Life is a Journey

journey

I would like to sit here and think that today begins a new journey but in  reality it’s not new.  Life is the journey.  Yes at times we come to a fork in the road and we need to decide which path to take.  It is the very reason why I chose the theme for my blog to be walking by faith.  Journey is in the subheading.  and as I alluded to in yesterday’sblog post that there were somethings up my sleeve.  I have been thinking and praying and planning for the last few months and I have really needed to wrestle through some stuff. Things like :

Fear

Control

Lack of confidence ( this one strikes me as funny because  that was my word for last year.  ,

Once upon a time….Journey back in time

I struggled with intense fear.  Fear that left me curled up in the corner of my bedroom sobbing.  I had come home to no power and I feared what lurked in the darkness. The unseen,  You know what was there?  Furniture Thats it. .  I was as quiet as a mouse all of the time.  When we moved into a different apartment  a year and a half later I was pregnant with our first son and I quickly learned that the guy downstairs was on the creepy list.  When our oldest was born hubby and I praised God that he was too young to ask questions about what was going on downstairs, on many levels. I was still scared but now I could no longer  be as quiet as a mouse, because I had this youngling…and what do younglings do?  They Cry.  Sometimes a lot. But in my heart my thought was what  if that creepy guy comes up stairs……?  Then one day!  He did.  I was standing at the sink tasing dishes and this insane pounding came . I froze.  He yelled Get out, the Apartment is on fire.  Wait what?   IS this for real?  Sure enough  I picked up our newborn son and scrambled down the stairs.  It was filled with smoke, firetrucks everywhere.

Fast forward….the journey between then and Now

As I look back over the nearly 13 years since that day. I see an on again off again relationship with fear.  What was once an absolutely gripping fear of being alone…as in no one in the same house. I could be alone, actually I really liked being in solitude, just not in the sense of being left alone….and in the ONLY ONE, morphed into a different kind of fear.  Fear of people.  Nope not kidding one single bit.  I was afraid that I was going to get hurt.  There was a time on my life as a young mom where I was convinced that it was my job to be hurt…by people.  It was during that time that I had no friends.  I was home all the time alone and arrows flew at me from every direction..  Now This did not just happen once or twice.  there is a lesson in this for me.  I knew there was but I was DENSE (still am).  So I had to keep learning it over and over and over again.

Right now….on the journey

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Thankfulness Challenge- My Pastor Husband Pastor’s Appreciation Motnth

husband

The  missed oppertunity

I have been re-reading some past blog posts, and do you know what I realized?  I don’t blog very much about my husband!!  That’s mostly because I respect his desire to not be put into the spotlight  and it’s not that I am choosing to disrespect his wishes today BUT there are some days that you have to give credit where credit is due.

I was doing some prep work for a blog post for later today and I was overcome by the amazingness of my husband.  The things not everyone gets to see . The things this man does and I get to support him in. The things I am sometimes  guilty of taking for granted.

His Many Hats

He wears many hats and God has gifted him the ability to do them well.  He and I have been married for almost 15 years.  We have 4 kids ages 12,11,alomst 10, and 7.  One has Autism and another has a learning disability known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  This is a huge part of his life but the other huge part is his calling to be pastor.   We have been at our current church for almost 9 years.  I have watched him spend countless hours ministering to people in some very unconventional ways.  He has the unique ability to meet people where they are, work side by side with them and create a relationship with them.  My husband is so dedicated to his call that he is constantly seeking to grow in it,  to learn and grow deeper his relationship with Christ.  I have watched him pour countless hours into people, to shed tears on their behalf and still treat them with the love of Jesus when he is hurt by them.    He is a real leader who can lead without an iron fist or micromanage the people he is leading.  He also takes time to to fix broken things at church. He runs errands for church.  he runs errands for home and as I looked at the calendar page for October I noticed there were things missing from his weekly activities

  • Phone call
  • emails
  • texts
  • visits
  • people in crisis
  • emergencies
  • last minute meetings
  • Prep for sermons
  • prep for 2 Bible studies  a week

And this doesn’t even begin to cover family things like convent care trips and the like.

He as a person

Though he will tell you otherwise he is intelligent and skilled in communicating the word of God.  I have watched him painstakingly pour over God’s word sometimes changing his sermon multiple times to be sure to bring God’s truth, even if it stings deep within his own soul.  and with that goes transparency of his heart sharing both from the pulpit and in private his struggles.  He does not view himself as higher or better than another.  He has strove to continue to grow in his education, that enables him to sharpen and fine tune his skills.

One of the greatest things about this man that I count as a blessing from God is his desire to do whatever it is he has set his hand to, and to do it well.  Many people don’t get a chance to see this, but I count it a privilege to get a front row seat.   To the countless hours counseling in person at our table, on the phone and via text message (yes that really can happen). I get to watch him wear himself thin as he goes from one meeting to the next, ones where he spends hours, days and weeks praying for and pouring over.  I count it a privilege to  Get to be the one who shares in his greatest joys and his deepest sorrows.  I have watched him help others try to pick up shattered pieces of great disappointments.

People are important to Him

He makes time for everyone though that is rarely seen .  It is done  in secret to protect those who are hurting.  He holds so much  between him and God even I do not know all that he has been told.  He drops his plans, and desires to run to the aid of another.  He changes  his work schedule to meet others needs and has done so, most jobs would have fired him.  And this is why  some days our grass is not mowed or the garbage has not been taken to the transfer station.  He views our cars and home as not our own but those things belong to God, things to be used for His service. They are just on loan to us to be used for God’s work.

Care for our family

Most people don’t realize that he is the sole driver of our family.  Something he committed to nearly 16 years ago when he asked me to marry him.  He knew it was highly unlikely that I would never be able to see well enough to drive.  So sermons are prepared as I take care of kids appointments, emails are sent and visits are made in-between  all the craziness.  He is an amazing multi-taskr.  he uses every spare moment he can.

A week  ago I posted this picture of something that is rare.

pastor husband

We had already

  • y picked up kids at 11:45
  • ate lunch
  • took headache medicine to the other child at school
  • gone to two parent teacher conferences
  • worked
  • sermon prep

The poor guy had a migraine.  And had about a half an hour before we had to eat dinner and leave for Awana.  When I posted the picture to social media it was about the cat.  She doesn’t snuggle with just anyone.  She likes him a lotAnd there were very supportive comments on social media.  BUT comments came outside of social media that were not so kind. And that is sad.  For a  man who rarely if ever takes time for himself, who pours so much of himself into others.  Who seeks to build community and build others up.  Who gives everything he has and then some. Who bends over backwards for anyone who asks his help.

I am truly sorry I posted it….for the flack he has taken.

So Grateful

  1. So for all of this I want to take the time to thank God for all that he does both the seen and the unseen.  The 80+ hours per week for church the 10-20 hours a week for his other job and the countless hours for our family.  His ministry is so far deeper than most can imagine, even within the community.
  2. I am grateful that he loves us and takes care of us.  Enough to step up and provide in different ways.  that he makes sure we always have working vehicles. that he makes sure that we are cared for.
  3. I am thankful that I get to watch.  I get a front row seat to his ministry, our ministry together.This also means that sometimes the seats up close see the messy things too.  Those moments when people are so wrapped up in themselves to see what is really going on.   Im so grateful he includes me.  so many pastors and wives live two separate lives. I saw it while we were in seminary. Couples who did their own things, separately.  When I am leading Bible study, he is watching the ladies kids.  He helps  with the RGT conference.  He has mentored young men alongside me at the Pregnancy center, reaching deep into the messiness of our community.
  4. I am so grateful to get to watch him grow into the man God always knew he would be.   It’s huge blessing to see him step out and try new things to gain boldness.
  5. To watch him give his whole life to Jesus in service.  That he holds nothing back. To sacrifice.

To My Pastor

In Short during this month dedicated to showing appreciation to  our pastors.  I want to say a great BIG thank you.

Thank you for being a selfless example of what a godly man should be, not only for our own children but to the kids who know and love you!

Thank you for reaching me every Sunday , and every other day what the Bible teaches.  I love sitting under your teaching and I learn so much.

Thank you  for teaching me how to show love and grace through the good, the bad and the ugly.

AND THANK YOU for asking me to be apart of this journey with you 15 years ago.  Thank you for seeing me as God does, as a women with potential NOT just as I am a broken imperfect person.

I will gladly serve with you another 15 years and until God sees fit to call us  Home!

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Write 31-Day 1 – Why Confidence?

ConfidenceI know I know, it’s day 2 and I am already behind.  That’s because I have been wrestling with….you guessed it a lack of confidence.  It has been something that I have wrestled with since I was very young.  And I must confess right here and right now that some of this has to do with my personality and then some of that REALLY has to do with circumstances that have happened as well.

And that leads me to tonight’s topic, WHY CONFIDENCE?

Well last year at this time I was beginning to really contemplate my word for the following year.  But life was about to get CRAZY!  We went from a household of 6 to a household of ten.  The circumstances of that change is not something to be discussed on the internet, but it was something both hubby and I felt very strongly that hubby and I were called to do.  And to this day we will stand by that decision and we are glad we did!  But in all of this I came to become glaringly aware that I doubted almost all that I did.  But as I prayed about this new found fear that gripped my life I began to pray….HARD! And you know what I realized?  It has ALWAYS been there.

Fear of doing the wrong things ruled my life.

Fear of making people angry.

Fear of disappointing people.

Fear of failure.

Fear of Failure to make the wrong choice.

Fear of ruining someone else’s life.

FEAR ran my life.

Fear is the antithesis of confidence.  Fear gives control to someone else. HMMMM.

I cannot pin down the moment that confidence became my word in January of this year but I knew it two or three weeks into January when the lightbulb finally went on.  Then came the study, searching out the verse that would become my verse for the year and I landed in the book of Jeremiah

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

7.  “But blessed is the one who trusts the Lord,

whose confidence is in Him

8.  They will be like a tree  planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.

WOW WOW WOW

Did you catch all that verse  said?  Well Have no fear, WE ARE GOING TO BREAK IT DOWN!

Because this is so important for ALL of us to understand.

So That is why confidence.  I needed confidence .   But not just confidence in myself either.  I have NOTHING to offer.  Despite all my friends thinking I am the strongest person they know, That is a direct quote people .  I stand back and I look at myself in the mirror and I see this weak, broken person who doubts every  little thing.  I needed a bigger answer.  I needed God-fidence .  It did me absolutely no earthly good to have confidence in me.  I had nothing to offer outside of what Christ has done in me.  I was fearful.

Now the thing is I am still fearful.  I am 9 months into this journey.  I have not arrived and I have to give that fearfulness over to God, and realize He is far bigger than me.

So even though I lack confidence when …

I am fearful, He is  all-knowing and all-powerful

I am weak, He is strong.

I fail, he ALWAYS succeeds.

I am not enough for whoever, He is always enough for everyone AT ALL TIMES!

I am imperfect, He is perfect.

And there is so much more.

I know this word places a high value on self-confidence.  Even the church does.  Because only the self-confident will stand up for themselves.  But I am here to tell you that standing up for yourself, tearing another person down to get your point across and voicing your pet peeves is NOT a biblical principle.( NOTE:: There  is a difference between  fighting for your  ” self imposed rights” versus  your physical safety.  If you find yourself in danger LEAVE!!). Fight for what God says is right not what you think should be right!  That is called entitlement.

Time and again we are told not to fight for ourselves but that God will fight for us.

Bible Knowledge .Com lists out 29 verses that Talks all about relying on God  to fight for us!

May I encourage you to look at the verses tonight and tomorrow.  Then tomorrow we will delve into my verse for the year and we will be discussing what God-fidence REALLY looks like.

And then hopefully later tomorrow I will get caught up with Day 3 and we will look at the differences between self confidence and God-fidence.

Have a GREAT NIGHT

Blessings

Mary

A Wild Life, Living Wildly for Jesus

wildly

So Our summer has been WILDLY  BUSY with so many things!

Wildly Exhausting

Wildly Exciting

Wildly Full of Blessings

I guess you could say it was wildly WILD.

So It is growing ever closer to the end of September.  It’sFall already people and just in case your curious.  It is 86 degrees here in upstate New York.  It’s one of the warmest days of the…er…..Fall??

Honestly I have been so tired as of late I am ready to crawl into bed  at 830 most nights and I don’t want to get out until May.  Yeah it has been THAT kind of wild!

People I forgot the my youngest had to study spelling words and his verse for the week. It was THAT kind of wild.

two weeks ago I had some moments and a grabbed my laptop, my coffee ,  my Bible and planner and I sat  down at the kitchen table. I opened my laptop, pressed the power button and …….drumroll……..NOT A BLOOMING THING!  it was the first moments in what seemed like months, but in all seriousness it had only been a month and a half to write and my planner was just chock full of wild ideas!  Things like 50fun facts about our family, what I’m reading, a sneak peak into our weekly schedule and so on.  I was excited to say the least but there was nothing.  It had been charging on the kitchen table overnight.  So there was no reason for it not to turn on.

So I picked her up flipped her over. It was damp….apparently  our evil but lovable cat had found a glass of water.   I removed the hard plastic green case …more dampness and tears welled in my eyes..  It’s not that I am addicted to my computer in all reality I wish I could use it more.  My computer holds the power of words.  I rarely if ever use it for  anything more that the craft of writing or creating with my cricut.  It is like a friend that I tell my secrets too…And then post to the internet for all the world to see ( ok not really, I don’t post everything but I found the irony as I was typing that).  It also held 100’s of pictures and other documents like half written book reviews  blog posts and edited photos ready for blog posts.  (No speeches necessary on how I should have backed them all up). I gave myself the speech about 100 times in that first hour before hubby got home.    When hubby got home he opened the case,  all that was inside.  2 lowly drops of water…2!

We got a fan and dried that baby out. She turned on two separate times, all of which gave me a glimmer of hope and then she shut off 30 seconds later and each time I felt hope of her ever being normal again slip away.  Then Wednesday rolled  around Hubby had made an appointment an hour away to get her assessed.   He dropped me off at the pregnancy center and headed north.  An hound a half later I got a text message that simply said “all fixed”. my heart beat wildly!!  My reply

“Really?  How?”

There was no water damage she is just old (7 to be exact). she is a beast of a computer and has worked for me fantastically!  I was excited and I made plans for the next morning….only to be left staring at a black screen again!

A wild life can often lead to wild emotions

It’s funny how our emotions can take us from wildly excited to wildly sad and depressed OR wildly angry  in a matter of seconds.  I remember very distinctly 3 and  1/2 years ago as our Belgian Shepherd Daffy came running inside.  She hadn’t run in 3 months, she hadn’t laid down in a month or so. I was so excited I called hubby, excited that the medicine had helped….she ran in the front door, through the kitchen door where she fell over and died.  My wild excitement turned within seconds into screams of terror.  What happened??  Daffy was old she had a herniated disc  her neck.  Just the night before I asked a friend with veterinary experience how do you know when is the right time to put your faithful friend down .  I prayed that we would not have to make that choice I prayed God would take care of it.  He did, I just never expected it to happen quite like that .  Honestly we never do.

I’s what we do with the wildly crazy things in our life that shows our character.

SOOOO when wild things move into your house unexpectedly…like mice, a rat, squirrels, a swarm of  honey bees  or as the case this summer   FLEAS we need to ask ourselves what should my reaction be? (BTW we have had all of these critters in our current home at one time or another)

Two years ago every major appliance in our kitchen systematically died, are you ready for this?  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, no joke!!! So when January rolled around  and our furnace bit the dust, we could have gotten discouraged but instead we through up our hands laughed wildly and said why not!!  It was seriously funny.  Never had we had to replace so many appliances.  that year we had also replaced both the washer and dryer in May.

When we follow Jesus wild things happen. (both Good and Bad)

There are so many things in our lives that when we look back we see just how wild the ride has been.  And when we see pieces fit together that we originally didn’t think were connected  we stand in wild amazement at who God really is.  His protection over situations that later we realize should have ended in a more horrific way.  And yet we don’t wildly praise the one who loves us so much.We stand in church services with our hands in our pockets.    We stand by silently as someone shares a miracle from their lives.  I love it when my wild friends shout AMEN.  I love it when my WILD friends look different than all the rest.  Yes they are crazy unicorn loving people, but what they love even more is Jesus.

They live wildly

They Love wildly

They bless wildly

They laugh wildly

They serve wildly

They show Jesus wildly.

So in the midst of all the wild things like appliances dying, homes being invaded by vermin, or your computer kicking the bucket…..OR in the midst of the wildly insane things like a cancer diagnosis, a pre-term baby, a developmental disability, a hurricane of record proportions  or how about you fill in the blank, Choose to follow Jesus wildly,   giving all of your life, seeking to please him with everything you’ve got!  Live Wildly for Jesus!

Did you have a wild summer?  What is holding you you back from living wildly for your Savior?

 

Life Unexpected: Living Outside the Normal Everyday Crazy

Unexpected things happen ALL the time…Have you every heard the expression

“When it rains it pours”

Well, yesterday it was a monsoon.  I laugh now as I look back at the unexpected happenings.

So yesterday started out in its normal crazy fashion…Up at 5:30 (First day back after Spring Break I might add) Yeah that was easy!!   Ha!!  Lunches made kids fed, three of them on the bus at 6:25. Whew!

Finished up my study Questions from “You Are Loved No Matter What” by Holley Gerth (THAT BOOK IS AAZING)

Bus alarm goes off a second time ..Fourth child out at the bus for a 7 50 pick up.

Back inside:

Blogging

Bible Study

Reading

Normal household chores

Then I did something that is completely normal and it led to something SOOOOO completely Unexpected.  I went out to the garage to get chicken to thaw for dinner….the unexpected was that the upright freezer door wasn’t shut all the way….UH OH!  yep, so the rest of the normal plans out the window and I collected all the thawed gross things from the freezer that now resembled that of the abominable snowman fro  Monsters Inc….WELCOME TO THE HIMALAYAS was all that ran through my mind!  well after my hands we frozen and completely sticky…my sweatshirt and my pants doused int the  conglomeration of mystery liquids……I had all the Ick taken care of….found chicken in another freezer and thawed that, put it in the crockpot and what’s that?  the alarm for group #1 of our kiddos returning from school with #2 returning soon after group #1.  Did I mention I was having Bible study with a teen from our youth group around the same time?  Hubby was picking her up.

Hubby and I had realized that the freezer had been ajar since we left to visit family on Thursday YAY! Hubby also informed that while he was on a run to deliver a tractor (normal) His glasses broke and feel apart while he was driving (UNEXPECTED and dangerous)  he made it taped them together BUT now had t run to the eye place we get our glasses prescriptions filled.  At that point he offered to take the kids with him and to pick up groceries (Normal and AMZING) But half way through his trip the fan in our van  wouldn’t shut off…even when  the van was shut off and key removed (UNEXPECTED but isn’t can trouble almost always)  I finished my bible study, her dad picked her up, I finished dinner and I sat down on the couch.

Everyone cam rushing in and quite frankly if you have read  Hope for the Weary Mom or seen Mom’s Night Out  you will get what I am about to say.

I had a moment…..And my kids ate  dinner  in silence…and I felt horrible (after all hubby’s sermon was coursing through my brain….Saying” you blew it”!!

Hubby left for a meeting, saying that if it ended before a certain time he was going to run to the store to get the part for the car. Ok off he went I gave the 45 minute warning till bed….

Homework

Chores

Reading

Child #3 asks “mom can I get my shower?” (NORMAL)

” Yep you can”

10 minutes later….As he stands at the top of the stairs , “Mommy why do you have your razor in the shower?”  Ummm because it’s my shower and it’s hanging up above your reach!

Umm no it’s not and I think Im bleeding everywhere .  (SO UNEXPECTED  that it took a few seconds to register, but I snapped into  nurse mommy mod) e. let’s add to this that this is the child with Autism AND he is JUST out of the shower.

So after some minor freaking out (on his part) my little army of three non injured kids snapped into a well oiled machine f helpfulness.  And I could not with all the pressure I could get the bleeding to stop.  I had to call hubby.

Hubby came home….Off to urgent care….To sit and sit and sit some more .  Usually our urgent care is very quick….Not last night.  They finally got him in at 10-ish.    due to how his foot was cut they had to create  an imitation scab.  When they left, the battery in the car was dead from the constantly running fan (Unexpected, kind of) they came home at 12:30 am.  (UNEXPECTED)

SLEEP (normal)

Now this morning had a few unexpected things like oversleeping and leaving child #4’s math homework on the table, but compared to yesterday it was a breeze!

Thankfully in all of the UNEXPECTED events of yesterday, it could have led to major strife and minus the MOMENT I had unrelated t all the rest going on, it’s those moments that show our true colors.   Does our responses point to a Savior who is in control of every detail, or do we get bent out shape and let everyone know it , that it didn’t go according to our plan.  I know it wasn’t in my plan to smell like a garbage can. Do we moan and groan about how awful these circumstances or do we whisper a prayer and say ok LORD it’s not about me.  There has been a lot in my life that has been UNEXPECTED, soon good, some not so good and some just horrible things.   Thankfully God doesn’t expect us to be perfect through it all, he wants us to rely on Him, for everything!