Journey to Trust

If I ever write one book it might be called Gray light, I ever write a second I hope its called Journey to trust.  I may die before I gather enough wisdom to put words to that phrase, a journey to trust.  It may be the battle that defines my life.

I am on this trust-path and right now I’m so very at the beginning of it.  Let me fill you in on some of the things I really suck at.  I suck at cooking bacon, reading instructions, balance, folding socks and ultimately.. trust.  I suck at trust.  It’s painful to write those words, because it just affirms the presence of a big problem that has to tackled, climbed, painstakingly unraveled and set right.

I’ve come to this realization point at least a dozen times in the past, and if you’ve been around a while you probably know that.  However, I’ve never moved past the realization point into healing and learning to trust.  I keep getting hit over the head with an image of an angry snarling animal in a corner, growling and biting at anyone who extends their hands to help.  I feel like that’s me, that I don’t really trust anyone loves me enough to care without strings attached, that all my relationships are quid pro quo, tit for tat, conditional.

Life has hurt me, people have hurt me, and God didn’t shield me from black ugliness and death near as much I wish he would have, could have.  At some point along the way I started to live by this Mantra:  If it’s going to be okay, I must make it okay.  The only person I can depend on is me, not God, not Kel, not friends, just me… and even that’s iffy.

This isn’t a rare reaction when life hands you repeated blows.  It takes a step of maturity to keep reaching out after you’ve been hurt.  But friends.. we will be hurt again, I will be hurt again and living life without trust is a choking death sentence a decay of the heart.  Especially in comparison to the life God is trying to give us.  We must, I must learn to trust again.

Mary DeMuth, a blogger and author that I have started to follow challenged her readers to select a photo that will speak to and define their new year.  I’ve thought about this a lot over the past fews days and come up with a bunch of ideas, the angry animal, a whole pie, a tightrope walker, a lilly, an overflowing cup…but I have settled on this because I love hands.

I wanna hold your hand.... I wanna hold your hand

I want to hold hands more, physically and spiritually.  Don’t worry I probably won’t come hold yours, you can put your hand sanitizer away.

So often when we realize something difficult we’ll focus on the end result rather than the next step.  This has been my major block in learning to trust again.  Yesterday Kel offered me a valuable idea:  What is one, small thing that you can trust God with today?  

Trusting him with your kids, your money, your marriage and your whole life is a big step, it’s the best and ultimate step, but maybe you need to trust him just a little to start.  It flies in the face of what I hear from church and the bible. I want to trust God with my whole entire life, but what if all I can do is start small?  Will he meet me there?  Is my small enough for God?

I choose to believe yes, that my father will meet me where I am at instead of waiting for me at the end of the journey.

We are all battered, we all have scars, the easiest thing to do is become cynical, angry and closed off.  The harder and greater choice is to keep holding his hand and when you forget to reach for it again and again and again.  Keep thrusting out your arm with your small hand flung open and grasp to trust like your life depended on it, because it does.  He is there, pulling you out of a stormy sea and he always always will be.  He holds in his hands breath for your drowning lungs, light for your dark world and peace for your weak and weary spirit.  His hand will always be there.  Always.  Always.

I am printing that picture of a child taking the hand of a parent and putting it in a frame, on a mirror, on my dash.  I am fickle, I fall, I need gracious reminder like this.

What is your picture?

What might you be drowning in?  Will you choose to grab his hand today?

Digging For Balance

“Come with me, you have to take my hand.”

This is a phrase I hear at least 50 times a day from the two year old daughter Noelle.  In her eyes, whatever I am doing is meaningless and pales in comparison to the importance of playing toys with her.  Many days life feels like an endless string of meeting other people’s needs.  Wife, Mother, Friend.  These are roles that I cherish, but if I’m honest I have started to spend some time wondering lately….where do I fit in my own life?  My Jesus tells me to put others before myself and I love my others, but he made me more than a Mom, there is more in me that is wriggling to be born into my life and it brings me guilt, and that ain’t right… right?

I know I am called to serve, I know I am blessed to mother, but most mornings I feel guilty if I take time for hair and a modest application of mascara.   If I skip grooming time and write instead, then my spirit is better but I look like a mess.  Should I shave my head to feed my soul?  I really don’t think any of us want to see me bald.  And believe me, I try to get up before my kids, but the sound of my feet sliding into my slippers is guaranteed to awaken them quicker a marching band paraded through our living room.

So where is the line between self-care and selfish?  If I rest and read and be, then the laundry piles up and the dishes threaten.  I know some rest is good, but all rest leads to chaos and grime, so that’s not acceptable.   The line in somewhere in-between.

Organization will help, but I don’t want to be too strict with structure and planning.  I want space for my family to feel free to be themselves.  So we have to find a balance of flexible structure.

I know I need space to give God the first of my day, Jesus took quiet time to pray and be, but Jesus didn’t have preschoolers.  They don’t allow for quiet, that’s not an excuse, it’s just my reality.

And then there is my call, my need to write.  If I don’t write my soul feels bound, restricted, it gets cramped inside and I get irritable.

I need more, but I think I need to find the more among the less.  Does this make any sense?  Somewhere in the void of my thought life are ideas on how to pull it all together into balanced chaos with bright breathes of contentment.  I have these seeds of ideas, I have these seedlings of children, I have this relatively young marriage, and I think the rub lies in space to grow.

I want a word, a banner to fly over 2012 to direct me.  The words Space, Grace, Seeds… they keep popping up.  I need room for the important to grow and I need to starting looking at the trivial and unimportant as weeds that are choking out the good life we are trying to grow here.

I have to find space to be me in my own life, and I don’t think that’s selfish, I am Mother and Wife and Author, they’re all me.  I have to find contentment with the chaos my young family is bound to bring to me.  I need to realize what IS, what CANNOT BE now, and find balance.    Balance, is that my 2012 word?

These are just the musings of a mom, a woman with wet hair, in a bath robe which is speckled with bits of oatmeal and Crayola paint, who refuses to give up on discovering the profound and beautiful in the simple and every day.

– What parts of you don’t seem to fit in your life?

– What have you unearthed in your search for contentment and balance?  Please share your gems, I refuse to surrender the search.

Count before you build

It’s January 2 and I already feel like I am late to the game when it comes to writing about the new year.  In my defense in the past 2 days I have traveled 17 hours in a mini van (again) and battled a ferocious chest cold.  I spent my new years eve in a mini van and I think that technically I was in a gas station bathroom at midnight.  Needless to say there was no romantic smooching or champagne, because it was a gas station bathroom, is there anywhere nastier?

And so we have all welcomed in 2012 into our homes and hearts with all its hope and potential.  As I have perused the Facebook and twitter posts of the past few days I am not surprised to see that many of them have this central theme:

“2011 was not great, surely 2012 will be awesome!  I am going to accomplish Big goal A, difficult thing B and lose C lbs this year!”  

Ready for some sad news?  Only 8% of resolutions made at New Years come to fruition, 92% of them will have failed by January 20.  Hundreds of experts will give you thousands of reasons why all the hopes and dreams of January 1 are heaps of rubble in 19 days or less.  I chalk it up to sacrifice and source, most people aren’t using God as the source of their goals and they aren’t willing to make sacrifices in their day to day lives to achieve what they claim to want.

Yesterday I took time to write the following quote on our dining room chalk board:

I feel like I have been floundering lately and not been making the healthiest choices for myself or my family, I want to use the mindset of “do it anyway” to push myself out of bed to workout, to shut the computer and take quiet time with God to center myself, and to turn off the TV and engage with my kids more than I do.  I want to do the harder, better thing instead of the easy thing.  This is a great mindset and totally supported by scripture, so long as your goals line up with the priorities God is placing on your life.  The problem is that I typically take on too much, get distracted too easy and then find myself feeling guilty and frustrated with my inevitable failure.

It happened already this morning, little man got me up at 5:00 am and then his big sister followed shortly thereafter.  I changed diapers, made coffee, played with toys and started my to-do list all while my husband caught up on some needed sleep.  By 9 am I was 4 hours in and completely off-track, frazzled and frustrated.  What went wrong?  I exchanged some snide words with Kel about goals and organization as he headed into the shower.  When he was done showering he walked right up to our chalkboard, erased it and wrote this instead.

“Be Realistic in 2012.  Luke 14 : 28-30 Count the cost before you build…”

Luke 14: 28 – 30  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

You see I am a limited resource, I only have so much of myself to give, so do you.  I often get bogged down in the less important and trivial and don’t have any of myself left to give the big important things I was created for.  Kel told me I have the tendency to make plans and lay foundations for three or more towers and finish none of them, because I only had enough resources for one.  I can assure you that I am not alone in this, you may be laying too many foundations as well.  I know that God is calling you to count the cost before you continue building, where does he really need your resources?

This has really impacted me today, and I hope desperately to use this line of thinking to achieve great things in 2012.   So many of my friends have been focusing on how bad last year was and hoping for much better in the new year.  If you chose to look for the nasty stuff every new years eve you’ll find it, and if you only seek out how you failed you’ll find failures abound.  All we can really, earnestly pray over 2012 is this:

Dear God, I have this who new year laid out in front of me, a gift from you to be sure.  Help me to use my time wisely and give me eyes to see where I am most needed in this world.  Teach me to say no to the “more” and yes to the “valuable”.  Lead me forward on all fronts, step by step, and give me a fuller measure of contentment, so that when the ball drops on 2013 I can have peace that even though I failed sometimes, I followed your lead as best I could.

– What foundations are you laying with your resolutions? Do you have enough of yourself to do it all well?

– Does your “To-do” list match what you claim your priorities are?