Thursday, March 31, 2011

Now: a few thoughts

A couple thoughts

Leading into tomorrow knowing the severity of an open heart surgery on my grandpa I have a few overwhelming thoughts...

1) I can't help but feel peace as people have been praying -- we feel those prayers.  Please keep them up.  My only thought is not about the outcome of the surgery but the outcome of His kingdom's cause through this - in His will, His timing, all to His glory may this all be directed

2)  Crisis has a way of strengthening or breaking a family.  We are blessed in our case that amidst the chaos and craziness our family loves one another fiercely.  The combination of all our weirdness fits into a beautiful mosaic of what family means

3). I can't help think that this may have been part of Gods greater plan for my job.  On Monday I let work know that I could not wait until May to be off and shortened my notice.  This was before we knew anything about my grandpa having any issues.  I now can't help but think that God's timing is always better than my own.

4). Laughing is the best medicine.  Before I left the hospital I was in the room alone with my grandparents.  We all three laughed so hard as both grandparents griped and then hysterically laughed over everything from the tv to the light to the "damn" bathroom.  I helped my grandpa brush his teeth and tucked him into bed.  We smiled at one another and said "I love you" and believe it or not I knew God was there.  I needed that moment

5).  Sleep.  It's now time to go to sleep, if only for a couple hours. Please continue your prayers friends.  You all amaze me.  Much love

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"you've got to love His cause more than your own"

"You've got to love His cause more than your own"

I wrote that line in my journal in the 10th grade.  It's amazing to go back and read some of the things God has laid on my heart over the years.

In the same journal entry I asked God to mold and coach me.  To let me learn to follow so that someday I might could lead.

I also wrote "I want to be a champion.... Champions are people who get behind the Coach and His agenda.  I want to be unstoppable for His vision."

I still want those things.  I am so very grateful God is opening up the doors He has laid before me.  Looking at the coming months with so many unknowns with quitting my job, staying home with my kids, praying for the right part-time position, and pouring myself into planning and volunteering at Autumn's ReRide where I feel God is calling me to spend time serving.  At the same token, Steve and I feel called to begin fostering in our home at some point in the coming months.

I am taking some huge leaps towards what I am feeling called to do.  

AND Logical Rachel crunches all the numbers, thinks about what this will look like to my career long-term, and prays I have figured out my finances correctly to be able to swing it.

BUT I am beginning to realize there is this other side of me that's becoming even more aware and present - TRUSTING Rachel..  I know that whichever direction God takes us in I have a peace that it will be the perfect course.  So rereading this old journal post could not have come at a better time!!!!

Here is to putting His cause before my own.  I am trusting that it will be exactly as it is supposed to be. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

another fun transition :)

My sweet friends - I made the decision that I am going to take some time off work starting mid-May to have more time at home while my kiddos are young and get back to volunteering at other awesome orgs., and having a summer off with my babies etc. BUT I will be looking for something part-time (or maybe even looking to watch 1 or 2 kiddos through the summer).

If you hear of anything part-time at a non-profit or have a sweetie that needs care this summer, let me know. I am exploring my options, :) but until May I will still be here at United Way.

I have a total peace that God is leading this decision, and I am leaping obediently... :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Minnie Mouse sweatshirt: My Christmas angel

The Minnie Mouse sweatshirt: my Christmas angel

Someone asked me the other day, "where do you think your desire to love people in need started?"

I think there are a lot of ways any person could answer this.  

However, for me, one specific memory keeps coming to mind.  I was 3 or 4 and my mom and I went to the mall (back then the only mall around was in Fayetteville).

While walking through the halls, I remember seeing a beautiful Christmas tree filled with bright decorations of green and red.  Amongst it, were little angels all around.  I looked at them and saw one with my name on it - Rachel!

I remember asking my mom, "what are those?  Why is my name on it?"

I believe this was the first conversation my mom and I ever had about need in our community.  She explained to me that the angels represented kids in our community who didn't have a lot.  They were kids people could buy presents for on Christmas.  "The Rachel on the tree is a different Rachel who is 12, honey."

I remember thinking "how could this be?  I wanted to help.  I wanted to help this other Rachel".  Because I have been shown love, I should show love.

My mom agreed, and said that it was a good idea to get an older kid adding "most people never get the older kids off the trees".  Planting a seed of my passion for kids?  Maybe (nothing is coincidence).

I got so excited shopping for my angel.  I don't remember much about what we bought our angel except one specific thing - a Minnie mouse sweatshirt that I remember begging my mom to buy for her.  And without much debate, the Minnie sweatshirt was added to her gifts.

You see - people serve when they understand need - when we can have an experience where we can relate to those who just need love or care then we become passionate about being a part of the change.

We have an extraordinary opportunity to teach our kids about this as well.  We need love and care and others need love and care - it is really that simple of a concept.  The challenge is "action".

We all must act to make change.

So, friends, what is your story?  How do you serve?  What was your first experience serving someone else?  How have others shaped your life by serving you?

It can be as simple as a sweatshirt, :)

If we have been loved and cared for, it is our responsibility to do the same for others.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Drought...a season of thirst

Drought... A season of thirst

Several people asked me how I was doing today, and I just wanted to be honest.... I'm doing "blah", and "I'm doing blah very well, thanks".  Instead I of course responded the usual way - "I'm great, and you?"

A word came to my mind tonight - drought...  

My life is flourishing all around me, and I'm the one patch of sandy dusty soil waiting to bloom into a fresh attitude - greener pastures..

To be in a drought means that I'm thirsting...which is so true.

In fact I started anxiously awaiting greener soil so much that I forgot that being in a season of waiting or in the valley or a self-induced pit :) is usually a time that God is trying to show me something.  I always look back at seasons like this and realize God was working on me...  

And since I don't have all the answers and can over-analyze everything and anything I am choosing to find some way to embrace this season... Knowing full well -- in my weakness His power is perfected.

So, I'm leaning...on His promises...  There are so many blessings in my life, and I'd be a fool to not count them daily.  Even though I'm feeling very "blah" I know that He promises that there will be seasons of joy, seasons of grief, seasons to cry, and seasons to celebrate... 

Every day I'm learning more about myself, about grace, about stepping backward, and choosing my battles.  About how small I am, how big He is, how I can abide and be obedient in ways unimagined.

I'm blessed to have an awesome hub and fam and friends who continually remind me that I am in fact perfectly normal, :-)... And also remind me I think way too much.  Let's see if I can turn my mind off a bit...  This blog post is moment one of turning off the many directions my minds been circling in..  It's time to take a few days to be overly aware of resting my thinking cap.

Goodnight amazing friends.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Writer's block.... It really does exist

Writer's block... It really does exist

This past week I've had a hard time finding motivation to write... To be honest, I've had a hard time finding motivation for anything.

God keeps making some things painfully obvious... And I am having to really work on some things I didn't even know needed pruning until now - me things.

One thing is for certain, there is so much more for me to worry or stress about than myself.  I will always be my own worst critic, and yet I am remembering each day how much of this world is so NOT about me.  

I see so many kiddos with true needs, I see hunger in our community, and hear of women who are victims to abuse, kids lacking clothing and basic necessities, a man on the side of the road who does not have a home.  

My measly frustrations and issues seem very miniscual compared to so much true need.  Bringing myself back to perspective...  Want to join me?

The easiest way for me to stop dwelling in me, is to start dwelling in Him... One practical way is serving.  Serve, serve, serve...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tonight: a lesson in bold obedience

Tonight: a lesson in bold obedience

As I sat and visited with some old and new friends tonight I could not help but be totally encouraged and aware of their amazing examples in faithfulness and obedience.

While I wonder and stamper to make day to day decisions wallowing in a sea of self-deprivation, worry, and doubt over piddly things - I watch friends boldly step closer to Him...  Because their not afraid to walk through the open doors God presents to them.

Many times I find myself having to know that I know that I know that I know it's the right decision instead of trusting the overwhelming impulses He fills me with.  It takes courage to have the kind of faith some of my friends exhibit.

One friend leaving her job and starting a home-based business because she knows God is calling her to, another opening herself up to volunteering and serving in a new capacity because she knows it's a God thing, and another clinging to her passion regardless of the frustration it sometimes brings.

I want that kind of strength...  I said that to steve and he laughed saying, "I think you have it... You just don't think you do."

This kind of strength comes from one place and one place alone - Him.  In His strength all is possible.  I want to embrace that and run in it's direction.  

I'm praying that kind of strength fills me.  I'm praying I can trust, act, and be obedient.  Timing and choices 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chapter 8: resuming the story

This blog goes back to the "past" check box. Go back and read from the beginning if you are confused, :-). The year is 2007.

 I don't know if this writing and openness is as much for those who read it or for me as I write it... Either way my sole prayer is that He is glorified through it, so I'll keep writing.  And if you are reading, may this somehow resonate within you and your own journey of healing.  And for me, I pray God uses this vulnerability and transparency to help me continue to see His direction in my life. 

Besides the story with my marriage the story of my education was also running parallel and that part of my story is actually very exciting - I had been going to school this whole time.  I had finished a corporate degree/SHRM certification in Human Resource Management.  I decided I wasn't done with school and was excited to be going back to finish my bachelors in communication.

At the same time, I was working full-time in ministry, going to school full-time, managing a home business, and my daughter was on her way.  We kept it together for a few weeks as I recovered from my csection... And yet nothing was really kept together.

In the next few weeks I moved out, with both kids in tow, and I was committed to making my life work.  I wasn't going to disappoint myself or my two kids.  I distinctly remember once I got all my stuff moved in and everyone had gone home except my mom.  She was about to go home to her own house and I got really emotional.  A wave of fear, loneliness, and sadness hit me.  I could not do it.  How was I ever going to really do this?

It was late, a weekday night, my house was full of boxes, my two children both under the age of 3, and I was only 22 years old... And a single mom.

She looked at me and said, "it breaks my heart to see you go through this pain, and it's going to be very hard... But you can do this, you are strong, and it might take you through hell and back but you are going to make it.  I can't do it for you even though I want to.  You will survive this.  You are going to succeed - take it one day at a time.  Call me if you need anything."

Her words were wise.  I didn't know what to do with those words though.  I didn't know anything.  So, I wiped my tears and put a kid movie in and cuddled up with my babies.  It was the beginning of a new life.  

When they fell asleep, I threw myself down on the living room floor in tears, crying out to God, begging for clarity, direction, anything, something.  I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew I was up for greenlee's 3am feeding, and then I woke up again with the sun shining brightly.  

Alright let's do this day two.