Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Revisiting a Season...

I’ve had many a ‘duh moments’ with God in my life. Those moments of revelations when I FINALLY get what He’s been trying to tell me for weeks, if not months…and I then feel utterly ridiculous for not putting such simple or such blatant concepts together sooner.

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those moments. The connection finally clicked, a revelation illuminated in my heart…after feeling like I’ve spent a year in the darkness, wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, on the edge of the unknown.

I didn’t have to spend this year in the dark, feeling restless, frustrated, and confused. But I realized I had let a lie slip in, quietly unnoticed, until it took hold and set up anchor and even though I would have never been able to put words to it, I believed it with everything in me.

A year ago, when I was laid off, God started calling me into a specific season in life. But I didn't fully believe Him. I thought it couldn’t possibly be true, so I ignored it…refused to embrace it, and kept searching for the “right” answer. 

I know this sounds silly, and I’m trying to be general here, so I hope I make sense.

But the season I was being invited into, was a season I’ve been in before. And herein lies the lie. Subconsciously, I didn’t believe I could be in that season again. It was a great season. A precious season. And being in that season was probably the most favorite time of my life. And somehow, someway…I convinced myself I couldn’t ever relive that kind of continued blissfulness with God. I could easily show other people the path to that season. I could be back in it for perhaps a moment.  I could cheer for the ones who were “lucky” enough to hear God calling them into that kind of season for a lifetime. I could forever live on the memories of that season in my own life…and on the depths of my relationship with God that were created during that season………but, I believed that was it for me...the season had come and gone. And I didn't need to waste timing pretending I could go back. 

I don’t know why I believed this. I don’t know when this untruth crept in and took hold. But it did. So when I thought I heard God saying that kind of season was upon us again, I didn’t believe it. When prophetic words came from those around me, I thought they were just being sweet, and didn’t really get it. I'd been there before, I already did that. They didn't understand that God wouldn't let me live it again. 
  
And I don’t know why suddenly, the veil was ripped and the revelation was suddenly mine. But it happened. I mentioned it in my latest 1000 gift post the moment it happened. A simple haircut being given by a girl who loves God and seeks after His heart. Her tender words telling me she had been praying for me before I came over…and that she wanted to share what she heard God say. And as she started sharing, I immediately started to push her words away, she was someone who lived her entire life in this kind of season, of course that’s the view she had for everyone. But then the tangible presence of the Lord rolled through that kitchen and around my heart. God apprehended my heart and quieted my spirit. And suddenly, I got it. He was re-inviting me into that season. And I could step into it. I was worthy of another round. Why would I possibly think it was ever a one-time offer? It wouldn’t be exactly the same, of course it would be different, with new depths dug out, new treasures discovered. But the concept of the season was the same. And of course someone (including myself) could be in that season a second time……………………………and a third time…………and a forth……and a fifth……

And suddenly there was peace. A peace that flooded my being and settled gracefully around me. A deep, deep peace fully enveloping me...something I haven’t felt in almost two years. And as the rest of the evening went along and even as I laid my head on the pillow that night, I was still overwhelmed by the waves of His tangible presence He continually washed over me...bringing peace, bringing healing, bringing a much needed refreshment to my dry and weary soul. 

I felt ridiculous for believing such a lie. For letting it keep me out of that place I had been invited to, for over a year now. Momentary fear crept up as I wondered if I had just wasted a year. But the quick reassurance of God kept me from that lie also.

Job or no job, that isn’t what this is about. It’s much more. There are still many parts of this time in my life that God is being purposefully quiet about. But still, I’m at peace with that also. What matters is that I’m content, with Him, with where I’m at, with who I was created to be. I'm secure in my current stance. And I'm diving headfirst into this season....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Comfort Zones

Things can change quickly around here. And by here, I mean, my life. God is MESSING with my comfort zone. My physical comfort zone. And I’m trying to take deep relaxing breaths and just go with the flow of it.

I love my home...2 bedroom, 2 bath, fantastically big kitchen of never ending counters (unheard of for apt)…a spacious 1050 sq feet of loveliness. I’ve loved the peacefulness and coziness of it. And I thought my days of roommatehood were long over…until Prince Charming finally decided to show up and sweep me off my feet. But a year and a half ago my bff and her son moved to the Springs, and were going to stay with me for just a few months…..but one thing led to another…and they are still here. (SUCH a blessing since my unemployment)

But peace and coziness still abounded…and in the moments that it wasn’t abundant…I could escape into the refuge of my bedroom, curled up in the down blanket and fluffy pillows and blissfully block out the world.

Then 3 weeks ago, a dear dear friend and her daughter were passing through Denver so we ran up to see her for a quick visit. One thing led to another, and it became evident that she needed out of her current situation, and quickly. So last week, in a whirlwind of activities- stuff packed up and moved to the garage to make more room...pinterest projects moved to the back burner.... priorities suddenly drastically shifted...we then headed over a few states, loaded them up, and brought them back here.

So now there’s 5 of us…in my somewhat peaceful, suddenly not so spacious 1050 sq feet apt. I’m sharing my bedroom with them…and have given up my bed in lieu of the couch. It’s not ideal…it’s not the long term solution, obviously. But it is what needed to happen in our lives and what God told us to do. 

People think we’re crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the question “How are ya’ll gonna do that?” the past couple weeks. To which my reply has always been simple, “I don't know. But you just do what you gotta do.” And I’m glad this is the kind of person I’ve chosen to be.

My bff works with exchange students, and one of her top priorities is finding homes. I’ve wanted to grab the phone from her and yell at who's ever on the other end as I’ve heard people’s rejecting answers and long list of excuses as to why they can’t host…especially when it all comes down to the fact that they just don’t want their comfort zone messed with. It seems the more space people have, and the better off they are financially, the less likely they are to want to host. The ones who say yes are the single moms who struggle with day to day routines, it’s the ones with small houses where siblings double up to make space, it’s the families with way too much on their plate already, it’s the dad’s who are going through chemo, but still get the bigger picture of what needs to happen in their world…….these are the people that open up their homes and their lives. During her placement season every year I’m overwhelmed at the people who say yes and the ones who say no. I’ve been humbled and challenged by the ones who have opened up their home despite circumstance that would understandably excuse them from even thinking about it. And...especially this year, I’ve been annoyed and almost offended (yes, I had to repeatedly check my attitude) at those who could have easily said yes, but just chose not to because of flimsy excuses that boil down to not wanting their beloved comfort zones compromised.  

God has called us to reach out and help the world. He’s called us to ignore our own comfort zones and live according to His will alone. He’s called us to connect with people and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to sacrifice till it hurts because you know it will make a difference in someone else’s life? Are you willing to let go of your personal comfort and truly be open to hearing God tell you what to say YES too, even if you can't possibly see how it's going to work in the natural? Can you become so content with God, be connected on such a deep and intimate level, that HE is your only comfort zone worth having?

And of course this has to come with the leading of His Spirit. Jumping out and doing the things you're NOT called to do, just for the sake of doing it, only leads to misery. But I'm talking about just being willing, open to say YES to God, even when it doesn't fit with how you'd like life to look. 

5 people in my little home. Five. But these are my people, they are my tribe. This was an easy yes, despite losing boundaries of my own physical comfort zone. And besides, 5 is the number that represents GRACE…….so surely that is the theme that shall abound in this season. (That is the promise I am clinging too...and which is already highly evident in my life, and in our home.)

And I'm not going to lie.......even though it jumped around in the order of my list.....my plan to get everyone I know and love to move to Colorado is moving along quite nicely...........

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My cup runneth over...

My mind is full and my heart is overflowing. It's been a busy yet very precious 24 hours and I have much to contemplate. But I've been wanting to post my Gift List all week, so I added a few this evening and decided to share...

271- Reading Gone with the Wind…and crossing it off my Someday… List.
272- Getting lost in the fullness of the story of Scarlett…and letting go, at least for a moment, of her procrastinating mentality I adopted as a child. After all, tomorrow is another day…
273- My dvr. I really don’t know how I’d keep my sanity without it.
274- Reruns of M*A*S*H. I know! But I became addicted to it as a teen. (I was watching for the episode with Patrick Swayze…and then I started watching to see if I could see Radar’s deformed hand…and before I knew it, I was hooked!) And really…even though I’ve seen the episodes dozens of times, I STILL laugh out loud. I don’t have them on dvd’s so when there’s a rerun on tv, it really makes me happy.
275- Semi-spontaneous dinner stops on a road trip to connect with road-tripping friends Paige & Linda, who were headed in the opposite direction.
276- Connecting with people in Texas on my last visit that I haven’t been able to connect with in a long time…some since I moved to CO five years ago!
277- Despite record heat all summer, it ever so slightly cooled off while there…making it somewhat bearable for my heat-hating self!
278- Mini-me niece Bekah coming back with us and spending over a month here in CO.
279- Cuddling with her at night. (even though the cuddling eventually turned into her hogging the bed and trying to push me out as the night progressed)
280- Passer-throughers! Colorado seems to be quite the happening place for people driving to or through. I’ve been able to connect with so many people! The latest was my family from Kansas…and then a close friend that I hardly see, who was in Denver for a night.
281- Making new connections here in CO, from very unexpected ways.
282- The opportunity to be used by God, to reach out and make relationships with others, in a city that can be very secluding and isolating.
283- The precious sweet prayers of my Selah Tuesday girls…bringing much needed refreshment and encouragement to my dry and weary soul.
284- Email exchanges with a friend sharing freak outs, questions, prayer requests, confidences, encouragement and support.
285- Getting to support a missionary WHILE getting my hair cut. You can’t beat that.
286- Her treasured words, that finished what God had started in my heart the night before at Selah.
287- Hearing how she had been praying for me before I got to her house. (overwhelmed me, because we don’t know each other that well)
288- Listening to the voice of God coming through her words, bringing reiteration of the exact words He spoke through my friend Paige last week, then the massive new revelation that flooded my heart, and the sweet presence of the Lord that was felt in tangible waves as she cut my hair...and the continued waves I've felt the rest of the evening.
289- Closure to the heart and mind tug of war, wondering if I had been forgotten by God.

290- For the first time in months…being truly, totally, completely content with exactly where I’m at in life.........in the Waiting Room.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Me, Scarlett, and a little bit of crazy

The epic adventures of Vulnerable Jenn, the Nut Job…

I did it. I read Gone With The Wind. All itty bitty tiny font, small margined, 719 pages of it. Now for those of you who have read it, and even have read it several times, that may not seem like a big deal to you…but it was a HUGE deal to me…because it’s been on my list of Wanna Be Accomplishments for quite some time…so I am embracing this triumph with arms wide open.

I have loved the movie GWTW for as long as I can remember...and was quoting it before I even knew about its existence. (My family basically converses in movie/tv quotes…mostly Saturday Night Live or Steve Martin movies, but Gone with the Wind is also right on up there, cause we like to keep it classy) Somewhere in my childhood, while watching a documentary on the making of GWTW, I realized it actually started as a book...and I decided that I definitely wanted to read it someday.

And there it is. The trap was set.

Unfortunately, a trait that drives me utterly crazy about myself, and I’m desperately trying to wipe away from my life altogether…is that I live with a list…a LONG list…of ‘Someday Goals’. I have 7934208019203 projects/goals/etc in my head at all times…and I don’t know what happened to myself as a kid, but I became a perpetual procrastinator with such things. The list continually grows, because I add more and more to it without ever crossing anything off. Everything I wanted to do became “when I’m older…” “someday, when this, this and this is done, I’ll do this…” “When I have time, I’m going to read this, repaint that, or write about…” Plus, I suck at prioritizing myself. I can prioritize the heck out of someone else’s issues. I can see the big picture of things and see the plans/steps in how to get there in an instant, and can start systematically and efficiently knocking the steps out …with everything except my own life. Even when I step into the workplace, I can see if for myself, or my job position. But when I step back into my own personal world…ppssht, out goes my own visual direction.

GWTW was on that list of perpetual goals...held for 25+ years. (Slightly ironic that I continually procrastinated reading a story about a woman continually procrastinating and choosing to think about things tomorrow.) But sometime last year, the concept crept back up into the forefront of my mind and I began searching for an old copy of the book. Part of me just wanted to own it, cause that would be cool…but of course would then hopefully lead to one step closer...to one day...hopefully... maybe...actually reading it. Then, a while back, while out shopping with my Aunt at an antique store, she came up to me holding a copy of the book. It was the exact copy as the one she’s had forever, and was just wanting to show it to me. Of course I exclaimed excitedly and bought it immediately…and then brought it home and…...…displayed it perfectly in my house.

A couple months went by, and I walked past it, and suddenly just reached out and grabbed it. Something came over me and I was determined to read it right then and there and mark it off my Someday Goals. Which then...led to my other great issue of reading. I love to read. But I tend to stay away from fiction…because I get obsessed. Ob-SESSED. Life ceases to exist around me. I don’t answer my phone, I barely sleep, I seldom stop to eat...I lock out the world around me and become consumed with the story. IF I absolutely must go somewhere, I carry the book with me, and you’d see me reading it at traffic lights. I’m a little. bit. crazy. And I don’t really like this fact, but it hasn't been that easy to overcome...and I tend to avoid fiction. So the sheer size of the book, stressed me out simply for the fact that I knew I couldn’t function that way with it. Now I’ve knocked out 300+ page books in less than 48hrs…but life was too crazy to lock myself up for 4-5 days to read this one. If I was really going to read it, I just had to overcome this crazy Jenn fact. 

So I picked it up that day and just held it. And set in my heart that I was going to read it, not someday, but now. And I set in my heart that I was not going to get obsessed, and I would just casually pick it up when I could and not lock out the world around me...no matter how long it took to get through it.

And I did it. It took me almost 2 months…and obsession did set in occasionally…but for the most part I maintained functional life. I was worried my crazy would become evident, because I get so wrapped up in the story that even while real life is happening, I’d be thinking about what was going on in the book like THAT story was real life. Am I the only one that does this? That the lines get ever so slightly blurred and for half a second you want to start talking about ‘your friend, Rhett who thinks this war is ridiculous’. Or when I was reading one afternoon while it was storming outside, I heard the thunder and thought it was Yankee cannons. Or, I’m so not even kidding you and can’t believing I’d admitting this...but one Sunday in Worship, I was praying for people in our church, and for a second, I had the thought “God, I just wished Scarlett could get a hold of who you truly are.” Oy. Vey. 
Ok, so the crazy crept in a little more than I wished.

And I LOVED this book! Loved loved loved loved loved! Way more than the movie…and I LOOooOOooOoove the movie. And I may have stopped and watched scenes of the movie after I finished a section. And I want to read it again…and again and again. GWTW definitely pushed it's way up to one of my all time favoritest books EVER list. 

So all that to say…I did it. And I am proud of myself. Because THIS was a great accomplishment, even though the world around me will see it as just reading a simple book. But for my heart, it was so much more. It was a tangible goal finished. It was a step taken...an encouragement... knowing that tomorrow I can wake up and grab hold of the next goal, big or small, old or new, and make it happen...and start seeing more and more things crossed off...instead of just perpetually added. “After all, tomorrow is, another day.”