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. 

 

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:

 

 

For the Love: Intro… The Light

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.  Psalm 107: 28-30

Over the course of the next 4 posts, I am going to share a story… a testimony if you will. 4 stages of a storm I never saw coming. A storm that seemed to hit every single angle of my life and attempted to demolish it to a point that one would wonder if it even exsisted. I am not going to lie, these upcoming posts encompass the hardest yet most rewarding, most painful yet peaceful moments, scariest yet most faithful days to date of my earthly walk.

Before I begin to share my perspective of the journey- I need to reiterate this is my perspective, my journey. And as such, may leave out details that isn’t my story to share. I also, felt it necessary to share my today.  To let you know that the light at the end of the tunnel was beautiful daylight- not an oncoming train.

Many look at storms in life, the bumps in the road, and wish they hadn’t happened. I however, wouldn’t trade the storm in for anything. Sure I wish some of the pain I had experienced didn’t  hurt as bad. Sure I wish for a smooth road, but I honestly can say that as I sit here today…

“So I’m thankful for the scars Cause’ without them I wouldn’t know Your heart And I know they’ll always tell of who You are So forever I am thankful for the scars”

From Song Scars

I hope through my sharing you will see…

“The weapon may be formed but it won’t prosper . When the darkness falls it won’t prevail, Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumph. My God will never fail. I’m gonna see a victory. For the battle belongs to You Lord.”

From Song See A Victory

…. Our God never fails, you will see a victory- you will see the war truly has been won.

 

PS – My love language is music – so I have also found a song or two that spoke to me during each stage and wanted to share. Today- at the light at the end of this tunnel –

 

 

 

For the Love of Flaws: and Mountains

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

Y’all (needed a little southern twang) …. so many projects and in the last week I have seen God’s hand in Every. Single. One. He is moving mountains. I didn’t post this week like normal because I was working on the things. LOL. I am so excited how mountains have been moving this week – not just for the blog, but all things. So. Thankful.

Here is a glimpse into things coming up:

  • For the Love (Thursday posts) — NEW 4 part series coming about my category 4 storm survival (or at least in my current perspective cat 4).
    • Part I: Rest and Praise
    • Part II: Release and Surrender
    • Part III: Restoration and Grace
    • Part IV: Re-Establishment and Joy
  • August Journal Challenge – I hope you will join me in the July Journal Challenge. Take 5 minutes of your day to journal and reflect on how the creator made you – perfectly flawed.  What you need….
  • Fall Bible Study- Unconditional & Transforming Love – Will have some connection to the classroom/education… BUT can be applied at any work environment
    • Will meet 2 times a month (Sept-Nov) for a total of 6 sessions. Meetings will be through Live Facebook Discussions (with goal/reflection take-aways)
      • Session 1 – Intro: Types of Love
      • Session 2 – Faith: Love Focused Instead of Task Focused
      • Session 3 – Hope: Loving in the Unloving Moments
      • Session 4 – Love: Love Never Fails… It’s Unconditional
      • Session 5 – Self-Love: Last, But Not Least
      • Session 6 – My Love Plan… Life and Classroom
    • Go Here to join closed group Fall 2019 Bible Study: Unconditional & Transforming Love. Join by Aug 9th to have opportunity to vote on day and meeting time (eastern standard time).

Hope you will join me in one or more …. Invite friends. So excited for the mountains (mainly the mountain of my fear) being moved.

For the Love of Flaws: The Weight Battle

First background note- when I am overwhelmed with thoughts- I tend to read and/or write. If I am overwhelmed with one particular person, especially if emotionally fueled, I write letters. They are not always delivered. 

I was reading through some sermon notes from Steven Furtick- this particular sermon was titled “Knock Knock”. It has been a tough parenting day and I was writing some notes and thoughts – and this particular sermon spoke to me in the moment and I used my notes to draft a letter that started like this…

You will learn living in a relationship with God you will be able to discern when God is knocking with opportunities and the right people. And if you don’t listen to that or fail to have a relationship with God, you will open the door to the enemy and people who may even bring you immediate feel good feelings – but it is destructive to your true relationships and  you will miss the opportunities that are best for your future.  We all want opportunities to come our way, and most opportunities are weird because they don’t always look like opportunities and you are waiting for the challenges to disappear and be free. But obedience comes before freedom and opportunities. The door is already open – you have to be obedient and go through it. Every second you spend waiting for something miraculous to happen- already happened. You just need to be obedient and take action and go through it to reach the opportunity.  

The letter went on to address some of the most immediate concerns. When I was done, I saved it and closed it. Something was bothering me and I initially pushed it out of my mind. I finally went back and re-read the letter. I had an ouch moment. This is an epiphany that hurts… but in a good way. It helps pave the next steps. I realized this is so so sooooooooo applicable to my battle with weight. 

I am not obedient to what I need to do. I choose to have emotions drive my eating or not eating (because it isn’t always what I put in my mouth- but some days its I didn’t eat anything). I battle with the balance between the two. I very rarely have a day that I can look at and be proud of the food choices I make. I may try to blame my schedule, not having enough help at home, or whatever- but I KNOW it is me. I am not obedient to the cries of my body and the knowledge of my head. I jump to open the door to the choices that make me feel good or better in the moment.  Amazing- in one of our toughest parenting seasons- I am learning more about myself that anything (and not just as a parent). So I am calling myself out- maybe that will add a level of accountability.  I am committing to a new game plan starting today.  I am very lucky that my family is very supportive. (They really always are). 

Confession – I know not “confession day” here on OverFlawed Mom.- but you have a right to know LOL. As I sat here, putting my notes together- I am craving nice warm fluffy pancakes. The only thing stopping me, is the fact that our house is small and I will likely wake someone or all up and would have to share.  Clearly my Ouch moment hasn’t really sunk in. #WorkInProgress