Sunday, August 24, 2014

Letting Go With A Vision (A sending the first one to college story.)

We discussed it for a year...maybe more.  We planned, we saved, we "prepared," and we packed.  We knew it was coming.  We were excited.  We ARE excited.  And yet...I feel a bit like Hannah of the Bible.  Walking away from my child and leaving her behind to find her God designed purpose in life.  Giving her back I suppose.  This child that I nursed, cuddled, taught to walk and talk, introduced to the 80's, whom I love is now a young woman. 

We moved her into college this weekend and said our goodbyes today.  She will not be sleeping under my roof every night.  She will not be fighting with her sister at least once a week.  She is embarking on her own journey that God has designed just for her and it is a strange almost surreal thing.  It's a bit like leaving a part of your heart behind that you will see later. 

Have I mentioned that her college is a mere twenty minutes from my house?  That is by car of course, certainly if you chose to ride a horse or a bike it would take longer.  I know it seems ridiculous.  Perhaps it is but maybe it isn't.  No matter how far away the college is, the entire family dynamic is now changed.

This child of mine will not be sleeping under the same roof as her family every night.  This child of mine will not be here for breakfast and dinner.  This child of mine will now learn self-discipline on an entirely different level. This child of mine belongs to God.

She will come to visit on breaks but even with her being close, it is my duty to allow her to learn to depend on God and herself.  It is my duty to allow her to form a new family within the halls of her dorm.  To release my hold and not only hope but expect that there are others that God has in mind to make a difference in her life; that will ultimately help to mold and shape her into the woman He has in mind for His purpose.  It is my duty and it is hard. 

My heart yearns for the days when she was young and she needed me.  She doesn't need me as much anymore.  She may want me, but she doesn't need me.  She is amazing.  I can say this because she is my child.  If you know her, or think you know her, allow me to tell you that you don't.  You don't know her.  You think you do, but you don't.  You only know, just as you only know of me, the side of her that she allows you to see.  My daughter is smart.  She is caring and sensitive.  She gets her feelings hurt easily.  She has a hard time trusting people.  She gets along better with people older than her than with her own peer group.  She is incredibly funny.  If you don't know this about her, you are missing out on one of her most incredible qualities.  She is also fiercely protective of her siblings and if I get sad she senses it and allows me to cry on her shoulder.  She is destined for great things.

I know all of these things and through all of my excitement for all she is yet to be, all that she is about to do and see and know, I miss her.  It's been an hour, it's been a minute, it's been a week, it's been a year, and I miss her.  I miss her and part of me can't wait to see the other side.  The side where she has learned what her life calling is, she is mature and self-assured.  Where instead of not wanting to make eye contact with people for fear of whatever they may think of her, she holds her head high and makes eye contact with everyone because the only one she is concerned with pleasing is God.  I look forward to that day and that is the vision I held in my mind as I walked through first one door and then another door and came home.

A quote shared with us this weekend was this:  "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." -Helen Heller  What a profound statement.  Don't you think?  Allow me to apply this to my current situation.  I refuse to be blind to the needs of my child.  While I could see her anytime I wanted, that is not what she needs.  She doesn't need me to be in her way.  I'm no longer first string, I'm sitting the bench.  Oh sure she can still come to me if she needs something, money, advice, or just an ear.  But we both have to learn that our roles are changing.  We need to keep the vision of the future in front of us.  We need to have a vision of the future.  We need to trust God's plan.

So with a vision of her bringing friends home on break, calling me to tell me she isn't coming home because she has a better offer, walking across a stage to receive a diploma that she earned, and fulfilling her life calling, I know that not only will she do great but I can allow her to be.  I can learn to sleep at night with her at college.  I can learn to cook for four instead of five.  I can learn to not tell her to do her homework.  I can learn to not call or text her EVERY day.  I can learn to open my grip so I can receive something more.  Can you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Growing Pains

Today was another run day for us.  My husband says that he thinks Wednesdays are the best run days.  He thinks we get farther or go faster.  He may go farther faster but I am still lagging behind.  I can't keep up.  I trot along with my bouncy shuffle hoping that a bone in my calve doesn't break because my calves hurt so much when I run, I feel sure that something is about to break.  This cannot be normal.  The only consolation I find in this is that while he does shoot out far ahead of me, he does always walk back to me for the walk part of this venture.  This ensures that if I do go down, he will find me and I won't be alone for long.  (Hmm...kind of like God keeps coming for us.  I feel a lesson here.) 

As I was running and listening to my music today, I kept my eyes on my husbands back so I would know when to stop running and when to walk.  (His phone has the app running while my phone plays the music that keeps me going.)  It occurred to me that this scenario is much like our relationship with God.  Only when we keep our eyes on Him do we know which direction to go and when a change is coming. 

I sing along when I run sometimes.  I also apparently have revelations about my walk/run with God.  I realized also that the pain I feel in my legs could be compared to growing pains.  Oh I don't think I'm going to get any taller and if two weeks of this business hasn't helped me to lose any weight yet, I'd venture that it's not going to any time soon.  I think I'm having more than one kind of growing pains though.  As I run and feel the pain in my legs, I tell myself that it cannot possible hurt forever.  This pain that I'm feeling now will go away once I get to where I'm going, which is home when my run is over.  (Side note:  Could this help with restless leg syndrome?  I, of course, self diagnosed myself with this but I do wonder if it will help or hinder this problem.) 

Much like the pain I have in my legs from running, I seem to be having growing pains in my faith.  I get asked to do things that I don't necessarily want to do.  I don't feel qualified to do.  I don't feel prepared to do.  I don't think should be necessary for me to do, but mostly I just don't want to do.  I am having growing pains and I feel weak.  But then 2Corinthians 12:9 pops into my head.  It says: But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  

I am weak but He is strong.  In the race to this life's finish line I don't want to miss out on the celebration at the end.  While I'm feeling the growing pains now, with Christ all things are made new.  2 Corinthians 5:17
If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new.  I don't know how new I qualify to be at this age, but I do know I have a lot of growing to do.  I also know that I don't want to stay the caterpillar if I can become the butterfly.  Butterflies are beautiful and they can fly. 

When I run I sometimes grow weary.  I won't lie to you about that.  (It is sincerely possible that I'm doing something wrong while actually running.  Form maybe?  I don't know)  In the Bible study we are doing it quotes Isaiah 40:31 -but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  I don't want to grow weary.  I want to run my race and meet my Jesus at the finish line.  I sing praises to God while I run and my legs are burning but when I get to the part where I'm asked to trust and fulfill what may be my true purpose I do sometimes grow weary there too.  I'm getting there.  When asked personally by someone to do something I say yes.  I panic first of course and throw a fit, but then I say yes.  It's my process.  God knows it's coming.  God understands growing pains.  

I don't have everything figured out yet.  This running Bible study has given me much to ponder and I think I'm learning a lot.  Mostly that sometimes we get asked to do things we don't necessarily want to do (like running, speaking in front of people in a class, speaking in front of a large group, like running) but if we will only allow ourselves to try something different we might just get to the other side and wonder what we were afraid of in the first place.  It's just growing pains...I have them, you might have them too.  I hope to see you on the other side.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Runner

I have many friends who are runners.  In fact, I'm friends with an entire group that get up at 5ish in the morning to run.  While I do love them all, I find this well...nuts.  Never having been a runner and the most running I've ever done, being when chasing after my children, I really have never seen the draw.  I still don't.  I have to say that I don't see myself ever rising before daybreak to get in a run.  I only rise before daybreak if I'm going on a trip or Black Friday shopping.

We have completed our second week of actual running in this C25K program.  I love my couch.  My couch is white with these removable covers that are machine washable making it safe for kids.  The comfort level of this couch is second to none.  The windows in the room this couch resides in faces the east and the light streams in making it a wonderful place to get comfy with a book.  While this room is a living room or receiving room, I think of it more as a sanctuary.  It's my peaceful place in a world gone mad.  I can get lost here and venture to brave new worlds.  There is a piano here that my daughter sometimes plays while I'm reading making it an even more pleasant experience as I listen to beautiful music as I read.

I miss my couch and yet...sometimes...when we are out together hitting the pavement, my husband and I, I think about what I may be missing holing up in my favorite place.  This place that I find such a comfort and bring me such joy may also be the very place that I am hiding in.

Am I hiding?  Surely I'm not hiding because I'm not a runner.  I've never once had a desire to run.  Sure I've had a desire to be healthier or thinner but never, not once, to be a runner.  I still don't.  The irony of these last few statements is that without question that is exactly what I am.  I'm a runner.  Not in that I take to the open road and pound the pavement, although I have been doing that.  Well in as much as I do my bouncy shuffle down the road and hope that I don't hurt myself or pass out.  But more than that, I'm a runner in the sense that when I get scared or overwhelmed or just don't want to do something...I run.

I don't stick around to see the outcome.  I don't climb the mountain to see what's on the other side.  I much prefer it if someone goes first, takes pictures, and then tells me all about it.  Sure I have dreams.  Big giant, scary, what if dreams but I really don't think I want them to come true, because what if it's too hard?  What if I fail?  What if it's not right?  What if I misjudged and I chose wrong?  What if I only THINK that it is what God wants for me?  What if it isn't?

What if ...excuses are second nature to me.  I'm great at excuses.  Runners usually are.  Not the ones in running shoes and all the fancy running gear, no they are dedicated.  Rain, snow, or the heat of the day, they keep on running.  They have to get their run in.  They are more reliable than the USPS or just as reliable anyway.  No I'm not that kind of runner.  I'm the other kind.

God couldn't possibly want ME to go speak.  God couldn't possibly have plans for ME.  God couldn't possibly be trying to tell Me something.  Who am I?  I'm broken.  I'm a,,, well... forty something woman with daddy issues.  Still upset that her dad didn't call and wish her a happy birthday five days later.  What on earth do I have to share?

When I am walking with my husband I take one of my ear buds out so we can talk.  Tell him my fears and we talk about the kids, we talk about everything and nothing.  When the app says to run however, I plug back in and listen to my contemporary Christian music.  Sometimes I cry.  I'm really out of shape, I only know how out of shape I am because I was once very in shape.  I can tell a distinct difference.  But I don't cry because of the pain from running, or maybe I do, only it's the running I'm good at.  My legs burn and I listen to my music and talk to God and I wonder why I'm running.  Until a whisper comes that maybe I'm running to something instead of away from something this time.  Towards what I don't know.  I don't even know if I want to know.

Do you run?  In this running we've been doing I have to run for 1.5 minutes then walk 2 minutes back and forth until time is up and I have to say I count them down.  For someone who is good at one kind of running I count this down till it's over. Then I think shouldn't it go for the other way too?  Shouldn't my faith be enough to sustain me so I don't have to run anymore?  So I don't WANT to run anymore?

We were asked in this bible study to think of what our life verse would be.  The first verse I could think of hangs on my wall.  Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  My father comes out and tells me plainly that He will not harm me that He wants to give me hope and a future and I run...because I suppose I don't know how to stop.

I think that is why we are meant to do this program.  I didn't want to do it.  My husband did, I didn't.  I'm a very supportive wife so I agreed.  I'm good at supporting everyone but myself actually.  But I think this is why we are doing it, at least why I have to do it.  Because I need to know that the running can end.  That there is a beginning and end to everything and sometimes even when you are running there is an end.  Maybe that's the point.  You have to learn to run to learn to stop running.  To learn to trust that even if I don't like it, it leads to something better than what I had before.  To learn to get past my fear so I can get to the blessing beyond it. 

I'm not certain of anything except that I'm a slow learner.  So if you are looking for me, I'll be hitting the pavement with my husband three days a week.  I should warn you that I did get some new running shoes today so my bouncy shuffle may faster.