Sunday, July 26, 2015

HE Was There

I started this blog as therapy.  It didn't matter if anyone read it or not, but the idea that someone might read it helped heal some of the broken parts of my heart.  Thinking about someone else relating to my story made my story pour out.  And then it stopped.  My world tilted once again, and the writing, the need to share, the belief in the healing power of a story... my story, stopped. 


I have tried (unsuccessfully) to pick up the story where I left off.  I have plunked out a few unrelated posts, but my heart hasn't been in it.  Sometimes I lay awake at night and the words swirl in my brain, but I don't get up.  I make notes in my phone, while waiting in the coffee line, but the notes don't get translated to story.  I think maybe the gift of writing was a fleeting thing.  Maybe writing was just the vehicle I used for healing at that time and now I need to trade it in for another.


Then, a  tragedy takes me back to my story.  I take the time to go back and read what I have written.  I realize there is very little "God" in my story.  In truth, God was not really absent in my story, but the fact that I have not written him in, hits me hard.  It is reflective of how I felt then.  I felt God had abandoned me even though I knew in my heart of hearts he had not. 


Where I left off in my story, this is where I really began to question God, the church, and the things I had been taught to believe my whole life.  I wanted God.  I prayed, but I felt my prayers were going unanswered.  I went searching for God, but others may have claimed I was searching for something else.  My search led me to choices that seemed very far from where I was most likely to find God.


But, HE was there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What if I Quit?

At small group last night, the questions was posed, "What would the world be losing if I quit?"  Several members answered in regards to their jobs, because this is what is in the forefront of their minds right now.  I, however, have sorted through my job situation for the immediate future, and thought of this question in different terms. 


What if I quit striving to be a good mother?  What if I quit my marriage?  What if I quit being a Christian?  These are the kinds of questions that flooded my mind.  Of course, I am not quitting any of these three right now, but what if?  The questions force me to look at what I bring to the table.


I am a good mother, despite what my four year old says when I won't let him eat candy corn for breakfast.  I am a good wife, despite the fights and misunderstandings.  I am a "good" Christian, despite my sin.   I am working hard at all of these things and the world would miss me if I quit.  The world would miss me.  I think the whole point of that question is to say, "The world, my family, my friends, my God would miss me."  The point of the question was to make us realize that we all bring something of value to the table.  God has created each one of us in his image and he has planned a life for us.  If we hold on through the bad, the goodness will overwhelm us.  Quitting is not an option.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Why Do I Run?" you ask...


I run for many reasons, none of which include “winning” or “beating” anyone.  I’m not fast.  Never have been.  I can hold my own with the average Joes and I’m ok with that.  The farthest I have run is 13.1 miles (a half marathon) and I’m ok with that too!

More important than time, distance, first place or last, is the enjoyment I get from going on a run.  As a wife, mother, teacher, and homemaker, my moments of alone time are few and far between – lets be real here – I can’t even remember the last time I went to the bathroom in my own home by myself.  I’ll be honest about something else too; some days even my need for alone time is not enough motivation to get out for a run.  I tend to be a fair weather runner, but my hubby is a great cheerleader – “You’ll feel better once you go.” Or “It’s just a little rain.”  I don’t always appreciate that push in the moment, but I know I need it.

When I run I do it for me; for my health, my fitness, my sanity.  However, I also do it because I know there are those out there who can’t.  I do it because I owe it to them to make use of the fully intact and working heart, lungs, and legs God gave me.  In fact, being outside running is one of the places I feel closest to God.  I can’t say that my head is always quiet at the start of a run; usually it’s racing thinking of the never-ending list of things I need to do.  Meal planning, grocery shopping, dishes, laundry, unpacking boxes (from when we moved 6 months ago), painting, tending the flowers, playing with the kids, doing my devotions.  Often at the beginning of a run, I start out beating myself up about all the things I’ m not doing correct, all the things for which I’m not good enough.  As I run, pumping my legs, my lungs burning, my worry and anxiety dissipates.  All the things that were buzzing around in my head become quieter and the rain I was dreading becomes a gift.  Sometimes I am so overcome with gratitude, I feel the urge to lift my face to the sky and throw my hands in the air out of sheer thanks and praise for the life I have been given…sometimes I even act on this urge.

Call it a runner’s high if you like, but I call it a gift and that’s what I run for – that moment of pure peace, gratitude, and connection to God.  That’s what I run for.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shoes I Couldn't Fill

In addition to turning 15, falling in love for the first time, and dealing with my grief and the grief that surrounded me, I was also responsible for taking care of my Auntie's older two children.  My uncle paid me, but the expectation was for me to be there for them for more than just day to day care. 

To this day I feel like I failed miserably.  I failed by my standards.  I couldn't comfort and care for and be everything they were missing.  We were confined to a house that had my Auntie around every corner.  It was a small, cozy, home, but the space felt impossible to fill.

The kids needed love, spontaneity, discipline, routine, fun, and activity, not to mention clean clothes and nutritious food.  The only thing I had to give completely was my love for them.  Even that fell short, because of the mother that was missing. I allowed them too much time in front of the TV and Spaghettio's were served more frequently then was healthy.  My grandmother was just a few houses away and provided back up when needed; she had other pillars to uphold; this one was mine.

I felt defeated every day.  I was grieving.  I had more responsibility than I could handle.  The shoes were too big and though I tried desperately to fill them.

The boy continued to be my refuge.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Content

I turned 15 that summer.  The boy was granted a rare day off from farm work, just to spend the day with me.  He surprised me by taking me to a large city a few hours away for dinner, a movie, and a little shopping (he had gotten the outing pre-approved by my parents).  I didn't want anything material from him, nor did I expect it, but I remember the boots.  (Children of the 90's will appreciate this gift more than others).  A pair of black, mid calf, lace up Dr. Martens.

I still have them.  They are in the closet at my parents house.

That evening we returned to our small town and spent the evening cruising on the motorcycle before grabbing a pint of Ben and Jerry's and heading home.

Thoughts of the one person who was missing from my 15th birthday were pushed to the back of my mind.

I felt safe.  I felt content.

Safe

The boy and I did go to prom that April.  It was perfect, everything a first prom should be.  I spent time with my mom finding the perfect dress, shoes, and jewelry; a forest green, crushed velvet, spaghetti strap, floor length number.  Simple, low-key, silver heels, "diamond studs", and a "diamond pendant" completed the look.  Simple.  No frills.  Perfect for me.

The boy picked me up in his shiny pickup, opened the door for me and took me to super at the best restaurant in town with all of our friends.  We slow danced every song and attended the after prom party until dawn.  I think we even won some good prizes!  He dropped me off just as the sun was coming up and my mother insisted he come in and stay for a nap rather than drive the 30 additional miles home.  We both napped and when we woke, had breakfast.

After breakfast, the boy gently picked out every last one of the bobby pins holding my thick, mid-back, auburn hair atop my head.  He told me he loved me and I knew I loved him too.

I felt safe.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

A War Within

I am having a war within myself.

Today has been a painful day at school (work).  Too many needs, not enough time or people.  This isn't new and I know I'm not alone.  This is every teachers complaint.  As a special education teacher, the needs of students are magnified.

When I first started my Master's program in Special Education, my intent was never to be a special education teacher.  At the time, I was 22, newly married, and working at a depressed area school.  My intent was to serve the children in my classroom better because the resources were not available to provide this support outside of the classroom. 

Fast forward a few years, and my husband and I moved to be closer to family.  I was thankful at the time for the Special Education degree because it allowed me to get into a hard to get in to school district. 

I almost quit teaching all together after that first year. 

I put in for a classroom and was not granted the request.  Too new.  Too young.  Too needed in Special Education.  I seriously thought about quitting.  Then I was granted a transfer to a different special education position in a different building. 

I had a baby, I was gone for 1/3 of the year, and was too exhausted to realize I still didn't like being a special education teacher.  I was in survival mode. 

The next year, I realized again.  I applied for a transfer to a part time position...could not find part time daycare. 

The next year, I had baby number two, I was gone for 1/3 of the year, and once again was too tired and preoccupied to think about not being a special education teacher. 

The next year, no baby...I didn't like special education.  Again, I applied for a transfer, two actually, and despite nearly 10 years of stellar evaluations from five different principals, I was denied the transfers.  This time for only one reason.  Too needed in Special Education. 

The next year and the next, same stories. 

Now it is this year...our team of specialists has changed and I adore my team...I adore my students.  I continue to mourn the general education classroom.  I am passionate about my work.  I can't imagine being anything but an educator.  Still, I am being told it if not for sure they will grant a transfer.  I am looking into private education.  The pay is less.

What do I do?

Where is my heart?

What is best for me?  What is best for my family?

How will this affect my future?

God knows my heart, but what is HIS plan for me?

I am at war within myself.