Monday, April 4, 2016

You might feel like you're just one wad of gum on the wall...

I'm not in charge. 

I've probably recited those words to myself about a million times over the last year.  I've blogged dozens of times, talking in circles because I couldn't share details, but all the while, trying my hardest to wrap my brain around our circumstances, my lack of faith, and the way I wanted to come out the other side.  And now, the details are out and we can just talk plainly, which is far more my style anyway.  I've always  been a rather straight shooter... when asked how I am, I'm far more likely to actually tell you in detail, (making you wish you hadn't asked?) than say that I'm "fine" or "good" or "not great."  If I'm good, you'll know- exactly why... and the same goes for those days I'm not good.  So this open blogging suits me far better than cryptic messages about having faith in the hard times or the unknowns.



 We spent the past weekend in Seattle, celebrating my husband's passing of his final exam for his new career with Thrivent Financial.  He is so excited to be on this journey and I wish I had been his biggest cheerleader all along the way but that's not what happened.  I dragged my feet.  I threw a lot of fits over the idea that we were willingly exchanging a steady paycheck that often didn't make the ends meet, for a 100% commission, faith based career.  I got mad a lot.  I cried. I feared. I fought with Adrain and then with God and when neither of them budged, I struggled.  I didn't want to have to have big faith.  I didn't want to be stretched.  I did want my sweet man to be happy and so I struggled with my selfishness and beat myself up nearly constantly over my failure to do this well. We all know that big things don't come from comfort zones... well I like comfort zones! Adrain steadily ignored my whining and poured himself into his studies day and night, while juggling a full time management job. I began to see once again, the beautiful character of this man I married. He gives of himself constantly, and has always been the biggest example of Christ's unconditional love for me, besides the love I was raised with from my own parents. (Someday I want to write a book about my childhood for y'all.)  Adrain was doing what he felt best for this entire family in the long term, though he was aware the adjustment would be challenging.  And he worked sacrificially for us through the entire journey, wearing himself thin with it.  He was daily up, before 4 am to study for a couple of hours, before heading off to work 50+ hours, then home to study again until bedtime and all weekend long.  For months.  He pushed himself nonstop.  Then the day before he was going to give his 2 weeks notice, his assistant manager was killed on his way home from work, in a car crash.  Adrain swallowed his own agenda (no surprise, once again) and didn't give his notice or breathe a word of his plans to leave... he stayed on another couple of weeks to help get things at work settled and to be there for his crew and customers, before giving his 2 weeks notice. 

We went out of town with Adrain for his final test, with plans to celebrate, as we have missed his face! We had a lovely time in nearby downtown Seattle, staying at an artsy hotel that was just my type (Hotel Monaco).  We did all the touristy things like riding the monorail and sipping Starbucks, museum hopping, and watching all the street artists.  And Pike Place. Of course.  I love Pike Place.  I love the weirdness and all the flowers.  And I love the moments of clarity that come from being around all the artistic inspiration.  I felt the tingle of a blog post forming in my heart over the gum wall of all things.  It's incredibly gross.  An alley area under the market, where the walls are literally dripping with people's chewed gum. (My son almost couldn't bring himself to finish his lunch when I brought it up so if you've got a queasy stomach, try not to over think the whole gum part  of it and look at the artistic side with me.) It's colorful and unique.  Each piece of gum working in the whole scheme to make something grand.  And it got me thinking... as we do our journey in this life, God is using the ways we fit into the stories around us for His good.  That includes our failures and our victories! All of them make the big picture of our life and you know something... it's beautiful.

I shared this on Instagram last night, in reflection, "I sit here tonight, after a fun and short trip out of town to celebrate my sweet man's accomplishments, so thankful.  As I look backward over the past six months journey, I am slightly ashamed at the way fears drove me down the wrong path continually.  I regrouped regularly, but my own instincts for self, comfort, control and preservation always steered me back off course & you can't even know the strife I caused myself (& even the rest of this tribe that I love) because of it.  The thing I come back to again & again, is that God's faithfulness never has and never will depend on mine.  He does good in spite of me!!  He plans for my future even when I wreck every moment along the way with bad attitudes, questions & faithlessness.  When we get to the finish line some day I may be crawling on hands and knees, covered in scars of my own making, but I will be the most grateful of them all, because I will be so aware of what God continued to rescue me from-MY OWN SELF. (Not sure if you are facing an unknown and failing miserably at doing it well, but know this... God is greater than all our good... and far greater than all our fails.  His plans for you, they are GOOD.  Believe it.)"

What I love most about this life, is that it doesn't matter so much how we did yesterday, if we regroup and get it together for today.  It's not how you start, it's how you end.  There's always a chance for a comeback. I don't know your details. Maybe for you it's relationships that continue to derail around you.  Or addictions in shopping, substances or thought patterns.  Maybe your details involve fear, comparisons, control or all of the above on any given day. I don't know... what I do know, is that God is greater than our details and failures.  We're in this together, making something pretty great.  You might feel like an insignificant part of the big picture and you may not know how you're making a difference, even if you fail as often as I do.  And honestly, you might feel like you're just one wad of gum on the wall, but without you there, forging ahead and doing your best to be a part of this, you'd leave a hole. So be encouraged to keep trying and do today.  Just today.  Make it better than yesterday and let God use your story as part of His plan.  It's a good one.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

P.S. I have loved all your thoughts on my previous post- the capsule wardrobe.  It's been such a game changer for me personally, and going away with this new mindset made packing crazy easy. I've had a bunch of emails asking for photos of me wearing the actual capsule outfits so you can see my combinations... I'll try and work on that, but here was my outfit on day two for sight seeing & walking lots.  (Sperry top siders, dark skinnies, black stripe tee, straw fedora and leather bag.)

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