Tag Archives: trust

To My Inner Circle

Three years ago to the day, this was written on a much quieter private blog, where readers had to be invited and go through a sign in process to read and respond to my words. I shared with them the struggle to keep going with the blog. Their words and responses reminded me that I was not alone and to keep going.

I am in a similar, yet different, place, these days. I am able invite a larger audience in ~ you have been invited to the conversation, Dear Reader ~ yet, it is still big, scary, and risky. I still hear the voices that tell me to quit. They whisper that it is too dangerous to risk, too much to venture into the unknown, and it is ~alone.

But I am not alone! Thank you all for joining me on the journey. Enjoy this peek into the past and bear witness with me that I have grown, and am continuing to grow, through the struggle.

If you are reading this, it is because you were personally invited and chose to jump through extra hoops to join the conversation of my life.

You know the risk it is for me to put anything out there.

You know the bigness of my story.

I struggle to do things that bring me personal joy or fulfillment.

I don’t risk well.

I write asking for prayer that my heart would believe truth and be strengthened in the struggle. Because I am struggling right now with situations that God knows and the Spirit can intercede for. I don’t need to disclose particulars.

But I want to react and shut down and disengage.

I am receiving positive feedback on my public blog, yet that is the first thing the voice in my head says to stop.

And I am not going to just because life is hard. Because it will always be hard.

I will always need prayer.

Thanks for listening, caring, and loving me through it.

When a Dream goes Out of Control

I had tidy plans back in early February.

There would be a timeline and agenda and a launch to raise funds, definitely after I had been accepted to the program.

I am still waiting to hear if I have been accepted. It has been over two months. I applied early and had my phone interview early. Now I wait. And wait. And begin to have second thoughts and over-think in the waiting.

This dream of doing the Lay Counseling Certificate training at the Allender Center in Seattle began to get away from me a year ago when I attended my second To Be Told conference with a friend. It was a different friend than the one I had gone with the year before, and I was beginning to feel like that friend, which I kind of am.

I am that friend that you can invite to do personal growth work, and I will join you.

I followed her prompting and agreed to attend. I was grateful to her for setting up the details and making arrangements. I was determined to be present and do the work and followup writing. She was determined to engage me and ask questions and listen to my answers.

When the Lay Counseling Certificate information was presented, I shared with her that I had a desire to attend the program. It was a dream that I held in my heart and had voiced to very few others. In my mind, I held maybe the year that I turn 45 as the far-off time, because, well, it felt so far away.

Her response was enthusiastic and encouraging. It was scary. Now she knew and was going to ask and followup with questions. She was going to question my pros and cons and search for solutions with me.

She did.

I can help you set up a Go Fund Me account!

The thing about speaking a dream out loud is that it allows another person or persons in and gives them space to speak into and dream with and encourage. The thing about speaking a dream out loud is that it also allows a person or persons in and gives them space to put down, dismiss, and mock.

Sadly, I experienced the latter during a vulnerable season of dreaming about my life and future, teaching me that if I had a dream, I should just keep it to myself and work quietly at it alone, if at all. I learned that it was dangerous and painful to dream and impossible to let others in. Dreaming was too risky and extremely foolish. Who was I to think I was anything special?

By keeping my dreams tidy, small, and under control, I avoided painful disappointment. I avoided questions that I might not be able to answer. I avoided risk. I stayed pleasant and static and one-dimensional.

By keeping my dreams tidy, small, and under control, I also avoided joyous celebration. I avoided the intimacy that comes from sharing my heart with safe people and having them wrestle through the unknown with me. I avoided reward. I squelched passion and desire and shut down many facets of myself in order to survive.

So here I sit on the edge of an out-of-control dream.

I don’t know what these upcoming weeks hold.

I don’t know if I will get a letter of acceptance detailing the next steps to take, or if I will get a Thank you for your interest, but. . . response.

I don’t know if I will be able to go this year if I am accepted. I don’t know exactly how all of the pieces will come together.

I do know that I am grateful for the chance to dream again and to see where the dream will take me. Thank you, Dear Readers, for your kind encouragement in the process. Each of you who takes time to read, comment, share, and speak up, offers me hope in the dreaming.

This blog was the result of one of my first risky dreams!

If I can offer you a bit of hope or plant the tiny seed of a dream in your heart or remind you that you are not alone, that is a doubly sweet gift.

Change

Casting lots
Making plans
It’s the will of God that stands.

Gold and silver
are my choice.
God says to heed wisdom’s voice.

Glorious words
Sweet and kind
are like honeycomb to find.

Crowning glory
Stands of gray
Lessons learned along the way.

These things are hard.
These things are real.
They go against all that I feel.

Established plans
I long to see.
The first thing that must change is me.

~end-of-week thoughts from Proverbs 16~

Friendship Friday ~ Familiar Faces

We divided and conquered, my husband and I. With children in many different schools, and this being my first week back at work, orientation day was a team effort. He took the female middle schooler, I took the female fourth-grader and the male middle schooler.

Note that the middle schoolers are at separate schools.

We structured the day so that there was one-on-one time with each, not easy in a large family, but important and necessary. This meant reporting back to each other on how things went, who our children’s teachers are, and our overall impression of the school situation.

Steve came back with news that our daughter’s homeroom teacher had once upon a time worked at Good Shepherd. There is a girl in her class from our church, as well as children of others we know from the community. He is all about connections.

I walked into our elementary daughter’s school to be greeted by one of my dear friends and another sweet friend from church. The first will be her PE teacher, the other, an assistant in her classroom. There was a lady whose children have been in the same piano studio. My daughter’s team teacher once had a child at Good Shepherd during my first decade of teaching. He is 23.

Leaving the gym, we passed the office of another lady who has returned to teach special ed at the school this year. Her children and my high school senior are friends. We shared connection and conversation.

The final open house of the day was for middle school boy. He reluctantly headed out with me after dinner to pick up his schedule and tolerated me wanting to meet his teachers and see his classrooms. The DQ Blizzard prospect might have been a motivating factor.

I was overjoyed to see that his science teacher is a friend from church who I didn’t even know taught at the school. His other teachers were engaging and kind. There were the ones he moaned and groaned about, but overall, this year looks promising. Hopeful.

I commented to my fourth grader, See. Even though I won’t be with you this year, God is with you always. You have one of my close friends as your PE teacher just like you would have my friends for teachers if you were still at Good Shepherd. One of your classroom aides is also my friend. You have people who care about you and who love children and want to help them learn.

Maybe I was also speaking to my own heart.

I feel it, though.

I feel God’s kindness, reminding me of his care for my children. Reminding me that he is everywhere and bigger than I could ever possibly be. Reminding me that his people are everywhere, and that he cannot be contained. Reminding me that relationships built over the years matter. That kindness counts.

He’s got this year. That’s all that matters. Thank you, Teacher Friends, for being there. All of you.

YOU matter.

God Already Knew

This Sabbath Sundown is my last of summer.

Tomorrow finds me back at work preparing for another year of teaching.

There are many feelings swirling inside as I prepare to just do the next thing. I feel excited, overwhelmed, tired, hopeful, eager. This year is going to be a stretch in many ways.

But God already knew that.

So when there was joking from my sister about me having five kids in four schools, which became five kids in five schools, God already knew.

When the teacher I was looking forward to spending another year with moved on, God already knew.

Because He already knows, I can step out in confidence tomorrow morning, knowing that nothing will cross my path or touch my life that God doesn’t already know.

He is with me in this next chapter, and I can quit wrestling with and just rest in that.

Provision in Unrest

I don’t do well with unrest.

When things are tidy and put together, there is freedom for me to take a break, put up my feet, and rest awhile. When things are unsettled, uncertain, unsure, it’s a different story.

Last Sunday I was growing through the unrest, and it was difficult, uncomfortable, and stressful.

Preparing for another year of VBS, I reviewed the materials for my station, KidVid Cinema, well ahead of the game. That is, I reviewed all but the video. I planned to pick THAT up on Set-up Sunday and be good to go.

It was a great plan, in theory. The glitch came on Set-up Sunday when the DVD was nowhere to be found. At first, I was confident that it would appear when the right person was asked. Then I began to feel doubt creep into the back of my mind. What if I was the person?

What if I was given the DVD already and it is somewhere in my house? Lost!

That thought sent me into a mild panic, as I quickly texted my husband. Maybe he could search the usual places where my important stuff piles to see if it was at the bottom of the stack.

No reply.

I would have to drive home to check for myself. Anxiety welled up inside, as I tried to just breathe and stay present. For something that already felt big to me, working VBS week, I was quickly approaching what felt like a tipping point.

Why am I doing this, again?

There was no DVD to be found. Anywhere. I called my sister in Ohio to see if I had taken it with me and left it there. The problem was that I had no recollection of receiving the very thing that strong evidence indicated had been given to me.

I could have easily taken a packet and placed it who-knows-where! Why can’t I remember?

Returning to VBS set-up, I found my chain of command and admitted that the video was, in fact, lost. I had no idea where it was and the bottom line is that it was needed the following day.

What do I do?

Grace abounded. I was assured that something would work out. I could go home and the highers-up would figure it out a plan.

I felt tense.

It was hard to release the situation to God and to what he would do with it. A friend sensed my tension and asked if she could pray with me. Right then. Her confidence was a boost when mine was lacking. I agreed, trying to hold the words she was praying for myself.

That night I received a call that a borrowed video had been located in a roundabout way when our children’s ministry director ran into the pastor of another church that had done the same VBS this summer. They had a video we could borrow, and it would be waiting for me the next morning.

Relief flooded my heart.

There was also that bit of doubt, though.

So what about the video? Will I ever know what happened to it?

It was hard work to release the need to know. To defend. To replay events in my mind and try to figure out. To have the answer.

Sometimes we don’t get the answer. Sometimes we don’t ever get find the video and know the outcome, and that has to be enough. Provision.

Other times. Those other times are sweet.

Monday morning I entered the church building to be greeted by the phrase, Did you hear? We found the video! It was in one of the children’s ministry bags!

Relief flooded my heart.

Monday’s Bible point was God has the power to provide. It’s interesting that I left VBS set up with no DVD and returned the following morning to two of them! I am grateful for the growth opportunity of experiencing provision in unrest. I am grateful for an amazing children’s ministry team and for the gift of serving together.

Circling the Wagons

It’s a season to circle the wagons. Some seasons are like that. I have been fighting this one, pushing it back, but I can’t anymore.

With each day, I notice more and more needs presenting right here under my roof when I have been outward-focused. It’s part of what was unhealthy about facebook for me. There was too much looking out when things inside this place got messy.

It’s part of what makes me question the blog and the purpose I have in writing it. Is it to reach out to others or to sort out my heart? Is it both? Is it necessary? Wise?

My sister shared a line with me, If you blog but you don’t post it to facebook, did you really blog?

I laughed, but it feels true.

Another bit of unhealthiness in my world.

Circling the wagons feels hard to me. I would rather hop on horseback and ride off somewhere far away.

But here is where I need to be and here is where we need to stop and circle up and figure out and trust.

Today it looks like playing Art Lotto with the kids.

Kind Readers, will you pray for my heart and for the hearts in these wagons, in this house? I plan to keep writing and sorting and processing here but in a quiet kind of way that’s not big on likes and shares.

That’s okay, because I know the one who likes me and invites me to share in his suffering. He has walked this road before me and will continue to guide my path.