Sunday, January 31, 2016

Detours and God-Nods

Road blocks, bumps, holes, construction, you name it. My week looked a little like this...

It was trying, to say the least. At every pot hole I was looking for the big orange detour sign to take me to a smoother road. I felt like I needed something loud and clear, because the path was cluttered with signs pointing every which way. I was so confused and frustrated. 
But looking back on the week, I realized we don't always get "loud and clear". I think it's God's way of making us trust him and listen more attentively. I remember my really good teachers using tactics like that to get us to pay attention. Often, those little whispers are all we need for peace to move us along the bumpy road. You know what I'm talking about, "God-nods". So, I thought I'd share them in this little space o' mine.
Being a parent is the hardest thing. EVER. This week I felt that on my heart more than any other week so far. Then I read this article... right here.
"Across the board, mothers of only middle-school-age children reported the highest levels of stress, loneliness and emptiness, and also the lowest levels of life satisfaction and fulfillment. Mothers of infants and adults were found to be the most satisfied, Luthar said."
While that quote in particular resonated with my soul, the whole article is worth the read if you've ever raised or plan on raising a middle schooler! After reading, I suddenly didn't feel so alone, and felt more like I was surrounded by a silent support group of awesome women. We are all just trying to do and be the best we can for our middle school children. It can be physically and emotionally taxing, and sometimes it seems like the most thankless and exhausting position you'll ever hold. But for now, I'll push on, loving my little "alien", knowing I'm not alone.

Intentions. With mine, I seem to live on the road to hell these days. My intentions are always to help, advise, provide good cheer, be friendly, share, and do the right thing. It's never a good feeling to have someone perceive your best intentions negatively or as a threat. If you know me well, one thing you can say about me is that I'm chock full of ideas and suggestions. Solicited or not, they sometimes sneak out. It's a problem among creative people. I'm a team player. Always. I love to help. I want people to feel appreciated and also like they can count on me. It's just who I am.
At one point this week all those qualities about me were challenged, because they were perceived differently from my intentions. I questioned myself. I doubted the very qualities that most people love about me and it hurt my heart.
But then, a young lady who is a student where I work, came into my office to chat before she left for class. As she was walking away she shared with me that she had been extra stressed and worried, but that she has adopted the mantra "if it won't matter in 10 years, then I'm not going to worry about it." I thanked her for reminding me of that because I needed it in a BIG BAD way. I love the vessels God sends us. This time it was a 21 year-old college student. Who knew? I love and appreciate that she shared her wisdom with me.

With all the ugliness of this week, it's nice to know I have Shan for my husband. My dad told him when we got married that he couldn't have "handpicked a better man". Such a great guy! I sometimes ask him, "why do you stay married to me?" I feel like I'm a train wreck most of the time and feel like I can't get anything quite right in this stage of my life. His answer is always the same..."because I love you." That should be good enough right? But I still think one of these days I'm for sure going to send him out the door and over the edge. God love him! He truly loves me at my very best and my very worst. And this week could definitely be considered one of my worst. 
Lysa TerKeurst is my absolute favorite! She's like a ROCKSTAR of The Word. If you don't know who she is, you're missing out. She speaks life and The Truth in the most real way. She has a God-given gift for sure. Thursday, a precious life-long friend in San Fran sent me an email to check in and to share Lysa's blog post.

Lord, protect me from the world’s wonky view of love

I have a sign displayed in my home. It reminds me, redirects me, and protects me from the world’s wonky views of love.
Our love isn’t a romantic movie where I wake up in full makeup in a pristine house and nothing on my to-do list but for my husband and I to take a little canoe ride through a pond filled with swans.
Here’s the thing about love. It’s sometimes complicated. Sometimes blissful.
Some moments are incredible. Others incredibly difficult.
Love breaks us. It makes us. It shakes out all the good and bad.
It’s the most beautifully painful sacred surprise you could ever hope to grow through.
It’s a package deal. It’s a gift that doesn’t always feel like a gift. It’s the thing that makes me less selfish. And gracious, I need to be less selfish.
I want the best version of love. So I need to bring the best version of me to my love, my man, each day.
And choose to make our love a little less complicated.
A little more sweet.
A little more inviting for the best version of him to take my hand and whisper, “Hey babe, we can do this.”
Yes. Love is a choice. One we are still making. And as a visual statement of the vows we exchanged 23 years ago, we keep this simple reminder in a place where we constantly see it. 
The “We Still Do” sign and frame are now available in the Proverbs 31 Ministries bookstore along with some of my other favorite marriage resources. Click here to find out more.
And if decorating your home with hints of your love story sounds painful because you’ve been begging God for a sign that He hears your prayers for your marriage, He does. I felt so strongly to share this with you today. He hears and He cares. I’d love to share a free 5-day devotional with you called Praying Boldly for Your Marriage. Sign up here.
Again, it's all in the timing! I needed to soak up the goodness that Lysa wrote about and that Kathleen felt on her heart to send my way. It's not always perfect, but it's always beautiful. I am so glad to have him by my side on one of my messiest weeks, because We {absolutely} still do. 
I'm so grateful for a weekend to regroup and THE TRUTH that HE always provides - even if it's only in whispers. I caught some good ones this week. So I'm going to do my best to be listening extra carefully from now on. Praying for a better week ahead and hoping we can all pick up on the God-nods sent our way.


AMTW said...

This is great.....I think we all needed this! Especially those of us with middle school children. And just think Claude....we get to go through this 2 more times :)


AMTW said...

This was great....I think we all needed this! Especially those of us with middle school aged kids!! And just think Claude...we get to do this 2 more times :)