Monday, February 18, 2013

Completely Undone

I was completely undone with Carson this weekend.

He's our youngest son that has a determined flair for independence. This is not something that has recently developed in his tween years. Oh no, I can remember him having an independent spirit when he was just a toddler.

He was one of those little tikes that needed a child leash, even though we didn't dare use one.  Note: if you're a parent who uses a child leash, please don't get offended and send me hate mail. We are both entitled to our child rearing preferences.

Although, there was that trip to Disney World that almost sent us all home in tears.  Carson wouldn't stay in the stroller and refused to hold mommy or daddy's hand while walking down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. It was not pretty.

Years have passed and much has changed except for Carson's determined drive for independence.  

Yesterday, Carson asked me to take him to the mall for new clothes, even though his closet is full of things he can wear. Okay, I admit, many of them are hand-me-downs from his big brother, Brody.

I gladly agreed and thought it would be great mom/son time. Besides, I love shopping, even if it is just window shopping, because of my teeny-tiny clothing budget.

The blissful feeling of this is going to be so much fun!  lasted only a few minutes. Then, the battle began. Carson wanted to wear his gym shorts to the mall. Let's's mid-February and there is snow on the ground. Uhh, NO.

After 10 minutes of debating, I gave in. I figured if he wants to freeze his tushy off and be the only one at the mall with shorts on, I won't be the one stopping him.

Yes, I could have insisted and refused to take him, unless he put on something warmer, but some things aren't worth "battling on the hill" for.  In the big scheme of things I was willing to let this one slide.

The mall was crowded so we had to park and walk a ways to the entrance.  I enjoyed the brisk walk but Carson was miserable and...froze his tushy off. The wind was just a blowin' through those thin nylon shorts.  I tried not to laugh but part of me was thinking, I told you so...

Ahh, sometimes letting our kids experience the natural consequences of their poor choices become great opportunities for life lessons.

It reminds me of my relationship with God. Sometimes I listen and obey  - other times I debate, make excuses, and toss around my determined flair for independence.

For some reason, I think I know what's best. I make poor choices and in return, life dishes out the natural consequences that often times leaves me shaking my head and saying why on earth did I do that - I knew better!

Instead of doing what I know is right or what God is prompting me to do, I choose not to listen and let my stubborn heart take front and center. It reminds me of this verse in Jeremiah 7:24 where God is referring to His children's stubbornness and desire for independence from Him.

But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. Jeremiah 7:24  

I don't want to be a child of God that goes backwards instead of forwards in my relationship with Him. I want to learn from my mistakes and make wise choices, instead of digging in my heels and insisting things my way.

That kind of determined flair for independence will create the perfect environment for not-so-good life lessons. If I pray for wisdom and direction, but then don't follow through with what I know is God's will, I'm only deceiving myself and strain my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I want to be a woman who prays for wisdom and takes steps forward by applying God's Word to my life. Trusting in God's faithfulness and laying down my plans for His will can keep me moving forward on the right path He has created just for me. Without Him, my life would be filled with poor choices.

And, the last thing I want is to find myself in a situation where I'm freezing my tushy off in nylon shorts! 

What about you? Are you following Him today and fighting for your independence?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Don't Have Time For the Flu

I had such great plans in store for this past weekend.

Movie with hubby on Friday - check.

Shopping (just a little, of course) on Saturday - check.

Church with family and lunch at Carrabbas on Sunday - check.

BUT, a tiny little tickle started in the back of my throat last Monday morning. Nothing to worry about, it's probably just allergies. 

Tuesday morning greeted me with a screaming sore throat. Uh-oh, feels like strep. Doctors? Nah, not today. The feeling will probably pass.

Wednesday rolled around and it felt like someone ran over me in a semi truck loaded down with concrete.  This is NOT good. I have wayyy to much to do this week.  Okay, maybe just a quick nap before the man cubs get home from school.

Thursday. I'm officially sick. I think I have some leftover amoxicillin from my last cold. Now, where did I put that pill box? 

Friday. I still feel terrible. Why isn't this amoxicillin working!? Maybe I should check the expiration date. Oops, it's expired.

Saturday. Look out family! I'm down in the dumps,out of tissues, and mad at the world! I'm going to the urgent care clinic and I bet the wait will be at least 2 hours. This is ridiculous!! 

Sunday. Surrender...home in bed all day. I feel like I have the flu. I hope no one catches this from me. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Things don't always turn out they way I plan. In fact, most of the time, they don't. Last weekend I was looking forward to going and doing. Instead, I ended up resting and waiting for healing.

Honestly, much of that down time felt like a big waste to me. But, in reality it wasn't. I used the time to catch up on some reading sleep so that my body could begin repairing itself. I also spent time reflecting on others who are chronically ill.

How can I possibly complain about a silly winter virus while so many others are suffering with chronic illness and pain in this world today?

How do they cope with the day in/day out struggle of being sick or in constant pain? Day after day after day.

Do they feel like giving up? What keeps them going? How do they have the will power to make it through another hour of pain or sickness? Maybe you know someone who suffers like this. Maybe that someone is you?

Lord, forgive me for complaining. Help me to use this time wisely to pray for others who are chronically ill. Give them strength, oh Lord, to face the day with hope and confidence. Bestow upon them a fresh wind of joy and thankfulness that only You can provide. Fill them with a great sense of purpose and assurance of knowing You see all that they are enduring and will provide all of their needs.

Heal them, Lord.

Strengthen them, Lord.

Let them know You are near.

In Jesus' name, Amen

Monday, February 4, 2013

Along the Broken Path

I feel  as though I'm slowly re-entering the earth's atmosphere, after being on a wild ride of unexpected turns and plunging dives. A not-much-fun ride that just threw me right into 2013, without bothering to slow down, so that I could catch my breath. Ready or not, the year started out - not like I had planned, hoped for or dreamed.

Life has a way of doing that sometimes. Maybe you feel the same way today?  

On January 12th, I visited a little church in Algiers, Louisiana where I gathered with family and friends. I was returning for the second time in less than a year and a half. I took my place up at the alter again; however this time, instead of laying a bouquet of beautiful pink and red roses gently into my mother's casket, I rested my hand on the American flag that was draped over my father's casket.

The sorrow was deep.

The grief was painful.

My heart was empty.

As tears flowed, I took my place with Keith and our boys. This felt way too familiar and I longed to wake up but unfortunately this wasn't a dream. It was my reality.

Loosing both parents in such a short period of time has been extremely difficult. When my mom died it was hard, really hard. But, now that my dad is gone, there is an empty hole in my heart that seems bottomless. It's hard to put into words but the hole is definitely there, longing to be filled.

Have you lost someone that you love? Maybe a parent, sibling, friend, or heaven forbid, a child? Maybe you have a hole in your heart and it feels bottomless too.

I think that when we lose someone we love, part of your heart is stripped away. What's left is exposed, raw and painful. But, with God's help and a healthy grieving process, I truly believe that our hearts can mend. It will take time and there might be a tiny scar leftover but His mercy is there to restore and heal us.

I need to be patient.

I need to trust Him.

I need to remember the wonderful moments.

I need to celebrate that my parents are together in heaven and rejoice in the beautiful legacy they left behind.

But, it's still hard. And, if you're grieving the loss of someone today, I'd imagine it's hard for you too.

Yet, God is there, waiting patiently to help carry the load we're holding on to. Today, let's choose to release our tightly clinched fists and take His hand, as we walk along the broken path of grief. Let's rely in His strength and not our own, to receive the healing that must take place, to make us whole again.

One day at a time.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1-2

Who are you grieving the loss of today? How can I pray for you?