Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Don't be that guy."

As I was talking with my son the other day, I realized how often we have used the sentence, "Don't be that guy." over the years. For us, it's a catch phrase to represent "That Guy" we all recognize and don't particularly like.
"Don't be that guy"...who never keeps his word.
"Don't be that guy"...who views women as eye candy.
"Don't be that guy"...who takes more than he gives.
"Don't be that guy"...who is too lazy to find ways to help the people around him.
"Don't be that guy"...who wants to be first at all costs.
It's unspoken meaning that our family recognizes to be "That Guy"... who's behavior dishonors God.

But as we were talking, I kept coming back to the fact that I never once use the phrase "Don't be that girl". And so many times, it would have been appropriate.

Awhile ago I got to catch up with a sweet lady who I hardly see anymore and the topic came around to Facebook and how I wish she posted more often because seeing her happy little life made me smile.

Her response shocked me...and made me a little mad.

She said she really doesn't post anymore because a friend told her once that she didn't like to see how "perfect your life is" and it made this friend angry.

Seriously. This dear, sweet thing felt that she couldn't share all her praises and happiness because it was causing her friend to stumble. As tender and sweet as she is, this conversation spotlighted one of the saddest things about us. Comparison, coveting, whatever...
Her friend's own bitterness and ugly refusal to be joyful in HER circumstances caused her to steal joy from those around her.

"Don't be That Girl"...How often do we feel that twinge of jealousy as women, because we want what someone has. From the outside, we view another woman to BE more, HAVE more, fill in the blank, when all we need to do is look UP instead of around and we would be completely satisfied.

We can go to Philippians 4 and see what God's prescription for contentment really is- being satisfied in Him alone- but how many of us know that with our heads, but don't, or won't, work it out in our hearts? 

Please, sisters...make it a priority to WORK it out. Stop comparing and start praising God for what He is doing in your life, not what you wish He would do. Rejoice when your friends see blessings and help them along this rocky road of life.
Don't be That Girl...who can't be happy in what God is doing for others because you want it.
Don't be That Girl...who can't be satisfied because someone skinnier or prettier is in the room.
Don't be That Girl...who says catty things to another because her kids look better behaved than yours.
Don't be that girl...who's behavior dishonors God. 

Don't be that girl that YOU wouldn't want to be friends with.

We are in this boat together, and it's such a better ride when we use our "oars" for rowing in sync rather than as clubs to beat each other down.

"Who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who among the angels is like the Lord? God is highly respected ...He’s more wonderful than all those who are around him." Psalm 89:6-7

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sometimes...I am so sentimental, I make MYSELF sick.

What a month! Tuesday I gave the keys back to my little house. And now I sleep in a room that isn't my own, in a bed I don't recognize, and looking out windows that hold no familiarity. How silly to love the change, but struggle with it at the same time.
We had no intention of moving out of our little Felida house until we bought a place back out in the country, where we could have our horses and dogs and the seclusion we love. "Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house..." and all that. We struggled with how small our house was, the bigger our family got the more we felt the difficulties of not having a dining room, or enough seating in the living room for when the kids came over.

But it was perfect for just Steve and I, and I loved my yard. So many pretty little things I had planted and watched grow.
* I could sit and picture Danny's long legs swallowing up the driveway as he came to say hello- bursting through the screen door and full of fun conversation.
* Caitlyn and Jazz riding bikes to the country store and eating disgusting things...just because they could.
* Spencer zipping down the drive on his bike to get a glimpse of his "true love"...loving and hurting for him yet wanting to grab a broom and sweep him away at the same time. 
* My kids running and laughing and playing and crying. Ping Pong, basketball, and everything that defines being a teenager.
 * Long talks snuggled up in blankets on the porch, watching the sun go down.
* Water fights, babysitting cousins, Little House on the Prairie marathons that made us laugh and cry all at the same time. 
* TAG girls lounging on my sofa and telling me their hearts, loving them all the more because of what God was doing through them...and they sometimes didn't even know it. 
* Parties and family and friends and joy.
* Hard memories too, ones that still sting.
But even that was difficult to let go because it defined a time in our lives where God did amazing things and proved again how faithful and loving He is in spite of us.

I think Jordan said it best, the day we moved the beds in and he recognized what was missing. "Mom, how weird is it that there are only two beds now." My man child, seeing the emptiness that happens as we grow up and move on. We are such nomads, he has moved a million times so it's no big deal. But every other time, he has had his sister right there next to him. Laughing as they pack treasures that hold wonderful memories. Having Nerf wars as they unpack and explore the new hiding places. But this time, there's no bed in the room next to his. There's no laughter from a crazy, fun, baby sister running in to show you an old picture she found. There's just being grown up. And starting something new.

I felt it best when I heard a knock at the door and opened it to find my daughter standing there.
"Why on earth did you knock, love? You know you can come right in."
"I don't have a key, Mom. This isn't my house."
Oh, you can imagine the tears.
So sentimental. It's actually pathetic.

But when God opens a door, it's a good thing to walk through it. So here I sit, finally having a minute to breathe...away from cardboard boxes, cleaning and painting, loading and unloading. And as different and odd as I feel, I can choose to thank God for all the blessings.

We have had guests that aren't sitting on the floor. Baby Bee has her own playroom where she can explore, chat with her angel fish, and rock with me as we read stories and make up fairy tales. We use to call our house "A Hobbit Hole" because it was so dark and wet, but this house is filled with light and openness.
The moment that I finally stopped crying about what was, and looking forward to what is was on Wednesday. A dear, sweet girl who was in my high school group- now so beautiful and grown up- stopped by to say hello and shine light and love into my day. It blessed my heart so much and gave me hope.
She has no idea how much God used her to slap me straight.
It gave me hope in the NEW memories we would make. The new adventures we will have and the new ways we can serve God. My address is just address. Nothing else has changed.

It helped that she brought me double chocolate brownies with a chocolate chip cookie topping. She knows me.

Thank you, Lord for the way you move us and shake up our world. Thank you for teaching us to "hold all thing lightly, and nothing tightly". I love you. The sun is shining, and this yard is CALLING my name. Flowers and weeds and rocks and dirt, I'm coming for YOU.

" Never stop reading this... Day and night you must think about what it says. Make sure you do everything that is written in it. Then things will go well with you. And you will have great success. Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave...Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.” Joshua 1:8-9
(One of my last memories of the old house, celebrating Bee and Spencer's birthdays. )

(No blog is complete without admiring this little cutie. She's ONE!)

Friday, February 21, 2014

A nice sabbatical...

(Pics are just for fun- little mini photo shoot Jazz wanted for Valentine's Day.)
After a little break from the blogging world, my son threw down on me and said "Please write a blog post, Mom"...and I have nothing to say.

Can you believe that? I always have something to say. I had decided to stop blogging this year due to my kids being "grown" and not wanting to embarrass them any more than I already do, so I have just been focusing on private journaling. But after they both said I had to write again and they missed it...I am not sure where to even begin.

My man child and his lady friend spent the evening reading through my blog book from 2008 (Blog to Print is a great site that will publish your blog in whatever format you design- I make them as keepsakes for my kids, the whole purpose to this blogging business originally) and it was so interesting to hear his take on it. He loved the post I wrote about him of course, "How do you tell your 13 year old son you LIKE him?" while others made him sad because he missed loved ones who aren't around anymore.

When I think about starting 2014, and all that has occurred I can't help but lift my hands up and say "Only You, God".
Only You, God, would think to make us sinful, crazy, loving, unique, and broken people into your special delight.
Only You, God, would beckon us to draw near to you through Jesus, the only one who truly has the RIGHT to be near you.
The grace and the kindness of the Lord is just too much sometimes.  I have no idea what this year is going to look like. I live in fear so much of the time- what next traumatic thing will happen, and other times I just don't give a rip. How can He put up with my fickleness and still WANT me to be near Him? Only You, God.

Reading through Galatians the last couple weeks just puts it beautifully:
"You are all children of God by believing in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ as if he were your clothes. There is no Jew or Greek. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. Because you belong to Christ Jesus, you are all one." Galatians 3:26-28

That's it. That simple. That AWESOME.
Only YOU, God, would make us One in such an amazing way. Thank you for that. 

This year bought a grandbaby who is now one years old. And it has me saying the same thing I did in 2008 when I looked at my 13 year old boy...Where did the time go?

Only by His grace can we live each day to smile, to cry, to love, to laugh. Only by His grace do we have any noteworthy moment, thought, or word. 

 I kind of love that.