7.02.2011

honest... but hopefully not depressing

Hopefully its not too depressing, but its gonna be honest. That's good, right? Transparency and honesty.
I'm behind on some blog posts. You wouldn't have known that if I hadn't told you, but its driving me crazy. I hate getting behind on downloading pictures and journalling out about fun day trips and such we've had. I guess I'll get to those next week.

Its been a rough week. On many different fronts. I find myself at the end of the day thankful for only a few things and I hate when I'm only thankful for a few things.
I usually drift off to sleep thankful for Jason, my kids, my Mom and my church.

The older I get, the more I realize I do not handle stress well. Which is funny because I get told by people all the time {including my husband!} "you can handle so much stress SO well!" - come join me inside my brain and heart sometime. I apparently 'handle' it fine on the outside, while slowly melting down on the inside. I'm sure there's a medical term and some pills for that.

The past few months have been months of God teaching me a lot about my need to control my life circumstances and also {the good part} that prayer is truly powerful.
Asking the Almighty God of the universe to take the issues at hand and completely remove them from my grip is so freeing. And yet its so often the last thing I do! Sometimes I act like Kara, when she's trying to do something all by herself and she goes at it for so long, struggling, complaining, even crying or screaming out at the thing she's trying to control. Then finally, as if it just occurs to her, we hear "Mommy can you please help me?" in this worn out, quiet, pathetic voice. I'm convinced I look so much like Kara through God's eyes. If only my faith would be more childlike :)

I've been so over-the-top thankful for our church; for our church family there and for the faith in Christ I see. For walking-talking-living-breathing God's truths. I love that you can see Jesus shining in and through them Monday-Saturday and not just on Sunday morning. Not just when their "church faces" are on.
I love that in the midst of me telling my friend how completely emotional and crazy the past few months have been and the next couple of months are shaping up to be, she stopped me mid-sentence and said "lets pray! these are things God wants you to give to Him." ... and there she began asking GOD to give me peace, to remind me of His faithful promises and to show Himself to me in new ways.

I almost thought about leaving a disclaimer that I do not believe people at our church are perfect, or that our church is by any means the most amazing church... but then I told myself that would be silly. You already know I don't think that. Just thankful for where God has placed us, what He's been teaching us and how He's used His image bearers to buey me up in ways I hadn't even imagined.
Someone recently told me that they're happy to see the love that surrounds me and I found myself smiling at that, because that love they see is God. Its not just a universal feeling of peace or happiness we can attain on our own. Its not because Stefanie is so easy to love or has good karma following her wherever she goes, or a good & faithful husband, or a network of friends that truly care for us and love us. All of that good stuff is God - except the karma part {that's a load of you-know-what}.

Today though, was one of those days I felt like I was at battle with my own body and mind. I felt like every ten minutes I was over in a quiet corner praying, telling myself to snap out of it, to trust in the Lord, to stop showing my kids how completely doubtful I am. To start showing my husband in very practical ways that I love him and won't fall apart when life gets hard and that I won't make him regret marrying into my crazy family ;-)

*The week consisted of getting some very bad news and being reminded, once again, there's nothing I can do about it {if you know me at all, you know that's hard for me to come to grips with}
*It consisted of us getting down to the wire, eager for pay day because if we needed to buy apples or milk, we didn't have the money for it. Yes, trips to CA do drain us completely {gas for the whole trip was over $700}, but we don't regret a second of it and are thankful that soon, the debt will be gone and we won't be slaves to it!
*It consisted of me assuming too much and getting all freaked out based on those assumptions.
*It consisted of me deeply hurting a friend's feelings via email.
*feeling so moody and out of sorts, my eyebrows are having a hard time going back from the downward, evil witch position.
*being told that starting Tuesday morning I have to have the house ready by 9am, everyday, for it to be viewed by prospective buyers and being prepared to be gone most of Sunday for open house.
*remembering that we're not having a baby this October... this hits me like brand new information probably once a week :(
*Feeling like my kids selective hearing has now gone to NO hearing capabilities at all, whatsoever.

I could go on, but there you have it. It was one of those weeks where at the end of it, when I stop and read verses like Ephesians 4:2-4 I am completely overwhelmed with quilt and shame, but then quickly followed up with a renewed sense of hope and peace.
 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. “ 
God is a God of peace. Heaven will be free from strife, free from sin, free from guilt and shame. But filled with God's glory. 
This week I told Jason more than 1 time "I find myself longing for Heaven so much more than I ever have before." - not in a 'I'm gonna go kill myself' way at all, but just in ways that God is showing me this place is not my forever home. I'm on a journey and have a home so much more amazing and glorious to look forward to. 
But that stinging feeling in my heart is the reminder that I need to run this race well and finish this journal with all diligence, because I want to hear "Well done, my faithful servant." I want to know that my life was lived out in ways that brought glory to God; in ways that reflected His Kingdom to those around me. I'm not here so I can navel gaze and live out a life of chaos and emotional confusion and misery because I keep forgetting who's in control and who's promised me help when I ask for it {Matt. 7:7} 
I want to be busy doing God's work and not busy trying to make myself comfortable and in a constant state of ease. I cannot imagine how much lack of growth would come from a life like that! 
The Lord in His wisdom uses trials to build us up. To make our spiritual skin stronger; able to withstand even threats and emotional distress of all kinds- knowing God is my ever present helper and strong tower. He gives me an escape from sinful situations always, He wants me to seek after wisdom as gold, to love and promote  righteousness, to find His commands faithful and pure, to trust in Him when He tells me He will take care of my every need. He feeds the birds of the air and cares for their needs.... why do I make the mistake of thinking He can't properly care for me? 
So after a calm and quiet family day and a beautiful sunset walk to the park, I'm anxious for church tomorrow. I want to be in God's house with His people, singing praises to Him and having His Word poured out into my soul. I'm feeling renewed and strengthened after some much needed, quiet time in prayer. Thank you Lord, for always drawing me back; for reminding me that Your yolk is easy and your burden is light. I love You. 
Thank you for giving me these beautiful, good gifts. You are my light and my salvation. In whom shall I fear?! 

8 {comments}:

heynowhannah said...

I love how heartfelt this is. You write really beautifully. I've known your blog was here but for some reason I haven't actually read it... Well, you have a new reader. Your honesty is a beautiful thing.

Erin said...

Aw Stef! I hope this week will be better & you will be refreshed. I feeling crazy right now. But, I promise I will write to you soon (as in a week or two!)

Nini said...

Thanks for your honesty. And know you are not alone in these thoughts or feelings. Thankfully we're not supposed to do life on our own. Jesus didn't, why do we think we need to!? I will be praying for you as I think of it!!

Jessica said...

I also love how heart-felt this is!! I'm so sorry it's been rough for you. I always find it hard to adjust after getting off vacation mode and it sounds like you've been given a double dose of hardship. :( BUT your perspective is so refreshing & encouraging despite all that!!

::::HUGS!!!:::

Stef said...

Welcome Hannah! I enjoy your blog too, so glad to have you :)

Thanks girls. Your encouragements are awesome.

wedogmomma said...

..." in this worn out, quiet, pathetic voice. I'm convinced I look so much like Kara through God's eyes. I think He loves you even more for noticing Kara with such devotion!

In your weakness friend.....I see so much Jesus!
And I love that you're not afraid to show it. In those moments I think God is teaching through you and inspite of you......
There is a lot on your plate...and I'm praying for you. For sanity, for peace, and mostly for clarity.
You are loved!

insideoutjill said...

Thank you for being so real. I think of you often and pray for you. God is faithful to give us the grace we need for each moment. Cling to it.
xoxo

Stef said...

Thank you for your prayers!

 

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