Leah’s are Adorable too!

A few girlfriends and I meet every other Monday to chat, enjoy each other’s company, and have some “spiritual” conversation.  (Between us we have 7 kids age 1.5 – 8 years old running around too, so conversations are a bit fragmented!) We’ve been using the app YouVersion to read some of the Bible between the times we get together and then briefly discuss some of what we read.  We’ve done this just a few times but I always look forward to my “Girl Time”!

These past couple weeks we’ve been reading from one particular reading plan that includes a “devotional” with each section of verses we read.  We all have found we prefer that – it gives us a little focus of what to get out of the verses we read.

Anywhoo….

One that I read last night (I always do it in bed before I go to sleep…it’s quiet then!) hit my heart big time.  It was about Leah and Rachel.  Jacob fell in love with Rachel because she was so beautiful.  He worked for her father for 7 years to earn her hand in marriage.  But, at the last minute, her father switched her with her older sister Leah and he was married to her instead.  It was not custom for the younger sister to marry first, and apparently her father wasn’t sure he could “marry off” the older/uglier sister.  So, Jacob worked ANOTHER 7 years so he could actually marry his love, Rachel.

The verses talk about how hurt Leah was because she KNEW Jacob didn’t love her.  His love and adoration belonged to Rachel.  God saw her pain and blessed her with 6 sons which Rachel couldn’t give him children.  Leah thought for sure all these SONS would earn her favor in her husband’s eyes.  But that didn’t happen.

The gist of the devotional was that we all feel like a Leah at one time or another.  For some of us we may feel like her all the time.  Or at least often.

But God doesn’t see us that way.  He looks adoringly at us ALL THE TIME.

We are to look for that love, those glances of recognition and adoration from God and THAT should fill our love tank from the inside.

Speaking as one who has ALWAYS felt like a Leah, that hit me hard.

I’ve NEVER been “the pretty one”.  I’m pretty plain.  And as the years wear on it ain’t getting any better!  😉

As a teenager I remember several times I was passed over by guys I was interested in for close friends and my more beautiful and vibrant cousin.  Guys would talk to me simply because I was with those girls.  I’m totally serious!

My sister is drop dead gorgeous!  She is the younger “Rachel” and I’m the older “Leah” for sure!

And as someone who was cheated on, it’s hard to fight those “Leah feelings”.  It’s very hard to fight feeling like I’m not “good enough”.

But I shouldn’t be looking to what other people think of me.  I shouldn’t even look to Tim to fill that part of me.

I need to work on accepting love from my Abba again.  My Daddy’s love for me needs to be enough.  I need to LET him love me, hold me, heal me, fill me, guide me, even try to believe that He adores me.

The Bible says He does.

I need to make my heart believe it.

I have prayed that for Adara so many times!  I pray that for Caleb as well, but there is something different about that for a girl.  I don’t want her life to be spent needing approval, affection, or adoration from others….ESPECIALLY GUYS!  I want her to be so filled with love from GOD FIRST, and then from her family that she has a sense of security that others long for.

And I need to pray that for me too.

Maybe she and I can work on that together!  😉

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So much weight

I’m in a “messy head space” kinda way these days.  My best defense is usually to write it out, so I hope you will excuse me while I “vomit” out on the keyboard for a moment.

One year ago this month we were in the hospital with Adara for her heart problems.  We were admitted April 7 and discharged May 7 with her surgery being April 25.  I’m thankful BEYOND WORDS for how God chose to heal her and how well she is doing now!  But this time still takes me back to those days in my memory and I feel the weight of those days.  Being torn between my two precious kids, living at the hospital watching Adara struggle to gain weight, missing Caleb and his hugs, hearing about his day, his sweet smiles.  I’m just so thankful for where this year has taken Adara and her health!

Three years ago I had to close Veritas.  I don’t know why, but this hit me really hard while I was sitting at church yesterday.  Nothing brought it up at all, it just fell on me like a ton of bricks.  I miss so much of “my old life” sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being able to be home with my kids.  It’s just that I feel like I’m not living out my calling.  I do believe I am called by God to be these kids’ mom and to take care of their (many) needs.  But I just have this nagging feeling that there’s more.

Caleb is going to (finally) go through all the evaluation at school to be able to get help at school for his SPD.  We’ve been waiting for this all school year.  Through their evaluations they should (hopefully) also be able to see if anything else is going on with him.  This will get everything set up for next year so he can get whatever he needs at school to be most successful.  He really is smart – he’s already been reading at a first grade level and doing so well with math!  He just has so many struggles with focusing, social issues, etc. due to his SPD.  While I am SO glad this is finally getting in order at school, it’s hard.  It’s like it makes it more real somehow.  I just so want him to be happy and successful at school, so I’m glad it’s happening.  I just wish there was no need for it.  It’s hard as a mom to see your child struggle.  It just breaks my heart sometimes.

I’ve really bee struggling off and on with the affair lately.  Again, nothing really triggers it, it just happens sometimes.  Tim’s work schedule is REALLY crazy right now.  They have a SUPER busy month so he literally isn’t home very much.  And when he is home he is so wiped out and preoccupied with work (his job requires that he be on call 24/7 so he gets lots of texts, emails and phone calls) that there isn’t really any time for “us”.  Things that we need to work on are just going to have to wait until next month.  And that’s not the end of the world, it’s just that I feel kinda lonely in the meantime.

There are times I just wish God would sit on the couch with me and chat.  I’d love a few good hugs too!  I wish I could just talk all this out with Him and hear His answers to why and what do I do now?  I’ll do it, just tell me what You want me to do.  I want that “big picture” He sees so clearly, not this tiny view I have.

At church yesterday the pastor was talking about a tough budget meeting they were going to have after church and explained that there are people with the gift of faith who just want to make more room for God to work….and there are those who are more into looking at the numbers and making everything balance properly.  And both are needed!

Well, I think I have that gift of faith.  At least most of the time.  I still have faith that God is going to work all this out and will be with me each moment of each day.  I’m thankful for that.  I just wish this could all be worked out.  Or to at least have the plan laid out in front of me!

But, I guess if I had the plan laid out in front of me, that wouldn’t require faith then, huh??

Three Years

Three years ago today my life changed forever.

I wish I could say it was the birth of one of my children, or a new job or something like that.

Three years ago today Tim confessed to me that he had an affair.

It’s still hard to type and read those words.  It still causes a knot in my stomach.  It still is hard to believe.  It’s still hard to swallow.

But it’s true.

I wish I could say that the pain is gone.  That our marriage is better than it ever has been.  That the healing is complete.  That I don’t think about it anymore.

But this is still hard.  I still think about it more than I would like to (well, I’d like to NEVER think about it!).  It still hurts sometimes.  Our marriage still needs work.

BUT….

Some things are better.  It hurts less.  I think about it, but less than I used to.  I am stronger.

God is changing me.  I am a slow, stubborn student, but He’s working on me.

I am working on seeing Tim (and myself) as God sees him in Colossians 1:22

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

I am working on being very intentional about choosing to leave my pain at Jesus’ feet and ask Him, in return, to heal my heart.  To take the pain away and replace it with His healing.

God has allowed me to talk about it publicly a few times and use this experience to speak in to others.  He has allowed me to babble on this blog about this journey and encourage others through this process.

We still have a long way to go.  But that’s ok.  As long as we keep moving forward.

Today is bittersweet.  It hurts.  And it heals.

Seasons Change

What’s your favorite season?

I think I like spring and fall the best.  Now, normally, I’m someone who prefers extremes.  I don’t live in the middle very well.  But as far as seasons, I don’t like the extreme hot and cold of summer and winter.

I love the new life, the smells, the budding greens of spring.  I love the hints at warmer weather, being able to leave the winter coat at home for the first time and enjoy a gorgeous walk outside breathing in that yummy spring air.

I also love it when fall cools the air and brings a crispness to it.  I LOVE the colors as the leaves change, and raking them up so Caleb can jump in them with abandon!  I even like needing to put on a sweatshirt for those cool mornings and nights after the sweltering heat of the summer.

Just recently I had to face this idea of seasons changing in my life.  It was not a beautiful, sweet experience like the changing of winter to spring or summer to fall.  But it was necessary.  And cleansing.  And actually moved me ahead in my healing.

As much as we may enjoy the seasons changing and enjoying new weather, we still have to say good bye to some things we enjoy.  When spring comes, we no longer get to enjoy cuddling up under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa (or a pumpkin spice something yummy!).  We have to pack away the sleds for a while.  We don’t get to go outside and build a snowman or laugh together as we pelt each other with snowballs in a good ol’ fashioned snowball fight.

As fall enters we say good bye to swimming pools, water gun fights, days at the beach.  The laziness and spontaneity of summer vacation comes to an end and we have to get back into a schedule, stricter bed times, and less free time.

With the great beginnings sometimes come sad endings.

I had to come to accept the ending of my season in ministry.  For now at least.  I had to deal with what I lost professionally because of Tim’s affair.

This was a very painful process.  Having to dig out hurts, anger (oh, A LOT of anger!), disappointment, so much pain that had been sitting in there for a long time.

I had to face the fact that in THIS season of life, I am not working in ministry.  And I have NO idea if that will ever be a reality again.  I don’t know that it WON’T, but I don’t know if it will either.

I had to face the fact that for this season in my life I am a SAHM/WAHM.  My job right now is at home, taking care of kids who need me.  And fortunately I can sometimes do some graphic design work.

But this season is not in ministry.

Now, that all looks pretty elementary, right?  You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Um, Vicky, that’s been your reality for two years and you’re just NOW realizing that???”

I think the problem was that I wasn’t ACCEPTING it.  I hadn’t fully dealt with the all the loss.  I hadn’t accepted that that season had truly come to an end.  That chapter was closed.  I think in some ways I was still grasping for this foggy dream of what was and not letting go of it.

I’ve written about the pain of losing that a few times here.  But, thanks to my counseling and God’s unending patience with me, I think I have finally started to accept this so I can move more fully into this present season.

Does it still make me sad that that season is over.  YES!  But it doesn’t have the crippling, heart wrenching pain it did before.  It is something I miss a lot. I HOPE I will be able to do ministry of some kind again, but I can’t live just waiting for that to happen.  I have to live in where God has me right now.  And wait and see what God brings in the next season of life.

I think this is related to my “Lost” post.  So, to my fellow dear wanderers wondering what God has for us, I hope God can use this experience to help your heart.  To heal some of your pain.  To give you hope to find ways to love the season you’re in.  It’s always going to be a struggle, as is anything good and worthy in life.  But we can do this.  Together.  Holding each other up.  Encouraging one another when we’re hurting, longing for what was, hoping for what could be.  Reminding each other that God has us HERE, NOW, and is with us, loving us, and giving us PURPOSE.  NOW.

I believe in you.  In who you are and how God is lovingly crafting you.  But, more importantly, GOD believes in YOU!  He sees who you’ve been, who you are, AND who you are yet to be!

Anyone still out there with me?

Dear Fellow “Lost” Wanderers….

I wrote a post recently about feeling lost.  Feeling like there was more for me out there and not feeling fulfilled until I get there.  Just struggling with a lot of feelings about life and the turns it’s taken.

I was overwhelmed with the responses via comments, emails and facebook messages.  I got responses from people I never imagined would feel the same way I did.  Friends who I thought “had it all together” and loved life with no issues!  Was I wrong!

It got me thinking, there are probably a lot of us out here who feel like this at one time or another.  Maybe often or for long periods of time, maybe just for short seasons.

So, I wanted to look into the Bible and see who else may have felt this way and how it was handled.  I believe that God gave us the Bible to be able to learn from it, to hear His words to us, to relate to people who have been down our road and see what God has to say about it.

I thought I’d first look at Joseph.  You know, the one with the amazing technicolor dreamcoat?  I really like Joseph and his story, so I think that’s why he popped into my mind first.

Joseph had a very interesting life.  He was Jacob’s favorite son. This did not sit well with his brothers, as you can imagine!  Then, to heap on the reasons for them to hate him, Joseph tells his brothers he’s had dreams about his brothers.  Dreams where his brothers were bowing down to him.  The youngest!  As you can guess this did not sit well with the brothers!

To make matters even worse Jacob had a very special, colorful coat made just for him.  Have you ever seen movies that take place in Biblical times?  Most people are not wearing clothes with much color.  Their clothes are very brown, beige, bland colors.  Having clothes with COLOR was very special!

Between the way that Jacob treated Joseph and the dreams he had, I would think Joseph believed he was going to lead a special life.  A life filled with good things, maybe leadership of some kind, a life of favor.  I’m guessing he thought he had a special purpose, at least in his family (based on his dreams).

But that’s not exactly how his life played out.  His brothers sold him into slavery, told their dad he was dead, and separated Joseph from his beloved family for quite some time.

Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an Egyptian officer.  This is where things start looking up a little bit.  Remember though, not the road Joseph thought he would be on.  He was still separated from his family and sold as a slave.  However, God blessed Joseph in his “new life”.
          The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. 3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.

But, for poor Joseph, every time things start looking up, they take a swift downward plumet.  Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph.  In a bad way.  He would have none of it.  He knew that was wrong and honored Potiphar’s marriage.  Well, Mrs. Potiphar did not take kindly to being rejected and told her husband that Joseph tried to rape her!  This landed Joseph right in jail.

Can you imagine going from being second in command under Potiphar to being thrown in prison?  Talk about feeling lost and wondering where your life was going!

But, again, the Bible says that God was with Joseph and blessed him for honoring Him.  Joseph was put in charge over the prisoners and all that happened there.  God continued to put him in leadership, just not necessarily in the places that Joseph might have thought it would be.

God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams.  This served him well in jail and then again with the Pharaoh.  God gave Pharaoh a warning, through dreams, of a time of fest and a time of famine.  Pharaoh could see that God’s Spirit was at work in Joseph and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt.  Quite a long way from being in prison!

Eventually, Joseph’s dreams dreamed as a teenager came true.  Without knowing it, his brothers came to him, bowing before him, asking for food during the years of famine.  Because Joseph had let God work in him so strongly, because he let God reign in his heart, he was able to forgive his brothers for their horrible treatment of him and his family was reunited.

Now, this story has a happy ending.  This may sound morbid, but I don’t believe that in real life we always get our happy ending.  I still believe God loves us and can be close with us, but we may not get “everything we ever wanted”.

But I think we can learn a lot from how Joseph handled these times when he could have wallowed in feelings of hopelessness, feelings of being lost and wandering aimlessly, wondering when God was going to use him the way he saw in his dreams.

Genesis 41:52 says: Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”

I like how Joseph ACKNOWLEDGES that he dealt with grief.  We see him following God so well and it could be easy to think that he didn’t struggle with it.  This verse gives us a glimpse into his feelings and thoughts during those dark times.  It was a land of grief, BUT God was with him and made him fruitful.

Why was he fruitful?  I think it’s because he never lost his connection with God.  I know that sounds so trite, but I think Joseph really worked at that.  We see in his story how it says that God was with him in those dark times.  We see Joseph’s character.

He didn’t seem to become bitter.  He could have NOT interpreted those dreams.  He could have sat in the corner with his arms crossed and refused to do anything to help anyone who put him in prison.  But he chose to use what God had given him.

He COULD have gone ahead and had sex with Potiphar’s wife.  She asked him day after day after day to do so.  He could have done what she asked because of position as someone who could punish him (as she did).  He could have appeased her to save his own skin.  And I’m sure she wasn’t so bad to look at!  But he chose what GOD would have him to do.  He resisted the temptation.  He did what was right and stayed true to his character.  And it landed him in prison!  But he didn’t buckle under the pressure.

So, what does this mean for us who feel lost and wandering, wondering when we will be released from our “jail”?

  • Don’t give up.  Don’t turn our back on God even if we feel He has done that to us.  Maybe He’s still with us after all.  Maybe, just maybe, He does still love us and sees us and hasn’t forgotten about us and the dreams He’s given us in our hearts.
  • Use this time to refine our character.  It’d be so easy to get lazy, bitter, frustrated and hard hearted.  We have to fight that.  With all our strength we have to fight those feelings and choose a different path.
  • Let God use us where we are.  It may look WAY different than we thought or hoped it would be.  But it’s where we are, so we can choose to let God use us HERE or reject Him and miss out on seeing Him work and feeling His presence.  It’s our choice.
  • Don’t do all this expecting that perfect happy ending.  We may NOT get the big dreams we want or expected.  Do this because it’s what God is giving us right now.  Don’t rest on promises of something more.  Live in the day, the moment that God has given us now.  Whether that is in a pit, in a palace, or in prison, it’s where we are now.

That is a HARD list!  I don’t really like it too much.  But, as best as I can tell from where I’m sitting, that’s what I think God might be telling us, fellow wanderers, from Joseph’s story.

What do YOU think?