Today was a stressful day.  I have to admit, it’s mostly self-inflicted.  I am still learning to balance my heart that wants to love on my girlies and maximize Greg’s home time; with the heavy homework load for school.  So even though I thought I was well prepared coming into this presentation today, I underestimated and had a crying fall-out.

Thankfully, my visions of my team members throwing me bodily out of the classroom never materialized and I realized that my fears of performance and failure are a root that I need to weed out.  Striving to be perfect in everything for everybody is a sure way to insanity and I need to graciously do my best and let the chips fall.   It’s that self-generating type of stress that has no basis in reality that is so debilitating.

Over the past week, I have discovered that if I exercise, even for 10 minutes, the pay-off is incredible.  It makes me feel good and I don’t snack as much, and my mind is clearer to make wise choices.   I have been blessed to be faithful with that this week and it has REALLY helped.

Getting back to today, when we have done all we can do and we still feel like it will fall short, God wants us to bury our head in his neck and just let him hold us together.  I was really missing Greg since I could not talk to him most of the day, my kids had not seen much of me all day so I was missing them, and my presentation loomed before me like an avalanche in a breeze.  I felt spent and overwhelmed.

I sat in the lobby and waited for my team members. (being early can reduce stress too!)  I opened my computer, turned on Pandora to some Fred Hammond gospel music, and opened my Bible program to scriptures on hope.

I felt like God just embraced me in the most powerful way–every song lyric was as if He was singing to me, reminding me that He put me where I am and knows where I am going.  Every scripture just leaped off the page and I held it in my heart til it melted my fear.  After I thought about it, even the radio program on the way to school was talking to me.

It was because of the stress that I was listening so hard.  God definitely makes the most of stress before He takes it away.  A verse I love, even though part of me hates it; is

Ro 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
 Ro 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
 Ro 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

I want the Love shed abroad in my heart.  I just don’t like the process of putting it there.    God is helping me deal with stress and making me into someone more like him.

Did I mention that writing also reduces stress?  See you later, KC

I did not post yesterday or the day before, but we were busy with celebrating my husband’s fabulous 50th birthday.  He was born early on Jan 3, 1962.  I say early because I think his mom mentioned that once.  It seems like his nature, he is always ready for everything, well prepared, sleeves rolled up, calmly and quietly waiting for instructions on how best to help you.   (I do have to mention, however, that he was DUE on Christmas day, making him over a week late for his actual birth. But since then, he’s been on time.)

Our celebration details are not as important, we went out to eat, as a family and later as a date.   I revealed the video of birthday greetings I had been secretly compiling for him.  He is not a “big party” guy and hates attention.  The party on video was perfectly Greg.

What is important to me, what I want you to know is that Greg is such a rare example to me of selfless service.  He loves to serve.  He does it in our home continually.  He gives with his hands and his heart, and that has made him the most endearing man on the planet to me.

He has a beautiful analytical mind–getting to the root of the issue as I am flying off the handle or rocker or whatever.  He sees thing with clear logic and a practicality that I can only mimic in my clearer moments.  He often throws out two of my steps to doing anything by finding a better way.

He loves culture, Frank LLoyd Wright architecture, classic cartoons and comics, art films, museums, fine dining, world travel, and, more often than I, a dark joke.  I love going places with him, I love seeing him enjoying the things he loves.

Which also gets me to the food–he is a foodie and loves to cook.  He does it well, it comes out of that vat of servanthood.  It gives him pleasure to prepare food for others to enjoy.  But I don’t love him for the food, although, it did help him get his foot in the door.

Another great thing to flow out of that servant hood pot is his love for our girls.  He has a bottomless pit of love and patience for them.  He can not take his eyes or mind off them.  Being a dad is one of the deepest things he enjoys.

What I love about Greg, is that he does not quit.  When I ask myself, “why am I in school?” the answer is “For Greg”.  When I want to quit, when I want to stop studying and watch a movie, I think of him, alone in a dark parking lot, far from the family he loves.  He  sleeps alone in a semi-truck so that we can stay in our lovely house without him.  Its the perfect example of his servant hood heart.  His selflessness drives me to work for a degree that will grant me entrance into a career that can support us.  So he can stop driving. So he can be the great servant he is WITH us.

So why am I in school?  His name is Greg Cook.

 

Today I started out the new year with a long walk–a deliciously long walk under the grey sky with the wind blowing and sprinkley drizzle and the wind chilling my face.  It was very other-worldly and reminded me of when I walked home from school as a kid.  I walked almost 2 miles to my mom’s house and had a nice cup of tea with her while she sorted magazine articles in bed.  Then I walked the other way home past the golf course.  It was wonderful as a an outdoor walk is such a rare treat.  I can only have them when  Greg is home (leaving your kids alone to go for a walk is not a great idea).

The beauty of the walk was that after singing praise songs on the way TO Mom’s and praying part of the way FROM Mom’s, at the very last half mile I had absolutely nothing on my mind.  I just kept thinking–I want to be with you, Lord.  I want to be with you.

Life seems so simple on a walk–it seems like there is no greater task than to put one foot in front of the other and breathe.  It empties me of all expectations and to do lists and the struggle to decide what is most important to do.  It’s just —- walking.

 

That’s all this year will be–a walk, day by day, minute by minute.  I hope to make each step count in my year—to take time for the things and people that mean the most to me.  Then when I sit and blog next year I will have the same delicious feeling I had today—peace.

Today is a quiet day, in fact the last few have been relatively peaceful.  Aside from fighting a cold virus, I have no new anxieties or panics driving me.  My homework is mostly caught up, the girls went to bed early, and Greg was home for a few days so the house is stocked up on food and mostly organized.

This is a “calm in the storm” day, where even my throbby head seemed to slow me to a rest and calm I don’t ordinarily enjoy.  It’s a day that I really dwelt in Sabbath rest.  I fed the kids when they were hungry, not when the clock demanded.  I let them color and watch a movie twice while I napped and laid around.

This is a day that feels like it should be everyday–peaceful, quiet, no expectations, no rushing, no need to accomplish anything great.  It’s not the story of my life.  It’s just a day of rest–the eye of the storm of responsibility and obligation that I treasure each week.  Today’s “eye” was much more calm.  I know that the battle starts again tomorrow.  But today is . . . rest.

 Isa 14:3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,

 Mal 2:2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.

It seems that this time of year that features the dark side–witchcraft etc.  Most people see it as another way to have fun and to be silly. I personally don’t have any part with Halloween–I think the one who is most happy with all the festivities is the Enemy of all mankind, who wants nothing more than to be seen as a big joke.

Spiritual power is real, and there is real consequence to our actions, good and bad.  People experience real bondage to habits, disorders, obsessive thoughts, illness, bad feelings.  Christ came not just to whisk people off to heaven one day, but to deal with those issues that bind them and keep them from enjoying the Abundant life He came to give.

Isa 61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

 Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

What causes us to suffer in our homes, our relationships, our body, our minds? Isn’t it the effects of the brokenness of sin in our lives, our sin, or someone else’s? And don’t we feel those effects the most when we try to fix ourselves and situation and can’t seem to find any solution?

Sin is a force, a real force, that cuts us off from God.  Jesus mission was to defeat that force, not just in a global way , but on the level of every individual on the planet.  How does that really work out in practical terms?  It is as simple as hearing what He is saying and doing it.

How do we hear from God?  Reading the Bible.  In the verse at the top, people were cursed, they had enduring persistent issues of defeat and suffering in their lives.  God pointed out that this was a result of not listening to him and taking it to heart.

Many people, good church-going people, can fall into the trap of thinking that God is in one part of their life, but that a doctor, or psychiatrist or their spouse, or a book, or a video is going to set them free from something that troubles them.  God can use all these things, but ultimately, He is the one who holds the power to set a person free.

God really wants us to go to Him personally, expectantly, persistently for healing and deliverance from the things that curse us.  He will not let us accept less than the intimate, passionate love that He has for us that heals and cleanses us. God wants us to come to him to be free because He made us and knows the only thing that will cure us is Him.

When we are able to put aside our pride and ideas about our own power and come to Jesus humbly, He will correct and heal us.   This hearing and obeying, letting God change our heart and in that, change our behavior is what breaks a curse.

Ps 42:1 ¶ <<To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.>> As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. {Maschil…: or, A Psalm giving instruction of the sons, etc} {panteth: Heb. brayeth}
Ps 42:2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Ps 63:1 ¶ <<A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.>> O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; {thirsty: Heb. weary} {where…: without water}

Part of SHELTER (my current theme in light of the Jewish Feast of Shelters –Sukkot) is having enough to drink.   Lately it seems my soul has been running rather dry.  I have just had sips of refreshment in the long hot days of working, making my school work happen and taking care of Maddie and Sophie.

This all came to a head on Monday when I was so tired and stressed, I accidentally backed out of the garage with the driver door still open, causing over a 1,000.00 damage to my car door.  (Praise the Lord for collision insurance!)

God has often used my clumsiness to point  out that I am living too fast, and not taking care of me in the light of all my responsibilities.  That is why I started this blog–because writing is good soul care for me, I like sharing the process.

We hear a lot about how dehydration affects us.  WebMD lists the following effects of dehydration:  Increased thirst, dry mouth, weakness, dizzyness, palipitations, confusion, sluggishness, fainting, inability to sweat.

If I meditate on those symptoms, they sound like the effects of spiritual dehydration:  I get thirsty for anything that will fill me, tv, gossip, whatever.  My mouth is dry, I have no words of comfort, love or encouragement to give.   I am weak, and make poor choices for my physical, mental and spiritual health and relationships.   I get dizzy, overwhelmed by the circumstances in my life.

I have palpitations of fear and a sense of foreboding.  I am confused, unable to decide on a course of action, unable to hear God’s voice leading me.  I am sluggish, slow to responds to the needs of others around me.   I am unable to sweat–to put any effort into living beyond survival.

After getting so low last week and finding it hard to pull out of the effects, I am more determined to make sure I get a long, cool drink of the presence of God EVERY DAY–MANY SIPS ALL DAY AND A LONG DRINK IN THE MORNING!

In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.
 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.
The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.  Psalm 11:1-5

Lately,  things have been getting intense–I have in this journey felt sometimes like running away to some sort of safety.  I dream that I could work full time and skip school, which would help us in the short run, but keep us trapped in the long run.  I think of what I could’ve done back when I had more money or time.  I mentally run from one idea to another, from one “mountain” to another, looking for security and safety.

But the verse that this blog is titled from, Jeremiah 29:11 is really about seeking God rather than relief. God has plans, that may or may not get me “out” but they will always get me through.

So looking back on this verse–”If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”   When every plan, person or purpose I have built my life on lets me down, Where can I go?  The answer is  . . . no where.  I have to look up at God from where I am and not run to anther foundation, another mountain, another plan to get me out of my mess, another person or teaching or church, or job to make things better.

When the foundations crumble, don’t run to another mountain–stand and see what God is doing with you.

MY JOURNEY

I am beginning this journey with you, but it has been going on for a while.

I had a sweet life–wonderful husband (still have!) two small kids (still have them too!) ,Great part-time job,  three stall garage, lots of family around(still have all that too.) I loved my family time and just started homeschooling my oldest.

how did this life get so crazy?

Then comes 2005, a month after our second daughter is born, my husband loses his job as an electrician.  We struggle for almost 2 years while he looked for a new job—nothing!  Pushed to the edge, he took a job as an over-the-road truck driver and so. . . .

MY MISSION

Due to the job that I had lost in 2003, I was entitled to two years of college training—free!  A great opportunity I had planned to use someday, but now seemed an urgently needed tool to bring my family back together.  The plan was (and is) that I would get my degree, get a job and Greg (my husband) would be able to quit his job and look for local work.

THE FIRST CHAPTER

The problem was, I had never completed my associate’s degree of some 20 years prior.  To get a decent job, I would need to get a Bachelor’s at least.  So with Pell Grants and a little creativity, I finished my associates degree at Grand Rapids Community College–without using my grant!  That way I could focus all my funding on the next step:

WHERE WE ARE NOW

August 9th I began my pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Cornerstone University.  I am in the PGS program which only meets one night a week and allows me to work and take care of my family.  It is hard, going to school, working and being a “functional single mom” but I am finding daily grace to cope and that is what this blog is all about!

So enjoy the journey with me!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.