Break. It. Down.

My dad and I hunted for that particular refrigerator box all over the city.

I had this fantastic idea that involved glow-in-the-dark paint, black butcher paper and blowing away the other kids in my science class. It all hinged on the box.

My plan was to create a solar system room. As the cardboard door closed behind you, your eyes would be astounded by the glory of nine {because there were nine then} planets revolving around the sun.

After a day of searching, we came home victorious and I stored the box in the garage.

Overwhelmed by the size of the project, I procrastinated. As the two week lead time dissolved, my fear took over and nothing seemed to turn out right. The styrofoam planets wouldn’t hold the paint. They also wouldn’t hang right.

I grew discouraged.

Eventually I cut out and glued some construction paper planets to a butcher paper covered cork board during my science class to earn some points for a 2-day late project.

Things had not turned out as I’d planned.

::

I have grand schemes in life.

Schemes…as in plural.

Yet over and over I find myself staring at a giant refrigerator box. Overwhelmed by the thought of making that first cut or painting the first stroke.

“What if I measure wrong?”

“What if I waste my resources?”

“What if it’s not enough?”

I’m tired of it.

The problem I’ve discovered is that I act as though each tiny step is going to significantly impact the ultimate outcome.

That a single impatient word will ruin my relationship with my child forever.

Or finding the perfect school and master’s program will guarantee my future dreams.

The weight of the decision crushes the idea.

Sometimes it’s just about breaking it down to find out what’s next.

And then doing it.

Five Minute Friday: Older

Regardless of how crazy the rest of the week is, these five minutes on Friday have become something I really look forward to. Maybe it’s because lately when I sit down to post I am hyper-critical about what I have to say and the opinions I express. So, giving myself a time limit and the inability to go back and edit seems to take some pressure off.

Today my family are off to my grandpa’s property in eastern Washington to spend some time riding four-wheelers, eating chili and s’mores, and relaxing. I’m really looking forward to it, and secretly hoping to get a nap in at some point.

Nap time definitely is more appreciated as you get older…which ties in with Lisa-Jo’s prompt for this week’s post.

Also, just because I haven’t said it in a while, and I don’t think it can be said too often: Thank you for continuing to stop by here. These past few months have been very unsettling for me, and it’s become difficult {between living in someone else’s home and babying my dying computer} for me to post regularly.

I know I haven’t been responding to comments like I normally do, but I do read each one and I am so grateful for your prayers, encouragement and kind words.

Ok, enough mushy stuff…

GO

There are a lot of things in my life that I would like to do, but I feel like time and experience need to be gained before people won’t laugh at me when I clue them in…

Write.

Speak.

Teach.

Lead.

Cook.

Host.

Learn.

There’s something to be said for allowing maturity to happen before undertaking goals and plans. Counter to all the “go for it, seize the day” type of mantras that are thrown at us, isn’t it ok to say, “Not yet, patience.”

Why does my life need to be settled at 30? 40? 50?

My mom recently graduated from Bible college. She’s not 20 or 30 {and I won’t tell you how old she is, even though she’s young to have a daughter my age, because I live with her right now and I KNOW she’d kick me out}.

She was talking with me about how life doesn’t always have a linear path to it, there can be fits and starts and great leaps of faith. Where I am today may not determine where I am at 50, 60 or 70. It’s being in the present and experiencing all that God has for me.

What can I learn from the today that will be important when I’m older? There’s no way of pinpointing those lessons, but I’m trying to keep it all straight.

Of course, my brain is starting to go already, which may make it hard to remember. But, that also may be a blessing.

STOP

What does “older” mean to you?

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{forgotten}

I entered four different passwords to log in to my blog today. Three times the words “wrong password” flashed on the screen. I had forgotten it; usually I don’t need to log in. Too much time has passed since I was last here, and the system had signed me out.

Life has been full since our move, and finding time to sit down to process has been difficult. There seems to always be someone around or something to do. I’m not complaining, just observing.

Observing…I’ve been doing a lot of that.

Waiting to see what the next day will bring, because our plans seems to change as quickly as the weather here. One day it’s splash through the sprinklers sunny, and the next it’s grab a hoodie and coffee drizzly. All I can do is watch and act accordingly. God has unsettled me, wrenching away my control and ability to guess the future — a lesson I thought I’d learned years ago; I find I’m still at the remedial level.

Last night I had a dream that I was being chased by a train. Running down the tracks, peering back over my shoulder at the metal and speed bearing down on me, I struggled to catch my breath and stumbled over my own feet.

Get out of the way,” flashed in my mind.

Jumping to the left, the train sped by and I realized that it never was chasing me. The train was just moving along the tracks like it was supposed to, it was my decision to try to stay ahead of it that made it seem ominous. Once I’d allowed it to pass, I realized I could walk the tracks behind it — quietly and peacefully — following its lead.

Why am I always trying to stay one step ahead of God? What is it in me that won’t just step out of the way and quietly follow His lead? Pride, independence, control? These are all traits I’ve never been lacking in.

I have no idea where this train is leading, and all of my attempts to guess what’s ahead have left me depleted and confused. The first few weeks up here Josh and I kept trying to explain to people why we moved back and what we were doing. The explanations fell flat because how do you explain something you aren’t certain of yourself? So we tried to “help” God by guessing what He’s doing with us.

Fact: that doesn’t help God and it makes you look flaky.

So, I’m observing the skies and the signs, catching glimpses of what God is already doing and waiting for Him to reveal more of His plan to us. Spending my days at splash parks, friends’ homes and watching the kids ride their new bikes.

                                                              

At least in those spaces I haven’t forgotten the password.

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Your Newborn is Ugly

Having just gone through hours of labor — the pain of childbirth — you are basking in the glow of first sight and first sounds. Cuddling your soft, warm, adorable newborn child in your arms, a visitor arrives…

…and tells you she’s ugly.

They go on to tell you that things just go downhill from there. They tell you all the ways their own child has crushed their spirit, ripped out their heart and left them for dead.

No, this did not actually happen to me, but haven’t we all come across those people who think it’s their purpose to warn us about the troubles ahead?

Maybe it wasn’t your baby.

Maybe it was your marriage.

Maybe it was a new job.

Maybe it was a dream you had.

::

As Josh and I prepared for our wedding day, we had numerous couples forewarn us about what married life would entail.

“The first year is great, but it’s awful from that point until year seven. Then it goes back to almost as good as year one.”

“You think you know each other, but married life is hard. Most couples don’t make it.”

“Put an M&M in a jar every time you have sex the first year. Then take one out every time you have sex the second year. You won’t even come close to removing half of the M&Ms.”

I got to the point where I wondered why we should even get married at all. How could all of these people be so negative about it? Were they trying to encourage us? What was the point in their comments?

::

Then, it happened again when I was pregnant with Elijah.

“I can’t believe you told everyone right away. Don’t you know how many people have miscarriages with their first baby?”

“Don’t get an epidural. People can get paralyzed from the waist down if they get one.”

“Get some rest now, you aren’t going to sleep for the next 18 years…or longer.”

“Life will never be the same for you and Josh.” (they did not mean this in an encouraging way)

Again, I couldn’t figure out the point in these communications.

::

We are currently on the cusp of following our dreams. We are hoping to be able to serve in vocational ministry so we can live out our calling, and also support our family financially. Something awful has happened to me…

All of those negative comments from people over the years, their awful predictions regarding something I hoped for, have seeped inside of me. I cannot talk about our plans without addressing the cautions that I feel people are thinking. I don’t want to give them the chance to say them, so I voice the warning and my knowledge of it before they can.

“We want to work at a church. Of course, we realize that this is a bad time for the economy and so our hopes of getting a full-time position at a church are crazy. We’re prepared to work somewhere else for a few years if we need to.”

“We’d love to start a ministry for burnout prevention in ministry leaders. Of course, we don’t have the immediate start-up funds for it right now, and we have four children, so we’ll probably have to do something else for a few years until we can build up the funds.”

I’m giving God an out. I’m calling my newborn dream ugly. What I feel that God is doing with us is unacceptable. I’m trying to make people more comfortable with our crazy, by showing that we’re being logical.

::

Two 20-year-olds coming together and committing to spend the rest of their lives together is not logical.

Having a baby while living in someone else’s home is not logical. Either is moving out-of-state six weeks after having a second one. Add to that having a third one while working part-time and in school full-time. Oh, and we discovered that having a fourth is never logical.

Quitting your job without a new one lined up is not logical.

Hoping for a full-time position in ministry is not logical.

Yes, I get it. We do things a little crazy.

We lean not on our own understanding, but we Trust in the Lord. We look to Him. Not to make our paths straight, but to lead us around the hairpin course He’s got us on. Hair pin turns are the easiest way to get uphill.

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