Thursday, May 5, 2016

God In The Midst Of The C-Word




I went to the gym one day in March.  My dad walked in and got on the machine next to me.  Where's Mom, I asked.  She's at the doctor.  She found a lump, he said.  And that is when my life flipped upside down.  The C-word suddenly entered our family vocabulary.  Biopsy, surgery, CAT scan, bone scan, chemo, radiation, all these words that I now have become all too familiar with.

My trust in the Lord has been tested.  Daily.  Lord, what are You doing?  Why MY mom?  She does so much for You.  It doesn't make sense. 

Many tears have been shed.  The day we found out that it was cancer, it was right as I was putting dinner on the table.  I had to walk away and cry in my bedroom so I wouldn't scare the kids.  And sweet Joy came into the room and laid down on the bed next to me, put her arm around me, and said It will be okay, Mommy.  Because she is the sweetest child in the world with a heart of gold.  The day we found out chemo would be necessary, I stood at the stove stirring dinner, holding it together until my Hubby walked in the door from work.  I ran into his arms and broke down.

My faith has grown.  I know my mom will be alright.  I know that this is just a trial that she will walk through and conquer.  In the end, God wins.

God's path for me now makes sense.  This past summer when I felt led to work with college kids instead of going to nursing school, now I know why.  At the time there was no reason for it, but now I see that my being in nursing school would have been a big hindrance for me being able to help my mom as she needs me.  I would have been torn and probably would have quit taking classes after this semester.

And this being the year that we chose to stop homeschooling and to put the kids in school, that also makes sense now.  I would not have had the capacity to teach my kids the past 2 months.  I will not have the time or the capacity to teach my kids next year.  Lizzy asked to be homeschooled next year and we prayed about it, but ultimately decided that I just can't.  I will be needed by my family and so the best place for Lizzy is in school.  It may not be forever, but it is the way things will need to be for another year.  God knew what was coming.  The kids transitioning to school was a really hard adjustment for everyone.  We didn't really get into the flow of things until about 3 months into the school year.  But we were able to struggle through together because there wasn't much else going on in our lives that made it harder.  If we had to go through this transition next fall, with everything else that is going on, the adjustment would have been a lot harder.  Which is why the kids needed to goto school this year.  And God knew that and prepared the way.

I don't like this storm my family is going through, but the grace and the peace and the victories and the blessings are many.  There is a lot of good that is coming out of the blech already and we are just in the beginning of this journey.  I may not like the storm, but I know that Jesus is in the boat with us so we will all be safe.





Saturday, February 27, 2016

I Will Never...Okay, Fine I Will

Our first snow day of the year--which has nothing to do with this post


Today's lesson is brought to you by God.  Again.  

My prayer group has a week long sleep away summer camp for elementary aged kids.  Hubby and I grew up going to camp, and then served on staff after we aged out up until we got married.  Then life happened and we set camp aside.  

Hubby plays guitar and really wanted to return to camp as the music director.  I said I was okay with that once David was old enough to go.  I could handle the girls by myself for a week, but not all three.  So, Hubby has been going every year since David was in second grade, this being Hubby's sixth year.  I have gone twice, as childcare has allowed.  My first year I served in the kitchen, then a year off, then last summer I was assistant craft director.  

This year David aged out of camp.  I tossed around finding a place for David to go for the week so I could go to camp, but ultimately decided to spend the week with David up north with a friend and her similarly-aged son because that's what I felt the Lord wanted me to do.  Over the next two month, my plans started falling away one by one.  It was actually kind of odd.  First, my friend was asked to serve at camp.  She started tossing that around.  Then she discovered her son had band camp the same week so he would be gone.  Fine.  David and I would just go up north alone.  

My parents also were talking about taking a trip that week where David and I could tag along.  But then a conference sprang up and their plans for that week were up in the air.  Hm.  

Yesterday I received an email about the backpacking trip that David is going on this summer.  Up to this point the trip has been in the middle of July.  I looked at the dates for his trip and did a double take: his trip is exactly the same time as camp.  I just laughed.  Seriously???  I suddenly found myself all by myself.  No friend, no David, trip with my parents in question.  

MY plan was, were I to go back to camp this year, would be to go back as the assistant craft director because I loved it.  And it gave me contact with all the kids, but not TOO much.  Like, being a counselor "too much."  On Tuesday I was talking with my friends about camp.  One is going to be a head counselor, the other's husband is, too.  I said on Tuesday that they were crazy, that I would never be a counselor because it'd be too much for me.  Just like I've been saying for the past 5 years--I would go to camp but as anything BUT a counselor.

But I saw the letter with all the staff positions listed.  The only spots open were 4 female counselor spots.  I was left with a decision: camp as a counselor vs going up north by myself.  I prayed for a few minutes about it and asked God to make it obvious.  I was in my car driving at this point and I decided to call the women's camp director to talk to her about it.  I got to my destination and was looking through the papers in my car trying to find my phone book.  I used to store it under the center console so I reached under there and pulled out what I found.  Out came a picture that I had meant to give to my friend months ago--a picture of her son at summer camp holding up a fish he caught.  I looked at the picture, laughed, and set it down.  Looked like I was going to camp.

I called the director and signed up to go as a counselor.  In all its "live in a cabin with girls all around all the time" glory.  Something I have said for years that I would never, ever, EVER do.  And after I hung up the phone, I just laughed, because this is what the director, who is also a friend, said:  "You can just add it to your list of doing something new.  Are you still doing that?  It really inspired me to try to do new things.  If Lisa can do it, so can I."  

Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking: Lets do something new.  Ha!  Ya, not at all.  What I was really thinking is that God pretty much did everything possible to ensure I would be going to camp as a counselor.  Despite my every protest.  Despite my saying I would never ever do such a thing.  I decided to not go to camp, thus giving up the one position at camp that I loved.  And then when it was too late to get any job other than that of a counselor, God stripped away every plan one by one, until I was left all alone with nothing to do but be by myself for a week or go to camp.  As a counselor.  Once again, I am left trusting that the Lord knows what He is doing, because clearly I do not.  Ha!




Monday, February 22, 2016

Can I Just Have A Billboard Message, Lord?




For the past few months, I have been praying every day but my prayer times have felt kind of...dry.  I'm putting in the time, I'm doing all the things, but I'm not really hearing a lot from the Lord.  Praying has been more of something I have to do versus something I delight in doing.  I guess it comes down to the fact that it's hard to talk to someone every day when you aren't really hearing much back.

It was really starting to bother me because I usually have a pretty good prayer life.  I usually hear from the Lord several times a week, if not more.  I tried changing things up, I read some new spiritual books, I prayed and asked God to "make it all better."  I like having a vibrant prayer life over a ho-hum prayer life.  And I am pretty confident God would agree with that.

Friday I was praying about direction for my life.  I have a few big decisions I need to make coming up.  As I was praying, I felt God speak pretty clearly:

Lisa, I will never leave you nor forsake you.  But I'm sorry, there are no billboards in your 
immediate future.  Instead, I will hold your hand and lead you day by day, which requires 
intimacy and daily trust.  Today you are going to build up person A.  Tomorrow you are 
going to build up person B.  Sunday, person C.

Yes, I was hoping for a billboard, because that is way more "exciting" and "big" and "flashy."  And yet, God holding my hand?  Pretty amazing.  Him wanting to be with me every day, every step of the way?  AWE-some!

Then as I thought about the second half of what God said to me, about building these specific people up, I kind of felt skeptical because I wasn't even planning to see 2 of the people at all this past weekend.  But, God said it so it must be true.

Friday my plans changed and I ended up spending lots of time with person A, who was struggling with discouragement and burnout.  I was able to brighten their day a bit and encourage them.

Early Saturday morning one of my kiddos decided it was time to experience what norovirus is all about, so all our plans for the day were cancelled.  Which then allowed me to spend time with person B because I was no longer busy.

By Sunday I had completely forgotten about what God had said until today when I went to write in my prayer journal and reread it.  And I realized that I had only seen person C for maybe 5 minutes, but it was enough to pray with them for a decision they had to make.

God was right!  Okay, I know God is always right, but on Friday morning I had this set of plans that ended up being completely changed due to circumstances and illness which opened the door for God's plans.  When I looked back and saw that message from God, I was like, wow.  That's really cool, God.  I did hear You.

So now I'm all, "What's on Your agenda next, Lord??  I'm ready.  I'm pumped.  I can do this day-by-day stuff.  It's kinda fun."  Who needs a billboard anyway when you have God right there with you leading you by the hand?