Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lift My Noise: Advice to My Younger Self



Happy Wednesday!  I am excited to share with you a post my friend, TJ, posted on her blog late last week.  It's worth the read and VERY worth passing it on.  I was a part of that lovely dinner--or appetizer- party on her back porch and the conversation was thoroughly thought provoking.  I have such respect for those women so I counted it a very valuable night.  I am so glad TJ was of the mind-set of getting it down before all of us forgot.  She's like that though-- getting it done, thinking it through, writing it down...  She's a wonderful writer-- more concise than I and a whole lot smarter.  Click on over to Lift My Noise.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on it and what YOU'D add to our "What I wish someone had told me when I as 25"!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

These Adoption Questions

These adoption questions— the memories I will have of WHERE we have these conversations- unloading the dishwasher, in the middle of a chapter, from the backseat of the car, while I am scrubbing the toilet, painting a door outside…..   This one took place sitting in my car beside a Redbox— returning Belle {rent it if you haven’t yet}, going through my mental list of leaving for Georgia, barely present,  “Mom, does it ever make you sad that you don’t have kids that look like you?”  Very present now.  “Have you met both of our birthfathers?  What was that like?  How did it make Daddy feel?”  The elusive birthfather— they don’t get much airtime but maybe now that they are getting older, they will.  “What made you choose open or closed adoption?”  “Did she get mad when you closed it?”  Yes— all last night in the Walgreens parking lot between meeting Jeff and B at Panera and getting home for baths and bed.



I won’t rehash our conversation but can I just say, I’m so thankful God loves me and that He is concerned with my family and all this is HIS story that’s being read- page by page.  I had no control of how this all got started or really, how it’s going to end.  That’s His job.  You bet I am throwing up prayers in the driver's seat.  Because who knows if she’ll ever ask the question again— not that I can’t bring it up— but her heart is ripe in that moment, looking to fill up that little space with truth.  With something that will satisfy.  With something that she can accept and move on from that place, secure.

She went to a spend the night party with sweet friends last Friday night and a whole FOUR days later {last night} she told me that her adoption became a topic of conversation.  I really don’t know how it comes up— wish I had been a Borrower in a mouse hole…. Does some girl just say, “Julia, tell us about your being adopted?” or “ Does being adopted make you feel so weird?!?!”  or my favorite, “Do you know your REAL mother?” {Them's fightin' words.  Kind of.}  Surely, this time, since they are such mature 7th graders, it was nothing like that.    Anyway— she told me that as she was talking, she felt like she was giving her testimony.  Bam!  or “Booyah!” as Brighton would say.  Yes!  Yes, you were, sweet girl.  I would have given up whipped cream for a month {let’s not push it} to have heard it— uncensored, with her good friends, realizing in the moment the power of God in her story.




See?  He’s doing His work.  And I need to be content with that— and to trust Him.  I could never have orchestrated that.  And she wouldn’t have done it had I asked her.

He’s her Father.  He’s had His eye on her all this time, patiently waiting for these little milestones— and patiently loving her mother as she eventually comes around to what He’s doing.  By His grace…..

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Temporary

Indications of Poor Planning and Mind Being Elsewhere:

Overdue books at the library

Water spilling onto laptap, phone and addressed invitations while answering a math question--{I haven't moved that fast since I last saw a cockroach and my heroic efforts couldn't prevent my computer a trip to the hospital.}

Forgetting "No gifts, please" on my parents' 50th wedding anniversary invitations- {yes, the wet ones}-- causing quite the stir by....... my parents

Calling the beauty shop in my hometown, "Cutting Up", knowing it's the place to get the word out "No gifts, please"-- Laura obliged.  {I also called the bank and the church.  My accent was in high gear by noon.}

No bananas

Dialing the wrong area code- MY area code- to my hometown- several times- wondering if Plant Telephone had finally pulled the plug

Orange "low gas" light on in car

Agreeing to do invitations for a party you are "ghost hosting" only to realize there isn't time to order invitations and less time to MAKE them and flaking out on that job entirely {Snowy Bluebonnet, I really do want to celebrate with you!}

Index cards-- everywhere {my system that is not helping}

Figuring out you have a week to get 13 hours of CE to renew your pharmacy license- that should have been on poster board somewhere {Done. I'm legal.}

So, I've missed some writing time.  I lost it to articles on Diabetes, ACE Inhibitors, ARB's, Statins, Drug Adherence, Nutrition....  It was a necessity and I am glad it's finished.  I FEEL smarter but I know that's just a temporary illusion.

And this is just a temporary season.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

43: The Big Take Away

Gosh.  It’s my birthday.  Again.  Please tell me, where is the pause button?  So, last night, Brighton made a big deal of this.  “Mom— I want to be sure to kiss you.  I’m going to be kissing a 43 year old for the last time!”  and just before bed, “Mom!  Only 3 more hours of being 43.  Live it up because tomorrow…. it’s history!”  More kisses.



Oh yes, 43 is history, but it’s a good history.  Maybe the biggest event was moving every thing we’ve ever owned from one address to another with the exception of the patio cushions left somewhere near Central Market SOMEONE didn’t tie down on the trailer I was pulling.  {Remember, we fired our movers?}  Observant people tried to tell me- waving their arms, pointing behind me, but I just couldn’t make myself stop.  I didn’t even know what had flown off and I didn’t really care.  That moving thing isn’t quite out of my system yet….  I could tell I was all of my 43 years when we made that move.  Being settled in this home of ours for almost a year now is certainly a highlight of last year.  I like “settled”.  I like “home”.  

Moving into a new home may have been a big event but not the most significant— not at all.   Lots of life was lived out here— 22nd year of marriage, a 12th year for Julia and B is wrapping up his 10th year.  And I wonder how it can be possible.  This phenomenon of time passing… that everyone has talked about since the clock started ticking.  Life lived—- and sometimes missed.  Calendar pages flipped but no recollections.  There were times it seemed to creep along— when was that?  But it did.  I’ve not sensed that in years.  It’s clipping along and we have no choice but to keep up.

Psalm 90 holds this verse:  Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. {verse 12}

Ever wonder, like me, what this exactly meant?  I like to count— to calculate because there’s no guess work in it.  There’s control.  And we all like that, yes?

But I know better so I looked up trusty Matthew Henry’s commentary on the verse.
 
“It is an excellent art rightly to number our days, so as not to be out in our calculation, as he was who counted upon many years to come when, that night, his soul was required of him. We must live under a constant apprehension of the shortness and uncertainty of life and the near approach of death and eternity. We must so number our days as to compare our work with them, and mind it accordingly with a double diligence, as those that have no time to trifle.”

So much for control….

I read a few books in my 43rd year and if I were to pick a book that was most influential, a book that I will read many times - and give away- in my numbered days was The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan.  Someone asked me a few months ago why I liked the book so much and I said you just want to crawl into it and live there.  Live in the “rest”.  I wish Mark were a girl so I could call him up next time I’m in Canada {?!?}  to have scones and tea.  Maybe I can talk Jeff into it. I just know he and Mark would be great friends.  He likes scones too- just not tea.  Surely they serve Americanas on Vancouver Island.

Anyway, Mr. Buchanan talks about this verse in chapter 5.  Hang in here with me— it’s worth it.

“It is a fresh orientation to time, where we think with holy imagination about how the arc of our moments and hours and days intersects with eternity.  ……  This is God’s time management technique.  There’s a right way to tally up days.  There’s an arithmetic of timekeeping and God must tutor us in it.  Wisdom is not the precondition for learning this arithmetic.  It’s the fruit of it.  Wisdom comes from learning to number our days aright.”

He ends the chapter with, “Most of us live afraid that we’re almost out of time. But you and I, we’re heirs of eternity.  We’re not short of days.  We just need to number them aright.”

This does not mean rigid time management, but it does mean intentionality, generosity, a slowing down, remembering…….. this is not easy, is it?  Just this morning as Jeff and the kids wanted to take me to breakfast, I find myself calculating the cost in the rest of our full day if I let them celebrate me.  Really?  Yes, it’s tricky.  But give yourself time to consider it.  To pray over it.   I do almost every day.  And as Matthew Henry states, “Those that would learn this arithmetic must pray for divine instruction.”  It’s worth part of one of your numbered days.

So that’s my personal lesson in my 43rd year-- and most likely from 44 on.  I was taught much, but that’s the one that vies for my attention daily.  Because I struggle most with it. And I think it impacts greatly the people around me— most of whom I love dearly.

“We hold time so tight we crush it, like a flower closed in the fist.  We thought we were protecting it, but all we did was destroy it.”

I want to be done with that.  When my “soul is required of me”, I want people to be able to say, “She numbered her days aright.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thirteen Years Later

Almost 13 years later, He is still showing me He was near.

Mid spring as school was winding down and as the calendar was winding into a tail spin,  the days were seeming longer and longer.  We were all longing for summer- for some kind of break.  From the alarm, from deadlines, from bad news on RenWeb, from searching for assignments, from each other…..  I felt like wearing black and white stripes everyday thinking it might make me more powerful in what seemed to be my consistent role of officiating Julia and Brighton’s hot squabbles.  Depending on how many times I hit the snooze, I was breaking open the Word for some amount of time and laying my requests before Him.  I sat many mornings not seeming to connect,  disgruntled within myself, wondering if He would lift the weight.  Wondering if He would make any difference.

Today.

As I put one foot in front of the other.

On my office floor, I opened Streams of the Desert to the April date and read, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”  {Romans 4:20-21}  I smiled remembering how over and over I said that verse to myself, like tracing the letters with my fingers to make sure it really did say what I thought it did.   Then, thirteen years ago, I was waiting on a baby.  My first one.  Coming in a way I had not expected.  I had found out my baby making insides were covered in endometriosis and the chances of pregnancy were very, very slim- at least in the methods we were willing to try.  So, we gave our hearts over to adoption— and any control we thought we had to the Lord.  Early on, He had shown me Psalm 113:9, “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.  Praise the Lord.”  And even though I knew that verse could mean a few things, I felt like He was clear with me that I would indeed be a mother.  So Romans 4:20-21 was oxygen to all the Scriptures I read during the waiting on my first born.  He was kind to put so many on my heart.



This spring, He wanted me to see something more.  I’ve said this before, but for some reason, He chose to use the Scriptures {and the commentary} of the classic devotional Streams in the Desert during the time— and I have documented this well here— I was waiting on Him to make Jeff and me parents.  The sweet women who had befriended me, loved me and prayed for me all read it and one gave me a copy for my 30th birthday.  This particular morning in April 2014, I realized this verse {Romans 4:20-21} was on an entry within 4-5 days of Julia’s conception.  9 months before her birth.  I began looking at the verses a couple of days before and a couple of days after—the time of Julia’s conception, taking place far away from me but reading these He was showing me He was near.

The hand of the Lord has done this.  Job 12:9

He will do this.  Psalm 37:5

Stand firm  and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  Exodus 14:13

“Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.  Romans 4:20-21

He knows the way that I take. Job 23:10

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.  Psalm 138:7

And exactly 9 months from her birth…..

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

He was near.  And I didn’t even know it.

How do I ever think He’s not listening to me or that He’s removed somehow from my dailies?  Why do I ever think He won’t come through for me in those hair-raising parenting moments when I wonder if I am really cut out for the job?  Why do I think for one minute I am on my own?  Or that, “I’ve got this”?

I’m a dummy.



Here He is some thirteen years later, revealing to me how He was bolstering my heart with His Word as Julia was being knitted together in her birthmother’s womb.  Showing me how He was covering it all with love through His Word when we didn’t even know to be looking for it......  Weaving together a beautiful story that reminds me of how He is intimately involved in every detail of my life......  Reminding me of His track record of faithfulness..... Strengthening my resolve to trust Him all the more.

He is near.

All I can think of to say to Him is, “Thank You and please, please don’t stop.”


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fighting Fears

A lot of things in life make me nervous— even scare me stiff and those are the things I regularly find myself praying about.  No surprises here- number one “scares me stiff" would be raising my kids in a way that scars them for life.  You know, where they feel the need for therapy when they are 35 because of something I did or said over and over and over?  Don’t want that.  Before I had kids, my number one was {and moved to number two now} speaking in front of a group of people.  You’d think as much as I can type in one sitting that I would have no trouble easily talking to a group of people.  It just never works out that way.  I have done it several times but the FIRST, most memorable time I did it was in my Speech class at the University of Georgia and get this—- the professor talked me into doing my 4 speeches on Sex Education- a buzz topic in 1990. My people pleasing self agreed and felt like vomiting every other week when my turn was up.  Misery.  Especially the week when we had to personally engage the topic and not just spit out the facts....

Anyway.

I have some invitations this fall to be scared out of my wits- besides my daily parenting opportunities.  I could have given these groups ten names of sweet friends that would be more fitting, more comfortable, more passionate, smarter, funnier, more everything but I didn’t.  I am honored they asked me and it causes me to be dependent on the Lord in a whole different way.  And that’s scary.  Speaking in front of people is NOT something I can do on my own.  I CAN but it would be a waste of everyone’s time if I just got up there and cranked it out.  That’s its own kind of misery.

So I’ve got some thinking to do.  The first thing this fall will be on Acts 2:42 — fellowship with God and others.  That’s life right there-- our lifelines to an abundant life.  Everything touches down in those two categories and each one dramatically affects the other.   Obviously, our relationship with God— our fellowship with Him- is EVERYTHING.  He’s not “first” on a list.  He’s the paper we write the list on.  He’s the pen with which we write the list.  He’s It.  The Source of All.


I love that I was taught in Junior High what it meant to spend time with Him and to invest in that relationship.  Nothing else I’ve ever done can compare with what I’ve gained from time with just Him.  Nothing.  I’ve filled gobs of notebooks and Bible studies with words to Him and about Him since I was 13.  Some of those words would be exactly what I write today and some of the words would turn my stomach. By the time college rolled around and life changing decisions were being made, His Word was such a comfort to me.  I remember one difficult night, pulling my Bible into my bed and sleeping with it.  It represented a lifeline and had bolstered me and taught me each time I had opened it up.  I have the privilege of adding to that every single day— all throughout the day.



Time spent with the Him lays the foundation for all the other relationships in life.  Try being a good wife or friend or parent or daughter without spending time with the Lord.  That can turn out to be the greatest frustration of your life. There is no formula, no methodology— certainly don’t read any legalism into this but read LIFE and FREEDOM in it.  No shackles.  Just keys.  His precepts are what teaches you to do relationships well.  You WANT to spend time with life-giving people and YOU want to be a life-giving person.  You know who those people are— the ones you leave feeling inspired, loved and challenged by.  You know with whom you feel safe-- who will give protect your hurts and not expose them, will love you no matter what, and will point you to the cross EVERY time.  And you know when you have helped a friend come up for some fresh air.  As you do this for each other, then you are strengthened to move farther out of your circle and love someone who may be harder to love.  This is ALL part of the abundant life.  The more time spent enjoying Him, the richer and more peaceful your relationships with others will be.  He wants this for us.  I want this for me.  I want this for you.



So, as the speaking opportunities grow nearer and when the acid decides to churn in my insides and the butterflies turn into crop dusters to His Word I’ll go.  I love this one.  Sometimes I wish I had dated these verses when they first ministered to my immature heart.

Isaiah 41:10 and 13  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

And because I know I have life-giving friends-- and family- in my life, I will count on them for prayer in this huge weak area for me.   I will know I am covered.

Grateful.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dimes and Rubies

My kids LOVE to get the mail.  They rarely have anything addressed to them in the mail but for some reason, going to the mailbox in hopes of something is exciting to them.  Last Friday, I noticed some mail on the stairs— it usually is left on the kitchen counter— and I saw the back of a catalog.  Actually I saw a blonde with a look on her face that wasn’t about having fun with her friends or enjoying a sunny day at the park.  It was telltale Victoria’s Secret.  The anger flared and I flipped it over and there was the brunette in her bra, giggling, sliding out of her pants.



I wanted to scream— and I might have, sort of, but we had company in town.  They heard a small {medium?} rant and I probably freaked my 14 year old niece out.  Call me a fanatic, over dramatic or whatever, but I despise their catalog.  I couldn’t sit down and compose the email brewing in my head right then so I threw the soft porn in my desk drawer and went on with my very fun weekend with family from Alpharetta.  I took it out of my desk yesterday and my momma bear ire spiked again.  There she was in her bra, taking off her pants— eyeing whoever eyed her.  I texted a friend— who was in the middle of her own long list— she thought for a minute and asked me— “B’s not home today, correct?  Was this Friday and you’re still hopping mad?”

Yes!!!!

When I started the email it all came back.  So I prayed because I didn’t want to be obnoxious or rude.  But I wanted to be very clear.  I typed.

I would like my name to be removed from the catalog list.  I requested this a few years ago and my request was honored, but last week we received a catalog in my mail box.  Please read this in the kindest way possible — I know it seems like such a small thing to you— and I know it’s your job— but I am raising a VERY impressionable 11 year old boy and as a mom, I don’t want or need a catalog with a woman taking off her pants on the cover to come to my mail box.  Ever. There is a place for sexy and provocative within the marriage commitment— I applaud that and enjoy that myself—  but until then, I don’t want your catalog coming to my home making it more difficult for my son to wait to fully enjoy and delight in his wife one day.

Thank you— and I know, you, who is receiving this email most likely has nothing to do with the mailing list so I don’t want to put a damper on your day.  I am not mad at you, just a mom doing what she can. 

I hope you have a good day.  Just get me off that list. ; )
Sincerely, 
Krista Sanders

This is not the first email I have typed to VS.  I despise pornography but I have a deeper hatred for unsolicited pornography.  Their posters in the mall— OUTSIDE of the stores— kick me in the gut.  Several years ago, there was an adopt a pet type thing going on in a mall where Jeff and I were Christmas shopping and I kid you not, the WHOLE thing was set up down the side of VS in front of 5 gigantic classic Victoria photos— mounds of cleavage, lacy thongs in place, sleepy eyes etc.  It was the strangest thing seeing these as a backdrop to this event— not to mention completely offensive without the event.  The response to that email was nebulous— mall management had no control over what VS placed on the outside of their stores and VS was “sorry” I was offended.

When it invades my mailbox uninvited, it’s a whole other story- especially when I’ve requested to be taken off the list.  {And yes, it came to me and not “current resident”.}  My same friend texted me later last night and she had grown “hopping mad” because she had time to think about it.  She was thinking about how our boys are faced with those kinds of things often- and that’s reality-- but reality SHOULDN’T be it showing up in our homes!!  We want our homes to be a FREE zone from the need of what I call, “Operation Look Away”.   It’s maddening having to be concerned about what comes to my mailbox unsolicited.  Our hyper sexualized society permeates everything it seems. But PLEASE, not my home!

So yes, I can send email to Victoria’s Secret Customer Service Department but here’s the real work— being on the offense.  I love Proverbs 2- a banner prayer for all of our children but especially our boys.  Let’s pour this in.   Daily.

My son, if you accept my words
 and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom
 and applying your heart to understanding—

indeed, if you call out for insight
 and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver
 and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord
 and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;
 from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He holds success in store for the upright,
 he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

for he guards the course of the just
 and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
 and fair—every good path.

For wisdom will enter your heart,
 and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Discretion will protect you,
 and understanding will guard you.

That Proverb goes on to talk about the “wayward woman with her seductive words” and how her path leads “down to death” and causes them to forfeit the “path of life”.  Make sure he knows what Scripture has to say about women who purposefully tempt men— and how they are a dime a dozen but the “rubies” are a treasure to be sought.   And then the second line of offense is for your son to watch you love your husband well, day in and day out— to honor him and respect him and be a great companion for him.

Victoria has no secret.  She’s put it all out there for all to see.  A dime a dozen.  A woman who fears the Lord and who is cherished by her husband has secrets revealed only to him.  A ruby worth the hunt.