Archive for January, 2011

January 26, 2011

Prayer

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Hi, my name is Amber and I’m an information-aholic.  I confess I love knowledge; I eat it up.  That’s one of the many, many, many reasons I love Gateway, the classes, the equipping– it’s fantastic.  There is pretty much something to learn every day of the week and when there isn’t something happening at the church, you can go online and dig through the mountain of awesome resources available.  I know I sound like a nerd, but learning totally gets me all kid-in-a-candy-store excited. 

Praying though, did not until a couple of weeks ago.  My personal prayer life was fine, conversational, sweet and intimate.  I love praying with my kids too, not a problem at all.  But I felt like in group settings, I sucked at praying.  Before this class, corporate prayer felt like one more thing that was required of me, like doing the laundry, it's no fun but you have to do it.  I realize that sounds pretty immature but it's where I was at.

Ironically, I prayed about it.  Lucky for me, He is okay with immature as long as there is willingness to grow.  Also lucky for me Gateway offers Prayer Tools classes.  This particular class was taught by Marissa Star.  If you don’t know her, she’s like the cutest thing ever, sweetest too.  Also, she’s super wise and very tuned in, makes for a pretty fabulous Prayer Tools teacher.

I took my “I suck at praying” attitude to the class, hoping to walk out with some King James vocabulary words and a couple of extra Hebrew names for God.  Instead I got my paradigm shifted.  I got a lesson in humility. She talked through a few awesome verses, 2Kings 22:19, Proverbs 11:2 and Philippians 2:5-11 to name a few. 

Once again I was taught Why instead of how She made incredible points, touched on timeless truths I hadn't ever thought of- “We humble ourselves because Jesus did.  Our default setting should always be humility, it is the kind of counsel we love the most.  We consult because His wisdom is greater…”  I have pages of notes, so much helpful information. 

Honestly though, all of the shifting that happened for me can be summed up in one imaginary conversation, (come on, I know you have these too).  I sat in my chair, in my head, whining about wanting to be better at praying for people and Imaginary Marissa walked over and ever-so-kindly but matter of factly said “Umm, Sweetie, it is not about you.” and Imaginary Me, a little bit dumbfounded and glad for the revelation replied. "Ohhhhh."

Seriously- ohmygosh, what a relief.  I don’t need to have the perfect words.  I don’t have to figure out solutions before I go to Him in prayer.  I just need to humble myself and trust in His wisdom.  I can come to Him for answers instead of with answers.  Forgive my unfortunate mix of arrogance and ignorance please.  This maybe shouldn't be so brand new to me- Prayer is not about me sounding holy, it is about asking Him to glorify Himself.  Talk about relieving the pressure

This little imaginary conversation and the full of wisdom and grace teaching have turned my prayer life upside down.  Before I felt like if I was going to pray for somebody, the ball was in my court and I needed to knock it out of the park (sorry, I suck at sports analogies, but you know what I mean).  Now I understand that it is something I get to do.  I get to come before God and I get to follow the example Jesus gave of humility.  I get to ask Him to help me.  I get to access His prophetic wisdom.  Even my personal prayer life has changed, it still conversational sure, but it is so much less about me wanting and telling and so much more about Him, revealing and loving.  I have been jumping at the chance to go to Him in prayer, eager to let Him do His thing, happy to use whatever words I have and humbly come before Him.  It’s a whole new ball game and all that jazz. 

Also, a special thank you to Marissa, she did actually give me a new vocaubluary word, "Ginormousness."  🙂

Love, love.

January 23, 2011

Testimony (in the middle)

She stormed out, slamming the door without a word, no hint of where she was going or when she would be back.  There was no telling if we would be home alone for hours or days. Fighting with my mom and ending up in charge was way too familiar.  Furious and refusing to be scared, I clenched my jaw to hold back tears and went to her bedroom.  A few minutes later I emerged waving a booklet for my crying sisters to see, “She left the food stamps. We can walk to the store if we need anything. We’ll be fine.”  I was ten years old, the girls were eight and four.  I wish I could say that was the beginning or the end of terrible times in my childhood, but it wasn’t.  It was the middle. 

My dad left us when I was about five and things went pretty steadily downhill from there.  Neglect and abuse of all kinds combined with being the oldest made me an expert problem solver though.  Not being taken care of trained me to take care of myself.  As a child who needed to make it day to day and make sure her sisters made it as well in some pretty rough government projects with drug addicted, creepy adults around every corner, problem solving comes in handy.  As an adult, it shows up as self reliance and self sufficiency, at least in me it did.  As a child of God, it prevented me from leaning on Him and letting Him take complete control in my life. 

I’ve said a few times that last year a string of terrible things happened.  And though I’m not quite ready to write about any of those things specifically yet, I will say if you can think of something terrible, it probably happened to me last year.  It left me broken to say the least.  Honestly, it left me a shattered, scared, starving shell of a girl.  Thoughts of suicide filled my quiet moments.  I could hardly eat, developed a stutter and anxiety shook me to the core pretty consistently.  The good thing about that was, it shredded every illusion self reliance that I held.
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Not for a second have I thought that God caused those things to happen to me, but I do believe He used them to bring me closer to Him.  I have found freedom like never before in letting go of striving, controlling and problem solving.  I have found Love and grace like never before in trusting Him and turning myself over to Him completely, repeatedly. 

A couple of times recently I’ve said that I have the beginning and middle of a really great testimony.  I am a storyteller by nature and so eager to share, but part of me wants to see everything worked out completely.  Part of me wants to play my story out until all of the problems are solved, all the way to the happily-ever-after end before I can give a testimony.  And this is just the middle.

This middle is my life though.  This middle is my story.  This middle is my redemption.  God did not leave me a shattered, scared, starving shell of a girl.  He lifted my head, He gave me life.  He held my hand and put people in my life to do the same.  He sheltered me when I needed it, gave me friends to encourage and guide me.  He pointed me towards resources that Helped me.  He provided atmospheres of healing.  He showed me Love and took me to places where I could go to be immersed in it. 

I don’t need a happily-ever-after or the-end to my testimony.  I don’t want one.  I want to love this middle that I am living.  Of course I don’t want to be shattered again, but I do hope to continue to have stories of His love and faithfulness.  I hope to discover more freedom every day.  I hope this middle keeps changing me.  And for now my testimony is this- I am free and getting freer.  

That was not even a little bit true a few months ago.  If you were not around to see, I was pretty much a wreck.  Not that I was the most graceful person in the world before, but I walked like a newborn horse for a while, all shaky and unsteady.  My head stayed bowed most of the time, my eyes barely left the ground.  My size four jeans nearly swallowed my vanishing self.  My speech, almost constant for most of my life, escaped me completely for mumbles and stutters.  And twice I was talked out of picking up knives.  He did not leave me there though. 
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That is my favorite thing about Him, He never does leave.  When I say He lifted my head and gave me life, I mean it quite literally.  I am alive.  He brought me out of the prison of self reliance.  He helped me trade in the shackles of self sufficiency and yield to His full-of-grace will for my life.  I am free of addictions and disorders.  I no longer walk in shame.  I can sing and laugh and dance.  I can keep on growing, live this middle part and trust Him to work out the end.  And that is all the testimony I need for now.     

Mes

Love, love.

January 20, 2011

Intimacy

(Because I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to title this "So in Love With: Sex"  but be warned, that is pretty much what this is. Also, sorry, no pictures 🙂

This post is for the single ladies, married friends feel free to proceed to here or here.  Also this is fully inspired by the book “Sex and the Soul of a Woman” which I very highly reccomend, and You Know Who, (who by the way is Nancy Houston, Christian Sex Therapist Extraordinaire), and the class she taught on Monday night wherein the girls in my group asked me a bunch of questions and then put my number in their phones as “Amber Sex Help” 🙂

Ah sex-  Is there a more taboo subject for a twenty-nine year old, single, divorced no less, Christian woman to talk about? Oh well, I kind of think it's the elephant in the room and I hate those, so I'm talking about it-  If you know me at all, you know it is one of my favorite subjects.  If you’ve talked to me more than once, we’ve probably discussed it.  It’s kind of a big deal to me.  It’s kind of a big deal period. 

I spent the first year or so after my divorce trying to figure out a way that I could love and follow Jesus and also have sex outside of marriage.  And I don’t mean that I casually thought it over in my head every once in a while.  I argued, whined, researched, questioned and complained pretty much relentlessly. 

When you are married at eighteen and divorced at twenty eight, and you live in this world at this time, not having sex seems like a non-option.  Also, lets say you think sex is like, the bees knees, the cats meow even, and you’re used to doing it oh lets say, whenever you want- having to stop doesn’t really seem very groovy, it seems damn near impossible and the opposite of appealing.  But you guys, I never figured out a way to make the concept of sex outside of marriage jive with loving Jesus. 

As a matter of fact, if I was being quite honest I would say, the only thing harder than not having sex outside of marriage is having sex outside of marriage.  If I were telling you about my own experience I would say it is beyond reckless and destructive.  If I were sharing about my own life, I would say that I found it to be extremely harmful.  Also, if I were divulging details of my own life this is where I would get unnecisarily defensive and say something dumb like "I'm a Christian so I didn't have like, a whole bunch of unmarried sex.  I just had like, a Christian amount of unmarried sex"  But let’s keep this hypothetical and say, it might have broken my heart, stole a piece of it and left me feeling empty.  And also, it separated me from Jesus. 

Lucky for me, Jesus is okay with broken and empty.  I took myself to Him, put everything on pause and asked Him to help me regroup.  I stopped asking Him how I was going to make it without sex and started asking Him why He wanted me to.  And He answered. He is pretty good about being Himself, I just needed to turn everything off for long enough to hear Him. 

And He is a big picture kind of God, so He showed me the Best Metaphor Ever. Sex is supposed to be a picture of intimacy with Him.  It’s not just a fun thing He gave us to pass the time with, it’s not even just a beautiful thing that happens between husband and wife.  It is an earthly, bodily representation of union with Him. 

Honestly, that is all the answer I need.  I mean, I really, really, really enjoy, think sex is the bee’s knees.  I might like it enough that the threats of it eventually breaking my heart and leaving me feeling empty wouldn’t keep me from trying it again.  Fear is a pretty terrible motivator.  Love though, it is a phenomenal motivator.  And He has revealed His Love more completely and intimately as I have given over this part of me.

Pausing and reevaluating sex and intimacy reset something in me, allowed God to do work in me that He couldn’t have done before.  He not only revealed lies that I believe about sex, He showed me what it is like to be in more intimate union with Him.  He has pointed out areas where I feared to let Him in and aspects of our relationship that I just completely misunderstood. 

Because one of the main lenses I see my union with Him through was so distorted by messy relationships and what the world has taught me about sex, it not only clouded and misrepresented sexuality, it misrepresented God and His infinite Love.  In doing my best to listen to His heart for me, I have been able to really experience a revelation of His Love and grace.  I realize I’m overstating this, but you guys, it’s just so wonderful.

So yes, not having sex at all outside of marriage, or doing any activity that is not honoring to God, as hokey and boring and prudish as that might sound, is where I have landed.  Because it is totally not worth messing up my relationship with Jesus.  I know abstinence is a foreign concept to some people.  I also know there are probably some of you who are shocked that it is not where I landed immediately.  Truthfully, I wasn’t actually looking to be stopped in my tracks or for a big spiritual lesson when I started asking Him why.  I was mostly hoping to stop getting myself wrecked by heartbreak and loss.

My plan was to stop all sexual activity in order to keep from doing anymore physical and emotional damage, maybe even figure out how to have a more whole view of sex.  His plan?  To restore wholeness and redeem my soul, to give me a more whole view of Him and His love.  So. Much. Better.  It is immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine

Also, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me.  Part two on this subject is in the works.  I would love to keep a dialogue going and if I can't help you, I'll pass your question along to an actual expert 🙂

Love, love.

 

January 19, 2011

My Gifts

Sometimes I say “Father, should I go to the Freedom class or the Baptism in the Holy Spirit class?”  And He says “Go to the Freedom class and I’ll have the Holy Spirit meet you there.”  And wow, did He ever.  I left church tonight feeling… I was gonna say “high” but I’ve been high before and this is a thousand times better than that- so I will say I left feeling LOVED, capital everything. 

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Arms and heart full, I got all of My (little bit tired and grumpy) Amazings in the car and took a deep breath.  A lot of times when they are all tired and grumpy, I get frustrated and give a speech about what I don’t want or like for them to do.  But tonight, soaked in LOVE, I felt the nudge to lay hands on them and pray for them.  I started off with a quiet prayer over the whole car for Peace to fall and the Holy Spirit to come.  And then reaching from the front seat all the way across the back and then to the passenger seat, I prayed over each one.  Called out the Life that He has put in them and gave thanks for the amazing gifts they have.  It was pretty sweet.  They all quieted down, a couple even said “Thank you”.  And then I started to pull out of the parking lot and Gabe said “Mom, can you please write that down so I can look at it every day?”  And my already full heart almost burst.  Of course I will write it down…

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Griffen, you are confident and wise and brave.  You are everything I could have asked for in an oldest son, kind and helpful and strong.  You are a prophet.  You are a prince.  You have the heart of a knight and the mind of a king.  You are an incredible writer with an open heart and a desire to grow.  I am beyond proud of the man I see you becoming.  May the Lord bless you.  May your gifts and talents draw people to the Light.  May your heart know the Love far greater than any earthly love. 

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Gabriel, you are intensely passionate, a fiery boy with a sweet soul.  You are bright, insightful and perceptive.  You too are a prince, peaceful, gentle and pure.  You are an amazing artist.  You see so well.  You are blessed with the kind of seeing that matters.  You see hearts well and you are affected, and that is remarkable.  Compassion and empathy are rare in a boy your age; you are full of both.  Be blessed in all that you put your heart and hands to, that Jesus would shine brightly through you. 

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Emma, I have known your face since you were born, and still your beauty strikes me daily.  There is a lovely vulnerability, a total authenticity to everything you say and do, keep that.  You teach me all the time what it means to be a princess, a concept that was completely foreign to me before your birth, one I am glad to understand now.  You have a gift with words, both a poet and prophet, already you have blessed me many times.  May both your beauty and your gifts reflect greatly the Father who gave them to you.

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Grace, tiny little reflection, big enormous spirit, you are tenacious and bold.  You are so much more than a precocious little girl.  You are a world changer.  Half princess and half knight, you are a fighter for sure but not lacking a bit in if feminine charm.  Beyond a doubt, leadership is one of your gifts.  May you be ever wanting to grow and change.  May you be willing to humble yourself, die daily so that all the greatness in you might be used by Him.       

I tell my kids all the time that I think it was incredibly wonderful of God to give me the four smartest, funniest and most beautiful children in the world.  And I know that all moms think that about their kids.  But I am certain I am right :)  All I ever wanted was to be a mom; I prayed for these kids when I was a kid.  But that I get to be the mom of these Four outstanding people is beyond what I ever hoped and prayed for.  They are the greatest gifts.  Happy Birthday to me. 

 

January 16, 2011

Whispers

FYI, The Power of Whispers is an amazing book and tremendous message from Bill Hybels.  Check it out here: Sermon Center | Gateway Church, (click on archives and then scroll down to his sermon.)  I have nothing at all to add to that message.  It is powerful and wonderful.  This blog is not even really closely tied to it; I just think everyone should hear it…

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He speaks, I believe that firmly.  And I am fairly confident in my ability to hear Him.  Actually, He communicates with me a few different ways, and I love them all.

This whispering thing though, I find it totally fascintating.  And it's not even the hearing words part that I love the most lately.  I don't always need pages of notes from my time with Him…  Lately, I am consumed with the idea that my awesome God has quiet words, just for me.

The Creator of the universe loves me enough to dip His head, lean in close, cup my face and breathe words… and it is overwhelmingly beautiful to me some days… 

Sure, I love scribbling down things He says to me, but also, I love feeling that we are close enough for Him to whisper. What a lovely, intimate way to connect, intoxicating really. Sometimes I don't even write the words down, they are so sacred.  Sometimes I sit in awe unable to remember or make out what He said for all the enchantement of simply being in His presence. Goodness, He Loves really well.

::sigh::

Please excuse me if I sound love drunk and high on whispers. You'll have to forgive me, I totally am…  

January 15, 2011

Hungry

Fasting is a struggle for me. 
Well, kind of.  I mean, I am great at not eating. 
That’s the danger.
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The last time I fasted was about three years ago.  I had asked my husband to move out because of some issues that could not be resolved while he was living in the house, and though it was the only logical decision at the time, it broke everything I believed about me. In the first few months of our separation, I spent many days fasting, on my face before God, praying and begging.  A few things happened as a result.  God met me there, over and over again.  I got closer to Him and learned some things about His heart and as a result was able to sort out some truths about myself.  Also, I started dropping tons of weight.   

Really what happened was, I learned to embrace hungry.  Not a bad thing maybe, unless losing thirty pounds to get to a healthy weight turns into losing sixty pounds and not being able to force yourself to eat.  Luckily with help, I was able to work through my eating issues for the most part.  Needless to say, I have been somewhat leery of any kind of fasting for a while.

It has come up a couple of times in the last month or so though, and I’ve really been talking to Him about what He wants me to do.  My church is joining with many other churches in a fast and I’m attending Kairos in a couple of weeks.  Part of me so wanted to be able to join in and gain clarity and nearness through fasting, and part of me was scared that my focus would shift back to food and weight.  I prayed, a lot.  I was open to Him asking me to wait.  Honestly, I was open to Him saying “No, you can’t.” 

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try it out.  Two days on a water fast and I didn’t feel the slightest tinge of hunger.  And that scared the crap out of me.  So I asked Him about it, “How did I not feel hungry for two days?”  And then in my spirit I heard Him say, "You have been hungry for so long that it is your normal. You have learned to live on so little, and I’m not just talking about food.  Your life has been spent in survival mode.  You’re not hungry because your stomach is small, it doesn’t expect much food.  And your heart- doesn’t expect great things from me.”  Ouch, that was my first thought. 

My second thought, “Okay. Can we talk about this over dinner?”  And we did.  He revealed some very sweet things to me over soup and crackers.  His heart is not for me to starve myself, emotionally or physically.  His heart is not for me to be so hungry, so consistently that it ceases to feel like hunger- emotionally or physically.  He has So Much More for me than that.  My expectancy was for Him to just say “No, you can’t.” if I wasn’t ready to start fasting, instead He showed me His enormous capacity to Love, yet again.

Equipped with freedom and soaked in the Love He has for me, I am doing a moderate fast now.  The clarity I was hoping for is most certainly happening.  Big things are in the works.  He is near, speaking and I am listening carefully, (and eating, all the time, promise).  Much like these photos of trees and snow, the scene is the same, but the focus is shifted. This is not about food or weight, it is not even about hungry anymore, it is about finding out what He has for me.    

He wants me to have life abundantly.  He has freed me from the bondage of an eating disorder.  And He has freed me from much bigger bondage than that as well.  Not so that I could live carefully, expectant of no’s, not so that I could survive on meager portions of food or Love, so that I could thrive and grow in all that He has for me. 

He wants to increase my capacity to receive Love so that I can be filled to overflowing with that much more of Him. 
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A message of abundance, feasting if you will, while fasting? Yes please. 

January 13, 2011

John 3:16

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Taking the Most Helpful Thing a step further-
How can I most honor Him in every thing I do?
I know this is Christianity 101 here, but you guys, I can not get past John 3:16 today. 

I remember a couple of years ago when I was staying with friends for a few days, going through the awfulness of separation and divorce, and working my little tail off to stay close to Him and maintain some semblance of sanity.  Ever so sweetly, the Lord would wake me up bright and early before the sun and I would sit at the kitchen table with a Bible, (or two), a journal, (or two), a thesaurus and a dictionary.  I looked like a college student cramming for an exam.  Most mornings the poor friends I was staying with would scoot in half asleep wanting a quiet cup of coffee and I, having been up for an hour already and excited about whatever the Lord had shown me that day, would bombard them with words and thoughts.  It was borderline ridiculous now that I think about it, but luckily they neither kicked me out nor told me to shut it. 

One particular morning as I sat at the table engrossed in scripture and root words, synonyms and sketches, I came across John 3:16.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks, in a good way.  Sure I’ve read it before, a hundred times I’m sure.  It’s the first verse I ever memorized, but for some reason it was… So Much More to me that morning.  As my sweet friends sleepily walked in for breakfast, I practically burst with excitement, “You guys! Do you know what this says?! For God SO LOVED the world that He GAVE HIS ONLY SON!” And that is pretty much where I land still when I think about that verse.  I don’t know how it is that I let that concept become mundane to me at some point, but I’m ever so thankful that it didn’t remain that way.  I mean come on, that is amazing! Do you know anyone that you would give your son for? How about yourself?   

That kind of Love blows me away whenever I let it.  Unfortunately I don’t let it often enough, but as I was worshipping this morning, I did.  Words of praise poured from my mouth and Love just about consumed me.  My heart so wanted to stay in that place all day.  But there are things to do around here after all, children to be mothered and dishes to be washed.  Almost sad at the thought of breaking out of my quiet time to take care of the daily grind stuff, I heard Him say, “You can continue this worship, all day long, every day, in everything.”  And I replied, “Ooooh. Sweet. Thank you.”  Because when I allow myself to be fully aware of the astounding amount of Love that He has for me, my desire to honor Him takes over, but usually I feel like I have to make a choice between worshipping Him or getting on with my chores. 

I love that in finding my identity by seeking His heart I am more and more aware that there is So Much More to life.  I love that in letting go of shame and lies, my hands are free to receive His grace and respond in worship.  I love that in trading in all the ugly baggage I have for the beauty of the Love He holds for me, I find myself completely lost in awe.  And so yes, sometimes in planning out my to-do list, I find myself wanting to sit at His feet all day.

But I’m pretty sure He didn’t give His life so that we could cuddle for eternity.  I’m pretty sure He gave His life so that I could live Life abundantly.  I’m pretty sure He wants me to go and be who He created me to be.  And yes, I’m pretty sure He created me to be a worshipper, that means so much more than singing songs and sitting at His feet though.        

I can, I want, to worship Him, honor Him with so much more than songs.  And so, I am praying, thinking, asking, “Father, how can I most honor you in everything I do? With all of my resources, my time, my energy, in my mothering, as a friend, as a daughter and sister, with my money, with my hands and feet, in all I do and say, let me give thanks for all that you have done for me. Let all that I am and all that I have bring you praise.” 

I realize this is maybe a place a lot of you have landed already and that’s awesome.  I also realize this sounds like it might be a little much, a little extravagant to some of you, but He is kind of an extravagant God.  And I am grateful that He has shown me ways already that I can serve Him more and Love Him more. 

The simple, profound truth that He loved, loves me enough to give His only Son is transforming.  And it is all kinds of lovely to me that instead of getting through the day so that I can get back to praising Him, I can worship Him all day long, with my attitude and actions, with everything. 

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Wow. 

January 12, 2011

My Weekends

Confession: I feel a little guilty writing this.  It seems a little self centered, but I prayed about writing today, (maybe this is a succesful defeat, thanks Donald Miller), and this is what I got.  Maybe there are other moms out there who need to feel okay about taking time for themselves and making time for Him, so I’m getting over it.

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I am so in love with my weekends off, (and here’s where I defend myself a little) I love, love, love my kids. I love being a mom, no doubt.  I love the good and the hard and everything in between.  And I never ever would have chosen in a million years to have this two weeks on/ two days off deal that we have now, but it is in fact what we have now.  And so, I have learned to love those two days off. 

When I first started having these two days off I went a little nuts, I’m not gonna lie.  I mean not crazy nuts, just “Let’s go dance all night at a club” nuts.  When I first got these two days I would stack them full to keep from feeling alone.  I would fill up every second with people! and things! and stuff to do! Initially I would spend at least half of my time pouting about not having my kids and the other half anxious about how I was going to make it through the next two weeks taking care of them by myself.  Which is ok to do I think if you are just figuring out how to not be married, but I have for the most part, worked out how to not be married now, thank goodness.  With Help, I have for the most part figured out how to be Me- hurray!

In the beginning a friend of mine suggested that I just “enjoy my own company” (and she totally meant it in the regular way, get your mind outta the gutter).  Anyway, I had no flippin’ clue what that meant.  “Enjoy time alone?  With myself?  What?!  No thanks, I might miss something super fun!”  But then, I finally figured out that He was there all the time and thoroughly apologized for ignoring Him so often.  Thank God, He helped me figure out how to be at peace, in my home, by myself- well, with Him.   

I rediscovered the sweetness of sleeping in on Saturday mornings and taking an hour, (or two) to get ready for my day while listening to whatever music I wanted to.  I learned how to make a meal for one and sit at a quiet table and enjoy each bite.  I learned how to daydream and not just run through the days to-do list and think about what else I might be able to fit in.  It became not just okay, but appealing to sit at home by myself with an enormous bowl of popcorn and m&ms watching Amelie for the hundredth time and then get in bed and read for two whole hours.  (I’m sure that makes me sound old and boring but oh well, that was one of my favorite nights ever.) 

Certainly I still stack lots of grown up outings into my weekends, but those have changed too.  No more night clubs or bars, (ugh thank goodness, sorry about that Bridge).  I hit up bookstores and coffee shops on the regular, with or without friends.  I shop, nothing new there except I savor every second of it.  I linger on aisles that I know full well have nothing I’m even interested in, just because I can.  And occasionally I go on dates, mostly because I find it fully entertaining.  Occasionally I end up eating blueberry pancakes at IHOP with a twenty five year old Jersey Shore looking guy from East Texas, or at some music studio listening to a rap album get recorded.  (See what I mean, fully entertaining.) 

The sweetest thing has happened in my weekends though, He has helped me work out time and space for me and Him.  And I love it, even though sometimes I have to literally force myself to get over the guilt I feel for indulging myself in rest and tranquility.  And there are times when I have to make myself keep the appointments that I make with Him on Sunday afternoons when something potentially “more exciting” comes up.  And sure, some weekends I spend way too much effort trying to slow time down and at the end of it I still feel drained. 

But most of the time on my weekends, I am enjoying my own company.  Most of the time I am overwhelmed with gratefulness that He has led me to this place, helped me get here, shown me that the path I am on now is good, hard sometimes but good.  Most of the time I am swimming in grace, grace that is ever present for all of my hiccups and screwups, and ever waiting to both catch me when I fall and dance with me when I stand.  Most of the time on my weekends, I am ecstatic that I can stop being busy with mom stuff and work stuff long enough to be captivated by the Love that He keeps on pouring into me, happy that it more than sustains me and overjoyed to rest in His arms

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