How Art Lessons For the Elderly Teach Life Lessons to Me

“I want to come back, Connie.  Whatever it takes, I want to come home.”

It has been almost 2 years since I put “pen to paper” about my journey with my elderly mother.  If any of you are still listening, I will give a quick update and then begin again to chronicle this season of our life — my mother and me.

I received a call from Mom last October (2016), and she sounded distressed.  She had been living, as you recall, in an assisted-living facility close to my sister’s home — about a 2 hour drive from me.   As I picked up the chirping phone, those words from my mother surprised me.  She had been doing well, and had adjusted to assisted living.  She was involved in many of the activities, and seemed to be content.  So this plea to come home caught me by surprise.

I will not go into all the details of what transpired over the course of the few months prior to mom’s discontent.  I had not, myself, been aware of them until the phone rang that very day.   However, by the time Mom called, her mind was made up.  So the next day, I called the assisted-living facility in her hometown, and was able, within a few short weeks, to secure an apartment.  She is now living back in my area, and I am again her “go-to” daughter.

I kind of like it that way.

In the quick process of making plans for Mom, my siblings and I actually talked about one of the independent-living apartments of this local senior complex for her.  Could she live on her own again?  Would she be able to do so with her short-term memory issues?  But when given the choice, Mom chose assisted-living.  “I don’t want to cook.  I want everything in the same building.  I don’t want to walk across the courtyard for my meals.”  These were her decisions.  Her choices.  She has settled in, and this time, I think her contentment is genuine.

Even with this newfound peace, one of the things Mom misses is the art class as this new facility has no art program.  On several occasions, the Administrator and I have talked about the possibility of an art class.  One time she asked, “Would you like to teach it?” (Oh my, be careful what you ask for).  My quick response was, “Oh no, I’m not an artist.  I’m just learning myself.”  But several weeks went by, and I kept thinking about an art class for this group of seniors.  Do they really want to learn how to be an artist?  Or do they just need to use their hands and minds?  Something that brings them together as a community.  A time to talk.  Something to create.  Something to be proud of.  I spoke of this to my sister who lives far away.  She feels the burden of not being close enough to care for Mom.  Her response?  “Do it.  I’ll send you the money for supplies”.

So today was our first official “art class”.  The nurses went down hallways and knocked on doors, reminding residents of this new addition to their schedule.   Six residents eventually joined me in the dining room where 6 tables had been pushed together and draped in plastic.  I had one set of tables filled with all my offerings:  acrylic and watercolor paints, canvas boards, coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, and numerous other artsy stuff.  I knew within a few moments that the cluttered table was too overwhelming so I concentrated on name tags and seating.

One by one I got each artist involved in a project.  Bob was willing to do anything:  “Connie, just tell me what to do”.  He completed one project, and was ready for another.  And again, in a rather booming voice, “Connie, just tell me what to do”.  Thelma and Daisy chose to color.  Nita didn’t seem to understand at all what was going on, but I gently placed a coloring page in front of her with a small box of crayons.  By the end of the hour, she had two pink flamingos with orange beaks and a blue sky.  Bless her heart, she knew what to do, and the picture was so sweet.  Roberta must have been a artist in her younger days for she said, “I like acrylic paints, do

you have those?”  When I started to squeeze the paint onto her palette, “Not too much; they are expensive, and we don’t want to waste it”.  Then she created a beautiful picture of flowers and greenery, mixing paint to the color of her choosing.  Phyllis wanted to participate, but kept saying, “I can’t see.  I only can see out of one eye.  It’s all too small.  I wish I could.”  So I drew a large, simple flower on the canvas, and placed it down.  “Can you see the outline?”  And she spent the entire time coloring that bloom.  My own mother chose to do a paint-by-number picture using colored pencils rather than the paint.  That’s ok.  No rules here.

This was a learning experience for all of us.  I already know how to make the next class easier for them (and me).  Some supplies will be returned to the store — who knew paint-by-number pictures had such microscopic detail!  I had also bought the new “adult” coloring books, thinking they would enjoy the beautiful pictures, however, I soon realized that those as well are too small and detailed for this class.  The larger the detail, the bigger the print, the better.

I’m hoping as the class gets comfortable being creative, we can move onto more challenging artwork.   But even if we don’t get beyond the crayons, I think I’m going to enjoy this group of ladies — and Bob.

 

Can you see the beauty?  Not in their handiwork, but in them?

I thought this art class was for my mother, for the residents, but as our time came to an end, I found myself whispering to Phyllis, patting Thelma on the back, and embracing this small group of people. I know Bob was a hog farmer “back in the day”.  I know Roberta’s sister recently passed away.  I know Daisy knew my mother when she was just a little girl.   I will know them by name when I see them in the hall next week.  This class was for me as much as it was for them.

So many lessons!

I’m not talking about art.

Nor the residents.

I already see that I am the student.

As the class develops, I will post updates here.

I hope you come back and see the beauty as it unfolds.

 

Is not wisdom found among the aged?  Does not long life bring understanding?  

— Job 12:12 New International Version Bible

Releasing Ownership — It’s Not About Me (Meals From Michiana)

I pulled my car into the parking lot for our first FMSC Prayer Walk of this year.  A Walk for our 7th Feed My Starving Children Mobilepack.  We, the core volunteers (and anyone else who’s interested), are scheduled to walk the perimeter of the facility and pray for the 6 Saturday mornings before the Pack.

The parking lot was empty.  Not. One. Single. Car.   Sigh.

I remember this from last year.  Not the empty parking lot so much, but the worry… Where is everybody??  Why don’t they come?   Don’t they care?

I’ve been working so hard on The Pack.

My husband and one other core volunteer soon joined me in the parking lot.  As I stepped out of my car, I made my thoughts known.  Where is everyone?

We began our walk, but no one prayed for the first fifty steps.  Just silence.  But as the sun peaked over the top of trees, God’s beauty, and faithfulness, was hard to deny.  My husband began to pray.  And I began to cry.

My work?  My prayer walk?  My schedule?

Yep, there it is.  That is what I remember from last year’s prayer walk.  (I’m a slow learner).  Last year’s walk started out a bit bumpy as well.  Connie needed a little attitude adjustment.  There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in the months before the actual Pack, I tend to take ownership of the whole sh-bang.  I take it personally when no one shows up to pray.  I am offended.

Wow.  Sounds like it’s all about me, huh?

As I grabbed my husband’s handkerchief out of his back pocket and wiped my tears, I knew God was asking me to open my hands and put this event into His.  It is not about me.  Or the core volunteers.  It’s not even really about the children who will receive the food.

It’s about God.

The whole event is about Him.  And His faithfulness.  His promises.  His will.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.   And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.    1 John 5:14-15

Is feeding the hungry His will?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…  James 1:27a

So many verses talk about feeding/helping the poor. God desires for us to take care of the starving children in the world.

We can ask boldly.

We can ask confidently.  

He will be faithful.  

He has promised to answer our prayers.

The worry, the discouragement, and the irritation are all about looking at what I’ve done, and what I hope to accomplish.

And if this event depends on me, we are doomed to fail.

Thank you, Lord, for the wake-up call this morning.  I lay my attitude at your feet, and humbly thank You and praise You for what You are going to do.   To You be the glory.

As the three of us continued our walk, and looked up into that sunrise, my husband began to pray, “Lord, when two or more are gathered….”

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Matthew 18:20

Moving Past How Are You, I’m Fine.

I’ve been meeting with a group of women from my church over the past several months as part of a Women’s Leadership Team.  What does the woman of 2016 want?  What Magazine-Collage-womens-magazines-4768830-424-322does she need?  What are we leading women to?  What are we leading women in?  Those are the questions we have been pondering.

And can we, this small group of seven women,  have any impact in their lives?  Can we block out some of the worldly noise competing for their attention?

Can we be women of influence?

In the Bible, the book of Titus teaches us that the “older” women are to teach the younger women.   Does older only refer to age?  Who is the older woman?

Marriage.  Motherhood.  Death.  Grief.  Divorce.  

All those circumstances lend to a more experienced woman (and the gal we tend to think of as older and wiser).  But what about…

College.  Career.  Depression.  Singleness.  Abuse.  

All those life situations (and countless more) lend to more experience as well.  And if a woman has walked down one of those roads,  turned to God, and gained wisdom, isn’t she an “older” one?

After a few weeks of discussion, our little group doesn’t think women want (or need) another church program.   They don’t need someone to teach them how to knit a pair of socks or make an apple pie.  They want someone to give them a peek at what might be around the next corner.  And maybe offer a few words of encouragement or instruction.

She wants to tell her story.  

She wants someone to listen, to hear.  She wants to know she matters.

Women seek love and acceptance.   I pray to God they find both in our midst.  They also need guidance and godly wisdom from women who have gone before them.

“How are you?  I’m fine”  just doesn’t cut it anymore.  I am not fine.  You are not fine.  We are NOT fine.  We have worries and problems.  Big problems.  And we need help.  Just some basic, fundamental help.

Relationships….

Mentors….

As this group of women’s leadership meets weekly, it is causing me to look around and “see” other women.  I mean really see them.  Do I know her name?  Is she married?  Does she have any children?  Does she work outside her home?  If so, where?

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And those questions just barely scratch the surface of this woman created by God.

She is part of my church family.  The Bible says we are part of the same body.  Shouldn’t I know if she is concerned about her cancer returning?  Or worried about her prodigal child?  Abused?  Lonely?  Afraid of losing her job — or her husband?

Shouldn’t she know she matters — to me?  to us?  To God?

Does she?

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Who’s going to tell her, if we don’t?  We’ve been in her shoes.  We know.  We know. Shame on us if we don’t help carry her baggage.

 

Most of us, in the church,  are  the older woman.   We can look around and see someone walking the same road on which we just left footprints.  Let’s reach out and give her our hand.

“How are you?”

“I’m fine.”

“No, really, I’ve got some time, tell me about your week…”

 

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“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”  Ephesians 4:25

Community Team Walks and Prays For Starving Children – Meals From Michiana

MobilePack-Logo_PMS-647We are now in the early stages of planning our 7th local Feed My Starving Children MobilePack, Meals From Michiana.  I became the coordinator for this event in our 20160420_090429Northern Indiana community 2 years ago.  The MobilePack manual provided by FMSC has been my constant companion as I organize and plan.  Everything that needs to be done for a successful Manna Pack is explained in this notebook.  The first instructions are to appoint leaders to 7 different committees: Leadership, Prayer, Promotion, Fundraising, Logistics, Volunteers, and Hospitality.  Administration comes easy when FMSC has already created the “big picture”.  Once I saw the overall plan, it wasn’t hard to get leaders for the various committees.

However, that first year, no one stepped up to take the role of Prayer Leader.  After asking several people personally, and still getting no volunteer, I created prayer cards for all the other committee leaders.  We tried to pray individually, and of course, corporately whenever we had meetings.  That worked okay, but I felt it was still lacking.

Were we praying enough?

The second year, all committee leadership positions filled quickly, but again, no one chose the Prayer Committee.   I tried to think of a way to get everyone involved in praying for our MobilePack.   I was inspired by a conversation I had with a local businessman.  He had been walking the sidewalks of our community, praying for the 1 small businesses.  He said he was “claiming them for God”.  He then talked of his surprise at how the walks were transforming him, making him love this community and its people more and more.

Our MobilePack was 7 weeks away, and with new resolve, I contacted our core volunteers.  I told them I would be at the event center at 7:30 a.m. for the next 6 Saturdays.  I asked them to join me to walk around the facility and pray for our Pack. When Saturday arrived, it was wet and chilly, but as I waited in my car, more vehicles pulled into the parking lot.  Fortunately, there are few schedule conflicts that early on Saturdays —  and people came to pray!

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Our event center is a sprawling, odd-shaped building. There is pavement along two sides of the building, and nothing but tall grass and dirt on the other two sides.

We started off a bit awkward, walking, dodging puddles, and praying out loud.   We must have been a curious sight to people on the nearby freeway.  Heads lowered, hot coffee in hand, walking, and talking.

nafec-pic-cropped-670x377We prayed for the MobilePack and the starving children; we prayed for the building and for the volunteers; we asked God for safety; we prayed for the FMSC staff.  We asked for our community to be transformed by this event. 20150918_145438

We prayed for every detail. 6343999175_794f60fc06_n

And we claimed the event for God.

And by the time we completed the circle, we all felt excitement in the air.  No one hurried to his car.  People stood around talking about God, the Pack, and the kids who would receive the meals.

And that’s when I knew this would work.

Walking and praying together refocused us.  We were no longer worried about the volunteers, or the money, or the logistics of the Pack.

He would take care of the details.  God had lifted the burden.

And the next Saturday, they all came back.  In fact, every Saturday leading up to our FMSC MobilePack, we prayed around the perimeter of that building, staking our claim.  God honored those prayers, and our MobilePack ran smoothly, volunteers were in abundance, and we packed over and above our goal.

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As we move forward, planning for our 2016 MobilePack, all the committee leaders are in place.  This year, I’m not seeking a Prayer Leader.   I’m planning a Prayer Walk.  We will walk and pray.  I’m not worried about participation.

They will come.

It was that powerful.

FMSC Mobile Pack Event

FMSC Mobile Pack Event

She Will Write And She Will Find Her Voice: Write 31 Days

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days (well 26 Days, maybe).

“You cannot do this.  You have nothing to say.”  Those are the words she heard over and over again in her head.  They were loud voices, even harsh at times.  “What are you doing here?”

Why had she come to this conference, this writer’s conference?  Doubts and fears overwhelmed her because she wasn’t sure she did have anything worthy to say.

As she looked around the lobby, she saw men and women huddled together, talking dcad598e49e3046cf0ef4ce58d7473e3about their latest projects.  She saw one lady, animated about her fiction novel, the one she has been researching for years, and is now ready to put on paper.  Another spoke excitedly about a Bible study she has just written.   There were stories, no pun intended, everywhere.

She wasn’t comparing herself to accomplished authors.  These writers had put in their “10,000 hours”, and deserved to be published.  No, it really wasn’t that at all.  Besides, there were some writers here who had never written a single word.   Longing and curiosity had brought them to this place.

What then?  What was causing her anxiety?

She was doubting her calling.  Had she heard God right?  Did He want her to write?  Did she have anything worthwhile to say?

Did she have a voice?

Does that ever happen to you?  You think you know what God has asked you to do.  You step out in faith, but something happens that shakes you up a bit.   You hear a condemning voice, “You cannot do that.  You are not called to ________.”  And then you doubt.  You question.  You fear.  You may even grumble and complain.  Whine, if you will.

I know I have.  I know I do.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Fear is not from God.  When God calls us to do something, He gives us power, and passion and peace.   He does not whisper (or yell) condemnations into our ear.  No where in God’s Word do we see him saying things like, “you are stupid.  you are no good.  you cannot do this.”  If God wants us to change course, He will guide us, but He won’t belittle us in the process.

tumblr_ku92wiwsDY1qzlgb3o1_500It took her a day or two after she arrived home to clear her head of the criticism.   To shake off the lies.  The truth was God had given her this passion, a desire to put her heart on paper.  She’s still not sure what direction her writing will go.  Does she have a fictional book inside of her?  Does she have a gift for devotionals?  It’s not clear just yet.  But that’s okay.

She is standing just at the gate.  She almost turned and ran the other way, but with new purpose and resolve, she stepped through and began to slowly walk.  And in time, as she thinks, ponders, writes and writes,  God will help her find her voice.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17

Write 31 Days: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days.

I’ve been writing recently about grumbling, and the idea that trust and grumbling are opposites.

We can’t trust God and then grumble about what He has laid before us, or the “work” He’s given us to do.  Grumbling, murmuring, and disputing testify to unbelief.  If I truly believe that God is in control, and that He has my best, my very best interest at heart (and He always does), then how can I argue or grumble?

I spoke briefly with a friend yesterday, and this young woman is walking a road none of us would ask to travel.  She has just given birth to her 3rd child, a precious little girl.   This sweet little babe has some chromosome abnormalities that present a grave prognosis.  Her life here on earth will most likely be short-lived, maybe a month, possibly a year.

As we chatted, this young mom thanked me for my recent posts, ‘They’ve been good for me because I’ve been tempted to grumble a bit…I’m asking why a lot.’  Oh, Sweet Friend, mourning and grieving, even asking why, are not the same thing as grumbling.  Expressing heartache over dashed expectations or grieving a loss are natural human reactions.  God has given us those emotions, and understands our need to express them.

The Merriam Webster dictionary says the word mourn is to feel or show great sadness because someone has died; to feel or show great sadness or unhappiness about (something).

And this about grieve:  to cause (someone) to feel sad or unhappy; to feel or show grief or sadness.

That same resource says to grumble is complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way.

Mourning and grumbling are totally different reactions, feelings and emotions.  God will comfort us during the first, but rebuke us for the latter.

I was given permission to share this young mother’s words.  I was even told I could post a picture,  but the timing doesn’t feel quite right.  I may share more in another post on another day or someone else may get that honor as their story must be told.  This baby’s life will be honored and people will be blessed from the testimony of this family.

I know some reading this blog are going through some really heavy stuff, and these posts are not meant to make light of those trials.  God hears your cries.  I hope you find comfort as you read the verses below…. just a few things God has to say about mourning…

 

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Write 31 Days: Comparisons Always Change Our Focus

31 days of JoyWrite 31 Days.  Am I trusting God?  Or does my complaining and grumbling show my unbelief?

My next stop during this month of no grumbling took me to the book of Numbers in the Bible.  I am not going to go into all the details of chapter 16 as I really only want to use a portion of my 500 words (that is the maximum number of 132322145words in any article before your eyes glaze over and you lose all interest in the point of the post ).

Chapter 16 is filled with jealousy and comparisons, and the awful price a disgruntled people paid for not listening to God.

It all started when a few people got jealous of their leaders, of God’s anointed leaders; they gathered a few more into their fold with their complaining and comparisons.  Then others became unhappy with this and that.  It was an opposition against Moses and Aaron.

Really?  No, Moses and his brother were  anointed by God so the uprising was actually rebellion against Him.

Jealousy is a poison. Comparisons can be deadly.  When we look at others and long for their talents, and their gifts, we become discontent with our own.  In God’s Word, we’re told that we all have gifts.

“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…”  Romans 12:6.   But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift”   Ephesians 4:7.

Yet we neglect to nurture our own if we keep looking around us at others.

Not only do comparisons cause us to grumble, but our complaining is often contagious.   God dealt gravely with those who rebelled in that book of Numbers, but let’s read the last sentence in that very same chapter, “The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron…”. (Numbers 16:41)

Poison.  Spreading to others.  The rebellion of some had caused discontentment in the”whole Israelite community“.

But , “The very next day...”?  The very same chapter, the very next day.  How can that happen?  How can memories be so short?  Unfortunately, as a fallen people, they didn’t always learn the lessons God put in their lives.  We don’t either.

your-talent-is-gods-gift-to-you_what-you-do-with-it-is-your-gift-back-to-god-srqqkb“I wish I could sing like you”

“I want to speak like her”

“I would love to write like him”

“Why can’t I teach like her”

Comparisons. Grumbles.  Discontentment.

We sometimes  see the error in our way, and ask God to forgive us.  And we are happy with our own talents and gifts…. for about 2 days.   Then we do it all over again.

We are those people.  At least I am those people.

Friend, stop looking around.  Look up and then look within.   What is your talent?  What are you good at?  Where are your passions?  Find those things and nurture those things.  When you are doing what God created you to do, you will find satisfaction and contentment.

And God will be glorified in you.

Oops, I used all 500 words;  I hope you stayed with me!

 

 

Write 31 Days: Walk Confidently Away From Your Egypt

31 days of Joy31 Days of JOY — that is my challenge.  Grumble or Trust?

When I began this challenge, it wasn’t my intention to go through the Bible, looking for every mention of grumble, however, it has become a fascinating word study.   I’ve gotten very intrigued, and humbled, by the texts.

God takes grumbling very seriously.

All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!  Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”  So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:2-4)

Egypt_SlaveryReturn to Egypt?  Return to slavery?

The people were afraid because Moses had sent men into Canaan to “spy out the land”.  The people received a bad report from 10 of the 12 men.   Ten men came back and stirred up fear.  Two men came back and said, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey.”

Yes, the people living in the land of Canaan were strong;  the cities were large and fortified.  The men were gigantic!   Both the location, all the people, and their neighbors were formidable.  It did look hopeless, but God had said He was giving the land to the Hebrew people.  God said it was theirs already.  Surely they would trust Him.

As I read that familiar story, I thought, why did Moses send men into Canaan to spy out the land?  Hadn’t God already promised the land to them?  Why did Moses need to scout it out?   So I went back to the beginning, and look what I found…

Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying,  “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.”  (Numbers 13:1-2)

It wasn’t Moses’ idea to send spies.   He was being obedient to God.   God sent the spies into Canaan.  Why?  God didn’t need spies; He knew what was in the land of Canaan.

Well, well, well….   That puts a whole new perspective on this story.

God was testing the faith of the people.  He wanted to see if they would trust Him.

What did they do?  They grumbled.

And there it is again. 

Grumble or trust?

1280px-Death_Valley,19820816,Desert,incoming_near_ShoshonesAren’t we a bit like those people wandering in the desert?  We may be sure God is leading us in a certain direction, but when something happens that upsets the plans, we often retreat, doubting that we heard Him correctly.  We don’t see it as a test of faith, a time to speak up and remember God’s faithfulness to us.  We see it as defeat.  We run back to “Egypt”, our own state of slavery.  It may not be a bad place; it might be a comfortable place, but is it THE place God wants us to be?  Trials and tests don’t scream “retreat”; they often beg for, “I serve a faithful God.  Let’s go!”

I don’t want to grumble and miss the blessing of my promised land.  I want to remember that God HAS been faithful.  God WILL go before me.  God has ALREADY defeated my enemies.

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  (Isaiah 41:10)

 

Write 31 Days: Did God Bring Us Here to Die?

31 days of Joy31 days of JOY — Grumble or Trust?

The Hebrew’s exodus out of Egypt is a very well-known Bible story.  It makes for a great cast of characters in children’s Sunday School class or any drama presentation:   A powerful Pharaoh, an adopted son-turned-enemy, and an enslaved people… all lend to an amazing narrative.

But those of us familiar with the history know that those very same freed people were not such great travelers.  It’s not a surprise that the first mention of grumbling in the Bible appears in the book of Exodus (even though I’m pretty sure Adam and Eve did their share of complaining after their little snack in the garden, nothing is recorded about their discontent).

“But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left”.  (Exodus 14:29)  Can God get any more REAL?  The Hebrew people had seen wonders, they had seen God.

They saw God when Moses rescued them from 400 years of slavery.  (Exodus 3:10-12)

They saw God when He “gave them favor in the eyes of the Egyptians”  so they walked away with their Moses-and-the-Divided-Red-Sea-Explained-Revealed-East-Wind-Parting-Israel-Hebrew-Egyptians-Crossing-Exodus-14-21-Bible-Story-Science-Scientific-Explanaticaptors’ silver, gold, and clothing.  (Exodus 12:35-37)

They saw God as He guided the Hebrews around in that unfamiliar territory with a cloud by day and a fire by night.  (Exodus 13:21)

They saw God dry up the Red Sea and allow for their miraculous crossing.  The Pharaoh and his army weren’t so lucky. (Exodus 14:27-29)

And as the people stepped onto dry ground, they were ecstatic and they danced and sang songs to the Lord.  They recognized God’s control and gave Him praise.  (Exodus 15:1-21)

GUWG-GRUMBLINGHowever….   almost before the water was dry between their toes, there was some grumbling.  It most likely began with one or two, spread to a few, and before he knew what happened, the whole crowd was yelling at Moses, “We need water to drink; this water is bitter!  We need food to eat!  Did you bring us out here to kill us?  We should have just died in Egypt!”  (Exodus 16:1-7)

We read that story, and we are shocked:  ‘Seriously?  How can those people be so spoiled.  So forgetful.  So disrespectful.  So ungrateful.’

They had been given so much.  God was taking care of them.  Yes, they needed food and water, but surely they knew God wouldn’t bring them this far only to let them die.  He would provide.

Trust?  Faith?  Nope, grumble, grumble, grumble.

Wait.  What?  Am I any different?  I have a house, food, water, clothes, and so much more.  I am blessed.  God has been faithful.  Yet I grumble because I have to load a dishwasher, yet those very dishes are proof that I have food.  I complain about the laundry, yet those are the clothes that keep me warm.  I don’t like dusting my sturdy, lovely furniture.  I whine because I have appointments conflicting on my calendar — I have to choose between two good friends!

No, I am no different.

I am that people.

I am so spoiled.  So forgetful.  So disrespectful.  So ungrateful.

“…your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.”  (Exodus 16: 8)

Ouch.

When I protest to my husband, my children, or my friend, it is a complaint that God hears loud and clear, and takes personally.   I am talking directly to Him — the Giver of all that I have.  Whew.  That’s pretty heavy stuff.

50576f919e08719fb8d22dca0585afa9I’m so glad I’m living under God’s grace, and that He is always willing to forgive.  I’m thankful He’s given us His word, and placed stories within those pages that speak to us and teach us His ways.   We fail sometimes, yes, but we have His Spirit available to us, to help us be gracious and thankful.

The idea that grumbling is the opposite of trust has just started to resonate with me.  And I’ve bitten my tongue more than once today, and then offered up a prayer, ” I know You’ve got this.  Thank you for what You are doing in this situation.”   

 

 

Write 31 Days: Two Choices: Grumble or Trust

31 days of JoyI grumble.

I don’t want to be a grumbler.

But I am.

Evidently.

As a woman who looks for Divine intervention in her life, I read my Bible, study my Bible and journal from my Bible.   And lately the word, grumble, has come up way too open-bibleoften for me to ignore any longer.  Once, I hardly even saw it.  Twice, I read back over the phrase.  But after I saw it (and heard it) 4 or 5 times,  I knew God was trying to get my attention.

When I grumble, I allow my circumstances to steal my joy.  And my trust.

Psalm 106: 24-25 “Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word,  but grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the Lord.”

When I complain and whine about anything (and everything) in my life, I am not listening to the voice of the Lord.

GUWG-GRUMBLINGGrumbling, complaining, and whining are not attributes of Christ.

They are not Fruits of the Spirit.

They hamper the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.

Can I go 31 days without grumbling?  Can I replace that grouchy attitude with sweet gratitude?  They are opposite.  I can’t be grumbling and offering thanksgiving at the thSL3UBJNAsame time.

I want to be a woman who trusts God when life is merry, and when life is tough.  I don’t want my circumstances to define who I am.

I am a woman of God.  I trust God.  I believe God.

Do I?

Hmm…  does my grumbling attest to my trust?

Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

trustSo am I going to grumble?  Or am I going to trust God?  I think it’s either/or — can’t be both.

 

Big challenge.

31 days!  I’m taking the challenge!

Seems daunting — both for writing, and for…. well, trusting.

Here we go….  hope you join me!

Are you going to grumble?  Or are you going to trust?

31 days of Joy

 

 

 

 

 

Packing “Manna” locally to Save Children Around the World

Did you know over two million children die every single year from starvation?  2,000,000!   That’s a really big number.  I’m not even sure I can “see” that number, can you?  What does 2,000,000 look like?   We could fill the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis every 11 days with children — who are doomed to die because they do not have enough food.

6200. children. every. single. day.

But that number is still hard to visualize.  Can we even see that many children?  Well, how about one?  … one child?

Moses

Can you see this one?  This is Moses, and he was found in an outdoor toilet in Haiti.  A man passing by heard his cry, and lowered himself down into that filth to save this sewage-covered baby.   The baby was taken to Love A Child Orphanage, where he was named, Moses, because it means, ‘drawn out of the water’.  (I, myself, think that was a very generous name.)

But even still, Moses is on the other side of the world.  Does he touch my life?  Can I really “see” him?  Are you a parent?  A grandparent?  What if, for just a moment, you imagine the face of your child or your grandchild on that photo.

You can see  him now, can’t you?!  I know I can.  Seeing my grandchild’s face on that little body makes it personal; makes it hurt.

It is only by the grace of God that it is NOT my child…or yours.

Love A Child Orphanage is a recipient of Feed My Starving Children MannaPack food.   This orphanage was able to divert some funds and give Moses a special formula.  Four months later, the picture of him shows a remarkable difference.7085519099_0889dc7cae_zLook at that baby now!   Contented, satisfied — even chubby cheeks.

And after the formula, Moses received FMSC MannaPack food.  In the picture below, he looks like a typical 3 or 4 year old.  Look at that smile and sparkle in his eyes!

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What would the world look like if starving children all over the world had enough food?  If they could stop thinking about food ALL THE TIME, and think about… well, 95fa53a7164314ca1271eb812179a633school, for instance.  Or play.  Or friends.  Or any thought other than ‘is there any food?’

 

 

What would happen if we could change these kids…

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Into these kids…

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We have the power to prevent thousands of children from dying every single month.  Feed My Starving Children sent  over 229 million meals to malnourished children last year.  My community helped pack over 700,000 of those meals.   Yours can too!

James 1:27 says,  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Proverbs 22:9 says, The generous will themselves be blessed for they share their food with the poor.

Nothing is more important than children having enough food to…. just survive.

You may not be able to go to Haiti or Honduras or any other foreign country, but your mission field can be right here, close to your community — at any FMSC MobilePack.  Click the link to find a Mobilepack close to you.

If you help pack the food,  someone’s child gets to live.

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Click on link to find a FMSC Mobilepack close to you

 

 

Soaring, Part 2 of Finding My Joy

If you’re just joining me, I hope you take the time to read the previous post where I expressed my struggle to find joy in my Christian walk.    I think I left you with something like, “Being a Christian isn’t joyful, it’s hard work”.

You can read it here.

God did indeed have my attention.  He knows that trials are often the engine that drivepraying us to our knees.  In my loneliness and frustration, I prayed.  I’m sure it wasn’t anything eloquent or pretty.   It probably went something like, “God, help me find you!  I don’t want to do this anymore.”

There was no bolt of lightening or great big sign in the sky.  And God didn’t take all my problems away, but He did answer that prayer…

I joined a Bible study at a large church close to our home.  Those ladies will never know the life-line they threw to me, and how it literally saved my “spiritual” life.   It was my first introduction to a 51klv5FZX+L__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Beth Moore Bible study.  We would be studying the Old Testament tabernacle in her book,  A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place.  I had never heard of Beth Moore, but I had always been intrigued by the tabernacle, and I just thought it would be an interesting study.

But God had something else in mind … after all, I had prayed for Him to show himself to me.  Why would he not answer THAT prayer?

As I began to study those lessons, I can remember waking up at 5 a.m. many days, and almost hearing God whisper in my ear, “Come, I have something to show you”.  5 a.m.!!  Seriously?  But God had NEVER woke me up before, and it was exciting.  I was loving this study.  I was loving God’s Word.  Something was happening.  It didn’t happen overnight, but I was changing.

Slowly I was finding my joy, my peace….my God.  How?  In ancient text about the Old Testament tabernacle, of all places?  But I discovered in those pages that God’s Word was alive and active and relevant.   Words written thousands of years ago were helping me cope with distraught daughters.  Those words were helping me encourage my husband.  Those words were helping me get through my days with a new contentment.  The weariness had lifted.

I found joy not by my doing, acting, or working, but by seeking Him; studying His word, praying and keeping my focus on Him.   Were my girls still unhappy?  Oh yeah.  Was I still sick and tired and sometimes stressed-out in our new situation?  Absolutely.  Did Jon’s job go “south”?  Well, yes, it did.  But still, I had this inner joy that circumstances couldn’t take away.

Throughout that study and the next one, I continued to wake up early and run down the stairs!  Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”    …wait upon the Lord.isaiah_40_31_niv2My focus needs to be on God.

My perspective had always been wrong.

I still go to church every Sunday.  In fact, I still DO many of things I did when I was that young, frustrated woman.  But my motivation has changed.

And my perspective has changed.

I’m looking UP these days — not out and about.

Do you have a joy that can’t be shaken by your circumstances?  Are you looking out into the world to find a contentment that can only be found in God?

There is a open-door-blue-sky1promise in the book of Matthew, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  

“God, help me find you!” 

Listen, can you hear it?  He’s whispering…

“Come, I have something to show you…”

“Being a Christian Is Work” Part 1 of Finding My Joy

20150811_123136Hey there!  Do you ever just feel kind of bogged down in the nitty-gritty of life?  Just trying to make it through the day?  Even as you’re checking things off on your to-do list, does it still feel like drudgery instead of accomplishment.

Is there any joy in all that doing?

I’ve been thinking a lot about joy this week as I am preparing to teach a Bible study this fall in my church.  The study will be on the book of Philippians, a book about joy.

Joy.  It’s kind of illusive at times, isn’t it?

Years ago, we were attending a rather legalistic church.   The Bible was taught in this church, and as a young Christian, I was devouring the sermons and teaching.  However, looking back, I see that the sermons stressed action, doing, and works, but rarely talked about feelings, love and motives.

As a young mother of 4 young girls, I was DOING; I was ACTING; I was WORKING.  I 08111501was attending every church service — Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, and you better believe if there was a Missionary Week, we were there EVERY single night.  I attended a women’s meeting every Tuesday morning.  Even if the girls were exhausted, even if I was stressed, even if other things were left undone.   We were there.

Or we weren’t “good Christians”.

I was saved by grace, but living under the umbrella of works.

I remember feeling the weariness;  I remember doing all the “right” things; checking off boxes on that list.  One day, feeling stressed out and blue, I asked to meet with the wife of our traveling evangelist (they were home on sabbatical).  This family was held in high regard in our church, and I admired this woman from afar many times.  She was the mother of 5 children and taught Bible studies all over the country.   She had it altogether, and I wanted her secret!

We arranged to meet in her small, humble kitchen over coffee.  Uncomfortable at first, I finally explained to her that I was frustrated, weary and tired.  I was doing everything o-COFFEE-TEA-TASTE-facebookthat was expected of me and I felt worn out, used and — anything but joyful.

“I have no joy.  Being a Christian is not joyful; it’s work!”

I don’t remember much more about the conversation.   I only know when I left her house that day, I was overwhelmed with sadness.  This woman had no idea what to tell me.  She, too, was doing, acting, working.

And she had no joy.

Sometimes God has to MOVE us to enable us to see things differently.   Nothing like a new perspective from a new perspective!   A few years after that wife-to-wife encounter, our family relocated to Denver, Colorado.  We left behind two “just-grown” daughters; we took two very unhappy daughters with us, a 7 year old and a 15 year old.8444803021_dfc2bcfe5f_z

My life was a hot mess:   I had unhappy children, trying to adjust to a new school, feeling lonely and betrayed.  I think both girls cried themselves to sleep for the first 6 months.   I had developed undiagnosed bronchial pneumonia and was sick for weeks.  My husband was trying to adjust to a new job situation, and things were not going as planned in the office.   I had no support system, but I was doing everything in my power to make this place home.  I was scared.  I was tired.  And I was lonely.

And God had my attention.

The time in Colorado was challenging, but it was a life-changing experience, and I often refer to it as “the best year of my life, and the worst year of my life” (why we stayed only one year is for another post at a later time).

Tomorrow, and I’ll share how God took that lonely time in my life to change me forever.  Join me here for, Finding My Joy, Part 2.

 

 

 

 

Radiant Like Moses

cropped-gochenaurs-4319.jpg“Connie, what have you been up to?  Your face is radiant like Moses!”

That is how my Pastor greeted me on Sunday morning — after Speak Up Conference.  I thought it was a fitting choice of words, using a tongue-tied character to describe me.  Moses!

I attended my very first women’s conference when I was 18 years old.  I had been a Christian for 2 years by that time, was newly married, and my sister-in-law asked me to attend Win-Some Women in Northern Indiana.WinsomeW

I was blown away by God that weekend, and it was a life-changing experience.  I came away thinking, THAT is how I want to talk about Jesus.  THAT is how I want my life to look.  I want everyone to know THAT Jesus.

I assumed everyone went home feeling THAT way.  “I want to speak and tell…”

That retreat long ago was amazing, and I know many lives were changed.  But now, looking back, most of those women probably did not go home with this burning desire to speak and to tell.  I think most of us went home inspired, refreshed, and equipped to follow and live for Jesus, but God whispered different messages to each of us.  A personal calling, a purpose, if you will.   I wish I had understood that then.

I was young.  I didn’t have a college education.  Those women were in their 40’s —  I couldn’t be like them; I couldn’t do what they do.  My words often got twisted and came out funny.  I panicked in front of a crowd.  They were gifted.  I was not.

I didn’t recognize it as a call from God; I just felt desire in my heart.  Didn’t everyone else feel it too?  I have felt that tug, that same desire, for a long time.   That retreat was 40 years ago.   40 years!  Again, my Pastor’s choice of Moses makes me smile.

How could I not recognize that stirring at Win-Some Women as a call from God?  Surely the devil would not give me a desire to talk about Jesus!  No, he would not, but he was giving me advice:  ‘You don’t have an education, you get tongue-tied, and you panic.  They are gifted.  You are not.’  I allowed that voice to be loudest — God was speaking softly in my heart, but Satan was screaming in my head.

Insecurities.  Comparisons.  Fear.

20150727_170501A friend asked me to attend Speak Up with her, and since I have passionately been pursuing writing lately, I eagerly said, yes.  My church graciously paid for the conference because I am teaching a Bible study this fall.  I am NOT writing the study; I am teaching the study.  Therefore, I felt compelled to choose the Speakers Track at Speak Up to honor the church’s investment.   As I sadly checked that box on the registration form, I envied all the writers on the Writers Track.  Thankfully, we were allowed to “cross over” to attend some Writers Breakout sessions even if on the Speakers Track.

Funny how God works things out…

When our first small group met, I was crazy-scared-let-me-go-throw-up nervous about my 3 minute speaking presentation.  On the one hand, 3 minutes feels like a lifetime to stand and talk in front of strangers, but seriously, to say something meaningful, 3 minutes is a nanosecond.  But as the weekend progressed, I received good feedback on my “speaking” presentations.

And God was stirring my heart.20150727_170807

I found myself changing my schedule from Writers Breakout sessions to Speakers and devouring everything I could on that Track.

Those who know me intimately know I have been questioning my role and seeking God fiercely in recent months.   I don’t know what “speaking” will look like or how my role will unfold.  It may be a Bible study on Tuesday evenings with 5 ladies — and that’s okay.  If I can impact the lives of 5 women with the message of Jesus and how He changes lives, then I’m walking forward and not turning back.

The devil is NOT going to win!  I heard the call loud and clear this time.  40 years…

No more desert for me! 

No Insecurities.  No Comparisons.  No Fear.

Driving home from Speak Up on Saturday evening, I thanked God for this “retreat” and I asked Him for confirmation.  “Please give me a sign if my heart is speaking truth to me”.  I love confirmations, don’t you?  God can be very creative when we ask for a sign.  For instance…

After sharing just a bit of why I was “radiant like Moses”, my Pastor then said,  “Connie, would you be willing to go up front today and share with the congregation what God is doing in your life”?

Up front?   Ummm…

I think  He has a sense of humor too.

How about you?  Are you called to teach? to write?  to speak?  When did you first feel that stirring in your heart?  Did God whisper in your heart?  Or did He announce it loud and clear?  I would LOVE to hear your story…

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.”    Hebrews 10:35

The photo below is not from my first retreat, but look what I found 🙂

Yes!  That is our Carol Kent.  How fun is that!

 

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25 Reasons Why We’ve Made It 41 Years

Wedding 1974

Wedding 1974

We just celebrated 41 years of marriage.  That’s a very long time.  We married young, too young really, but somehow we’ve made it work.  Thinking about this, I jotted down a few reasons why I think we’ve made it 41 years… in no particular order, and with tongue in cheek for a few ….

  1. We made a vow to God
  2. We made a covenant with each other
  3. We made a promise to family and friends
  4. We created 4 children who count on us to hold it together
  5. We have grandchildren who need an example of what true commitment looks like
  6. He doesn’t beat me
  7. I don’t nag him (too much)
  8. He’s handy and can fix things
  9. I make a pretty darn good cherry pie
  10. We really do love each other
  11. We have never fallen out of love… at the same time
  12. We patch things up pretty quickly because I don’t like conflict; neither does he
  13. He mowed the grass for 35 years; now I mow it… life changes…. we adapt
  14. When he tells me he’s taken out the trash, I respond with “I love you too” (life got so much better when the epiphany of his actions became clear to me)
  15. I learned he’s not a mind reader, but when I tell him – with words – what I need, he responds with, “I can do that”PD_0147
  16. I respect him and he loves me for that – confides and trusts in me
  17. Because he loves me in that way, I can trust him to lead
  18. He wants the best for me
  19. I want the best for him
  20. We have never said the “D” word – ever
  21. Divorce is not an option
  22. The grass is NOT greener on the other side…it is the same grass with the same weeds
  23. As we just keep working on the weeds, flowers do bloom — eventually
  24. We muck through until it gets better
  25. It always gets better

 

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Eden Needs Gethsemane

20150402_143819As I look out over my backyard on this dreary, rainy spring day, I see several gardens that need attention.  I wish it was 20 degrees warmer and sunny today.  This is the only time of the year that I get an “itch” to work in the garden.  I love the cooler spring days and the uncluttered dirt patch.  Once the temperature rises above 80 degrees or the weeds get out of control, I lose all passion for gardening.   I am a fair-weather gardener, at best.

It is a few days before Easter,  and as I stand on my back porch, watching the rain soak the bare dirt, my mind wanders to a couple of other gardens, Eden and Gethsemane.  Scripture teaches that Eden’s garden was full of life and joy, and peace.  Perfect peace until Eve, and then Adam, made a life-altering choice.  That very choice is why the other garden, Gethsemane, became renown many years later.

The Bible tells us that man failed miserably in that first garden.  Life “ended” for all man-kind.  Death won.  Man was defeated and separated from God.  Eden had been a beautiful place to walk and meet with God,  now it was a place guarded by angels, keeping man out.  The scene is startling.  Shocking, actually, as we are only a few pages into the first book of the Bible at this point!

I am thankful that the story didn’t end there.  You see, there’s that other garden…

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Grief, pain, and agonizing prayer are what come to mind at the mention of that garden. Gethsemane, where Christ was “sorrowful and overwhelmed”.

Gethsemane, where Christ prayed,

“…that this cup might be taken from me”.

Gethsemane, where Christ submits and willingly accepts God’s plan,

“…not my will, but Yours be done”.

And yet, Gethsemane, and its path to the cross are NOT why the story goes on.

Christ’s death on the cross and his burial cry defeat.

His beloved followers felt doom and gloom at the foot of the cross.  The next day was most likely a day of sorrow and quiet reflection.  I’m sure they thought it was the end.

Eden needs Gethsemane, but not because its path led Christ to the cross (historically, many men have died on a cross).

Eden needs Gethsemane because it eventually leads us to the empty tomb.

The empty tomb is why the story continues…

I hope you know this Christ, this divine man who didn’t stay in the grave, but rose up and defeated death once and for all.  In that garden long ago, he prayed for me and he prayed for you!

He willingly went to the cross, not to end his life, but to give us eternal life.

Hallelujah!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

 

Chasing the Illusion of Peace

2014-07-12My little 11 month old grandson is a beautiful baby, no bias on my part (smile).  He is a mild-mannered, easy-going child.  The kind of baby you can love on, and rocky-bye, and snuggle with, and then just toss into bed — and he goes to sleep.  That kind of baby.  The modern, child-rearing books call him an “angel” baby.  I agree.

I have the joy of keeping him two days a week while his Mama works.  He has been easy to care for, in part, because he has been such a “sleeper”.  He gets up to eat, get changed, see his new world, for about 30 minutes,  and then decides to go back to bed.

Don’t we wish we could do that sometimes?  Eat, look around a bit, and then go back to our slumber.  There are many days when I do not want to see the world we live in.  I don’t want to turn on the news.  I don’t want to watch any TV dramas.  I just want to turn off the television, stay home, and hide.

The world seems to be falling apart around us.  It’s hard to listen to the news; to hear all the hatred and destruction.  People, everywhere, are searching for answers.  There is no hope.  There is no peace.peace-in-sand

Peace can’t be found in people, places, or things.   Hope does not come from material possessions.  The world cannot give peace because the world does not possess peace — it is not hers to give.  Hope and peace are gifts from God.  Perfect, satisfying peace is given through the Spirit of God.  He is peace.  It is His to give.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”   John 14:27

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  Isaiah 26:3

Yesterday my grandson was crawling across my living room floor, and he saw my reflection in the glass on the fireplace.  I was actually sitting behind him, holding up his bottle, but he raced1-IMG_6774 anxiously towards that reflection.  He was hungry, and he knew Gramma had the bottle.   When he reached the fireplace, he stood up and pounded on the glass.  He saw what he thought he wanted, but it was only an illusion.  He began to cry, finding no comfort in that reflection of his Gramma.

Are we chasing illusions?  Are we  looking for peace in all the wrong places?   Are we seeking hope in things of this world that only promise,  but don’t deliver?

Jesus is right beside us.  Look to Him for the peace you seek.  He is not an illusion.

He is peace.

He is hope.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

 

 

Am I a Mom or What?

A new chapter has begun.  Not sure how I feel about it yet.  Well, that’s not true. Yes,  I do.  My feelings are raw — like a fresh wound.   I don’t like it at all.  I want to turn back the clock.  I don’t want to go down this road.  I knew this day was coming.  I should have been better prepared. The emotion and tears have actually taken me by surprise. empty nest3 I thought I was ready.   But life has been too busy to worry about it; each day held enough problems of its own.  
 
Now what?  I can’t just sit here.  Or can I?  Who would know…or care?  My girls are thriving.  They are living their lives just as I hoped, dreamed and prayed they would since they were babies.  They are healthy and strong women.  They love me, their family and God.  What more could I ask?
 
The party is mine alone.  My husband doesn’t want to join me.  Hmmm.   Whatever. 
 
My mind knows better.  I am a blessed woman.  So blessed.  But my heart has some catching up to do, and it is being slow to respond.  It feels tired — like it doesn’t want to do its job today.  It wants to find a comfortable cushy chair, hunker down, and stare off into space all day.  Maybe tomorrow too.  Because in reality, it doesn’t feel like it has a job today or tomorrow. 
 
Now what?  How many times have I wished for just this: time to myself.  Time to do exactly what I want to do. And I know that is not even a rational, logical thought.  Because has my 18 year old really needed me to care for her around the clock?  Not hardly.  She has been independent for quite some time.   For years now, I could take a bubble bath at 2:00 in the afternoon if I chose to do so.  So why this lost feeling? 
 
 
Life has been busy.  So busy changing that I have not had time to think.  Changing.  That is an understatement.  Careers. Jobs. Houses. College. Locations.  Yep, lots of change — happening so fast and requiring so much energy that I almost didn’t notice. Until now.  And NOW seems very quiet and strange.   Maybe I’m lost because I have no children, no home, no friends, no town, no church. (remember I said pity party)  I am in limbo in so many areas.   Even getting groceries caused me to pause in the entrance of the store and swallow hard.  I asked myself (like a book I read a couple of years ago) “do I even know what I like to eat?”  And I guess that is it in a nutshell:  what do I like?  who am I?  If I am not a mom, who am I?  Do I know? 


I know I know  I know.  I am still a “mom”.  But I am not mothering.  And for over 32 years, until NOW, I have been daily, actively mothering.  
 
So this new chapter is going to be about figuring out who I am.  Because I cannot depend on my children to define me anymore.  They have lives of their own.  And I want them to thoroughly live their lives without worrying about me and what I’m doing — or not doing.    Who am I?  What do I want to be now that I am  all “grown up” ? 
 
Wow,  I really don’t know.  And it’s kinda scaring me.