Sunday, January 26, 2014

Under Construction

After a long break from blogging, I am back.

There has been so much going on around me.  I had yet another renovation done to the house.  This time it was my 50th birthday present from my hubby.  We had a new doorway installed and refaced the front porch, sidewalk, retaining wall and put up new railing.  It looks wonderful, but renovations are timely, messy and in the end worth it.

But as I have talked about before, in order to make something better, it takes work, time, investment and inconvenience.

From the earliest times in this house, it has really bugged me that my front door was off center on the porch.  It is weird that it wasn't centered.  However, we had other more pressing issues to deal with over the years so it always fell down on the list of priorities.  Thankfully my wonderful husband wanted to give me that for my birthday present.  It was really worth it.  The house looks like a newer version of itself.

So now that I am thru this last little construction phase of my home, I am back with time to write again.  Granted much has happened since I last blogged.

I had a wonderful time with family this holiday season.  Through the season, I was able to catch up on my rest.  Having caught up, I had more energy and was able to tackle some much needed projects around the house.  With several phases of renovations behind us, I have to say that the storage areas had become VERY disorganized.  I took my energies and focused on purging, giving away, even selling on Ebay all unnecessary items.  How refreshing it has been.  I am still not completely finished but I have gotten some much needed order back to my home.

It is amazing how much better I feel.  I have found this website, emeals, where I pay a small fee and the program gives me my meals for the week to include the required groceries list.  I can tell the program my store of choice and it will tell me the items that are on sale for the week.

Out of this, I have been able to have meals on the table even in the middle of this overlapping season of basketball/soccer season.

Order being placed in to my life has brought some much needed relief.  I am the typical "fly by the seat of my pants" sort of girl. (I always liked being carefree)  I have always felt confined by the rigidity of "planning".  But I have to tell you this girl has become a new more relaxed woman since I implemented a few of these changes.  (What looked like carefree wasn't freedom  - what looked like slavery to a plan wasn't slavery  -  so I actually feel freer than I ever have)

I feel I have margin in my life again and I feel my life is a bit more proactive instead of reactive.  Even when the surprises come up they don't seem to feel as urgent since I am prepared in other areas.

So moral of the story for me is that order is no longer my enemy but my friend.  Huh!  Who Knew?

I believe that this story can also apply to me spiritually.  When difficulties come, we store up feelings, don't always process them til later, develop bad habits of coping, etc.  So once the trials are over, we may need to take some time to deal with the baggage we have stored up.
top left before, top right is my photo shop effort, bottom is finished front

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

I was noticing it has been a while since I sat down and wrote anything on this blog. 

I have had a year of trials, difficulties, changes, growing, stretching and lots of learning.   I learned a lot about myself and those around me.  I had my eyes opened to realities, and I see God in a new and different way.  I have gained wisdom and understanding.  But through it all, I can honestly say it has been worth it all. 

I mentioned in other posts about my home renovation projects.  I have appreciated the results, but the time it took to do each project, the messes we had to endure, the inconveniences we lived thru was not fun or pleasant in any way.  But it took ripping out the old to replace it with the new.

I feel like I have had a lot of ripping and tearing out of my life and it was not pleasant or fun.  As a matter of fact it was painful, agonizing at times, as well as sad. 

It has been tough and difficult but it all worked out for God's good.  I can now see so clearly.  I believe when we are in the middle of a tough part of life or overwhelmed with the frenzied hurried schedule, we tend to not see plainly or clearly.  I can see now that all of my difficulties and hardships and even just busyness of life was like being in the middle of a forest.  I saw the forest up ahead before I ever entered it.  I even tried to brace myself, but once I was caught up in the midst of the forest I couldn't see it any more.  (I couldn't see the forest for the trees)

It is like a warrior heading off into battle.  He sees the approaching enemy but once the warrior is in the middle of the battle, he can no longer see clearly.  The fog of war is all around him.  It isn't until the dust settles and the battle is over can the warrior have clear vision and see his surroundings accurately. 

I think I have learned that in the heat of battle, the best place to look is up to the One who can see all clearly.  The one that has a perspective of the entire battle from beginning to end.  That is the way to not only survive but also thrive.  Have I accomplished this?  At times yes, but not always.  I am learning along with everyone else. 

I am currently sitting atop my spiritual hill looking out at the battle ground that has been fought.  I can see more accurately now.  I have a sense of clarity about me that I cannot put into words.  It is inner peace.  It is a settled calm.  It is a fullness.  It all amounts to joy.

Somewhere around the Christmas season I began to feel healing and the battle scars fading.  But within the last few months I realized I was out of the forest and I could turn around and say with confidence again, "yep it was a forest alright".  Although I couldn't see it while I was in the midst of it, I saw it coming. I saw it after.  But honestly both times it looked the same.  It was a forest.

So hear is the lesson I took from it.  When you see a battle approaching (granted you don't see them all coming so some take you by surprise), brace yourself (As in Eph. 6), prepare (thru prayer and scripture reading), look up continually, but when you have done all that, brace yourself.  Its going to be a bumpy ride.  Just know you are not alone.  The Lord is with you.  Take time to focus on Him.  Praise Him with a grateful heart.  With arms lifted high as in Psalm 134 to praise God.  He is worthy of all our praise.  No matter what it is we are going thru.  No matter whether we feel like praising him or not. He is ALWAYS worthy of us praising Him.  But this scripture in some translations say praise the Lord with lifted hands toward the Holy Place and bless the Lord.  What if our praise blesses God.  Why wouldn't we want and desire to bless Him.  (Eric Routley noted that to bless someone is to speak well of them.)  If we were to take a little liberty here, we could say that to bless the Lord or to praise Him is to speak well of Him.  I finished reading "The Long Obedience in the Same Direction" by Eugene Peterson and his last chapter is solely devoted to just this topic. 

I highly recommend reading it.  It is very rich and I recommend taking time to ponder the truths in it.  It takes time to process if you want the truths in it to take root. 

So with a renewed heart and spirit, I start back my blogging for the time being. 

I am full and in a great place.  I don't see any signs of forests approaching but it doesn't mean I am in the clear.  So with my head held high and my eyes on alert, I am enjoying where I am.  Wherever you find yourself today, I pray it is with your eyes set upon the
savior, the legs bent at the knees in prayer and the hand holding firmly to the word as your road map for your guidance. 

Be blessed and bless the Lord.