Fail

Fail
FAIL!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Changing directions

I am God's failure! That will never change. I want to continually be willing to do what He asks, even if it means failing. HOWEVER, I've discovered that the more I am willing to do this, the more people it affects. And the more people it affects, the more careful I have to be in writing about it online. Because people might actually READ my blog and I don't want to hurt any feelings. So... I have decided to change directions. I won't stop writing about how I fail for Christ. You'll see those now and then when I can post and not hurt. However, due to my husband's teaching today at church, I finally know which direction I want to go.

God sightings. How do I know God exists? I can't see Him, feel Him, hear Him. Although He left me a beautiful letter, He didn't even sign it with His own handwriting. But I've honestly NEVER doubted His existence! He has made Himself so very clear in so many ways. My husband was relating one of those ways today and because the scripture we were studying was about comforting others with the same comfort we've received, it suddenly hit me to start posting God sightings - both in the past and present.

And I will start today. Many of our God sightings involve travel... or a sudden stop in travel (usually due to car problems).This is one of our favorites!!! We were driving to New Mexico in July of 1987. My lifelong dream was about to come true. I was going to be a missionary to Native Americans. Our little Nicole was just a few months old and at that time she was our one and only child. We were a young married couple who had just left job and income behind and were traveling on a shoestring!

We were driving across Texas on 40 toward Amarillo, TX. It was already dark. Suddenly our alternator light came on. Out in the middle of nowhere, our only choice was to continue to drive. Dave turned off the radio, the fan, and even the lights (he turned them on only when he saw traffic coming up behind us) and he kept driving. It seemed like forever. It "just so happened" that there was very little traffic out there that night. Finally we came to an exit, but it was completely dark, so we drove on. We came to another exit and saw a truck stop, so we turned off. It "just so happened" that the car died as we got near the parking lot and it "just so happened" that we were able to coast into a parking space. We had to push the car to the garage and they charge up the battery. And it "just so happened" they didn't ask for any money.

After they got the battery charged, it "just so happened" that someone was just getting off work and he knew of a nearby parts store. And it "just so happened" that he offered to lead us to it. We followed him over. When we parked at the parts store, Dave got out, took out the alternator and ran inside. He got the new one and it "just so happened" that as he walked out, they locked up the store - they were closed for the night!

Many people like to shrug off the "just so happened" parts of the story as coincidences. But after watching these things time after time after time after time, I know better. Every one of those "just so happened" instances was God stepping in and helping a young couple get to their destination safely. He didn't have to. He doesn't always do so either. But the more we watch for God sightings, the more God shows His love and power to remind us that He is in charge of all circumstances and He loves us so very very much.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Failure is starting to become a lifestyle

I received a text from one of my daughters today asking when I was going to post on my blog again. My first thought was, "oh no! I've stopped posting, this means I've stopped being brave and stopped failing for God." (see definition of God's Failure here) But as I thought back, I was surprised to discover that I hadn't. I HAVE been remembering to be brave and jump out on a limb. Many times I've fallen flat on my face, but instead of feeling like I failed, I felt like I'd been God's failure - failing in what I hoped to do, but succeeding in "doing". And I wasn't letting it keep me from being brave. I wasn't going back too often to lick my wounds and hide in a cave.

My failures have lost me a friend or two and cost me humiliation and nightmares. But I'm starting to notice that not all of my failures are failures. Some have failed what I expected, but I'm finding they have succeeded at greater things. And some haven't failed at all! I'm also discovering that God is building my faith. Not my faith in Him - I've not ever had a problem with that, but faith in what He would CHOOSE to do in me. And for once, I'm starting to think that one person CAN make a difference - and with God, that one person can even be me!

Am I abandoning my blog? By no means! But I'm realizing I'm turning a corner. I'm becoming the person that God wanted me to become all along. And since I'll never reach that goal fully until I reach Heaven's gates, I'll always have reason to blog.

So what have I done lately? I've joined our church choir. I've gotten brave enough to go talk to people at our church without waiting for them to come to me (OK, I'm not doing a GREAT job of that yet, but it's far braver than I used to be until I got to know them really well). I've agreed to be nominated for Co-Leader for our homeschooling group. I've even led several Mom's meetings in our homeschooling group. I'm also getting brave at what I put on Facebook - my beliefs, things I feel led to take a stand for and other personal issues!

I have come a long way, believe it or not. But I'll readily admit I have far to go. Thanks for traveling through this with me, and thanks, Nicole, for reminding me to get back on here and post!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Busy!

It has been AGES since I last posted. In that time I've lost a friendship, I've had a daughter and son-in-law move back into town from North Carolina, we've driven our son to Nashville for his 7 week mission trip to El Salvador, we've purchased a small 5 acre farm and moved, and we've had a 1 week visit with our returned son before driving him back out to Nashville for college.

In that time I've often remembered to be real and to be courageous. Have I succeeded? Not always. Not even mostly. But definitely more than I used to. The same people still walk all over me and I keep quiet but mostly because I'm not finding a way to kindly keep it from happening. I still have a lot to learn.

One thing I'm learning in my quest to be God's failure is I'm finally finding out who I am! I spent a lifetime being what others wanted me to be - so long, in fact, that I lost "me" in the process. Even with family I was usually trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be. I did it so long that even I didn't know who I really was. When I went somewhere on my own, I couldn't make simple decisions because I wasn't able. And there was no one else to try and please.

So now I'm attempting! It's a start, right?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ashamed!

I am ashamed of myself. I have been supposedly trying to step out, be brave and not be afraid of failure, and all the while I tell myself (quite convincingly, apparently) that I won't say some things (especially about God or the Bible) because of the fear of having to substantiate it or the fear of someone denying the Truth, thus making me stand out even more as a misfit. How pathetic is that? When am I going to REALLY step out? I have a solid faith. I always have. So why can't I bring myself to share it? Well, for one thing, faith is so... intangible! I KNOW for a FACT that God is real. But I cannot prove it to someone who is determined not to see. God has done so much to prove Himself (Romans 1:18-25) but so many refuse to see. Instead, they want to start arguments. Those arguments worry me because the person who is using them has obviously already decided not to see what's obvious. I get determined to PROVE it to them (I don't want to see them lost for eternity) and I end up stressed, upset and, of course, find myself unable to pry their eyes open. In other words, I fail. In the recent past, when I find myself suddenly involved in this kind of situation, I simply realize that these people are demanding to remain blind and so I allow it. I say something to reassure them that if they really WANT to open their eyes, I'll be happy to talk to them about it. But very few have taken me up on it. I refuse to argue with a blind person about something as obvious as the color of a stop sign. OK, so this is probably the correct way of handling things. But I still feel that I've failed (and yet, even God can't convince them - but He's not a failure). So it's easier to simply keep my mouth (or keyboard) shut on certain subjects.

Admittedly I worry too much about how others perceive me. I even find myself worrying about how I come across to the person across the aisle from me in the store or other drivers on the street. I've often pretended to be something I'm not, simply because I worry about what someone might think of me. I see all these great quotes about how it shouldn't matter what others think of you and about how what really matters is what YOU think of you (which puts me back in the doghouse right off). But it hit me yesterday, it DOES matter! If it REALLY didn't matter, a good reputation wouldn't get you anywhere. If it REALLY didn't matter, it wouldn't matter who you choose to hang out with. But it DOES matter. So now I have to find the reality of what does matter about others' opinions and what doesn't. Not an easy line to find.

To those of you who may consider me wishy-washy, I apologize! I see where I've been so very wrong and it's my prayer that God will make me bold for Him. If anyone sees me hiding behind generalities or pretending again, please call it to my attention. I need to find that correct place to stand. Not trying to say things to hurt or anger people, but not being afraid to tell the Truth either. I'll admit, it scares me to death! I feel like I'm walking into the wilderness. I know the water will be there, but I have no proof to show the people who think I'm being stupid going in without water. And it DOES matter what they think about me, because it's my deepest desire that those exact people could open their eyes and see what God has done for me, for them and for the world to save them from an eternity of hell.

Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already---you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there. Isaiah 43:19 GNB

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sacrifices - that which costs me nothing?

I've been thinking of sacrifices lately... and how I'm not really making any. Lately my life has either been smooth, or something awful happens over which I have no control. I'm needing to determine what sacrifices God wants me to make... purposefully and generously!

I'm surprised at today's view of sacrifices. We sing the song "We Bring a Sacrifice of Praise" with an upbeat tempo and joyful, but do we actually consider what a "sacrifice of praise" really is? I hear it used interchangeably with the word "praise", but it's far from being the same thing! Praise is the great and holy act of worshiping God; expressing our thanks and admiration for what God has done or simply for Who He is. But if you put the word "sacrifice" in that phrase, it changes things immensely.

By definition, sacrifice is the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim. There is no sacrifice without some sort of cost. King David knew this. King David made a huge mistake and insisted on finding out how many people were in his kingdom. He was advised against it, but he chose to do it anyway. As a proper Father, God punished David for his disobedience. God then told David to build an altar. David quickly went to obey. Now as king, David could have demanded everything be provided. God, in fact, had not told David to purchase a thing. And to make it easier, the owner of the land on which God had told David to build the altar basically said, "Go ahead! Build the altar. I'll even give you the grains, fuel and oxen for your sacrifice! Take whatever you want!" But David knew the meaning of the word "sacrifice". He told the owner, "No, I will pay you the full price. I will not give as an offering to the Lord something that belongs to you, something that costs me nothing." (2 Samuel 24:24 & 1 Chronicles 21:24)

So what does this mean when it comes to the phrase "a sacrifice of praise"? Simply this; praise that doesn't come naturally or easily. Only God can tell you what this will entail for you personally. One time I knew I needed to praise God "for" (not simply "in spite of") my five miscarriages. I didn't do it easily or quickly, but I did finally do it. By the time I could manage to do it, I wasn't laughing or happily singing "We Bring a Sacrifice of Praise". I was bowed down in tears, sobbing. But I've never regretted that time with God. I got to know Him in a whole new way, and He received something from me that I've never even considered giving to anyone else.

Ask God what sacrifice you can make that will please Him. It's an experience you'll never forget or regret.

P.S. Just so you know, I do LOVE the song "We Bring a Sacrifice of Praise". There are just times I think we don't realize what a sacrifice requires.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

VBStarts are now for sale!

I've finally set up the webpage (although Facebook won't allow me to post it). The VBStarts are now for sale. You can find the webpage here (http://abbadesigns.99k.org/). Since Facebook isn't allowing me to share it, I'll share it through this post. :-) Ha! So if you belong to a small church or other Christian group, and don't think your group could do a VBS program (due to price or size) this is for you! And if you belong to a group that just needs a kick-start to designing your own program, this is for you! For more information, check out the above mentioned webpage and get to know the VBStart!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My amazing life

My life is incredible! I've been watching satan attack in so many ways lately; verbal attacks from friends, attacks to my health in the way of Fibromyalgia and back trouble, having to say goodbye to friends who are moving away, attacks on my children (I've been watching them get hurt by their own friends and relatives - and watching their dreams get dashed) and attacks on my own self esteem. But lately I've been getting glimpses behind the scenes. I've watched lives touched and even changed because of how we've reacted or dealt with these things. I've watched God do some special and amazing things that remind me who is in charge and what kind of power He has. And because He has this omnipotence and yet I still go through these attacks by satan, He reminds me that He DOES have control and that all things DO work out - not only for His good... not only for the good of those around me... but for MY good. And because of this beautiful reminder, I can stand up and proudly say that my life is incredible. The problems that I deal with are the exact problems that God is going to use to make me spiritually and emotionally stronger. The more I think about this, the more excited I get about it. This is nothing new, of course! God's been doing this all my life!

While I was being bullied all through school, God was using it to make me who I am today. While I dealt with sexual molestation from a non-relative that I should have been able to trust, God was using it to grow me into a woman who could understand and help others with similar problems. While I dealt with emotional abuse in high school and college, He was helping me figure out who I was and what I wanted. When I had 5 miscarriages, He was teaching me a whole new view on the meaning of death that many Christians never understand. And even while I dealt with spiritual abuse just 7+ years ago (and in some ways, I'm just now seeing how that mess is still having a negative affect on how I deal with certain things), He was making me into a woman who didn't just accept everything simply because it came from a spiritual leader!

So as God allows these different problems in my life, I can honestly sit here this evening and THANK Him for them. No, the thankfulness doesn't come easy (one day I'll blog on sacrifices and what they REALLY are) but as God continues to show me His absolute love for me, I really can thank Him for the trials that are giving clarity to my life that I've not noticed before.

I apologize that lately this blog hasn't been so much a record of my failing for Christ in my day-to-day life. But I'm seeing how it's becoming a place for me to take a stand online and to be willing to be a failure for Christ in a place where comments are allowed (which means I can be attacked for what I post, which means it terrifies me to be open and post my true feelings...). So when I make a post like this, I AM being willing to be God's failure.

... and I must say, it's AWFULLY hard to actually push the "publish" button after a blog like this.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I DID it!

I DID it! I've finally finished writing my VBS programs! They are awaiting proofreading by my husband and daughter, and then they will be ready to sell. If anyone knows of a small church that can't afford a VBS program, or feels they are too small to host one, please send them my information! These are called VBStarts and they are a complete program (each one even has it's own theme song) plus lots of tips and suggestions on how to run a VBS program with a small amount of money and just a few volunteers! The three programs I have completed (Christmas in the Summer, Hot Summer, and God is Better) have already been tested and successfully run in a small church setting. I will be setting up a page soon with information to make it easier to get the word out, but until then, have them email me at watkins.family.business@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I officially have 1 of my VBS programs (I call them VBStarts) FINISHED! Yes, completely finished! I have it printed out, and it's awaiting some proofreading! Not only do I have that one ready, I have 2 more completely finished but not yet printed out! AND I have FINALLY found the "report covers" for them. Before now I couldn't find report covers that would hold this many pages (1 of them is 28 pages long) and I really didn't want to punch holes in it or simply shove it in a folder. I finally found report covers that held up to 30 pages! And they're nice looking ones too. I'm SO excited.


So, does anyone come from a church that is interested in purchasing a complete VBS program for only $30? Topics available are: Christmas in the Summer, God is Better, and Hot Summer. Each one comes with lots of tips on running a VBS with a small church, crafts, lessons, daily opening programs and a big closing program... oh! And a original theme song.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

JOY!

JOY


I don't know if this is a failure or not! I do know, however, the direction I intend to start going with my life. I don't know HOW to come into this correctly. I do know, however, that this will not keep me from trying all directions - North, South, East, West and Failure!


I've been enjoying reading blogs lately. And since I've read so many, I can't begin to tell you the one where I read the suggestion of choosing a word for the year. But when I read the same idea in a book I'm reading by Debbie Macomber, I started wondering, "If I were to choose a word for the year... what word would I choose?" Almost immediately the word came to me. JOY! I learned throughout the last year that although I deal with Fibromyalgia and nearly continual pain, I have SO MUCH to be thankful for! This year, I want to see the fruits of that show in my life. Joy!


The problem is twofold. First, I hide my emotions! I learned to do this while still in elementary school as self-protection (to try to keep from being teased and bullied). I got to where people could jump out and scare me to death but they'd never know I was scared because I never showed it on the outside. The sad thing is, I didn't just hide some emotions, I hid them all. I don't even show it when I'm happy. This part of the problem I've been working on for several years now. The other side of the problem is how to be joyful when I really just need a good cry. Because of part #1, I know that I can PRETEND that everything is just fine - I can even fool myself into believing that for awhile. But unless I allow myself to acknowledge hurt and talk it out/cry it out or whatever, the joy becomes less and less real and just something I'm legalistically forcing myself into. So I need to find the way to be real - admit that something is bothering me - and yet, somehow, to still find joy.


So that's the year's goal for me this year. Not only to find and hang on to joy, but to know the correct way of doing it without making myself the most miserable joyful person you've ever met.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Continued Fails!

I haven't stopped failing! Just because I haven't written in awhile doesn't mean I don't have much to write about. Actually, it means that SOME of the failures have involved people who probably will never read this blog, but the possibility exists... and therefore I can't post it at the time or go into much detail at all. Suffice it to say that I haven't always remembered to jump in and fail, but I have remembered on occasion. My goal at this time is to remember more than I forget. Of course, at age 48, it's not easy to remember ANYTHING!

Sometimes I fail to speak up. Sometimes I fail to put pride behind me when I do speak. Sometimes I fail to do some things and sometimes I fail by something I have done. Thankfully, God forgives, loves and continues to push me forward.

Right now I'm in the middle of my annual winter organizing kick. Sometime after Christmas, I get this sudden urge to clean and organize. It takes different shapes and forms, but it always seems to kick in once the Christmas celebrating is done. Until recent years it always included buying a three-ring-binder! I now have enough 3-ring binders to fill a shelf on our bookshelf. But as my focus has been on cleaning, a friend reminded me of a bargain I'd failed on (thanks, Darla, and I don't mean that sarcastically!!!)

About a year ago I made a deal with my Mom. I blogged on it right here! And guess what! I failed. But I'm not giving up!!!! I've decided to put aside my cleaning and try to finish my VBS programs - they're very close to being done. I tend to do that a lot. I get something ALMOST finished and am so afraid of messing up at the end, or realizing later I wanted to do something different that I simply don't finish. What is it about a finished project that scares me so much? ANYWAY, I will be bringing up these programs, checking them over for errors and finishing them up! By mid February I will be taking them to their intended audience - small churches with no budget for a VBS program - and trying to sell them for $30 apiece. That's such a scary thing to announce!!! Now I can be held accountable to that by more than Darla! ;-)

I remain, as always, God's failure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Loved

To explain the background of today, let me say this: I've always been a "glass half-empty" sort of person. No, that's not true. Honestly, I've always been a "just throw the glass away, it wouldn't hold water long anyway" sort of person! I always look on the dark side of things. I must have been born during an eclipse. I go through many different ways of trying to look on the bright side, but my natural impulse always pulls me to the dark side first. In the past few days, I've been talking with a friend who has been challenging me to a "Pollyanna" way of thinking. So I've been trying... really I have!!!


I woke up early this morning! Didn't want to, but I did. And as I lay in bed, trying to convince myself I had a chance of going back to sleep, I pulled my dog, Anya up closer to me and cuddled with her. As usual, I couldn't resist giving her a hug, a kiss, and patting her as I told her what a good girl she was. Somehow, in the middle of doing this, I started thinking about how much love this little dog gets! Even though my kids all have dogs of their own, they all really love Anya too! So does my husband. 


As I thought about this, I went to the dark side. I looked at this loved little dog, and thought - I wish I were loved this much. Suddenly - faster than it takes to tell it, I was whipped around to the bright side as I realized I AM loved this much! I am loved MORE! And immediately I was surrounded with an overwhelming feeling of how much God loves me. I pictured Him holding me, hugging me, and calling me His good girl.


I know God loves me! I've known that since before I ever sang the song, "Jesus Loves Me". But with my natural disposition to look at the dark side; every time I think "God loves me", I either follow it up with, "God loves everyone" or "But I'm always letting Him down". How sad that I take a love greater than anyone can imagine, and turn it into something easily brushed off and unimportant. But not today! Today, after receiving what felt like mental whiplash, I saw His love for me through the eyes of my dog.


Lord, let me always have the wisdom of my dog when it comes to Your love. Let me know that even when I don't see/feel You, You still love me. Help me remember that when You have to scold or punish me for something, or let me go through something that doesn't seem right or fair, You do it out of love for me. Like my dog, let me trust in Your love's strength and power no matter what! Help me be watching and waiting for any and all signs of Your love and recognize each sign as a complete and fulfilling sign of how important I am in Your eyes, no matter what I do wrong. And Lord, like my dog, help me to see each sign as an open invitation to jump up into Your lap and receive the full treatment! Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful reminder!


1 John 3:1a: See what great love the Father has LAVISHED on us, that we should be called children of God! (NIV - emphasis mine)
Eph 3:17b-19: And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (NIV)


Anya

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grandma!

This week I became a "Gramma"! My oldest daughter gave birth 3 and a half weeks early, but little Kaleb Stephen is quite healthy and weighed 5 pounds and 12 ounces at birth. I got to hold him when he was just a few hours old and believe me, it was love at first sight! Each time I've gone to visit them at the hospital I've nearly had to been dragged away to go home. I just love looking at him!! 


I remember feeling the same way about my own children - each of them! I wanted to sit and look at them forever! Even now, I enjoy it when I have the opportunity so just sit and stare at one of my children. Yet, I wonder what happened! When did I go from enjoying looking at them every minute of the day to only remembering to enjoy that now and then? When did this failure occur? Was it when I got busy raising them? Was it when they first yelled "NO!" at me? Did "staring time" get replaced by "schooling time"? I'm really not sure. All I know is, not only am I in love with my grandson, but I'm being reminded all over again to appreciate being in love with each of my children. They DO grow up so very fast, but that's no reason to forget to simply enjoy their presence! 


I really love you, my children!!!




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Failing - big time - in a big way

I'm failing a friend. She's hurting and I know she is, but I don't know what to do about it. I've asked her what's wrong, and her answer is either, "nothing" or she tells me something minor that I know isn't big enough to be causing her to be as hurt/depressed/angry as she is. The problem is, I DO know one thing that's causing it, and she won't even give that as a reason. So I do what I'm used to doing. I pull away in self-protection and I go pray for her. Not that praying isn't a good thing! But the self-protection thing is wrong. 


I try to convince myself that I'm doing it to keep from hurting her more, but that's not the whole reason. I don't like to be hurt by her. So now that I realize that, what do I do different? I've tried talking to her! She doesn't want to talk. I've tried doing things with her, but it seems to have no effect - and she's not even been interested in doing things together now. I refuse to lose this friendship (we have close ties besides the friendship) but at this point, it looks like that's where it's trying to go. I watch her other friends and they seem to have the ability to push through to her. She's still hurting, but at least they get her to do things with them - and she enjoys them. I just wish I knew what I need to do to help. I don't think she needs me to pull away, but I don't seem to be able to help her with what she DOES need me to do.


And at this point I have 2 more friends who are also going through some huge struggles. I can't help them either. They have a strength I don't have, and they're sharing their burdens and I sit here and cry because all I can do for them is listen - which is the equivalent of picking up the lightest corner of their burden and pretending that's helping them. I know (and they know) that God is the one who will carry that burden for them, but I don't like the feeling of helplessness - especially when it comes to my very best friends.


Going to spend some extra time in prayer until I learn exactly what God wants me to do in these situations.

Friday, June 17, 2011

More like the me I want to be!

It's been awhile since I've written, but as I looked at my last blog, I'm happy to say I've made some progress in the right direction. Thanks to two friends (Thank you SO much, Laurey & Darla) who decided they too needed to make some changes, and held me sweetly and kindly to a higher standard in gratitude, my attitude has really changed. Oh, I still get mad at people who do stupid things. I got mad at a car behind me who honked at me because the 3 cars ahead of me didn't stop at the stop light because no one was coming and I did. I also chuckle about it because I suspect she honked because she expected me to go and almost rear-ended me because I didn't. But the level of anger is much lower than what it had become in the past. By the way, I HIGHLY recommend this site (http://www.reviveourhearts.com/challenge/) for challenges to better yourself.


Life in general hasn't changed! But the way I look at it has. Now if only I can figure out an extreme makeover for my body! ! !

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On becoming critical

I'm going out on a limb again. I'm ready to fail for Him. If I put this out there for everyone to see, everyone who reads this can help keep me accountable! This means I can't continue to do the same thing - I HAVE to change. And most likely I'll fail many times before I change my habit. So here it is!

I don't like the person I've been lately. I've let myself become cynical... and that has evolved into being critical. The problem with being critical is that in being critical, I've also become prideful! Not only am I cutting others down, but deep down, I find myself often being proud that I'm not as bad as they are!

Not that I haven't had good reason to be critical lately. Some "good Christians" that I have known for quite some time have... changed! They are now doing things that just a year ago I couldn't imagine them EVER doing. Some are lying. Some are being lustful. Some are even worse. When I take the time to sit back and think about what they are doing, I can't do anything but shake my head in wonder. But am I any better?

Today I drove from my parents' house to my house. And on the last 11 miles, I got stuck behind a local dump truck. Now I can deal with being behind a dump truck, going 40 mph in a 55 mph - even on highway 240 which has so many curves and hills that there's precious few places to pass. But when I'm behind a truck going 40 in a 55 and every time he comes to a passing zone, he drives down the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD to keep me from passing, I get critical! No, that's too mild. I got ANGRY! By the time I got to the place where I turned off, I was FURIOUS. I was so furious I was scared. Is this me? Is this who I really am? It sure isn't who I want to be. And sadly, this is no longer a rare emotion for me.

OK, so here it is. From this point on, I intend to try to catch myself before I become critical. I hereby give my friends and family permission to stop me if they catch me being critical and to remind me to compare the splinter in that person's eye to the log in my own eye before I say a thing!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Being Brave: a Rant on Having Babies

OK, for the 4th time in about 2 weeks, someone has announced that they chose NOT to have children because they can't bring a child into a world that is as bad as our world is. All 4 of these people are Christians. 1 of them said it with innocent sincerity, but 3 of them said it quite pridefully as if they were thinking ahead unlike the rest of the dummies in this world. I smile, nod and try to be accepting of this way of thinking, but I can't take it any more. I'm going to give this rant a "success" label because I'm going out on that limb to tell how I see it... Going to stand up for God - even if it means I end up failing for Him.

Any Christian who says they refuse to bring children into this world because of how bad the world is, is either blind or very nearsighted. They obviously have forgotten that we are not born for THIS world! This is not our home. If all I had to look forward to is the stuff I do in this world, I'd be worse than a failure, I'd be dirt! Thankfully, my time here is short. My eternity will be spent in Heaven with God. When you bring a child into this world, you do something that you will never accomplish with all your other loves; dogs, cats, fish, birds, money, possessions, or power. You bring in something with a soul and you can be helping provide that soul with an eternal position in Heaven.

Chose not to have kids, if that's your desire. I know plenty of people who made that decision, and I fully support them in it. But bragging that you're doing it because this world isn't the place for your child and you just brag on how short-sighted your world view really is.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hang on, here we go!

Another quick post.

Yesterday, my mother and I made a deal! We're pulling each other out of our comfort zones and going to take a step we're afraid of. By the end of the year, we will both have one of our writings finished, and will have made at least 1 attempt at selling it. When Mom first suggested it, I didn't want to take it seriously, but coupled with the fact that I've started up the blog again, I couldn't ignore it.

I have LOTS of things I've written in a notebook, on computer files etc. But I've never gotten brave enough to try and sell any since high school (I had several published in a high school publication and 1 actually purchased and published by a Christian magazine). I hate rejection! I don't even like criticism or helpful suggestions! But I made a promise, and I'm going to keep it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big Time Fail!

I'm writing this blog to announce what I've learned since my last post! Since I don't learn much, it won't be long! For those of you who have not read my blog from the beginning, I want to remind you what "God's Failure" means. I'm 47 years old and all my life I've been afraid to "mess up" to fail! Especially in something I'm doing for God. God finally woke me up with a simple question: Are you willing to fail for me? In other words, are you willing to do the difficult things - to step out of your comfort zone and TRY to do something, even if you fail? In saying "yes" I opened up a whole new area in my life.

Here's what I learned since my last post: if I'm not pushed forward by knowing I have a blog to write... if I'm not kept on the path, knowing that there are people who will hold me accountable... I stop trying! My last post was early October. I'm sure I stopped trying by the 15th!

I am eternally thankful to my daughter for continually telling me, "Mom, someone hasn't been updating her blog." Thank you, Lynn!!! Thank you for keeping on me, and thank you for not being afraid to tell me what to do. This post is for you! And because of you, I am going to TRY to get back to a fairly regular post.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A busy week of successes and failures

It's been a busy week. Actually two. There have been successes (me being me during a "Mom's Night Out" with other homeschooling Moms) and failures (This week's yard sale). Mostly it's been a week of me rediscovering who the real me is! I'm realizing that there have been people who have been "safe" enough that I've always pretty much been myself with (I'm sure you know who you are). As I'm figuring out how to correctly be God's Failure, these people won't likely notice much of a difference. Being around them has almost always been so freeing for me!

Thursday morning was the first day of the yard sale (selling my brother's things he had to leave behind when he moved to California so I could send him the money for it). I arrived at 7:30 and people were already coming (we open at 8 - it's in the newspaper and all of the signs). So we hurriedly got it all set and opened at 7:45. By the end of the day, my brother got a little more than $30 but my aunt and uncle had put things in this sale and they earned nearly $400! Friday's yard sale was different. Total for my brother AND aunt and uncle for the whole day was $59. Saturday was worse! On Saturday, someone STOLE one of my uncle's tools and we took in very little. I should have stopped on Thursday. By the end, my aunt and uncle STILL didn't make $400. My brother had only $96.

Thursday evening we got to visit with our friends at the park and that all was great.  Friday evening I went to the Homeschooling "Mom's Night Out". I decided/prayed ahead of time that I'd be myself and take chances (for you, taking chances might mean skydiving. For me, it means being brave enough to say what I think). Sure enough, I got to be myself. I spoke up on things and just had a great time... until I got home and sent an email thanking the hostess. I included a joke about a game we had played, and two days later I got an email from her that indicated that she didn't realize it was a joke. She thought I had been offended. I quickly wrote off an explanation and calmed her fears, but I felt awful that she'd not understood it was a joke.

It's finally Monday and this week looks to be a calm one. My newsletters are both written for this month, the yard sale is over and there appears to be nothing except a Homeschooling meeting where I can really screw things up. I'll keep you posted! :-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another big success

I'm a shy one at parties. Even family gatherings! I never know what to say, never know who to talk to. Always afraid I'll interrupt a conversation or go where I'm not wanted. How do I deal with this? I sit somewhere and let people come to me. It usually leads to very boring parties, but at least it's safe.


My nephew's birthday was today. We were invited over with other family members for dinner and cake. I didn't go into the situation thinking, "I'm going to do it differently this time". I just went. At first there was nowhere to go and be "safe". But soon I forgot about being safe. I just went in with family members, sat down, and ate. I wasn't as shy as usual, and I even opened up and stepped out of the "safety zone" a few times. 


The thing that stands out most to me, however, is how I reacted around the video camera. Usually when the camera gets turned my way, I shy away. I pretend I'm not noticing the camera and try to act natural (while hiding or escaping if at all possible). If someone catches me doing it and calls me on it, I pretend I just hadn't noticed by turning and smiling for the camera. But that's it! THIS time, without even thinking twice about it, when the camera turned my way, I hammed it up and waved real big at the camera. It wasn't until the camera turned away that I thought, "Who was THAT? Who just waved and STOOD OUT when the camera passed by? Surely that wasn't ME!" But it WAS me! It was the me that God has wanted me to be all this time. And I'm just now realizing it. It's OK to tease and actually stand out instead of always trying to blend it.


What's next? Am I going to buy bright colored clothing now? LOL!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Failures still come the easiest... and fastest!!

Why can't I just keep my mouth closed? Yes, God, I know, I said I'd be "me" even if it means failing for You. But to watch my dear daughter hurt... that makes me want to go back to being "safe".


Lynn started our conversation yesterday, asking if I'd heard about a situation. Instead of recognizing she was hurting over this situation, I jumped in with my opinion about the subject - summed up in so few words it sounded even worse than I meant it. Lynn shut down. I started asking her about it. Come to find out, she identified herself with this situation - on the side that I'd just criticized. And I had just slammed the door on the conversation. I tried to explain to her the difference between her and the situation, but she was finished talking about it. I wanted to beg God to reverse time! Especially when she told me a few facts of which I was unaware.


In the end, she accepted my apology and I think she saw the differences between herself and the situation, but I felt like she never completely got past my opinions. She did end up talking to me about how she felt, but sometimes you simply can't take back things you've said. You can't get back into going the right direction no matter what. Sometimes you can't get there from here. This was one of those times.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Success - and boy what a success!!!!

Last Tuesday (September 21, 2010), Dave & I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary! I'm ashamed to admit that we both had fallen away and taken each other for granted. Our marriage while looking good to most people around us, was as steady as a 102-year-old woman with a broken hip standing on a shaky stepladder. For several months, I'd been trying to figure out how to make things better. Dave seemed to be find with things the way they were, but I wasn't.

On our anniversary, Dave took me out, spent time with me, and told me he realized he's been taking me for granted. He told me God had suddenly revealed to him that I'm his manna from heaven. He told me that God provided the manna for the Israelites. It had all the nutrients they needed. It was ALL they needed. And yet the Israelites complained. They didn't appreciate that God had provided, they wanted something different. Dave told me there was nothing wrong with the manna. It hadn't changed. But their attitude toward it had changed. Dave apologized for taking me for granted and has often called me his manna from heaven ever since.

Since our anniversary was on a Tuesday, Dave saved this following weekend for the biggest part of the celebration. He got a reservation for Friday night at a motel (with a whirlpool in the room). He took me out to a nice restaurant and he spent time and attention on me. Late Friday night, I suddenly realized something: Dave really thinks I'm beautiful! It's not something he just says because he's supposed to. He REALLY believes it.

For those who don't know me, I'm not beautiful. I'm not even pretty. And I've been so convinced that no one could find anything beautiful about me (especially since I put on weight with each pregnancy and after two bouts of Bells Palsy left me with a crooked face) that I have just assumed he was saying it because he knew he should. Friday night, I realized how unfair I'd been to Dave! Instead of being astonished, thankful and completely overwhelmed by the fact that he really thinks I'm beautiful, I've always shrugged his complements off as something husbands say to their wives to keep them happy.

Once that realization hit me, I suddenly began to feel REALLY loved. I felt taller, skinnier, and prettier. But what I felt most was how grateful I was to have a man who has loved me all these years. I was in love! More than when we first married. And our marriage has suddenly gotten strong. No longer on a shaky ladder, we're more like a 25 year old rock-climber standing on a solid parking lot.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Success at last!

Yesterday I got to watch an awesome God doing what He does best - orchestrate! And I got to be a small part of that... twice!

My friend & I have a weekly Bible Study. Yesterday we got together and she was beyond agitated. To keep from being specific, things weren't going the way she expected, and she wasn't getting any direction from God. We had time to talk it over, and then we got into the book we were studying - which hit directly on the situation she was dealing with. So naturally, we went back to discussing it. Finally she got the direction she was looking for. By the time it was time for me to leave, she thanked me for helping her find peace in the situation. That was the first time.

My daughter has been looking for a dog for more than a year. She wants a female dachshund - not red - and she had a list of what she was looking for. She even had a name already picked out. She had saved up $150 and couldn't go over that price. Yet somehow we weren't finding anything. She always had a great attitude about it; "When God has the right one, He will let me know."

Yesterday afternoon, she came in with yet another "Mom, I think I found a dachshund" from Hoosier Topics. But the tone in her voice was different. I looked and immediately I knew this was it. I've NEVER felt that way about any of the others. I told her to call. As she was dialing, she told me it was in our city. I told her to get directions, we WOULD go out and see these. She handed the phone over to me so I could find out how to get to this woman's house and suddenly we discovered we had something in common; she and my friend (see above story) knew each other. As we talked, Lynn suddenly realized these were puppies she had asked about back in July. Back then, the woman was asking $400 for them. This was a more than reasonable price for piebald dachshunds, but Lynn couldn't go over $150 - which was her current asking  price.

We scheduled a time to go out and see these pups. There were only 3 females left. They handed her the one she had asked about first (the smallest). She held it and it snuggled up with her immediately. She handed that one over to me and picked up the second one. It didn't take long before she was sure the first one was the one she wanted. She excitedly paid her money and as we drove home, we started counting how many ways God not only confirmed that THIS was the litter her puppy would be from, but even confirming that she had chosen the right puppy. We realized He confirmed it and re-confirmed and even reinforced it after that. There was no doubt.

The rest of the day, I was just so thankful that God had indeed been showing His hand in our lives!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Error, error, error - Failed!

Yep, God’s failure failed! But I was willing to fail, and therefore I was able to let it go and not worry over.
I realize that this will seem small to most of you! You’ll read it and think, “Anyone could make that mistake. Why is she making such a big deal out of it?” Well, because I am me! For me, this was something I’d usually kick myself for over and over – and worry and blame myself for. And this kicking, worrying and blaming would usually last several WEEKS! I even hesitate to write this down. It actually happened about a week ago and I couldn’t bring myself to write it. You’ll have to drop your usual way of thinking and take this from someone who normally can’t forgive herself – not even for something as minuscule as this.
I discovered that a mistake had been sent to me for publication in one of the newsletters I write… and that I’d already published this mistake. We had somehow gotten someone’s birthday wrong. I didn’t know who had made the mistake. I didn’t care. All I knew was it wasn’t me. So I contacted the mother of this boy to get the correct information, then I sent out a correction to everyone via email. However, while I was correcting the boy’s birthday, I was thinking of the mother and so in my correction, I typed that we got {boy’s name}’s birthday incorrect. HER birthday is actually…
Someone caught it and emailed me right away. I KNEW he was a he! This mother has all boys! However I typed “she”. I was horrified at first, and started my usual routine of beating myself inwardly. But then I was reminded of what I’d determined – I’d jump in and do things – succeed or fail – for God. Suddenly it was simply what the rest of you see – an error! I corrected my correction and was able to move on without hating myself for weeks! So while I consider this a failure, I’m not ashamed of it like I usually would have been.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Failure - Forgiven!

I woke up on Sunday morning and as I went in to have my time with God, I realized I’d not only skipped it on Saturday, but also Thursday and Friday. I felt AWFUL! I sat there thinking what a terrible Christian I must be, and how ashamed God must be of me. I looked back at how many years I’ve been a Christian (nearly 40) and thought, “I’m still no closer to being what God wants me to be now than what I was then… probably further away, because back then I spent time with God, and really DID come to Him as a little child.”
That’s when God reminded me of my promise – I’d even fail for Him. OK, so if He was willing to accept my failures in what I do, wouldn’t He also accept and forgive my failures in what I don’t do? He was and did! I had my time with God, and the rest of the day went without me worrying about what I had done wrong or right in the past few days. God completly forgave it and wiped it from my chart.

Monday, September 13, 2010

God's Failure?

Before I get comments from my family saying, "You're NOT a failure", let me explain what I mean by "God's Failure".


Yesterday in church, we were watching a video during Sunday School. The teacher on this video was talking about when Peter jumped out of the boat, walked on the water, then started sinking when he turned to look where he was. Jesus saved him and pointed out his lack of faith. The teacher pointed out that it wasn't a lack of faith in Christ that Jesus was talking about. Christ was right in front of him. Instead, it was a lack of faith in himself. A lack of faith in what Christ would do through him.


I was really struck by that thought. I have no faith in what I can do! It's not humility, it's simply that I don't think I can do anything right. As we discussed the video, someone made a comment... actually, I'm not sure if someone actually made the comment, or if God spoke it to my heart, but here's the comment: Are you willing to be a failure for God?


That just struck a chord with me! I've always been willing to do anything for God, but so afraid of failing that I often just step back - afraid to try. Yesterday, God asked me if I were willing to fail for Him. It pulled the rug out from under all my fears. God doesn't mind if I fail, as long as I do it for Him!
So this is my challenge, and this is my blog. I'm going to attempt to live the rest of my life as one who is even willing to FAIL for God! Always and forever God's failure. Not a tag of embarrassment, but a tag of which I'm proud. Because nothing can stop someone who is not afraid to fail... right?


Well, we'll see. I intend to blog both my failures and my successes, and everything in between! This is my new journey - walking as God's failure.