What Applause Are You Living For?

2 months…. TWO LONG MONTHS. Since I have posted. I was in the middle of a series- that I will finish in Gods time (he is …. I know he is… working with me on the words for part 3 and 4). Posts that have been outlined – but I let fear in. I let it in my marriage, my parenthood, my writing, my bible study, my teaching… and probably even my driving. I let a small fear of not being good enough filter into all areas of my life. Below I share a video and post I put on Facebook – that I also wanted to share with readers that aren’t on the Facebook.

I have been hiding a bit. I had a really bad ankle injury and 4 weeks later am just beginning to get back in my normal routine. It also made me realize how quickly I went from being ahead in work, at home, with this project – to being behind. Truthfully- I was feeling a bit defeated. I was (and still am) tired. Just that time of year … right…

I spent lots of time reflecting, resting, listening this weekend… I reminded myself I felt way more defeated years ago. I was still an AP and I was begging the Lord for a way out. At the time, I was the main provider for my family so I also felt kinda stuck. This continued for quite sometime. It wasn’t until a friend – asked how I was praying…. what was my prayer routine, did I journal ….I realized it was all wrong. She shared a prayer journaling method. I also attended a “retreat” with my HEARD and we really dove into the movie War Room and prayer. So, I prayed allot to find a new path. Prior to this, I NEVER prayed at work- to start the day, during the day, during a situation. I think as a public school employee I had trained my brain to keep Christ out of school. Well that changed. I prayed to work, at work, over my office, over the classrooms, on the way home from work, and while I drifted to sleep. I asked for wisdom and guidance for better balance, I asked for strength to accept my limits and lay the rest down at his feet. My world changed… my job didn’t in the least. My perspective did. Even though I am way better at it today than I used to be – I still can fall. LUCKILY he provides grace. During my reflection, studying, and being still recently- I found this video (linked below). It is geared towards teachers- but I PROMISE you WILL be able to apply it at your work place or your life too. WATCH – you will not be disappointed. https://youtu.be/uDAFEImfULg

“Live for the applause of the nail scared hands.”

WOW … let that sink in.
#ImNotCryingYouAre

Part 2: Release and Surrender

If you missed part one, I would take a minute to get the background. Click Here.

So now I was rested, at least physically. I would love to say I woke and kneeled down, bowed down in prayer and truly released it to God.

Prior to this storm I was in, I accepted God as my Lord and Savior…. BUT I never really surrendered ANYTHING. No challenges. No storms. No expectations. No stress. No uncertainty. My faith walk was strengthening – but I was avoiding, hiding from my biggest weakness. Control. I continued with my plans, in my way.  I have always been a problem solver, so I just assumed, strike that, believed all of these earthly challenges were presented for me to solve, for me to tread water, and for me to find the path. My natural desire to control all pieces. Surrendering wasn’t part of my vocabulary, it wasn’t in my perceived make-up. I thought I was “gifted” with the talent to problem solve, therefore, I must problem solve E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

This storm. This moment. This pain. This uncertainty… I didn’t have the brain power or energy to begin to process and problem solve.

I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. (Psalm 77:1-2)

This Psalm captures where I was. I kept picturing Jesus in the boat sleeping through the storm. I understood where the bewilderment of the followers came from. In my brain, I knew I wasn’t walking alone. My heart wasn’t so sure.

One afternoon, just me and my youngest. Struggling was an understatement. I was finding difficulty in just making a bowl of cereal for him. I remember, feeling so defeated. Feeling so unsure. Feeling so angry for giving the enemy power over my now questioning faith. Feeling so low, I just wanted to lay down and hide. Watch life from a distance.  As I stood in the kitchen, I felt like a was living a movie scene. A scene where they are in close to the damsel in distress, around the boarders of the screen, are all these mini scenes of things happening around them. They are physically there- but it is all just going on around the close up. I remember dropping to my knees so hard and the physical pain shot up and awoke some the numbness. I cried, a cry I can’t describe. I called out – I literally yelled “Lord I need you, I know in my brain you are with me. But I need something anything to know you hear my cries. You hear my heart. That you are guiding me. I just can’t do this. I don’t know how to do this. Something anything. I know I shouldn’t be asking this, well demanding this. But I need something or I am not sure I will be able to literally pick myself up off this floor.” Without even having the words fully out and ready to keep pleading I was interrupted by a text. I wanted to throw my phone out the window. I was angry for being interrupted. I was angry for the enemy getting another “point” in this game we were playing. I picked up and turned over the phone. A past co-worker had texted. “Hoping you are doing well. You were on my mind this morning during my quiet time and I wanted to check in” I still cry at the thought of this moment. Now, I had a close prayer group and a couple family members that knew what was going on. They checked in regularly. This person He used, this timing, was ALL GOD. He used her-  because those who knew, if used, could have slapped me upside the head and I still would have missed the message. I sobbed. I was laying prostrate. I was praising Him for his timing. His love shown by granting a demand, giving in to little ole me. I finally picked myself up. Made that bowl of cereal. I would love to say the true surrender to God, happened in this moment. I can be a bit slow. My faith was secure again. BUT only secure in believing I am a problem solver and I must be missing something that I needed to do.

A few weeks later, I was finding a way to re-do life daily. I wasn’t living much past day to day. One weekend, my husband, canceled on going golfing. This was HUGE. He lived and breathed golf for most of his life. My already broken heart, broke into smaller pieces. He shared his desire to run from everyone and everything. His desire to get out of our way. He desired to stop impacting our lives. His belief we were all better off without him. He believed I could handle both our son and step son alone. I don’t even know where or what words came to me, but after hours of talking, he agreed to go to the doctor. I knew this bout of depression was so so much more than in the past. I was angry again, why was our marriage being attacked. We had survived so much at this point. I still refused to surrender.

Now a few months from the start, we had made some progress at the doctors. On the surface. But he still wanted to run. He wanted to run from earth. He had lost his way on his faith walk. He didn’t feel he deserved that road. He was struggling to make it through work. He wasn’t great at responding to phone calls or texts. This eye of the storm, seemed calmer, but it was darker. It was filled with his lack of desire to keep going. It was filled with my running home to check on him before picking my youngest up. I was determined if I couldn’t fix this, I would at least control how I may find him and who was with me. One afternoon, I came to check on him after unanswered texts and calls. He wasn’t home, just busy at work. I fell again hard to my knees. I held my hands up, I cried, I pleaded with the Lord to help me to FULLY release and surrender this storm. I asked for wisdom on how to firmly focus on Him and not the storm. I asked Him to help slow my brain and to find peace in this crazy storm until HE choose to calm it. I asked for help to put back on His armor and block these mind games the enemy was playing. I confessed that I now realized that the waves crashing in on me wasn’t that He didn’t care, that He didn’t hear, but He was waiting for me to truly trust Him in my heart. I confessed all my perceived weaknesses. I asked for wisdom to reveal weakness I needed to address.

I can’t report that the storm ended immediately. We were still in for a long road. But a weird peace came while treading through the rough waters. The fog lifted and I began living with eyes on the clear blue sky.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

… To be continued in Part 3: Restoration and Grace. 

 

September 2019 Journal Challenge

I am so so so excited about this challenge. This journaling challenge is focusing on prayer. How we feel about it. Writing prayers that can be used when stuck in a moment. Creating a prayer goal and continuing with listing 3-5 gratitude items daily.

Get a journal – a pretty one. an old one. It doesn’t matter. I hope you will join me in the September Journal Challenge. Take 5 minutes of your day to journal and reflect on how the creator made you – perfectly flawed.  What you need….

 

Part One: Rest & Praise

I was going to say I apologize for the length of this series- but I am not. There is significance in the details in my story.  Before I completely dive in, I need to share some background… set the stage if you will.

A little over 2 years ago, I was an assistant principal at a large middle school. This middle school was also about an hour away from home. Between the hours required for my job and the commute, I was not home much during the week. Most nights I was lucky enough to be home to get my mini me to bed. I also worked hard (probably went above and beyond) on the weekends to make up the time missed. I didn’t take care of myself. In that craziness I was so blessed to have become part of a group, we now call the HEARD. These women have no idea the timing of the placement in my life. We met at school weekly (along with others) for devotionals and prayer. This group really encouraged my prayer life. I also started getting that tug to change course… you know (hopefully) what I am talking about. I prayed to be sure I wasn’t just giving up. I prayed for a sign that the ideas all of a sudden screaming in my head, that they were indeed the path I should take. Part of that was the blog and starting some form of bible study geared towards teachers and school employees. And when I say screaming in my head, I mean waking me up at night. I remember one day praying and journaling to please please give me a sign that I wasn’t crazy. I am so thankful today that I was prayer journaling at that time, because the next 3 days are a complete whirlwind. In 3 days time, a job was shared with me, I was interviewed, offered, and took this job. A job that would allow ME to parent my children 7 days a week- not just weekends. A job that would afford the time to work on the new ideas in my head. I had no idea how to accomplish those goals- I am a numbers girl. It involved so much writing. I also need to point out the significance of 3 days. This did not go unnoticed at the time. In 3 days, Jesus gave his life for us and then was rose to the heavens. How great is our God – in 3 days he cleared my path.

About a year and half ago… I was now settled in my new job, back in the classroom. I had no idea how drained I was. I was beginning to feel rested and finding joy. I loved the classroom- I never left because I didn’t. During this time, my husband was also promoted and took on managing an additional department. I was slowly finding balance. Finding rest. In the rest I realized how much I had neglected my marriage. In my previous job, the little time left I focused on home chores and our children. I tried to make up the moments missed. And now I was trying to pay back all the extra time my husband devoted to our house and children, while I was at work. It was his time to work on his career.  I worked to find a new balance. I rested. Looking back, all while neglecting my marriage. To be fair – we were both neglecting our marriage. I began to realize that even when we were home together- we were apart- doing separate things. Dividing and conquering chores and childcare. We both had lost joy while together.

I prayed- somewhat.  One of those – fix it Lord prayers. You know what I mean? I didn’t ask for guidance. I didn’t ask for wisdom. Just fix it. About a month after this realization, I couldn’t sleep. My heart hurt. I woke my husband and in his half a sleep state asked if he still wanted to be married. Did he want to be somewhere else? In his shock of these questions in the middle of the night- he got up. He assured me no he didn’t want to be anywhere else. My mind was slightly at ease, my heart was not. I could just feel it. Those answers were not the truth. I cried. I didn’t rest. I asked again before leaving for work and he answered he didn’t know. I cried and walked out to work. I have no idea how I made it through the day. (well yes I do- HIS strength not mine). For the next few days we cried, we held each other, we talked on the surface.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 

Mark 4:35-40 (NIV)

So I tried to be still. I moved forward minute by minute focusing on my faith. I journaled. I prayed. I used music to praise him. I journaled. I prayed. I praised. I cried. I journaled. I prayed. I praised.  I cried. I journaled. I prayed. And finally, on the third day – I slept. I rested.

… To be continued in Part 2: Release and Surrender

 

Songs that support me during these days:

 

 

Fall 2019- Bible Study for Teachers

I have changed direction .. well I have been taken into another direction and I am so so so excited. I also wanted to get the word out and please start sharing with your teacher friends… the Fall focus will be LOVE. Unconditional & Transforming Love.

Bi-Monthly Live Facebook Meetings September – November (with a reflections/goal take-away). Focusing our sessions around God’s Word and

  • Session 1 – Intro: Types of Love
  • Session 2 – Faith: The Power of Being Love Focused Instead of Task Focused
  • Session 3 – Hope: Loving in the Unloving Moments
  • Session 4 – Love: Love Never Fails, It’s Unconditional- Great what does that look like?
  • Session 5 – Self-Love: Last, But Not Least- The Unselfishness of Self-Love
  • Session 6 – My Love Plan… Life and Classroom