Monday, September 29, 2008

Touching Base With Y'All

I haven't blogged consistently for so long, I have no idea if anyone still checks this site. For the few who do, I thought I'd check in and say hello.

Being a single mom: I had always said single parents were my heroes. But I said it like you always say things like that. Without full understanding. Kind of like thinking what you might do if a loved one dies or some other tragedy befalls you. You think you can picture it but you can't.

In some ways, it's not quite as hard as I thought. I guess I had thought that whatever made me the single mom would have overwhelmed my world so completely, I wouldn't be able to focus as a mom. So I guess I thought that was where the struggle was. But in my case - you get over the cheating lug. Kind of. God gets me past it. And when the ugliness of it all gets all up in my face again, God's good about keeping me steady.

Right now - this new into it - it's the no-time-for-anything part that gets me. Sometimes I feel like such a failure as a single mom. Stupid, I know. But it's when I look around my formerly pristine house and see a clutter of toys, papers, unfathomable "stuff", that gets me. When I walk by something black, see the dust and can't recall the last time I pulled out the Swiffers. When I walk past that little piece of balloon streamer on the stairs - again - knowing I probably won't vacuum this week, either. When I toss my boys into a tub/shower and am not sure when I last did that. When I get a crap review at work because - bottom line - I can't work overtime. When the boys are bummed because yet another Saturday is spent running errands. When I strip the beds to wash the linens, wondering when I did that last. It's not how I was raised. It's not how I used to do things. It's not how I like things.

My days are filled from the moment I pop out of bed until the moment the boys go into theirs. And then? That's when I know I should get the laundry done, dust, clean my bathroom, pay bills, or whatever else is on my mental honey-do list. I rarely do that. Most nights, I put them to bed, I get ready for bed, I grab my reading glasses & bible and crawl into bed. I read until I start reading the same verses over and over. Then I put out the light, lay down and start asking God to help me. Help me be the mom they deserve. Help me to have forgiveness in my heart for the ex. Help me to keep my job. Help me to keep my house. Help money to appear out of nowhere to pay all the bills. Help me to be ok with just me and God. Help me to make it through if these rumors of layoffs are more than just rumors. Take away the fear, God. Take away my dependence on things, money, houses, this lifestyle. Help me to truly depend on God. Help me to teach my boys the truth about God - not the namby pamby fairy tail version most of us half-assedly believe. Help me to live it. Help me to really believe. Increase my faith. Talk to me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, God. In such a way that is so real that there is NO way I can have any doubt. Give me a boldness so I'm not chicken to say, guess what, yah, that's right, I believe in God and Jesus and the whole shebang. Help me to stop worrying about what other people think. Help me to have such faith that I don't water down my beliefs - even for family members.

At times, I think he must be so sick of hearing from me. I've been bugging him - pestering him - my whole life.

And then I go to church. I joke with one of the head pastors that I think pastor Kenny preaches every Sunday just to me! This past Sunday, he was talking about the part in Luke 11:9-10, where Jesus is telling his disciples the whole "ask and you shall receive" thing. So many translations lose a very important part of this. It's not "ask once and you get it". The original language there is more like "keep asking, keep knocking, keep seeking." Pastor Kenny used the words "with shameless persistence." Keep asking God - with no shame. Keep asking. This is a God - a dad - who wants to give us good things. It's our persistence that shows A) we trust him and B) we're serious.

It made me renew a few prayers I had kind of given up on. God, take away Pokemon Boy's Tourette's - totally. God, do whatever it takes to make the ex turn and consider you as a viable option. God, save my job. God, save my house. God, help me be that amazing single mom I know I can be through you. God take away the anxiety and depression. God remove these migraines. God, help me find a job working for you. God, use my singing.

I'm not totally over the fear. I'd like the giant band aid of the layoff news to get ripped off so I can just know once and for all. I'm trying to turn everything over to God. I think that will be a life-long effort. But I'm not going to stop asking. I will keep asking, keep knocking and keep seeking. I'm interested to see what God does.

Luke 11
9 "So I say to you: Keep asking and it will be given to you; keep seeking and you will find; keep knocking and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; whoever seeks finds; and to those that knock, the door will be opened."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Political Conversation With Pokemon Boy

PB: I like McCain.
me: Oh yah?
PB: I think he'd make a good president.
me: Huh. What do you like about him?
PB: Well...he thinks Obama doesn't.
me: Really? What kinds of things?
PB: [pause] Well...good things. I don't really remember but they said it on the news.

In all honesty, that's about as good a reason as any.

* Oh, and later in that conversation, he said "I think it's cool that, if he gets elected? The first woman vice president will get elected, too!" Pokemon Boy: supporting the chicks. Right on.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lamenting A Trailer (No Really)

I've mentioned my awesome rockin' church. But I haven't mentioned that it's a relatively new church. So we're in the process of looking for a permanent space. At the moment, we still meet in an elementary school. This is odd to some people. Not to me. The first church I remember was still meeting in an elementary school while our building was being built. After leaving that one, the next church I attended was in an elementary school. I've attended hugemungus churches that seat hundreds. I've attended tiny ones where everyone is crammed into the few rows of pews. I don't care as long as God is there and the people are preaching Jesus. Can I get an 'Amen'?!


What this means for us is, every Sunday, we have set up and break down. Someone drives to our storage space, picks up the trailer, brings it to the school and we all set up the tables, portable dividers, class supply bins, kids' toys, greeting supplies, etc. It's a well oiled machine.

This past Sunday, I was up on stage, rehearsing with the band. All of the school's chairs were out. We put out rows of chairs but we make a front and back row of square tables. So families can sit together or people can take notes. Everyone has their preference. So the chairs are grouped waiting for those tables. My food service bags are sitting back where the food tables will go. I'm singing. Life is good.

Then I notice our pastor is moving all the grouped chairs into rows. And I'm thinking, do we have no trailer today? Did we get a flat tire? Did someone sleep in? Ah...the blissful thinking of the glass-half-full girl.

Apparently, our trailer was stolen from the storage space. The gates are left open to facilitate that 24-hr access thing. This alone opens a host of questions for me but I can open my own self-storage facility with coded gate access another time. For now, someone got in there, cut the locks from our trailer and took it.

The good thing: The pastor says to us, "We're going to Plan B." There is no Plan B. We made it up on the fly. That's what I love about this church. We just all jumped to it. Sure we were sad and shocked that someone would take our trailer. Sure we made jokes about how appropriate it is that thieves stole a trailer that had a big bin of bibles in it. But we kicked it into gear and church started 30 minutes later - without much of a hitch. It proves that theory that a church isn't about a building or about things or stuff. It's God and the people. That's it, man. It all boils down to God and his people. Boom. Love that.

The sad thing: The police found our trailer today. It's pretty beaten up. All the "stuff" is missing. Yes, we're not all about things or stuff. But oh it kills me the love and work that was just thrown out. We had so many toys for the little ones. Our nursery was awesome. The 3s and 4s class was awesome. They had blocks and cars and twirly things and spinny things and bouncy things and roley things. It was a wonderful way to give parents a break so they could listen to the lesson in stead of shushing kids. Someone had hand made movable dividers so we could have separate classroom space for the different aged kids in the gym. Gone. All of the tables. All of the bibles. All of the class supplies - paper, scissors, glue, tape, crayons, markers, pens, pencils, stickers. There were little portable CD players to play the kids music on. At least 3 of those - if not more. Rugs & mats to sit on for play or story time.

What makes me sad is picturing all of those wonderful tools of ours - just heaped in a pile somewhere. Perfectly good supplies just dumped. I'm a sentimental idiot. I had trouble tossing a pair of boots once because they had been to California, Cape Code, Texas, New Mexico, Jamaica, England with me. They had served me so well. And I was going to just throw them away. It broke my heart. I'm a dork.

I think of that pile of stuff and I give each item a personality in my head. Because, like I said, I'm a dork. I hope the bins of class supplies aren't scared. I hope the tables don't think we don't love them. Then I make up scenarios like, some loving person who really needs that kind of stuff just stumbles across this pile. Like a God send! And they find a way to cart it all to wherever they are setting up their school of love. And our stuff is used and loved and cared for!!!

Did I mention I'm a dork?

Anyway, it's all replaceable. Fortunately, none of our musical equipment was on there. That would be replaceable, yes. But very very costly. We are a hardy lot. We will replace it all and probably more than we started with.

We have prayed for the thieves. Apparently, they used our trailer to try to heist a bunch of copper piping from some water treatment place. I'm hearing more of this copper stealing stuff on the news. So we can be added to that statistic. But we prayed that maybe - just maybe - one of those people opened one of the bins and saw the bibles. And maybe - just maybe - they took a bible home. And maybe - just maybe - they'll read it. I'd like to think that some day, I'll hear some testimony that starts, "Well, a bunch of us stole this trailer and it was full of BIBLES..."

I'm still praying that one or more of those thieves show up at our church. I have no doubt God could make them a great addition to our numbers!