*Sighs* This is such a perfect moment. Off work, sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on my pumpkin spice latte, writing... This is the life. If only this moment could clone itself a million times over so that it was always ready for my visit. Well, now that I read that again, I think I need to clone myself a million times over. This setting is always waiting for me... It's just rare that I get to make the trip!
The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster ride of emotions, and a dictator of my time, to say the least. We sang at a funeral, made a trip to the south, celebrated Thanksgiving and a birthday with family, traveled back home, decorated for Christmas, prepared for Aaron's first night of preaching at our church, dealt with an uncle undergoing major brain surgery... Yeah, no joke. And those are just the highlighted events. For the first time, I think I maintained my sanity more successfully than usual. Normally, during demanding times, I tend to get a tad bit whiny. I become mentally exhausted, (or so I think), and I start feeling like a failure because areas in my life have to be neglected. It's no secret that I sometimes tend to take things to heart a little more than I probably need to and I stress much more than I'd like. And, as much as I want to leave this out, it needs to be said- I sometimes overlook the blessings God does bestow to me and start feeling like I'm unheard or just plain ignored. (Guilty of that during this time of absence...) Being a writer and someone that suffers from some OCD, I can't help but plan out nearly every scenario for my life as this beautiful, poetically rendered event written just for me. When that scene doesn't play out the way I've imagined it- well- sometimes it annoys me, sometimes it is easily traded for something else, and at other times it flat out devastates this ol' gal.
However, I'm so glad to announce that this part of me is s l o w l y melting away. I've read a lot of poems, several books, many quotes, and said countless prayers on a routine basis to transform my mind. I've started to notice the change. Last week, a conversation was had right behind me, and an unpleasant statement was made in complete innocence. Still, it was a statement that could have easily offended or hurt me. But, I chose to shrug it off and in just a matter of minutes, I could honestly say it didn't bother me. You know what, let me just share with you the details...
Most of my friends that read my posts know that I grew up in a very strict religious movement. It taught me some amazing things, so I'm not saying anything negative about it at all... It just needs to be understood why the occurrence I'm about to relay to you is even relevant to me. I was 25 years old before I wore a pair of jeans. I promise. My hair was down to my ankles until I turned 23. Over the last couple of years I've had to teach myself how to apply makeup, because that wasn't allowed if you wanted to be used in the church. And, let's not leave out that I was 24 when I got my ears pierced. I finally went to a theater to watch a Disney film when I was 23. I was able to admit I adored John Mayer's music, that I loved chunky sweaters with leggings, and going to a water park was on my wish list. Oh, and after 7 years of marriage, my husband surprised me with the most beautiful wedding ring in the history of ever. Guess what else? I love Jesus Christ more now than ever in my life. I understand what grace truly means. I rely on Him to prick my heart with His will for me, rather than simply following the rules laid out before me. I get to ask questions and hear Him give the answers. I long to be a light and a help at a level I've never experienced before. I adore my Savior in such a way, words can't even begin to expound on it. So, when someone questions my heart simply based on what I'm wearing, it can be angering, saddening, frustrating, and any other negative feeling you can think of.
So, back to last week.
I'm sitting there minding my own business, when someone I love says to someone else, "So, did you say ___________ was out of church now?" The other person replies with, "No." Then there's, "Oh, but I thought you said she wasn't doing very good." Again there was a, "No." Then the statement that struck a nerve, "But didn't you say that she started wearing pants and stuff? Didn't she cut her hair and whatnot?"
I just sat there listening to these comments being made. For one, I'm not a fan of gossip so that had me upset already, but then I was starting to take those comments about another personally, because I too could have been that girl. Finally, to put an end to it, I turned around nicely and said, "Umm, I'm sorry, but you do realize that I wear pants and cut my hair, right? And I can assure you, I'm doing just fine."
The realization of what had occurred was suddenly evident in the wide eyes looking right at me. A stuttered explanation was given, but I just nodded and decided to walk into the next room. I took a couple minutes to regroup. I felt my emotions begin to take over, and immediately said a prayer and started quoting some words I'd ran across on Pinterest. I also reminded myself that while there were those who thought they knew me simply by my attire, God knew my heart and that was what truly mattered. Of course, when I thought of my church family and friends that had my back, it was that much easier to let it go, be thankful for my life, and peaceful with the naysayers.
Good thing, because we were later all but made fun of because of our plan to be debt free. One of our biggest accomplishments at this point in time, but unappreciated by those who you thought would be proud. I had to endure comments about "I hope you get pregnant so you can experience having your own child." I responded with, "Oh! But God has taken that desire away. I want to be a foster/adoptive parent... and they will be my children! That is enough for me." Still, I had to hear, "No, I know... But if you got pregnant you could experience the baby kicking, and moving, and then you could nurse once they were born. Those are things you could never experience with a foster child." If your mouth is wide open with disbelief, you are enjoying a level of freedom I didn't have at the time. As much as I explained that I finally, honestly did not want to be pregnant, the conversation didn't end until I changed the subject.
Did I envision my beautifully scripted sonnet to include such unpleasantries? Absolutely not. Still, the best writers have learned how to roll with the punches. And, the happiest people have learned how to overlook things that bring unnecessary sorrows and focus on the joys life offers.
Have you ever had an experience at all similar to that one? A vision of how your time would be spent and then let down because of another? It's happened to me a few times too many, but you know, that's never going to completely go away. Who you choose to be around can help with that, but at some point, it's going to happen again. You will be mocked, judged, treated unfairly, etc... But, hey! You are a prize. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are loved with an everlasting love. And, "your value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth."
Remember that during rough or lonely times. How you feel is your choice. How you react is entirely up to you. Life is too short to let anyone rob you of any joy. And your purpose is far too great to let anything distract you for even a moment.
Close your eyes and think for just a second what a perfect moment would be to you. Some can be extravagant, sure. But what about when you're driving down the road with the windows down, singing at the top of your lungs with the love of your life? How about when your little one runs to you with open arms and gives you the biggest bear hug imaginable? Getting a wake up call from your BFF? Sipping on the world's best sweet tea at a picnic table in the park? Laughing at your favorite TV show in a room filled with friends? Sitting in a coffee shop writing a little something?
Life is overflowing with little perfect moments. Don't give one of them up for anything. If someone hurts you or if a situation infuriates you, take just a second to write yourself into a scene of pure serenity. It's easily done. I can give lessons if you'd like!! Ha Ha But, in all seriousness, if I can reach this point, you can, too. As soon as I find myself feeling any sort of unpleasantness, I command my brain to think of my husband, go hug my puppy, text my oldest friend, think of the plans we've made for the future, look to God as my source of supply... Immediately my disappointments fade away and my excitement for life comes flooding back. I highly urge you to do whatever you can to get here. I'll help in any way I can if you'd allow me to. My biggest desire is for everyone to experience life this way. God answered my biggest prayer, after I gave my all, too, by letting me learn to truly enjoy my life. Take the unexpected problems and view them as God's newest opportunity to amaze you. He will. Every time.
I hope my sharing some personal events with you will help you realize everyone's life can be tough and people can be way off sometimes. Your picture perfect vision of things you've written in your mind may not play out just right. That's okay. You're the one with the pen.
You can find this blog linked up to some other incredible sites: The Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Teaching What is Good, A Bowl Full of Lemons, A Peek into My Paradise, Rosilind Jukic, Proverbs 14 Verse 1, Women with Intention, Giving Up on Perfect, Ducks 'N a Row, I Choose Joy, A Handful of Everything, Busy Being Blessed, Essential Thing Devotions, and many more!