Monthly Archives: July 2012

prepare to be SWALLOWED BY A WHALE

Have you ever been really convicted on doing something or saying something?  Every where you go you hear something and comes back to the conviction.  Well, I must say, I do not like the feeling.  I try to close my eyes to the need and try to close my eyes to the message and it just doesn’t seem to go away.  I explain to myself that I am not qualified to do “the job”.  I also try to say someone else will do it.  Some of you know about my LOVE of non-fiction books from self-help to biblical teachings to speak to me.  I have been squeezing in more “reading” thanks to my Kindle reading to me AND reading books that I find hard to put down so squeeze in moments where I can.   Sometimes it is my thirst for more information and answers in this crazy world.   

I believe my husband has found his second calling in being a fireman and on HazMat.  Over the years he continues to seek out education and also teaches classes.  I admire that knowing where you belong in the world.  When we were dating and first married he volunteered with a Boy Scout Troop before we ever had children and loved helping those young boys.  At the time, his calling was mentoring Boy Scouts and now it is definitely with firefighters.  It brings a spark to his eyes and NEVER complains about a class to teach or a call to go to (can’t say that about his “real” job – LOL).

I know I was meant to be a mother, or God would not have blessed us with two miracles.  I firmly believe I was meant to be a nurse in some capacity.  I know in my heart that beginning cyber school / home schooling is where I need to be for my family.   Every once in awhile I have this twinge that I should pursue my Masters in Nursing (especially since my employer reimburses a large portion per year), but then I think of the time it would take away from my family and not necessarily would it add to my life, so I just keep pondering.  There was also a day I was a Sunday school teacher and a PTO volunteer.  Teaching children was my calling at that time.  However, I attended briefly the VBS program our church recently had, and realized that is not where my heart is, but the young are definitely in the hearts of others!  My daughter is one of them – she loved helping with BibleSchool and has loved watching friends of ours children.  So, where do I fit in?

In the books I have read and in a message in church two weeks ago it keeps talk about mentoring.  I have mentioned in my blogs that I have really been convicted to do a better job mentoring our children.  I need to slow down a little and instead of doing it all myself teach them how to do things (I know that my father-in-law reads these and will probably tell my mother-in-law that I finally get it).  It isn’t always easy to do though because I try to squeeze so much in a day, but I have been asking for help with little things – cleaning the bathroom, picking up toys, fixing supper, etc… I also have talked that it is important to mentor our children on friendships (one of my facebook friends brought up this very topic today of how mean girls can be to boys and I also said to each other and parents aren’t stopping it).  If my children see me treat another person unkind they will believe it is okay to do.  If I lie to a friend or talk behind their backs, they will believe it is okay to do.  If I see my children being mean or saying mean things or talking about people, including their friends, and I don’t step in to correct them they think it is okay.  So, with my children I am so convicted in mentoring them to become responsible adults, because they are going to have to work with the mean bullies that are being created!  The sermon two weeks ago was about mentoring the younger generations and the impact it will have of future generations.

I think in life everyone has convictions of what they should be doing with their lives, their families, their communities, and their churches, etc.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe that many act on the conviction because it is easier to go with the flow than to fight the current.  Conviction tells teens not to drink, smoke, have pre-marital sex BUT it is easier to go with the flow of peer pressure and believing that it will make you feel better than to say NO.  Conviction tells spouses not to cheat on their husband/wives, but it is easier to give in to desires than to fight them.  Society would be a much nicer/safer/honest place if people followed their convictions.  Convictions say to “think about it 100% before diving in and consider the consequences” versus societal belief of “just do it”.

Bet you are wondering where she is going with this. Well, it is about mentoring and my calling to do more! Lately as I read my books and my heart is changing I feel like reading them is not enough.  I have been sharing some pieces in my blog, but still feel like that may not be enough.  Actually, I know that is not enough!  I find myself reading a book and thinking this would be a great study or maybe a book club discussion.  Then I go back to the thinking that I am not qualified, although I know that Jesus’ disciples were ordinary men.  I think about all the awesome women conferences I would love to attend, but time is an issue, childcare can me an issue, money can be an issue.  I think if I am hungry for more knowledge that other women may be too.  In our crazy schedules and lives, moms are often the last to take care of them selves.  But, I know what a change I feel in my heart just by reading, by choosing a word to focus on this year, and listening to awesome speakers and just maybe if I shared more or did more, I could change their lives too. 

Honestly, I think I am feeling like Jonah did – trying to decide if it is better to go the direction I am being led or just get swallowed by a whale!  I think I am being led to 1. open up my heart even more 2. start some kind of woman’s study – would love a face-to-face one so others could share their story, or 3. start a book club and we could meet to talk about or do on-line.  But I am thinking I may need to prepare to be SWALLOWED BY A WHALE!  Because my head is saying when I could fit this into my schedule, how could I accomplish this, someone else is definitely more capable to do this, and also no one would be interested.  It is so easy to talk yourself out of something, now if the Lord would just stop pushing….

 “Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.” – Thomas Carlyle

prepare for BROKEN PIECES

Remember my mug I fell in love with and had to go back and purchase?  Live Today with Passion – it even inspired a blog post  (https://sherisoulsearch.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/prepare-for-passion/).  I really did love my mug.  It had a star on the inside the rim and I knew how far to pour the water and how much milk to add.  It made me smile and think about the saying the first thing every morning I drank from it.  Well, this past week, it got broken.  I really wanted to cry, but told my daughter it was okay and was an accident.  Really, it is just a mug.  Well, now it will have to be a pencil holder because I just can’t get rid of it and I also can’t drink out of it.  Despite being broken, to me, it is still beautiful. 

When I was a young girl, I won a pretty big statue at the Markleysburg Grange of a Mom wiping away the tears of a little girl.  The statue was left in the living room.  Keep in mind, I had three older brothers and they liked to horse around.  Unfortunately, my statue became the casualty of one of their battles.  Never fear, they learned to glue just about anything together.  I was threatened not to tell and my mom didn’t really notice THAT time.  Unfortunately, my statue often took the toll of a battle and it kept getting re-glued together.  To me, it was broken but beautiful.

While searching for shells at the beach, we found some really beautiful shells.  We even found a sand dollar with only a little crack.  However, we found mostly pieces of shells.  They were beautiful in their color and their smoothness.  I thought about the pieces I still collected as “broken but beautiful”.  I am sure they each had a story of how they were broken – the hard tide tossing them back and forth against the ocean floor.  Some may have been broken by a sea creature.  Some may have become broken by being tramped on by humans. I wonder how many times the pieces were picked up by human hands and discarded back into the ocean because they were not the perfect shell?  They are broken but beautiful!

I was blessed a good Christian family that loved me.  We went to church every Sunday and if it snowed you just took the snowmobiles.  I don’t ever remember having my butt smacked as a child (my brothers cannot say the same thing but keep in mind the above example.  In addition, they will say I didn’t get my butt smacked because I was the favorite child.  My side of the story is I just say all their mistakes and didn’t make them.  Honestly, to this day, me being the favorite and the “angel” always comes up!). My parents didn’t fight that I recall and my dad stuck to my mother’s side, despite illness, until she went to Heaven.  I thought that everyone had this type of life.  As I entered high school I knew of some children from divorced homes.  But that isn’t the “normal” anymore.  Now a child abuse case makes the headlines almost daily.  All pregnant women at some hospitals get mandatory drug testing to be prepared for infants going through withdrawal.  Most children come from separated/divorced homes with step-parents or live-in boyfriends/girlfriends. 

Honestly, while at the beach and seeing the beautiful broken shells, I thought of two amazing women in my life.  They were harmed by human hands, tossed and discarded, and thrown into the waves of life time and time again.  As children they were broken by what their “parents” did to them or did not stop from happening to them.  Years of abuse and believing they are worth nothing and deserved everything bad that happened to them.  I can never imagine!  Unfortunately, it does not just happen to them as evidenced by the news.  But their stories are personal to me, not just a number.  The amazing thing to me, that despite all of this crap that no child/person should have to endure, they have a heart of gold.  My life is daily touched at what these amazing women have had to overcome.  They have chosen a much higher life than ever given the chance to live.  To me, it is easy to live a happy life, because I was given that as a child and felt love everyday.  To fight everyday to believe you are worth it, now that’s incredible!  They are broken but beautiful.

I also think of all the patients with cancer that I have taken care of.  I remember Heidi at 30 years of age undergoing bilateral mastectomies and then chemo that caused her to loose her hair.  Her amazing husband would bring whatever she wanted to eat from the “outside” world so she didn’t also have to endure hospital food.  She would say she was broken now with no breasts or hair and I always said… but beautiful.  People are so much deeper than the outer shell.

I have * had a broken heart * allowed sin to corrupt my soul * have mental scars * physical imperfections.  I don’t always feel so beautiful.  However, I base my beauty on my imperfect eyes instead of the eyes of my Heavenly Father.   I base my beauty on my outward appearance, while He bases it on my heart.  He made me, knows my scars, knows my pains, and knows my imperfections.   I have to prepare for BROKEN PIECES and place them in His hands. He knows my sins, insecurities, failures.  Yet, He loves me, and can take my broken pieces and turn them into something beautiful – I just have to let them go of the pieces.  Then I just have to hold on when He chooses to pick me out of the tides of life and look at me and says “You are broken but beautiful!”

Ps 147:3 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. (KJV)

prepare to OPEN MY EYES

On Sunday I was driving home from work and ever since I set out to intentionally see the sunrise at the beach, I have been fascinated.  In fact, I had intentions one morning of getting up early and walking to Jumonsville Cross, and if I actually physically made it to the top, I would watch the sunrise.  I figure it would be a magnificent view.  However, it rained that morning and decided to just sit on my porch and watch the sunrise.  In almost 20 years at this home, I can tell you I never intentionally watched the sunrise from my home.  Yes, I have been annoyed by it waking me in the morning, especially since we got new windows and I haven’t put curtains up yet, but I had never intentionally watched for it.  Honestly, never really looked forward to watching for it because that requires getting up to see it.   It made me think that it is the same beautiful sunrise that awakens over the ocean every morning.  So, why did I always assume it was so much prettier at the beach?  Probably because I finally slowed down to see it and appreciate it and let it soak into my soul.

 So, as I drove home on Sunday at first it was just peeking over the mountains.  I wanted to stop and get a great picture, but as I dropped down the hill, being in the valley blocked the beautiful view.  That is so much like my life, when I am in the valley, God is still there and the sun still rises, but I allow mountain of circumstances block my view from His beauty.   And even when I am in the valley, the sunrises, it just takes a little longer to see it.  But, since many times I just want things to hurry up, I am not always patient waiting for the sun to overcome the valley and darkness.   

 Driving and watching how it seemed the sunrise almost changed position and moved further away, but is was the direction of my driving.  Also so like life.  Sometimes I feel like God is moving farther away.  However, it is MY driving that takes me away from Him.  He is always in the same spot, just waiting for ME to show up.  Sometimes, it is * distractions along the way, * I take the wrong route * I take the long route to keep running * I go too fast and miss it * I go too slow.   Thankfully, He stays still and patiently waits for me to get back on track and headed in the right direction with the right focus.

 About half way into the trip home it became 100% fog.  It was the kind of fog that makes it hard to see the hood of my vehicle or anything in front of you.  Many days of my life I feel like I live in the fog.  Sometimes it is fog from * heaviness in my heart * too many things to do * avoidance * worry * anger, etc.  When my emotions and my life is not in check with what I know is His will, it is though I am in the fog, and have no idea which direction to go.  Thankfully, the fog will lift if I keep going.

 It has been amazing, just that intentional moment of getting up at the ocean to see the sunrise.  There was nothing blocking my view there because of the flat horizon of the ocean.  My heart and head was clear after a week of sand therapy.  My time and schedule was open.  The cares and worries of daily life did not exist.  I can still close my eyes and see it.  However, I can tell you that the sunrise over the mountain landscape is equally beautiful.  There also nothing more breathtaking than coming out of a dark valley and seeing that sun shining.  I am just sorry that I haven’t taken the time to relish the sunrises more in my life.  Sorry that it took 20 years for me to sit on my porch for the first time, but grateful that I finally took that time.  Thankful that it rained that morning I planned to go to the cross.  I believe it was God’s message to me that I don’t have to go somewhere “special” to enjoy His beauty and feel His presence.  I just have to prepare to OPEN MY EYES!

 Ephesians 1:18 “18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…

prepare to FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS

What a day (note started on Tuesday)… but isn’t amazing that at an end of a day that is so packed full I feel the most alive.  I know exactly why – I filled it with PEOPLE and not things… PEOPLE and not task… PEOPLE and not problems.  I am so guilty of NOT taking the time for the PEOPLE in my life and really need to prepare to FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS!

On Sunday, my brother/sister Bill and Bev hosted a family picnic. Though the food was mighty tasty and brought back some memories of childhood (mac-n-cheese and baked beans), the conversation was better.  Though geographically close for most of our lives, getting together has not always been successfully accomplished.  Excuses would include our busy schedules, waiting till everyone could come, and/or  no one organized it.  I think as we age, we realize the importance of family relationships, and though we may not see each other but a couple times a year, all it would take is a phone call and we would have each other’s back.  However, we are already talking about the winter get-together (=  (Mom and Grandma would be smiling down).

As I reflect over time, I think about the many nights playing cards with Bruce and Chris and Ed and Robin.  Even the time I was on bedrest and I laid on the couch to play.  As we sat around the table as a newly married couple the conversation and encouragement, though never directly to us, were priceless.  We could have solved world problems around that table.  Now two of those wonderful men, who mentored us, are in Heaven.  We didn’t make any other plans those evenings in case a card game would come about.  We made time for PEOPLE and our lives were blessed because of it.  It’s been too long the last time Jim and I sat together as a couple (exception his work Christmas Party) and enjoyed the company of other couples.

I recall the many nights at dance class for Mary as I sat around the table the Dance Moms at the table.  No topic was off limit.  World problems could be solved there as well.  When summer happened though dance didn’t meet every week, we would still gather when we could and counted down our time back to dance.  Children were born to some of us during that time.  Weight loss and gains were discussed.  Marriage positives and issues were discussed.  I always had a stack of magazines to share with the 5 moms (including myself).  Oh, how I miss those days when life could be solved with the women of the table! 

I think about the evenings of wings at Santa Fe Grille in McHenry followed by the laughter of a movie (can’t recall laughing so hard in a very long time!), and then some enjoyable night caps and dessert!  I also recall joining the same ladies at Panera Bread for a quick lunch and conversation and laughter.  I miss the spark to my life these ladies brought!

I think of my “sister” Tammy and the many lunches we had with our friend Vickie.  Many meals, conversation, and laughter over a Chinese meal.  Tammy was there through my bedrest with Mary and stayed for the delivery (although she missed it for a cup of hot chocolate).  Time has passed and she re-married and moved on.  I am still trying to locate her and keep sending out a letter that keeps returning address not found.  I would love to know she is okay!  Vickie and I traveled many days for work.  We talked about everything and our girls grew up together. We even endured PlayHouse Disney Live at Monroeville Mall with our girls.  Hours spent in scrapbooking.  Friends from work so important to my life.

Tonight I was able to hang out at a friends home, where not only do I love to be, but my children do as well.  We are welcome with open arms and when Sam feels comfortable it is a BIG deal!  He knows where the snacks are and I get no judgment passed for his eating habits.  We can pick up where we left off in conversation whether days, weeks, or months.  The almost daily text just to say Hi or a smiley face, I know that someone is thinking of me.  Nothing like feeling thought of in this great big world.  But it had been a while since we really talked (in person) and amazing the therapy for the soul.

I also have some friends that I keep in close contact with on Facebook.  I can ask them for prayer in pure confidence that it will be said.  No matter the time that has passed their friendship is a treasure.  However, I can tell you I miss the face-to-face with these friends!  I also have a few that I have only really ever met on Facebook, but can’t wait to meet in person!

At the same time, I have a dear friend who is making some decisions that I just do not support.  There would have been the day that I would have been the agreeable friend and supported whatever they chose to do.  As time passes and our relationship has grown and changed, I felt it was imperative for me to truly step up as a friend and say I don’t agree.  It may or may not put strain on our relationship.  But, as a real friend it is my responsibility to be honest despite loving them and not wanting to hurt her feelings.

Over time, my relationships have changed, some for the good and some due to time or distance.  I have also discarded some relationships as they were toxic to who I am or want to be, and despite reaching out, it was time to pull the life preserver back and save myself.  My daughter is living the pains of friendships in the teen years.  Many friends have been “friends” due to location (i.e. school).  She has been hurt deeply by “friends” already at a young age.  I don’t remember the hurt being so early in my life with friendships.  I realize though that MANY girls learn from their mothers how to be friends OR allow their daughters to be “mean girls” to get what they want (because of course our daughters deserve the best – lol).  I would LOVE to call the moms of the girls that have truly hurt my daughter, and then I realize that many could careless.  I have now heard a message on being a mentor (a future blog on what it laid on my heart) and read a book (also a future blog) about being a mentor.  It is MY JOB as a mom, to mentor and model true friendship to my daughter. 

So, when I disagreed with my friend on her decision(s), we talked about it because 1. you can love a friend and disagree and still love each other, 2. disagreements do not have to be spoken out of anger or hate, 3. don’t throw in the towel over something that is important to save (a great relationship), and 4. it is important to be honest with those you love.  

What gets modeled from my daughters friendships has been 1. if you don’t agree with me I can call you names and talk behind your back, 2. if  you don’t agree we can’t be friends, 3. I can spread lies about your integrity when I get mad at you, and 4. I will get everyone else to hate you too!   WOW what a difference!  When my daughter has issues with a friend, we talk about it and I try to be the devils advocate in saying what the other person maybe thinking and how it could have been handled differently.   If I thought she was out of line in the relationship, I tell her.  Is she happy with me for taking the other person’s side?  Absolutely NOT!  But, I do it so she can develop real relationships and treat other people as they should be.  She is learning real friendships.  I wish more moms would step up and stop their daughters from being so mean!  (I may one day be talking like this about boys too, but so far, my experience is if boys fight they are friends later that day or by the next day; however, when girls fight they are evil, pull everyone into the fight, and it lingers for days or years).  The scary part is the girls will be carrying their knowledge of friendship into adulthood.  They will either be the bullies of the world or their world will come crashing in as they exist with no friends (i.e. Legally Blonde).  I pray my daughter goes into adulthood with a few genuine friends and that she is the friend back to them, and it is my job to model and foster that spirit within her.

Anyway, the point I started with before the bunny trail of the importance of mentoring friendships to future generations, I wanted to say that I miss those friends that I don’t see.  What stops us, probably time and mis-ordered priorities!  People should always trump things on the to-do list of life!  The same 24 hours in a day that use to exist.  However, my hours seem to get filled.  It is time to clear the schedule and prepare to FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS!  I have been trying to send little notecards out when I think of friends, but I know I think of them more than cards go out.  My heart and soul needs to have meaningful time with friends.  I need to stop waiting for the friends to reach out to me for the lunch date and reach out to them.  And to those who have made the offer, you will be getting a message in your inbox real soon!

 

“ A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. “ – Walter Winchell

“Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you.” – Walter Winchell

prepare to STAND AT THE WELL

I just finished another amazing book, thanks to my Kindle that can read to me.  It took a little bit to overcome the “computer voice” but no worse than the crazy woman on the G.P.S. that keeps telling you “when possible make a U-turn”. LOL! I am sure I have said before how much I love to read and my choice of books is 99.99% self-help or non-fiction books.  I use to love audio books on my long commute toPittsburgh, and the Kindle offers that to me, but have truly just begun to use that feature more.  My only problem is that when the book says something I want to highlight (another great Kindle feature) I can’t do it while driving.  So, I find myself skimming back over parts for the sentence that stood out and grabbed my soul.  Many of my friends love fiction to “escape” from reality and I need to read to help me “face” reality. I think that is why I tend to read non-fiction because I am always looking for the next solution to a problem or looking for an answer for my heart/soul. 

I can tell you in my life I have looked many places to fill voids in my heart/soul caused by other people and brought on by my own inner talk.  In the past as I dealt with pains of my mom’s illness, years of infertility, broken friendships, stressful jobs, harmful words, health issues,  etc. I often looked for things to “fill” the emptiness.   I still do…

Last week when I was feeling hurt and disrespected, I reached for food.  In the past, I thought it worked (i.e. that helped contribute to my lovely curves).  I felt better for the moment and when the pain started, I put more food in.  I remember some very vivid moments where I would eat large quantities in search for the filling of the void AND for pure spite!  The other day when I was feeling very hurt (and still admit very raw) I tried to eat to numb the pain.  However, this time, I was so stressed I couldn’t eat.  I literally got sick to my stomach and threw up (sorry about that detail) everything I ate.  Even tea!  I truly believe it was God saying – “Sheri, you are worth more than this.  Your answer is not in the food.”  But, those that know me also know that I can be stubborn and I still insisted on trying to eat food, I wanted that knot in my gut to go away.  And yes, I still got sick.  Now what to turn to?

I also fill my void with working too much to escape reality.  In work, my problems don’t exist I can absorb myself in the medical cases I review.  If I am working I don’t have time to focus on my hurts, my to-do lists, my craziness.  But work doesn’t fill the void.

 I really wanted to blast on Facebook “XXX hurt me by XXXX”, but knew that Facebook is not the appropriate platform to use (although thousands would read it and many people do it).  I was NOT going to air my issues there.  In fact, I only mentioned the specifics to one person because I was ready to explode and only one person knew who hurt me (but not the details).   There would have been a day, I would have called everyone or at least told everyone that called me.  But that day, I was hurt, truly hurt (and honestly could still cry as the pain still exists).  It didn’t matter who did the hurting to me.. I didn’t want to put them out there as a bad person, but I did want my emptiness and hurt to go away. I would have once searched for friends to gossip to fill the void, believing that if I run the person in the ground I would feel better.   I was shocked to hear that people heard about the issue, but it didn’t come from me because I didn’t tell ayone. Then I thought, “how was I portrayed?”  I didn’t want to be that person. I am so great at when people say “how are you?” and I reply fine.  Why?  Because I probably want them to think I have it all together, I don’t want to bother them with my problems, and for some I don’t want to expose myself.   I waited for the right words from a friend to let me spill my guts, but God said “Sheri, the anwer is not in your friends, and a text or call never came.”   I also, learned that though I often felt friends could fill the void, I am often the one reaching out first. I enjoy taking on their problems, but don’t feel comfortable laying mine out to them.  I think at times it is because 1. they don’t reach first and 2. I know they don’t have the solution.  I would have given anything for someone to know me so deeply that they FELT my pain without me saying a word… and there is… and it slapped me in the face in my book (confirming why I read self-help books – lol!)

I had just written a blog about discovering me after reading a devotional from Renee Swope and it mentioned her book.  I had already downloaded her book prior to that day apparently when announced as a special, but didn’t realize till I went to purchase from Amazon that I had already owned it.  (OK, so that’s another way I try to fill the voids of life – a little shopping – often books that have “the answer” and I also love school supplies).  Anyway, the book is A Confident Heart by Renee Swope and I had started Thursday having Kindle read it to me in the car.  That book was in perfect timing, to say the least.   In the beginning chapter, it talks about the Samaritan Woman at the Well.  She encounters the Jesus who offers to fill her cup with living water.  As the author describes the story throughout the book, tears stream down my face (and still do as I type this blog).   Jesus is there to fill my cup… I have to stop looking everywhere else for my emptiness to be filled!  He KNOWS my pain without saying a word!  He meets me where I am!  He REACHES out, but I don’t hold my cup up to let Him fill it!  The problem is that I am so busy in looking for the answer in food, in work, in friends, etc. and I am left UNFILLED every time.  He is always there and never asleep.  He sends me a message every morning with the sunrise and every night with the moonlight.  When I wait for people, for texts, for emails, for apologies, for phone calls, or for a conversation, I am often disappointed. He KNOWS my heart without saying a word, I have His word to read every day, and if I listen, I will hear every word I ever need to hear – “I love you child… when the world disappoints… I am here, ready to fill your cup, your void, your heart, and soul.”  I now prepare to STAND AT THE WELL, I lift up my heart and soul, and stop looking to the world…

 2 Corinthians 1:3 “The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles”..

the book: http://www.amazon.com/Confident-Heart-Doubting-Yourself-Security/dp/0800719603/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342462082&sr=1-1&keywords=confident+heart

prepare to be UNPREPARED

I am thinking if I just start writing it will all fall into place.  Lesson for the week, maybe even month, year, or century is that I can’t always be prepared – so I guess that would be prepare to be UNPREPARED.  I really pride myself on my motto of “expect nothing and you will never be disappointed”.  However, this week I was tested because I didn’t think I expected anything but was extremely disappointed, hurt, frustrated, and feeling disrespected.  And then the vicious cycle began of then questioning whether all my emotions were valid and then was mad at myself for letting the emotions consume me.  The problem is because I rarely get hurt or allow myself to be disappointed, I don’t know what to do with the emotions.  I do know that it was all I could think about.  If that wasn’t enough, I then started digging up all the other little things said and done recently and it definitely had the snowball effect.  The problem gets bigger and bigger because I take the initial BIG hurt and roll it down the hill through all the little insults and it builds momentum and size.  Then, as it gets bigger I think to myself everything I want to say knowing that I will never be able to get the words out.  If they do come out, I probably will cry and then be mad at myself for letting my emotions control me.

I am also learning that once hurt and your heart is out there, everything that anyone does is felt.  I feel like I am carrying around a magnifying glass and things that people do that once would have been “oh, they must just gotten busy” has gone to “I can’t believe that they didn’t call/text”.  I resolve I will never be the first one to reach out again.  If someone wants me they can contact me.  I can become an island and if I am important enough to someone they can get in their boat to find me instead of me always looking out for them!

The love chapter of the bible, I Corinthians 13, keeps going through my head.  I at first think I am not doing so great at it.  I believe this isn’t just talking marriage but friendships, family love, etc.

     I Corinthians 13   4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not  easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but  rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And then I become cynical in feeling like I am always living the love chapter and if others did too then I would have nothing to keep a record of wrong from.   But I have to be responsible for MY emotions and actions regarding love.  I am not doing so great in the envy area.  I guess I could argue the easily angered because it does take A LOT to anger me, but I am still angry.

I know some really amazing people who hold marriages together and friendships together despite the other person breaking all the “love rules”.  When I think about them I think It is usually when people are self-seeking and not thinking of “what would this do to my marriage or friendship?”  It’s all about them.  I think it is probably a little more transparent for me now as I am trying to focus on ME and MY needs.  I am realizing that I am often not honored and it stings to be unprepared for my emotions.  I am sure that when others were hurt, they felt unprepared.  After all, how can you prepare yourself to be hurt?   If you choose to love, you choose the chance of being hurt.

On tests at school, I never chose the answer with “always” because always/all the time just doesn’t exist.  But, it is clear in the love chapter Christ thinks otherwise as he says love ALWAYS protects and trusts.  I think of people enduring unfaithful friends and spouses and I can’t imagine having to re-build the trust.  However, I do believe that when I/people truly love there is HOPE that tomorrow is a new day and will be better and the hurt will fade. The biggest always for me in this verse is PERSEVERES.  No matter what was said, done, heard, etc… a true love perseveres.  It is the worse, the poorer, sickness, unfaithfulness, cruel words, etc.  It is probably what keeps people in abuse relationships with the other person – the hope that they will change and the persevering regardless of the pain.  I do believe that God can do some amazing healing to broken hearts and relationships. But, I also believe that people have to have communication to make it happen.

Communication comes in all forms – mine is currently in the silence / body language mode – not working so great.  While I brew over the issue(s) with people it is just building up into a big knot in my heart and gut!  My head is ready to explode from holding back the tears.  My mind is racing on when / what I should say.  It has been a very reflective time for me – good and bad.  Realizing that I deserve to be honored BUT have to communication how I define honor.   I am going to soon have to put away the magnifying glass and go off my self-absorbed island and face the issues head on.  For love… it ALWAYS PERSEVERES.

prepare to DISCOVER ME

I need to write… clear my head… devise a plan… examine life… move forward…  That is where I am today.  A jumbled mess in my head!  Amazing news and answered prayer this week that the preliminary biopsy was negative, and though we have to wait for final pathology, we anticipate that too to be an answer to prayer.  For over a month and a half the words that cancer was highly suspected are not words you want to carry with you everyday.  But, some people “suspected” changes to you do have cancer.  I was a cancer nurse for the first part of my nursing career and I can still see the faces of those hearing that word.  About 8 years ago, my mammogram showed what appeared to be Stage 3 Breast Cancer and I still remember that pit in my gut the day I heard.  We had started talking treatment if the biopsy returned positive as well.  Praise the Lord, the biopsy then too was negative.  I wrote a blog this time the day after hearing it may be cancer about prepare for a Conversation.  It was my heartfelt prayer to God.  I did make many promises then that I would be different as a result of knowing I could have cancer.  I made deals with God that I haven’t fulfilled.  Thankfully, I serve a loving and faithful heavenly Father who loves me in spite of my broken promises and forgives me by me simply asking.   He, however, chose to waken me again with this additional possibility of cancer.  A wake up call I didn’t want, but truly need in my life. 

    Today I read a blog about living out God’s dreams for you.  Discovering who you are! Becoming the real me!  http://www.roomag.com/becoming-the-real-me/

It was a very hard read and stepped on every one of my toes.  I am (in no particular order): a wife, a mother, an employee/nurse, child-of-God, sister, friend, and daughter just to name a few.  But, I can tell you on most days, I feel inadequate at most of them. But the biggest inadequacy is in ME – the REAL ME!  It isn’t just in the promises I broke to God, it is in the promises I have broken to myself!  The feeling like it is never enough and at the end of every day never having anything left for ME!    It is allowing people’s actions or words to hurt me and I brush them under the rug and walk away defeated, instead of saying that hurt or it is not okay to say that.  Allowing other people, even the ones I love, to criticize me or not step up to plate to meet my needs.  It is ME not communicating what I need in life, but I don’t even know what that is some days.  I have become lost in all my roles that most days the “ME” doesn’t exist.  It didn’t happen overnight, I believe I probably have always allowed everyone to not make me the priority, including myself and I usually make me “last place”.   I am the “pleaser” when it comes to family, friends, work, etc.. Whatever they need is my command… but what about ME?

    If my husband or children said they needed something, it is instantly done.  If I need something I either don’t communicate it, or communicate the need but if not done I do it myself, or go without!  I have placed myself in the position to be the solution to everyone else’s needs and happiness.  If one of my children wants something at town – done! If one of my children wants to eat at a particular restaurant – done!  If my children when to join a particular activity – done!  If my husband needs something – done! If I want/need something, it will wait… I feel like the fairy godmother with a magic wand and using all my magic on everyone else and I am left in the “rags”.   I don’t even place myself in the equation anymore. Kid’s Happiness + Husband’s happiness = their happiness. Somewhere along the line I have let that equation be MY PROBLEM to solve. 

    The health symptoms that brought me to my possible cancer diagnosis are still there – many of the risk factors are still there – and though it’s not cancer based on preliminary biopsy, it is still a wake up call.  I have to take care of the temple God gave me.   That means mentally, physically, and emotionally.  If I were to have a report card with those topics, they would all be Fs!  How do I find me?  I am not sure anymore, but I am sure that the way I have been approaching life is not the answer.  The days of waking up and trudging forward through the day without a dream in sight are not working.  The nights of little sleep to meet the needs of my family is not working, especially since I am part of the family, and it isn’t working for me.  The days of being overwhelmed and not even acknowledging it, or worse, recognizing it, need to end. 

I need to prepare to DISCOVER ME.  I wanted to say re-discover me, but I think the last real dreams I had were 1. to be a nurse (done) 2. to be married (done) 3. to have children (done). I think that is where my dreams left off, not that they were not great dreams and so blessed for having them come true, but why did I let them end there?  God has great plans for ME! He said so in the Bible, His love letters to ME.  However, I don’t recall it says “Sheri, just sit around and wait for them to happen.”  In fact, it says I need to look wholeheartedly (not while multi-tasking and taking care of everyone else).  I think He wants me live life, discover his plans, and discover ME!  He knows who I am and is just waiting to share it with ME.  Unfortunately, I have been so busy taking on everyone else’s life and happiness and not let His plans seep into my life.  It just dawned on me, He is responsible for my children’s and my husband’s plans, and all I have done is try to take over and get in the way.  I need to teach my children to discover who they are too, by example (as I learn to discover ME), and by teaching them to be open to the plans God has for their lives too.

I do know there is a list (I love lists) of things that daily block me!   I truly believe that I have to face these head on – stop allowing people, things and procrastination to block ME from living the life I was meant to live.  I really wonder what HIS plans are for ME!?!?!  I bet they are amazing, inspiring, and breath taking! All I have done is live in my little box of daily routine instead of opening up to HIS plans and to HIS blessings. 

Everyday I awaken from the bed is a gift from God.  Instead of stacking the gift in the corner, and adding to the clutter (lol), I need to rip open the gift of a new day, like a child on Christmas morning, and go forward with His new mercies.  I have to stop looking at the unopened gifts and dream and desires.  Every day is a chance to DISCOVER ME and the plans He has for me – the gift is mine, I just have to open it… 

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 (New Living Translation)