Happy

I’m sitting here in early morning quiet on a Saturday reflecting on the last few weeks.  It has been a few weeks with what felt like thicker air pushing in on me making it more difficult to breath, focus, and hear the truth.  I struggled keeping my happy.  I found myself saying “Jesus” quietly to myself more often than I had in quite some time.  My heart hurt, and I couldn’t really put my finger on it.  Busy at work and lot’s of hours?, less sleep? exhausting myself with early morning work outs and evening runs?, fathers day is around the corner?…..  I believe it was a combination of all of the above.

Do you find your happy sometimes feels like it’s just snuffed out?  Does life feel great but then all of a sudden, for no reason, the air has gotten thick, the flame has been harder to burn, and you find yourself wanting to hide? Guess what.. that is life!?  It is totally normal!! God is with you, loving you, and whispering truth into you while Satan is using this time to try and win you to his lying layer.

When I struggle, or feel pressure squishing in on my heart, I tend to find a good Christian book and soak it up. That is exactly what I did last weekend.  I’m not sure why I have never read one of Lisa Harper’s books before, but I am hooked!  Last weekend I picked up her The Sacrament of Happy, What a smiling God brings to a wounded world. I can’t recommend this book enough.  I gobbled it up in two days.  It’s no accident I stumbled upon this book.  My heart needed it, my head needed it, but most importantly my spirit needed it.  I have since gone onto kindle and downloaded several more of her books!

Happy is a choice.  Happy is free.  Happy is infectious.  Happy is possible amongst pain, hurt, sadness.  I would like to encourage you today to find your beautiful smile, put a small skip to your step, and believe that you matter.  Try it for the first hour of the day… I promise you it will change the rest of your day!

While I waited

I get asked a lot “why did you wait?” or “how did you wait?”  I get asked this from people all over the board, both believers and not believers.  Both then and now, this question always pops up. While I was in my storm, I was shocked at how many bible believing Christians told me that he didn’t deserve me and that I shouldn’t be waiting for him, that it wasn’t healthy for me.  My only statement during times like this was “it’s really only up to God, he knows what I need”

I’m sitting here 3 and a half years later to tell you God truly knew what he was doing.  He had a plan.  Did I get my marriage back?  My family back?  Nope.  But I can look at the things he changed in me slowly during the two plus years I waited.  The list is endless… furthering my education, progress on my home for it’s possible selling (which is another subject in itself), incredible healthy changes in ways I truly never thought were possible for me,  lot’s and lot’s of time with my children, but most of all, my relationship with Jesus which changed so many other things in me and my children.

My relationship with Jesus changed the way I look at life on bad days, not just good days.  I’ve always had a saying… Attitude is Everything.  I lived it less and less the last few years of my marriage.  Now, I think it all the time.  When I’m stuck at work past my shift for the second day in a row, I figure if I smile and energize my step, it will pass quicker and I will have more fun… it works.  If my youngest son is struggling and raising his voice, I find a smile and a quick thanks that I am the one that was chosen to be his mom, is the quickest response.   It’s also the response that leads me to gratitude, leads my son out of frustration quick (because I’m not being a bossy yeller), which makes life easier for both of us.  This week I have worked 46 hours, and I still have a day of call ahead of me.  My son has had some difficult end of year tests, portfolios, and reading projects.  Yet it has been such a good week.  And I still love my job more than when I first started there.  I learned new things at work this week, and was commented to on more than one occasion what a great nurse I am.  I received calls from some of Nic’s teachers telling me how absolutely amazing he is doing.  Being happy, is fun.  It’s fulfilling.  And it is incredibly infectious.

The changes in my life during the time I waited, brought me to where I am.  I didn’t want to sell my home, I didn’t want to move.  But I learned to listen to God in the quiet that my life suddenly became.  I went back to school for my BSN, which this job required.  I worked on my house, small project at a time (hoping the fix ups were for me), and it helped the house to sell.  On my quiet nights and mornings I read…. oh a read a lot.  I soaked myself into book after book searching for help in my walk with Jesus.  I ran a lot when I hurt.  Running became my connection to Jesus.  I heard him best on runs.  I still do.  Fitness and Jesus go and hand in my life.

I don’t believe I would have found this job without a relationship with Jesus.  It wasn’t posted for the public.  It was an internal job.  I applied for a main OR job and this job was suggested to me by the recruiter… why, I have no idea.  My resume was handed to my now boss (again…. why?) who asked to visit with me.  She and several other girls in my department are runners.   They apparently all had commented on that portion of my resume.   I  met her, toured the department, and met the crew, after my interview in the main OR.  She wasn’t going to be able to open the job for an outside interviewer for 6 weeks per contract. I told her I would pray about it but that my gut was telling me  I couldn’t wait for 6 weeks for a “maybe” job.  I was unemployed and needed a guarantee now.   She already had an internal applicant she was hiring.  None of it sounded like it would work out.  So I was resolved to go with the main OR job and maybe someday, if pediatrics was meant to be for me it would open up.  Within less than a week I got a call for an interview…. how?  I was offered the job the next morning.  Again… how?  I know how….. God.  Slowly the changes he had made in me, brought me to this job, gave me time with my children, and changed me.  He moves mountains when the time is right.  He works miracles when necessary.

That is why I look back on my years of waiting, and I have only joy and gratitude for what it has given me.  Sure, I wish I was sitting here writing to you that our marriage was healed and our relationship is better for our storm.  I wish like crazy someday’s that this is not the path he took.  But I hold no anger toward him, only forgiveness and sadness.  His journey is his, while mine is mine.

God is Love

This memorial day weekend I have purposely made time to keep in mind all of the husband and wives without spouses, the children without parents or grandparents,  parents without children, and the grandparents without grandchildren…. all for the sacrifice of our nation, our freedom.  Freedom that we tend to take for granted.

There was one that sacrificed just as much, if not more, long before…. God.  He sent only son to die for sins of this world.  He loved us all so much, he wanted us all saved so badly, he sent his son to walk with us, teach us, and then die for us…..   Breath in that for a moment and then smile, because it’s for you he did this.  It’s for your neighbor, for the women that cheated with your husband, for the one that took your child from this world to early, for your co-worker that hurts you daily, for your parent that abused you.  God is love.  He wants everyone.  We all deserve forgiveness.

One thing I have really had reinforced to me over and over through this journey, is that EVERYONE deserves this forgiveness.  And it isn’t my choice how or who, nor is it yours.  This is to me the difference between religion and Jesus lovers.  Religion feels still feels to me as if there are boxes we must fit our beliefs in.  Follow certain rules and we belong. For those that don’t, they seem to be put down, ousted, or judged.  But this isn’t God or Love.  It is all over the bible to love.  Love your neighbor, love your enemy’s, love those that have hurt you.  Let God decide their fate while we pray for those that have hurt us.  Imagine a place where love was the first action, and to hate was foreign…..  I think about that a lot.

When someone cuts you off on the road, wouldn’t it be awesome if our first thought was to pray for them…. oh Lord, if they need your help please help them, if they need your peace or your calm right now, I ask you give it.  We have no idea what each other is walking through daily.  But if we each took God’s first and most basic rule to love… WOW.

This memorial day, I’m choosing to remember that while beaches are flooded with people, the roads are crowded with travelers, and backyard barbecues are being enjoyed by many… many many people are trying to wipe away their tears, trying to hold their head up high, and might be a bit distracted cutting someone off on the road accidently.  Because today is a reminder of everything they don’t get for yet one more year, so that we as a nation can be free.

In this same way, we should all remember this daily… because God sacrificed his son for all of us.  Jesus sacrificed himself.  Each time we spew hate, judgement, etc imagine his pain.

Finding Peace

So many things that I have felt the urge to write about lately.  Yet, my paper stays blank day after day.  Life is beyond what I would have ever thought it could be.  Writing about it feels like I am being so full of myself.  So as much as I want to share about joys all around me, I find myself just smiling and thanking God instead.

There isn’t anything really big going on in my life.  It’s the little things that really just make my heart soar.  Today for example, I spent the day hanging with my kids by the pool.   We swam, layed in the sun, swam some more, BBQ’d hot dogs, ate, and then swam some more.  Throughout the day numerous times I found myself smiling and so thankful for this opportunity to be present with my children.  The betrayal that Satan meant to drown me in this world, God used to save me.

Turquoise, her boyfriend, and I all went on a long walk this morning.  Somehow the conversation found it’s way to our lives then.  It’s hard for me to remember life then without pain.  It hurts, I want more than anything to show my two absent children how much I have changed.  I want to show my mother in law a Christ filled love and my confidence in that alone.  I want to be the girl then that I am now…. but that isn’t how life works.  I had a sign made for my sons room.  “Today I choose to be who I want to be” forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philipians 3:13.  It’s times like this, I take God’s advice.  I feel him whisper this verse to me, and I realize the truth.  I am who I am, because of who I was.  And that’s a lot to be thankful for.  God uses every good and bad thing to guide us.

Are you in  a rough patch?  Are you having a hard time that feels hopeless? Do you feel that the darkness won’t end.  Please listen to this simple truth.  Life will get easier.  Life will make more sense someday.  The darkness will end.  The real beauty of this difficult phase, is that God will use it to make good.  You just have to be willing to allow it.

Betrayal has changed me to the core.  I realize that I am still a broken mess.  I have a long ways to go still to heal.  I see a picture of him (Fishy)… and nauseating pain slams into me still.  But I am at peace knowing I am God’s beautiful mess, and he’s not done with me yet.

Sad

These last few weeks have been filled with conflict. Sad, yet happy and joyous. I can’t put a finger on it. Life is good. I find blessings daily. And I know without a doubt, I’ve got the best father in the world guiding me. As I’m planning final details on an amazing trip, I’m filled with mixed emotions. I can only think it’s because I am leaving behind two children. Two of my loved littles. Two individuals I miss daily, I’m torn.  I miss them so much. I balance between a feeling okay with it, and falling apart in my pillow. Feeling like this is right, and knowing this is wrong. Wanting to move on, and being scared to do so without them. Love…. that’s my answer every time I pray… love them.

The “God Thing”

Don’t believe life is easy by what you may see on the internet.  Don’t believe someone else has it better than you because of some simple pictures.  Keep in mind, no parent is going to snap a picture of their 3 year old throwing a fit being drug out of the grocery store.  Why???  Because it’s not the memories they want to remember.  We as parents, want to remember only the good.  We as parents want to love despite.  So if you are having a rough day with a terrible two year old…. rest assured ,we all have been there.

In this same exact way that we love our kids and show off their happy smiles, and their puddle stomping enthusiasm in the rainstorm.  God loves us and shows off our happy spirits.  He doesn’t focus on the bad days sharing it with the world and making an educational point of it.  He takes our good deeds, our joy that flows from us, and our love…. and he shares it with the world in ways we often don’t even recognize.  It’s his form of social media.  He touches others with our overflowing love and positive spirit.  He inspires others with our actions.

I was recently told by a friend.  “you are a great mom!  I look at everything you and your kids have been through and they are not only happy but thriving”  Another friend said, “I hope you stay working here for a long time because you are such a good mommy mentor”

My initial reaction was to put myself down with each of these comments and to explain to them how I truly was not that good.  How I only had two of my four kids in my life and how that alone can’t possibly characterize myself as a good mom.  I wanted to let them know all the mistakes I have made.  But I paused and said quietly “Jesus, give me the words” while forcing  a smile to acknowledge the compliment.  Do you know what… I was filled with such warmth and goosebumps… yep, Goosebumps.  And I felt my response change.  In both circumstances I found a “Thank you” escape my mouth.  I realized how true their statements were.  My kids are thriving…. beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  I also found myself sharing that I’m not perfect, I have made more than my share of mistakes.  And without Jesus, I would be nothing for my kids.

One friend laughed because I explained that my children watched me do life before and after the “God Thing”.  She said “The God thing huh?”  She’s a believer and thought it funny that I would explain it in such a way.  But once I explained to her that yes…. before, I used to walk the walk everyone expected of a Christian mom.  I took my kids to church, I tried to be a good person, kept my house clean, spent time with my family, adapted to my husbands wants and desires setting aside my own…. all like a good Christian wife and mom.  But the entire time I was missing the one thing that was the reason for it all.  I was missing the God thing.  I was acting out the way the world painted Christian women to be.  And inside I was terribly miserable.  My kids suffered, my marriage suffered, my relationships suffered.

I look back on that girl and I feel bad for her.  I feel bad for her children.  But I look at her now and I am inspired.  Yep, I inspire myself sometimes!  My oldest, Teal, recently told me, “Mom, I have learned so much from your mistakes”.  Though this doesn’t sound like it, this comment made my heart sing.  As my relationship has grown in God, so has hers.  As I have taken my worries to God, so has she.  As I have found a positive in all circumstances, so has she.  So I guess I don’t feel so bad for that miserable mom I was in my past.  Because everything I was then, has shaped and brought not only me to where I am now.  It has shaped my daughter into a beautiful, radiant, Jesus girl!

Lay your bad days to rest, lay your bad weeks to rest.  Don’t rehash the lie that you are alone and somehow doing something wrong.  Remember that God can use all circumstances for good.  Your messy day, may lead to your biggest joy later.  It is never to late to find peace in his arms.  If you want to doubt that ask yourself, would it ever be too late for your children to find love in yours?  There is truth in the one thing we all need in order to really thrive and find joy.  It’s the God Thing.

The Shack

Amazing is the first word that comes to mind when I watched this movie.  Although, like always… the book was WAY better!

My first thought when I read the book was “Wow, this author has truly walked with God”  There is no other way to explain the comparison of the story written before me, to the life I have lived and learned to depend on the last few years.  God is love, God is forgiveness, God does not make bad things happen.  But boy oh boy will he turn these bad things from our worldly choices into good.

I wake up every morning and chat with God before even putting my feet on the ground.  I pray for my patients that I will interact with in the coming day.  I pray for my children, my ex-husband, and the other girl.

I used to find that I had to pray for her several times, just to keep peace in my heart and forgiveness at the front of my mind.  Other times, I noticed it had been days since I felt the urge to pray for her.  When God spoke in the story about forgiveness and sometimes the need to offer it several times a day, I had an inward smile at how true that statement is.  There were days that my prayers were me literally begging God to help me do just that.  I would be so hurt, so crushed, so angry…. I couldn’t do it alone.  But God heals.  These days I pray that her heart be open to the true grace of God.  To his eternal love and forgiveness.  To repentance and joy…. not just joy from a fun day, or a new gift.  Joy that is indescribably incredible in so many ways.  Joy that fills your heart with peace, direction, and love.  Joy that makes a permanent residence in your heart and squishes out any room for guilt, fear, or worry.  That my friends, is my prayer for her.  My personal thoughts of the person she is, the hatred I have for her are slowly washing away.  She deserves God’s love and peace just as much as I.  But it comes at a cost, a huge cost in the moment, but looking back- not so huge, a cost to give up everything we want that’s worldy, and follow the truth.  It’s a hard road at first.  It’s facing a lot of things I think we all want to pretend don’t exist.  But friends, it is worth it!  Trust me.

I’ve walked both lives.  The worldly one seeking…… constantly seeking, to find joy.  I would find happiness in spots and think I had found it, but the gloom and doom always followed.  I would move past bad decisions and pretend they didn’t happen when life was good again.  All of this building up a web of tangled thoughts and a mess.  A mess that I have now worked though day by day, person by person, and I am proud of.  A mess that I call me.  Learning, struggling, and clinging to the one truth…. God is with me.  I’ve walked both lives, and I won’t go back to the first.  I will never go back to the mysteries of the world.

If you are struggling in your faith.  If you find yourself angry at God for the pain you have endured.  If you think life is unfair.  If you think you are somehow unworthy of God’s love.  If you have no idea how, but you want to follow the truth.  Please watch The Shack.  Please read The Shack.  The story does such a good job of answering the hard questions.  It Reminds you of God’s love for everyone…. yes EVERYONE.

My heart is full

I’ve recently spent two days back in my small town of Tillamook.  I’ve enjoyed multiple visits with dear friends.  My heart is full.

Leaving Tillamook last June was a huge jump.  It was a tough one.  I battled a lot with myself to whether I was supposed to go.  I prayed and prayed and argued with God.  One day I was excited, the next I was scared to death!  I was selling everything, and making a jump to another town, a city…. and starting all over.

Some days I was so angry with both of them.  Why did I have to move.  Why was it me, I didn’t do any of this.  Why do I have to be the one to sell my beautiful home, and move.  Why do I have to leave my church that has given me so much comfort. Why do I have to quit my job I love and start over. Why do I have to give up even more……

Sometimes, my inner thoughts aren’t all that nice.  Sometimes I think I sound like a selfish teenager to God.  Thankfully his love for us is more than our selfish thoughts.

But I did dutifully sell most of my belongings.  I did load up the rest, and I relocated my children and I starting over with a new home, a new job, and a fresh start, just as God was pushing me.

God knows best.  Always, every time without a doubt.  The blessings that he has been pouring over me and my little family just continued.  I wasn’t alone on this move, he was with me.  I wasn’t alone relocating and starting over.  It was actually just another step toward my healing.

I had a great job that I loved.  I now have an amazing job that I LOVE!  I have found my nitch.  Working with kids wasn’t ever going to be an option rural.  Working with kids is my thing!  Have I mentioned I love my job???

I wasn’t selling my home and starting over.  I brought my home with me.  Home is in my heart, it’s what I make it.  Home is wherever my children and I are.  It’s the love we all share… the hugs after work.  the “I love you” and “I love you too” we share multiple times throughout the day.  It’s the helping hands we offer each other to empty the dishwasher, clean the house, feed the dogs, make our meals.  It’s the laughter that we all share all the time now.  That is my home, and that will be anywhere I go in life.

I spent some time at the hospital in my old unit yesterday visiting with so many people I miss.  I hugged and laughed and reminisced with so many.  And I walked away happy to have them all in my life, but so relieved that I am no longer working in that facility with my heavy heart and heavy burden.   My story, my pain, my heavy heart… it did not follow me to my new employment.  That I am thankful for.  My oldest was with me on this visit back.  And we both walked away looking at the building and saying, I am so glad this is not where we are anywhere.  Thank you Jesus, thank you for knowing what we needed and pushing me.  Thank you for loving us and our family and continually helping us grow.

We stopped by our favorite anesthesiologists house.  Teal was anxious to see her favorite “littles” and I was anxious to see my favorite anesthesiologist.  To this day, I mentally compare all of the providers I work with to him.  I work with some great ones, but none like him, he taught me so much.  And we talked so much about the small homesteading dreams, I miss this.  He was getting into it as I was leaving it.  It was so heart warming to wander around his property and see his excitement showing me the different things he’s been working on, and the dreams he is looking to.  I am so thankful for Fishy and the years we raised our children in that setting.  I am so thankful that I had that piece of time.  It was always a dream of mine, and I had it.  But I am thankful it is over.  I am thankful for where I am now.  Walking distance to shopping and food.  Short drive to work.  Things are open past 8 at night.  I love where I am.  But I love where I was, and where I have been as well.

So today I wake up, and feel my heart so full.  I’m not sure where I would be today without Jesus.  The thousands of hugs I feel from him daily.  The love he pours out on me continuously.  The pain he has taken, and the blessings he has given.  It is so true to say that God doesn’t make bad things happen, but he sure does create a lot of good out of the bad.  So many things my kids and I wouldn’t have without him, without having left.  Without our storm.

 

Tithing 

I’m now entering the third month of a 90 day Challenge to tithe 10 percent of my income.  I have always given, but never 10 percent. And never first. That check was sadly the last I wrote. Only after all the bills were paid. 

For 90 days I am promising to tithe first, then save, then pay bills. I can’t explain to you to number of times I have felt joy and peace financially over the last 60 days. Money has been handed to him and financial peace has followed. 

I have so much more on this topic. So more to come. But I am writing now to encourage others. Take the 90 day Challenge. Hand over your finances. Let him give you a break and deep breath. A taste of freedom from such a worldly restraint. 

Weathering the storm- one day at a time