Friday, May 30, 2008

Missin' You.

I miss God.

I suppose sometimes I sit back and accept that this is just a journey and at some point all the puzzle pieces will settle into their places and things will make sense again, or at least I'll be able to figure out what the picture is.

Tonight's not one of those nights I suppose. Tonight I'm just sitting here thinking, I miss knowing God. I miss praying. I still talk to God, but there is a difference in that conversational stuff, and the powerful "I'm trying to move a mountain" prayer. I enjoyed praying those prayers before. They left you trembling and changed, or at least put you in a different mindset. Those prayers encouraged me, they told me that while I was praying, power was flowing somewhere and it was charging me up as well.

And now I just can't do it. Now I just sit around looking at God like... "Now what?"

So I guess, for all the things I'm not saying right now, I just want to say this:

Talking to God, really talking to God within a personal relationship is one of the most pleasant things a person can experience. Praying, with faith believing that something spectacular will happen, all because you have that personal relationship with the one you're praying to - is just incredible.
This is probably the biggest understatement of the year, but - God's a neat person to know.

So if you can find your way in, get there. Then do your best never to do whatever I did that got me here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Living in a different key

It's a foolish thing. And when I say it's a foolish thing, I guess I'm really saying that I don't think anyone else would understand it. Whether it's because it's something that only makes sense in my head, or just because the idea is so twisted up in my head I can't get the tangles into words enough that anyone would understand them.

I sat at the piano tonight, doodling. And in messing around in different keys, I finally gained some meaning to something that's been happening at the piano in the past year.
Sometimes, while I'm playing in some key that I don't normally play in, a tune, a melody will come into my head and I'll start playing it. But then, once I think I've got the hang of it, I try and move it back into a key that I'm more familiar with so I might can do more with the melody. Only to find that once I get back to my 'normal' key, the melody is lost.

It's frustrated me over the months, because sometimes I'll get the neatest melodies but it will be in a key with so many flats or sharps or something that I just can't even play the melody because it's too hard. And the thing is, I could figure it out if I stayed and practiced, but I want to hear the melody come to life so much that I drag it over to my 'normal' key. And that's where the story ends every time. Melody lost.

As I played tonight, I began wondering about the different things that I was waiting to see the outcomes in my life. Wondering what I should be doing, what I should be believing, wondering where the next level in this whole mess is and how to get to it so I can rest. And today, as I sat there playing, the thought occurred to me that the next level might just be a key that I don't play in. And if I keep trying to cram the next level into my 'normal' life, I'll never find the melody, the level that I'm suppose to reach.

One small problem with life is that you can't just wake up in the morning and say "This feels like a D-minor day". One bigger problem with the whole idea is that any time you try and play, or live, differently than you've ever done before you're bound to make a lot of unpleasant noises until you've practiced it enough.

So, to everyone who has been wondering what that strange racket coming from my blog is, I'll tell you what it is.
It's me, learning to live in a different key.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Enjoy not being there yet.

Three hundred forty-six payments left to go. 346. I've made 14 payments on my house. The goal, of course, is to get it paid off one day. But just like anything else, you get so wrapped up in the goal that you miss the journey.

I forget sometimes, until last minute or sometimes I do it obscenely early. But whenever I hit that "submit payment" at my mortgage companies website. I have to tell you, I smile. I know the money is in the bank, the job is done, one more month is taken care of and another lies ahead. And I'm pleased with each step.

It's not done yet, it's not paid for, I'm not there yet. But I'm going to enjoy getting there.

With that in mind, I'm working hard to apply that to other things as well.

I'm not posting much anymore, because my writing has changed. It was one thing to fill post after post with pain and questions. But this is different now. I've entered into this strange world where I'm not really sure what I believe in anymore. Not sure what to hope for. Not sure what to pray for. And some of the changes I'm wondering about making, are ones that I can't go blabbing around about. Like, you don't tell your boss you're thinking of quitting just as a conversation piece. - At least I hope you don't.

Nothing is off limits where these changes are concerned and I'm wondering what I might end up losing. Or worse yet, I'm wondering if I'll miss my cue and hold onto the wrong things or let go of things I should have kept. I'm having strange dreams at night again that seem to tell me things that I just can't understand. And I wonder what they mean.

In the midst of all this unsettledness, I feel more settled. There's a different type of fulfillment coming from inside myself than there was before. There was a neediness to me before, that was so desperate and also desperately hidden. Some relationships I clutched at, trying to suck as much happiness from the relationship as I could before I lost it. I did that, certain that I would one day lose the relationship, because... well, that's just what happens. People don't stay. Affections don't stay. People that liked you before, get distracted and move on to newer, different things.

But, even seeing it in myself, I just couldn't help but be that way. Now though, it's as though that part of me has simply been stripped away. There's contentment in that, that I always imagined would be sadness.

I stopped pushing.

I let go.

I just don't know what's going to happen next though.

But here's what I do know. If God wants to revamp my life, right now, I know that there is literally nothing I wouldn't give up. Five months ago I know I couldn't have said that. So now, looking at the things that I have, and the things that I don't have. I'm wondering what God is going to do with me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A lot to learn

God's been good to me.

There's a lot I don't understand, there's a lot of questions I'd love answers to, preferably in the writing on the wall fashion, but this I know, God loves me.

I was watching a show today and one of the characters was about to go away for good, and this one woman said tearfully, "But I have so many questions, there's so much I want to know." And the guy leaving said, "No. You are loved. That's enough."

To say I feel unworthy to walk around as a Christian, somehow pretending that only weeks ago I wasn't snivelling on the floor glaring at God, well, it's an understatement. I imagine how the prodigal son felt as he returned, and how he might have wished that dad hadn't made such a big hoopla over his return. And worst of all, that every ounce of the celebration of the father, hadn't been so utterly sincere.

But here I sit. Saved, and finally at peace, and only by the grace of God.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A good sigh.

A smattering of verses.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me.
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;

when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,the Lord will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord
because I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall look upon his vindication.
(Micah 7:7-9)

Who is a God like you,
pardoning iniquityand passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and steadfast love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our fathers
from the days of old.
(Micah 7 :18-20)

Foster care #3?

I'm still shaking my head at how obvious God can be sometimes.
My foster home, is on hold. I've been on hold, not receiving any new kids even since before Little One left, because I needed to take some training classes.
And then, even after Little One left, I knew I was no where near ready to take on another kid. Letting go of LO; walking her to that door, and then back down the steps without her, was right up there with getting your tooth pulled without any anesthetic. Hurts.
So I sat and waited, wondering if I'd ever get back in the game.

And at 2pm Sunday afternoon, I wrote the words to a friend, "I'm ready to be a foster parent again."
3pm Monday afternoon (today), I got the phone call.
Keep in mind, my house is on hold.
Yet they called me anyway, with information on a little tyke who needs to be in a house without other kids.
What do you know... I'm one of their only foster parents without any kids.

Nothing is ever set in concrete until they officially arrive, bags, or no bags, in hand. But I just can't help but shake my head sometimes and think that, of all the things that God is unclear on, a little vague, too undetailed in His explanations; every now and then He does something so painfully obvious that you can only sit back and accept it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What I've learned.

I can't recall the exact number of times that I've scratched my head, or fell on my knees asking God "What's happening to me?"
Seriously. Have you read this blog for a year?
Post 1 - God is awesome!
Post 2 - God simply rocks!
Post 3 - God too powerful, majestic for words!
Post 4- Devil, bring it on you stupid #($*!!
Post 5 - Muah, uh, ohh, God, where'd you go?
Post 6 - God?
Post 7 - I quit God.
Post 8 - God doesn't keep promises.
Post 9 - Life, altogether, is rotten.

I've struggled to pray, struggled to believe, and struggled to hope. It hasn't been pleasant.
Then I promised people that had patiently watch me frown at anyone and anything, that I'd plaster a smile on my face.
Then I came on my blog saying that the only way to even fake a smile is to give up hope of God doing anything spectacular. It's just too disappointing a wait.

And then something entirely different happened.
Someone, claiming to know me, e-mailed me anonymously and asked me to sin. Not just sin, but enter into a commitment to sin. I swear, I looked at it for two days, even after I immediately shot back my 'No.'. I looked at it and wondered about the desperation, the shame of hiding that whoever this was probably felt, and I realized I had something in common with them.

We both wanted something to satisfy us. Some people search for satisfaction in common things like money, drugs, sex, and even love. But there's always something that's going to be missing. Because none of that really satisfies you. Not really. Sure it seems like it for a time, you revel in the newness and enjoyment, until you realize that there's still something... something missing.

So I did what I do best. I wrote this anonymous person a letter. A long-winded letter (my specialty) and I told them just that. Sin, might distract me from the dissatisfaction, but ultimately - I knew God was the only answer. Whether I was reaching God right now, whether I could pray right now, whether I could easily walk into fellowship with God right now... I knew He was the only answer that would satisfy. And that I was truly desperate enough for satisfaction, to say no to the distraction that would never satisfy.

That night, for the first time in months, I really read my bible.

It's not that I haven't read my bible in the last months, but that reading it always felt so empty - as though I were reading words from someone who wasn't my friend, writing about something that didn't interest me. Or worse, I read it with doubt tinging every sentence with disbelief.
This time, I was called to the bible. I knew, I was suppose to read, and I knew I'd read again, and it felt like I might survive.

I've had those moments before, where God steps in and does something and you think "I'm gonna make it" only to wake up the next morning to the same emptiness. It's not pleasant. But I've noticed something lately. I'm getting back up faster and faster. Till I've begun to think, "I really am going to make it".

But in all this, I've wondered WHY on earth am I going through this? And here's just a few of the things that I've learned.

I've learned to be less judgemental. WAY less judgemental. God alone knows the state of someones salvation. I don't care if you're sinning, or just not doing didly squat whether for or against God. I get now, really get, that there are things going on behind your doors that only you and God can work out. I'm sorry for you. And hopefully soon I'll be able to pray for you.

I've learned that God, somehow, sticks better than church has always taught me He stuck. In church I learned to behave, and that doing certain things put you on the path to hell and the next thing you know you're separated from God. What they don't mention in church is the thing that I felt. How, even in that separation you can still feel God loving you, even when you're screaming at Him to go ahead and stop because you're not worth it. He holds onto people. Maybe not quite like the Baptists think - but better than us Pentecostals teach.

I've learned that even the best people fail and struggle with God. I'm not trying to call myself one of the 'best' people. But a lot of the people that saw me struggle their first words were "I never thought I'd hear you say that." Let me tell you - that doesn't help. Because I thought I'd never hear me say some of the things I was saying too. All it does is point out how far I've crashed. So here's a tip - don't say that. But still, everyone is susceptible to those evil whispers in our ears. So if you can find them, raise the shields of faith, the sword of the Spirit, the breastplate of righteousness because there's a war going on out here and it's pretty scary.

Here's the hardest part of what I learned. Mostly hard to write because people I know read this blog and they won't understand. But I learned how much I need people. The night I dropped off Little One, as I drove home, I wished with everything in me that there was someone I could go to and just sit in their living room and cry. And I didn't, I don't, have that. And I need to fix that.

I've also learned, because it's easier to understand some things when you see it in someone else besides yourself - that even though I think I believe God is exactly who He says He is and will do what He said He would do, if I add a 'but' anywhere after that, then the problem really is belief.

How fast can you type?

Yeah, it's just fun.

91 words

Speed test

(HT to AWSC)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Happy Mothers Day

"Are you a mother?"

It took me by complete surprise the first time I was asked, complete surprise the second time I was asked, and complete surprise the third time I was asked.

I'm usually pretty good about feeling people out and gauging what they're going to say next, it helps me figure out what I should say - and more to the point, what I shouldn't say. But for some reason, every single time today, this blindsided me.

I answered "No" every single time. Truthfully so. I am not a mother. And despite my determination to be a foster mom, I don't really have any specific urges to be 'mom'. Some people, just look like a mom, and you know they'll be great at it. I've got one person in mind specifically as I write that too. But I've just never felt like the whole "Let's sing 1-10 in a sweet sing-songy voice, and then paint pictures with our water colors!" My desires in foster parenting were simply to shelter kids. To show them how happy, and unfearful normal life should be, and to let them know that there are people in life that will love you - period - no matter how good or bad you are.

Every single time today though, as I was asked that question "Are you a mother?" it was one of those moments where pictures flood my mind, and with Little Ones image, blond haired, dirty faced, and smiling with those eyes that always seemed to say something of their own, I answered "No". Even as the truth, it felt almost like a lie. And worse yet, in a way it felt as though I were denying her. Instead of leaving the conversation with the simple "No", I wanted to grab their arms and force them to stop and listen to the story of this amazing little girl who taught me so much.

I don't know if mothers out there feel this way, but for me, this year, mothers day took on a brand new meaning. As I answered the question, my thoughts weren't directed to a wish that I could wear the "mother" cloak. But of the deepest desire to point to my former little ones. I always thought for mom's it was about "Whew, a day when someone appreciates all I do for them." and maybe it is. Now I wonder if more of them aren't just enjoying a day to think how blessed they are, and how changed they are, because of their child.

Or maybe they're just hoping for some nice gifts.
What do I know?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A new tank

So, tonight I filled my car up with gas again.

Immediately after I filled up my tank last time I noticed that my gas gauge needle didn't go as far up as it normally did.
And here's what may have happened.

I found out more tips this week. One of them being: Always fill your tank during the coolest portion of the day that you can if it's hot outside. On hot days there's more vapors which means more gas going out of the nozzle, but less going into your car.

I don't know for sure if that's what happened, and I certainly haven't looked up scientific facts on this yet, but that's what it sounds like might have happened.

All that said, I drove 420.5 miles and had to purchase 11.186gallons of gas which comes out to 37.59MPG.

I followed the new tips when I filled up and waited till the cool of the evening, PLUS another tip that suggested I either hold the handle myself or put the lever on the nozzle at it's slowest setting to hopefully prevent even more vapors.

That's all. Drive carefully, and the next time your blood pressure rises while you're stuck behind some grandma Moses out for a Sunday drive.. well, be patient because I could very well be that grandma Moses and if you're too rude I might blog about you.

420.5 / 11.186 = 37.59163

Friday, May 02, 2008

Weeding and feeding

I'm nervous about saying anything definite. A lot of things I hold dear have been seriously questioned lately. Maybe that's why it's hard to write. I like to write with my passion - and it's hard to get any intense feelings about "maybes", and "I wonders".
So I've been very contemplative lately.
Crazy contemplative.
I've always thought my uncanny ability to see spiritual things in the absolutely ordinary was rather...goofball Christian, rather than anything especially good. But it helps me see things in a practical way, so it's good for me.

That's as close to an introduction / explanation as you're going to get, I suppose, before you read this. I'm not going to explain the spiritual connections, I'm going to leave that to you. Maybe your connections will be even better than mine.

Keep in mind, each of these things for me, had a distinct spiritual meaning if you just changed the words to spiritual ones.
Yeah, I just said that, and no, I didn't expect I to make sense.

What I learned while weeding my yard.

My lawn mower has yet to start this year. It's not for lack of yanking either. But in absence of an official cutting machine, and until I got that issue fixed, I thought it might be a handy thing to yank up some of the tallest clumps of weeds. As I did, I gained a lot to think about.

I learned, that though my yard is really really weedy (is that a word?) that sometimes, I would pull up huge bunches of weeds and find some amazingly alive and healthy grass underneath.

I learned that a lot of times it's not about how hard it is to get the weeds up, because sometimes the weeds just pop right up... it's the matter of how many weeds there are and how it seems like a losing battle - like there's no point in trying because you'll never have a weed free yard.

I learned that while some weeds just slide right out, there are some weeds that break off and leave a root, other weeds that are prickly and hurt if you try to even touch them.

I learned that in places where there was a lot of good healthy grass, and fewer weeds, it was harder to get the weeds out. Harder to spot the grass from the weed, and harder to pull out only the weed and no grass.

I learned that even while I painstakingly pulled weeds out of my yard, I knew I wasn't committed to the long haul. I was only going to get an overall betterment of my yard, and I'd work until I was satisfied enough, or bored. But perfection wasn't the goal, because perfection seems impossible.

I learned that sometimes, other peoples dogs have pooped in my yard, and under my weeds are other peoples mess. Yeah, experience stinks.

I learned that the biggest annoyance, the biggest hindrance to weeding my yard, has nothing to do with my yard. It's attached to me. It's called hair. As I leaned down to get weeds, unless I secured my hair then it was constantly falling and blocking my view, getting in my face. Which just means that I didn't prepare myself before going out to weed my yard, which means that dirt and weed stuff got all over me and my hair because it was always getting in the way.

I also learned that while I think "weed and feed" is a wonderful thing - I noticed something. It only killed some of the weeds. Not all. But at least the weeds death was pretty noticeable. The thing that couldn't be measured was the "feed" part. I couldn't tell one whit whether my yard was greener or grassier. The only noticeable aspect was whether my weeds had died or not.
And at the same time, I realized that having a weed free yard didn't mean my I had a yard of luscious grass. It just meant I had gotten rid of the weeds.

That's the only part I'm going to comment on.
So often I get caught up weeding my life that I lose sight of the fact that I need to be feeding and fertilizing my life as well. So often I pride myself on the weeds I don't have in my life, while God can see that, sure enough, there aren't many weeds left, but that left me with only bald dirt. Not much of a yard for God to be proud of.

Gives new meaning to "The grass is always greener on the other side."