What a week. It feels like this year is zipping by, like I’m standing still. It’s funny that I type that because I stayed up far too long last night reading. Now, I don’t read very much romance anymore, but I’m mulling over a new series, so I wanted to get a feel for the genre.
It’s still romance, but it was Christian romance. (Mine will most likely fall into women’s fiction.) Anyway, I was reading Not Until You by Valerie M. Bodden and one of the lines hit me hard.
“Somewhere along the line, she’d forgotten that each day was a gift from the Lord and had started to look at the days as something to simply survive.” -Violet (main character)
Man, did that hit home. I literally teared up and put my hand over my mouth because it was 2am and I didn’t want to wake up my husband (who never softly snores by the way, but people in glass houses can’t throw stones. I think the next time I have a character snoring, they’re going to be ripping like chainsaws.)
I feel like these past six months that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Stressing, worrying, looking all the negative, and as much as I’ve been trying to dance in the puddles, I’ve been wrapping myself in everything I can find that will keep the rain off of me.
The puddles have been so deep, I’ve been afraid that my rain boots will fill up, and I’ll be pulled under. Why have I been wearing the rain boots in the first place? Why haven’t I just gone barefoot?
Barefoot? God, you want me to go barefoot? But my puddles are full of sharp objects. I don’t want to get cut, and I’ve been cut so many times. And you’ve let it happen. Where’s my bubble wrap? Don’t you see all the wounds I already have?
By His stripes, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5) floats to mind.
These gaping wounds don’t feel healed sometimes. Sometimes they feel like they’re infected. They’re flayed open and they ache. They burn and hurt and sting.
Why don’t I feel healed?
And yes, facts aren’t feelings. That doesn’t make them any less real. Or hurt any less. Or crush any less.
Sometimes, I feel crushed and bruised.
But He’s living water, right? The answer to a thirst that quenches all.
Maybe instead of looking at the puddles and only seeing muddy, murky water, I need to dance in the Living Water. Perhaps, just maybe, I need to have faith that even when I can’t see the bottom, that maybe I’ll get cut, bruised, or broken, that Jesus has me. Perhaps bubble wrap isn’t the answer. Maybe the answer is a soothing grace and mercy I don’t deserve.
Maybe there’s a reason that stepping out in faith is so hard. I know I’m going to be beaten and bruised.
But the Healer will be there. Maybe I need to focus more on the Healer, trust that those puddles will bring me closer to Him.
Not maybe. Definitely. And practice, living out that faith, is what builds the Kingdom. Isn’t that what I’m called do to? Build the kingdom? He was beaten for my transgressions, and I’m over here whimpering about a few minor cuts and bruises. I’m not supposed to make sense to the world. In it, but not of it, right?
Maybe it’s time I put faith in its rightful spot as an action and not a adverb.
Maybe I shouldn’t be an adverb either.
I'm sitting here on Thursday, working on this because I have a few things to do tomorrow. I've got a decent streak going, and I don't know what it is about streaks... they make me want to keep going.
So, I'm sitting here, thinking, "What do I write about today?"
Have I mentioned I'm boring? A downright snooze-fest. Typically, the most exciting thing that happens to me is a cat hacking up a hairball in the middle of the night. (Also, why do they have to do that in the middle of the night?)
It's been a long week of getting little sleep. I mentioned before that I stopped taking sleep aids, but it's not that I'm not tired. I have had a lot on my mind. That's what's keeping me up.
I think I've also mentioned that worrying is my superpower.
So, that's what I've been doing. Why couldn't I do that during the day? I'm no respecter of time. I worry during the day too.
Now, you might be asking yourself, "What could she be worrying about?"
Relationships, here on Earth and Above. Money. Our country. The housing market. My friends having troubles. The list goes on.
Last night, I'm laying in bed at 2 am. Of course, I'm on my phone. Then 3 am rolls around, still awake. I finally put my phone down, and the verse Psalms 118:5 comes to mind.
"From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and put me in an open space." (NASB)
Distressed: suffering from anxiety, sorrow, or pain."
So, I'm laying in bed, frustrated about all the things going on in my mind. I'm thinking/screaming, "God, I'm in distress. Where are you?"
I wonder at times, what if setting me free means leaving me where I am?
How can I ever grow or move beyond where I am to where I want to be? How do I get to the point of "walking through the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4) without fear; understanding that even when I'm surrounded by all the worry, there is comfort in Christ?
At what point do I move from the sinking sands of this earth to the Solid Rock when everything is always easy?
I want comfort, but maybe the lesson is that comfort means more than a happy place. Perhaps comfort is less about what is going on and more about Who is with me during the times when comfort is nowhere to be seen and there is no light at the end of the tunnel (that I can see).
Hard lessons tend to be the ones I don't forget. Maybe the right frame of mind is, to give me a head and heart that can be shaped by the Potter so that the hard lessons don't take as long to learn.
I don't have the answers. My garden is full of weeds. Maybe I shouldn't be begging for weed killer when the Gardener is the only one who can remove the roots so the weeds don't come back.
Again, I don't have answers. I'm mostly pondering in a ramble-like manner.
Sorry about the length. I hope you guys have a great weekend and I'll see you next week.
What an odd month this has been, and it's not a singular thing that's made it feel like that. It's more like the small snowball at the top of the hill racing to the bottom. Does that make sense?
Honestly, this entire year has been odd, and I'll leave it at that.
I try to be upbeat and happy in these newsletters, but sometimes, I feel compelled to speak frankly, and this is one of those days. I'm not looking for sympathy or anything, just sharing so that if someone is in a similar situation, they know they're not alone.
I've struggled since last year. Struggled with my faith, my heart, desires, worth. It's almost like I've been in this state of pre-crying. Like you feel it coming, but you're holding it in, waiting to find a safe space and ugly cry. I'm picking up this piece and that piece and that piece over there, stuffing them into this box because other people's problems are bigger than mine.
Yes, I have friends I know I could pull up a chair next to and pour my heart out. And yet, I keep patching that worn-out piece in my heart that's struggling to hold in all the things I continue to stuff in my box.
I hurt. Deep down and profoundly.
And I wish I knew why.
Perhaps the path to understanding begins with simply knowing there is a problem, with each step being a question that will lead to an answer somewhere down the line.
Yes, I know Jesus loves me. But sometimes, like now, I wonder why.
I don't know the answers. Honestly, my typical response would be to allow Christ to be my comfort, but I feel like a porcupine at the moment. Maybe voicing that right there is the best first step and the biggest why of all. Perhaps if I can figure that out, the rest of the answers will fall into place.
There is hope, though. I'm absolutely certain of that. We just need to white-knuckle it until the answers present themselves. I say we because someone will relate...and just in case their grip is slipping, I wanted to be sure they know that our grip isn't as precarious as we think. There's a Savior out there with His hands wrapped around your wrists, waiting for us to realize it.
Photos showing what's been going on with the bus. A lot of hard work has gone into it, but I think it's going to be worth it. A traveling arcade...I mean, how cool is that?
You see that picture? That's eighteen seats no longer bolted to the floor. Should you decide, "Hey, that girl in Texas bought a bus, I think I'll do it too!" My husband has a piece of advice...get help. It's a two-person job. HA!
But! The seats are gone and now comes the fun part. Cleaning it up. You can't see it, but the floors are wood under all that rubber and some of it needs to be replaced. Those overhead shelves have to go too otherwise the games won't fit.
We've decided we're going to paint the doors blue and make it look like a Tardis. (My oldest loves Dr. Who and these doors kinda have that bigger on the inside look. LOL!)
As for the windows, well, we're not exactly sure yet. We're still working that out. We're going to put a runner of blacklights down the ceiling and do some neat graffiti in there. I keep telling my husband we need to get some skating rink carpet, but he keeps yammering on about drinks and spillage. Of all the time to be practical, he picks now?
I'm totally kidding, but at the same time, that skating rink smell sure brings back a lot of memories. I Hokey-Pokey'd with the best of them. Granted sometimes my Pokey busted itself on the rink floor, but I was younger and less fragile.
Okay, I'm gonna git now. It's Memorial Day weekend, and we have a brisket a friend will be cooking for us. What are you doing? Let me know and I'll randomly pick a name for a signed copy of one of my paperbacks. I have a few and I have done a giveaway in a while. Now's a good time as any, right? HA!
Now, I'm done.
You all have a great weekend! I'll see ya next week!
You’re probably thinking did I read that subject right?
Yes. Yes, you did.
The next question is, why on earth do you need a bus?
We going to start an arcade rental for birthday parties and such.
Then your thinking, really? With what sort of games?
Centipede, Space Invaders, Tron...all of the old stand-ups.
Yep, even awesome-r is all these games will be out of my garage. And my storage building. And my bedroom. And my living room... You see a pattern here, right?
All out of my house. No more bundles of cat hair floating around in nooks and crannies I can't reach. Wide open, unfilled spaces so it feels like a house that doesn't start with ware.
So, yeah, a bus. The getting of the bus is why this is hitting your inbox so late. I’m a gold star winner for forgetfulness lately. Ha!
Okay. I'm on a computer that isn't mind because I was typing this on my phone and considering pitching it out the window at 50mph. Now, I'm on an unfamiliar keyboard and feeling the same frustration. With that said, I will bid you farewell.
I'm having one of those days where I'm just not okay. Nothing particularly awful, and not okay. I wish I understood why I feel like I do sometimes. There are days when I feel top of the world, and others when I feel worthless.
I mean, get offered a penny and feel like I need give change days.
I'm doing something that I love. I'm getting paid pretty well to do it. I have good people in my life. Nothing has side-swiped me, and yet, man that person staring back at me is just screaming at the top of her lungs.
Why am I here?
What is my purpose?
What will it take to feel successful and accomplished?
Why am I even having an issue when there seems to be no reason why?
I get so frustrated on days like this. It's hard to write because I can't focus. I don't really feel all that romantic on days like these.
Mostly, all I want to do, is go outside, drink wine from the bottle, and give the world the bird. No, not the bird, the whole freaking flock.
Tomorrow will be better. Somehow, someway tomorrow will be better. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I hope I don't trip over my own feet between now and then.
Tru is out! It feels good to have a start to a new series. I've said it before, but I don't know that it'll ever get easier hitting the publish button.
This next part, I had typed up for my newsletter, and I stopped.
It's strange to me that I'd pick a career (that I love) that opens me up to public criticism. I've spent most of my life desperate to be loved. So heartsick that sometimes, it's hard to know if I'm actually seeing myself in the mirror or the product of 47-years of desperation.
I'm talking about how excited I am that I've started a new series and it hits me as I read back over what I've just typed.
Giddyness is being swallowed by insecurities.
Did I write a good book? I tried.
Will people still want to read my books? I hope so.
Is my best just good enough or is my best really my best? How do I judge that?
Sometimes, I think we're warring internally and don't even know it until we sit down and have a moment of peace and quiet.
God forgive me for throwing my blessings back in Your face.
It's one of those contemplative days. The kind where you're tired, but your mind is filled with things that need a sharper mind. Things that range from heavy subjects to ridiculously light subjects.
I have a weekly Bible study. We get together, have a meal, and then study. We've been on Acts the last few weeks. The last chapter was talking about Peter. His shadow would fall on people, and they were healed.
The leaders were angry because of the signs and wonders happening. They had the apostles jailed and flogged. These men were freed and rejoiced because they were worthy of being disgraced for just speaking Jesus's name.
I'm a glass half empty sort of gal. If the shoe is going to drop, it won't be one; it'll be every single pair in the closet.
Jesus knew what my faults, my attitude, everything that makes me unworthy. And yet, He knew me in the womb and still loves me. He still died for me. He knew I'd find it hard to rejoice in suffering.
He still died for me.
Sometimes, the heaviness of the world pushes in on me, squeezing my soul like grapes in a press. But I know the winemaker, and He knows me.
I have no idea why I shared all that. It was just what I've been thinking about, without even knowing I was. Does that make sense? I'm troubled in my spirit, not knowing the exact words of why. Then they hit, and I know it was this moment and not a minute sooner than the words came.
Hopefully, this time next week, I'm celebrating finishing the book I'm writing. You all have a good weekend and a blessed week.
We had snow this past week. Lots of it too. I love it when it snows. The quiet because everyone is inside. How the sky looks pink and blue. I call it snow sky. You know it's coming and that it's going to blanket the whole place. The grease stains in your driveway, all the leaves that have fallen since it turned cold--the ones you haven't raked up yet, and it takes the mundane and gives it a fantasy type feel. My daughter was thrilled because she got to make a Godzilla snowman.
Plus, the crisp air. The chance to use a fireplace if you have one. It's just pretty. We don't get these snow days often, but I sure enjoy it when we do.
Those pictures of the sky were the day after it snowed, and it was past nine at night. The reflection off the powder created that. Neat, right? It looked so odd, knowing it was supposed to be pitch black by then, but no, it was so light.
Okay, I'll go. I'm more than a quarter of the way through the next Guardian Group book. I hope to finish it by the 29th to have it to my editor before my birthday. (I'm at least going to try very hard.)