Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Left Over Thoughts...

While I was trying to go to sleep last night I continued reflecting on what I had just written in my blog about comparing.  I remembered earlier in the evening on the way to Evan's baseball game Emily asked me, "Mom, I heard you say something about a rose bush.  Did you get a rose bush?"  I answered and said, "Yes, I did, I got a knock-out rose bush -- like the ones we had at our house in Evansville."  Then I pointed to the landscaping at McDonald's that we were by and said, "see, like those pink ones."  She remembered and said, "oh yeah, I know what you're talking about."  I told Emily how I got the last yellow one they had because they were really pretty and we'd never had a yellow one before.  She responded, "That's good!  We don't want everything to be the same as what it was in Evansville!"  Me..."yup" - not even thinking about what she said.  And that was the end of the conversation.  It's just like God to use our kids to teach us something, huh?  I'm glad He reminded me how true what she said was later in the evening.

Some verses that came to my mind this morning:

Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43:18-19 
 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 wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

Thankful this morning for my blog...a place that I can write my thoughts and work through my feelings and emotions.  It has helped me to learn and grow and has been an outlet - almost a therapy of sorts for me since August.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Comparison Game - A New Twist...

I am having a hard time with comparisons.  For once I'm not comparing like this: "she is prettier, more athletic, more likeable, etc" but comparing what I did have with what I have (or don't have) now.  Someone asked me how my Bible Study was going and I answered, 'good.'  Evidently it was underwhelming.  Which - oh my, it is going good!!  After she questioned whether I actually meant my 'good' answer I realized that yes, it is going well, but I am comparing it to my old Bible Study in Evansville - a few years of meeting together and bonding AFTER we had already known each other and served together for years and years before that.  What is just beginning here is NEVER going to compare - so why try?  But be thankful for what I am a part of here.  God is blessing me with these Godly women each week!!

The friendships I'm forming here are NOT "Kendra-like" - and probably won't ever be because she and every other friend back home I'm missing is unique.  Kendra is more 'unique' than most - ha ha ha - you like that, Kendra?   I should not be trying to replace her!  Hello???!!!  Doesn't the girl scout song go: Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold. 

The soccer team that Emily is on here is not as good as E-ville, don't work together as well, she's not learning...blah blah blah - you get the point.  Jeff and I have had the hardest time watching on the side-line and comparing almost everything going on (or not going on) with how wonderful the last team Emily was on in Evansville - the one that Jeff got to assistant coach with a buddy and the girls clicked, worked together well, and won every game except one.  We obviously miss it - anyone listening to us would find us quite obnoxious!  Emily even was upset after the past game, as she doesn't have friends on her team - 'like she did in Evansville.'

Our 11 years of living in Evansville, Jeff and I made friends with many 'transplants' - couples who moved to the area from another state.  We always loved getting to know people from other places and the friendships that developed out of it.  Some of our best friends!  What always irritated us though - the comparisons.  Usually though - it was more of the soccer-type comparisons.  "Back home _____ was absolutely top notch.  This type of crap would not be acceptable."  Which considering they were basically putting down Evansville - the place we lived our whole lives and loved - we really didn't like.   Yeah, well, now I understand...  I understand that there are things in the place you lived your whole life that you just like better.  And there are people you don't want to let go of.  And there are things and relationships and groups that will not be replaced.  Since we've been here I've been very conscious of making sure I don't fall into the trap of 'things are not as good here' - of course, God blessed us by moving us somewhere that really is hard to find stuff we don't like!  Just look at these blue skies!! I even made a list on the side of my blog of things we've discovered we love about NC.  But you know what - it is okay that we don't love it all here. is not good that we are comparing things to how it used to be...because it is going to be different here.  And what 'used to be' has passed and what 'is' is here now.  Does that make sense?  Everything is different here.  I don't have to replace everything I had in Evansville with something identical here.  It's a new time.  Trust.  Be thankful...and gracious...for what we've been blessed with...  Still, allowing ourselves to mourn our losses - there is a time for everything.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Apart From Him I Can Do Nothing

We spent Easter with Jeff's parents visiting us.  Tony and Sue came down and joined us for a meal.  We even made some cheesy grits to go with our feast to make it truly southern!  The kids are on spring break now and I feel like I have caught up on a bunch around here.  The Silent Auction is coming along nicely.  I need to plan Evan's Mario Brother's birthday party that will be in about 3 weeks.  And I am looking forward to meeting back with my Bible Study on Monday after having the past two weeks off.
I have a nagging unhappy feeling that I can not accomplish two things that seem important to me right now.  I want to lose 5 pounds and I want to get up every morning and have God time before anyone else is up.  Why can I not accomplish either of these things? 
Romans 7:15-24  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.      So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
I know exactly what I need to do to get these 5 extra pounds off before they multiply into more - I even think about it while I shove the extra bites of chips and chocolate in.  I know exactly what I need to do to get up out of bed in the morning so I can have the quiet time with God before anyone else gets up - I even think about it while I hit snooze for the fifth time.  And while the comfort of the food and extra sleep feel good at that minute (even with the voice in my head saying - 'why are you doing this - this is not what you want to do') that next minute and few hours feels miserable for failing again.  Why do I do what I do not want to do?  Because evil is right there with me.  Satan has found a way to get to me that happens to work right now.  I also know that I am choosing comfort right now in these things over comfort in time with Him - that is sad.  And I sure am putting forth my best effort and my willpower.  But I will never win the war with my own strength.  This I know.  So, today, I am claiming John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" and Zechariah 4:6 NKJV "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts."

My Bible Study is on "Discovering God's Will For Your Life," and the lesson that I worked on today was about planning to do His will.  I spend a lot of time planning for things in my life.  I plan my whole day, weeks, months - my calendar is my life - I would literally be lost without it.  I feel in control (somewhat) with it.  How much time do I spend planning to do His Will?  I spend a lot of time organizing my time, planning it all out, keeping the family schedule straight - what activity is scheduled at what time and where.  The "Jesus Calling" devotion for April 1st said this:  "Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life.  Instead, ask my Spirit to guide you moment by moment.  He will keep you close to Me."   Ouch!  Our Bible Study this week reminds me that planning for quiet times, healthy food choices, meals, exercise - all are part of God's will for my life.  But I need to also remember that I can not do any of this apart from Him.  My relationship with Him lately has been somewhat stale.  If I gave any earthly relationship this little attention it would definitely waiver.  Thankfully He is a God who does not waiver and is still right there waiting for me and forgiving me of my lack of effort.  His Spirit wants to help me do better.  He wants me to cling to Him and let Him do some of the planning - follow His lead and release finger by finger that tight grip I have on my time, my schedule, my calendar, my plans.