Saturday, February 26, 2011

A:: Revelation

A:: Revelation 

I had the chance to go visit a dear friend and mentor, Rebecca, today who just so happens to be the founder of Autumn's Re-Ride, a horse rescue and youth ranch that offers youth a safe place to connect with horses, to find healing, to enjoy simplicity, to be loved and encouraged without judgment.

When I worked for TASC I had the chance to take many groups of teens out to the ranch.  To see the healing that takes place there always provided me with such hope and joy.  It isn't a place for just kids to experience healing.  It is a place where I can go too and heal and just breath.

I hadn't been there in a couple months, and my heart has been getting very heavy.  I'm realizing more and more each day I am in a season that's forcing me to slow down to re-evaluate a lot of things, and to prepare myself for my next big journey.

Rebecca told me about one of the newly rescued horses, Revelation.  Revelation is a thorough-bred rescued off the racing track from Kentucky.  He spent his whole life racing and running going from an esteemed champion to an injured loser.  He never had the chance to rest, to be still, to slow down, to not have to spending his life running... Until now.

Just as this horse has been rescued and is now in a season of rest, rescue, and redemption at the ranch --- such as I experience a slower season of rest and quiet redemption.  As I entered the field, Rebecca told me he spooks kind of easily.  He doesn't trust many.

Revelation came right up to me (it surprised rebecca) and it was as if he knew me better than anyone else could have.  Never ever underestimate the power and healing horses can do for your soul.  In those few minutes, God met me in the windy field.  In fact, He met me all day long at the ranch, but it wasn't until my ride home that I saw the sweet connections God kept planting throughout the day.

Rebecca said many wise things today (as she always does) -- "this ranch is made to be a canvas we can all paint our stories on" "let this be a place you can leave your worries at the gate" "God makes us painfully aware during seasons that He is preparing us for our next big thing."

And may this season at the ranch be another season of healing, grace, and redemption. As is my prayer for the next season in my life as well, :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kick in the lungs/arse - Quest for significance

Kick in the lungs/arse

A few months ago, I had one of the biggest kick in the lungs (or arse) moments I've ever experienced.  Without going into much detail, I was blind sighted with something I never thought would happen by a friend who I had a lot of trust in.  Not my husband, lol, but a close friend and mentor.

When someone you love and respect cuts you to your core and minimizes who you are in a matter of minutes it can be life changing... In fact, in my case that's exactly what it was - life changing.  

The lesson came quickly and that was the lesson of significance.  I had a huge part of my significance and identity resting in how they thought of me.  I didn't need their approval, but I sure thought I did.  Wow, that's so weird to admit or even say, but it's true.  I was looking at them to help define me.  I didn't see it then but I do now.  That's another reason it hurt so much and deep because I cared too deeply about something I should not have.  People are just people... We are all human, and we all have many imperfections.  I do and they do.

Through a lot of prayer I realize that sometimes distancing yourself from a person or situation is the right and best way to approach healing... It's not always the easiest way though.  On days like today I really miss and grieve that friendship.  

God is working on me though.  

Sometimes it takes hurt and kick in the lungs/arse moments to remind us how much we truly need Him and His direction.  I'm going to keep trusting and learning.  I have to continually remind myself that my significance completely rests in Him - and Him alone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Being a grown up - reflections from a magic kingdom

Chapter:: Being a grown up (reflections from the magic kingdom)

When my husband first told me we were going to Disney World for our anniversary, I was super excited!  Then I got kind of sick.  We had taken our son last year and it was a horrible experience.  He wasn't old enough to enjoy or appreciate it.  Meltdown after meltdown - not sure if it was him or me who had the most.

My first question -- "are we taking the kids?"

Nope, just you and me, we need some fun and we need a week for us.  

Were we the worst parents in the world, leaving our kids at home for a week while we went to Mickey world?  A question I kept asking myself...

I now know we definitely are not the worst parents.  Our kids did not know we came here, instead they just know we are on a trip and they have had the chance to spend the week with grandma and their dad.  I can guarantee you that if your kids are not old enough it is a waste of money and energy to come here.  We plan to bring them back in 2012.

So why did we choose to come to the one place full of kids on our one week alone?  

Maybe its because here I can be a kid.  That sounds simple, right?  A little too simple.  I don't remember a time where my life wasn't full of numerous responsibilities.  I've been a mom since 18.  I've worked since I was 14.  I'm not complaining.  I grew up too fast and much due to my decisions, but I miss the chance to be a kid.  Here I can be one - worry free - even if it's only for a week.

All week, I've watched kids throw fits, parents stress out, and I've been fighting the urge to leave early and go back home early to my own babies.  And my husband keeps reminding me to relax.  I don't know how to relax, but I'm learning.  My mom recently told me that I need to cut myself some slack, I'm trying.

One week ago, I left my kids totally stressed out and now I am excited to go home refreshed and be their mom - to enjoy time with them.  I've been dreaming a lot this trip - it tends to happen in this magical place quite a lot :-)

I have so many ideas and dreams.  I can't wait to figure out how to make them realities.  This trip has made me remember that anything is possible.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter: year one

Chapter:: year one

There is much of my story that I have yet to write, and I realize this blog has taken many time traveling adventures from past to present, to future, back to present, past, you catch the drift.

However, if you know me at all - you know I write only when I feel prompted to do so - writing has to matter, words written have to matter - tonight's no different.

Year one is another blog post for now with references from then.  Best of both... Just go with it, I certainly am.

If anyone would have told me that by age 24, I'd be getting remarried.  I would have punched them in the jaw and said never again.  After my divorce from chris, I decided marriage was the furthest thing from what I wanted.  I wanted a life for me and my kids, and no one else.  Because that meant I couldn't be hurt again... I did not need a man to define me. :-)

Funny, because every single time I believe my plans - God has thrown me a curve ball.  Who am I to put my plans before His?  I'll tell you - I am very small.

When I first became single, most of my friends tried to set me up with people.  I never wanted to go, until one night I thought - it would be great to go have a free meal with someone, it's not a forever commitment it's a two hour commitment.  So, I did.  In fact, my confidence really boosted.  I went to dinner and movies with a few different people.  All those knew my heart on wanting to keep things simple - no relationships, please.

Many months later, I became heavily involved with my church's singles ministry.... Not because I wanted to meet men, because I wanted to be around people my own age, in my season, who loved the Lord.  I began hosting group at my home, and cooking each week for the girls and guys in bible study.  I found a new sense of purpose and met so many wonderful people - girls and guys - amazingly wonderful people who loved me and loved my kids.

One night a guy in the bible study - we will call him steve :-) - caught my attention with his clever wit making a hilarious joke and I seemed to be the only one who thought it was hilarious.. 

"Who are you??" -- (I thought)

What started as casual small talk turned into hours upon hours of conversation about life, faith, relationships, and love.  What started out as friendship grew into an incredible desire to be more, and months later a man who never wanted to even think of dating a woman who had been married or who had kids was on his knee in front of a castle, fireworks in the background, asking this woman to share a life with him.

He stole my heart from day one.  I really did not want to give it though.  There was trepidation about timing, worrying about everything, basically not allowing myself the chance to really enjoy any of it.  We were engaged for a year before actually exchanging vows, :-)

And over our year long engagement, I tried everything possible to subconsciously ruin our relationship - constantly searching for something to go wrong or fall through, a reason why it wouldn't work... About six months into being engaged, the best thing happened.  We went to premarital counseling.

I learned what it meant to let my fiancĂ© lead.  I also learned what it meant to let go of having to control everything.  It was such a blessing for us both.

When we got married, we washed each others feet during the ceremony.  It was the first time I felt complete healing of washing away my old life and God's blessing over a new one.  God allowed me to find a man who physically and emotionally swept me off my feet.  A man after Gods heart, tender in spirit but exuding strength in faithfulness.

Steve really blessed me.  He has been a strong steady source of consistent love more than any other earthly friend or family member.

He loves me - agape love.  And I love him the same.  He has taught me what it means to love like that.  Sometimes (most times) the best thing for us is love someone steadily.  The best relationships aren't ones that are of all passion all the time - consistently of incredible highs and lows.  The best relationships are ones where no matter what happens - there is a partnership, a centering around God, a steady sounding board.  It's a steady love.

This week we celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  He brought me back to cinderella's castle, where it all started.  Year one has been an incredible journey - more so than most probably have to endure their first year... But we've made it, and we are happy, and we so truly love one another more than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.

Year one --- always only you

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chapter 25(?): "joy" vs "happy" (both)

Chapter 25? (my guess is as good as yours): "joy" versus "happy"

Here is another post for the present check box.

The past few years I've had this significant shift inside where being happy has almost become a curse, something I run from, and yes I'm serious.

Now before I go one sentence further, be sure you don't hear what I'm not saying.  I'm not saying I'm depressed or sad, (although there have been moments of this), and I'm not saying I have not clung to joy for that has been at the root of my emotional state - sovereign joy...

I'm saying that the word "happy" has become an emotion I have steered away from maybe (most likely) to a negative extreme.

If anyone else said what I just said, I'd be worried about them, but let me explain (and please do not worry :-) )

Once I began to actually see the hurt, pain, loss, true need of others --- I did not want to be happy with my life.  I wanted to fight for the ones who didn't have anything, that didn't have Him.  And the real point is I DID NOT want to find happiness in the life I created - in my stuff, in my possessions, in my successes... because none of those things were things I should be happy about those things made me feel extreme guilt - they all had a me-focus, not a He-focus.

So instead of finding happiness I substituted that feeling with perseverance - not stopping until I did whatever I could do to bring Him glory. With the best of intentions, the purest of motives, the heart for the untold story, for the life about to change, for hope that could be restored, for someone to come to see Him through me just living obediently.

As I drew closer to Him, and listened to His will for me and tried to walk in obedience (which was usually a much harder and narrow road) I found myself always needing to suffer for Christ, stretching myself to thin, and believing that was a part of His greater plan for my life.  "the life of a follower is called to be difficult, right? It's not a promise of a life made easy, but just the opposite, a life of persecution."

So I started justifying in some weird sense that my tiredness and weary spirit was a normal part of the obedient life of a follower of Christ...

And I'm not saying it's not a normal part --- I think it's a marginal part.  I think God walks us through different seasons with different levels of what it means to "suffer" for Him.  But I don't think we should get caught up in the suffering as much as the "living" for Him.  Something I am still learning - 20 years into following Him... :-)

But a few months ago, I was near burn out... I had grown very weak, I could not sleep, I was overwhelmingly stretched and justifying each step of my continued balancing act because each step felt directed by Him... Until one day I woke up and my body felt the wear and tear, and it was like God said, "ok, it's time for a new plan.  You have done all I needed you to do in this capacity, now I'm going to give you some rest."

And I didn't want to... Because what I was receiving in my giving was almost as gratifying as knowing I was doing had been what I was called to do.  I enjoyed being able to see people change, and in their changes God was changing me...  I was learning true joy.

And He kept saying - "ok, Rach, it's enough, I'm ready for you to do something else." and I just kept making excuses... Until He made it beyond clear, and yet I still wasn't happy with either outcome.  

I was not happy... And I couldn't remember the last time I had been.

So, I started researching and digging in my bible... Praying - are we supposed to feel happy?  I had felt abundantly joyful, but joy isn't happiness... It's very different.  Happiness is a feeling... Joy is a way of life.  Joy was with me all the time.  Happiness was a feeling that hit me at times.  

In my research (google) :-) -- I stumbled upon someone who said that the Hebrew and Greek translations of "happy" were really translated into the word joy.  Because happy, comes from the word - happenstance which means random, inconsistent feeling, not deep, unabiding.

This blog isn't meant to serve as an argument whether happiness is okay or not, :-).  I believe it is a God given emotion, and is perfectly valid.  I'm learning though that being "happy" doesn't really matter a whole lot to me, as learning to be content and finding true joy.

The sovereign kind... 

If you have some extra time listen to this podcast by Gary Oliver - he expresses this so much better than I could -