Relateable Me

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The Whole Picture April 4, 2010

Filed under: Confessions — relateableme @ 3:05 pm

While men are renowned for having selective hearing, I think we have selective memory; at least my husband has always accused me of that and I think he’s right. I’m always able to recall what benefits my cause from an argument or fight, but I never can actually recall the whole story.

Recently my dad took all our videotapes from the kids’ first couple years and put them on a DVD for us.  I sat at the kitchen table yesterday and watched some. It was amazing to see all those lost moments. If they hadn’t been captured, I would have sworn they had never existed. I watched my husband and 2 years old daughter dancing, my girl running around the backyard naked in the sprinklers, my daughter saying only 10 words a minute instead of 1000.  They were marvelous moments, lost treasures to remind me how sweet life is.  I wonder how may other moment are lost forever;  moments lived without a camera nearby to capture the whole scene, the full pictures, the true memory.

I wish I could lay in bed at night and watch the good moments of my marriage or years of motherhood and recall with perfect accuracy. I want to be reminded of the truth, not to just relive over and over my version, edited, spliced and tampered with.  I need sweet reminders right now.

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Conquering the Ubsurd January 9, 2010

Filed under: Confessions — relateableme @ 6:40 pm

I hate New Year’s resolutions for so many reasons. I hate the pressure of binding commitments eventhough this one is only with myself – I hate to let myself down. I also hate them because they are a waste of time as I have never known anyone, self included, who has kept one for more that 2 weeks. Also, I hate them because everyone does them and I hate being clumped with “everyone” (which is really lame because i’m a Twilight junkie). Vices aside, I have something in mind that I’d like to work on this year. It’s not a resolution, just something I’d like to change about myself.

I tend to be a rather fearful person, but it’s always about stupid stuff. I have no problem picking up my bags and moving to Eastern Europe straight out of high school, but I’m afraid of public restrooms. Do you see where I’m headed with this? It’s the rediculous things I sweat, I worry about and keep me from relaxing.

I love to play the piano, but I hate playing for anyone who is actually listening.  My kids will bop in and try to distract me because, God forbid, they don’t get ALL my attention. Sometimes my father-in-law will sit and listen, but mostly it’s a form of therapy for me; a quick psychological break from the fast stream of life. But the other night we had friends over and they wanted to hear me play. I broke out in a cold sweat, my hands began to shake and I tried to talk them out of the request. They insisted, so I sat down, already defeated. I didn’t even make it through the song. It was like I was looking at the piece for the first time and hadn’t played it countless times before. I was so embarrassed and my husband stared at me dumbfounded “Who is this person pretending to be my wife?”

The whole event took me back to a piano recital my freshman year of high school. It was Christmas time and I had memorized a fancy version of a familiar carol. I sat at the piano to play in front of everyone and began…and stopped…and began again. Three times. I never made it through. I stood up, apologized and never played for anyone again. It wasn’t my first recital, I’d been playing for years. But something about that age, that night and where I was in life paralysed me and I never got over it.

These are the fears I’m speaking of, the ones that make no sense, the ones that make me shudder when I open a door of a public bathroom stall. These are the ones I want to conquer – the ubsurd.

 

The Ugly Truth August 29, 2009

Filed under: Confessions — relateableme @ 7:59 pm

A friend gave me The Prodigal God to read recently. When I started I kept thinking, “yada yada yada, I’ve heard this before” and I have to admit I had a crummy attitude about the whole thing. As I got to the last third of the book, little by little I began to hear God talking to me. It’s one of those books that keeps illuminating my understanding and pricking my conscience even weeks after having finished it.

I have to say, I hate legalism. I think it is a complete insult to the finished work of Christ. Of course, everyone says they hate “legalism,” because “legalism” is in the eyes of the beholder. So let me clarify. I am a fierce defender of the believer’s freedom to glorify God with their freedoms as long as it’s done in faith. If you listen to secular music, great, if you drink beer, great, if you smoke, who really cares. To me these things are petty, insignificant habits that Christians like to get caught up on to make themselves feel far holier that they truly are. So, this is not the type of legalism that runs through my mind or I found convicting. Actually, refreshingly, The author, Tim Keller, never even acknowledges these types of freedoms.

The legalism he attempts to tackle goes much deeper. We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son and many of us have heard that it is actually about two prodigal sons, brothers. Keller wants to cut the crap and focus on the heart of the eldest, apparently obedient son. The Goody Goody. While he stays home the serves his father, it’s his reason for “obedience” that Keller tackles. Upon his brother’s return, he complains to his father about him having never been given a party even though he has “slaved” for him all these years. He completely missed the point of service, it wasn’t joyful service, but compelled slavery fueled by fear and a sense of both the debt he owed his father, and in turn, reward he thought would be his due.

There are a hundred other points, but this started gnawing away at my heart. Why do I serve God? While I love ministry, at times I have to admit that there is an unspoken Astrix next to my service. A little deeper in my heart is the explanation; “because I do this faithfully, You owe me a certain amount of blessings, whether now or in the future.”  I never even realized this was there, but it was my attitude towards my husband that revealed it. While I love being in San Bernardino and love the people we’re ministering to, this was never my idea. Armando has wanted to come home for years and be a light in his community. Lately, I’ve sat back and in my heart wrestled with bitterness and anger towards him, and more sadly, towards God. “God, I have served (slaved for?)  you faithfully all these years, just as much as he has, when do I get my dreams fulfilled?” Ugly, but true. When I signed up for marriage, Armando and I were foreign missionaries and it was the most fulfilling and wonderful life I could have imagined; it was the life I believed I was created for since I was 5. Eight years ago, we left the mission field and have been serving in SoCal (the one place, besides Siberia, I swore I’d never go). I have loved what God has called us to, but it’s never where I would chose to be.

So my present spiritual conundrum finds me at odds with my husband in my attitude, but ultimately with God in my heart. Now that I’m aware of what the struggle really is, I can pray and confess and pray and confess some more. I don’t want to “slave for Him all these years,” only hoping I’m going to finally get what I “deserve.”  I have always been at peace in God’s will, it’s just the idea of His will that I have a hard time with at this point.

 

Wrestling with God May 28, 2009

Filed under: Confessions — relateableme @ 12:26 am

I spend a lot of time counseling people about various issues and struggles. I guess like anything, I get so in the habit of giving advice that when I’m faced with a personal crisis situation, I have to choose to use the advice I so freely give to others.

 Last night I was faced with such a crisis. I’ve had somewhat of a foreboding lately about something I feared God was going to put on my plate; Last night, I got the main course and I was livid. I woke up from a bad dream (too much Harry Potter) and couldn’t go back to sleep. For four hours I wrestled with God and told Him how I felt. It was so liberating to be honest with God. I initially attempted to pussy foot around how I really felt and finally decided, instead, to just come out with it and lay it out in human terms for God. I cried and cried and yelled in my head at Him and told Him all the reasons why I was angry and doubting His best interests for me. By five AM, I fell asleep and while I thought about the issue throughout the day, I was at peace in my heart. Iwas at peace with God.

I remember a few years ago when we started youth ministry that we had a get together with a bunch of the kids. We broke up into groups and started sharing about what God was doing in out lives. The girls went around and shared how God was teaching them this and that – rather basic, almost shallow things. Then we got to a girl who was new to the group. She had grown up in a broken home and had come back to Ca. to live with her father who had preveiously been a terrible spiritual example to her. I asked what God was teaching her. She looked right at me and without batting an eye, poured out honest word after honest word; she didn’t even know anymore if God was real. She was sick of Christianity, had little to no faith and wasn’t even sure if she cared anymore. Everyone went silent and sat in uncomfortable silence. I had to wonder if any of the other “good Christian girls” had ever had those same thoughts? Of course they had at some time, but went on acting instead of growing. I looked right at the girl and told her that was the best thing I had ever heard and I that more than anything else anyone there had shared, her honesty excited me most. I truly believed that if she took her doubts to God, He would meet her. He did and over the years, she found her faith and is now a missionary.

 Anyone who says you can’t be honest with God or says that it’s disrespectful to tell Him how you feel, I fear will never grow. It’s the same in a marriage or friendship. Not dealing honestly with problems, doesn’t mean you don’t have any, it just means you don’t care enough about that relationship to be honest. Wrestle with God, He won’t get His feelings hurt.  As for my situation, I’m not sure what God will do, but at least now I truly want His heart in the situation and I know He will give me the strength to obey.

 

Perfectionism is an Illusion…so is control April 23, 2009

Filed under: Confessions,friendship — relateableme @ 3:03 am

I had a wonderful conversation with a friend today. We actually don’t know each other that well, but I hope that will change. We started talking about our mutual interests: God and writing. It branched into a very real conversation about out faults, hurts, recoveries, misunderstandings, sins and victories. I love that when people share a genuine interest in Christ, a transparent conversation is completely possible. Without the reality of our complete inability to do/be anything/anyone outside of Christ, a conversation will typically range within the boundaries of what we want that other person to think of us. Without grace, we are two people hoping to dupe the other, and ourselves in the process.

In the course of talking and refereeing my kids, we came to three conclusions: 1. grace is for losers (BTW, that’s all of us) 2. perfectionism is an illusion  3. so is control

Not mind-blowing unless you are a control-freakish perfectionist (I’m raising my hand). But I’m also learning that embracing these truths is incredibly freeing – I’m getting there, by His grace.

 

Forgiveness – yet again April 8, 2009

Filed under: Confessions — relateableme @ 3:49 am

I have to say that the last couple of days have been radically challenging for me – emotionally and spiritually. I have been faced with a huge hurtle – forgiveness. I am well aware of the fact that I have a hard time letting go of things – I think it’s a girl thing – unfortunately just knowing that isn’t enough. I know it and I’m wanting to change. Again, unfortunately the only way to change is to be faced with opportunities to do it. My last “unfortunately” faced me on Thursday evening.

There is someone in my life that I really don’t like, they are the proverbial “thorn in my side” – actually, a little south of that – but we’ll keep this PG-rated. Honestly, I hate this person. I’m not proud of it, but yes, I need to be honest with myself that I hate this person. It’s not the thousands of idiosyncrasies as much as the complete lack of caring that this person shows. Pleasing them is impossible, loving them, unfathomable. And yet, I am commanded to do so – and if the influence of heaven seems too far away – loving this person is something my husband is asking me to do. I have never had a problem with submitting to my husband, because he’s awesome – this is the hardest thing he’s ever asked.

What makes it such a heart-wrenching task is that fact that every time I love them, they shove it back in my face. It’s like an unrequitted love I never wanted in the first place. I don’t know, maybe that is the problem – is it truly love if we don’t want to love them? I don’t know…not feeling philisophical enough to ponder this.

I am constantly faced with my complete lack of love for this individual and my inability to love them within my own strength. What I want if for God to eliminate this person from my life but I know 1. That’s not nice (nor likely without rat poison) 2. I’m never going to grow in this area and there will only be yet another opportunity to forgive if I refuse this one.

So, I’m left with a moment-by-moment awareness of my inability and a moment-by-moment awareness of His grace. “Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.” Thank God for His mercy. I’m going to try again tomorrow.

 

I Die Daily March 2, 2009

Filed under: Confessions,Life chapters — relateableme @ 4:35 am

Last  a night we met with a few families that want to be apart of the new church plant in San Bernardino. We went around and shared what the Lord is speaking to us about our own lives and about the church goals in general. One friend said something that has really stuck out to me and God won’t let me shake it off.

He shared that since recently having their first child, he’s learning that his life is not about himself anymore, but about her, about dying to himself for someone who’s needs are greater than his own. This is not a major revelation, just a wake up call for me. It’s so interesting how the most basic Christian tenants can lie dormant until we realise we have completely ignored them and are being convicted, ever so gently.

This is so where I am right now. As a stay-at-home ministry mom, my life, by necessity (not personal design, trust me) is about dying for others. It’s just that I’m so tired of it right now and the load seems too much and I’m more than a little bitter about the whole thing. Actually, it stinks and I hate it if I must be honest.

I feel like my whole life is censored and altered to fit everyone else’s needs while I’m completely exhausted and empty. I know, poor me, there are women who live this way constantly and are sold into sexual slavery – ok, I get it – but my little life, even without the sexual slavery – is tiresome and a bummer right now.

I am constantly reminded to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” It helps to weed out the legitimate issues from the spiritual warfare – at least when I apply it – it usually takes me a couple rounds with the enemy before I figure out what’s happening.

Big, uncomfortable changes make way for the flesh and I’m learning to die daily. When I face times like this, my usual prayer goes something like, “Please God do all you want to do in me now so I don’t have to be here again.” I’m excited at the fruit that will come as i die daily and see the ugly possibilities if my sin prevails. Deliver me from myself Lord.