Heart Preparation

Where I See God
Journal #21: Heart Preparations

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23 NIV

My son’s wedding preparations have taught me a lot.

I wish I meant in preparing decorations, gifts, and rehearsal dinners, (like lasts weeks post of seeing God in the details.) That just isn’t the case this week. This week I really noticed how God has been pulling me out of darkness in the not-so-pretty areas of my heart while preparing for my son’s wedding. I had no clue how many of my insecurities would surface during this process.

Confession:
Emotion and bondage issues have triggered some needy areas out of my soul. Something as beautiful as a wedding has truly brought out the worst in me.   I’ve struggled with envy and jealousy these last few months from those who are more creative than I am. (I’m aware this is petty.) I’ve also been anxiety ridden over what other people think. These issues have nothing to do with the wedding itself or my son and his lovely bride-to-be. They have to do with me and have taunted my every move robbing my joy (and often the joy of those around me.)

It all boils down to this. God called me to be accountable for the places in my heart I refused to examine. The places I left in the dark for no one else to find. The places I put other’s opinions over His.   The areas I bowed down to my craving the need for acceptance of others. The dark places that scream for praise for myself instead of praise for God.

My heart turned into the emotional state of a middle school girl who didn’t make the dance squad.

God is so faithful though. When I asked for forgiveness – He forgave.

When I prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23 NIV). – He searched and helped me find the areas I needed to confess. He then placed people in my life to encourage me in the areas that needed growth.

God even helped me find something I wasn’t even aware was there. The root of why I kept running to the bitterness of envy and anxieties of needing people’s acceptance. The root was a lie I chose to believe early on in the engagement.  Satan whispered it in my ear when my mamma heart was feeling not quite ready to release my son. To see him as the adult he is.

“You will be forgotten. You are no longer needed. The days of motherhood are almost over.”

I bought the lie setting my course to prove I wouldn’t be forgotten. Problematic since the course took me on a path to being remembered in ways I don’t want to be remembered by. Ugly ways of irrational behavior. A struggle for attention ensued.

And here is where God stepped in once more…

God gave me the verse, Exodus 14: 13-14 to pray. “Do not be afraid, Kysia. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. Amen.”

I stood still and chose to trust God. He remembered me. Now, He’s still delivering me from some of my people pleasing struggles, but much progress has been made.

It’s been really nice to focus on the happy couple instead of “needing to make sure I’m not forgotten,” too.

God has even given me joy through the process – usually after I’ve been called out, disciplined back into place, and shed a few tears. Joy has still shown up though.

Through joy God has shown me the beauty of truth over the ugly lie. The truth is if I keep trusting God and asking Him to search me, I can be confident that “he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) I am not forgotten. I am remembered and a work in progress.

 

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In the Details

Where I See God
Journal #21: In the Details

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 NIV

My son’s wedding is two months away. I find myself lost in a bunch of tiny details. Attempted etiquette on rehearsal dinner invitations, what dress to wear, flowers and candles for the tables or just flowers. The list goes on.

I’ve been working on one project that has proven quite therapeutic for me. I love working with my hands, so I’ve been designing a collage of picture frames with childhood photos of the bride and groom for the rehearsal dinner. I found most of the frames at a second hand shop and am spray painting them to the colors of the wedding (thankfully, gold is one of the colors!)

Reminiscing though the photos has brought back memories of so many moments I had forgotten about motherhood. Wet with sweat little boy hugs, his love for playing outside, and him dressed as Buzz Lightyear for his three year old Halloween, to name a few. Memories that highlighted details from our family life here at Thorntonville. I’ve cried and laughed and cried again remembering this amazing journey God has allowed me to have with my son.

Details. God is in every detail. He was in the creation of my son as a baby, as a boy and now as a man. God was also with me as a clueless new mom of one, a not as clueless mom of two and has guided me through adolescence into their early adulthood years.

It is an amazing ride I am on. The good, the bad, the clueless and the not so clueless moments add together detail after detail to create this incredible journey. Life.

An Answered Prayer

Where I See God
Journal #20: An Answered Prayer

“Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again.” Isaiah 21:12

The doorbell chimes rang followed by a, “Knock, knock.” My daughter jumped to answer. “Mom, it’s for you!”

Walking in I was surprised but thrilled to see an unexpected friend from my growing up days. She greeted me with a warm hug and a big beautiful smile.

“I was on the way to K.C. and felt God detour me. Were you needing me?” She asked.

My daughter and I looked astonished at each other as I teared up. “Yep, I sure was!”

Last week my husband took his annual leave to go on a mission trip to Uganda. Things have been going really good, but around the half way point of these trips each year, I get in a funk just because I miss him. It’s petty, but real, non-the-less. He and I make a great team, which is awesome when we are together. But often, when we are a part, I feel a bit lost. So this last Saturday, I was in my annual “missing my sweetie funk.”

I had exercised to try to get endorphins going and taken my daughter out of the house to peruse the resale shops for vintage clothing, but the funk still stuck like an extra layer of skin. I had decided to try to wash the funk away. While in the shower, I just stopped to pray when I realized, I was letting Satan’s arrows pierce me. I jumped out of the shower, dressed quickly and ran to my daughter with my dripping wet hair. “We need to pray together right now,” I said.

In the prayer, I asked for forgiveness for letting things get to me. I also asked God in a moment of self-pity if he could just send at least one friend to check on me.

An hour and a half later, came the knock on the door. God chose not a local friend but one who lived seven hours away to drop in with flowers to cheer me up. We talked and giggled until 1 am. I was exhausted Sunday morning when it was time to get up and go to church.

Exhausted, but so very thankful!

A Lesson from My Mom

Where I See God
Journal #19: A Lesson from My Mom

“Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.” Psalm 86:16

Mother’s Day evening my husband prepared dinner (grilled tuna with snow peas and fresh spring rolls) while my daughter created Crème Brulee.  My son and his fiancée joined us for dinner and then helped clean up the dishes afterwards. Half way through the dinner clean up the garbage disposal stopped working due to a clogged pipe under the sink. I immediately got on all fours to work taking the pipes apart in order to dislodge the culprit. The pipes basically vomited shredded carrots, egg shells and coffee grounds on me once loose. Gross!

I was thinking later that night about the plumbing experience after we finished cleaning and played a game of Clue (my favorite). It was a fantastic evening, even with the clogged sink incident. In fact, I think it was good for my kids to see me capable of fixing the plumbing. In the chaos of the moment, I wasn’t a fan, but later I was truly grateful for the moment that has already become a family memory. Mom – the secret plumber.

This made me think of my mom.

I remember my mom sewing some of my Easter dresses. They were beautiful. She worked patiently to make them come out so pretty. She also worked diligently beside my dad planting peach trees and taking care of them through the years when my parents ran a peach orchard. I very seldom heard her complain. (Growing up, I sure complained working in that orchard!)  I have other memories of her faithfulness in serving at church by keeping the financial books after counting the offerings each Sunday, as well as, singing in the choir.

Steady perseverance describes my mom. She works continuously with a humble heart. A servant’s heart.

One of my favorite memories is a simple one though. I remember her sitting in the La-Z-Boy with her red hard bound Bible, still, content and focused studying God’s word despite chaos going on around her. That memory has impacted me greatly. The fact that even though her life was busy with a husband, three kids, a nursing/teaching college career, farm work and volunteering at church, she made time for Jesus. It wasn’t done in secret either. She sat in the den out in plain view, as if to share with us the importance of the moment. A very precious moment.

I didn’t understand back then what my mom was really teaching us. In fact, I often interrupted her. But now as a mom, I get what she was doing. Not only was she spending time with her Savior and refueling her life with God’s love, she was showing us how to.

There are many things I have learned through my years as a mom. Juggling different tasks, breathing through crisis, plumbing… However, when I learned as a child who to turn to on good days and bad – well, that was by far, my most valuable life lesson of all.

Mentoring

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Acts 2:26-47

Where I See God
Journal 18: Mentoring

“I’m excited about coming tomorrow,” the text read.

“Me, too!” I shot back.

The second Tuesday of each month we meet for one on one Bible study. Sometimes she brings one of her children, other times it’s just the two of us. We started a few months back and it has turned into one of my favorite hours of the month.

Since she wanted to get to know Jesus better, we started reading through Luke together, chapter by chapter. We always begin with sharing what is happening in our lives. It’s fun to hear the day to day antics from a mom with young children.  The time also allows me the opportunity to encourage her in motherhood.  She’s such a good momma, too.

Then we jump right into the scripture sharing where God spoke to us within the chapters we read or talk about the places words and illustrations were challenging.

We laugh, share concerns and yes we’ve even cried.

The fellowship during this time is rich and the friendship with her is such a blessing.

There is absolutely nothing complicated about what we are doing. We read verses and simply share our hearts. Yet – I see God every time we meet; plus, I walk away knowing even more of His great love. He shows up in scripture, conversation, prayer and fellowship. I see Him when in the gleam of my friend’s eyes when she catches on to something she hasn’t thought of before. When she shares, I, too, am encouraged.

 

In the Deep Waters

Where I see God
Journal 17: In the Deep Waters

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 2-3a

I’m beginning my third week with a digestive issue. Not exactly sure what is up, but something is. Two weeks of solid food struggle. Two weeks of back and forth to the bathroom. Blood work and a stool sample study (Disgusting!) have yet to determine what is going on.

This week brought tiredness and frustration. In exhaustion, I cried out the whiniest, “God, please heal me.”

This is what He did.

He reminded me of the last time I was really, really, sick and couldn’t get off the sofa. While laying all miserable I stumbled across a blog post by Cranberry Tea Time on her struggle with chronic illness. In that particular post she had shared about how some days she could do nothing but pray.  That day began a prayer revolution in my life.

Wednesday and Thursday I got busy and spent a lot of time praying. I also spent a lot of time praising God for His goodness. He is an amazing God.

Isaiah 43:2 kept coming to mind. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

I realized I had a choice to make. I could keep whining or I could start believing in His promise. God will be with me through this illness. Plus, I have more time to spend with Him.

I’m still waiting to hear on test results and my body feels like crap; however, my spirit is a lot lighter.

Through Words of an Honest Friend

Where I see God
Journal 16: Through Words of an Honest Friend

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

Frantically, I climbed in the car. “I’m going to be late”, I thought to myself. No need to worry, it wasn’t a life or death moment. I was just tired, cranky, and feeling a little overloaded since I scheduled too much too close together.

The phone rang through the car speakers.

“Hello.” I responded as I pushed the answer button.

“Kysia, this is Allison. I’m not sure I expected to actually reach you. I wanted to call because I felt like God put you on my heart. How are things going?”

That question. “How are things going?”

People ask it all the time in casual conversation, but this friend was no casual conversation. She was real. She was safe. She genuinely wanted to know how I was doing.

“How are things going?”

“Allison,” I responded. “It’s April. The time of year where all the things I overcommitted to amp up. On top of that we are doing college tours with my baby and my son is preparing to get married. I’m extra emotional. I know I’ll be fine soon because May will come; but right now, I’m tired. That’s how I am.”

“Girl, I’ve got goose bumps,” she responded. “I don’t have college visits or a wedding yet, but I hear you on all the extra activity. I’m starting a devotional called “Find Rest” because I knew I needed some. Would you like me to pick you up a copy?”

“I really feel like God is telling me to slow down. It sounds like you are needing that too,” she continued.

She was right. She was honest. She was loving. At that moment, her voice was God’s Spirit whispering gently in my ear, “Make space for rest.” He said, “I’m waiting to restore you. In Me there is freedom from this chaos.”

Today (three weeks later), I sit feet propped up with my computer in my lap. A glass of water on the side table is waiting on me while I watch the dog bask in the sunshine on the back porch. It is a slower moment. I have lists made of summer dreams beside me. My April meetings are almost wrapped up; plus, I’ve declined three things that people have asked me to volunteer for. I still have work to keep me busy, but I’ve made space for this moment.

Rest. Freedom. Peace.

I am so thankful for that call from Allison who just wanted to ask, “How’s are things going?”