Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Kind of Apology is That?

Suddenly several past blog posts are returning to haunt me. Was I really the author of that ridiculous post about forgiveness?
Just last Saturday, I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Again. I sinned against many, and many sinned against me. Basically it was one of my excruciating headache days where frankly no one in my family had a hope of pleasing me -- short of disappearing altogether, but no one took the hint.
The next day, one person bravely approached me and said, “I’m sorry.” (Expectant look accompanied my continued silent treatment.) “For everything,” he added. (Accusing look replaced the expectant one.) “All day yesterday.” (Disgusted look inserted.)
WHAT KIND OF APOLOGY IS THAT? Most of us would agree that a general apology of that sort just does not cut it. I want him to itemize precisely how he hurt, neglected, and offended me, and to express his sorrow and regret with evidence of a repentant heart. I mean really! Does he think I will just erase the whole day for he asking? Without making him suffer?
Thankfully guilt flooded my heart before any snarky words escaped my lips. The Holy Spirit practically shouted at me how often I do the exact same thing. I simply give a quick oops-I’m-sorry-I-sinned type confession just to maintain a position of intimacy with the Lord. It just hit me over the head that maybe God wants me to actually itemize my sin sometime, not so that I will suffer with the weight of it, but so that I will experience the relief of having it lifted. Without confessing my sin, am I really turning from it?
This past week has been a continual battle with more than a fair share of difficulties and trials. Within 24 hours, my beloved MacBook began to fail (with no handy dandy Apple store to run to for help), the car battery died while I was in the city with a granddaddy migraine, and finally my Kindle died, too (but has been resuscitated, thankfully). The only way I could possibly hope to experience victory was through warfare prayer against despair, but I didn’t dare enter that level of prayer without being fully cleansed from all sin and unrighteousness.
The problem with my MacBook is largely because I had overloaded it with too many programs without deleting all the garbage that had accumulated on the hard drive. It didn’t have nearly enough space for all the processes I was requiring of it.
Spiritually I am in the same boat as my computer, running way too many applications with way too much garbage (and sin?) cluttering my heart, mind, and daily agenda. With one simple step, I can have unlimited gigabytes of spiritual, mental, and physical power available to me. Without oversimplifying or belaboring the point, I just want to admit that I am returning to the Power source, and trying to set things right.
Meanwhile I commiserate with those of you who battle with long-term, debilitating illness. I guess you just learn to compensate for your lack of energy by doing a lot less. How you stay sweet with your loved ones I will never understand.
Oh, and I did forgive him-who-shall-not-be-named for all his many offenses. Bless his heart. Why should I expect him to remember what he did? I can’t remember myself any more.
IRL* For now I am trying to clear my foggy irrational brain and figure out where to address all my apologies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Of Jumpers and Tennies

Whether you are a Fashionista or not, you have to admit that we women of the harvest do have style! This week I want to introduce you to a couple of blogs I have recently discovered. The first is called What to Wear Wednesdays by the author of a book on my shelf titled Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad.
Another is by a young, chic college student who reminds me of our own Yellow Dress Girl, Sarah. This Sarah’s blog is called Wearing it on My Sleeves and is full of fabulous thrift store finds she has made over to suit her. All I can say is that she would go nuts over the treasures in most missionary closets.
With that in mind, I have a trivial question for you. Everyone wants to know…. What is in your closet and why?
We’re not talking about skeletons in your closet or anything serious like that (unless of course there is something urgent you feel like getting off your chest, and then we’ll all politely listen), but simply your wardrobe.
‘Fess up.
What is the oldest item of clothing you still wear?
When did you get it, and
what’s the story behind it?
My daughters laughed over a photo of a missionary friend at a birthday party fifteen years ago. The woman was wearing a red dress identical to the sun-faded pink dress she still wears today. The kids thought this hilarious.
It wasn’t so funny when a lady in the US commented on my favorite Coldwater Creek jacket, saying she used to have the same one. The emphasis was on “used to” and I was embarrassed. However, I still wear that same blazer, and six more years have passed. Why? I like it, it still fits, and it’s comfortable.
I have many theories on why we women of the harvest don’t care so much about what we wear. Mostly it boils down to finances, lack of thrift stores overseas, and cultural restraints. What is acceptable and modest in one place does not cut it in a different setting. Mostly, though, I think we are far enough outside of mainstream USA and Hollywood that we simply don’t care to play the game any more.
Back in 1988, my sister and her children came to visit us in Guatemala. I’ll never forget the look on my dh’s face as we saw Marsha’s attire when she got off the plane. She was wearing a drop-waist jumper-like dress (ew!) and (are you ready for this?) tennies with bobby socks! Anyone living in the US at that particular time would have thought nothing of it; in fact she was quite stylish by American standards. We, however, had never seen such a combination in our corner of the world.
What cracks me up is the number of missionaries we see today dressed just like my sister in 1988. Why do they do that? I suppose it’s comfortable and they like it.
IRL* No kidding, I’m typing this while wearing a cozy cardigan I got from Land’s End at least ten years ago.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We All Possess This

Hard as I try to foster an attitude of gratitude by daily or at least weekly recounting all my blessings, somehow I slip into the old habit of taking things for granted until they are gone.
Time, health, and finances are the top three that tend to be overlooked until they are in short supply. Returning from my recent fog of Dengue Fever, I’m particularly aware of the blessing of good health, but this week I want to talk about time.
While each of us can claim varying degrees of youth, beauty, fame, fortune, and anything else Hollywood might deem important, the one blessing we all possess in equal quantity is time. We are guaranteed 24 hours in each day.
Whenever we run out of time, it just reveals that we are either overly ambitious, or else maybe we are slow learners, still struggling over the basics of life on the field. The trouble is that we continue filling our calendars and daily agendas to the max, forgetting that we are powerless to accomplish anything apart from the grace of God. We are dismayed and actually surprised when the unexpected happens (the electricity goes off, people stop by needing a meal, a child gets sick), and we finish none of the tasks we set out to do. List-checkers are particularly annoyed when their day doesn't play out according to the plan. Am I right?
As the years go by, if we don't go crazy first, we learn the art of sculpting our plans in Jello instead of concrete. Even still it is a struggle. Ideally I start each day in prayer, asking God to take my time and use it for His glory. When I do this, I never have that frantic feeling that time is too short. Then and only then can I view interruptions in proper perspective. People are the reason we are here. When people start becoming intrusions, I know something is wrong. It proves I'm holding my to-do list too possessively. Again.
It's ironic that I had this particular post outlined in my mind, but every time I tried to type it up, someone else was on the computer. My whole Monday was one thwarted plan after another. I wish I could say I handled it gracefully because the day belonged to God, not me. Instead I was a snarky mom all day, griping about how behind we are with school, and how I wanted to finish this post and check it off my list. Normally I love writing, but this week I was too busy fretting over lost time to ever write about time.
Two weeks ago, my daughter, Debbie, was sick for two days, and we got behind in school. Last week we lost two days due to the ministry team being here. This week is a four-day week because of Independence Day on Friday. In three weeks, we have slipped a whole week behind in our school work. With my other children, I would have pushed them to make it up, and somehow we would catch up. With Debbie, it is impossible. She has Apraxia and some language-related learning disabilities that cause her to work double or triple hard on a daily basis. Speeding up the learning process is just not an option. Apparently God has another solution. I just need to give our time to Him, not just every school year, but every week, every day, every hour.
Having a daughter who struggles with speech, reading, and anything language-related (which is just about every academic subject) should teach me patience. If only I could let go of my lesson plans when they don't work out.
On a positive note, I am no longer teaching the ladies Bible study at the local church. On a not-so-positive note, I filled the time I "found" by agreeing to teach an elective at the Christian school, where my son Jonny attends. I gave up a one-day class in town, and committed to a two-day class in the city. Does anyone else see a problem here?
IRL* I just need to give my time to Him, not just every school year, but every week, every day, every hour.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Tapping In

IRL*This is Jamie Jo's 89th blog post...amazing! Get some rest, dear friend.


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