I Wish ‘S” was for SuperWoman

Greg & I always said throughout our journey that we walked around with an ‘S’ on our forehead.  We just seemed stupid.  How does a family of five, living month-to-month in an apartment with no jobs keep doing what we were doing?  We were 10+ months into this journey, which started when Greg was laid off from his job in Canada.  We were able to finish the school year there, move back to Frisco, Texas, enroll the kids back into school and keep searching for a job.  We both looked for jobs, believe me.  But we both prayed fervently about what & where God wanted us to go.  Did He ever say ‘Go get a job at Lowe’s or be a waitress’?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t put the kids into costly activities, such as dance and karate?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t get that car because of what others might think’?  No.  We asked!  Over and over we asked about each step, each purchase or non-purchase–should we or shouldn’t we.  We followed God’s direction every step of the way.  But His direction, as usual, isn’t typical and surely isn’t what the average Joe would say is right.

Doing life without a job & a family according to the world goes like this–1) take any job you can get; humble yourself completely, degrade yourself, if necessary; work long, menial hours; 2) wear a long face; worry incessantly; turn to other pleasures to get you through; 3) anger and bitterness are allowed because the situation sucks and there’s no end in sight; 4) certainly don’t spend money on anything other than absolute necessities, which of course includes activities for the kids; 5) always have something to tell family of your job search progress.

Ahhhhh!!!  Just typing all that makes me crazy!  It suckers me into the angst and lonely feelings that were always lurking and which I had to pray out constantly.

Peace beyond understanding looks like you’re wearing an ‘S’ on your forehead.  You must be stupid for not worrying.  You must be stupid for spending money you don’t have on that.  Here’s the worst–not being able to plan.

People would ask, ‘What are your plans this summer?”

My response–“I don’t know.”

Or, “Where are the kids going to school next year?”

“I don’t know.”

“Would you like to go on this family trip this fall?”

“I don’t know.”

And I didn’t know.  And I don’t know now.  Only God knows.  We pray and plan as much as we can, but always it’s God who tells us our next steps.  During the journey He would only tells us just prior to taking the step where that step would be…and we had to be okay with that.

So if ‘Stupid is as stupid does,’ then call me stupid in love with my Savior.

My Red Journals continues…

Friday, November 15, 2002

Lord, all details of the job search, the play, school & illnesses are spinning out of control.  My head is swimming and I can’t keep up.  So now, I just stop and breathe and look to You.  Calm, calm.  Breathe.  Try to clear my mind and listen to You.  Lord, simplify, clarify and beautify.  All that I’m doing I think I’m doing ultimately for You.  Please make sure that I am.  Only You can solve all of these details & clear my head to make sense of it all.

Dear Jesus, our main concern right now is Liza.  I discovered two small lumps on the side of her throat on Wednesday morning.  Lord, please send us to a doctor to have Liza seen so that we may dissolve all fear.  Lord, take the lumps away.  Heal our daughter.

Lord, Jesus, I gave my children and Greg up to You back many, many months ago.  I know that they’re a wonderful gift from You and I have the incredible gift of sharing my life with them.  But, oh Lord, help me to know what to say.  DON’T!  STOP! It’s all too much!  I love YOU!  Don’t You see?!  Don’t test me this way!  This journey’s path is reaching into the darkness of the woods!  Turn me back on the path with the sun.  Heal her, heal her, heal her and me.

Thank You for Your word, which says to me right now, “The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid!  Don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army!  For the battle is not yours, but God’s!”  2 Chronicles 20:15

Feed my soul with Your words.  Take over my thoughts & actions.  Take this craziness from me & leave only PEACE.  Let me see all obstacles & solutions through Your eyes.  Hold me.  Hold Liza.  Carry us through today.

November 25, 2002

I give thanks today for all that You have made possible for all that You have made possible for the Christmas musical!  The props will be done & the set completed (with a lot more work!) & they look fabulous!  Thank You for all of the help!  Thank You for the vision coming to life!  Thank You for Jenn, Helen & Lisa & the entire cast for being so gun-ho for all of my crazy ideas!

I pray now for all of those seekers that our church members might bring to the pay that they might hear all the good news about Jesus.  Please put the play on the hearts of many to come & be changed!  Your will be done.

Lord, now I pray for this other job opportunity with Oracle.  Please, put Your plan in motion.  Please, put Greg in the minds of the key decision makers with Oracle.  We know that the end of this journey will climax with an unfathomable answer.  We wait, once again, patiently, confidently, and expectantly for You.  Your will be done.

Finally, I pray for grace for each of us in this family.  Grace with one another & towards others.  We should act as You would.

Amen

December 3, 2002

So much to do.  Today I pray for so much:  focus, energy, health, productivity, control of frustrations, but first, I come to You to breathe.  Let me pause in Your presence.  Let me feel Your arms take hold.  I want to relinquish all control to You.  How quickly evil wants to take hold, even with the work that I’m doing for You.  Wash out all evil & down thoughts.  Place Your blessings on me.  “Our God is an awesome God!”

Lord, I pray for all facets of the play. Please prepare hearts for those coming to see the play, especially for those I’ve been asked to pray for, the Waltons & the Harmons.  Please be with these families.  Bring them to the play safely.  Plant seeds of Your message, water unyielding growth & sprout saplings into sturdy plants with deep roots in You.  Thank You for the opportunity for all that You would have me do.

You just gave me an idea for a poem “My Gift.”  You just make me sing!

Please be with Jenn, Helen & Lisa & thank You for them.

Amen

Thursday, January 9,2003

Dear Lord Jesus,

I am in awe of Your wondrous power.  I have begun reading the Bible-in-a-year with The Daily Bread & have read the creation in Genesis & am amazed once again.  Dumbfounded that what I take for granted every day was nothing til You breathed it into being.

Now, I am awed at how You are working Your plan for our family.  God, these past few weeks, well, most of December, has been very difficult.  We have cried out ENOUGH!  You know where we stand: no job prospects, all monies due (storage $530, car insurance $1,000, dance costume fees $360, tax prep for 2001 $999 & the list of usuals).

Spring in this apartment would be devastating!  Claustrophobic!  Saying “I don’t know” to every question about our immediate future is excruciatingly OLD!  Greg & I appear as if we are doing nothing!  There is no plan B, as my mom keeps suggesting!  We are solely relying on You!  We know You’ll come through, Lord.

So we’re into the fourth day since the end of the holidays & You are moving.  You are advancing the Perot proposition.  We are praying for Greg’s name to be in the minds of the decision makers at Perot.  That’s #1 of the Miracle 1, 2, 3 prayer.  #2, we pray for the house on St. James in Lucas & #3 allow us to transfer the kids to McKinney or wherever is the right place for them.

Perot is moving along.  Greg received confirmation that he’s in the running again.  Hallelujah.  The Lucas house is still available.  And now, through the Christmas play, You have presented a small opportunity for me at Lucas Christian Academy.  I met with the headmaster Wednesday & observed the class–a production class where I can do anything I want!  Everything sounds great & I’ll get paid for 2 official hours that I’d work at the school.

My main concern is the number of volunteer hours I would put in again for this job.  I don’t want to do this unless I give 100% effort & creativity.  For the past 11 years, I’ve volunteered & donated our money for so many causes.  I’ve always wanted to, gladly, but I’ve been ready for a while now to get paid for my abilities.  That’s the big drawback, but I’m saying ‘yes.’  You have handed this to me on a solver platter, in Lucas, 10 minutes from the Lucas house.  I’m stepping into this with faith, as I should.   So here is my prayer.  Lord, guide me with these kids.  Give me the right show to help them to grow & mature.  Lead through me.  Be my hands, feet & tongue.  Please grow this opportunity into others, bigger, more far-reaching, evangelizing Your name to the masses.  Thank You for leading me to this school & for knitting together all of these details of our lives into the perfect package.  I hold fast to Zecheriah 8:11-23 that our times of mourning from July, August, October & January have ended.”

I have just read parts of the books prior to Zecheriah, which are Habbakuk (which started this journey) then Zephaniah, Haggai & Zecheriah.  In Haggai 2:18-19, You say “From today, this 24th day of the month…I will bless you…From this day I will bless You.”  I know this is Your promise of fruit abundant, that the end has come!  Thank You oh heavenly Father for guiding me all the way!  Through questions & despair, but never questioning You on the final outcome!

You have filled my heart with gladness!

Amen

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My Perfect Life in a Red Gift Box

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This is not me, of course. But I daydreamed everyday about how God would save us.

If I were to write the concluding scene depicting my husband being awarded a job, us moving into a house and all that comes with it, it would be dramatic, have sweeping images underlined by grand music, and would bring an audience to tears and amazement.  So many times throughout our 3 years of unemployment, I wrote scenarios in my head of how Greg would get a job after a promising interview.  I imagined the looks on all our faces, the jumping up and down of celebrations, and the heavy sighs of relief.  Then I would quickly make a mental list of all the details that would need to get done–find/buy a house, make arrangements to get stuff out of storage, notify the apartment complex, transfer phone, electric & utilities.  I would even try to figure out how to help the kids adjust to the changes, keeping their schoolwork, dance and karate going without a hitch.  I could doing all that in a quick five minutes of daydreaming after Greg called to say his interview went great.

DO NOT PONTIFICATE.  That was a big lesson for me.  God taught me that we could not pontificate what He would do.  It’s easy to say that God’s plans are always better than our own, but living it day to day is way different.  Especially since God gave me this mind that likes to daydream, organize and loves surprises.  If I were God, I would present long-awaited answers in a big red box with a silk white ribbon; everyone would stand at the gift with hopeful, relieved eyes, inhaling with anticipation, much as a woman does when presented with a Tiffany teal box.  There would be a flash mob of impromptu music and dancing, kids being lifted on shoulders, giddiness, praising, and fireworks.  I had that mental party many, many times.

But God taught Greg and I that He wants everything from us, even our rambling thoughts.  He wants our all of our energies to go to Him, not trying to figure out what we can not figure out.  Pontificating goes both ways, too.  We can not try to figure out how good things will happen, nor can we contemplate all the negatives.  We can not think about where our next meal  will come from, how we will pay for the rent in six months, or what if one of us comes down with an illness without insurance.  Those thoughts are not of God.  God does not instill worry or fear.

Now, of course, we must be wise and plan.  Through daily prayer and study we ask for God’s guidance and He gives it.  And the knowing that you have that a thought is God’s will, and not just a pontification, is very clear.  And if it’s not, pray for confirmation.  If you get confirmation that you should do something, then, by golly, you’d better do it.

Life is easier without pontificating.  Like the birds and flowers, we don’t worry about the necessities of life.  We stick close to God, ask for direction and have courage to follow through with it.

I do dream, however, which is waaaayyyy different than pontificating.  God gives me my dreams–I imagine He puts them in big red boxes with white satin ribbons.  And we act on the dreams together; step by step, verse by verse, prayer by prayer with no uncertainties and a blanket of excited peace.

October 29, 2002

With renewed strength, provided continually by You, I look towards today with great anticipation.  Thank You for the help I’m getting with props for the musical.  Daryla & Becky are great helping out.  I pray for them both.  Please bless their talents You gave them to be used for Your glory & to ignite them inside to in turn do more for You.

Thank You for all of the teacher conferences we’ve had.  I bust with pride how all of their teachers boast how wonderful they are.  It is only through You that they continue to thrive during all of this unknown.

Amen

November 4, 2002

Good morning!  Dear Lord, so may times I could have written incredible scenarios of answers to a job & our future with amazing miracles that would make fabulous stories & testimonies.  Now, after many things not working out, my mind is blank & I believe You want it that way.  You want me to let You do the work.  You have broken this horse & I am submitting.  Whatever Your plans & whenever You enact them (of course, I know it’s in process already) I know it’s the right thing for me, our family & those Christians & non-Christians who are watching.

Thank You for our safe trip to & from Austin.  Thank You for the girls working & learning so hard at the Tremaine dance convention this weekend.  Thank You for the door being opened by Greg to grow the relationship with Jill.  Thank You for finding the karate school for Cody.  He loves it & it’s just what he needs.  You are incredible.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Jesus, Holy Spirit, You have lifted my spirit & fed my soul.  I praise You for Your provision in so many ways.  Thank You for the money we put in the bank; overpaid taxes, expense check & EDS paying for our storage through December!

Lord & I pray for Ron Smit & his wife.  Ron has been out of work as long as we have & now his wife just got laid off.  Please comfort them & help them on their journey with You.  Please put them in the minds of others so that they will find work.  Lord, please continue to bless Mimi, John & the kids.  I pray that their talents & passion for You will be used for Your glory & their fulfillment.  I also pray for Wesley as he is making decisions for his future.  Please send him people who will lead him to You & prepare a fruitful future.  Thank You now for what You are doing & will do throughout our church & country with the 40 days campaign.  I pray for memorization of Bible verses, the play, my choreography & Lara’s.

Thank You for the sun today.  The continual rain was adding to any morsel of depression.  It’s off to make props for a show about You!

Amen

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Dear Lord, You have given a realization to me today.  All of these trials & this journey is not for the reward of a job, house & the end & even to be closer to You.  I am to go through this to receive Your rewards in heaven, living eternally with You!  It’s so simple, but difficult for my human heart to absorb.  My pink and beating heart is full for You.  I suffer here to be closer now & in Your arms forever.

Lord, through this journey with You, I pray that I am changing as You want me to change, I am enduring as You want me to endure & I am learning as You want me to learn.

Monday, November 4, 2002

Right now, I feel much too busy & preoccupied to pray.  Busyness for the play, necessities at home are taking me in all directions.  Please calm my ancie needs.  I can’t accomplish any of the many things today without You!  I could run around like a chicken with my head cut off or I could breathe, talk with You & calmly let US handle the day.

Thank You for the woman at Hancock Fabrics for giving us the 40% discount on fabrics.  You arranged it all!

Lord, I pray that the joy I’m having in helping with the play & in serving You is being perceived as such.  I want to keep my focus on You & others.

Thank You so much for all of my friends at church;  May You give me more opportunities to help them.

Lord, please be with Liza today.  She’s feeling a little under the weather.  Please lift her up to You, taking aches from her back & throat.  And lift her spirits from the monotony she feels with our current surroundings.

In Your powerful name I pray.

Amen

Brat Attack!

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Brat attack!  These journal entries cry, scream & kick up a tantrum storm.  Much like this picture (click pic to view larger) , where my daughter, Lena, stands center, performing with her dance troupe, Collin Dance Ensemble in 2011, God can take us acting like a total brat.  Sometimes we just have to spew out, “I can’t take it anymore!”  And God can take it.  He knows how we feel.  He allows us to scream from the heart.  A good cry is cathartic to the soul, albeit puffy for the eyes.

I leave these entries without much intro except to say that, much like reading Revelations, know that we win in the end.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Bad news last Friday.  Why.  Why are we constantly so close & then it’s all dashed?!  I feel despair & hope at the same time.  I still believe in Your miracles, but can’t believe we still have to live with the unknown & the monotony for however long now.  All of our prospects seem lost the money only goes out.  Greg is hanging on just above despair.  i am so proud to be his wife & to go through this together with us both looking to You & for setting an example.

Jesus, please work Your miracles.  Depression is creeping all around.  The cheerleader in me is tired.  The concoctions of hope I have been so sure of these past 9 months seem true one minute & then crazed just the next.

Why are our kids put through this continual lingering?  We live on the edge each moment; each phone call; that we may finally release & rejoice & have the festivals You spoke of in Zechariah.

For now…I unload the dishwasher do the endless laundry help & cajole the homework, work on the play–thank You for the play–& YES, HAVE HOPE…LOOK TO YOU.  Praise Your gifts to me…even today…and I pray again to You, dear Jesus.

Today, Jesus, please banish despair in me, in Greg, in the kids (if they’re feeling it).  Today, Jesus, work Your miracles & let me have Your eyes to see them.

Amen

P.S.  In reading past entries, I realize I need to say a praise…for Lena’s ignite of will to learn & succeed.  She got a 98 on a math quiz retake!  You are with her!  Lord, please help us to figure out how we can get Cody involved in something physical.  It is very obvious that he needs to exert energy daily & that his mood desperately needs it.

Thank You!

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Lord, do You see my out-stretched hand?  Your child is crying!  Hear my prayer!  I need Your miracles!  We need Your miracles.  Desperation is all around.  I can identify with the urgency of the Psalmist, “crying & gnashing of teeth.”  I am like Moses now, grey with a long beard, ready to come off the mountain!  Bless me.  Save me.  Bless me.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

It is difficult not to have hope.  You are here, there is hope.  Frustration tired of not knowing and waiting are beyond done; occasionally, actually often, senile laughter about it all helps, but there is always hope.  Actually hope, concrete, factual hope, No.

No leads, no possible job calls, no interviews.  But a hope in my heart.  Dear Lord, please actualize that heart-filled hope.  Make real the plan I know You have tucked in my heart & in Greg’s heart.  Today, today, today.  Thank You, as always.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 tells what we have & are going through.  We’ve run the gamut.  Even the “40 Days of Purpose” feels like I’ve ticked off each item on the daily list of soul-seeking questions.

We pray & work, we trust & prepare.

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October 21, 2002

Being completely honest today, Lord.  I’m irritated.  I’ve prayed & focused for so long that I’m tired!!!!  The race is long & the finish line keeps being pulled away!  I’m tired!  i want to get on with the next thing!   I’ve got it!  I’ve learned!  Great!  Now let me make my list, get after accomplishing it & get my family moved!  ENOUGH!!!!

Why test me to my utter exhaustion?  Doesn’t the enemy torture his opponent & grin at his despair!  Take me from under Your thumb!!  Hold me in Your arms…carry me through.  You tell me to pray continually.  Well, are you deaf?!  Are You a child who must be told repeatedly?!

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me, oh God!  Give me peace.  Let my prayers ring of praise, praise, praise!  Please.

October 24, 2002

As hard as I try I cannot not love You.  Tear me down  Be silent.  Push my patience to the very edge…I still praise Your Holy Name!  I have loved & praised You always.  I never remember not loving, knowing & believing.  Why should I stop now?

I don’t get all that is going on.  And I know that You weep for me.  But, I trust You & I still know that You have a plan for me & my family; a plan so incredible that I cannot fathom it.  I can’t conjure up images & scenarios of the possibilities–that was my former, young Christian self.  Now that I am speeding (ha ha!) through my teen years, I am maturing & getting closer to You.  I have reactions like a spoiled brat, I kick, scream & storm away, but I really want Your embrace & assurance that everything will be okay.

“Our God is an awesome God.  He reigns from heaven above.  With wisdom, power & love.  Our God is an awesome God!”