

Since this is May and we just celebrated Mother’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at these women and what their lives can teach us. I have never struggled with infertility. When it was time to have our children, things were pretty easy for my husband and myself. However, I do know that many women struggle with infertility or not being able to have biological children of their own. I am adopted, so my mom knows this heartache firsthand. Others have suffered the loss of one or more miscarriages. Others wait and wait to adopt a child and it seems like it will never be their turn.

It seems every woman I’ve talked to or interviewed for an article or even read about that struggled with being infertility seems to wrestle with the feeling of being “less than” as a woman. As if not being able to reproduce made her a failure as a female. The thing is, though, no matter what your path to motherhood looks like, we need your stories.

It’s in the brokenness of deferred and denied dreams that God’s presence stands out the most. 

My wish is that this series offers hope and encouragement to all women no matter where you happen to be on the road to motherhood. Hope that God sees you. Hope that though the path might be uncharted to you, God has it all mapped out. 

My other wish is that this series brings us together as women. It’s when we understand each other’s stories that true sisterhood takes place.

Will you join me?

Blessings, Rosanne

 

 

Getting It All Together – Or Not

I wish I had it all together. I had hoped by the time I hit my fourth decade that I would have myself together – that meal planning, house cleaning and keeping on top of all those papers would be second nature to me by now.

But it’s not.

I had hoped by my fourth decade I would be happily living out God’s calling and purpose in my life, that I would have cultivated the fruits of the spirit so they weren’t mere buds but full blown fruit – ripe and ready to pick.

But I’m not.

I had hoped by my fourth decade I would have figured out how to do relationships without regret. That I would be able to prioritize the things that were truly important and not allow the urgent to drown those things out. That I would have learned to love well my husband, my children, my family and my friends.

But I haven’t.

I had sort of thought that by the time I hit the ripe old age of 41, I would have gotten the hang of being an adult, but instead, most days I still feel like I’m 17 (at least in mind, if not body) and clueless.

The truth is, I don’t have it all together – no matter how much I wish it was otherwise. And just when I think I might be approaching having it all together status, something comes along to knock me off course again. 

Mother Teresa door

The past few weeks, I’ve been doing a full time subbing job and I have come up hard against my physical limits. I am something of a wimp and getting up at 5:45 a.m. four days a week is killing me. By 1 p.m. every afternoon, I long for my couch so I can take a power nap. Even though I force myself to go to bed by 10 p.m., I still have to drag myself out of bed come morning. The sad fact is that I need a lot of sleep and when I don’t get it, I fall apart – and everything around me pretty much goes to pot!

The one day a week I have off is filled with errands and to dos and frantic trying to catch up from all the days I couldn’t get it done. It hasn’t helped that we have had something nearly every single evening and full weekends since I have been working full time.

Other women do this full time working thing and do it well. (My kids have been watching the Cosby Show and I really wish Claire Huxtable would come live at my house! She seems to together and grown up) I just don’t know HOW they do it! I haven’t really cleaned my house in three weeks and the paper piles are threatening to take over the counter (and I can’t really remember what is in said piles anymore either, but it’s likely the stamps I can’t find are probably lurking there).

But it’s okay not to have it all together. God doesn’t love me any more or any less based on my having it all together. In fact, God has a habit of using people who are messy and totally NOT together.

The people God used in the Bible were not pictures of success and perfection. Moses was living in exile in the desert after killing a man when God spoke to him out of a burning bush. David committed adultery and then murder to cover it up. Rahab was a prostitute. Abraham kept passing his wife off as his sister. Jacob’s life resembled something from Jerry Springer with all his wives and children.

God is not in the habit of using perfect people to accomplish His work. He’s more in the habit of perfecting people while they accomplish His work. 

All He needs is for us to say yes. Yes, even if we don’t have it all together.

I love this quote by Mother Teresa – although I have no idea where I read it at (if I had it all together, I would have written that down somewhere I could remember). “Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”

God’s love is so much bigger than my failings, and I am so grateful for that fact.

Blessings, Rosanne

Why I Can’t Enjoy Mother’s Day This Year

I heard about it on Facebook – not in the newspaper or CNN or the nightly news. On Facebook. It happened three weeks ago – over 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped in the middle of the night from their school dormitory by men linked to a terrorist group.

They are still missing. Nobody who is anybody is doing anything about it.

Three weeks. Gone.

Three weeks of mothers, brothers, fathers – worried, wondering, waiting.

 

( photo with Youtube video at the end of this post)

I look into the eyes of this girl and my own brim with tears.
I look into this young girl’s solemn face and I can’t imagine being in her mother’s place.
I can’t imagine wondering what is happening to my daughter right now.

Because these aren’t empty worries. These aren’t the worries I have – if my son will catch up on his homework after a long illness or if my older son is a bit late coming home and I’m wondering if I should call the hospital. These mothers’ worries are based on bitter reality, on devastating daily life.

My heart breaks to know that a father, a brother or an uncle road into a forested area where the terrorists are supposed to be – unarmed. So he could bring his girl back.

Today in Ann Voskamp’s blog I read, “Women aged fifteen through forty-four are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined.”

These girls were just trying to get an education. Instead they were abducted, probably sold as brides to violent men who do not care about their intellect or emotions or soul.

I sit here in my little house in a corner of Ohio. Kids are playing outside, riding their bikes, laughing. The sun is shining after a long winter.

A world away, despite a blazing sun, a winter of the heart sets in for hundreds of mothers and fathers.

No, I can’t enjoy Mother’s Day this year. Not when 200+ mothers weep for daughters that may never return.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted; He saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of them all.” Psalms 34: 17, 18

Blessings, Rosanne

 

p.s. You can watch a video that gives a bit more info on individual girls here.

When Life is Messy

Five Minute FridayToday is 5 Minute Friday. It’s when women from all over, take 5 unedited minutes to write about a word provided by Lisa Jo Baker. Today’s word, very aptly, was mess! You can check out other posts or join in here.

There are piles of papers and books spread across on the kitchen table.
Dishes are stacked in the sink.
A baseball uniform is still in the washing machine (remind me to switch that to the dryer, would you?)
Shoes are piled by the doorway and coats are slung over the chair by the front door.
My school bag is lying on it’s side, the contents spilling out onto the floor and my purse is propped drunkenly against the television stand.

A wastebasket overflows with tissues and a TV tray holds a hug plastic bottle of water, a box of tissues, a thermometer and a discarded hospital band.

This has been a messy week after another chaotic week. My youngest son, Brody, spent Tuesday and part of Wednesday in the hospital because of double pneumonia. I didn’t see that one coming even though he has been home sick since last Wednesday.

Of course, I stayed with him, so the things that clamored at home had no audience in me. Deadlines got pushed back and to do lists were forgotten as I sat by a hospital bed that made my almost 13 year old son looks small and frail. Eight pounds – the size of a healthy newborn – was a lot to lose.

The only thing on my mind, in the midst of the mess, was my son getting better and stronger.

It was April. I thought the season of illness was over. I didn’t plan on life getting turned upside down and everything falling into a mess. I had things planned out and scheduled so I could handle a long term sub job, my weekly newspaper articles and almost non-stop baseball.

I planned on being so disciplined in holding to my schedule so I could get it all done. I was fearful of “something happening” and messing up my plan.

I didn’t plan for something like this. I didn’t planon extra laundry and pill schedules and keeping up fluids and no time to straighten or organize or get ahead. I had no other option but to dwell in the mess.

So, I let it go. (and no I’m not going to start singing the song from Frozen) I let the expectations of others and my own even heavier expectations all go.

And God met me in the mess. Instead of freaking out which is my normal response to any kind of crisis. I was calm, peaceful. I shrugged my shoulders when I thought maybe I wouldn’t meet deadline this week for my articles. It wasn’t the end of the world – in fact, the world would keep spinning just fine and dandy without me. My focus sharpened on y priorities rather than a list of should dos.

I discovered that joy and peace is found in surrendering to the mess rather than always trying to fix it.
Blessings, Rosanne

A Gift Wrapped in Disappointment

I had plans – big plans. I had an editorial calendar and it all made sense in my head. But then life happened. Life with it’s busyness and it’s disregard for my plans, my schedule, my list of to dos.

After a whole school year of good health, we’ve had a week of sickness. A week of sickness that followed hard on the heels of losing a friend to cancer too early and starting a long term subbing job earlier than expected.

My oldest had the stomach flu last week, and my youngest had some fever on Friday. It disappeared only to return Tuesday night with a vengeance. I’ve made soup, taken temperatures, and pushed fluids. did I mention I am not a natural nurse?

I have missed baseball games, my oldest son’s award assembly, part of a day of work, and get togethers. I’ve been a little disappointed that illness has tied me to home – keeping me from all the plans I made.

I was feeling pretty grumbly about it tonight, but you know, sometimes gifts come wrapped in disappointment.

Forest road. Landscape for background

It wasn’t the week I had planned, but this week I’ve gotten to slow down – no rushing around or flitting off to games. Instead, I sit and I’m still. I get to spend time with my youngest (who will be 13 in a little over a month), and he leans his head on my shoulder and seeks out the comfort only mom can give.

And it’s a gift because I don’t know how much longer that will happen.

I don’t really remember the last time I picked him up and carried him. I just know that one day I realized it had been a long time and he was too big to heft in my arms.

I don’t remember the last time he sat on my lap. I just know that one day, I realized it was a long time and he was now much too cool to cuddle with mom.

The days go by slowly but the years pass swiftly when you have young kids. These days, I look back with nostalgia at when my kids were tiny and our time was our own. Rushing from games to practices to activities is a part of this season of my life. I’m sure in about 10 years, I’ll look back at it fondly, too and wonder why I savor the moments more.

But this week, I got to slow down and just be with my youngest. While I hate that he’s been sick and under the weather, I can’t help but feel that this time is a gift, a gift I almost didn’t find wrapped up in the disappointment of changed plans.

As I wrap up this month of looking at God’s promises, I am once again reminded that God knows the plans He has for us, and often they aren’t what we had planned. I’m reminded that God often doesn’t give us what we think we want, but what we truly need.

What need has God met unexpectedly in your life lately? I’d love to hear about it!
Blessings, Rosanne

5 Minute Friday – Glue

Today, I’m joining Lisa Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. This is when women from all over the world link up after writing for five minutes (no editing allowed!) on a specific word. This week’s word is “Glue.”

Five Minute Friday

This week has been one of those types of weeks – you know, where nothing has gone as planned and every word that comes out of my mouth just seems wrong.

I am doing a long term subbing job and had to start a week earlier than I had planned. On Tuesday, I found a cyber friend had lost her battle with cancer. 🙁 On Wednesday, my oldest son woke up throwing up. On Thursday, I spent my day running all over the place in some kind of Laurel and Hardy type farce over my car. No lie – I had not even gotten home from picking up the rental car the dealership gave me because they forgot to align my car and missed a bent strut from an accident, when the body shop called to tell me my car was ready. It would have been funny – if it hadn’t been.

Add to this, that somehow, all week long, I felt like I had been putting my foot wrong with everyone. Do you ever feel like that? I really hate to upset people or hurt their feelings. I’m not a huge fan of confrontation or conflict. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at this, but at my worst, I can dissect something I’d said over and over and tie myself up in knots over how my words might have been taken or perceived. I can get caught up in this even if I have no clues from the other person that there is even a problem. Instead, I torture myself over how I could have said it differently or if the person might be upset and just not telling me. I wonder if perhaps I should contact that person again and try to clarify or explain myself better (ever hear of digging yourself a hole – I would be the Queen Digger).

So, to say I felt unglued would be an understatement. It was an unglued type of week.

When I read the word for today in my email this morning, I thought how ironic it was that during a week when I felt everything was unglued, the word was glued.

As I sat and spent time with Jesus this morning, I realized just WHY I felt so unglued. With all the crisis happening this week and having to get up extra early, my hour with Jesus hadn’t happened. At all. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t shooting up prayers. But I certainly wasn’t doing any quiet, settled time with God. The result was a very unglued woman – me!

I also realized as I continued my Bible study on spiritual warfare, that that horrible feeling of saying the wrong thing to everyone was just another tactic from the enemy. He loves to isolate us, to separate us from the body because a solitary person is so much easier to take down than one in a group.

Because I had not been spending time with Jesus, soaking in His Truth, I had not even realized the sneak attack that was going on.

For me, the glue that holds it all together is Jesus. When I don’t spend that time sitting at His feet, I am just setting myself up to become unglued.

What things does the enemy use to make you feel unglued?

Blessings, Rosanne

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