Friday, October 31, 2008

Still haven't found what I'm looking for...

A few months ago when I was still working I got paperwork to see a new patient. After two years in Mississippi with a job that took me through 3 counties and living in another county, I felt like I no longer had to worry about getting lost. Wrong! You have to understand that with our company when you get directions they usually include looking for the gray mailbox, the chicken houses, or the dirt road with no street sign.

My first mistake was that I started from my house because I thought it would be closer, but that meant that I had to reverse all of the directions! Needless to say, that was a bad idea. After driving around lost for an hour I decided to just head on to see some more patients. I had a full day that day and about 6 hours later I was headed back to find that patient. As I turned onto the road I had spent most of the morning on, a song came on the radio. It was a U2 song, y'know, the one that says, "but I still haven't found what I'm looking for". I had to laugh.

I eventually did find the house with the gray mailbox and the chicken houses on the dirt road with no street name. I was reminded of that day yesterday helping Sarah get ready for her costume contest at school. We've had activities all week long and my kids had already worn their costumes every night of the week and on the morning of the costume contest Sarah's genie hat was nowhere to be found. I knew that I had laid it on the couch the night before with the rest of her costume so it would be ready to go in the morning, but I couldn't find it anywhere! Finally Josh found it. Eli had fallen asleep on the couch the night before holding onto his spiderman costume and had apparently grabbed Sarah's hat as well.

Anway, thinking about that made me wonder how many times in life we all feel that way. That we still haven't found what we're looking for. I could tell a thousand stories of lost and found (I've threatened to pin the keys to Josh's shirt so he can keep up with them!), but I'm not just talking about physical items or places we are searching for. I am talking about the peace of mind, the purpose in life, the reason for living that everyone is searching for.

I teach a discipleship training class on Sunday nights. It was supposed to be a women's Bible study, but then some of the men needed a class and then some of the youth started coming. So, I've nicknamed it the "crockpot class". We have a little bit of everybody in it. I've shared with them that my greatest desire is to see real, sincere, genuine growth in their lives. It bothers me so much that so many people are in churches, and yet they seem so unfulfilled in their lives. But I have never believed that church is the answer. I believe that so many Christians are just as unhappy, discontent, and in a sense, lost, as anyone else because they still haven't found what they're looking for. And as a church, have we helped? Or have we created programs and activities to keep us all busy and able to say we are active in church, yet have no time to actually find what we're looking for, a relationship with Jesus?

In John 12:35 we're told, "Then Jesus said to them, 'A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of life.' "

It's my belief that so many people haven't found what they are looking for because they don't even know what they are looking for or where to look. Jesus wants to be the light that shines on our path and leads us to what we're looking for. I know there have been numerous times that I have questioned what I wanted out of life or just felt like something was missing. I know now that those were times when I allowed darkness to overtake me.

When I was younger I took an Experiencing God study that truly changed my life. I'm amazed when I look at my life and see how God has spoken and I realize that I first learned to listen God at the age of 15 completing this study with a few of my friends. We learned that some of the ways God speaks is through circumstances, His Word, the church, and prayer. Those are His directions to help us find what we are looking for. And they are so much better than mailboxes and chicken houses!!!

Bring the Rain

Last night I had the privilege of hearing my husband sing. He has the sweetest voice. I tease him because I can alway tell who he's on the phone with by the tone of his voice. He talks real deep when it's his dad and real sweet and well mannered when it's his mom. I always know when it is a church member because of the businesslike concern in his voice. For 10 years it has amazed me the power that his voice holds. I've seen him transformed as he steps into the pulpit and the Holy Spirit speaks boldy through his softspoken voice. I've heard the daddy voice as he sternly disciplines our kids and tenderly encourages them.

But my favorite is when he calls me babydoll and speaks words of love and adoration to me. For 10 years his voice has had the power to calm me in a way that nothing else can. The world could be falling down around me (and believe me, there have been plenty of times I thought it was) but as soon as I hear him say, "Hey babydoll" it is all better. I can't explain it, but listening to him sing last night I felt such pride in him. Not in his singing ability, even though he can sing. But I felt pride in who he is. He sang a song called "Bring the Rain" by MercyMe. It talks about the things we experience and asks that no matter what happens it would all be used to glorify God. It says, "Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free, bring me anything that brings you glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain." There are a lot of Christian songs that express that same idea, but watching Josh sing those words means so much to me becuase I know that those are not just words, but his life.

I am continually disgusted to hear about scandals and controversy surrounding popular preachers, and while I know that all people are only human and prone to weakness and failures, I long to see more. I have such a desire to see people who have higher standards and expectations. More than anything, I want to see the real deal. I feel so blessed that God has chosen to bless my life with someone who is the real deal. I continue to stand in awe at Josh's ability to trust God and give Him the praise in all situations.

Lately, it has felt like God is not just bringing the rain into our lives, but there may be tropical storms on the horizon. I'm thankful that Josh's faith is able to encourage mine. When I'm ready to evacuate, Josh is always strong enough to say "Bring on the rain!"
I just felt like I should write this that maybe your faith would be encouraged as well. It's so tempting to get on here and blog about all of the people who drive me crazy or make me mad. But I feel like too often we overlook the people who are there to make things good. So... here's to Josh and all of you who choose to find the good in all things, offer encouragement instead of criticism, and love instead of judgement. God bless you!


It's never good when someone calls and asks how you're doing and you have to answer, "I'm just stting on the side of the road crying." I didn't add that I was praying that no truck driver would be having a bad day and swerve even an inch as there was no margin of error where I was parked.

This day started as a normal Saturday. I needed to go grocery shopping. We had to make an unexpected trip out of town the weekend before and we were getting down to our last saltine. But, being the true diva that I have become I decided I needed to make the 45 minute trip into Meridian. You see, our Wal-Mart does not carry the South Beach Diet Pizzas and for some reason I have become totally addicted to them. Anyway, I got to Wal-Mart and was sitting in the jeep looking through my coupons (my small attempt to save money) when out of nowhere there was a loud sound that sounded just like someone had hit me. (I know that sound too well-see previous blogs). I looked up and realized I hadn't felt anybody hit me and that is when the smoke began rising. My heart sank and my mind raced. This had happened to me before. I started to panic but I thought that maybe if I went inside to shop by the time I came out it would have cooled down enough to drive.

When I got out I was disheartened to see a green liquid all over the ground. I couldn't remember what that meant, but I knew it wasn't good. A man came over and said, "Something broke". I don't know what it is about me that I always come across the most helpful people. He told me that it should cool down while I was shopping so I was glad that I had figured that much on my own.

I did my shopping and it took quite awhile. Now that I am at home I am determined to try new recipes and check labels to see how healthy the food is. I'm still learning though. One of my recipes called for parsley and I realizedt that I didn't know if it meant real parsley or the kind in the seasoning section. So, I got both. I did decide that if we could learn to live off of real parsley then we could fit our groceries into our budget and I could fit into my clothes. So, now I'm trying to switch to an all parsley diet. Um, yeah right. Oh well. I also got the anti-freeze that Josh had instructed me to get to refill whatever had just blown up in the jeep.

When I got back to the parking lot I loaded the bomb shelter quantity of food I had bought into the jeep. Then, I had to figure out where to put that anti-freeze stuff. So, there I was on the phone trying to hold up the hood of the jeep and open the anti-freeze bottle. As I opened the hood and asked Josh where it was supposed to go I saw a cap that said "Anti-freeze". That was very helpful. I've decided I'm going to create a girl friendly car with pretty colors and big letters and arrows showing where everything goes. I'm pretty sure I spilled more anti-freeze than I actually got into the thing (that's technical mechanical talk), but the jeep started and seemed to be doing ok for a little while.

Once I was on the interstate it started overheating again, but Josh was on the phone telling me that it should be okay once I got out of town. Just as I passed the exit I was going to stop at the jeep started slowing down. No matter how hard I pressed on the accelerator the speed was dropping. I kept hearing this noise but I was driving past the airport and I thought it was a plane or something. Then I noticed it would go away when I took my foot off the accelerator. I was making that noise!! I pulled off on the side of the road. This was not a good situation. Josh was at home with all three kids and had no way to come get me as his car is still not running. I called Karen who will probably start blocking my calls from now on and she said she could come and take me and my groceries home.

It was at that point my friend Brandi called. She had been to a ladie's retreat and was excited to tell me about it. That was when I shared my predicament with her. I was, in fact, sitting on the side of the road crying. I told her Karen was on her way and she told me that she could talk to me while I waited. It was good to hear how her weekend had been and think about something besides the fact I had blown up the motor in the only running vehicle we have and that I just got my last paycheck two weeks ago. When my phone first rang I thought it was the worst timing possible. But after we talked I realized that God was so good to send me encouraging words in my time of distress. Proverbs 16:24 says, "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones."

On the way home (after we had unloaded all of the groceries and reloaded them into Karen's car) I shared my idea about the parsley diet. As I did I was reminded about a Beth Moore conference I had gone to a few years ago. She shared how she was making homemade soup with her daughter when she realized she didn't have any parsley. (I suppose she knew what kind she was supposed to have). She said she went into panic mode and was having a nervous breakdown about the parsley. She said finally her daughter looked at her and said, "It's just parsley". It was so funny that I remembered that story at that moment because I knew God was trying to tell me "This is just parsley". In the big recipe of life broken down cars are really not the end of the world.

Josh called yesterday to tell me the quote from the mechanic. He asked if I was sitting down. He told me the quote. I really should have been laying down in the fetal position. We are starting the parsley diet tonight!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Domestic Diva Dropout

Okay, I've been home for two months now and I just have to be honest. I totally stink at being a domestic diva. All dreams and hopes I had of 8 course fresh from scratch meals, spotless floors and volumes of scrapbooks have been dashed. Kate was just walking through the living room with an empty pizza hut box, a testament to the fact that I have not been cooking every meal. As I write there is a hugh shop vac we borrowed from the church that I've just decided to leave in the dining room as it is the most efficient way to clean up after meals where most of the food ends up on the floor. As for scrapbooking...doesn't that require sitting down? :)
So, needless to say I do not feel that I have accomplished my goals. I will definitely not be asked to write any articles for the Ladies Home Journal or appear on tv morning shows sharing my great housekeeping secrets. In fact, you may see me on an upcoming episode of SuperNanny. :) Oh well.
Here are some of the things I am experiencing:

Kate is into EVERYTHING!!!! She walks around with purses and babydolls and has created her own language. She also has curls! She is a cuddler, but I have also seen her grab Eli by the shirt and take him down. She loves music and can't help but dance to anything that comes on.

Sarah is doing really well in 1st grade. She already has 15 spelling words every week and more homework than I think I had in middle school! As always with Sarah, life is a big social event. She has started taking dance and loves it. She always asks me if she has to go to school or if she can just do dance. That's my girl!

Eli has become quite the little dude.He asked me the other day "Do I look cool or do I look awesome?" To have the self-esteem of a 3 year old! He loves cars, and balls and dressing himself. I'm still trying to figure out the statistical odds of putting your pants on backwards every single time, but I was never good at math. :) He has it rough right now surrounded by so many girls, but it will work out for him one day!

Despite the fact that I made chicken and chip casserole the other night and forgot the chicken (seriously), I have high hopes for the future. At least I have plenty of time to save for my children's therapy! :)