Category Archives: faith

Exercising faith

 

This is the house we may be able to get if things work out. But it's not up to us, is it?

This is the house we may be able to get if things work out. But it’s not up to us, is it?

My entire world is suspended. It’s like everything is moving in slow motion if it’s moving at all. At the same time, it’s screaming along like a fully-loaded freight train without breaks on a steep descent.

Doubting.

A cynical attitude.

Pessimism.

Those are life-long habits I’ve honed over the decades. They follow me everywhere I go.

Deciding to move to Wyoming not knowing how things would work out has been the toughest decision my husband and I have made in our 17 years of marriage. This new plot-twist in life is forcing us to examine our thought patterns and thinking habits. It’s forcing us to exercise our faith in ways we never imagined.

At first, things felt surreal.

Like a foggy dream.

Tuesday, a contract was drawn up on our house. All it needs is a closing date.

Yesterday, John took away some pretty large items with lots of memories attached. The purging process has begun.

We lost Chloe in December.

Esau a week and a half ago.

Change.

Obstacles.

But I am determined not to doubt. John and I made a pact that if we chose to move, we would trust God completely. We would not pray and then doubt God would answer. We agreed to trust Him to answer in His way.

How am I doing?

Well, truth is, I am numbing out. I’m not allowing myself to think or feel much. When doubt crept in I watched multiple episodes of Downton Abbey.

I researched graphic design principles of novel covers.

I asked God to help me not doubt.

I know some say it’s important to be expectant. To decide things are going to work out a certain way… I’m not there. And I’m not sure if my expectations are real or true.  I need to focus on not doubting.

Yesterday we were supposed to find out if a  spec home would go on the market. The contract fell through on the other buyer’s end. We were hoping to go up to Casper today to see the house and start paperwork to secure it.

This house is a deal.

Ideal.

Similar to what we have, but brand new and not a single swath of duct tape in sight!

Under budget.

Next to a river with bike and walking trails.

I would be content there.

The seller and real estate agent are giving that other buyer every chance to save their contract. Now, it will be end of business day, Friday before we know anything. At best, there is a 50/50 chance things would work out for us.

In the shower, I struggled with how to pray about it. What if the other people were praying to get that house? What if they are trusting God to come through for them? After all, the house is build to their specs. Not mine. How can I pray for that house to be mine?

I can’t.

I have to let it go.

Soap in my eyes, I told  God that if getting a contract on their current home and getting into that house would draw them closer to Him, then they should have that house. John and I will have to trust Him for another one.

And that is hard.

Because it would mean more suspension.

More waiting.

More wondering

As time ticks forward.

 

Breakthrough

James 15,6 mountainsI’m gonna be brutally honest.

About myself.

I’m cringing as I type, because on so many levels I feel like a fool. A stubborn fool… or a mule.

Why?

Because the truth has been in front of me all the time. I knew it. I even advised others to make behavioral and mental changes accordingly but… I never applied said truth to my own life.

And it’s been making me miserable for years and years.

Read the previous post if you need some context.

On Friday mornings, I make a conference call with my author buddies Kim and Becca. Usually we shred each other’s prose and help each other work toward mastery of our craft. This time, we talked about life and ended up challenging each other to become better people.

My friend Kim shared a passage from James. Verses 2-8, to be exact. She shared how it convicted her and how she planned on applying it to her life. Then she challenged me. To memorize it with her.

The part that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go was the part about doubt. When we pray, we are to pray in faith without any doubting. James describes doubters like the foam on the sea, at the mercy of relentless waves and violent wind. Doubters are not to expect any answers and are double-minded thinkers and unstable in all their ways.

Gulp.

My first thought was, “I’m not a doubter, I’m merely a skeptic. A realist, if you will.”

I’d pray, then have a plan B, C, D and so on if God failed to come through. Actually, deep down, I expected Him to not come through. I have been praying for hope and expecting nothing but more suffering. In fact, I honestly did not believe God could have something good for me.

Why?

I have no idea.

But I do know this, my stinkin’ thinkin’ has kept me in a stuck, unstable place for… should I admit this?

Decades.

We girls talked for a while. Encouraged one another. Prayed. Then I went to my husband and had a melt down.

I was done.

So. Done. With being  in a miserable place.

I had let the circumstances rule. I let doubt consume me like a malignant rot.

As we talked, we observed how life has beat us up so hard. It was easier to be myopic and focus on the pain, the hardships. Looking beyond took too much… effort.

Under the pressure,  I retraced. Withdrew. Became a severe introvert. I lived life defensively. Looking over my shoulder for the Next Bad Thing so I could see it coming and prepare.

Does that look like a life of faith?

I don’t think so either.

I was the sea foam. Flung about, ragged, frothy from the violence of life. Unstable in all my ways.

John and I made a pact to change. We admitted to ourselves and God our messed up thinking. We asked for wisdom on how to squash the doubts. Stop speaking it into our lives. We decided to hold each other accountable for our speech and actions. We will be positive. We will refrain from the complain.

It’s not easy. Circumstances have not changed.

We did.

And boy, do I feel a whole lot better.

 

 

Oh my, God!

I have several draft posts lined up that may never see publication. They are about grief and loss… the two most dominant emotions in my life right now. And who wants to read about that stuff?

Seriously.

Over the past two days, I have had the privilege to see God answer prayers in the life of a dear childhood friend, Tami. She and I marched together. She was a flute player who also did color guard. Tami, more recently, taught at Tarpan Springs in their concert and symphonic programs. Tarpan Springs’ guard kind of won a gold medal last year at WGI.

Tami and Geoff left their full time jobs and moved from Florida to South Carolina so they could set themselves up with more flexible jobs so they could be full-time parents to the kids for whom they waited so long.

Tami and her husband, Geoff started a journey six years ago to

Tami and Goeff Roedig wearing T-shirts they made to raise money toward their adoption efforts.

Tami and Goeff Roedig wearing T-shirts they made to raise money toward their adoption efforts.

adopt. For those of you who don’t know, the adoption process is brutal. It doesn’t matter if it’s domestic or international. It is brutal, draining, expensive and will push you far beyond any limits you have.

Yesterday, Tami wrote on her adoption Facebook Page,  Tami and Geoff’s Adoption Journey:

I try to keep others upbeat and positive when they are having a tough time. Lately, I have just not been able to sustain the fake upbeat-ness any longer. And now I’ve just moved from trying to stay positive, to unhappy, to jealous, to just plain mad and frustrated. And it ain’t getting any better.

Tami explains why:

…it really bothers me when I am feeling so emotional and upset, and friends/family/acquaintances tell me “it’ll be ok”, “you’ll be fine”, “the wait will be worth it”, blah blah blah. If I were actually pregnant, would I get the same reactions from people? My guess is no, I would not. For some reason it is ok to be moody or upset when you are expecting a child. But adopting a child? Nope. Not acceptable.

Tami pours out her heart and her pain in a most real way. That was yesterday. (I encourage you “like” their page and follow the journey.)

Many people, including myself, sent her messages of encouragement and prayed for the situation.

Today is Tami’s birthday and here is what she posted:

told us the best news. WE HAVE FIRST RULING! FIRST

Tami and Geoff meeting Emily and Brennan for the first time in Taiwan. They were hoping to take them home for Christmas.

Tami and Geoff meeting Emily and Brennan for the first time in Taiwan. They were hoping to take them home for Christmas.

DECREE! That messenger pigeon must have showed up overnight with the signed paperwork the judge was waiting for! We were so excited!

And then she asked us if we could travel the week of February 8th…

February 8th???

That’s less than two weeks!

Holy cow!

February 8th???

Happy birthday, Tami! Isn’t God’s timing cool?

A waaaay-overdue judge’s ruling came through! The adoption is moving forward. Tami and Geoff are going to Taiwan to bring home BOTH of their children. They decided to adopt a brother and sister. And they need help and support. They have to have the trip details finalized by tomorrow night. Tickets to Taiwan are expensive. They also have to buy tickets to bring the kids home.

But isn’t this awesome? God answered the prayers of a mother’s aching heart. He heard. He heard the petitions of all her friends and family.

But like I said, adoption is brutal. It’s not over until the kids are on US soil. Continue to pray for the Roedig’s. Pray no unforeseen roadblocks arise in Taiwan when they go. Pray for provision for the expenses. Pray about helping if you are financially able.  (Donate here)

Anyway, this is a much better topic than me wallowing in my misery.

And what a celebration it will be to see that family of 2, double in size in two short weeks!

*I apologize I just cannot figure out how to get the comments to work on my blog. I have tried. So feel free to comment on social media ;)