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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Good or Great?

This post will probably make you laugh at my stupidity, but that's okay. The faux pas that I am going to tell you about isn't my first and I'm sure it won't be my last. My husband is in the Army Nurse Corps and is currently mobilized to Virginia. We have 3 kids together (his, mine, and ours) and I was blessed to be able to take them to see their dad a couple of times this summer. It was a super busy time that was lots of fun but quite action packed. Since he is stationed right outside of Washington D.C., we had the opportunity to see things this summer that we probably would never have had the chance to otherwise. No matter what though, I would skip the cool summer vacation in a heartbeat to have my husband home!

When we visited him this last time, we took part of a day and went to Great Falls in Maryland. It was a much needed respite in the otherwise monument and museum filled trip. This is where the "Melinda is so dumb" moment comes in . . . We had been deciding what to do for the day and Al brought up going to Great Falls. I said that it was in my "Things to do with Kids in Washington DC" book and that it sounded great. However, I did not get on any website or anything before we went and we kind of just flew by the seat of our collective pants. So, we get there, and I make us go to the visitor center because I am "Queen of Information" and we start scoping the place out. We had no idea where we were going. So we walk to this one look-off point and because Al and I don't know any better, we start telling the kids that this is Great Falls and what do they think and don't they think it's great and all that. That's when Trey, the 10 year old, pipes up and says that he doesn't think it's all that great and that it's kind of let-down. To be honest, it kind-of was! When I hear the word "falls" that means something is falling, right? - Exciting - water-colliding-with-rock-drama, right? This is where we were standing at that moment:
See how peaceful and serene (and dare I say, boring) everything is in the background? All of us were trying to make the best of it - like - "Yay!" "Great Falls!" and all of us were thinking, "This is it?"

It was at this point that Al and I decide that there has to be more to this place and that surely this isn't "it" for Great Falls. We whip out the map and take a good hard look around and realize that this is just some look-off point BEFORE you get to the falls. DUH. So we get the kids in hand and head off to the real location, feeling pretty dumb that we had touted "The Falls" before we had even gotten to "The Falls!"

We took a beautiful hike and it was amazing to just be outside with a soft breeze blowing, and then, slowly we got to our true destination . . . 


To say that, at the point of being at the "real" Falls, that I felt pretty stupid was an understatement. To think that Al and I had been trying to be excited about the look-off point before the Falls instead of the real Falls! And then, at that moment, God whispered to my heart about how many times I had done that with my walk with Him. How I had fallen into legalism of "having" to do my quiet time or "having" to go to church, instead of surrendering myself completely to full relationship with Him at every moment. 

This summer has been strange. I haven't hardly had time to do anything and yet, God has used the most unique moments to speak to me and to strengthen our relationship. Even this moment of going to the wrong place and thinking it was "the" place was used by Him to show me how shallow I have let myself be with Him at times. How many times have settled for a look-off point instead of the amazing depth of real intimacy with Him? How many times have I bought a book, a CD, or gone to a conference to hear someone else tell me about Him instead of listening to Him directly?

Today, I challenge you to look at your relationship with our Father. Examine it closely. Look at a map - look around you - are you speaking to and with Him directly or are you settling for a cheap imitation of Him? I have done it too many times to count and that's why His whisper to my heart hit home so hard. I thank Him for this lesson of "good" or "great" and pray that I will keep intimacy with Him on the forefront of my head and heart as I refuse to settle for second best.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Coming out of the Woods

I am going to try and start blogging again. Since this blog is to talk about my personal walk with Christ and my journey with God, it seems ideal for said blogging situation that I would actually have a personal walk with Christ and a journey with God to discuss with my readers. I know I am assuming that I actually have readers. Ha.

If you have read all 5 posts of mine in this particular blog, you will see that the last couple were dealing with some hard stuff. That hard stuff didn't go away and actually, over the past several months has only gotten worse and worse and worse. Since this blog isn't about the joyous adventures of stepmotherhood and trying to keep your Christian blended family somewhat intact while your husband is deployed, I won't bore you with the details. When I tell you that things have been HARD, please believe me.

One of the only things that has gotten me through this time (other than God's amazing grace) is the new song out by Amy Grant:

I was so angry and bitter and wanting to control the situation that I/my family have been in that it GREATLY affected my devotional/prayer/God life. We found out for sure in March that Al was getting mobilized/deployed and right before then, I finally found out why I had been feeling physically awful for a year+. Thankfully, to feel better, I have only had to have a greatly restricted diet (I have what the docs think is celiac disease and sensitivity to other grains). But completely changing your lifestyle, husband getting mobilized/deployed for a year, and dealing with unnecessary ex-wife-in-law drama greatly hindered my Godlife. I wish I could say what an awesome Christian I am and how all the struggles in my current life have only brought me closer to the throne room of heaven. I also wish I was 6 feet tall and 110 pounds with real red hair and an unlimited bank account.

Instead, what I have learned during this time is that no matter what God still loves me and He still loves you. Really exciting, I know. Earth-shattering Christianity, isn't it? I'm the next Stormie Omartian, I tell you.  Even in my barely-communicating-with-God devotional life (doesn't a person have to have devotions to have a devotional life?) - even when I could only whisper to God how sorry I was that my heart was so dark and angry and ask Him to fix me right before falling asleep. HE WAS STILL THERE.

Even in Virginia, when I was so sad and upset with my imperfect state of motherhood while trying to be a perfect Stepford-wife while visiting my husband for 2 weeks and keeping 3 kids (age 10, 7, and 2) happy while being mostly confined to a 1-bedroom condo apartment and driving a STICK-SHIFT (*&!!%%$*) in Washington D.C. traffic, God sent a sweet lady to the park to pray with me. I didn't know her, she didn't know me, but God KNEW both of us.

Even this past week in Columbus, MS when I was shopping at a consignment store trying to have some retail therapy to drown my blended family/stepmother/husband is deployed/mobilized sorrows, God sent a sweet ON FIRE FOR JESUS store-owner to speak His Word over my life. I didn't know her, she didn't know me, but God KNEW both of us.

Those are just 2 examples. I know that lots of prayers from friends and strangers have also gotten me through this time too. Whatever it is - I am SO OVER letting my life situations keep me from my Lord. My life will never be perfect. The lives of others around me are never going to be perfect. This stupid-ding-dang fallen world will never be perfect. Satan and all the junk he pulls will never be perfect. Other people are never going to treat me perfect. I am probably going to treat them imperfectly too (can you imagine?) - so I NEED TO GET OVER IT AND TRUST GOD.

I get really tired of having to learn lessons over and over and over and over. I feel like a bad puppy with a shock caller most days. But, it's a self-imposed shock caller. I wouldn't have to live that way if I wasn't so stupid. If I would just run to my Abba Father and stick everything in His hands instead of trying to fix and control absolutely everything in my life myself.

Until I actively get my act with God back together, I probably don't need to write much more, but let me just say this: If things are not where you want them to be with God today - FIX IT. Get down on your knees (on the carpet preferably) and FIX IT. And if you have things "GOING ON" with God - PLEASE speak your going-on-ness into someone else's life TODAY. Needy people are all around you: at the park, at your place of business, on Facebook, in your family. If you don't feel bold enough or called to speak words audibly in their life, do it by prayer. But don't just sit stuck in the mud in your Christianity - not for yourself - not for others.

I'm out of the woods and on my home - I'd love to walk on the journey with you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Winter of my Discontent

Fractured, frozen puddles in the yard
remind me of a past
filled with discarded ice skates and
parkas with sleeves as thick as marshmallows.

The pond is congealed with ice and
the top provides the illusion of solidity
I stand outside with red cheeks and a red nose
wishing I'd found my mostly unnecessary mittens.

I shove my hands in my pockets out of necessity,
and I take stock of this icy blast in my life.

Are these plummeting temperatures a wake-up call
or rather, a recollected past that I willingly walked away from?

Are these hibernating, crystallized blades of grass an allegory of
my present, my future?

How long will I stand still, on the edge of something great and
continue to choose to be frozen, rather than growing?

How long will I be held down against my will - fighting unseen
forces not in my control?

Winter is a necessary evil - a time to stand still and
face cold realities -
a time to acknowledge fear and to learn to put it aside,
a time to drive roots deeper and to make convictions stronger.

Even though I cannot see spring, my faith tells me that it's there.

As the ground crunches beneath each step, I hear
the trickling of water and smell the dew of new beginnings.

The icy reality laying in front of me helps me to develop
the courage to believe once again.
The trees sway in their barren acknowledgement of my dreams -
and I stand - solitary and isolated - but not alone.

Waiting and trusting in unseen daffodil blooms.

Joshua 1:1-9  2 Timothy 1:7

mks 1.10.10