Monday, May 30, 2011

May 2011

Little Man Wesley

It was a month of many storms. Lots of rain, terrible floods, the Joplin tornado and the reminder of a promise from a loving God.

The last get together of the year and probably the last time for me to have tea with ladies from our homeschool group. I have been so blessed by such wonderful women.

Brian and Wyatt playing "Cops". Brian looking into Wyatt's eyes with the flashlight asked, "Have you had anything to drink today?" Wyatt told him, "Chocolate milk". Then Brian asked him, "have you thrown gasoline on yourself or anyone else today." :)

Wyatt (yes this is his current uniform of choice most days because he daddy has an outfit just like this). Wyatt repurposed Allen's ear protectors that he wears while shooting. They are now for blocking out bossy sisters and crying baby.Year End Pizza Party for the Elementary Homeschool Group. I feel so honored that I got to serve as the coordinator for the past 2 years. I also was choked up most of the day thinking this was probably the last night my kids would get to spend time with a lot of these families. Thank you Lord for another month.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Haunted by a Question

When I recently received an email asking if I would be willing to share what I’ve been learning thru the book, “Captivating” by John & Stasi Eldridge, I sat and stared at the words on the screen. The words, “would you be willing to share? Could just as easily have said, “Are you ready to risk adversity and open yourself up to satan’s attacks and the Lord honoring your obedience with growth by stretching and pruning you?” I prayed about it and felt like I could do this and know upfront I was prepared for the trials should they come. I slowly typed in “yes”, and then hit the “send” button. It was as if that very action set in motion the start of an intense battle.

What I thought I knew I was going to be able to easily share regarding the insights I have gained from this book; all uplifting to encourage other ladies, became even more personal for me. There are 3 chapters specifically that really spoke to me and followed just what we’ve been talking about over the past year. Those 3 chapters are: Haunted by a question, Wounded, and A Special Hatred.

At our 1st gathering for Healing the Daughters of Zion, Tammy encouraged us to search our childhood hearts and remember our dreams and desires. Challenging us to come out of the dessert and dry land and to walk boldly into that promised land of milk and honey. To be aware that satan will attack the very area that we are called to follow in order make us feel disqualified, shamed and worthless.

Even though we each have different destiny’s to fulfill, we all start with a common question on our hearts, “Am I Captivating? Am I lovely? Do you see me? Do you want to see me?” We see this search starting in every young girls heart, trying to gain attention from their family and especially from their daddy. Playing dress up, dancing, singing etc.

But we grow up. We give up on our hearts desires.

"Women are tired. Drained. But it's not from a life of shared adventures. No, the weariness of women comes from lives that are crammed with routine, with chores, with hundreds of demands. As Chekov said, "any idiot can face a crisis. It's the day to day living that wears you out." Somehow, somewhere between our youth of yesterday, efficiency has taken the place of adventure. Most women do not feel they are playing an irreplaceable role in a great Story. Oh, no. We struggle to know if we matter at all. If we are at home, we feel ashamed we don't have a "real life" in the outside world. We are swallowed by laundry. If we have a career, we feel as though we are missing out on more important matters like marriage and children. We are swallowed by meetings."

"Most women doubt very much that they have any genuine beauty to unveil. It is, in fact, our deepest doubt. When it comes to the issues surrounding beauty, we vacillate between striving and resignation. New diets, new outfits, new hair color. Work out; work on your life; try this discipline or that new program for self-improvement. Oh, forget it. Who cares anyway? Put up a shield and get on with life. Hide. Hide in busyness; hide in church activities; hide in depression. There is nothing captivating about me. Certainly not inside me. I'll be lucky to pull it off on the outside." - Captivating, pg 44-45

Do you feel beautiful and captivating with your husband? Strangers? Friends?

What about the Lord?

With each pass in front of the mirror we are quickly reminded of each of our outside flaws and while those we can often hide with a new dress, an pretty lipstick, it is that deep heart loss and void that is almost too much to hope for fulfillment. But why the hurt and emptiness?

From the Eve, was easily enchanted with the lies of the enemy and how quickly she was convinced that God was not on her side and had her best in mind. She decided to take control for herself. And because of the Fall, the Curse on women was to have loneliness, want control and be dominated by man.

Aren't our deepest heartaches relational? Don't we all feel the hairs on the backs of our necks rustle when we feel vulnerable? How many times have you felt trapped or hurt and instantly that anger surges up inside and the need to take control, be on top, not look like the fool taken over? But by trying to push down that vulnerability we end up loosing our alluring, tender, feminine and merciful characteristics. Our world in today often rewards the "Get it done, in control" woman. However, consider that this is not truly living and a lack of trust in God. It is robbing the world of the precious self we are trying to hide and protect.

There is also the opposite pendulum swing of the desolate woman. Hiding from being noticed, never speaking up, not building relationships because they could end up hurting us. Quietly slipping into nothingness.

We start to indulge in little things trying to fulfill our hearts, shopping, eating, gambling, drinking, cleaning, working, working out, novels, movies, affairs. Or do we go to the familiar and comfortable self-doubt, condemning, shamed thoughts of ourselves? Giving our hearts away rather than giving them over to God. It make take the pain away for a brief time but it is creating an addiction stronger than drugs to go back to that same place for fulfillment. Losing touch with our hearts and our longing for God. What do you go when that ache in your heart shows up?

We all know we are not what we are meant to be. We all fear that we'll be truly known and then we'll not be loved. But rather than during our hearts back to the Lord and asking him to answer these haunting questions, we turn to other things and people who will hurt us and then we have an ongoing cycle that never fulfills that longing in us. We each set ourselves up for terrible heartbreak.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

There is a Time and Season for Everything

After being self-employed for 6 years and going thru all the joys, frustrations, feasts and famine. Allen was physically and mentally worn down. He had a couple of job offers in Tulsa, OK and while I didn't say no, I, in my best non-outwardly-hormonal-just-had-a-5th-baby-hysterical are you crazy?-way, relayed that if we were going to be moving, I would prefer it not be to a large town in which we knew absolutely no one. Please. Honey.

We have tried to move closer to my family on a couple occasions however the doors have never opened and we had in turn all but given up on that as an option.

So 2 weeks ago we sent out a couple of applications to Kansas and within a weeks time Allen had 2 interviews and one offer. He agreed to take the job, although my heart ached to think of him taking a job that is not in line with his interest just to pay the bills. And it was a wonderful company and a good fit for many men.

He went to Kansas just 2 days ago to go thru orientation and a drug test. He had planned to leave to come home by noon. However, my sister asked to take Gabby shopping for the afternoon so Allen decided to stay there for the afternoon. Shortly after noon, the 2nd company he had interviewed with called and asked to meet him again, without even knowing he was in town that day. God is a God of the 11th hour. That 2nd company offered a long term vision in the line of work that Allen is versed in, with better hours for our family and better pay. So yesterday he accepted this opportunity and Monday he will be starting. It just so happened that Friday the transmission on his glass truck went out. Almost as if to stay, it is finished.

There are so many loose ends and of course the kids and I will be staying here until everything is ironed out.

The last two weeks have left me spinning. At our last months Healing the Daughters of Zion bible study, Tammy shared that God prunes out of our lives what is replacing Him in our hearts. Then one early morning I was feeding baby and having a little T.D. Jakes time and he talked on that same subject. Repeated messages made me wonder what God had in store for me.

You would think that I would be excited to move home and closer to my parents, who my dad was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, and my two sisters and brother and their families. To get to mend and build relationships with those I haven't had the chance to do so. For our kids to have a extended family close by. Not to mention the hope of having an actual date night compliments of grandma. But there was a pain.

I quickly discovered what the Lord was pruning me of….my comfort zone, my friends, my little homeschool supporting, Christian community. I felt an intense grieving. The verse a neighbor close by is better than a brother far away had become a way of life for us. Our friends and community had become our family. There is nothing wrong with that. However, I also realized that I had allowed my friends to replace the Lord as my priority in times of trouble. I would run to them sometimes before I had really spent some time in prayer about issues.

It was in my tears I had a vision of standing alone, naked before the Lord with only Him to clothe me with love. I had based a lot of my worth, my joy, my importance on the level of admiration I received from my friends. I found myself now being stripped away of my safety net. How could I possibly move somewhere that I may be seen as an outcast for being too religious? How could I move and start over, being a no one, having few friends? No large homeschool group with activities for the kids. The Lord will remove from our lives whatever is replacing him, if we will hand him the pruning sheers and trust that He knows the best design.

I am going to be placed in a position to quiet my soul and find my worth in HIM. I'm closing the door on one very wonderfully blessed season in my life and praying that as I move into this next season that it is God's perfect timing to use us to fulfill His plans for our family.

Life is good. Busy, but good.

Wesley Allen


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