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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Aside

I feel like I should rename my blog a day late and a dollar short… or something witty like that.  I was on the road yesterday so I couldn’t type at the risk of loosing my cookies. (which only almost happened twice during the twitter party, thank you very much, but I digress)

When we found out we were moving to Salmon Arm, there was a lot of excitement in our house, to say the least.  Nervous excitement about what laid ahead.  Within a few days, The Hubs received an email that included “Dates to Remember”. Listed in that email is words I’ve never really liked. “Leadership Camp August 26-29, 2013”.  The moment those words registered in my head, a seed was planted.  Actually not a seed.  A seed brings to mind pretty flowers. What I had was more of a pit.

For 7 weeks we trucked along. The topic of Leadership would come up, and I would deflect, change the topic… anything to stop the pit that was growing. The Hubs printed off registration forms for all of us and I said “I think this camp if just for ministers.  Child III and I will stay home”. Reluctantly he agreed.  When he emailed a question about accommodations, a response came back including the words “Which will be great for your son”. Ugh! We are included in the invitation!  Almost in tears, I reluctantly agree to go. The pit was growing…

Even up to the day before we left, I was looking for an excuse not to go. “We can’t really afford to board the dog”, or “Well, its so close to when school starts”… the excuses even started to sound weak to me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn, or didn’t want to really go even.  My anxiety came from the unknown. Going to camp, I wasn’t in control. There would be people I didn’t know, doing activities I had no idea about.  THESE are the things that set off the growing anxiety I had.  What if they asked me to do something I “Couldn’t” do?  What if they were watching me to see how I reacted to certain things (which I’m not terribly convinced they weren’t, BTW). New people, New experiences, New people to see through this thin veil of “Got it together” that I’m struggling to hold up. What if I didn’t say the right things, or made a fool of myself?

We arrived at Camp Sunday night, and got our registration packets.  I opened it up and was actually really excited about the first 2 days. Business stuff. HR, PR… I could handle those things, I actually love those things!!  They had a morning of all the new people together. Then… there it was… Group work. SMALL group work. Instantly my anxiety went into hyper drive, and the voice of worry began to grow until it was all I could hear.  And camp hadn’t even started yet!

I began to flip through the material we’d be covering in our small groups.  The process was called “Encounter God”.  What it entailed was covering some pretty personal topics like Rebellion, Addiction, Sex, Cults etc. etc. The small group exercises were to go as follows; One person would confess their sins in the category they were covering, and the other two would pray with them through the admittance and forgiveness process. And then on to the next category.

I’ve never pretended to be a perfect pastors wife. I’ve never denied the troubled past that has led me to where I am today.  One of the greatest joys in my marriage is the fact that The Hubs and I have no secrets.  Being best friends for 16 years, you share with that person things you may not even tell your spouse… and we didn’t think anything of it because we were BEST friends.  We’ve seen the good the bad and the UGLY in each other. The things that this group was asking me to share were THESE things. The things only my husband knew. Things I still have nightmares about. Things that I’m still working to heal from, even 12-13 years later.  Although these things have made me who I am today, they are things that I am NOT prepared to share with total strangers.

As I sat there, reading these things we were to be doing, my anxiety grew.  As we went through the sessions, as we met people, as we worshiped together, nothing could quiet these fears, and by the time Tuesday night came, I was sitting in my cabin having a full blown panic attack as The Hubs sat across from me completely lost as to what to do.  The anxiety attack led to a migraine, which gave me the excuse to huddle in my bunk, closing off the outside world and giving in to the anxiety and fear that had surrounded me these last few months.

Great behavior for a #palmsup #YesToGod woman right?

As I lay there Tuesday and Wednesday, feeling lost, confused and convinced I’d messed up any chance of these people taking me serious as a leader, or as a sane person for that matter, my phone buzzed and the email I got was titled “There’s No Easy Button” from Proverbs 31 Ministry.

It was as if a light bulb went off.  God had laid the perfect #SayYes moment at my feet, and I said “No. Its too hard. I can’t.” Through the 7 weeks of anxiety, the fear, the physical illness from worry… not once did I turn to God with it.  Not once. In that moment, feeling as low as possible, feeling alone, feeling like I was destroying not only my relationship with these new people but also with my husband, I cried out to God.  But why did it take me so long?

In those moments I poured it all out.  The months of anxiety, the fear of being rejected, the pain of reliving those moments I didn’t want to share. I pulled out my bible. I flipped to passage after passage. I wrote page after page in my journal, and in the end, peace started to set in.

The last day of Camp, I attending the closing session and what I learned was that I wasn’t the only one who was uncomfortable with the groups, with the subject matter. I…wasnt…alone.  These people who I was scared of… they struggled too! These people I looked at who had everything under control… they were like me. Except they said Yes, when I said No.

 

 

 

Ugh, But at least I decided to #StickWithIt

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

#SAYWHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I have this thing I say… well I have a couple, but not all of them are ones I’d share here.  This is one that my friend Brenda and I would bat around when we were faced with something we didn’t want to do.  I’d say to her “I really don’t want to go to this leadership training” and she’d say back to me “Well, that probably means God has something big for you to take away from it.” or she’d say “Ugh! I just don’t have time for this meeting this afternoon.” Well there was no denying that God wanted her to listen up.  There’s just something about that moment of “Do I have to?” that God uses to speak to us, to show us what we miss when we don’t take the time to listen to him in whatever form that is.

THAT has been me this week.  Sunday came and went and I didn’t even open my email from Proverbs introducing the weeks Bible lesson.  Monday, same thing.  Tuesday I opened all 3 emails in between clients at our food bank, and then… tucked them into a folder.  Wednesday came and I was panicked.  Nothing done, nothing read, and blog hop… the thing I’m good at, one day ahead.  So I squeezed in a chapter after Masterchef, and another after Big Brother.  Not exactly a focused read.

I start reading Chapter 2, and instantly I know why I didn’t want to read it.  It’s titled Hearing God’s Voice.  This has always been something of a mystery to me.  I’ve struggled time and time again with wondering if what I’m hearing is God speaking to me, or my own thoughts leading me to testy waters.  My friend Oscar Roan (FANTASTIC Motivational Speaker and ex NFL-er… if you’re ever looking for a special guest speaker for something… just saying)  tells stories of these incredible conversations he has with God.  They go like this “I said to God….., and God said “Oscar…..”.  It always leaves me wondering what I’m missing.  Why don’t I have those kinds of conversations with God? 

But…then again… maybe I have, and I just don’t want to recognize it for what it is.

4 years ago, when The Hubs and I moved to the states, we did so as laypeople.  Non-Ministers ministering to broken people. And it was fantastic. We were doing God’s work, and it was in a zone that was more then comfortable to me. But all our co workers (except for one other couple) WERE ministers.  And it wasn’t long before the question was posed. “Why don’t you guys become ministers too?”  WHAT?!?!? Truthfully, I was offended.  Were they implying I couldn’t do as good a job just because I wasn’t a minister?!  I’ve grown up in the church, known PLENTY of ministers, and… well… there were some that I in NO way wanted to be lumped together with.  Truth be told, I had my own hang ups and hurts that tripled every time someone asked why we didn’t just go ahead and become ministers. 

It got very difficult to be around these people, to feel like they were thinking less of me because I wasn’t “One of them”. and the question came more and more frequently.  We’d go to work retreats, and it would be the topic of a sermon, or focus of a workshop. We’d get together with friends, and it would be the topic of conversation… it was as if everywhere I turned, there it was… staring me in the face.

See where I’m going with this?

When our center closed, it was again the topic of discussion, and I had a moment where, when being a minister was an option given to me like being offered a job at McDonalds I was SO hurt and SO frustrated I got in the car with the Hubs and said “NEVER!”

I bet you know where I’m going with that one too, right? Way smarter people then me have learned over the years… never say never.

When The Hubs came to me and said, I want to return to my former life as a minister (remember last weeks #YestoGod post?), once the initial shock was over, I remember having what I thought was a one sided conversation with God one sleepless night.  It went something like this… “God, I can’t do this.  This is the Hubs calling, not mine.  I can’t do… that stuff.  I am not a public speaker.  Crowds scare me to the point of paralyses. This doesn’t just count for public speaking… but for everything where words are expected to flow from my brain to my mouth. (Sidenote: I once told my pastor that if she asked me to participate in the service, we would no longer be friends… and I was only half joking).  God… this is SO far out of my comfort zone that its just out of the question. I can’t preach, I can’t get up there in front of people… lead a group… out of the question!

So when we arrived here, and met with the church leaders from the province, I know the question that I’ve dreaded is coming again, and I’m ready with all the old answers.  Except instead of asking why wasn’t I a minister, the question was “How do you know its not what your supposed to do?” and I think… ok… now’s your chance. Be honest. Give it to him straight.  And I did.  I told him that I couldn’t preach.  That I couldn’t lead groups.  That I wasn’t made for that kind of thing. and he looked at me and said “Who says you have to do those things?”

#SAYWHAT?!?!

My parents, my In-laws, my husband… they all do those things that scare me beyond belief… My In-laws were leaders of a multi state territory. Just watching THEM climb the stage at an event made me break out into a cold sweat and I was just in the audience. What did he mean I didn’t have to do those things?!?

He went on to explain that our church has, in the last few years realized that there are people out there who have many talents, and can be used in ways that they never have been before.  They have a training program for those people called Field-Based Tailored Training, and it recognizes the work people have done in ministry, the reality of family life, and the special needs of some people. It involves working in the field (something I’ve done for the last 10 years) and distance learning classes.

As I sat there processing what he was telling me, I could see the Hubs glancing at me through the corner of his eye.  When we got to the car after our meeting, he turned to me and said “Well?  What do you think? It’s the first time you haven’t exploded when someone talked to you about it?” and for the first time, I took a breath and said “I’m willing to listen”. 

Two things happened when I came home.  The first?  I told my mom and she said “I knew about the training and was hoping someone would mention it to you”.  Interesting.  The second? While I was logged into facebook telling my mom about the conversation, my feed updated, and a post from one of my friends about an online Bible study caught my eye. When I read the title was “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”, there wasn’t really an option at that point.  I needed to do this, I needed clarity.

I haven’t run into this one #palmsup, but I’m open… that’s what I can do for now… be open. 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Where Saying Yes Got Me #YestoGod

Here I sit, looking over my post for Child the III’s Birthday and thinking “WOW! Life changes fast!”.

Recap? My last blog post (in May), the Hubs and I were working at an addiction center in Memphis TN, waiting on the call from our adoption worker to tell us if the Birth Mom we said yes to picked us to adopt her unborn son.

Where are we now? One of the most beautiful places on the earth. Snuggled in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia Canada. Back Home! The Hubs a pastor of a local church (complete with food bank, second-hand store and winter shelter) and me, unemployed trying not to panic as I watch our bank account VERY closely. Adoption plans… on hold we’ll say… for now. (FYI, the birth mom we were hoping for while we were in Memphis decided to parent her sweet little boy, and she continues to be in my prayers as she find her way with a now 5 month old).

About to hit the road from Memphis TN.  Only 41 hrs on the road to go!

About to hit the road from Memphis TN. Only 41 hrs on the road to go!

But what happened in between? How did we get here? And why am I deciding to write about it now?

I’m part of an online Bible study (my first, to be exact) based on the book “What Happens When Women say “Yes” to God”. Part of the process that comes with that is trying to think of a time when you stepped out and said “Yes”. These last few months have been full of Yes moments.

Early last year, the Hubs came to me and said “I think we should move out of the country to somewhere where you wont know anyone, where we’ll take a pay 75% pay cut, and where for the first time since being married we wont work together, wont spend 23 hrs a day together and, in doing all that… all our planning for adopting a baby will get thrown out the window.”

Ok, so that’s not exactly what he said. But it is what I heard. What he actually said was that God was calling him to return to the life of a pastor, and in the church we belong to, that meant returning to Canada.

I’d like to say I was speechless. I’d like to say I said all the right things, and spent hours and hours in prayer about it. I’d love to say all of that. But I didn’t. What I did do was P-A-N-I-C! I asked him why, after a full year (or more) of everyone telling us that we had to be pastors in order to do our jobs, he pulled this out of thin air. (Which of course wasn’t true because it wasn’t the first time he’d mentioned it, it was just the first time I had “HEARD” him).

I did what I do best. I ran. Took off, shut down and ran through every worst case scenario I could think of. The Hubs, being the incredible man I love that he is, gave me space, and then came to me and said “I don’t know what we can do, but if its not what you want, then I wont do it”. One of the things I love most about The Hubs is the fact that he is selfless and I’m ashamed to admit that, for a minute, I thought “All I have to do is say no, and this gets brushed under the rug.” .

Thankfully cooler heads prevailed that afternoon… eventually. The benefit of being the daughter of pastors, and the daughter in law of pastors is that I’ve heard exactly 1,435,675 sermons about God’s Calling, and I knew that if this was what the Hubs was being called to do… I needed to get on board, or get out of the way. So in one of the greatest leaps of faith I think I’ve taken, I said “Ok… If that’s what you need to do, lets do it.”

It hasn’t been an easy few months. Its been a learning experience for me in so many ways. I’ve felt alone, so far from friends and family. I’ve felt useless as the very area’s I’ve been able to work with The Hubs, the area’s where he struggles the most, those areas are filled with other people to help, and its as if I’m on the sidelines cheering him on, which isn’t a bad place, but I’m used to being in the game (Does that even make sense?), but there are options out there for me, and I’m working my mind around those. Is it a “SAY YES” moment? Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Uncategorized