Monday, January 19, 2009
It has begun. This morning, as I was brushing my hair, I noticed it. I had to clean out my brush, more than once. Being that my hair is blond, I was wondering if I would actually be able to see it on my pillow, or in my drain, as they said. Well, yes you can. Blond or not, you can't miss the wad that is in my brush. If I run my fingers through my hair, and then type on my laptop, you can't miss the hair laying on my keyboard. Oh well, yet another "self image" bridge to cross. I am trying not to focus on the self image part of all this. That is an exercise, let me tell you. This world is way too image oriented. If you are pretty, you get noticed. If you are physically fit, you get noticed. If you are tan, you get noticed. You get noticed in a positive way. If you are not all these things, you still get noticed, it is just not in a positive way. So, I am trying to find the lesson. I teach my children, look for the lesson. In every challenge in life, there is a lesson to be learned. God is working on you, look for it, learn from it. Accept the challenges as learning experiences. I hate to repeat myself, but it keeps showing up in my life. We all will experience pain in this life. At some time or another....PAIN. But misery is optional. As Christians, who have HOPE and FAITH, we can't stay there. We can't, or shouldn't dwell in the pain, dwell in the negative. One of the other things I say to my kids a lot, is "If you can't change the people around you, then you should change the people around you!" If all those around you are bringing you down, keeping you from being a positive person, keeping you from being able to see the good things in your life that God is allowing to cross your path, then walk away! One of the things that really gets me going these days, are those people that tend to jump on the "troublesome times" bandwagon. There are plenty of them. You have heard them, "we are going to see the worst depression in our history!" "It's going to get worse, not better!" When the naysayers on TV start that garbage, I can turn it off. When the radio starts it, I can turn it off, or change the channel. But what do you do when your friends and acquaintances start it? Standing in the vestibule at church, a banker, a lawyer, a retiree, a farmer, etc. All engaged in conversation that is not "uplifting", but adding to the gloom and doom the media is spewing. I walked away. I went on in and found my seat. Was that rude? I just know that this is the one place I should be able to come and NOT hear that perspective. I prefer to believe that my life, my finances, my health, are not in the control of the banks, or wall street. I put my faith in God, not interest rates or gas prices. A couple days ago, I shared the fact that my husband has not worked as much this year as in the past. But you know what? He is working. There are so many of our friends, in the same business, that are not. They are selling their trucks and equipment, and getting jobs working for the bigger construction companies. There are some out there that still have money, and yes, they are buying their equipment. The bigger contractors are "helping them out", by buying their equipment at huge discounts. We are not getting rich. We are not even working enough to put any in savings. But hey, we are working. We are working enough to keep moving forward. Our bills may be late, but we are paying our bills. Some of our extra activities have been cut out. I can name on one hand how many times my kids competed in rodeo last year. Between entry fees and fuel costs, we just couldn't justify the expense. But we are gaining more family time at home!! And that has it's advantages!! It helps for my kids to see how mom and dad handle tough times. My daddy use to share the "parable" of the Kool-aide in the Tupperware cups sitting on the table. All the Tupperware cups lined up on the table, all had something in them. Kool-aide? Water? Tea? My daddy used to say, they all looked the same from outside appearances, maybe different colors, but other than that, cups. There was no way of telling what they had on the inside, unless you shook their "foundation", the table. Then, and only then, would what they had on the inside, coming spilling out. I have never forgotten that illustration. I use it on my kids all the time. When someone or something shakes your foundation, rocks your world, moves your cheese, pay attention to what comes spilling out. Because that, folks, will say more about who you are, than all those other days put together. It never fails. You can live all your life, trying to convince people you are a good person, a Christian, and have one major break down, one public meltdown, and that is what people will remember about you. That is what people will talk about and share with their people. How you handle disappointments speak volumes of who you are on the inside. The real you. I have heard it said that church people are people who bury their wounded. When someone fails, falls short of the perceived Christian walk, others are quick to form their opinions of their relationship with God. Let's use David, for an example. He lusted after Bathsheba. He crossed the line. Several lines, if you get my drift. You can read it for yourself. Yet God loved him and pulled him back to him. Accepted him back into his arms, forgave him. Can you imagine David in today's church?? How would your church members accept someone, if they came and wanted to join your church? If everyone knew, if it was public knowledge that he had committed adultery, if he had made arrangements to have her husband taken out of the picture. I heard someone once, compare the church to the local bar. The reasons why people are drawn to the atmosphere of their local hang out/bar. Their opinions were that people in the bar accept each other, all walks of life, all their differences. People are free to talk of lost jobs, financial difficulties, their problems in their lives. And the bar people don't judge them for that. They pat them on the shoulder, offer support, in turn, share their problems as well. People feel they are not alone out there. People feel they are not the only ones having these problems. Then, they get all dressed up, go to church on Sunday mornings, and go through the motions that all is well. Life is good. We have all heard the jokes about the prayer requests, where someone will ask for prayer for such and such, then begin to share the details about their life. It ends up being very close to gossip. So, in fear of becoming the next prayer request, people don't really share the details anymore. Except in very very very small, intimate gatherings. And, I am as guilty of that as the next person. I doubt that anyone at my church is aware how tight our finances are. Or, how hard it is to juggle my responsibilities with my family, my homeschooling, our business, our farm, and my mother, who lives 45 miles away. How many people actually put 100 miles round trip on their vehicles, twice a week, in addition to their normal running of grocery store, pay bills, etc. It's just life, my life. I love my church, and I am making that my new year's resolution. To be more open with my Christian friends, about the path I am walking daily. I am going to share how my faith muscle gets exercised daily, and I am going to share the God moments in my days with my kids. I want my kids to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this girl, this woman, this mom, this wife has enough faith in God to trust HIM. Even when I can't see the path. Even when I am not driving this vehicle of life, I know who is. I don't have to know the plan, I can just walk by faith, trusting the ONE who has the plan.