Friday, June 22, 2012

The Waiting Room

The post in my text box simply reads:
"Will be here all day."
That's it. Not a clue as to how it's going, or what they are doing, or what they are having him do. Just where he's going to be. And that it's not just this morning, but all day. ALL day.

Whether it's a doctor's office, or an airport terminal, waiting is really hard. But it's something we ALL have to do. Wait.
I somehow wish I had some Latin or Greek knowledge to pull out of a hat. I think it would read something like this:
"Wait, from the Greek waitvenourous, which means - at it's root - "to be ridiculed and made uncomfortable".
I'm only half joking.  (You can find out the REAL info on the word "wait" HERE)
We ARE sometimes uncomfortable and ridiculed while waiting....especially in doctor's offices with our hind-sides bared...
Thankfully THIS is not THAT uncomfortable for me.
:)

I'm sitting in an air-conditioned hotel room. I have 1/2 an hour until a new friend picks me up for lunch, and whatever else she wants to do on her day off.

Mark's at the corporate office for work, in meetings. We thought it was just this morning, but it's going to be an all day deal. That's ok. Once I'm back here - whatever time that is - I've got my laptop and some quilting to do. I might even read ahead in the book "One Thousand Gifts" that Mark and I are reading "together" (I put that in quotes, since I started reading it out loud, and he promptly fell asleep!). I could listen to another GREAT sermon by Francis Chan (I listened to this one this morning already ) or watch a movie on tv. LOTS of options for today's waiting room challenge.

I remember other times I've had to wait. Biopsy results, babies being born, and bumper to bumper traffic are all some of my LEAST favorite, even though the end results are always a lesson to walk through God with, and are usually not nearly as difficult to deal with as I make those monsters out to be. I just like things to be going at a reasonable pace in forward motion, and I really don't like surprises (really, not even good ones!), so it's hard to be standing still.

I think that God growing me in PRAYER has helped me become more comfortable in waiting room situations. It's ok to be still. To wait on God. To not spout words that don't need to be said, just to hear the sound of my voice. I really have come to love the quiet there, in my prayer time.

Even when I pray with my dear friend and missionary care mentor, Lori, we have learned to say "silence is ok". Others may not know how to take that, but when it's just she and I (and God), I think that it's when we feel Him closest. In the quiet. He IS.

So today, while I want to be out and about and enjoying this summer day, I'll be sure to take a few minutes (or an hour?) to pause and pray. Not just for my life, but for others, whose Waiting Rooms are more quiet, whose waits are longer, with larger concerns and situations. Like a friend waiting for a CAT scan and it's results, many family and friends traveling right now - including several missionaries coming to/from the fields, and for the many lonely women I know who don't feel the comfort of their Savior while they wait for a friend to come to their side....may they feel His presence.

A Waiting Room is not a bad place to be... when I ask Him (God) to be here with me....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Yesterday's Post

The house is quiet. I'm wide awake. My mind racing with whatever thoughts are randomly running through my mind...bits and pieces of dreams, conversations of the prayerful topics Mark and I discussed on our walk around the loop (our nearly nightly mile and a half in the neighboring neighborhood), and all those things that plagued me all day, prompting me to sit and write a new post...but I never got around to doing it. I was just too busy, and then I had a few "unplanned" things thrown into the day too. Hate that.

I'm reminded of the scripture last night at our Global Outreach Prayer time (GO Pray):

“Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." 
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

A "new thing". Hmmm.

I really hate to write about the "maybe" things in my life... this roller coaster of life is hilly and loopy enough as it is...and yet right now I need to find a space to put these things, to clear them out of my mind. All weekend they grew in hopeful water, and as Monday approached I found myself exhausted from the hope of it all, and was left with a great sermon to ponder, a heart full of worship, and the reality that it may all be coming to a close. This season in a fruitful land.

Three years ago, we were living in the place I call my "40 years in the wilderness" and Mark was happy at home, content as a lark at his mission field he calls work, while I drudged through each day alone. I'm serious when I say that I lived in a place for nearly 20 years with only a handful of friendships (thank you - YOU know who you all are!) and less than a handful that were not effortless to sit down over a cuppa jo with (over an hour away). We even traveled over an hour to get to the church we loved. Nothing was easy. But we were blessed.

Just a few months later, life changed SO Quickly: work went south in a hurry, God opened a door for a new job and a move, and BOOM! here we are in KY! It literally just took a few weeks for the circumstances of our lives to completely change. 

I'm still amazed at how effortless that move was. God opened door after door, and even in the process of not getting a house we bid on (and other little disappointments that I can't even think of now....oh, the apartment stuff that bugged us, etc), His presence was SO close, and it drew us even closer, and life was GOOD. REALLY GOOD. He opened a door to Crossroads that I still can't believe has so many "coincidences" for us - confirming that this is where He wanted us to grow, learn, be nurtured and serve. He's grown my confidence, I've learned so much through their missions program, helping in Missionary Care (where He continues to just blow me away!), developing my prayer life for Unreached People Groups; placing me in a GREAT women's ministry place,and surrounding me with armfuls of women to hug on every week, women who pray for me and with me, and let me walk this road with them while our husbands toil too many hours at their jobs.

Ah, their jobs. Mark's has been really hard. At the start, things were good. Really good, but hard. The promise of a 4 day plant run (and a 4-6 day work week) was really just a lie - and he's worked 7 days a week (which really means 60+ hours in reality for his position) for the past 2 1/2 years. Yep. Really. Even for this workaholic hubby of mine, that's too much. He's burned out, bummed out, and plain ol' exhausted. His "work smarter, not harder" mentality isn't rubbing off on folks, so he still gets called to the floor to fix things, that leaves him without time to work on the project things he needs to do, wants to do. His desk never is cleaned off.

He's "needed too much" there, and was passed up for a lateral job transfer that would focus on more project time, less fix-on-the-floor time. Then he was "over qualified" for a job transfer to the company base for a job as a Project Manager a few months later.

Each time my prayer was "if this isn't the right job for Mark, I know God has something better for him in the future!". Something I believed. 

After the last round though, Mark said he'd just hunker down and make it work, deal with the demands, and try to delegate more so he could take more time off; but each day away from the plant meant more work to come back to, and often he'd get several calls from work when he wasn't there. (A day off, in my mind, is only if they don't call you - a legalistic view, I know.)

Now he has his name in the hat for another job as a Project Engineer for a VP - sort of a ground breaking job role that's not the norm there. He's had a phone interview, and several talks with others that are around that office, and has a face to face interview on Friday...if it gets that far before being derailed. There's been several red flags that have popped up: It's technically a pay level lower than where he's at (but they won't decrease his salary). We hoped that any job with travel would allow for me to travel with him (this one, the jury's still out on). And yesterday he was told that "company policy" won't offer a moving package when it's a lateral move, or going down a pay grade (which technically is this position), so now we wait to see what happens. Then there's that weekends off thing...the hope and desire to have a day or two to spend together, resting in the Lord, or serving Him gladly. At first the travel stuff was discussed, and the fact that this will all be 3-5 hours from a home base was good...not flying to places farther away; but then the reality of it being project work - and project work means plant shut downs and working on weekends when the plant isn't scheduled to run - that's how they get the work done - and start back up producing widgets on Monday morning - all changes complete and running in place. HUGE red flag. 


So my questions loom, and this time I'm wondering if they will give flex/comp time for those weekends (or weeks) away from home - working those "extra" hours, of if it's just a part of what's expected?

I don't know if God's keeping me in doubt over this job because He ultimately won't move us, or if He's proving that He'll provide "exceptions" for each hurdle to prove that He wants us to move. But my head hurts to think of it, and my body is numb. I'm exhausted, already.

I'm trying hard to remember HIS words, promises from the Bible that breathe hope and life and light into this weary flesh.

I look with anticipation for the exciting changes that can be right around the corner...house shopping, travel, and already a freelance writing job on the table "if we ever moved back to that area" (it's within an hour of the place we spent those "40 years in the wilderness"). Close proximity to a few folks that we love and would love to get to serve them (within that hour circle) in their "older" age, and prayers for a reconciliation with my dad and his wife (LOTS of prayer there, as it would take lots of change of heart and mind and spiritual growth all around, forgiving and not forgetting, for this to happen), and living closer to our son as he approaches a season of planning a wedding with the sweetest girl ever.

And I dread the thought of leaving here. This church and ministry that I love getting to be a part of. Having kids close by (and even living with us right now - which is a good and bad thing - depending on the day, or time of day), and moving farther from the newest grandchild (from a 2 hour drive to a 10+ hour drive).

Oh, and did I mention the headache of sorting, packing, moving - and those kids/grandkids living with us, where do they go "in the mean time" where we have to have the house spic and span to sell, and aren't quite settled yet "there" - wherever "there" might be?

So I'm feeling like these past few years have been a blessing, a time of spiritual retreat, to remind me of His goodness, His faithfulness and fruitfulness, and how church (and life with Him) is supposed to be like (besides the job stuff, which even with that - has brought forth amazing friendships that will last me a lifetime). And now, NOW I feel as if I'm being shored up for battle. This "new thing" that we are facing where we have these hurdles that He defeats for us, but may not do with all of them, depending on what His will would be.

And it all just makes me want to climb in a warm tub of water by candlelight, or lay in bed and pull the covers up to "there", or turn into a sun bather again and bask in the sunshine, or water the yard, pull weeds in the garden and forget that there's even a world out there. Become a recluse. Stop feeding my friendships that I've loved so dearly. Not write. Really.

Because in the end, when we've gotten the details, and he's done the interview, and we know the answers to all the questions - we'll pray, and seek His face, and if He says "GO" we will go, and if He says "STAY" we will stay. And until then, it's all just a prayer to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Daily. Moment by moment.

And I'll feel sucker-punched no matter what. Breath knocked out of me. Exhausted with wrestling with this in prayer. Because so much of me wants to stay and not say good-bye to this lovely place of blessings. And so much of me wants to believe, wants to witness that He can do it all again "there", because He is THAT kind of God.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

lost thoughts

Long ago I gave up the idea that I'd have a "perfect house" filled with beautiful collections...or even just matching furniture. I'm sure it was around the time we lived in GA, where I discovered the wonderful magazine "Southern Living", and thought that I was entitled to live a gracious southern life....after all, I was from SOUTHERN California....and that was south of the Mason-Dixon line...right??

Of course I'm teasing here, but in many ways I'm making fun of myself. I don't remember really growing up with any elaborate items in our home (although my dad brought a grandfather clock back from Holland after a visit - the only visit - we made there as a family). That was the "Oak Period" of our furnishings, late in the 70's when he married wife #2 (the single 30-something mom of one adorable son) and wood was all the rage. However, the rest of the furniture was mod-podge and hippy-ish. Late Berkley.  :)

So nothing in our house ever matched. Not even my sister and I. She was curly blonde haired and blue eyed, I was frumpy straight brown hair with brown eyes....that slowly have migrated to hazel if you look close.

Oh, and that "you can always just get a perm" thing that people with lovely naturally curly hair say to us with straight, unmanageable, flat hair - um. no. i. can't.  The few times I did (one of those times being in the late 70's era of "Afro's") were total disasters. TOTALLY. Curls on my body just made me look curly all over. just. one. short. pile. of. curls. The second time of adult perm madness the paid person burned my scalp so badly my hair broke off at the ends. Within a week I had to come close to shaving my head. Not a good thing for a post-pregnancy new mom. Talk about humiliating. I was in tears a long time. So was my husband.

It strikes me as almost funny now, I love short hair.  (my husband does not)

Ok, where was I going with this?
Oh, matching furniture...lovely home...

Well, this post-menopausal woman has lost it. POOF. it's gone. No wonder I don't blog as much as I want to....

I keep forgetting my points!! LOL

Well, summer is here, the kids have had a GREAT week at VBS, and I've almost got my bedroom painted. It won't get finished this week. No way. I'll finish it end of next week though...that's ok with me.

Jason and girlfriend Shannon are coming over this evening...he got to town last night, she's arriving by BUS (as in Greyhound!!) this evening. I offered to go and pick her up, but they had already bought the ticket. It will be good to see them tonight, and see how they respond to all the kids here. I hope they play hard with them and wear them out!!

Well, I should get back to cleaning my small house with mismatched furniture. It's not Southern Living worthy, but I love it. It's comfy. I don't worry about spots and spills (but I do clean them up). I'm not into impressing whoever comes over, but instead pray that the Holy Spirit will fill this house up and flow out into our neighborhood. That's what I want people to be impressed with. Peace that passes understanding. Let them feel peaceful here. Wherever home might be.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ken Idleman's "Speaking the Truth in Love"

Pastor Ken writes a weekly essay/letter, and has it sent out to whomever wants to get it....and I'm one of those that wants it. :) 


This week he wrote on an interesting point of the saga of Lewis and Clark, but one that was never taught to me. I've copied it in it's entirety  -  but understand, I had nothing to do with writing it at all - it's just good!!



6/5/12

Years ago Lewis and Clark set out across the western wilderness to blaze a trail over the Rockies.  Their party included a French guide who took along his Indian wife.  Life was rough and harsh for these men in the untamed wilderness.  Each night the French guide would offer his squaw to one of the men for a price.  Each night the men refused.  Finally, these men crossed their last river east of the mountains.  They needed horses to carry their luggage, their boats, and supplies.  They asked the chief of a nearby Indian tribe for help.  The Indian replied, “No help white man.  White man cheat.”  Lewis and Clark begged for help, but to no avail.  “White man lie!” the chief roared.  The Indian wife of the French guide stepped out of the party and said to the chief, “These men are different. They keep their promises to their squaws back home.”  Then she told the story of nights by the campfire and the refusal of these men to commit adultery.  She was able to persuade the Indian chief, and he subsequently loaned Lewis and Cark the needed horses.  The explorers were able to cross the Great Divide, put their boats in the headwaters of the Columbia River, travel to the Pacific Ocean, and claim the Northwest for their government.  Consequently, their greatest achievement was not geographical or political; it was moral.  And without their moral character, Lewis and Clark would likely not have made it to the finish line of their journey.

Our journey through life will have some long and lonely stretches, times when compromise would seem a good escape, a way to make life more exciting, more mystifying, more self-satisfying.  But, when we are tempted, if we can keep our heads and exercise righteous moral discipline/judgment, we will find down the road that we can experience God’s best in this life and His best in the life to come.

Pray with me…. Father, give us the wisdom of the man who said when standing at the intersection of right and wrong, trying to decide which way to turn, …. ‘Of what shall I think of such a thing in my dying hour?’  Thank you for history’s record of those who have chosen to make decisions with eternity in view.  In Jesus’ name, amen. 
****
Speaking the Truth in Love is a communication tool of Crossroads  Christian Church.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday: "See"

Every Friday, The Gypsy Mama does a 5 minute Friday Writing Challenge, and I'm trying to be more disciplined about doing it. She gives a topic (this week it's "SEE") and we're to set a timer and write with no holds barred, no editing, no trackbacks...just free writing!!

OK, my timer is set.....GO

What I see greatly influences what I feel, and what I think. Lately it's been overwhelming me, and I admit, I feel like I've allowed my vision of the physical hit my vision of the spiritual and over come it.

I wake up and see a HUGE mess, MY mess, in my room. Lately it's this disassembling of these boxes of stuff (pretty boxes of useful stuff) that doesn't get used. I need the white space, and after 2 years in this home, am determined to paint my bedroom. To paint it means the boxes and shelves have to go. I also want to get rid of the guilt of not using this STUFF. Crafty, artsy, wonderful tools of things I don't have time for now. STUFF that came from what once was my craft room, and now houses my daughter and son in law and their 5 month old son. More important than a craft room. So to the garage in boxes it must go.

In my house I am not SEEing what I want to SEE. I used to be efficient in keeping a clean house, but that was before a family of 6 moved in with me. So now, I see diapers, wipes, blankets and toys strewn about. Somehow, this little house has been overtaken. I keep reminding me that I'm making memories, it's only a short season in this LONG LIFE to live all together.

STOP

OK...I've got to finish my train of thought for the rest of my blog...

I've allowed the visual, what I SEE, take away the JOY of my family living with me. I am having to remind myself that it's not MY home, it's His. Always has been. The too big fancy one's and the little country shacks - all provided by Him, all belong to Him. And lately I've been allowing myself to justify my bad attitude and get really possessive of my space. OUCH. It really hit me in this season of "he didn't get the job" when the reality of it all was that I was looking for an excuse to get out. get away. be released from this madness of "here".

A year or so ago Mark and I listened to the book "Radical" on cd on a long car trip. We digested and wholly agreed that we wanted to live a radical life. Back then, somehow it was easy... and lately I've been really LAZY to slip into this life mindset of entitlement that's SO wrong. (sorry God...and sorry family...as I've sinned).

I really DO love the opportunity to get to live with my kids during this season!! I LOVE making memories with my grandkids, feeding into their faith and playing with them on the floor. I LOVE taking walks with them and sharing my love of plants, God's creation with them. I'm not crazy about all the 2 and 3 year old attitude, but I love getting to pray with them, FOR them, and KNOW that I'm getting to shape their lives and their faith. I KNOW that they will always remember that at this time of life, I wanted them to live here, and remember my own grandma living with me and my parents back in the day. I want them to think of me in a kind and loving way....and that's not how I've been lately!! YIPES!! I want them to SEE me differently, and I still have time to change that (I hope).

I've given up on housekeeping, and I need to be an active part of that again, no matter how many times we pick toys up off the floor. I need to take charge of creating this sanctuary in our bedroom, make it a place of refuge for Mark and I (even if we CAN hear the kids in the living room) and I need to remember that this is not forever. It's a season. If it lasts another year, we will survive!! We are getting to witness a season that not many others get to live - and I want to be on the other side of it with tears of sorrow as they leave!! I want to have a heart full of memories we've made on our hands and knees. I want to have FUN with those grandkids, and be proud of my daughter and son in law that they were able to humble themselves and ask to live with us - I know it's not easy on them either, the whole shared house thing...

SO, I'm asking you to pray for me. That God would continue to change my heart back to desiring RADICAL living, that I'll continually humble myself and be a servant (and not a master),  and that I'll keep this life in perspective, choosing to desire to be living the life that HE has set before me....to SEE what He wants me to see and not what I think I deserve to see.

Thanks.