Sunday, September 28, 2008

Giving Up

Today I tried. I tried to look for a higher purpose in all the stuff I'm going through. I tried to believe it'll all be worth it someday. I tried to tell myself that God will get glory through my situation, whatever THAT means. (Right now it just seems like a dumb churchy phrase that we say when we don't know any answers.)

I tried to help myself not feel so bad about leaving this city. I tried to help myself not feel so bad about still being here when my kids are already in Florida.

I tried to make myself believe that I will somehow get through all this. I tried to make myself believe that I'm still going to do something of value in this life.

I tried. But it didn't work.

Because right now I can't. I can't believe any of that, and even if I could... it's not enough. It doesn't stop the hurting.

I'll tell you what I know. I know that there may be NO reason I'm going through all this crap. I could very well be screwing up my life. I know I never anticipated this kind of pain in my heart, and I never anticipated wanting to give up on God.

BUT I also know this... I know He's with me. I know He's in me. I know He isn't scared of my unbelief, and He's plenty enough to make up for my weakness. I know He's never going to leave me, and that He loves me completely, and that He picked me for His own.

Beyond that, I got nothin.

Nothin but Jesus.

So He and I went shoe shopping. We also found some Calvin Klein jeans on sale. And a cute sweater. And we bought Irresistable Apple shower gel and lotion at Bath & Body Works to get us through until we get to Lakeland and Christy makes us something yummy-smelling to bathe in.

We had fun. We put down the pain for a while and it was just us. And I didn't have to understand, I didn't have to say anything at all. Just us. Giving up isn't so bad, I guess.

Now we're gonna go hang with some friends. See ya'll later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Every doggie dies famous...

Funny story:

Tonight after church I decided to go for a walk. I know walking alone in the dark isn't all that safe, but the delicious breeze was too much of a comfort to pass up. So I'm walking around my neighborhood and I hear this insane yelling. A man's voice, an angry man's voice is screaming out into the night. My heart starts pounding faster thinking "I knew I shouldn't be out here. Someone's about to get killed and I'll be a witness."

I pressed on anyway, and rounded the corner. I kept looking as I got closer to the screaming to see if it was 2 guys in a fight or a domestic situation or what. As I walked toward the ruckus, I began to be able to understand what the angry man was yelling.


Oh yes, you know it. I soon walked up on a grown man outside in his shorts and nothing else trying to catch the biggest, goofiest dog ever. Named Precious.


Precious lumbered over to him slowly and he didn't let up. He let her have it all the way in the house. "Precious! You git back here! You got me out here makin' all kind of noise. Got me out here yellin'! You better git in here now!"

I went on with my walk, pretending I never saw or heard dog man yelling. But it was a great performance.

This leads me to two conclusions:

1) Rednecks are everywhere.
2) When one purchases a dog, one must accept the inevitability of standing outside in your underwear at night yelling for the dog. Name it something you wouldn't be embarrassed to scream at the top of your lungs. Mr. Wiggles probably wouldn't be a great choice. Neither would Armageddon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where did my day go?

Wow, Monday! You got away from me! My favorite day of the week was so busy I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I usually do. I kicked off a new week today after an especially busy weekend, which probably added to the whirlwind.

Had an AWESOME time in DeFuniak Springs with the Women of Hope conference at Glendale Presbyterian Church. I love that place. I wish I could take it with me. There are some major things being done right at that place. I love it!!

Had a fun Sunday morning with my Riverside fam, and then a fun Sunday afternoon at St. Francis Villa's Ice Cream party, and then an even funner Sunday evening with my framily. (FUNNER IS THE ONLY WORD FOR IT) I love my framily.

Tonight I'm settling in and going to bed early. There are a million things I should be getting done, but tonight....

I ain't.

(Finch, the ain't was fer yew, m' friend.)


Oh, wait! I have to celebrate some of today's beautiful things. Leftover giggles from last night, a haircut, dinner rolls with butter, phone calls, and passion tea from Starbucks.

Ok, now g'night.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Takin' it Home

It's been quiet on the blogfront lately. The last days have been a little complicated, and a lot dramatic.

A decision has been made. It's one I've been wrestling with for a while and after many discussion, many tears, and some loud sobbing, I've come to a conclusion. In a few weeks I'll be moving to my hometown of Lakeland, FL. The kids and I will be living in my Grandmother's home, and they will be enjoying one of the most beautiful places in the world for kids to be raised.

There are layers and layers of complex feelings about this choice for me. I'm absolutely broken in two to be leaving my beloved Riverside Church. My Framily. The greatest pastor that ever was. In fact I'm fairly sure I am being torn apart since a large piece of my heart will always be here. Truthfully, a huge reason I've resisted this choice is that I wasn't sure my heart could stand another wound like this. I wasn't sure I could absorb another break right now. I still have no idea how I'll stand it.

I'm also ready. I think God's about to take it up a notch between Him and me. Seems funny, since I'll be stepping away from nearly all the stuff I do for Him. But that in itself, that stripping away of all the "stuff" all the activity that I engage in on His behalf, all the roles that define who I am in His kingdom... that will be a new level of intensity in my relationship with God. I won't be able to hide behind the stuff I do and the roles I play, and rely on those things to reassure me of who I am before God. I will have to discover who I am, really, without any roles whatsoever in the church. IS ANYONE ELSE FREAKING OUT ABOUT THAT???? WHAT DO GOOD CHRISTIAN GIRLS LOOK LIKE WITHOUT CHURCH JOBS??? DO I EVEN EXIST WITHOUT MINISTRY WORK????

Know what that means? That means me and God, acres of land, a front porch with rocking chairs, and hours to spend talking about.... hmmm... well, if we aren't talking about what songs are being played Sunday and what needs are in my small group, and what ministry event is coming up next, what rehearsal, what group meeting... then WHAT WILL WE SAY???? Does this mean that God might want to just sit with me a while? Does it mean He might rock me in one of those rocking chairs and just let me be? Does it mean He might make me wrestle some monsters? Does it mean I might have to let Him just love me for me... poor, crazy, unworthy me? Of course, I know He does love me for me, I think I believe that anyway. But it's easier said than lived out, especially when I've always had plenty of good "stuff" goin' on for God. You know, just in case He ever needed a reason to want me as His girl, I've always been busy making sure there were plenty of reasons. I know that in reality those reasons are filthy rags. But they still make me feel better. And now, with no more reasons, I'll have to fall completely on the grace of God and find out what it's like to be loved extravagantly, undeservedly, unreservedly, and I'll be utterly without ability to give anything in return. Which is where, in reality, I already am. However, right now I've got lots of nice distractions to help me avoid the conscious awareness of where I really stand.

I told you there were complex layers of feeling.

This is going to be an adventure.

If you're ready, I'm ready. Stay with me. We're about to take it home. We're about to look Grace in the face. I'm about to take some of the valuable things I've learned over the last few years and test them in a major way.

Feels like I'm at the top of a roller coaster ride and about to plummet down the steep incline. Oh well... my arms are in the air, I may be screamin my head off, but I'm ready to take this ride. Let's Go...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Train Track Philosophy

In the middle of my life's chaos, I've decided to get a little philosophical. Call it twelve hours alone in a car with plenty of time to think, but I've been doing some wondering about the way I've chosen to live my life. It's true that my life is radically different than it was this time last year. And some of those differences cause me to question decisions I've made and ideas I've always taken for granted. One thing in particular is the "fishbowl" type lifestyle I've always had because of "who I was" in the church.

Someone very smart told me a little diddy that got my thoughts stirring even more. I'm telling it to you the way it was told to me:

"I'm not allowed to blow the whistle
Not allowed to drive the train
But let the bitch fall off the track
And watch who gets the blame."
(Advice courtesy of Very Smart Individual, original author unknown)

Hmmm... I realize this little quip probably came out of someone's frustration with some corporate heirarchy, or some type of situation like those we all find ourselves in, where we have little control and a lot of responsibility. But for me, it has some interesting implications.

Since I was very young, I've aspired to live not just a good life, but a great one. I still do. But somewhere along the way, I got the idea that "greatness" looked a certain way. I also bought the idea that greatness looked a whole lot like what church people interpret as greatness. In other words, I let the assumed rules and regs of the religion I was raised in begin directing my life's choices. For me as a ministry wife and a person who wants to do big stuff for God, too, those rules and regs are pretty intense.

A discussion with Very Smart Individual helped me see it a different way. Through the eyes of someone who has never put stock in the rules of my religion. It has a way of making me question what life choices I've made as a result of my true heart, my true passion, and what is really going on between God and me. It's left me wondering what choices I've made more out of others' expectations, or even my own expectations adopted for no other reason than to make myself look good to the people I wanted to or felt I had to impress.

Seems to me, especially now that most of my "status" or my identity within the church is very different, it's time to evaluate some things. Perhaps it's time to let go of pleasing people or progressing within a denomination. Perhaps it's time I didn't care as much about what other people think as I do about what God thinks. (He's been known to do some out-of-the-box things, ya know.) Perhaps it's time to reconsider who and what is driving my train, maybe even the track it's on.

These are slightly scary thoughts, but mostly I'm feeling total relief at the idea that I can make life choices based on a much simpler philosophy than ever before. Namely: Do what God puts in me to do, what He's built into me (some of that I may not have even considered yet because I've let other people tell me what it should be)... and that's it. No worrying about who gets the blame... it's always been me anyway. Might as well be driving this train for the right reasons.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


OK, so I spent today driving from Lakeland to New Orleans. Unfortunately, minus my babies. They are remaining in Lakeland for a couple of weeks since electricity and some sewer situations are sketchy here. However, it's back to work for me.

So since there is no electricity at my home, I'm sleeping at work. Never a dull moment in my life. But, as always, there are many blisses. Here are a few:

*76 degree weather for at least half of my drive. Which I thoroughly enjoyed with the windows down, singing Reba McIntyre's "Fancy" at the top of my lungs. I know ALL the words. All the 4x4 truck drivers were impressed.
*The precious saint who cleaned the food out of my refrigerator. Absolutely NO stink in my house when I arrived. Thank you, whoever you are!!! Your heavenly crown is practically gaudy by now.
*The smell of pine. Real pine. Coming from the trees.
*Rock Star coffee drinks. Only 50 calories.
*Two, count 'em, TWO girls nights with my Christy!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav Schmustav

Just a quick post letting you know I just got an image on my cell phone of my house, which looks to be in excellent shape. So there, Gustav!!

The kids and I are in Lakeland, Florida. Having a jolly old time visiting family and hanging out. We will be headed home sometime soon. Not exactly sure of our ETA.

For now, it's time to celebrate. Because frankly, my first trip to Lakeland since the dark days of last November and December, plus another potential storm disruption to my life, had me pretty much at the end of my mental and emotional rope. Still there.

But one small victory... my home is still in good shape. My framily is safe. So YAY! I can go on that for a while.