Friday, November 7, 2008

Prayers please

It seems like we just got Cassie settled in and now Chris is starting in. 

Cassie's doing very well. Her report card for the first quarter shows an A, 2 B's and 3 C's. Way to go Cassie! She's nearing the end of probation. She started her new job at Domino's yesterday. She's got a boyfriend who is a nice kid and a Christian as well. The prayers, accountability, new school, psychologist appointments and medication are all working together to keep her stable. She meets with her psychiatrist today for the first time in a couple of months. We'll see if they bump up her meds to the next level or leave them the same.

Now we need prayers for Chris. Something is going on with him, but I don't really know what. I just received a phone call from the school that he was involved in some trouble up there. He was kind of on the outside fringes of it, but involved, nonetheless. He'll have a day of in-school suspension and two days of detention for it. But it was a big red flag for the school, as his teacher, the principal, and a couple of others in authority up there said "this is just not like Chris". And it's not. 

But we've noticed some things at home too. Just last night I told mom that one of the things I was hoping for while she was home was the she would see some of what we're dealing with with Chris and hopefully help us figure out what's going on with him and how to help him. He's very angry a lot of the time, disrespectful to us, hyper to the point of annoying, disobedient, smarting off and talking back. It's just not like Chris! And he won't open up to us at all either, so I don't know what's going on! 

Now, it could be adolescence setting in. I understand that as the hormones rage kids can get more sullen and disrespectful. It could also be frustration over the increase in homework and difficulty at school. It could be issues with his friends. I don't know, but I know I don't like it and I want to help him work through this and come out the other side a stronger person, closer to Jesus, and better equipped to handle a frustrating situation than he was before he entered this valley.

I've gleaned from watching that there's some friendship issues, some bullying (with him on the receiving end), some singling-out of him by his classmates as the scapegoat and one to pick on. Everything seems to be a battle with him. It's so frustrating! I've been praying hard for him lately, that this spirit of anger and frustration that seems to have a hold over him would be released! The Chris I know is a boy who loves to help others, encourage with words and hugs, have people like him and approve of him. All of those things seem to have gone out the window recently. I'm praying that they will return! Please join me in praying for discernment and wisdom for us and his teachers, for the binding of whatever has gotten ahold of him, and for the Holy Spirit to return in full force in my sweet child's heart. 

I so appreciate the support you all give. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Tyranny of the Urgent

Just stopping by to say good morning on this rainy, cold day. It's a good day to sit at home, light some candles and curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. Alas it's not to be, I'm at work. But there's always this afternoon. :-)

Mom's home visiting from North Carolina. We picked her up from the airport on Saturday morning. While she's glad to be here and see her FOUR children who live in Minnesota, I think she's really missing Katie and especially baby Dominic/Nicky/Roo-Roo (Kate's nickname for Nicky...I don't even pretend to get it lol). I think by this Saturday when it's snowing she's going to wish she's stayed in North Carolina! She's here through Thanksgiving, flying out while most people are out bargain hunting on Black Friday. I am enjoying having her here, of course and am threatening to refuse to send her back. It's so good to have someone to sit and enjoy long conversations with. We talk about God mostly, and what He's doing in our lives. It's one of the things I miss most about her living here, is our in-depth conversations about our Savior, the work He is doing in our hearts and lives, the places we see Him moving in our worlds. It's so good to share those things with a friend instead of just my journal. Of course, lately we've also been talking a lot about politics and the state of our nation. I will confess I've got some anxiety over the election results. As one person stated it on's not that I was surprised, really, but I didn't expect the nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach that I experienced that night, nor the urge to cry. Nevertheless, the people have spoken and so here we are. I can tell you one thing, my choice did not get into office and I am looking forward to January 20, 2013 very much!

Enough about that. My boss is back from Uganda and I'm glad to hand back over the reins to her. I'll confess it was kind of fun putting the paper together, but I'm glad it's not my responsibility all the time. :-)

Life overall is crazy! I feel like we're running, running, running all the time. And it's showing in our health. We're not eating healthy because it's always "grab something quick on the go". We don't have much relaxation/down time and that really wears on a person. Chris missed school yesterday because of stomach aches, Dar missed work last night because he was too physically and emotionally exhausted to go in, and Cassie is home today resting and fighting off a cold. My poor niece and nephew have been struggling with pneumonia. Our lives today are too busy, too rushed, our calendars too jam-packed and we need to slow down! The hard part is choosing which things to say no to! Mostly, the demands on our time and energy are good things! And so, for me, I feel guilty saying no. But I need to know my limits as well and make sure I'm giving enough attention to my priorities and letting the rest either wait or pass. I'm praying for discernment in this area because I know that busy-ing ourselves to death is not in God's will for us. A Bible Study leader once said that we need to not "bow to the tyranny of the urgent"! It's time, for our family at least, to get back to what's important.

So, with that, and the rain, I leave you today. Stay warm and dry! Love to you all and may God bless you! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just living, or living FREE?

Greetings on Election Night! I'm praying God moves in an amazing way and has His way now that the votes have been cast. We have prayed, we have shared our beliefs with those around us, we have voted, and now we wait for His answer. We're listening God.

Yes, God and I have made up. I shared some in my last post that I was struggling so with depression. I felt so distant from God, really battling in the depths of my soul for faith in Him. It was like being in a huge argument with your best friend and not knowing how to move forward in the relationship. Aren't we blessed to have a God Who is so personal and so amazing that He knows exactly how to do that!

He and I had a breakthrough last Monday. I was going through my usual insane and very frustrating Monday schedule. At work before 8am, leaving at 3:30 to get Cassie to her court ordered class in North Mankato by 4, then up to an appointment by MSU by 4:15 (I was late and had trouble finding it too!). When I left that appointment the traffic was crazy, and not being used to the area, I tried to turn left when that was basically impossible. I also had myself in such a position that it was almost as impossible to turn right. The gal behind me was furious with me! She was honking her horn, flailing her arms, shaking her head. I finally got out of there and headed to my next appointment in downtown Mankato (which I was the only one to show up for). Through all of this my frustration was building and building and I was about to burst. 

And then I did. 

I yelled "God, I can't do this anymore!!! Whatever it is that I did to cause You to remove Your hand of blessing from my life, please show me! I CAN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU ANY LONGER!!!". 

And all was silent in my van. It was almost like in the movies when time stops and there's just this pause. And then He spoke. I could almost audibly hear Him sigh and say "Finally. Finally, you get it."

What? What?!? That's it? That's all that You were waiting for was for me to finally get to the point that I was so desperate for Your presence that I couldn't...wouldn't take one more step without it? Yes, that's exactly what He was waiting for. 

The dam broke, the fog lifted, His Presence returned and I've had His JOY bubbling in my soul ever since. Even on my frustrating Monday this week, even when things aren't going right, it's still there, bubbling away. Now that I've had 7 days to process all of this, I see so many things behind the weeks of depression that besieged me. 

First I had been praying for a more intimate relationship with Him. And it seemed as if He was giving me the opposite. But the truth is that I had gotten to the point in my walk with Him that I was so used to His Presence, that I took it for granted, I hardly noticed it anymore. And it took Him removing it from my awareness for me to realize how vital it is to my existence! 

Also, He spoke to me yesterday through John 15:9 and the book "The Heartache No One Sees" by Sheila Walsh. In the book of John, Jesus said "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." Sheila Walsh writes this: "Jesus loves us as the Father loves Him. Think about that! Jesus loves us with the same eternal passion and commitment, the same perfect love, that God the Father has for Him." And it hit me...God the Father, more than that, sent Jesus the Son to earth to be tortured and beaten and killed so that we may have life and life more abundantly. There's a difference there between just living, and living a life free, enjoying the best that life has to offer, free from bonds and chains and sin. So if God, in that eternal, passionate love for Jesus, sent Him to those circumstances, it follows that He also...not just allows, but causes...the painful circumstances in our lives so that others may be free to live life abundantly!

Take, for example, my depression. He knew that I could come through it victoriously because I know Him and have a history of relying on Him.  And if He can use my new understanding of depression, having walked through it, so that I can relate to someone else who is struggling with it, and possibly help them come through it on the other side with a fresh relationship with Him, then it is worth it. That person can live abundantly, in Jesus Christ, because I went through six weeks of a very painful experience. That is no different than all who call themselves children of God because Jesus went through a very painful experience so that we can live in Him! How awesome is that! Would we choose to go through the painful circumstances, by no means! But to be used by God, to be trusted by Him to come through it and help others who are still struggling, how awesome!

So, that's where I'm at today. Really, the title of my last post ("Yes, I'm still alive") was very relevant to what He was trying to teach me. I was just "living". Now I'm "living free"! May you all find that freedom in Jesus Christ as well (if you haven't already found it!)

Love you all!