Day 20: Why Bother?

I have been at a conference all week. It's been good for my soul, though I miss my family terribly.

Before coming to the conference, God and I have been having some pretty heavy conversations about my heart condition. (not the, "quit eating artery-clogging foods" conversation, but the "your heart is not pure," conversation).

I have come to the realization that I have doubted God. I have doubted His listening skills. I have doubted His willingness to help me, to rescue me, to give me a break.

Oh how often have I said to Him in my best Meredith Grey voice "seriously?"

And though I have continued to pray, I don't know that I honestly thought it would do me any good at all.

And then yesterday I heard a message. A message based on a story in the Bible that I have heard so many times before. A message from Mark 5, the story of Jairus' daughter. In the story, Jesus is on his way to help a sick girl when he pauses to heal someone else. While he is healing the other person, Jairus receives word that his daughter is dead. And his "friends" say to him, "Why bother the teacher now? Your daughter is dead."

And Jesus says to him, "Don't be afraid. Just believe."

How many times have I said to God lately, "I don't know why I'm even bothering you with this because the situation is hopeless."

But the Pastor who was teaching this said, " Who are you to say that something is dead that God has said is possible?"

Who am I indeed?

The enemy would have me believe that it is pointless to pray, trust, and believe. Ashamedly, I have found it easier to believe in the death that satan offers than the hope that Christ assures me of.


All that to say, "Don't be afraid. Just believe."

Day 19: Out of the Pit

When I awakened this morning, I laid still in my bed for a few minutes and prayed, a common morning practice for me. It's just a great way to start the day. It centers me, it calms me, it prepares me for the day.

This morning, as I prayed, a scripture popped into my mind for some reason. So when I got up, I opened my online Bible and read it. "When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

For those of you who don't know the story, the King had thrown Daniel into the lion's den, basically for worshiping God. But the King loved Daniel and really didn't want him to get eaten by the lions, so he approached the lion's den with hopes that Daniel would be alive. (That's a really short version of the story. You can read it in Daniel Chapter 6)

I am not really sure why this scripture came to my mind this morning, but perhaps it is this. Yesterday, I awakened with a very heavy heart. Hopeful that God would rescue us (from a house that won't sell, and the possibility of the girls going back to their b-mom), but not at all sure what would happen.

By the end of yesterday we had a contract on our home and two girls who would live in our home for at least 5 more months.

Prior to yesterday morning, I had cried more buckets of tears than I have cried in a really long time.

By yesterday morning, my adrenaline level was through the roof.

So by the end of yesterday, with two incredible "hand of God" movements, I was exhausted.

And I slept in peace. Much like Daniel did in the lion's den. Only Daniel slept in the midst of the lions. He had so much trust in God. I could only sleep once outside the lion's den.

But nonetheless, I awoke with these words in my heart. "Carol, servant of the living God, your God whom you serve continually, HAS rescued you." Our outcome was the same, Daniel's and mine.

All that to say, Oh for the peace to sleep in the pit, but praise God I am out of it.

Day 18: Full of It

I realized last night and on into the early hours of this morning, that I can pray for peace to fill my heart all day long and it's not going to happen. It isn't.

Contrary to what people have said to me about praying for my heart to be filled with peace, that peace isn't going to come. It simply isn't.

And here's why.

My heart is too filled with fear and anxiety and worry.

It has a pretty decent space carved out and filled with anger and bitterness.

There's a small section filled with self-loathing.

Then there is the section locked down and scarred over with past hurts and deep wounds.

So you see, you simply can't fill something that is already filled.

All that to say, I'm full of it alright. Just not what I want to be full of. And I know that God is waiting to fill my heart with a peace that passes understanding. But He's also waiting for me to rid it of all the other things taking up space.

Day 17: A Big Week, I Think

I have a meeting on Thursday of this week. It will be a day of big decision making, so I would appreciate your prayers on the part of two little girls. I stand before God with my hands open saying, "Whatever you want, Lord. Whatever you want."

God and I had a pretty heavy conversation yesterday. About life. And about my need to control it. And in case you aren't a good enough friend to know this about me, I'm a control freak. A big one. And my need to control things, especially things that feel like they are spinning out of control is HUGE.

And this current thing is spiiiiiiiiiiining.

So standing before God with my hands open is a pretty big deal. I trust Him. I do. But then I start thinking about all the worst possible scenarios and I think to myself, "What if these things come to pass? Will I still trust Him?" Lord help me in my unbelief.

So there is that happening this week.

Then, there is this other thing. Our house in GA has been on the market for 3.5 years. Yes, THREE AND A HALF FREAKING YEARS. And no, that isn't a record for those of you who have asked, but it is still a dang long time.

And now, we have a serious looker. This will be their third look at this house. And they have checked back pretty often to be sure the house hasn't sold. (They are relo's from Alabama) So they are coming back to town this week to take another look and to decide if this is really the house for them. (*insert heavy sigh here)

It's almost too much to hope for, because we have waited so long.

All that to say, this is a big week of decisions. I think I might throw up, or just curl up in a ball and wait for the decisions to be over. I don't know. I'm scared and wanting so desparately to control, control, control. But, I'm going to breathe and survive, no matter the outcome. Breathe, breathe, breathe (holy cow, I can't breathe!)

Day 16: Racist or Not

My husband, Mike, sometimes makes comments about people's race, when the race of said person is not important. It's a conversation we have had for years. (and by conversation, I mean argument)

Example: He will tell a story and say, "There was this Asian guy (insert any race) walking down the street. . . "

At which point I will usually stop him and say, "Is his race pertinent to the story or are you just pointing out his race?"

This usually makes him mad and he tells me that he's just giving me details. So I ask him why if it's a white guy walking down the street why he doesn't say, "There was this white guy walking down the street . . . "

This also usually makes him mad.

But, whenever I tell him that it is racist to point out someone's race if it's not pertinent to the story he always says that it isn't and that I need to chill out.

So . . .

Tonight, for the second night in a row, we had to spend about 20 minutes trying to get sand out of our girls' hair. In case you aren't keeping up, our girls are black (or African American if you prefer, though my black friends have told me they prefer the word "black.") And the fact that our girls are black IS pertinent to the story.

You see, their hair is like a short pile rug that is made out of velcro. Once something gets stuck in their hair, it doesn't come out easily.

We have had to come up with some pretty creative ways to get stuff out of their hair (our favorite tool is the lint roller), but SAND in their hair is a PAIN!!!! So we tried vacuuming it out tonight. But, that didn't work too well, so once again we had to rinse out the sand with the sprayer on our kitchen sink. It took about 20 minutes to accomplish this task. 20 MINUTES of two two year olds screaming and crying and begging me to stop.

And at the end of the task I said, "I totally understand why black people don't like the beach!" (I said this because many of my black friends have told me how much black people hate the beach, and I never understood why!)

Mike looked at me and said, "That was totally racist. Don't ever tell me my storytelling is racist again."

All that to say, what do you think?

Day 15: Throwing in Rocks

I have heard of and read many differing opinions about moral development in children over the years. And though there are many differing opinions about the age at which kids' brains go from wet cement to hardened concrete, all studies agree that early moral development gives kids the best shot at living lives that show a respect for things like rules, care for others, justice, right from wrong, and that's just to name a few.

So, if I go with the idea of a child's brain being wet cement, then I should know that the key ingredients of cement are sand and water and rocks. Lots and lots of rocks.

When we pour into the life of a child, we are throwing in rocks. Throwing in rocks. Rocks that will help form in them a love for others. Help form in them an ability to trust others. Form in them the ability to discern right from wrong.

And though these little children I have right now might never be mine, I still have to throw in rocks. Because if I keep at it, I might throw in enough rocks to drown out the other rocks that have been put in their little heads.

And though i really do "get" that we're doing some good here by throwing in our rocks, I confess sometimes I really do want to throw rocks. Actual rocks. Not figurative rocks. And I want to throw rocks at a system and a world that lets babies endure all the things our babies have had to endure and might still have to endure. I want to throw big fat heavy rocks. And I want to swear really hard while throwing said rocks.

All that to say, I think Forest Gump said it right when he said some days there just aren't enough rocks.

Day 14: A Ride of Life

I would love to say that the last week of my life, during my absenteeism from this blog, has been mundane and boring. Ah, but alas, my life is never mundane and boring, so there you go.

So much has happened that I wish I could tell you, my faithful readers, about but suffice it to say this . . .

We have been riding a roller coaster for many many months now. A roller coaster that we chose to board. A roller coaster for which we purchased a ticket. A roller coaster that at anytime we could have chosen to disembark.

But our hearts would immediately override any decision our minds might make to exit the ride.

So we ride.

And the highs are so high. And the lows are so low.

All that to say, tough decisions are having to be made these days. Please pray for the sweet Mama who is having to make them.

Day 13: Astounded

I am astounded that you love me at all. I am astounded that you long to spend time with me. I am astounded that you sit and listen to me as I ramble on and on about what I need, what I want, what I have to have.

I am astounded at the way you wait so patiently for me to come alongside you.

I am astounded at the depth of your love for me. At the wonderous way in which you rescued me when I most needed to be saved from myself. I am astounded that you rescue me still.

I am astounded that you delight in me. That I make your heart beat faster.

I am astounded that you, the God of the universe, have any concern at all for me, much less that you would number the hairs on my head.

I am astounded that you tenderly tend to my wounds and that you stand me up and push me back out to try again.

I am astounded that you call to me, wooing me to you, setting my feet on a path that leads straight into your arms.

All that to say, "Jesus, Jesus, How I love you, how I proved you o'er and o'er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. Oh for grace to trust Him more."

Day 12: Teach Your Children, Well

When my sons were teenagers, one of them had a friend who was just such a bad influence. He'd been kicked out of school for drinking (in middle school) and was just generally not someone that a mom wants her kids to hang out with.

When I had the conversation with him about influences he said, "Mom, don't you think the bad kids' moms WISH that their kids would hang out with the good kids so the good kids could influence their bad kid?"

I'm sure they did. I just never looked at it from any point of view but my own. I find I do this often. My point of view seems to be the only one that matters.

One time one of them had been terribly hurt by someone, and they forgave them, almost instantaneously. In the midst of a deep conversation about the hurtful experience when I asked him how he could forgive so easily he said, "Well, I know I'm going to forgive them eventually, so I may as well forgive them now and save myself the anxiety of dragging it out."

Wow. Clearly a lesson that I need.

And most recently, when I picked up my two year old out of her bed, she smiled at me with the sweetest, warmest smile and said, "We play now? We play now, Mimi?"

We had nothing pressing us for time, and yet I was already in a hurry to get her downstairs and dressed and fed and ready for the day. But her sweet smile and her question, "We play now, Mimi?" made me take a breath and realize that I need to slow down and just take in life.

I need to play now.

All that to say, I know that we are supposed to teach our children well. But sometimes, well, they teach us.