In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

IF: Such a Little Word, With So Much Power

IF.  I have found myself uttering that one syllable word repeatedly, in recent months.  Sometimes,  the word IF can signify something that might come to be.  There is a hint of hope for something to come.  There is some wonder in the word.  It is also a cause and effect word, both positive and negative.  Like, "If you are naughty, then you won't go to the North Pole." (see previous post).  Or it can be positive, like, "If you get your seatbelt on in less than 30 seconds, then you get a tic tac."  At the same time, IF can be a word that has the ability to paralyze.  It's a word that wants so badly for circumstances to be different.  It's a word that can rob us of joy.

These are some of my paralyzing IF statements lately.  (Some of these may sound terrible, so brace yourself and try to stay friends with me):

  • If only I didn't have this colossal herniated disc, everything would be better. 
  • If Dave would have died a couple months earlier, I wouldn't have to worry about health insurance. Yuck!
  • If only he had died before we brought Maci home, I could gracefully raise TWO kids. (Before you defriend me on facebook, adoption friends and all others, I believe with all my heart that Maci is about as amazing as they come and I love her like a crazy woman, most of the time.  However, there are times that I have had this thought.)   
  • If he had only lived just a little bit longer, the kids would be older and this would all be easier.
  • If we had gone with the suggested amount of life insurance, I wouldn't have to worry about money.  (As Dave Ramsey said, we always want just a little more). 

Those are the biggies.  I don't like them.  They just come to me, naturally.

To be fair, if sat down to write positive "if" statements, I would be here all day.  Statements like, "if my friends, family and even strangers, were not so amazing and so supportive, I wouldn't have made it through this past year.  It is crazy how, when life is hard, the despairing thoughts come so easily.  I guess I should take some time to write out the positive, huh?

Back to the ugly ifs.  I can make these statements all day long, but it sure doesn't change that Dave actually died, it doesn't change when Dave died, and it doesn't change that I still have to have my kids put my socks on in the morning (however the pain is a little less these days, so for that I am thankful).  All of these circumstances don't change no matter how loud I say them or how I wish circumstances were different.

I didn't really realize how many times I repeat IF statements, until I was looped back into a round of emails for a conference that I am helping to organize.  I say "helping" very lightly, because I haven't done much.  Sorry, gals!

The conference is called none other than IF.  The very abbreviated description of the conference is,  "If God is real, then what?"  You know what I love about that question?  Everyone can answer that question.  You could know nothing about God, you could have grown up in the finest Bible thumping house, or you could be in a sweet spot with Jesus, and you could still entertain that question on the same level.

Anyway, lately, I have been repeating the counter IF GOD IS REAL, THEN WHAT? statement to my IF ONLY LIFE WERE DIFFERENT statements.  As I question myself, what keeps coming to my mind, is one isty bitsy phrase that I heard in passing before Christmas this year.  GOD GIVES GOD.  God sometimes gives us good things, but I know that he never promises a comfortable life.  In fact, the Bible is chalk full of suffering, even for the most devout follower.  Comfort is what I want, though, after a year where I have experienced both the most devastating, unexplainable, grief and the most enduring physical pain I have ever experienced.  It is such a challenge for me to be satisfied with God giving me God and that is it.  How can I even type those words?  It sounds so blasphemous.  I get God and that is it?  What does that even mean that God gives God?  I want him to give me immediate healing.  I want easy for a little while.   I want him to give me a really good looking, Jesus loving, kid loving, smart, athletic, ridiculously funny man, with good hair. (Just kidding) (No, I'm not) (Well, I wouldn't be opposed and I'll leave it at that:)).  I want God to make things right, in my opinion, right now.  I want justice, I want good people to receive good things and bad people to get what they deserve.  None of that is what God promises in this earthly life.  So, in answer to IF GOD IS REAL, THEN WHAT?  I think He is telling me that If He is real, I get Him. If I take out my selfishness, then it is pretty staggering.  I get the God who created the universe, whether it is through snapping his fingers or if it is through evolution.  I get the God who can do anything.  Literally anything.  I get the God who has made a way for me and my kids to see Dave again.  I get the God who loves unconditionally.  I get the God who can heal.  I get the God who has a sense of humor.  I get the God who will UNDO all the yuck and in it's place will be JOY.  AND I get God every second of every day in every circumstance.

Elizabeth Elliot summed it up nicely when she said, "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances." She couldn't have said that lightly, as she didn't exactly have an easy life or seek out a life of comfort.  I know I couldn't say those words, yet, with conviction to anyone, but I am getting closer, as I continue to walk through hard, yet want more and more of God.

While I didn't compose this blog as an add for the conference, I feel it would be remiss of me to not extend the invitation to any who are interested.  I am excited about this conference coming up, as it will give time to explore the question, IF GOD IS REAL, THEN WHAT?  It will be fun to see ladies across Colorado Springs break the boundaries of the church walls and see where God is leading them.  

Feel free to email Christina (address at the bottom of the flyer) or leave a comment on here, if you have any questions.  I would love to see you there!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Whew!  Made it.  December was a big, fat, furry bear for sure.  If you are going to lose somebody you love, try really hard to not do it a few days before Christmas.  As all of you know, the weeks before Christmas, as hard as you may try to pare everything back, still is a steam train that just doesn't quit.  School parties, recitals, programs, gatherings, family, etc. . . .

For months I had dreaded and in a strange way, looked forward to, the anniversary of Dave's death.  In a month that is way too full, I was looking forward to a day that I was just allowed to be sad.  I was kinda saving up my sadness for that day, but then it came and went and I didn't even get the chance to be sad.  Sad, huh?

I had planned on taking the kids skiing, but in light of this beyond frustrating and painful back situation, skiing was out.  The North Pole amusement park was in, though, which was a place that Dave LOVED to take our kids.  He had always wanted to go when he was a kid, but it never happened, so I think that when he took our kids there, it was this symbol of providing a childhood dream that he never got to fulfill.  He was just so cute about his love for the North Pole.  We started the day with donuts - another fave of Dave's - and then got ready to go.  Unfortunately, Maci was having a rough day and I made the carnal mistake of saying that if I had to correct her one more time, then she was not going to be able to go with us.  In those moments, you think, "Surely, they won't test this boundary - this is too important."  I'm certain you can guess what happened next.  Under normal circumstances, maybe I would have made an exception, because this was an important day and event, but we were going to be boarding a plane for New York in two days and I needed her to know that I'M NOT KIDDING AROUND HERE!  Gosh - I sound a little defensive, don't I?  Anywho, the North Pole was the perfect way to spend the day. Then we came home, got a flu shot for Maci, started laundry and packing, and that was that.  The day had come and gone.

Leah and Cousin Jacob

I had also dreaded the day before the 21st, because that felt more like THE DAY.  I got the fated phone call, while driving Spencer to school on the day before break last year.  It took me months to be able to drive that same path after Dave died.  I had thought about how hard that drive would be this year, but instead. . . . (insert big breath here) mid way to school, Spencer dropped his cinnamon toast on the floor, and then wouldn't eat it, because there was fuzz on it,  which probably meant that he was going to get a stomach ache, because now he didn't eat breakfast with his antibiotics that he was on for having strep throat, along with his siblings earlier in the week.  See what I mean???  It's like life is a giant run on sentence.  I thought that I would be able to insert a period, or at least a semi colon around the 21st, but life just kept it's regular Christmas pace and I just couldn't stop it. 

This crazy pace continued right until the moment we got on the plane, headed for New York.  I know it is a little nuts to take three kids across the country at Christmas, but there was no part of me that wanted to stay here.  I just couldn't do it, this year.  We were going to be flying out of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, which is usually a friendly way to fly.  It is easy and small and fit for a single mom with three kids in tow.  As we were pulling up, I was telling Linette that I was so glad I wasn't leaving out of DIA.  Why did I have to utter those words?  So, I start the check in process, which, of course, is taking forever.  Just as they load my luggage onto the conveyor belt, this sweet high schooler, Cole,  behind me says, "I don't mean to look over your shoulder, but the flight to Denver you are on, just got cancelled."  I immediately yelled, "Grab those suitcases!" before they disappeared behind stage. They informed me that there would be a bus coming at some point to shuttle us to DIA.  The problem was, I would miss my connection to NYC.  Thus begins my own personal Amazing Race.  The lady behind the counter kept saying, "your never going to make it," and I kept saying, "can you please just hurry, because I'm going to try."  I informed Linette of the little glich and she began packing up the kids to drive to DIA - in a hurry!   We had an hour and nine minutes to make it an hour and 38 minutes away, according to my iPhone . . .  AND there was a wreck on 1-25.  So, we headed up Powers and managed to have to stop at every. single. light.  We invited Cole to ride with us and in the car I informed him that this was a conditional offer.  Now he was obligated to help me with my kids and all our luggage.  He was quite the 15 year old trooper.  We had to have our luggage checked in by 2:04, which was the time the plane started boarding. Somehow, through a mix of a Linette's speeding and a minor miracle, we pulled up to the curb at 2:04.  I begged to cut in line and the guy took my luggage and we raced to the security line.  I could be found saying things to my kids like, "If there is ever a time to listen and obey, it is right now!"  They did awesome and with some sweat and heavy breathing, we raced onto the plane, only for them to close the door, drive a few feet, drive back a few feet and then sit for an hour.  It was very anti-climactic, but I was just so relieved to be on that plane.

Cousins and cozy jammies!

Two cutie little shoppers who couldn't wait to visit Claire's Boutique.

We made it to Westport, CT that very night and we were there for one lovely week and we made it back without incident.  I guess Maci felt that was reason to rejoice. When we landed back in Colorado Springs, I went to help Leah press the drinking fountain button and when I turned around, Maci was ON THE LUGGAGE CONVEYOR BELT . . . DANCING!  Now, it's funny, but I was a little too tired to think it was funny at the time.

I guess to wrap this random post up, I would conclude Christmas break with saying, "We made it, we did it, and I wish Dave were here to be a part of it all."