Friday, March 29, 2013

Seeing God in the ordinary parts of life

Time for another God-sized dreams post! This week in Holley's post, we were asked "What's a typical day in your life like right now? How can you see God's hand in the middle of the "small and ordinary" too?"

This is a hard one for me. I am struggling in "day to day," "ordinary" life. Belle, my favorite Disney princess, sang in one of her songs that she wanted "adventure in the great wide somewhere," and boy, did she have it! She escaped from the small, the ordinary, everyday life and got to live in a castle with a beast (who became a prince!) and talking furniture. Way cooler than being a working stiff, a wife and a mom. Wake up, go to work, do the same old boring job, go home, struggle to get something in our stomachs, look at the messy house, decide I don't want to do any of the chores that need done, and collapse onto the couch. Then, go to bed so I can get back up tomorrow and do it all over again. YUCK! I especially feel this way right now because it is cold and I can't play with my horse without mud and frostbite.

So often these days, I feel lost. Like I have gotten off track from all the things I wanted, dreamed about, when I was in college. I feel so far removed from that ambitious person, who dreamed of doing so much more. I wanted to be a veterinarian, but I was finished with "higher education" after I got my bachelor's in Biology because I really couldn't stand the idea of anymore school. So then, I wanted to be an animal behaviorist and work at a zoo as keeper and trainer. But we don't live in an area where this is possible (I did try to get some internships right when I got out of school, but I was not accepted to any of the programs, for whatever reason.) And though some days my house feels like a zoo, it's just not the same. Keeping my four yr old clean, healthy and well behaved is quite the task, but I don't derive the same satisfaction level from it that some moms do. I do it because I love her. But I do not especially love the job. Some days, I get really depressed that I didn't go further than small time desk jockey, wife, and mom. And all of the trite sayings about how being a mother is the greatest job in the world are not going to change that or make me feel any better when I get to feeling down about where I am in life.

BUT, since I have been letting God into my boring little everyday life...well, things have gotten a little easier. The best part is, I don't sit around blaming Him for every little thing that doesn't go my way anymore. I used to think, "why did He let that happen? why didn't He stop me from making that bad decision? why, if He loves me sooo much, is He letting me sit in this situation? WHY DOESN'T HE DO SOMETHING?" My eyes have been opened to the fact that if my situation is not to my liking, it is because I have been without him and I have not wanted his help. I have come to the realization that to see God's hand in my dreams, I need to include Him in them. And if I want to see His hand in my daily routine, I need to include Him in it. I am learning. And I have seen His presence since then, mostly when He stops me, and reminds me that my daughter is beautiful and smart. Or that my husband helped without me asking him to, and that I am blessed, if I choose to see it. That is when I see God in the middle of my ordinary every day life, reminding me to be thankful. To be grateful. And to not get so focused on where I am going, but to enjoy the journey on the way there.

P.S.  I know I have so much to be grateful for, so much that others would give their right arm for. The truth is, I really have nothing to complain about when compared to many others. I have a beautiful 4 yr old daughter who is smart and healthy, a great husband who is my best friend, another great friend in my mother, and a wonderful family of in-laws, an okay job and a full stomach when I go to bed at night. To whine and complain that about my situation seems unfair of me. I promise, I am getting better!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Joy and God-Sized dreams

I am coming a little late to this party...but then, I am a little late to everything. Yep, that's me, late since the day I was born. Literally. 20 days late. I would just like to take a moment and apologize to my mom for that...sorry Mom!!!

Anyway...Holley Gerth at Heart to Heart with Holley has written a book called  You're Made for God-Sized Dreams and on her blog, she writes with themes from the book and invites other bloggers to share about the topic she has written about. This week's post was about joy and how it relates to your God-sized dreams. She points out that though joy can make us feel vulnerable, we can choose to be transformed by renewing our minds (Rom 12:2). She asked the question “What is God telling me through what brings me joy?” So, what renews my mind and brings me joy? Not just makes me happy, but brings me JOY? And is God trying to tell me something through those experiences?

I am joyful when:
  • I learn something new. I love to discover, especially when God has lead me to the knowledge.
  • I am solving problems. Whether I am fixing my own or someone else's dilemma, it always renews me.
  • I am being useful. Serving others gives me the most peaceful feeling and helps to make my own problems a little less.
  • I am painting, drawing, and taking pictures. Creating beauty is an experience that is all at once exciting and yet calming. It gives a fullness to my heart that I rarely feel at any other time.
  • I am doing anything with the horses. This is a fulfillment of a dream that has been a long time coming and I feel blessed to be allowed to care for these magnificent, wonderful creatures. Connecting with them somehow makes it easier to remember that God is a part of his creations.
What is God telling me through these things? I believe that he is telling me that I bring Him joy when I am doing the things that He made me for. He created me, every cell in my body, every neuron in my brain, and I think He is delighted when He sees His creations doing what He made them to do. It seems to me that, for Him, it is like when we give our children a present, something we have put a lot of thought in, or went through Hell to find just because we knew they would love it, and they do! They play with it every day, and enjoy it to the fullest. We are thrilled that the child loves and appreciates the gift. I think that God is thrilled when we use our talents, our gifts, and not only use them, but ENJOY them! He loves the joy in our hearts that we get from his gifts to us. It is a form of worship when you are joyful about what you have received from your heavenly father. This will help me to remember that when I am not feeling so joyful, I need to go and pick up that beloved gift and play with it for awhile, to remind myself that my God loves me, that He wants me to be happy, peaceful, calm, and most of all, loved. That is the greatest joy of all, to remember that God loves me. Really, truly, deeply, loves me. And that I please him when I enjoy myself :) What a great Dad!
Romans 12:2
New International Version (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wild horses are pretty, but a partner is beautiful

Ok, so I am doing this, I am starting a blog.

But how....and why? What do I say? How can I be so full of words, thoughts, ideas, and still have NO IDEA what to say?  Should I make this an introductory post? Should I tell you my life story, my hopes and dreams, all about my family, my hobbies? Should I tell you all about how I recently decided that Yes, God does have a place in my life, and (guess what, I actually want him there!)? And what if people think I am boring or that what I have to say is stupid? I am scared of why do I even want to do this? It would be so much easier to keep my head down, shut my mouth and go on about my business. But......
God tells us in his word that we are to be a light unto the world, not hide our lights beneath baskets or jars, but to put them on stands. [Matthew 5:14-16, Luke 8:16] And who am I to argue with Him? So, there you have it, the "why" of this little project of mine. The how...well, we will see about that, as I have no idea how to do this yet and it will probably not look pretty for a little while, until I get it all figured out. Hopefully the things I have to say will be beautiful enough to keep people reading.

Now, on to the title of my entry today.... let me explain.
     I am an amateur artist and I dabble in a couple of different mediums; watercolor, acrylic, pencils, photography. Some day I might actually figure out how to post pictures of some of my stuff...some day. But anyway, I have always been a copier. Meaning that when I do something artistic, I don't come up with the image or whatever it is from my own head, I get it from someone else's work. I am not able to create an original piece of art for the life of me. But I have been learning that there are a lot of talented people out there just like me. And it doesn't stop them from coming up with works of art. They have always understood that just because someone else is doing something, doesn't mean that they can't do it too. That they don't have to be totally original. They understand that what inspires them can be used to help them make something inspiring too. I have always had a hard time with this concept. I have always been upset with God because I thought that he only gave me half of a talent. Ability without creativity. What was He thinking? What good was I as an artist who could draw and paint, but couldn't think up a single "original" piece of art work? I certainly wasn't about to call myself an artist. But since my recent wake up call (which included the realization that some of God's place in my life was to be the "missing piece," aka creativity) I have been trying to remember to ask him for help with this. And yesterday, on the drive home from work, while worrying about money, I started thinking how awesome it would be if I could sell some paintings, some original works of art that were not reproductions of someone else's creativity. So then, I started thinking of painting (so much better than worrying about money!;) and I asked him. Just like that, I asked Him...what should I paint? And I immediately received an image. Full image, full color, full everything. No pieces to put together, nothing to puzzle out. It was awesome. And it made me cry. And then He said to me, whispered in my heart...."Wild horses are pretty, but a partner is beautiful." And I cried some more. He had showed me a gorgeous idea for a painting of a wild horse (horses are what I paint best, thankfully he isn't going to put me to the test just yet!) And His words to me were really....personal. It describes me best. I have always been a wild horse. I have never wanted help. I have always wanted to be independent. Especially from God. My mom has always encouraged me to ask God for help, to lean on him, to trust him to use my talents for his glory. And I always tossed my head and said, No way, I will do it my way, or not at all. I didn't want him to get any credit for anything that I had done. So guess what? In a lot of areas in my life, I have done nothing, or nothing that is really credit worthy. And yesterday, he told me, "Welcome home, my little wild horse." He was happy that I had decided to become his partner, to work with Him, to do His will, to give him all my "pretty" and let him make it beautiful.