A lot Can Change in 10 Years: My Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday in a couple of days. I will be a whopping 38 years old. Is it weird that I’m excited for the big 4-0 coming in a couple of years? I think it’s because I see more growth ahead. I figured this out when I looked at myself 10 years ago in comparison to where I am today. Then I looked at 10 years before that and 10 years before that…wow! So much can change. So much can get better. Interested in my 10 year milestones? I sure hope it encourages you to keep growing and to keep loving and to never give up. It can all be redeemed.

Age 8

IMG_1184I loved to write stories and draw pictures on printer paper from my Grandma’s office with my baby brother. To play with Barbie dolls on Saturday mornings with my younger sister. And dress up in pretty clothes and make up from my mom’s endless supply.

I missed my dad but would start a 4 year journey after my mom’s remarriage of only seeing my father once or twice a year. Those 2-week-long trips to Lake Tahoe did my heart much good. So when my mom moved us back up the Inland Empire from San Diego and met my stepdad, my father gave up the chase for my mother and took a step back on his parenting for another 8 years while my step-dad took us in,  provided us a home, stable school and clothes. We needed that. We did. But he had a temper and I never really felt truly loved by him. I always felt like I had to earn his love and was never quite good enough. I doubt he meant to make me feel this way. But he did. And oh how much I wanted him to love and approve of me. In those times he did show, it meant so much.

And these relationships with my fathers set the stage for so much struggle in my life in my view of men and myself as a person. This perpetual chase for my fathers’ love and approval through the attention of boys.  I did not know my Father in heaven yet…but I would soon…soon I’d be singing praises at the local Baptist church and asking Jesus into my heart, the beginning seed of redemption for my life.

Age 18

18

At my friend Melanie’s wedding with my high school friends within a year of us graduating high school. Don’t let the smile fool you. I was a wreck.

Fast forward 10 years. I’m 18 years old. I’m depressed, angry, eager to grow but so lost at the same time still, seeking my value and worth in the attention of young men. My mother and step-father had divorced a year or two before after 8 years of marriage. I still bore the emotional wounds of his hurtful adjectives on my heart as well as emptiness from my own rebellion against him and I was still not over getting recently dumped by my first love who I gave everything to at the age of 15 on a cold, January night when I pushed the protective arms of Jesus aside and said yes to the velvet hands of the world.

So now high school graduation had passed and I needed a savior again. My father took me in to his home still two counties away, helped me get a driver’s license, and got me enrolled at the local community college to start my prerequisites for dental hygiene school. This was my one year of cleansing myself from my past before moving forward with my life. I took 12-15 units a semester, had no job, but sat at my dad’s kitchen island drinking multiple glasses of espresso, studying, writing poetry, reading books, and listening to all the melancholy rock ballads I could find that could tap into the core of my pain I didn’t know how to numb.

This phase would not last long, however. At the core of me, I still believed I needed alcohol and drugs to have a good time and I would soon head right into that lifestyle I had dabbled in before.  I believed this lifestyle my stepdad tried to stop me from living was ultimately fulfilling, made life worth living, and could be done while still getting an education. My real father was good to me, and I cherish the memories I had in his home during my college years. But he trusted me too much without knowing entirely all that I was doing, especially the early years of college.  So I balanced my partying and studying through college, eventually making money by waiting tables, tutoring, and copywriting– racked up a couple of degrees, a teaching credential, and a collection of baggage I’d take to the cross again 10 years later after my 13 year hiatus I began in 1995.

Age 28

The day before my 28th birthday, I published a blog post that would prompt a colleague of mine named Kelley to walk into my classroom at Oceanside High School with a cup of Starbucks and a card with a hundred-dollar bill inside for some tires I needed and a note that said, “everything I have belongs to the Lord. And he wanted you to have this.” Everything in my life changed from that point on.

I had been teaching for 5 years, calmed down from my wild college years and was living with my boyfriend of 6 years and our 8-month-old son. I no longer partied anymore, and in the quietness of my more clean life,  and a temporary peace, I had ironically been dealing with a returned sense of emptiness and purposelessness for the last couple of years which had led us to a 4 month break up two-years prior, then back together, then with a child I believed would finally lead me to feel good about who I was at my core. But a number of stresses lead me to vent on that blog and Kelley’s note was all I needed.

Within two weeks I was blogging about returning to church again, and a month later on the very day I pushed Jesus away in 1995, I decided to return to him–not knowing it was the same date until a few months later. But it was 13 years to the day.

By April, my son’s father and I had broken up again. This time for good. He didn’t want to marry a “Christian” when I told him we needed to marry for me to stay under his roof. I loved him. And after 6 years of being together despite the short break up 2 years prior. I didn’t think it was much to ask for given my new faith.

The rejection was difficult to bear. I was angry, devastated, confused. But I knew one thing. God was alive in my life and I could not give him up to return to where I was. I was not going back.

I moved in temporarily with my sister and by the end of summer the following year, I was living with my father again. He gave me a place rent free. Helped me discipline my son. And comforted me during that pivotal transition in my life as I tried to find myself again outside of a man’s affection. I’m so glad to have that time with my daddy during that time. I need him. I had no idea that he would die tragically 3 years later when I would be pregnant with my second son, leaving me with just 13 years of knowing him well to redeem those 13 years I didn’t after his divorce from my mom. 13 precious years. That is what I would get.

Age 38

IMG_5571It’s been another ten years. I’m not going to say the story is over. God still isn’t done with me yet…not by far. But God is good.

I am happily married to a man who loves Jesus as much as I do, who puts his arm around me at church every Sunday. with 4 beautiful children under the age of 10. He makes a wonderful step father to my 10-year-old son who our own three children love and admire as well. Our marriage itself has been a testimony. Today, we own a home in an older neighborhood in North County, San Diego. Its our first home and we love it. It has a big back yard with lots of trees. We will be adding on to it soon.

After a 13-year-career as an English teacher, I am on a leave-of-absence, now working side-by-side with my husband on our small business from home so I can be more involved in my children’s lives. I take them to school, I pick them up, I take them to doctor’s visits during the day rather than squeeze them in at 4:30 while still wearing my work shoes and a bag of papers to grade in the waiting room. I take them to the park in street clothes and push them on the swings without feeling a need to rush home and squeeze in all my other duties. I don’t want to go back to teaching anytime soon.

I also have this growing blog, a published children’s book about Jesus, and a growing marriage ministry my husband and I lead. These projects are passion projects that help me make my footprint in the world.

Most importantly– I am ten years in my relationship with my creator and God. He continues to teach me and love me. In him I have purpose, joy, and peace in a world that tells me I have no purpose, tries to rob me of my joy and entice me with temporary happiness in trivial things that ultimately leave me empty; it gives me peace in a world full of war and pain. He has redeemed all the previous decades of my life and showed me how he uses it in my life and others for good and not for disaster.

Don’t get me wrong, as I said before–the story isn’t over. God is still working hard on me. In the last 10 years I’ve been broken up, lost my job, found a new job 45 minutes away, married quickly, had a miscarriage, supported my husband through unemployment and full-time college, helped him start and grow a business, mourned the death of my father and my grandmother, had three more children (all three very sick within the first 3 weeks of life), moved three times, supported my husband through cancer, quit my safe job of 13 years to come home…God.Has.Used.It.All. I even reconnected with my stepfather and we BOTH apologized for our wrongs against each other. It was so freeing.

But I’ve still got some daddy issues that come out in my own marriage–my husband’s approval of me I often hold up more important than anything else, even God. So I’m learning still to cast my idols at the foot of the cross every day. God has done much to help me grow in my faith, my joy ,and sense of purpose so I don’t doubt that in 10 more years, I will have another testimony. Or in my case, God also likes the number 13, the number of a completion. He’s a poet that way.

There is so much more I could say, but I’ll save that for my future memoir one day. Maybe I’ll have that started when I’m 48. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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“Oh My Gosh, He is Really Real and He Loves Me” Kind of Moments: God’s blessings even in trials.

pRAISE

“Storm Clouds” by cjohnson7 from Rochester, NY.

In many ways, this whole trial with Owen’s cancer has gone by so fast. But in other ways, remembering that day we discovered he was sick seems veiled behind some distant misty dream. Now we rejoice that the harsh chemotherapy treatments are done and look forward to getting through the radiation that starts in about a week. By Christmas time, we are hoping we can put this all behind us. But my husband made a good point tonight. We don’t want to put it behind us so we can forget it. We never want to forget it.

God forbid, we forget what we went through, forget the desperate need to cling to God and the abundant blessings and comfort and strength he gave us when we did. We don’t ever want to forget, and no longer seek Him because life is Good. There’s a bible verse somewhere I remember reading that I thought was so poignant.The person said to God, please don’t make me so happy that I forget you, or so miserable that I raise my fists and curse you. It is sad, but when life is good, when no trials come a long, we are so quick to push God aside and attend to our own pleasures, forgetting that God made us and every good pleasure we seek is a gift from him and a reflection of his character. In essence every good pleasure we seek is only a foreshadow of what we will experience and know when we stand in his presence in the dimensions outside of time. So we plan to make a memorial of this chapter of our life because we want to always remember.

And God is so good. He shows me how there is still so much to pray for. Just as we are seeing the sun set on this trial, I see so many others going through theirs. My former student is struggling to beat her battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, one of our friends from church just got diagnosed with E-wing Sarcoma, a cancer that will put him through 2 years of treatment. And so many others. We’ve know loved ones who are struggling with miscarriages, parents who have lost their children to hit and run accidents on the way to school, sons with fathers in jail, friends whose marriages are on the rocks..the list goes on. And my heart aches for everyone.

Everyone goes through at least one big trial, one big life-changing event in his/her life. None of us know when it will be, with whom it will involve, or how it will turn out. But I believe most people hope that they will be brave and find strength to get through it with grace, coming out better in its setting than they were at its dawn. And I want to pray for that to happen for everyone. I know that Jesus himself prayed to the Father that we would not be removed from the world, which is full of trials, but that we would be protected from the evil one. He is the one who whispers defeat into our ears, that gets us to question God’s goodness or sovereignty, and fills us with fear during these types of events. My prayer is that all my friends and family, all of those in my network, do not believe those lies, but cling to Jesus, during their tough times, and find not only strength to get through, but benefit from the abundant blessings and miracles God performs for those who love him.

God creates beauty from ashes. He did it when he created man and he does it everyday in this world. God turned Owen’s cancer into a blessing. I’m not saying it was fun. I’m not saying we’d wish cancer on people. But I will say that in the biggest, life-changing event of our lives, God showed us very personally how much he loves us, how much he is taking care of us every step of the way, and how much he is changing us both into better people through the process. To be able to experience that, is a life-changing, faith-strengthening, “oh my gosh He is really real” blessing. And that is the blessing I wish on everyone.

Night

nightI love the night. While the sky darkens and the sun hides its head under the horizon, reality and what really matters become clearer in my home.

As a working mom, my day is filled with chaos— most days are a spit up cleaning, diaper changing, The Regular Show watching, grocery shopping, worker beeing, traffic sitting, copy machines breaking, coffee spilling, kids screaming, lesson planning, internet researching, phone texting, Facebook scrolling, dinner scrambling, dirty boy washing, loud music playing kind of day. It’s hard to see and hear and be under it all.

But at night…

We cuddle with our children as we settle for bed. We read stories or tell stories and above all else, we pray together. Owen and I listen to their prayers first as we close our eyes and then model other ways to pray. But sometimes their prayers are our model—pure and unadulterated, open to see what we as adults don’t see in the hubbub of the loud and distracting day.

Thank you for the funny people in our town

Thank you for my toes

Thank you for our pictures

At night as Owen and I lay in bed, I’ll wake up in the stillness to feel him reach out his arm over to mine …and I know he is saying, “I’m not mad at you for that spat we had yesterday afternoon right before dinner. I love you.” And then I scoot over closer to him and make sure that at least one part of my body is touching his thereafter–a foot, a hand, a leg.

The humble truth comes out at night. None of the chaos matters. You matter. We matter. God matters.

At night-time, we talk about our day, we ask for advise, share our fears, our laughter, our conquests and need for growth.

We have time to be still at night. To breathe in deeply and know we are here and we have a purpose and we are blessed. That God is here with us. That we are each others’ biggest fans.

Night brings us back to center like a Sunday sermon, giving us the strength to make it through the next day.

Recent Teen Suicide: Where are the Christians?

transgendered student commits suicide. This is a suicide note I found on flickr. labled for reuseI just read last night on a recent suicide by a transgendered teenager in Fallbrook, CA.  The teenager named Taylor Alesena confessed in a YouTube video that he did not have any friends at school, ate alone, and was ridiculed often after becoming a girl.

I find this sad on so many levels. Sad for the teenager for clearly struggling with gender identity issues. Sad for the family who lost their child. Sad for the world who hurt this child. And sad that an opportunity was lost to have prevented the tragedy and saved a lost soul.

I’m hoping this blog will help motivate us all to take get out there and be a light to the lost.

The Question of Why

Why the teen committed suicide is most likely multi-faceted. We have a teenager so struggling with his gender identity that he decides to change his name and essentially become a girl in order to become himself (or herself, as he would believe). This is a paraphrase of something he told other transgendered kids on YouTube).

One might think that becoming oneself would lead to joy and peace in this world. But becoming “herself” apparently was not enough for him. He killed himself last week.

He said he lost a lot of friends through it all. No doubt, the change made many people feel uncomfortable. No matter what the media and activist groups like to say–many people do not feel transgenderism is normal, natural, or healthy. Teenagers in their immaturity do not know how to handle uncomfortable situations or people who they don’t feel are normal, natural, or healthy. They often do not relate to people they perceive as strange in a way that feels loving or caring.

We certainly have those in the world who are straight out mean– the kind this person complained about, but then the other element are those who act indifferent. They are not mean. They just don’t make eye contact with the person, don’t say hello, and treat them like they don’t exist. I doubt there were many true Jesus loving Christians being straight out mean. That is a lie that the media loves to paint of Christians. Yet it is an exception rather than the rule. But indifferent? I might suspect that there were some indifferent Christians along with other indifferent non-Christians. Which one is worse? Hate or indifference?  I think its up for debate. Either way, to be a victim of either can be a very lonely existence. This teenager suffered from both.

My question is–Where were the Christians in this Tragedy?

I know there must be Christian students in Fallbrook. I know there must be Christian teachers. Maybe there were some who tried to help him and no one is talking about it. I know that is possible. But given the kid said he ate alone at lunch, that he wore headphones in between classes so he didn’t have to hear the ridicule–I am left to assume, because none were by his side, that there were indeed none.

I do know this kid complained he was ridiculed and ignored by the general community–a community I know comes from mixed beliefs and backgrounds. I don’t know the details. Maybe the kids ignored him or gave him dirty looks because he was just angry and mean. Maybe it had nothing to do with him looking strange or being transgender. Maybe not. I don’t know him or the specifics of his life enough. All I have is what he has expressed on YouTube.

And so from this I wonder, where are the Christians?

Are not Christians supposed to be a shining light of love in this dark and cruel world? Even if you don’t agree with transgenderism and feel it is sinful, doesn’t a christian recognize that and recall that Christ came for the weak and weary, the sick and the oppressed? Didn’t he come for the angry and mean?

You do not have to agree with a person’s lifestyle in order to be kind to them and treat them as human. You don’t have to feel like it is your obligation to change their gender even. It is our job to be loving and to share the love of Jesus. That alone can transform a person from the inside out. That alone can heal sickness. That alone can give meaning and purpose to someones’ life. That alone could have saved this teenager from the loneliness and anger that lead him to his suicide. I hope that after this, we can start taking more opportunities to be the light we are called to be. Myself included.

Why Christians Are Not Stepping Up

I understand the Christian struggle today. I have experienced those moments of fear when feeling called to step out and feed God’s sheep. It can be challenging and nerve-racking.

Christians are afraid no doubt. Christians are often the victims of oppression themselves in the public school community and other public sectors. Teachers are not allowed to evangelize. Teenagers who share their faith are falsely labeled as bigots and idiots by many non-Christians. No doubt many Christian students did not step up and say hello to this lonely young man because they felt uncomfortable, were immature in how to handle that, and were afraid to share their faith.

What Christians Need To Rethink

What we need to realize is that we don’t have to just walk up to someone and give them the gospel. We certainly can do it that way. But it is not the only way. We can also just be kind and take interest in the person, build a relationship with him or her until it becomes safe enough for both people in the relationship for the gospel to be shared and not be taken offensively or given with some sort of attempt to judge that person as a sinner specifically because of a sexual or gender struggle. Mankind struggles with all sorts of sin. Each and every one.

I know that if this transgendered teen was my student, I hope that I would have made a special effort to get to know him. I would have made a special effort to show him kindness and love. At least as of now, I know for sure I will. Does that mean I need to call him a hero for stepping out in his desire to be a girl? Does it mean I have to pretend or claim that transgenderism is normal, natural, or healthy? No. It means that no matter what, this student is a human being, a creation of God, deserving of love and of meaning and purpose in his life. And transgendered or not, without Jesus, this boy is lost in his sins and the sins of this world. This boy will not have the beauty and freedom that I have come to know through my relationship with the creator of the Universe.

I really hope that this story, this tragedy helps motivate all Christians to stop being afraid of oppression and of persecution and step out in faith.

We are not called out of this world but to be in this world for a reason–to be salt and light.

When we allow our fears and selfish desire to not feel uncomfortable control us, we act no different from the rest of the world by showing indifference to a lost and sad teenager at lunch or in the classroom and this is in direct defiance to what God has called us to do. Do not believe the lies whispered in your ears. Fear is not from the Lord.

Remember, if God is for us, who can be against us? Those people should have no affect on us. In the perspective of eternity– is judgment from some pimple-faced atheist or a liberal school administrator worth a lost opportunity to share love and the gospel with a lonely teenager and possibly win his own opportunity to live in peace in heaven where Jesus could wipe every tear from his eyes as well? Is he not deserving of the same love and salvation as others who do not struggle with identity issues?

In Sum

This poor student was lied to. He was told by the world that all he had to do was embrace his gender struggle and transform himself into a woman in order to be joyous and peaceful. Then that same world rejected him when he did.

And the Christians who knew this worldly lie was not true did not step in to help him because they have been told by this same world to be silent and keep their faith to themselves. On top of that, the state of California has made it illegal for church programs to exist that help transgendered and gay people overcome their sexual or gender struggle based on the belief that it is harmful to them.

In the end, what this student really needed was to be transformed by the Holy Spirit from the inside out in order to find joy and peace. To know that he was created for a purpose by a loving God who died and rose again to save him.

And yet all that opportunity was lost.

It didn’t have to be.

So What Do We Do Now?–How to Use this for Good

I know my audience is not teens. It is moms–parents of teenagers who need to be trained and lead by our example and prompting. I hope tonight you hold on to your babies and tell them how much God loves them. To tell them to not be afraid.I know I will. I couldn’t imagine how sad I would be if I were the parents of Taylor.

I encourage you parents to talk to your kids. Have them think of one loner on their campus that they could befriend–straight, gay, transgendered, pimple-faced, or just strange…it doesn’t matter. Build them up with the truth of the word to not allow fear to stop them. God is for them. God will use it for good somewhere and somehow in time.

If we all start doing this today, we may see less of these stories in tomorrow’s headlines.

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and

http://www.equippinggodlywomen.com

Hold: 5 Minute Friday

By Soul Riser. Used with permission. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

By Soul Riser. Used with permission. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

There are a few moments from my life, that I wish I could hold forever. I wish I could capture them into a snow globe and place them on a shelf for me to pick up and hold again and again the rest of my life…looking into the moment…and seeing it, experiencing it all over again.

Those moments when my husband seems to just get me…to understand when I am overwhelmed with the duties of wife, and mother, and teacher, and housekeeper, and friend, and sister, and daughter…when he walks by and just holds me. A long and strong hold. And he doesn’t let go until I do.

That moment that started just a few days ago, when my 2-year-old, Benjamin said he wanted to pray too during our nightly family bedtime prayer. And then he closed his eyes real tight and murmured faintly,

“nanananana…..nananananana….daddy…. and KK….nanananana and JJ….and Mommy.”

And I knew he was thanking God for our family.

Holding Kanan, my oldest,  in the Nicu for the first time after a 24-hour-quarantine from him due to my high fever–I was a first time mom and amazed and exhilarated by this little life I had created with this big mop of long blonde hair on his head and piercing blue eyes. I missed him terribly after carrying him in my own body for 9 months, only to have him taken from me for 24-hours before I had a chance to even hold him. That first moment holding him in the NICU…yes…

I’d hold that moment earlier this week when Jameson, my middle son kissed my belly and said to me,

“I want to take care of Scotland, my baby sister, Mommy” with big, eager eyes and wide smile..his father’s smile.

Those long conversations with my father about life and love and politics over coffee on Saturday mornings on his front porch. His warm hugs afterward, always with sweater covered arms….Left only for me to hold in the fragments of memory, until I see him again in heaven.

My mom’s soft hands on my forehead when I was a girl. Always so comforting when I felt sick or sad. She has the softest hands. And sometimes, even though I’m almost 35 years old, I still want my mom to run her soft hands over my forehead, to hold my hands with her soft hands and soothe me with words of wisdom.


5 Minute Friday is a Blog Club I’ve joined. Kate Montaung, blogger of  Heading Home at KateMontaung.com sends out a word prompt, to which we set the timer for 5 minutes and write on. Come learn more at http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ .

Whisper: 5 minute Friday Post

Painting by Karl Witkowski--available for reuse with modification.

Paintintg by Karl Witkowski–available for reuse with modification.

As part of 5 Minute Friday, I am supposed to blog for 5 minutes on a word prompt given by the blogger at KateMotaung.com who hosts the writing activity. My routine is to do this on my prep period at work. I set my timer and I go. Timer is set. Here we go:


 

My babies don’t know how to whisper. Well I take that back. Only in a couple of situations can they whisper. When we read the last page of “Good Night Moon” when it says, “Good night noises, everywhere.” I whisper that line and they love it. They whisper with me with big eyes and big smiles before closing the books and snuggling up in their sheets. It is a warm connection I can have with them before we go to sleep.

This morning, Benjamin woke up happily at 6 AM, calling “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” and tapping his sleeping shoulders.

“Shhhhhhh” Owen kept saying.

But Benny wouldn’t. Benny was ready to get up and doesn’t understand the purpose of using a whisper voice in the wee hours of the morning when everyone is asleep–to speak and connect with us, without the sleeping others hearing.

But later, he rushed to me when I came out of the bathroom where I was discreetly putting on makeup and brushing my teeth, listening to him talk Owen into putting on the Elmos show —

“Mommy!” he called loudly.

“Shhhhhh” I whispered, “We need to whisper. Everyone is asleep.”

He reached up his arms eagerly, showing me he wanted a hug. I bent down and pressed his little body onto my big, 8-month-pregnant belly, and I rocked him.

And then he whispered his favorite phrase in these special moments: “baby Mommy, Mommy baby.”

I love it when he whispers that. I hear, “I love you” in those words. I feel so connected to him in those moments, like an invisible umbilical cord still connects us.

Five-Minute-Friday-4Today as I write this, I sit in the back of this classroom filled with teenagers with special needs. There are 5 teachers in this room with 20 students. These teens with down syndrome and severe learning disabilities, and various physical disabilities as well, clearly look different as they learn to fill out job applications and how to add up grocery receipts, but are so happy and kind and eager to greet me when I come in and ask questions about my belly as they play with their hair or rock in their chairs.  Like children. And I wonder how many other teenagers, whisper when they walk by–closely connecting with their friends nearby but never trying to connect with these people because they are different. Never get close enough to whisper in their ears their secrets or compliments. How many whispering sounds do these people hear when they walk through the halls, without knowing the words?  How many eyes avert away and disconnect?

Whispers…we connect with people we whisper to. How I want all whispers to be out of love, and nothing more.

stop

Worry

I worry. It is my biggest sin. I worry about every thing. I worry so much, sometimes I can’t eat. I worry so much, and I always have. I was a worrier even as a child, getting so caught up in the what ifs of life that my own grandmother would push out my furrowed brows and say in her thick Colombian accent, “you are too young to be so serious my darling.” So when we are hanging out and having a good time, you might see this goofball friend who makes fun of herself and has a big smile. But afterward when I’m on my way home, I’ll reflect back on the conversation and if I remember saying anything that may have been taken the wrong way or perhaps may have offended someone or what ever, I’ll worry about it. I’ll eventually call you and apologize or clarify something I said, just so I can stop wondering. And most of the time when I do, the person I call has no idea what I’m talking about. Most of the time, my worrying is for nothing. Now, since I’ve become a Christian, much of my worries have dissapated. There are moments between the worrying that I am reminded of whose child I am, and I calm down because I know that no matter what happens, He loves me and has plans for me. If I didn’t have that comfort, I don’t know what I’d do. But right now, I admit that I am still not cured. It is something He will have to work on me for a while. Like my life for example. I worry about it. I worry about not finding a job. I worry about not having my own place. I worry I’ll have to work a bunch of low paying jobs to make ends meet and never get to see my son. I worry about not every falling in love again or ever having a man love me so much, he ‘d want to marry me.  I worry that because of this, I’ll never have children or enjoy making love again. I worry that my life won’t turn out the way I had hoped. And while other Christians remind me of that famous verse by Jesus which says that if the birds of the air are taken care of, how much more my father in heaven will take care of me, I realize that I’m not worried about that. I’m not worried I won’t be able to eat. I’m not worried I won’t have a place to live. I know God has me covered in that by blessing me with many loving friends and family who would take care of me if things got that bad. I know that I live in the United States and while in many ways it is crumbling to pieces, it is still better off than so many other countries. What I worry about is that God won’t bless me with the things I want, but don’t need.

I want to teach. I want to have my own place. I want to be married. I want more children. And I don’t need any one of these things, but I want them. And I worry that God has plans that are different than mine. Plans so different, none of the things on that list will happen. It has been over a year since I moved out of Mike’s house and four years since I started to grow tired and dissatisfied with the the meaninglessness of gluttony—the drinking, spending, eating, and having meaningless “friendships” with most of the people I associated with up until that point of my life just didn’t bring me the joy and satisfaction I wanted in life. I was ready for something quieter. Something with more purpose: independence in my own life: then marriage; a family; helping people in the community; a close relationship with God; and real friends. Well in 2007, things started to change.  It started with having a child, it led to me growing my relationship with Christ, and it moved into some real genuine friendships that I will cherish my entire life, and has pulled me into ministries that are helping others as well as reviving some of my creativity in the arts. But I lost my boyfriend of 6 years in the process. I’ve moved back in with my folks. I now am being laid off from my job. And while I am dating again, I’m just starting, and therefore don’t see any engagements happening anytime soon. So I’ve gained five, lost two, and have yet to have two others, ever.  

But then I think, well if indeed God didn’t want those things for me, what would be the reason? Perhaps they would draw me away from him. Perhaps I would get so wrapped up in my independence or my boyfriend or something, that I would pull away from Jesus. And I think, if I gained all the things I want from this world, but lost my relationship with God in the process, would it be worth it? And the answer is no. No way. Now, most likely I am wrong. Most likely God has plans for many of my wishes to come true, but just not right now. And with that, I know he is working on my patience.

But what frustrates me is that my patience is growing thin and I feel a growing rebellion in my heart. And it is a rebellion that I don’t want. But I can’t seem to shake it. A rebellion that says if he doesn’t give me what I want soon, I’ll start trying it my way again. Even though deep down, I know by doing so, He will just prove to me that my way won’t work anyway. Such a paradox one would think I could just surrender like I did a year and a half ago. So I prayed this prayer tonight. I prayed to God that if any of the choices I make or the things I take hold of in this phase of my relationship with Him are things that He knows will pull me away from Him, that he take them from me. That he take them away even if it makes me scream and cry. Even if it is painful and hurts me. Because I would rather have none of the things I want from this world and spend eternity with Him than gain everything and lose my soul. It’s a hardcore prayer I know. And I admit that I may be asking for some painful times ahead if I don’t change my desires. But I know His ways are better than mine and that ultimately, His way will lead me to more happiness than my way could ever gain. I know this because I’ve tried it my way. And my way didnt’ work. And God’s word said that would happen. And I made a choice to leave my way so that I could follow his way, and with that choice, God has blessed me so much in so many ways. But I think I expected too much from God in the process. I expected that because I chose to follow Him, that He would immediately reward me with every desire of my heart. And I find myself  now, a year and a half from the time I gave my life to the Lord,  without some of the things I want so much, it hurts. And instead of looking around at what I do have and saying thank you, I’m just whining and wanting more, and worried I won’t get it. Could my worry be the problem He needs to work out of me before He can bless me with the rest of my heart’s desires? It is grace through faith that saves me in the next life, but could it be works that earn God’s blessing in this one? And if that is so, I have a long way to go. Because I’m sure once God purifies me of my worry, He will show me the next sin I struggle with. A sin I don’t even realize I have because I am so blinded by the others.

I worry. I know it’s wrong because it shows a lack of trust in God. But is it different, if it’s a lack of trust that is enrooted in my fear that perhaps what I want is not what I need and the things I want, I want too much…..idolizing them almost, and therefore never going to get God to will them in my life. I worry I won’t stop worrying. Will I ever allow Him alone to be enough?