Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gratefulness and Rest

I went on a little much needed retreat over this past week. I have amazing friends and family who let me use their home to stay in and who took my kiddos for the 2 days, it was such a blessing. I feel like God has been trying to talk to me and I have been running, not sure why, but a reality struck me about a week ago, that I am addicted to busyness. Yikes! It's true. Although I would tell you that I hate being so busy, I create the busyness by feeling the need to be everywhere all the time doing everything, so I don't have to 'deal with' my stuff. I decided to make myself take 2 full days and retreat. I was dealing with some fear at first...what if God doesn't meet there or gives me the silent treatment or something. Or even worse what if He tells me is something I don't want to hear.

My first day I got all my stuff situated in the room, made sure I had some snacks and water, made sure my bags were in their right spot, made sure my toothbrush was on the bathroom sink, made sure there was toilet paper in the bathroom, made sure my pen was working, made sure that there were enough kleenex in the room and turned on some live IHOP webstream...and...started pacing the floor. Oh my goodness, sit down and shut your brain off, Jamie, I screamed and thus began the 'getting it all out' portion of my retreat. I yelled a whole lot of other stuff too, too R rated to blog about. I am so glad He can handle all that and He just listened. I cried and yelled and cried and yelled some more. It felt amazing. Then I fell asleep.

When I woke about an hour later, I felt completely different, the fear junk was not bugging me and I was able to just sit and read (still not in a listening place yet). I read more than I have read in years in one night. It was good stuff too! My eyes hurt when I went to bed. I slept so good and I had 3 dreams, yes 3. It was incredible. I woke up and wrote them all down.

I decided to go get some coffee so I could stay awake. There was a park with a field that was beautiful and calling my name, so I went straight to the middle of it and laid a blanket down and laid for 2 hours. It felt so amazing to just sit there with the sun on my face, there was a breeze blowing and I felt surrounded by the mountains. It was wonderful. I had an agenda to sit there and journal, but God started talking and I decided to just listen (finally). WOW! I kept thinking I should get up and write all this down, but I couldn't. He just kept talking and talking, it was beautiful, and it was just enough. He told me about how much He loves me and then told me about the dreams I had, and how much He loves me, then He told me about stuff in my marriage and about being a mom and how much He loves me, I am crying writing this because even though there was so much and it was so incredible it was so simple and easy. He met me right where I was. He is so good. He is faithful. That was my most favorite moment of the 2 days.

I went back to the house and read some more. I also felt compelled to read Song of Solomon in The Message Bible...Holy cow! :) Just read it. God is SO in love with us (His people, His church, You, Me). I thought it would be a great book for George and I to study together ;) hee hee hee.

I have been on this journey about finding 'me' for some time now and finally realize there really is no end point to it, we will discover more and more about ourselves as we grow and live in God, because there is so much to Him there is so much to us. I have said many times, I am so afraid to lose myself in the midst of being a mom and wife and that I need to keep up with 'me'. This is such a lie. If I am in God and He in me, then I am not going to 'lose myself'. We go through different seasons in life and I am in the season of being mom and wife. During this season I need to lay stuff in my 'self' down so that I can pour into my 3 blessings. This has been such a struggle for me, knowing how selfish I am and needing to stop being so selfish, but trying to hold on to keeping all my desires and dreams on the forefront. Not that I have to give those up, but they need to be laid down for a season or my kids will be shoved to the side for me to pursue them. The time with my kids is so so short. I want to not have any regrets about lost time with them when they are grown, so I am making a choice to give my family my all in this season and I absolutely believe that God will put more life to my desires and dreams in the end and I will have no regrets. That sounds like a win win to me :) This was a rather lengthy discussion I had with God too during these 2 days. It was good.

I also read through most of the prophetic words and words of encouragement I have received over the past while and that was very cool, several of them I read with such a new clearer perspective and had so much more understanding. I asked some of my closest friends a while back to write 5 things they liked about me. I decided to this because I had such a hard time seeing much good in me at the time. I read those too and I realized I have allowed so much ungratefulness and resentment to come in to my life, which is a large reason for the busyness. So many of the things people said was that I had so much joy, I kept wondering where it had gone. It didn't go anywhere, just needed to let go of some junk. It was so encouraging to read those and actually believe some of it now. I love seeing growth through tough long processes.

I ended up having to leave earlier then I planned to pick up my kids, but I think it was just enough time. I feel so refreshed and that I have purpose to focus on each day. I think I need to do this every few months to be honest. Maybe I wouldn't be so moody and ornery all the Happy me, Happy wife, Happy mom, Happy home :).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

December 2009

This an article I was writing for magazine that my sister was going to start, but ended up not doing it. I read it today was encouraged by what it said :) So I figured I would share it. It is an unfinished work, but I still iked it. I love reading things I wrote in the past, I can see wisdom and growth that I didn't see then that I had or see growth through a process. I am learning to really enjoy myself lately and although it takes great strength some days, if I don't enjoy myself then I won't enjoy anything. OK, now I am blabbing on...enjoy.

My name is Jamie and I would like to tell you a little about me and give you a glimpse about the things that you will get out of reading my articles. I am in the midst of learning who who I am, which I am sure I will continue to learn the rest of my life. It is an exciting adventure full of ups and downs and all a rounds. So my utmost goal is to be me and make you laugh hysterically, cry continually, and snort a bit too. I hope you finish reading and feel completely encouraged that life has so much in it and how God wants you to enjoy the simplicity of life. I totally believe that there is no pad answer to your life and how to be a wife, a mom, a daughter, or anyone. The only real answer is to look inside of you and discover who God is in you and go for it.

A really hard part of the process that God has me in is that during the breaking down of who I thought I was, was the not so pretty in between person hanging around for a while that would be mean to everyone and want to just be left alone day after day. It was difficult with my 3 kiddos that wanted my full attention or made messes everywhere or wanted to go out in public and play with their friends. I felt like everyday I was apologizing to them and asking for forgiveness for the way I screamed at them or the way I laid in my bed half the day. One day after they were all tucked in and asleep I sat in the bathtub crying my eyes out for the way I had been acting for so long and asking God if there was an easier way. I heard Him say to me, Jamie, just be YOU, just be real, just be YOU!

A friend of mine a few weeks prior to this moment has something that was very profound to me, he said that we need to learn how to function in our brokenness because that is when God shines through. When we are truly week He is strong. It isn't when I'm weak I hide and sulk, it is when I step out more and function in exactly that...the strength of God! Wow, that hit me hard. So this time in the bath was one of those moments of God showing me how when I am not being a very nice mom, that if I'm just honest and learn to function that my kids will see God in all His strength in me. How incredible is that?

One thing that I have really worked on with my kids is talking to them on a regular basis and explaining to them that the craziness that is going on with mommy is not at all their fault and that God is taking me through a process that has good days and hard days and that in the end it will be wonderful.

As I sit here in McDonald's writing this article while my kids play and my daughter argues with one of the little boys playing here, about how God is real. I am thinking about something I read recently that I could totally relate to. When a caterpillar begins to get ready to go into the phase of its life where it goes into its cocoon, it begins to eat and eat and eat so that it can be strong enough to live through the cocoon process. Once the caterpillar builds its cocoon around it and begins to change into a butterfly it then 'looks' like it is ready to emerge from its cocoon, but it isn't. It takes time for the butterfly to develop strength in its wings to carry itself and fly away. So as the butterfly struggles to get out of the cocoon, it pushes juices to flow into the wings of the butterfly to strengthen its wings so that when the time comes for it to be free, it goes for it and flies away. If someone where to cut a cocoon open too early, the butterfly would fall on the ground and not fly. The process has to be completed in order for it to function the way God intended it to. This reminds me of the kinds processes that God has taken me through. As I begin to grow in a process I feel trapped and want to get out of it as fast as I can. I am the type that digs around in my pocket to to find a pocketknife to cut the cocoon right open. Then what happens, I fall flat on my face trying to pick up all my pieces and put me back together. Instead of enjoying the process and allowing even the struggles to strengthen me and allowing God to do it and be in control, I somehow think I can do a better job. I loved this.