Tuesday, May 21, 2013

*A Most Important Lesson*

I can't sleep. My mind has been racing in the dark with all the visions and adrenaline that has been pumping through my body ever since the weather started coming through Oklahoma a few days ago. I think it's just now hitting me how bad things got in the City and my mind won't shut down.

I don't ask myself why this happened because I'm not surprised by tragedy. It's part of life and a part I really hate. We like to forget about it in our everyday lives by focusing on doing things fun and having a good time with people, trying to block out the fact that we are stuck here in this world that holds many disappointments.

I haven't been through much the public eye has seen in my life that looks like tragedy, but I have had tragedy in my heart many times. I think lots of us have gone through so much more than anyone could ever know because it happens in a place they can't see. Part of me is thankful for the pain because it taught me one of the most important lessons I'll ever learn. A lesson that will stick with me forever.

I will never be fully satisfied until I am reunited with Christ.

I know we are told that ALL the time, but as humans we try SO hard to fight that statement. We think that if we get our prayers answers, then everything will just be better. If I find a man, if I have a baby, if I get the right job, if I have plenty of friends, if I am beautiful…we chase all these things in hopes that the deep void we feel in the silence will go away. But it never does…maybe it's silenced for a little while, but then something happens to make us realize that we were very wrong. It's still there.

In a children's bible it describes this feeling as "Missing God"…it's like we miss Him even if we don't realize that's why we feel that way. Nothing on this earth will take that away. The time that the void will be completely wiped away for good is when things are made RIGHT. Chasing things of this world and holding the false notion that prayers answered for my life dreams would make me completely content was the wrong way to go. Only one thing can make me feel fully content and satisfied and that's never going to happen here. The roses will always have thorns this side of Heaven.

It's actually a pretty neat thing how the timing of this realization came about. I was in a really hopeless place for a while before I met Brian, but the Lord was wanting me to learn something very important before he gave my husband to me. Through a series of events, the Lord helped me realize that no matter what, even if I was given EVERYTHING I ever asked for on this earth, I would still have a void. I would still feel unsatisfied. I would still MISS God and the life I knew I was supposed to have. I took the road of thinking that nagging feeling would go away if I was married or got my other dreams and that if all my prayers were answered life would finally feel complete. Life would finally be EASIER.

But that's not true.

I remember one night it really clicked with me. I said to God:"I realize now that no matter what happens, I'll never feel satisfied until I am with YOU on the other side of this life. No dreams coming true or person will ever make me feel the way I would feel if I were finally with YOU. I am going to stop chasing all these things and chase You instead."

The next week I met the love of my life.

The next year many things I had been praying for my entire life started coming to pass.

It was like He wanted to make sure my priorities and mindset were in the right place before He gave me my family. I hold tightly to the belief that Jesus is always my First love….He was there with me in the beginning and He will be there with me in the end. It was so important for me to realize this before I could be truly happy in a marriage. Going into it knowing that THIS is not what completes me…Heaven and life with God will be what completes me. And one day I will feel a wholeness that I have never experienced before.

These times when so much tragedy and destruction happen point me to Heaven and the reality that I am only here for a little while and one day going to be freed of any negative situation. But these times are also a time to focus and reflect on what good things this life has to offer and how blessed I am to get to experience joys when I least deserve them. It's a time to hold my family and friends close and be thankful for the time we have together.

I am relishing in this happy phase in my life, but also soberly realizing that we all have a day of tragedy to come. But I don't blame God. He isn't the one who brought sin and destruction in the world...man did. He weeps at the thought of all we have to go through as well and went through worse than any of us will ever have to. He had to die on the cross and be completely separated from God to save us from ourselves. At least we have the Holy Spirit and the presence of God everywhere we are. We are never fully separated from Him…He has come to US. But even though He is already here, we still know that things aren't right yet. That feeling inside on tragic days like today reminds us all too well.

I am thankful for The Cross because it eliminates tragedy once this life is over and this world is gone.

I am very ready for that day….but until then, I am thankful for what I have here on earth and all the blessings that are given to me. I am thankful for the void because it reminds me who is MOST important. I'll hold my family closely realizing they don't complete me or fill me, but enjoying the happiness that they bring. This world is a bad place, but oh…the good it has for us is something to celebrate! The good that points us to God and gives us just a little glimpse of what's to come.

It's an amazing feeling to realize that the happiest I feel on earth doesn't even compare to the joy that's coming.

Monday, May 6, 2013

*My Slow Journey to Being Outdoorsy*

I finally took a walk alone down my street and I feel like I've really taken a large step forward in my quest to be outdoorsy. I have wanted to take a walk on these pretty days for a while now,  but it's really scary for me when I look out my bedroom window and see a bobcat smiling at me, and that snake in the middle of the road still fills my mind with questions. Even the insects here are enlarged and seem to be eating something to make them grow twice the size they were in Arkansas. But then again…maybe I didn't get close enough to look.

It's not only the wild beasts that make me fearful of walking on my street as much as the VERY large dogs. Every time I drive through the neighborhood, I see enormous dogs running loose that I'm sure are VERY loyal to their masters, but not to outsiders. We all got a note in our mailbox to tie up the dogs in the area, but out in the country…folks don't really listen to that. I hear gunshots often…people just do what they want. That's what the country is for, right?

I really do WANT to experience the beauty of nature, but it has really scary things that come with it. I feel like every time I go outside, I end up having to face some fear or put myself in the path of potential pain. When we were little, punishment didn't feel good so we learned not to do something because of it. That's EXACTLY how I learned to run from nature. It punished me in full many times. It might've punished me with a bee sting, or falling into the rocks at Pinnacle, or seeing a snake out in the yard, or getting torn up by a sticker bush. It just seemed to come with a lot of pain…and aren't we supposed to learn to get AWAY from something if it's painful? Why am I so judged for my lack of love for the outdoors?! It only makes logical sense that I would feel this way. I DO NOT like to feel pain, so I run from things that bring it.

Knowing where my problem with the outdoors comes from helps me understand and take baby steps in the right direction. My lack of willingness to run to the trees is not just some random accident. It was from very clear and direct punishments from nature.

But I'm still trying…even though it's hard to see the positives that outweigh the negatives, I'm still TRYING to be more outdoorsy. I'm TRYING to be less fearful of the hornets nest right outside the door. I'm TRYING to imagine myself tanning in the backyard without panicking about a snake or bobcat or turkey ruining the experience. I'm TRYING to imagine myself at the top of the food chain with nothing to fear,  but my brain is telling me that being outside is where the danger could come. Inside…looking from the window…it's just beauty without consequence. 

If all the wildlife was taken away, I really would enjoy nature more. I love the beauty of the trees and the smell of being outside. I like to be on the lake in the boat where I can experience all the joy of creation with all the dangers underneath and out of my mind. I WANT to be outdoorsy, because I like the outside, I really do. I just hate the feeling you have when you spot a snake…even if it doesn't hurt you. I don't like putting myself in places to get spooked, because I scare myself enough in my own mind and don't need any reality to help. 

But I do want to be braver and less fearful when it comes to going outside regardless of the fact that wildlife will always be there.  I've already figured out how to be outside on the beach pretty well and I can also do the lake like a champ…but I guess the next thing on my list is being okay with the woods. 

My baby step one towards that goal is officially completed. I took a walk alone down my street and I made it. And I'm okay. It was actually very nice and nothing bad happened. It was worth putting myself in snakes way…because the feeling I got was far greater than the fear.