Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Update and Another Jonah- What's Important?

So about 2 weeks ago I did a post titled, “My struggle to find.. me while looking for God's direction!" and during the writing of that post I had some personal revelations. Some people have read it and told me in person their feedback, all have been supportive. I have begun to call that post, “A Jonah Moment” in reference to the bible study class and it was a Jonah moment of realizing that I was making a bigger mistake by keeping everyone at arms length so they couldn't see my weaknesses. Well here I am again, life has thrown some new curve balls and I am looking for some new answers. While working on my bible study, I had another “Jonah Moment!”

 Let's start with the last 2 weeks, Marty got a travel contract and started working nights again. He is back in pediatrics and working Congenital Heart Surgical Intensive Care unit (his real nursing love!) The kids and I are getting our act together with schedules and getting schoolwork done as well as spending time working with another friend that is home-schooled as well to do some group activities. We have got a garden started outside and seedlings growing inside. Life is beginning to feel back to normal. Yea, I spoke too soon!
The plan was, let Marty work the contract while we wait for his Texas nursing license comes through and continue to look for that permanent position in the mean time. The contract is through mid-May and could have a possibility of extending if needed. The pay is good and we have benefits starting soon. Then we got a letter last Saturday from Texas Board of Nursing, they want to transfer his application to another department for further review and he will not be allowed to work as a nurse in the state of Texas as a nurse starting the end of the current contract, until the other department is completed their review and he is issued a Texas license. They also state that the review will take a minimum of 4 months and could take longer than 4 months to complete. So, Marty can't take any permanent position in Texas and can't take an extension on the contract, at least not as a nurse.
So now what? The kids are planning on going to preteen camp with church this summer, Andy was just talking about Spinal Bifida camp this summer. We started the garden and have been making our plans for growing it. The kids have also made a good friend and enjoy spending time with him. We have a house full of furniture and appliances (some that we are still paying for) so what would we do with all of it?
What are our options? Well, Marty could take a travel contract out-of-state without us for 3 months, so the boys could attend their events and camps. During that time we can hope the license comes through but no guarantee it will and then what if it doesn't?? We could put things into storage and travel with him, boys would miss everything. Marty could find a job that doesn't require a license, few a far between and at a lower pay rate than RN. We could just sell off everything and hit the road again with no plans of returning?

So, let's talk about my “Jonah Moment”. This week was asking for my most wildest dreams, I was to think about my “divine interventions” of late, and come up with a dream that would be the most phenomenal outcome. Well, for me that is hard to do. I really don't have too many dreams. Yes I have, “It would be nice,” statements, but as for real dreams I don't have them. Long term plans- I don't make them. Our lives have been too “on the fly” for far too long, I have stopped dreaming big. So I sat there thinking, I even asked Marty- he couldn't answer either.
I finally wrote about what I would really want if I could have anything. “A home, truly our home with a yard and a garden, income- enough to meet our needs and more for our wants, extra to share and give without worry. A 2nd car and the 1st one to be in good repair.” That's it! I wish our car was fixed and we had a home of our own. I wish we had an income source that took care of us and wasn't going to disappear at the end of a contract or with a licensing agency delay. Seems too simple right?
Well then later in the same day's assignment, it covers simple obedience and talks about remembering people who made an impact in your life with their small ways of simple obedience. I thought of the older woman from our first church, she continued to come to church and share her love of God with all while fighting cancer, never loosing faith that God was in control of her outcome. And then there was Skip, he always has a smile on his face, it was only missing when something was gravely wrong. He had migraines that would sometimes remove that smile and he said he was showing God's love through his smile. Because of his smiling attitude, his coworkers threw him a “Roast” party, they told his wife that Skip was the only one they could do that for, no one else would be able to take the punches without hurt feelings.

Then the lesson asked me this question. “God can do beyond that which you can imagine as He uses your obedience as a foundation for what He is building. Consider this and record your thoughts.” Wow, after thinking about these 2 great people and their ability to show God's love at all times, how can I even ask for anything. Here is my response, a prayer.
“Lord, I know my dreams are not too big for You. But I also know that You have a plan for me, and my dreams may not match that plan. I don't want to ask for that dream because I don't believe my dreams are important. It's only Your plan that I live for. Amen.”
Now while this statement seems so selfless, it also became convicting. See, it's not just a measure to God that I feel my dreams are not important, I realized it's in general that I tend to believe my dreams or desires are not important. That I am not important. We all want to feel important, in some way. I want to feel important too, but I also feel that I don't deserve to feel important. That I am some how wrong in wanting to feel important. Crazy, but I think I am not alone. The biggest problem with thinking that way, it's like I am saying to God, “You were wrong! I am not worthy of anything. Stop saving me, because You made a mistake.” Now who is the one who is making the mistake? God doesn't make mistakes. Part of the week's study was talking about God changing His mind, not because He made a mistake. But because He has compassion and mercy for His children. It's because of His love for us that we know how to love. There is no greater love than the love that comes from our Father. He didn't create me to not deserve feelings of love or importance. I am correct in my thinking that I live to be used by God for His plan, but I also need to remember that it can include my own wants. He created me to have feelings and desires, He only asks that I be humble and obedient. 
It comes back to this, it's ok for me to want to feel important. I have to remind myself, I am important! While I may live for God's purpose, He wants to know my dreams. Who knows, He may use them for His purpose?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My struggle to find.. me while looking for God's direction!

So I have been taking a woman's bible study class at my church. It's called, “Jonah, Navigating a Life Interrupted” and as you can see from my posts, the last few months of my life have been interrupted! I knew all the right answers the first few days, but I wanted to find the answers I didn't already know. I looked and read, I studied my bible and the study guide, and I looked into myself to see what I was missing. I even continued to work my way through Experiencing God bible study hoping that between the 2, I would find the answers I was seeking.
What answers, you ask.... I wanted to know why the troubled times seem to bother me more this time than any of the past events.
Some of you know me and my family well enough to know what I'm talking about. Through my son's short life, he has racked up 14 surgeries and over 20 hospital stays. We were told he would never walk, or that he would have trouble walking even with assistance devices such as walkers or crutches, he walks and most folks don't realize there is anything wrong with him. Through most of these “events” I have never seemed to loose my cool. I have handled everything very calmly.
This time around, it has been different. During the hospital stay and first few weeks after, I didn't have any problems. But as the weeks went on, I seem to have my agitation grow. Yes, this time around it wasn't my son but my husband who's health had been the instigator. I still had faith that God was in control and knew that He was going to get us thru it all. But there was still a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, a bit of confusion and probably a bit of depression. I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do about all the bills, about the job, how to take care of it all and meet the obligations. I didn't know how to talk to Marty about my feelings, for fear that would make him feel guilty. I felt a disconnect from him as his health had kept him from even being able to share our bed for over 2 months. On top of that I had to make sure my children didn't see anything but a strong parent so they wouldn't have any fears over everything.

Here are some notes I wrote in my study guide;
“Never let them see you sweat! I have a hard time letting others see me down. I have been trying to trust and lean on others. To give them the blessing of being helpful. It feels like a backfire. It feels like people see me as a “Needy, Whiner.” Before I was a “Strong woman,” “Nothing ever gets her down!” But maybe it was more of, “She's cold heart-ed. It Doesn't bother her!”

Confused is what I am and questioning my self worth, my self view and wondering if what I thought I was showing to everyone was what everyone was seeing.

Another note;
“I can't say that I ran. I can only say I have been confused lately. I am having trouble “hearing” God's directions. Somewhere I probably have “not obeyed” and maybe that's why my confusion continues.”
“I feel like I am missing something. I don't know what directive I am missing/ not following.”
“I question/ OVER-question my every decision.”

This last week, in the middle of the week I made a new discovery about myself. Maybe the direction I was looking for wasn't an directive of “Go” but a directive of “Stop!” See I have a control problem. I have been in control of everything around me, partly by my doing and partly by circumstance. With our traveling lifestyle, Marty left most things up to me to be in charge of. From that I took control of so much that it became a joke that all Marty had to do was the phone interviews for the jobs and show up to work when I told him to. But that “joke” should have been my clue. I was in control of too much.

I find myself now looking back and realizing that there is negative response that comes with control. I now can look and see the times that it bothered me when Marty wouldn't or couldn't tell me every detail of conversations or events of his day. Bad right? It wasn't born out of a want to control him, but a want to control the world around him. I'll say it again, I wanted to control the world around him. Now yes, that would control him to a point as well, if he didn't have access to sinful environment then I was controlling the chances of him sinning. But on the flip side, I began to need to control him and out of that became a mistrust of him. I began to look at everything he did, look for ways that he might be hiding something from me. See, I had lost control over the everyday things, so I needed to fill in that gap with another thing to control. I even began to think he was hiding something from me when he would get out of bed before me, like he's doing much between 6:30am and 7:30am when I got up!

Through the last few months the ability to control the finances have gone out the window. I lost that “fix” that became my addiction over the years. That addiction has turned me into an ugly person some days. I know that most people wouldn't call it an addiction, but to me it seems to be one.

You see if you look back to that 1st note, “Never let them see you sweat!” well that's a control as well. I had to control what everyone saw of me. I had to control my actions so that no one would know I hurt inside. That part of my control comes back to childhood pain. If I was strong enough, if no one could ever see me cry or break, then they maybe they would still be my friend in-spite of my fat and ugly body. Yes, my head says that is crazy.... but my heart has always felt it. My mom used to say to me, “You have to loose weight or no one will want to be your friend.” “It hurts me more than it hurts you to hear the kids call you names, so you have to loose weight.” And then at the dinner table my father would say, “You don't need to eat, you have enough fat to live off of for at least a week.” And my brother would join in. Eventually my brother and I had a discussion where he admitted that he thought I would loose the weight to shut them up. He knows that doesn't work. As for my folks, well I know they are never going to change, they are never going to apologize or even admit they ever said anything like that, so why bother even bringing it up. I let their hurts go a long time ago, it's the peers that I can't seem to let go of. You see, I never did have any friends that stuck around as a friend for very long. They only came around me when they needed something from me, so I never needed anything from them.

Wow, that's it. I never needed anything from them! I never let them see a need. I never let anyone see a need. I have only 1 person that I call best friend, she has been the only one to ever get close enough to knowing me that she knew, KNEW, when I was hurting. I didn't have to say anything, I didn't have to ask for anything, she knew the tricks I used to cover my feelings. And I feel so guilty for calling her, for dumping on her all my trouble. I feel guilty for letting her “see me sweat.” She was my friend in-spite of my hiding me.

So, the bible study has opened the door for me to look at myself more than my circumstance's. I think that's a big part of what it is supposed to be doing. Of course we still have a few more weeks and who knows how many more things I will learn about myself during that time.

Short, Sweet and to the Point Update!

I have been working on some other posts and I realize they are long ones that will not be posted for awhile. So I need to make some smaller posts in the mean time. Here is a quick run down of the last few weeks.
  • Short term disability insurance company sent a check (out of the blue) for a few more weeks worth of coverage! So the bills were paid in time. Praise the Lord!
  • Andy went through some testing and Doctors appointments, made some more appointments. All is good for now, just have to wait until after the end of March before we can start to put all the pieces together and get a better understanding of what is going on.
  • We were approved for food stamps and Medicaid came through.
  • Marty had 2 job interviews, 1 has already informed us he didn't get the job, the other- who knows?
  • Marty took a travel contract for the next 3 months, locally. That means, we have income that will start to come in the next 2 weeks and it should last for at-least 3 months.
  • I started taking a Woman’s bible study at church on Wednesday mornings and repeating the same class in the evenings. Yes, I am trying to focus myself that much!
  • Because of the class, the boys have made a stronger connection to another homeschool boy their age. I have grown closer to him and his grandmother. We now all spend Wednesday afternoons together working on some group teaching subjects.
  • The boys have had a sleep over and a field trip to Sea Life Aquarium with a fun side trip to Lego-Land Discovery Center.
  • The boys are working well on school work and Dad is the grader for all schoolwork, That means I just have to help with the work and fill in the grade-book with the final scores.
  • The taxes are done!!

There is probably more that I am missing, but this is a pretty close list to all that has been going on. Short, sweet and to the point. Hope you all are having a blessed day and month.