Duck, Duck, Gray Duck

I’m in a weird little place this morning and so I’m choosing to write it out. Forgive me and bear with me. It’s one of THOSE posts.

 

I attended a get-together yesterday with two women from our church that I don’t know very well. It was something orchestrated out of our women’s ministry designed to help strengthen bonds and allow us to get to know one another more deeply, both spiritually and personally. I was excited, but as always when it comes to women’s ministries, a bit skittish. Women’s ministry has always been a hard pill for me to swallow- not that I’ve attended much. I continually struggle with roles of women in the Church and the gatherings I’ve been to feel more warm and fuzzy than motivating and uplifting. However, our last meeting left me with a feeling of hope and I was excited for this opportunity. I’ve started to learn more about the women in our church and they amaze me. But somehow yesterday’s meeting feels like it’s started another spiral.

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You see, the truth is our church leaves me feeling a bit like the odd duck out, the kid perpetually stuck in the role of the gray duck running and running around the circle, never able to fit in. I possess a questioning faith, a need to understand the ways of God (to the best of human ability), a constant yearning to know more. I think it may be perceived by some to be a heart lacking in faith and maybe it is. Maybe my faith is just not strong enough, though it doesn’t feel that way. It just feels…different. I feel incapable of possessing simple, blind faith. “Just because” is never enough for me. This is not the people of my church- at least not as far as I have seen so far. Many grew up in Christian households or have been Christians for so long that there aren’t any questions- that or not that one is willing to discuss. But it doesn’t end there. I feel like the only woman not satisfied with just being a mother. Like the only one with a desire for more than raising kids and being a good wife. I wish that I had this sort of capacity for loving. There seems to be a simplicity in it I’m too complicated to master. I feel like the woman with a wrong heart.

 

I don’t want it to come across as though anyone has said anything to me that was unloving or unkind. That is definitely NOT the case. Anything that is ever done in or outside of our church is always done with love. It’s just me and my perception. And the truth is, the part that has me most sad today, is that I feel this way in nearly every aspect of my life. I feel this way around other women all the time. I feel like an outsider. I feel different, like I just don’t belong. I have a handful of people in the world that I feel at home around, and boy do I love every single one of you for that! But you aren’t my every day. You’re my “sometimes life allows us enough time to find each other for a few hours now and again to bring me back some hope” people. My “if only we could hang out more” people. My “if only more people were like you” people. You are the people that allow me to be myself. To feel okay with not always liking my kids. To feel okay with wanting more.woman-1006102_640

 

I guess today I just feel alone. I feel like everyone around me is okay with just being on the surface of everything and I’m the only one who needs more. That this longing for more is somehow wrong. That wanting a deeper faith, a deeper friendship, a deeper understanding of YOU and your dreams and hopes and struggles is somehow weird and wrong. That it’s wrong to be so open, to hate editing my life and heart in an effort to make things comfortable. That others don’t need to edit because their heart is more full of joy. I need for it to be okay to talk about struggles and it be more than a bitch session or an ungrateful heart, but instead a way to connect. I want connections- real ones. Ones that let me know that you feel this way too and that it’s okay and it’s normal and it’s human. That you are somehow more than just the weather, or what you are doing this weekend, or the cute things your kids do. That you are a cumulation of hopes and dreams and questions and honest, sometimes painful answers.

 

I’m writing this because… I don’t know. Because I hope that you feel this way too and maybe I’m not so different after all. Because I hope that writing it down will make me feel better somehow. Because I hope it’s just the change in seasons aggravating my anxiety disorder and it will simply pass ‘cuz I haven’t felt this lonely in awhile. Because I hope that it will remind me that God made me this way for a reason and that feeling so deeply sometimes might just be more of a blessing than it is a curse. I don’t know. Thanks for listening.

Finding My Purpose 2- An Adventure Story

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All of my adult life I have struggled to find my purpose. You know, you’ve read about it here and that’s only one of the many posts that have addressed this issue. It’s something I wrestle with- always feeling like I’m not doing enough- and even more so now that I am a Christian. I yearn to do my best for God as he has blessed me in so many ways. I think this quote sums it up best :

 

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Truth is, I’m not sure I’ll ever feel I’ve done enough. I could safe every orphaned AIDS baby in Africa and still feel like I should have done something to save the whales. I hear from my husband & friends reminders of all the important things I am doing, after all, I am a mother and raising my children is not a small task. However, I secretly feel like this is a cop-out. I should be leading missions trips, family in tow, or walking our streets with my kids saving the homeless and leading recycling programs; so on and so on. I feel like I’m all talk or all heart and no action. I worry that I use my family as a scapegoat for not doing all I could- after all, wouldn’t my children learn best from my example?

 

I read the book, Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul by Jennie Allen, a few months ago. Essentially it talks about how she realized that she & her husband (like all Christians) need to surrender their life in Christ; that they needed to rely on God solely to dictate the path of their life and they needed to be prepared to go places and do things that they wouldn’t necessarily choose for themselves. So they made a vow that they were willing to do “Anything” that He called them to do. It was a good book and reminded me how often I have spent searching for what I thought my calling might be rather than simply listening and being led. I began to pray honestly and earnestly for God to move in me and show me what my purpose here is; to use me to do His will and not my own.

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Now, as much as I would like to wake up to angels telling me flat out what that is or even a post it note on my forehead with written directions from God, he apparently doesn’t work that way. Instead it became my job to listen and since I’m not always so good at doing that – at least not without picking everything apart (“Is this it, God?”… “Or was that it?”)- God has decided to speak up and make things very clear to me.

 

I started working at the girls’ school this past September.  In November the position of Health Service Assistant opened up and I applied. It had not previously been held by a nurse because there really hadn’t been a need. I had thought I had left my nursing days behind. In the last 5+ years it sounds like the ambulance was contacted only once, maybe. Since November I have now used the previously unused eye wash station twice for chemical exposures, sent 3 employees to the hospital, and called the ambulance at least FIVE times (I’m starting to lose count, frankly). I’ve had kids with significant seizure episodes, kids struggling to breath and quickly worsening, and all sorts of other things. I have performed mouth-to-mouth for someone who stopped breathing. EMS has never once questioned a call because every incident has been serious. I have built relationships with kids that have allowed them to open up to a grownup about what has been going on at home or school- things that make me cry when no one else is around and hug my children tighter. Things that keep me up at night. Things that make me pick up the phone and advocate for them, allowing the County to help keep them safe. Friday I left school late after a particularly rough week and was the first person to stop and help at a recent car crash, leaving my kids in the car on the side of the road and rushing up to see my co-worker in the car and witness the driver of the other car leave the scene.  Thankfully, praise Abba, she was for the most part okay, banged and bruised, but okay.

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Do I think all of this is a coincidence? No. God put me there to calm her and hold her hand. God put me there to serve these kids and adults. He has blessed me with a cool head and a warm heart during crisis and a strong ability to bounce back from these adrenaline rushes. God has put me where I am needed and just to make sure I didn’t miss that point he has been working hard to drill it home. Not only have I had the ability be in the right place, but He has lead me through all of it- His hand evident in the perfect way odd circumstances have played out allowing things to run smoother than they ever should have and giving me then the incite to create a safer school moving forward. One incident led to a meeting with administration to discuss some holes that we saw during a recent crisis. This meeting took place only 2 days before our next crisis and allowed things to run smoothly. Because of the changes we made (like calling a soft lockdown when 911 calls are placed) EMS was able to get in and out of our building swiftly to get immediate care to the individual in question, kids were spared having to witness this scary scene, and the patient was able to leave the building with dignity and privacy.

 

It doesn’t just stop there, though. God has allowed my children to remain safe while being there beside me, while allowing them to witness my work. We came home Friday and crashed on my bed, completely fried, where I gave them time to ask all their questions. I explained to them my role at work and what it means to be a mandated reporter, what their role is if someone they know ever tells them they are being hurt, are scared, or touched inappropriately, and who to go to. I had the chance to explain to them how as school staff we really do care about our students and that though it may be hard, we don’t keep secrets like that because our love is too great and their safety more important than anger or secrets. I explained to them that as one of God’s children I never “clock out” and that if there is someone in need I will always stop and help- even if all I can really do is hold a hand and give some comfort. That sometimes God puts us places for a reason and we may not always understand it, but it is our job to listen and to serve. Originally I had joked with coworkers about feeling cursed, but no more. I realize that I am amazingly blessed to have a Father that has given me such an important role, who guides me so clearly once I learned to rely on him and open up my heart to “anything”. I am lucky to have a Father who keeps me strong and gives me exactly what I need to His work. The glory is not mine. It has nothing to do with me and my abilities. It is all from him.

Not sure what your purpose is? I dare you to open your heart and simply ask.

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Mama’s Got Guns 2

fitness-594143_640Yeah, I know. I suck at updating this thing.  Truth is, I think I needed some time to mourn and process my results.  They weren’t bad, don’t get me wrong. But you know how you feel like you work your butt off and feel like you’re really making progress but it turns out you’re only an inch further down the road than you were before?  Or how you want results, BIG results right away, but like all good things they take time? Do you ever feel like Paula Abdul taking 2 steps forward and 2 steps back? Doesn’t all of it make you want to scream? Or maybe sit down and have a good cry?

So I made it 7 weeks. 7 weeks of eating only meat, veggies, and legumes and nothing deliciously bad for me other than cheat days (except for that day I had a medical emergency at work and earned a frappichino and chocolate). I spent 3-5 days a week at the gym. I nearly hit my goal as I lost 2.8% body fat.  That’s good right?! But it feels like so little!diet-398613_640 I’m still at over 40% body fat; talk about depressing. It’s so easy to put on a pound or 5 but to take them back off just plain sucks. I lost 6.5 lbs in 7 weeks- just what one would want to see for a healthy weight loss- an average of 1 lb a week. But guess what? I don’t want to be average! I want to look great, feel great, and have a nice toned body TODAY!

Whew. So that’s how I felt. I cried a little- though in my defense we did have to fast for the morning of our test out and I had just done a hard workout on an empty stomach and it was now 12:30 pm. I may have been a bit hangry and overly emotional. As the day went on I tried to turn my perspective around. Afterall, I had lost 6.5 lbs, could now wear pants WITHOUT a muffin top, fit into my pants I haven’t worn in about 1 year, and have more energy. I had lost 1 inch around my neck and around my upper arms, I have “almost bumps” of muscles in my biceps, and I lost 4.5 inches around my waist. Yep, you heard me FOUR AND A HALF INCHES!! Everyone who saw my before and after picture was pretty impressed- No, I will not be sharing it here. But if you see me in person I might show you if you ask nice and compliment me on how good I look. 

kettlebell-411605_640So after all of that, I am pretty proud. It’s been getting harder to maintain the diet. I find myself slowly starting to sabotage myself and with sickness moving in and out of our house it makes it too easy to miss workouts. There is still the part of me in the back of my brain that says- “Why bother?! All that work and you’re not getting anywhere!”  But I AM getting someplace and if I don’t stick to it I know I will go somewhere- just not anywhere I want to go again! So, I’m sticking with it. I will have days that are great and and days where I’m hangry, but I will get there with perseverance.

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