Thursday, July 29, 2010
Today, life is a full boil. As I sit writing my thoughts I should be vacuuming a floor, investing in a child, planning school days, cleaning up the many piles of papers around me or just outside enjoying blessed nature. Every word I type equals another gush of water spilling over the side of the pot. What disturbs me most in these times is my desire to push God aside. Stopping to spend time with Him feels like it will just cause another overflow. Trust me, I'm old enough as a Christian to know better and yet my feelings want to stay away and do it myself.
Just writing those words, "do it myself", washes me with memories of my once defiant toddlers. Yes, I am laughing too. I just have this side of me that is so defiant. Why is it so hard to give our will to God and then not take it back. I am going to go spend some time with Him. I really will do it now that I have written it. We all know this will put my pot back on simmer, right where it should be.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Back in '96 Dan and I had our first apartment and the guest room became our 'office'. We sat back to back facing opposite walls and when we were in the room together we were silly. That's when Dan drew Pig Sketch. At that time he was finishing his degree and when he sat at his desk he had a ton of schoolwork and studying to do. I had a desk and no schoolwork and I sat goofing off wishing he didn't have so much to do. I wanted to be with him. That's really why I sat at the desk.
Pig Sketch was just a doodle. We laughed about it. I think it's a good sketch. The best part of Pig Sketch is how he keeps turning up. It's been 14 years, 6 domiciles and 4 states since Pig Sketch's creation and he's still going strong. I found him recently in a little box and took him out to find him a place of honor. He has history with us. I don't want him lost.
I love the idiosyncrasies that come with marriage. Looking across the room and knowing what 'My Husband' is thinking. Finding an insignificant doodle in a box that brings me to tears with warm memories. Sharing the silly stories with our children so they become part of the idiosyncratic union.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Beth Troutman was a delightful Hostess. Brad Voeller spoke about his book Accelerated Distance Learning and I got to smile a lot. Oh, and I also got to share my story of completing my B.A. with the help of CollegePlus!.
Friday, July 16, 2010
At some point in my life I became consumed with what others thought of me. It had to be a gradual process. By the time I was married I needed to please, keep happy and generally gain approval from anyone who happened to be in arms length of me. In hindsight I know that was the problem; at the time, I believed I was just sensitive to others needs and wanted to love them wholly. Boy, I had it wrong. I wish I could go back in time and slap that Kelly. She was the textbook case for John 12:43 she, "Loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."
Even then I had a sense there was something wrong with the way I related to people. I could never put my finger on why others seemed so safe and secure in their relationships and I felt like mine were always teetering on the edge of a cliff. It was in Lou Priolo's eye opening read "Pleasing People, How Not to be an 'approval junkie'," that I came face to face with my true self. Many times in the reading of this book I sent it sailing across the room. I find it very hard to look at the me without Christ. It's not a pretty sight.
My heart beats ultra fast as I share this dark corner of my heart. My need for your approval even now is pumping dysfunctionally through my veins. My hands are shaking as I pull back the curtain to one of my dark little secrets.
Let me share the approval spiral I've found myself in. Once I leave your prescience and for days after I replay every bit of our conversation wondering, fretting, worrying if that comment offended you, or those words made me look bad. If we disagreed will you want to continue our friendship. My focus is totally on what you think and in some instances I decide for you. Aren't you lucky? I have studied manners, body language, aversions and interests of all those around me. I did this to become an expert at reading others trying to save myself the need for those post conversation mental breakdowns. It never worked. The more I looked to please you the hungrier I became for approval.
My conversation would be sprinkled with comments designed to draw flattering words from you. I had to get these words to cover my flaws and guarantee you'd see me in the best possible light.
These are just a few of the many tentacles of the approval octopus that enrobes my heart. Each day I do an internal battle to get a tentacle under control and while I'm not looking two others have pinned me down. I must go to the Bible and claim this truth in 2 Cor 5:9 "Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing
I need only be concerned with what God thinks of me. When I take a moment and quiet the internal struggle I am amazed all the good and loving things He has to say. I am unworthy of that kind of love and I feel like I should be doing something to gain His approval but that small voice answers immediately that I am His daughter and He's very pleased with me.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Let’s step back in time and be a friend coming to my home after school. Our house is in a lovely neighborhood that’s rustic and woodsy. We will climb a long driveway. There is no landscaping around the house only dirt and scraggy grass. We built the house ourselves so it’s always a work in progress and I will tell you that as we walk. You will follow me through the disheveled garage full of plywood workbenches and old coffee cans loaded to the brim with rusty nails. Inside my parents are seated each on one of the love seats in the family room.
Let’s imagine its October and my Dad has a raging fire. I mean so hot you can barely stand the heat from the back of the room. My mom is leaned on her side with one arm over the armrest supporting her head and the other holding Time Magazine folded in half. She’s reading sections of it out loud to Dad as he moves to stoke the bonfire. It is a warm and cozy picture that could any minute erupt into an angry argument or it could stay warm and cozy.
That was the way of our home. My dad had a temper. Like a volcano it could erupt fast and hot. Much like a volcano their marriage was unpredictable, volatile. Divorce stalked the corners of every room in the house. The amazing thing about these parents of mine is that no matter the eruption they stuck it out. As their child I wanted them to stick it out. I wanted to come home with my friend and find these two under the same roof even if it meant I got singed by the lava from the eruption. When it all cooled I would pick up pieces of the cooled black lava and put them in my pocket. They were rough dark stones. When I look back now I realize that God pointed out the stones worthy of saving. Throughout my years I would take them out and look at them and their memories often brought me to tears.
Then I got married. It is the culmination of my experiences that make up me. My family life was messy and it felt hard but my parent’s determination, passion and diligence to find a way to love each other and work through their rocky relationship was the springboard to marry my husband and begin a new foundation as a new family. My marriage is not volatile like my folks. We have our messy days. Our union is a priceless jewel honed from pieces of that lava. Our children know parents who love and respect each other and are doubly blessed to know their Gamaw and Papa are together and they love each other.
Last year my parents celebrated 36 years together. They fought hard for those years and I continue to proudly sit as a front row member of the audience. They taught me how to love my husband.