You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Well I find myself sitting here in the dark in a dark hotel room listening to my kids sleep.  My husband is heading to the airport in TX and I will get to have my family back together for the first time in 11 weeks and 2 days.

It's been a long road to this point. My kids are champs. The past few days have been rather stressful for all of us, but they are hanging on. Nothing like TV and internet to make them happy. They know that their Daddy is coming today and the know that the hard road is almost over. My mentor Momma met us last night for dinner and as she was talking to my oldest son I was just amazed at his level of faith. In God, in life, he knows that the end of the craziness is almost here. We have moved and packed and packed and moved so many times in the last 7 months and the biggest one is yet to come. The song that I have always sung to my kids is "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet", he feels that is God talking to us.  The past is over it's been a hard transition but the best is yet to come.  He often has to remind his tweaked out mother that good times are coming if we can just hold out a little longer.

Just because my flesh is freaked out doesn't mean that my soul isn't at rest. Everyone has been so concerned that I keep the faith. I just giggle on the inside because without my faith I would have given up this journey a long time ago.  I would have bailed so many times and just ran until I reached the Pacific Ocean. God has kept his hand on us the entire time and has been so good to show us His ways and His provision. I haven't always gotten it right. Sometimes my emotions (aka my mouth) has gotten the best of me. There have been some harsh words spoken to and by some of the most important people in our lives. God is a God of reconciliation and love always wins, I look forward to seeing that take fruition.

I have found NC to be deflating. I left FL so full of energy, so confident of our future.  Our time here has diminished that. I have spent some time with my awesome friends. Friends that I will miss terribly after our move, but for the most part I know that this chapter of my life is over and that the longer that I sit here the weaker that I feel. Think Superman and kryptonite. Maybe it's my own sense of rejection that has kept me feeling beat down, maybe just being in a place that I only want to see those that I love has left me exhausted from my position of defense.

I have missed my husband. Though I know that God set aside this time for me to find Him in a tangible way. My husband, though we have had a ton of issues, has always been my best friend. The one at the end of the day that I could share my heart and the stress of the day. It seems lately that all of our phone calls are business and to do lists. I miss the softness of marriage. I miss the intimacy of sharing our lives together. For the past few months I have felt like we were living in parallel universes. He has experienced so much, the kids and I have, too. I think separations and deployments do that to families. But tonight when I crawl into bed, I will be able to curl up in his arms and put a period at the end of this chapter of our lives. Not that there won't be more separations, the Army will guarantee them, but this one is almost over and we will be able to establish a household together again.  His boots will again be in the doorway and his toothbrush will hang next to mine. We won't be living out of suitcases, laundry baskets and duffel bags.

So this morning I smile, there are more challenges to come for sure, but for today I am going to take my sons cue and just jam to...

I love you all. Be blessed and be a blessing. Love always wins, even when you are in the heat of battle, in the moment of silence that follows listen for His voice. Always reassuring, always loving, always reconciling.

You ain't seen nothing yet!!!!


Insecurities and other tormentors...

When I was a young woman, starting at about the age of 14, I began to build a man beside me in my bed with pillows. It was in the night that my fears would come to fruition, it was when the suicidal thoughts would come and I would question if I was truly lovable, was I disposable, was I enough or was I going to be too much for a man to every truly love and know. I would listen to music to try and ease the thoughts, to give myself something else to think about, to give me a different feeling about myself. I remember lying there so many nights wondering if this would be the night that God would let me take my own life and let me find peace. I lived with a packed bag in my closet for years, wanting to run, but not knowing where to go. I used to talk with God and lay out a fleece before Him although I had no idea what a fleece was. How many nights I would lay there in the darkness of my room and say to God: If I am not asleep by midnight tonight is the night that I will end it all.

I searched in many beds of many men to find that peace that I so longed for. I added shame and guilt on top of my feelings of wanting to be desired and needed. I longed to be enough, I longed to be loved, to be appreciated, to be noticed. I put myself into the same position over and over again and though some would say I was a “bad girl”, I was a girl overwrought with feelings of worthlessness, feelings of never ever being enough. I wanted to be the kind of girl you wanted to take home to Mom and yet more times I found myself sneaking into the windows and not walking through the front doors of the boys that chose me.

When I was a senior high school I found this boy that promised me the love that I was looking for, he wrote poetry for me, he made me feel good about myself. Like I could conquer the world and for the first time in years I found that at night I dreamt of him, I no longer had the suicidal thoughts. There appeared to be an end in sight to the need to die because someone, someone had noticed… me. I began to open up to him and to share my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, aspirations; my desire to be a writer, my desire to be married, and to have a family. It was a few months after graduation that I found out that I was pregnant. Though I don’t remember what he said to me, what I heard was that I was not enough to be the mother of his child, that I wasn’t enough to be his wife. He didn’t love me enough to work through the process. Yet, I had so intertwined myself with this boy that it took 2 abortions and countless heartaches and realizations for me to walk away.

I met my husband just mere months after getting out of that relationship, when he noticed me, and began to seek me out; again I felt that my needs had been met. He never stood a chance. He had his own baggage for sure. He met a broken woman, with very fresh wounds, and I looked to him to be my deliverer. My husband was in the military and already had orders in hand to leave the country. I contemplated my escape. I was willing to marry him when he proposed 4 weeks into our relationship and I said I do to him just short of our 5th week anniversary of knowing one another. I thought that I had found my knight in shining armor and that all of my nightmares would come to an end.

Our story isn’t pretty. I wasn’t pretty, he wasn’t pretty and we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into. It was a few short months before we found out that we were expecting our first child that had been conceived on our wedding night. I remember sitting with him at the beach there in Puerto Rico and we discussed our options. We were both scared to death. Abortion wasn’t an option, but there was thought given to me coming back to the states and raising the child on my own. There were a lot of tears that day for both of us. It was the first of many intense moments that have defined our almost 16 years of marriage. We are both intensely tenacious and neither of us wanted to admit defeat to our family and our friends. I believe it is that stubbornness that has left us the only of our friends from that season in our lives that are still married. We walked away from the beach that day committed to the building of our family. However, within me, I heard, “You will do until I find someone or something better. You will suffice as a mother, but I am holding out on the possibility that there is another woman out there that is a better fit for me.”

I have lived a life of insecurities and fears. I have learned to mask them for the masses, I have portrayed myself as a fighter, as someone strong and courageous but in the still of the night, when I crawl into bed my tormentors return and I am left to battle on my own. There have been many nights that I have crawled into my marriage bed feeling guilt, remorse, shame, unlovable and even unloved. My husband and I have both tried to ask the question dozens of times “Are you the true one that God has for me?” I continued to seek the attention of other men, he of other women. The irony of the entire situation is that though we kept looking, we have never found anyone else that could fit us the way that we fit each other. A testament, that God is so much smarter than we can even fathom.

In these past few months I have found myself crawling back into a bed for the first time in almost 16 years without the warmth of my husband next to me. I find myself plagued with the same questions. Am I enough? Am I too much? Is he going to find someone else better suited to him? Is he still going to love me when we reunite? Have the changes that God made in me going to leave me unattractive to him? Is he still going to want me? Would he fight for me? I don’t know the answers. Honestly, my experience usually trumps my theology in these areas. I struggle internally with this battle, daily especially without him next to me to comfort me or to speak words of encouragement to that young woman that still questions her self and her worth.

However, what I have been accepting more and more every day is that there is someone out there that loves me more than he does. That all of these years, the one thing I was searching for, caught every tear I cried. Just recently I had this understanding that Jesus was with me all those nights, crying his own tears over my heartbreak. Every time I sought to ease my flesh, He too was there. There hasn’t been one moment of my life that He has ever left my side. As I look towards the future I have a lot of those “If____ then___” scenarios that run through my head. I have chased all of them to the end and what I have discovered is, no matter what the “if” may be, the “then” is always the same. God. Then God. Then I would seek the healing for the pain, I would begin to again put one foot in front of the other, then I would start writing again, then I would begin telling my story and sharing how “if” “then” God changed me. Made me realize my weakness, and revealed to me that God is the only answer no matter what the circumstances. Always and forever.

The beauty of life is so simple, or maybe he just keeps it simple for me. It all comes down to there is no need to fear “if” because “then” is when God will step in and wrap you in His arms and become the Deliverer and the Healer that can never found in any human solution.

“I will fight for you – I will die for you. I KNOW that you are worth it”. ~Jesus


Playing a little game...

The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard”
80. During one of their performances they do a bit of the “single hand raise” = + 1 point
To add up your score with over a 130 other ideas on this scorecard, visit stuffchristianslike.net.



Here We Go Again...

I hate packing. Hate it. Abhor it. Detest it with every fiber of my being. Who knew how much stuff we could accumulate in a short six months.  I say short, but in reality it's been a very long time.  My husband likes to discount the amount of time I have been doing this on my own because we were able to see each other a few times over the time.  Saying that the separation didn't really start until he actually left here the last time.  I would beg to differ.

There are traces of us all around this house that need to be sorted, packed and donated.  The goodbyes have already begun.  I hate goodbyes. Honestly.  Packing and goodbyes tend to go hand in hand.  I hate them both. I hate them for my kids and their friends, and I hate them for my family and my own friends.  Me, well I tend to want to say that we will meet again.  Not knowing when is the hard part.

We have spent the morning trying to gather our things.  My kids have outgrown two large bags of clothes since we have been here.  My daughter the pack rat has gathered two large bags of trash.  I spent the morning going through my bathroom bottles collection... its amazing to me how many miracles I have accumulated under the sink and yet I pretty much look the same. Well, except I am tan and down 15 pounds. *giggle*

I have spent six months living with my parents, six months integrating into a new church, six months homeschooling and balancing the checkbook, six months trying to make the best memories for my kids during this time.  I have been flexible for beach days and play dates.  I have watched my children build friendships and have welcomed a lot of people both old and new into my life.  Now, again, I find myself trying to figure out how to take our lives and pack them into a trailer and my Excursion and make my way out of here.  My heart breaks, but I do have anticipation about the next leg of our journey.  There are not enough words or time to say how much the people here have changed my life.  How they took this little family that was orphaned and left naked and alone and wrapped them in their love.  There is no way to say thank you and there is definitely no way to just say goodbye.

Next Sunday, we will travel back to NC Jed Clampett style. Three kids, two large dogs and I, driving over 400 miles to a place that we would rather not be, to make yet another pit stop on our adventure.  It it my hope that we will remain in the memory making business while we are there with our friends and our family. It is my prayer that we will leave behind any traces of heartbreak and only take with us the love of those precious few that are still willing to love this little family through a drastic transition.

My mottos for this week:

I will be a blessing and not a cursing though I walk through the valley of packing and then moving.

Please God give me the endurance to do the 'what' and submit to knowledge that you will handle the 'how'.

Psalm 23 The Message
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.



IF = I Fear

My stomach has been giving me a fit for days.  My anxiety levels are off the charts. I am tempted to be a "mean" girl and certainly tempted to be a "mean" mom.  I don't do change well, even if I have had months to prepare, I am slow to transition.  Wish it wasn't that way. My flesh and my body revolt even as I try to keep my spirit in check.

I have been doing Beth Moore's study on Esther titled "Its Tough Being a Woman". I have to agree with her.  Somedays it just tougher than others.  With just over a week left here in Florida my kids have finally kicked into revolt mode.  Not that they are being bad or crazy, they are just expressing their anxiety and I get that. Honestly, going back to NC does that to all of us.  Are our friends going to want to see us, is it better to just not make contact at all. There are a few that I want to see but as a whole I am pretty much planning to sticking my nose down and doing what needs to get done so that we can move on.  My defenses are already planning an attack and I think that's what is happening to my kids as well.

We were hurt there, all of us, in one way or another.  Everything that we knew, well, is gone. My oldest son, the one thing he was really looking forward to, decided it was easier to not engage.  He is heartbroken, but will do what it takes to get through the process. Me as a Mom, I want to fight his battles for him, but I know that this is his testimony, this is his walk to salvation and I can only silently point him in the right direction.  My middle son, he doesn't appear bothered by the process of going to NC, he is more bothered by the process of leaving Florida.  He in the last 2 weeks has discovered girls.  Don't know that I am prepared for that. One always primping is enough, 2 of them constantly texting and engaging with girls, oh jeez.  My little girl, who well isn't quite so little anymore, she doesn't want to have to say goodbye to her best friend, AGAIN. Did I mention that I too was feeling a little anxious?

My husband sent us all dogtags that contain the Joshua 1:9 verse that we are all declaring right now.  We wear them with pride and keep the verse in the forefront of our minds. Being a military family we are accustomed to acronyms. IF = I Fear. What if. The IFs are out to kill us all. Fear is what pours concrete around our ankles and keeps our minds in confusion. My kids and I have been amazed as we have read the bible especially over the last year how many times God, the Angel of God, and or Jesus start so many statements with "Fear Not". That is the command most given in the Bible.  More than love, more than do this, or don't do that. Fear Not. FEAR NOT.

I do have a lot of fears in this move. It hits on a lot of different levels and a lot of different experiences in my life.  It conjures up moving from Atlanta to Jacksonville in 1999, when I thought we would all die in that car wreck.  It dances all over moving from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico in 1994. Jacksonville to North Carolina in 2002. Saying goodbye is never easy.  Loading up everything and reestablishing yourself somewhere else is hard at best. I am still learning to let my theology trump my experience. So I have to play the worst case scenario game and come to understand that no matter what God is still the answer. That no matter what this looks like God is with me, Jesus is interceding on my behalf- dancing over me even, the Holy Spirit is comforting me even as I kick my feet and try to hold onto to something that really has no significance in the Kingdom only in my little world.

I again find myself singing this song...