Friday, May 27, 2011

Please Excuse the Interruption

I haven’t blogged in nearly two months and for that….I apologize. To say that life has been interrupted as of late; would be an understatement and today will be a few paragraphs of catching up with my blog and sharing all that Jesus continues to do in my life, even if I am not exactly comfortable with all that He has planned and the changes that seem to change or be added….sometimes daily.
My last entry was April 2nd. Strangely enough it was the day I attended a simulcast by Priscilla Shirer called “Life Interrupted.” I purchased her book by the same name that day and read it cover to cover in a couple of days from then. It spoke to me a bit and I loved the content but for the most part I felt it was for “other people”. My life was on track. I felt I was exactly where Jesus wanted me; emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Who would know that just two weeks later…I would begin to start seeing what Jesus had been working on behind the scenes; a smile crossing his face each time another puzzle piece revealed more of His plan.
Baby came home on a Wednesday night a couple weeks later; not happy to leave California but glad to be home at the same time. She is my “free-spirit”, as she so aptly describes herself, and has a history of following her heart but being led down a road of disappointment when she realizes that putting her happiness in someone else’s hands ….and not His, hasn’t worked out. She hasn’t had the easiest of times; none of my girls did…growing up with an absent mom that cared more about her “being married to a DJ” lifestyle and all that entailed. I am grateful that ALL of them have seen the transformation He has made in me and can learn from a better example; not only in how I live now but just what is possible no matter what happens or how far we stray. We are never alone even when it feels completely opposite.
I was excited to welcome Baby home but feel I may have used her return as an excuse to tune out so much of what I was running away from, without even fully realizing it; my blog included. I told friends and family AND Jesus during our devotion time (also getting fewer and further between) that I was shifting my focus on Baby because she was home and that took all of my time that used to be for blogging, sewing, writing, or volunteering. I know now just how unfair that was, especially since Baby was the one to remind me my “readers” were probably wondering what happened to me since my silence was deafening both in writing and responding to emails or texts from friends.  Luckily the latest email from Lynnette was also one to snap me back into action. A true friend that knows just how powerful her words are….even though I couldn’t bring myself to reply.
She wrote just ten lines and it was the perfect mix of “I’m thinking of you”, advice and concern, and then ending with a well wishes for a great visit with my husband that is home from Oklahoma for a week before returning to his job for another month at a time. Only a writer and friend could put such impactful, thought provoking words together in just the right dose without worry about how it would be received. Coming from anyone else would not have had the same affect, I am sure.
In addition to the conversation with Baby and the email/texts from Lynnette, there are the echoes from the Jonah bible study that I am currently participating in at church. Originally having no interest in this study or the content; it surprises me to be in it and have Priscilla Shirer talk to me EXACTLY where I am. The simulcast that I attended was just a taste of what would soon be my life and this study is just diving deeper into the “Life Interrupted” topic. I even picked up that book again only this time it isn’t about “other people”…. It’s about me. I AM the other people I felt sorry for when reading it before. Let me give the quick Reader’s Digest version of what I’m referring to.
Jonah was a prophet; one of a dozen or so in his day and doing a pretty good job of it. He lived in Joppa, not far from Jerusalem and God used him often to speak to the people nearby. Jonah was obedient and always was a great “go between”, sharing God’s vision and relaying instructions to the people. He lived comfortably and was well respected. Then… God asked something personal of Jonah. He didn’t ask him to relay any information but instead asked for action; something Jonah was to DO himself and not to instruct of anyone else. He was to travel to Nineveh to spread God’s word but Jonah couldn’t be less excited about living obediently at that point. So much so that Jonah would go down in history as being the ONLY prophet to try and run from God; despite knowing better than anyone, that God was everywhere. Jonah travelled as far as he could in the opposite direction of Nineveh; enter belly of the whale moment where he FINALLY realizes that God has plans for him and if he had just continued to be obediently, he could have avoided all those “fishy” moments….but then we would have nothing to reference, epitomize, and learn from; again making the bible sooooo relevant to today.
That being said…..
“Hi, my name is Jonah.” I was comfortable exactly where I was; perhaps TOO comfortable. I felt pretty good about living obediently and just KNEW I was doing everything He wanted of me; I was preparing to go to the “She Speaks” conference in North Carolina to learn to be a better writer and speaker for Him, I was getting used to being home alone and using that time to draw closer to Him through devotion and prayer and study time, I was sewing and marketing and dreaming big with regards to Lyla’s: a Christian boutique. Just like Jonah….I was doing everything He wanted from me and just expected that to be enough because it worked and it was all for Him so I figured that was exactly where I needed to be.
But then….
He shows up and asks for action. Not action that I can advise someone else to do (like telling Baby, without question or hesitation, to come home) but real action that I, MYSELF, needs to take. I was feeling especially spoken to but didn’t like what God was saying…just like Jonah. And that is where the real “running” comes into play.
I didn’t charter a boat, buy all the seats, get thrown overboard, end up in the belly of a whale, just to end up in the exact same place BUT…. I did run. I ran from God without even leaving the comfort of my own home. How did I do that? By not opening my bible. By not communicating with friends and family. By not spending my mornings with Jesus in our devotional time. By not sewing and being in scripture all day. I ran. I even tried to avoid filling in the blanks of the Jonah bible study for the second week because the first week called me out in soooo many ways. Even the nods received from other women in my study knew that Priscilla had my number and wasn’t afraid to put it out there for ALL to see. And…. it was just what I needed.
We prayed and we prayed to have our territories be expanded a couple years ago and moved obediently to Plymouh, MI. where we have gotten so comfortable and knew that Jesus was the one to credit with all that happened since we moved here; the church, the friends, the jobs, the people, the opportunities. But then my husband Robbe landed a contract job in Oklahoma to design airplanes….his dream job but not our dream location. We prayed for a permanent job and we prayed for aerospace but Lord knows we didn’t pray for Oklahoma. Guess that is the best example of not trying to have a relationship with God in the advisory capacity. Ta da.
Nineveh = Oklahoma.
The contract dream job in aerospace is going permanent….in Oklahoma. Funny how easy it is to live obediently when it is something you want to do anyway: i.e…. going to the She Speaks conference with my best friend, sewing, writing, and spending time with Him every day. But, just like Jonah, God showed up and asked me to dig a little bit deeper; not just living comfortably in Him but to take what He has already done in me and travel to “Nineveh”.
I have been running from him but after being in my “own belly of the whale” for much longer than four days, I have come to terms with what He is asking of me. Still working on the: finding joy in all He does and all He asks but walking obediently despite what I want….or thought I wanted. God has a different plan and I have finally come around to his way of thinking and embrace the challenge that lies ahead but will miss my comfort zone (perhaps that is just part of the point He is making).
Baby is home and we’re moving to Oklahoma. I have lost a total of 14 pounds so far but hope to lower that number even more by recommitting (and restarting) the “Made to Crave” bible study. I completed the 21 Day challenge but only got through two weeks of the six week study and that may or may not have had anything to do with my “Life Interrupted.”
I have spent an amazing week with my husband and am careful never to take the smallest things for granted. Who knew that just going to bed at night and waking up next to the man you married could be such a blessing? We are even going on a date tonight and I am excited to have another two days before saying goodbye for another month and counting down the days until we live in “Nineveh” together; both of us taking the next step in a journey that God has laid out for us.
I started sewing again and am re-excited about taking pictures for the Watercolor Ministries website and streamlining the Lyla’s catalog. I love blasting my Christian music with my bible open, making new scripture labels and mixing up fabrics, texture, and ribbon for new designs every day.
Baby and I joined a different gym so we can go together and are excited every chance we go. She even lets me hang out with her and her friends a couple times a week. It is great to be able to wake her up with coffee and hear all that she is going through. I love to see the excitement on her face when she talks about her friends and job and she has even come around to being excited about the move to a “new land”….another adventure we will experience together; her and I following behind the moving truck with a sign “Nineveh or Bust” in our back window.
I am elated that Anja and Alyssa continue to keep in touch with me. I love random phone calls from Alyssa just to check in on her way home from work and I love that Anja texts or calls just to ask for advice on everything or nothing at all. Neither of which I could have ever hoped for after all that I have put them through.  
I know that my Cardboard Jesus is happy to spend mornings over coffee with me again, talking about the changes He is orchestrating and the excitement He knows is soon to follow. I love that he never says “I told you so” but loves when I figure things out for myself. He tells me “Trust me. Have I ever let you down? Have I ever taken you somewhere that didn’t work out in the end? Have I ever asked you to go anywhere that I didn’t go with you? Don’t I always give you the resources you need just when you need them? Remember….with me, you don’t have to worry about a thing. You just have to trust me and know that I always have your best interest at heart even when you don’t understand it. You don’t need to.”