Today I received news that we’d been waiting to arrive since the beginning of the year. My Granny (mom’s mom) was diagnosed with a second round of Lymphoma late last year. She’d been in remission for about three years. In January her oncologist and my mom decided to stop chemo. Really over the last month her health has gotten worse. My mom believes she may have had a small stroke which didn’t help matters.
We’d been praying that God would take her and cease her suffering. She’d grown delusional and her internal clock was backwards, thinking it was evening in the morning and vice versa. She’d stopped eating, and was was receiving Morphine & Adivan (anti-anxiety) every two hours. Yesterday she was transferred to hospice.
She was often insufferable. She’d call when we were little and lecture us on money and sex. But she loved.
She was very legalistic in her Christian faith. She’d ask everyone if they knew Jesus. Even though she may not have been tactful in witnessing she cared more about the souls of the lost than most Christians.
In the last nine years she gained three great grandsons, a granddaughter-in-law and a grandson-in-law.
Today she saw Jesus face-to-face. She worships at His feet.
On Sunday as we celebrate the resurrection of our most magnificent Savior she will celebrate with Him. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Easter.
Yesterday was the first day in four months that I wore a normal shoe without arch supports in my left shoe or an orthodic boot.
I’ve learned a few things about walking in the last few months.
Sometimes, it takes patience.
Sometimes, it’s painful.
Sometimes, you need a little help.
In the past week and pretty much the last few months I keep turning over and over in my head not walking in fear. Conversations with Shawn, blog posts other people have posted. It keeps coming back like a little bouncy ball.
I’m learning that I’m not as acceptable to change as I thought I was. Maybe it’s the skeptic that has grown in me since marrying a pessimist. I obviously don’t want to walk in fear. We are commanded not to fear.
Fear is not only immobilizing but can be convoluted also. What we chalk up to “waiting on God” in many cases is fear. Fear to take a step into the unknown. Fear of leaving our comfort zone.
When we walk in fear we do not walk in joy or faith. We are relying on ourselves and our ability to discern a situation. We cannot grow when we walk in fear.
Learning to not walk in fear is part of our sanctification. That road is is not always easy, but it must be walked.
I was dealing with some discouragement and envy a week or so ago. Thanks to this post by blogger Mandy Steward which Shawn turned me onto. Which lead me to other bloggers she mentioned in the post. Which lead me to saying this to him, “Geeze I suck.” Which lead Shawn to ask why I would say that. My reply? “Because I’m not creative and I’m surrounded by creative people.”
I really don’t think that I’m creative. I think that I get random bursts of creativity. I create a funky piece of jewelery or create a really cool looking card. These bursts are rare. I sit around in the background watching others create masterpieces not to mention my amazingly creative, hot husband create things out of nothing.
So in the midst of my discouragement and envy I decided to take a giant step. Do something I’d never done before. At lunch I found myself deliberately in the canvas and paint aisles at Michael’s. I had a small budget since we’re waiting on Shawn’s payday but I came home with a few things.
I actually really enjoyed painting. I’m no Monet, Picasso, or even Mandy Steward but I tried. I found something new I liked doing. Here is the final product. I even Modge Podged a photo of us to the canvas.
I don’t take compliments well. I don’t know why, I just don’t. Which is weird since my Love Language is Affirmation. I don’t know how to respond when complimented. I feel…………weird.
My husband is my greatest fan and the major source of all compliments. He makes me feel loved (see previous paragraph mentioning love language). Shawn leaves for work before I do and is home before I am. In other words there are 10 hours of the day he doesn’t see me. He sees me at the end of the day with worn makeup, flat hair where it’s supposed to be poofy, rumpled clothes. He finds me beautiful. In that moment.
Today (Monday) was one of those days. I was satisfied (settled) with what I’d chosen to wear – which as ladies know can mean going through your entire wardrobe twice before finding something – my skirt probably could have stood to be ironed and my bangs hidden forehead could have definitely been less oily. Yet, Shawn’s response when seeing me was that “I looked good” (husband speak for beautiful).
Shawn’s favorite word for me is fancy. To him everything I do is fancy. I joke with him that I could be in a gunny sack and he’d still think I was fancy.
I may never be able to take compliments, and never think of myself as fancy, but he does and that makes all the difference in the world and makes me feel loved and beautiful.
So I’m learning about self control today. Self control touches so many areas of our life. Everything from not eating the entire bowl of Peanut M&M’s (in my defense the bowl was no where near even being a quarter full) to not flipping off your computer monitor when you get an email that makes you mad (just being honest and transparent here).
I’m seeing a natural progression in my lack of self control. It goes a little something like this (fast forward past the fall of man and the fact that even as Christians we all still struggle with the sin nature):
I really don’t like being like this. (Of course does anyone really?) The road to sanctification is not easy. I am grateful the Lord wants to dredge out the nasty business in my life.
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. – Psalm 7:17
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? – Psalm 8: 3 & 4
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you. – Psalm 16:1 & 2
I love you, O Lord, my strength. – Psalm 18:1
O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. – Psalm 26:8
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. – Psalm 29:1 & 2
Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. – Psalm 31:21
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:1-5
(All passages ESV)
I was relistening to a message yesterday on my way to work. In short the message is about being uncomfortable and using the gifts God has given you. It is an amazing message and like I said I was driven to listen to it a second time which will probably turn into a third and fourth. With all my thoughts of uncomfortableness lately messages like this drive it home and make me think.
As I was listening I realized that one of the first things I have to give up in my desire to be uncomfortable is my pride, and in my pride my selfishness. My pride and selfishness will only hinder what God wants to do. They will be roadblocks preventing me from even taking a step.
If I want to do one single thing for God, I have to be taken out of the equation. A vessel is just that…a vessel. An empty subject ready to be used by its owner.
For the last week, Shaun Groves has been in Kenya with other various bloggers documenting and sharing how Compassion International is serving and rescuing the people of Kenya. When I say people I mean more than just the children that are sponsored through Compassion. The sponsorship of these children changes their entire family’s lives.
Shaun is doing a very thought provoking image blog category while on this trip called Third World Dictionary. Photographic images of everyday things you and I take for granted. There was one image that really hit me especially hard.
It seems over the last year I’ve grown to hate doing laundry. And that is only laundry for Shawn and I. No children. It just seems to be a bother. Remembering to transfer it to the dryer and don’t even mention folding/putting it away. Ahhhh.
I’ve only had to do my laundry outside for a few months……and it was still done in a washing machine. I haven’t had to brave inclement weather to wash my clothes. I’ve never washed my cloths in tubs smaller than a plastic kids swimming pool. I’ve never washed my laundry in dirty water.
I felt convicted over my complaining when I have it so easy. I printed out this picture and have hung it up in my laundry area. A reminder of this advantage I have. That I shouldn’t be complaining but should be grateful.
If you don’t want to be messed up. Don’t want to be convicted or have tears streaming down your face, do not click the link below.
If you want to see lives that have been changed. If you want to see hope in the eyes of beautiful people. If you want to be a little uncomfortable click the link below.
What is it that causes a 19 year old girl to pack up everything and move to South Africa? Or a young woman to move to Uganda to be a Kindergarten teacher, only to have God move her to start an orphan child sponsorship program? Or a man who when visiting South Korea was heart broken for the orphans and would start an organization that would change the lives of over a million children in third world nations?
For a few weeks now God has been laying on my heart that He wants me to be uncomfortable. It is like that nagging little tickle in the back of your throat, seemingly always there. The thing is, is that I WANT to be uncomfortable. I’ve lived nearly 35 years worth of life being comfortable in church and not doing anything. I want to change. I want to make an impact on the world that God has placed me in.
I’ve never been to Africa or South Korea but I’m pretty sure it isn’t comfortable to live or serve in a Christian ministry there. It sure isn’t comfortable riding 3100 miles on a hard, skinny bike seat to raise money for Blood Water Mission – in the middle of summer – through PHOENIX. Or smelling the constant reminder of death in Haiti as you dig through hundreds of pounds of concrete.
I realized yesterday that being uncomfortable is a hard thing to do (insert obligatory, “yeah duh” here). But for me it isn’t the being uncomfortable, it’s the getting there. Like I mentioned above I’ve had nearly 35 years worth of being comfortable. My parents weren’t the type to live life spiritually uncomfortable. We went to church, taught Sunday school, taught VBS day in day out. That was my life growing up. Now as of about a year or so ago God’s breaking the mold that has been my existence. He’s given me a heart for the poor. He’s made me to fall in love with India and long to see justice for the 50 million plus living in her slums.
I am praying now, with more fervor that God would continue to make me uncomfortable. It is one of those prayers like praying for patience or humility. It doesn’t come easily or without cost. The end result though will be beautiful and for the glory of God alone.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.