Nature

Nature

Friday, April 14, 2017

...who is remembering the ultimate sacrifice?

Maundy Thursday.
Good Friday.
Passion Week.

What do these days of remembrance bring to mind?


The prayer.
The betrayal.
The mocking.
The lies.
The pain.
The sacrifice.
The bloodshed.
The cruelty.
The tears.
The agony.
The walk.
The cross.
The finish.
The darkness.
The earthquake.
The fear.

The forgiveness!
The promise!
The curtain!
The fulfillment!
The love!
The love…that incredible love!

How do these make me feel?

Humbled.
Unworthy.
Mournful.
Solemn.
Sad…
Yet…
Hopeful!
Reassured!
Affirmed!
Grateful!
Blessed!
Treasured!
Valued!

Optimistic!
Commissioned!

Ready…for Easter Sunday morning!!
It is because of my Savior’s sacrifice that I have assurance of eternity in Heaven!
It is because of my Savior’s sacrifice that I have a way to God’s heart through prayer!
It is because of my Savior’s sacrifice that I have hope of seeing Michael once again!
It is because of my Savior’s sacrifice that I have lost the fear of death itself!
It is because of my Savior’s sacrifice that I can look with confidence into the future!
It is because of my Savior’s sacrifice that I can conquer each daily challenge!

It is because of my Savior’s sacrifice that I can sleep peacefully each night…
                 knowing…
                                 He keeps His promises. All of them.

THIS is what these days mean to me.

This is why I can still find joy even on the toughest days.
This is why I can still feel peaceful though circumstances bring confusion or fear.

This is why I work to resist temptation.
This is why I keep God’s house a priority.
This is why I serve Him even when others may not understand.

I can’t let HIM down!
He gave His LIFE for me!
He deserves my ALL…my obedience…
                It is the least I can do.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

...who is confused?

I don't have time to write this.
I should be in bed. Because I'm so tired.

And you know what? I'm not tired because I worked super hard today.
Nope.
Actually, on the whole, I accomplished very little.
I'm not tired because I'm sick.
Nope.
Actually, I kind of wish I were. Then I would have a reason for not getting much accomplished.
I'm not tired because I've done some wonderful compassionate thing for a hurting soul somewhere.
Nope.
Actually, I am wishing I had the emotional energy for that.

I'm tired because I haven't managed my time very well the past couple of days.
I haven't managed my time well because I'm feeling so overwhelmed.
I'm feeling super overwhelmed because I can't sort through the stuff in my head and
           on my to-do list in a way that makes it feel manageable.

I know.
That doesn't make sense to most of you. Maybe not to ANY of you.
But, as I've endeavored to explain to someone recently, it's my reality currently.
And I'm at a loss to know what to do to change this.

This is what I wrote to my friend the other day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
I do know that Michael is in a wonderful place and that we will join him someday. 
And I want you to know that I don't sit around in a state of depression all the time. 
No, for the most part, I AM able to feel joy and for the most part I AM at peace. 

But. There are times when many difficult responsibilities and concerns all come in on me at once. 
And often in those times, it's several things that Michael would have taken care of. 
So I find myself without a decision maker, 
a source of objective wisdom, 
a capable fixer, 
and a sounding board. 

I don't know HOW to take care of some of these things and struggle to find someone who is willing to help with those particular tasks. 

I might know how in other cases, but I'm still working on knowing how to make good decisions. 

I find it very difficult to trust my decision making ability. 
Because I've made many decisions that have ended up NOT being the right ones. 
Sometimes those have cost me money. I get confused sometimes when I have to make snap decisions. 

That wouldn't have happened to Michael. He never would have wasted a penny. 
So then I begin to doubt my ability to do this alone. 
It's a lonely frustration that adds to the overwhelming cloud already hanging over my head. 😣 

I try to tell someone else the specifics of my concerns and end up feeling stupid 
for not knowing how to manage them. So then it gets worse. 

Sometimes I ask for help and get a blank stare. I end up feeling as though everyone thinks, 
"Well, we manage our stuff and have to figure it out ourselves, so why can't you?" 

But I've not always had to DO it by myself. So I still don't KNOW all the ins and outs of everything. 
Does any of that make sense?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Add to the above the fact that my decisions do NOT only affect me, 
but also the four precious people I'm responsible for raising to successful adulthood.

Add to the above the fact that my life's goal right now is to fulfill that task to the best of my ability.
  But daily...DAILY I feel the weight of not being able to do all that would be of greatest benefit to
those souls in my care.

Add to the above the ready guilt that accompanies any time spent at the store or mall or 
social media where the world screams that I've not yet fulfilled my child's greatest wishes
or helped them reach their highest potential by providing them with this or that 
item, lesson, or experience.

Add to the above the difficulty I have had in finding my new place in society...
I lost my old well-defined role as wife to someone who was making a difference for God. 
What can I offer now?
Do I have anything of value to contribute to Kingdom work?
Because I know that's an important part of God's assignment for Christians.
Do I have anything of value that is worth marketing or sharing with others?
Because eventually I will need another source of income.
Do I have anything of value that I can offer in light of the many I know who are hurting deeply?
Because I long to help and show them how much I care and help lift their crazy-heavy loads.

But...I'm nobody.

I don't have an out-of-this-world musical talent.
I don't have a unique art style that sets me apart...I'm just a copycat.
I don't have mad gourmet kitchen skills...I cook for survival.
I don't have loads of wisdom to share via the stage or the printed page. 
I don't have wonderful mom/teacher hack ideas to post on Pinterest or Facebook.
I don't have Pinterest-inspired house décor.
I don't have a child prodigy in my bunch with whom to wow the world.

I often don't even have the common sense to figure out what to do next let alone help anyone else.

Who AM I, anyway?

And...why has God called me to this too-huge-for-me task?
The thought that runs rampant through my head is that 
Michael could have done this better than I.
And even more often is this thought that
ANYONE could pull this off better than I.

So. How to keep my thought processes right side up...

Maybe I'll start by reviewing what I would tell someone else to do - if they asked.
* Rest. Go to bed. Get some sleep. Things always look better after sufficient physical renewal.
* Remind yourself of your ultimate goal, your highest priority - Heaven at any cost.
* Relax. God only asked you to be you...not anyone else. (Not an original thought, BTW.)
* Refresh yourself. Eat right. Don't forget breakfast. It gets the day off to a rocky start.
* Rejuvenate through a bit of creative activity. Interestingly, it can jumpstart your motivation.
* Remember the things you have done over the past few days to help other people.
* Reevaluate your task list and see if anything can be delegated. Then...delegate it.
* Reprioritize said task list. Then...just...do the next thing. (Again...not original. Elisabeth Elliot)
* Release yourself from societal pressures. Maybe ignore you some social media?
* Renew your mind with God's Word and spiritually uplifting music while doing the above.
* Restart. It's a new day with new opportunities for growth, progress, and ministry.
* Resolve to do what you can, when you can, the best you can, then trust God for the rest.

I'm sure more could be added here. What came to your mind?

This is crazy.
I have honestly written this as I am thinking it out - with a random tweak here and there. 
Nothing was preplanned or preprocessed.
And it is changing my emotions, easing my panic, and refreshing my outlook.

I have told many of you faithful readers that this blog is a "unique monkey" -
(please don't ask me to explain that term! I have no idea where it came from! LOL!)
I don't write like this anywhere else. I don't know why I write like this here.
It has become a place where I process through what is happening in my heart, mind, and soul.
It takes the swirling, whirling, churning, burning thoughts and emotions and 
sets them down in a neatly controlled and orderly fashion.

The black and white words on this page, lined up and spaced just so, actually work to suck the power  
out of the storm of emotion, leaving me room to breathe normally again.

So...how do I feel now? Well...

* I'm still nobody - in the eyes of this world - but God knows where I am!

Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
You understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
You are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
You know all about it, Lord.
You have encircled me;
You have placed Your hand on me.
This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me.
It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.
~ Psalm 139:1-6

* I'm still looking at a huge task list - but it's not the first God has helped me face and tackle.


"He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless."
~ Isaiah 40:29

"I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me."
~ Philippians 4:13

* I'm still carrying burdens for others - but I'm honored to walk this road with these precious friends.

"Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ...
Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all..."
~ Galatians 6:2, 10

"Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, 
should love believers, and be compassionate and humble..."
~ 1 Peter 3:8

And what do I plan to do? Hmmm...

I'll play, sing, and write music the best I can for God's glory,
use my art to bless other people and for therapy on the tough days,
cook basic but decent meals for my family,
share what God is teaching me with my virtual "kitchen table" guests (emails, messages, texts),
continue doing what works for me in keeping our household and homeschool running,
enjoy this wonderful home God has provided for us - and use it to bless others,
celebrate my wonderfully unique, compassionate, cheerful, and often wise children as the people
God created them to be, AND
see if I can learn from the common sense of my "pillar people" - my family, friends, mentors...


"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory."
~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

So.
Now it is time to put into practice what I would apparently preach.
I'm going to bed............

Still finding God faithful to help me sort through my messes,






P.S. Oh. Just realized that some of this might be worse because Michael's birthday is coming up in a few short days...maybe I'm not quite as nutty as I thought...


Monday, January 16, 2017

...who is...okay?

Three years.
How can that be??

How is it that I’ve arrived at this point?
I just knew three years and one day ago that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY I could live          
              without my husband Michael as a part of my world!

How is it that I am not only living but doing so with some degree of success?

How is it that in this moment, as I sit here surrounded by reminders of Michael,
that I’m…
okay?
Is it okay to be “okay?”

I say yes. And not just “yes,” but YES!!!

Why?

Because it means that God. Is. Answering. Prayer!
All the hundreds of prayers that have been prayed for my kiddos, for me, for our well-being, 
for our comfort, for our healing, for wisdom, for grace, for strength, for protection…
Yeah. THOSE prayers.

The prayers prayed by my parents and siblings.
The prayers prayed by my in-laws and extended family members.
The prayers prayed by our church family families…
because this extends far beyond our local congregation!
The prayers prayed by my dearest friends…
those on whom I dump when things get kinda crazy in my brain and heart.
The prayers prayed by neighbors and friends of friends.
The prayers prayed by folks whom we’ve never met.

These have been all been answered!
God may have allowed challenges we would rather not have to face,
but He has never once abandoned us.
God may not have chosen to remove every thorn,
but He has strewn our pathway with MANY roses for us to enjoy!

He has sent us blessing and encouragement through smiles and hugs…
            Emails and messages…
                        Phone calls and texts…
                                    Songs and sermons…
He has granted help and assistance through new acquaintances and old friends,
            Family nearby and family far away…
Next door neighbors and random strangers…

Now, listen…I get it. There are few of you who still pray for us by name every day.
That’s TOTALLY okay.
I promise.
The crisis has passed.
So I don’t expect it.
Because I know that you HAVE prayed every time things have been tough for us.
Because I know that when we DO come to mind, many of you DO still pray for us…
            and that means so very much!
Because I know that there are other desperate needs that arise daily and 
            require much focused prayer effort.
Because I know that it’s my turn now to pray for YOU!
            And I will…and DO!

SO.
Three years.
Seems more like three months in some ways.
There are so many ways that Michael still influences us.
There are so many reminders of him in the personalities of these amazing kids of ours!
There are so many ripples of his impact still being seen and felt.

Three years.
What have I learned?
OH, MY! So much!!! So very, very much!

I’ve learned more about finances and taxes and investing…
I’ve learned more about vehicle purchasing and maintenance and repair…
I’ve learned more about computer purchasing and maintenance and repair…
            (I even replaced a power supply all by myself!)
I’ve learned more about shopping wisely…
(Okay, I’m still working on that one. Lol!)
I’ve learned more about managing and prioritizing my time…
            (There are new and different demands on it now.)
I’ve learned more about grief and control and acceptable ways to release emotions…
I’ve learned more about making mistakes and which ones don’t really matter in the end…
I’ve learned more about saying no and releasing unnecessary stress…
(Okay, okay! This is another one that still needs work…)
I’ve learned more about my children and the amazing people they are and are becoming…

I’ve learned more about duty…and responsibility…and grief…and persistence…and diligence…
             and trust…and patience…and faith…and blessing…

            …and God.

My God has never once let me down.
My God has carried me, cradled me, chastened me…
            Saved me, sustained me, strengthened me,
                        Bolstered me, blessed me,
                                    Forgiven me...
                                               Loved me…
Just as He promised. 

He has given me so much!
He has opened doors and given me words to say.
He has granted me wisdom for decisions and peace when making them.
He has calmed fears and soothed away worries.
He has never let me go!

Are there still tears? Of course!
Are there still painful and tender memories? Of course!
Are there still feelings of sheer terror followed quickly by panic? Of course!
Are there still lonely nights and difficult social situations? Of course!
Are there still days controlled by brain fog and stress intolerance - 
            otherwise known as the CRUDOf course!
Are there still moments when I desperately want to pull back the curtain of Heaven and shout
that it’s not fair that we’re here and he’s there? Of course!

They just don’t come as often as they used to.
They just don’t stay as long as they used to.

The memories have shifted to the sweet, the fond, the funny, the inspiring, the precious ones…
            Their arrival brings soft tears rather than sobs, smiles that ease the heartache…

I'm sure there is a better word choice for this statement, but since none comes to mind, 
            I'll just say this...

I feel incredibly blessed to have known, loved, married, and spent half my lifetime with the 
             amazing man we all know as Michael Wright.
Now I am incredibly honored to be traveling life's pathway with his four precious children. 

I’m grateful…
So deeply grateful…


Grateful that I’m…okay.

Deeply indebted to each of you for your prayers,