anyone else out there have a very healthy fear? or two? or seven?? (hundred) ya, that's me.
i remember when i was growing up, i had quite a few very healthy fears. some were warranted, some were not. i had a very healthy fear of my father when i heard the sounds of him begin to remove his belt an take the shinier side of his buckle to the not-so-shinier part of my backside. that fear was warranted. and, all to often, so was the spanking.
but i had plenty of fears that were just plain silly.
for instance - the trundle people. every heard of them? well, according to my big brother, the "trundle people" lived under my bed and if i fell asleep with any part of my body hanging off of my trundle bed, they would pull me under. very. healthy. fear. but, was it warranted? well, to a seven year old scaredy cat with an extrememly overactive imagination, yes. and yes, my big bro still denies ever telling me that. but, c'mon, what little girl makes that kind of thing up on her own? not this one.
one word. jaws. i saw that movie at waaay too young an age. it deserves a blog all its own. but trust me. very. healthy. fear.
then there was the drain at the bottom of the pool. can i get a witness?? ooohhh, that one scared me to death. and someone (no, i won't blame my big broher for this one! :) told me that if you put your hand flat against the drain that the suction would be so intense that you wouldn't be able to release your hand and you would drown. or if you happen to be swimming near the drain and you had long hair (yes, i had long hair) then it would get tangled up in the drain and once again, you'd drown. ugh. that one got me good. even as i got older and i rationalized that the liklihood of either of those things being completely true was slim to none, i still didn't chance it. i avoided the pool drain at all costs. even in the pool at my grandparent's house, which was honestly like 10 feet deep...i would jump off the super springy diving board and then do my very best to either surface quickly, which, by the way, made me look quite awkward, as if i really didn't know how to swim after all. or, plan b...i would purposely, if ever so subtly, swim to the side of the pool to the avoid the drain area altogether. drain? what drain? oh me?? i'm just swimming over here towards the ladder, that's all. ya. whatever. very. healthy. fear.
well, i don't have enough space to tell you all about my fears i've had as a "big girl" now, but trust me, they are many. will ryan leave me? will we always be broke? will something tragic happen to me? my kids? my ryan?? fear has always been a big deal in my life. i say has been because God has truly been working hard core on this issue in me. i have heard it said that fear is the biggest killer of faith. maybe that's why He's been working as hard as He has for as long as He has. He knows that my faith won't grow with fear lingering around waiting for me to fall asleep with my arm-a-danglin' off the side.
lately, i have brushed back up against some fearful thoughts. darnit. i thought that things had been going so well in that department. but lately, as i have been getting back into the swing of things, so to speak, i have heard that all-too-familiar voice in my thoughts telling me that the things i fear most are going to come true. and once i got past the flat out feeling of being mad about it. i really sat and thought, "what is going on?" "why is this happening now?" and then it hit me....oh ya, how's my life been lately?? hmmm...well, let me tell you. let me tell you how i have dived in head first...
up until about three weeks ago i have literally been lying flat on my couch ALL day every single day for the past four months. (see earlier posts for my specific medical drama!:) i mean, occasionally i would get up to go to the bathroom, or take a bath, (you are welcome) or take one of the 142 pills i have been on. but, that was it. i was flat on my back, trying to let my God and my body heal. so, i had quite a bit of "spare" time on my hands. my amazing parents were helping with my three small children and that meant that they woud take them with them to run errands-often enough, leaving me with a nice, quiet house. perfect chance to turn up that praise and worship and get into the Word. it was awesome. i mean, not the months on end of being unable to sit upright, that part...not so awesome. but, man...i was a "spiritual stud" (she said humbly) i was getting my Bible study done like days early (an absolute first for me!!)....soaking up my devotional books...writing a blog or two a week.....researching....listening to praise and worship....really just soaking it in. God and i were tight and i was blessed by that. God and i are still tight...but my schedule, you could say...has changed quite a bit. no kidding, it is unbelievable that only three short weeks ago i was praising to my dear friend that i had made the kid's breakfast AND folded a load of laundry all in one day.
but...then i started to get better. day by day, bit by bit...i started to get a little bit closeer to normal. for the record, i have sooo far to go it isn't even funny...but let me just tell you what i have done in the past three weeks alone....
driven my kids to and from school (at least 6 times)(that one deserves an AMEN! i love it!)....gone to a girl's night at my neighbor and best friend's house....attended the amazing women's dinner at our church....gone twice out with a friend to do Christmas shopping....attended a end of the sememster luncheon with my Bible study girls....washed probably 12 loads of laundry-all on my own....had two full days with no help from anyone at all with my three small kids....gone to see Rudolph on stage with my family....taken the kids to the mall to see Santa.....gone to church four times (including a worship wednesday!!)....attended each of my boy's Christmas parties at school....helped a friend decopage gifts for friends.....made two batches of homemade banana muffins (first batch was so burnt, you wouldn't believe it!)....handmade four teacher's gifts for boy's teachers at school.....made breakfast for all three kiddos at least 7-8times....made lunches for all three kiddos about that many times, too!....taken Chirstmas card pictures with my family.....designed Chirstmas cards online....addressed and mailed 100 Christmas cards (yes, i have a super big family!!)....created six, count 'em six calendars online for Christmas presents for the grandparents and great grandparents....handwashed i don't even know how many sinks FULL of dishes (no, our dishwasher doesn't work. you are listening to our dishwasher!) :).....attended a mother/daughter tea with my precious mom and my darling daughter....
whew! i am worn out by just typing that out. literally.
i think what has happened to me is that i am was so stinkin' thrilled that i could do something...that i no want do everything! ever hear the phrase "anything worth doin' is worth over-doin'!" ya, unfortunately, that is so often my motto...whether i mean for it to be or not.
would you care to know what i have NOT done over the past three weeks??? don't really want to share this part...not so proud of it...but here we go...... i have not spent a minimum of1-2 hours a day doing Bible study like i had in the past....i have not made it a priority to wake up before my kids do so i am guaranteed quiet time alone with God before my day begins....i have not answered the call i believe God has on my life by writing to you wonderful people about how He speaks to me and teaches me and reaches out to me each and every day....i have not completed my Bible study over the course of the entire week in preparation for wednesday morning, instead of doing it all last minute tuesday night and wednesday morning with a big "whew, that was close" under my breath....or even worse, not doing it at all...ugh.
i think you get the idea. i know i did. when i was lying in our sweet church listening to my pastor talk all about God and how greatly He wants to use us, if only we could get out of our own way. how sometimes, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to fully living out the purposes God has in our lives. ooohh, i wonder if he was just talking directly to me? i thought so, for sure. in fact, i'm pretty sure he put my name at the top of the bulletin, "ya, this is for you, caroline...pay attention!"
our pastor often says this: "the good news is this: you can have all of God that you want to. all of His power, all of His love, all of His intimacy. that's the good news. the bad news is this: you have about all of God that you want to."
ouch. God is readily available. and we are readily preoccupied.
and so true. here i am lying flat for so long, depending on Him for each hour, to get me trhough each doctor's appointment, and medical issue, each day full of doubt and uncertainty....and now look at me. a few breaths of the "freedom" i had before...and whooosh....i dive in head first. never you mind that i can't swim on my own. i mean, don't get me wrong...i still have fellowship with Him, i still praise and worship throughout the day, thank Him for so many small things...i am still very much communicating with Him throughout my day...but i have found myself wandering dangerously close to "that" place. you know "that" place i'm talking about, don't you?? well, maybe you don't. but, i know it. all. too. well. "that" place where you make sure you have "checked off" your God time so you can get on about the things in your day you just have to get done. yuck. i despise my own behavior. and what do you know....one can only last like that for so long. your spiritual reserve cannot sustain you for one minute longer than He has designed it to. you don't spend four months lying flat with God, to store it up, so that once you are walking around again, you don't have to come back for more until next season. oooh, friend that isn't how it works. don't believe me...read about the manna. in exodus 16, they wanted to store the stuff up so they wouldn't have to keep going back to God. it doesn't quite work that way. it spoils. and so do we.
and you know what, i'm thankful for that. i want to God who wants me back. who desires daily (hourly) fellowship with me. what kind of God would He be if He made us tread water out there on our own, flailing our arms all around, constantly coming up for air, looking like we've never seen the inside of a pool....when He, the One who walked upon the water (matthew 14) knows all about the drain, how to avoid it, or whether or not we even need to avoid it.
so, here i am confessing to you. i am so utterly grateful for all of the wonderful victories that God has allowed me to take part in over these last three weeks. i mean it, i am just so very thankFULL!! every single one has been precious. and about 75% of them have flat brought me to tears. no, really. i may even be underestimating that number! i have been a big ol' mess lately.
but, i am back now, i know this is what God wants me to do. to write about Him. to serve Him. to faithfully and single-mindedly do "this one thing" (see philippians 3) that He has called me to do. and no, it may not be as practical, as i get better and better and my kids get louder and older :) for me to have all of these hours and hours of Bible study every day like i had somewhat grown accustomed to. but, God knows my heart. (boy, does He!?!) and He knows yours. please do not let our enemy try to convince you that you are too far gone. no such thing, friend. no such thing. don't let him convince you that you've blown it. you haven't. ok, well...i take that back. you have blown it. but, so have i. and so did jacob. and noah. and peter. (three times!) and paul. and jonah. and sarah. and rachel. and david. oh, i could go on and on and on....but he would just assume you bask in your blown-it-ness and stay there, convinced that you can't be used again in any sort of real way. ya right. the Bible is F-U-L-L of people who got lots of chances. i don't know about you, but i cling to that, friend.
the point, my friend, is this. i haven't been wet from swimming around in what seems like a very loooong time. i haven't even been able to sit up and dangle my feet in the pool. i have felt bone dry. but, now i'm in. i'm all in. now...my bikini days are over, however. looong over, we can all be thankful for that one. but really.... i am here. soaking wet and dripping with joy. and i am thankful, so very thankful for the fact that i get to take this God, my God and your God, and take Him along for every minute of every day on this ride He has given us called today. and the fear of no stupid drain is going to keep me from diving in head first. and no...i can't do it all. i shouldn't even try. yes, i do look like a fool who can't swim. but once again, He made the water. so, i know if i stick with Him, i'm good. and friend, so are you.
so....ready to dive in? He's ready....let's do this thing...