Broken Pieces

steak night

Last night, I was on top of my game.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have some extra kids with us for the next few months.  One of my dear friends dropped off a meal yesterday afternoon… rotisserie chicken, homemade mac & cheese, salad, and cookies.  Just a day earlier someone from church had provided a bag full of fresh tomatoes and green peppers.  The kids were all home from school, and I prepped up a plate of chopped peppers and tomatoes to add to the salad.  I set the plate in the fridge, until I needed it later.   Right on schedule, I slid the chicken and mac & cheese into the oven to heat it up.  Tossed the salad into a bowl & went to the fridge to grab the plate of extra veggies.

CRASH.

As I pulled the plate out of the fridge, I knocked into a rock candy stick one of the kids put into the fridge.  In an attempt to catch it before it fell and broke, I haphazardly set the plate of veggies down … and then the plate slid before I could do anything to stop it.  It hit the floor and shattered.  We found pieces of the plate all over the kitchen.  It shot into the office off the kitchen, as well as out the other side of the kitchen.  Pieces of glass were found in the fridge, kitchen, office, dining room, and living room.

This was a shattering that is beyond repair.  I’ve not ever seen something break into such tiny pieces before.  So much so, that we have told all the kids to wear shoes the next few days until we are certain all the pieces have been swept up.

Sometimes we focus so much on encouraging people that they can repair the broken pieces that we forget that there can be a shattering that is beyond repair.  Things can’t go back to the way they were.   In those cases it can be easy to focus on how broken things are, to beat ourselves up over it, to mourn deeply over the inability to fix it…. to the point where we can’t even comprehend that God may have something entirely new for us.

I’m not suggesting that God is the cause of the shattering, but rather in the midst of cleaning up all the broken pieces…. you are not alone.

When the plate hit the tile, the sound was frankly incredible.  It was so loud, and almost thunderous.  My husband came running in to the room to see what happened.  He saw me sweeping it up, and he took the broom from my hands and said “I’ve got this.  Just worry about dinner.”

When the pieces of your heart are broken, scattered about, God says “I’ve got this.”

 

 

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It’s Not Supposed to Be this Way

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Recently, I’ve been reading through a book where an author shares about a circumstance that affected her life and how God worked through it.  A common tagline that has risen from those who are reading the book is “it’s not supposed to be this way”.  I am not really sure that I know of a single person who hasn’t experienced an “it’s not supposed to be this way” moment to a certain level.  Some more severe than others.

Sometimes you get to watch the navigation of two different families experiencing the same “it’s not supposed to be this way” moment, but from opposite sides.

Emotions run high.  Everyone is feeling stress.  Some more than others.

Sometimes these situations require wading through the muck until things settle or resolve.  Others require action.  It’s so important that no matter what YOUR “it’s not supposed to be this way” situation is that you take your steps under the cover of prayer; and in His timing not your own rush to get it over with or sluggish attempt to avoid dealing with it.

Then, grab a journal and start writing it all down.  Get all the thoughts and feelings out.  Take your time writing through it, you may even need to come back to it a few times and add more details, feelings, etc.  Also, take some time away from it.  You may find once you have purged it all you will feel better, or that the distance has given you a new lens to view your thoughts with renewed clarity.  Then pray again over whether you are being called to let this event go, or to act… and also when is the right timing.

Change, Chaos, and Willingness

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This picture very much represents my daily life at the moment.  Feeling a bit out of sort, disheveled, walking around in a bit of a haze.

You see God can come in and turn your life completely upside down in a flash.

Not that long ago, we were a family of 5.  Now, at least for an undetermined season, we are a family of 7.

I was out of town when my husband called to inform me that 2 children would be coming to our home.  It was 830pm.  By 10pm background checks were complete.  By midnight, our home was toured and photographed.  Each of us interviewed.  The pantry and refrigerator inspected.  At 2am, I walked through Walmart in a haze trying to find inflatable mattresses, bedding, pajamas for two children whose sizes were unknown, and toiletries.  4am another phone interview, and then our heads hit our pillows for a short two hour nap.  At 6am they arrived.  We welcomed them in, spoke with the case worker, and set them to bed.

After a few hours, we were wide awake and trying to get our bearings.  There were multiple trips to Walmart over the next 36 hours as we discovered what items were still needed.  We learned about what foods they liked to eat, and beverages they liked to drink.  Within the first week, we experienced our first over several melt downs.

A sassy, strong willed 7 year old girl.  A smart, polite 14 year old boy.

It is amazing how much 2 people being added to your home will change everything.  Your schedule changes, as you accommodate two more who need to shower and get ready in the mornings.  Your grocery shopping changes because you learn quickly that a 14 year old boy eats far more than you anticipated.  Every other day laundry becomes daily.

I thought I was doing ok, really.

Until I walked into church that Sunday morning for our women’s discipleship group.  One of the ladies who had not been clued into our sudden change in family asked me:

Is everything ok?  You don’t look ok.

Yikes.

Then another woman informed me that my zipper was down.

Nice.

I’ve watched my immediate and extended family rally around us.  I turned to my closest friends, who are praying for these children.  I praised God for answering the prayers I didn’t even know I needed to pray for.

We are often asked what is going to happen next, or how long the children will be with us.  We really don’t know.  We are taking each day as it comes, addressing each hurdle as it presents itself.  We are trusting the God who ordered creation to order our steps.  We are trusting in His plan, His love for us, His love for these children.  He is a good, good Father.

When someone learns of our choice to take the children in to our home, we are met with:

It takes a special person to do what you are doing.

We are not special.  Truly.  Just that very evening over dinner, the topic of fostering children came up.  I said, “I am not sure it is something I could do.”

But God.

Within hours of those words falling from my lips, the Lord was showing me that His ways are greater.  Your will, Lord.  Not my own.

We are not special.  We were just willing to answer the call.

Love & Law

We lose love when we get caught up in the law.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Titus 3:9

The Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking law when he was observed healing on the Sabbath.   They were so caught up in observing the law that they lost their ability to have empathy and compassion for those who were suffering and could be healed.

This is not to say that the law is something we don’t need to be concerned about, that we just toss it aside.  However when we get so focused on keeping the law that we lose our ability to love others, the law becomes a stumbling block.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

When God created the commandments, they were created out of love for us.  He wanted the best for us.  To make rules without love being the foundation would be contrary to the character of God.

We must be mindful that we do not get so caught up in the enforcement of the law that we lose love in the process.

The Publishing Process

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Things are plugging right along.  While there has not been much to update in the process recently, that was only a temporary slow down.  From the time you turn in your manuscript until they accept it & send it down the production line, there is a lot of work being done.  Writing, rewriting.  Adding in new content, and removing what isn’t working.  Formatting, getting permission from other publishers to use quotes, and lots of editing.

As of Friday, my manuscript has been accepted which means for the most part all of the editing is done (save some minor tweaks that may come up).  The working title has been replaced with an official title and we are going to be working on the cover design next.

I’ve decided to hold off on sharing the finalized title until we have the cover design and I can really spill the beans.   It is a new step in the process that I’m looking forward to, as it allows me to access the other creative recesses in my mind.

When I was first asked about my feelings about how the cover should look, I struggled.  Since I didn’t have the finalized title (we knew from day the working title I had selected would be replaced), I couldn’t picture a finished product.   I did however look up some books in my genre (leadership) and send over samples of what I liked and my general sense of style.

Now that we have the official title, it is going to be incredibly interesting and exciting to figure out what the right cover looks like.  I’m thankful to be working with a publisher who has people that do this type of thing vs. self publishing and being left to my own devices.

I imagine that we will now see the publishing process speed up a bit and there will be more I can share on a regular basis.  So, keep an eye out for news and updates.

I needed a Sub, and not the sandwich.

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I don’t get sick often, but when I do… it’s usually a doozy.  When I worked, if I had to call in sick, there was someone who made sure all the mandatory things were completed in my absence.  The non-essentials were the only things left for my return.

Even teachers can bring in a substitute to handle the absolutely necessary things, and then non-essentials can get caught up on when he or she returns to work.

As a stay home mom, there is no substitute.

Work from home, or run your own business?  There is usually not someone to fill in for you either.

Once you are better and can return to work, you will find a lot of work to catch up on (essential and non-essential) on top of a new day of expectations.  The longer you are out, the more difficult the catching up process will become.

I dream of the idea of calling in a substitute to come and handle my load, keep me up to date, and make my return to work less time and energy consuming.  But I wonder, would I REALLY take up that opportunity if it was a service?

For example, when I am sick… the last thing I really want is a stranger in my home.  I wouldn’t want to get my friends sick, they have responsibilities too.

Right before Christmas, I had begun a massive cleaning & clearing out project.  Then, wham… sick.  Everything was a full stop.  In the end 3 of the 5 of us were down for the count, my husband included.  The house fell into disarray, and then of course there were a hundred NEW things added to the list as the kids returned to school and events drew closer.  So much work to be done, so little time.

My husband asked me tonight about the status of the clean up plan.  I’ll be honest, it’s a hot mess around here at the moment.  I said… “I got sick.  Life, things happened.  I’m trying to get caught back up.  It just time.”

Once again, I began to day dream about hiring in a substitute.

Under the Weather Winter

Hey all….

Between being sick with some nasty bug roaming our county, then same bug wreaking havoc on our home, coupled with trying to be human enough for making another round of book edits….

I apologize for the sound of crickets here.  Things are looking up, and should be back to posting regularly this coming week.

Happy New Year!