This is Life.

I try to be open and honest in all my blog posts and social media life.  I’m not afraid to show my laziness and tell the world that I binged Netflix all day and “forgot” to do the dishes–ahem–chose not to do the dishes–ahem. Because this is life.  It isn’t perfect.  I’m not perfect. I never claimed to be perfect.  I never will claim to be perfect.  And I will never try to make you feel less for your imperfections.  Chances are, if I can see them, you can see them too.  I don’t need someone to tell me that I am lazy or that I need to just pick up my crap.  No duh! That doesn’t encourage me or motivate me.

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Instagram Photo a couple weeks ago which I captioned about my embarrassment and sarcastically said I would pay in hugs and chocolate to do them. I actually had one sweet friend volunteer to help for a foot massage. 
I did a couple of loads of dishes in the dishwasher after posting that pic, and then life and laziness happened again. They piled back up a little more, never fully getting done.  I would get them down a little, and then we would use more dishes and they wouldn’t get done.  I’d rather spend an entire day with my husband than do the dishes, like we did on Monday. I just so happen to also prefer watching Netflix all day like I did on Tuesday, but that isn’t the point. Sometimes dishes pile up because I am lazy.  Sometimes dishes pile up because life gets crazy and I don’t get home to cook until 7:30, we don’t eat until 8:30, and after watching TV with my husband, I just want to go to bed instead of stay up and do the dishes.

Laziness is one of the biggest things I struggle with.  I am working on it. I think all kinds of positive and negative things like, “You are not a slave to laziness; you can choose well today.” “How can I have a kid if I can’t even take care of the house now?” “I hope I can be as awesome as my Mom someday.” “Perhaps I just need to change my perspective and be grateful for the things I have to dirty.” “Perhaps I am not where I want to be in life because I haven’t put forth enough effort and it somehow shows.” “I have failed as a wife because I don’t keep the house clean; that sure isn’t Proverbs 31!” “I’m going to go home and clean for just 30 minutes.” “I am not going to turn on the TV until I complete _________.” “You can do it, Megan.” “It starts with one choice.”

So, no, I don’t need you to fuel on the condemnation, I do it enough. But if you want to encourage me with tips, I accept, both monetary and wisdom tips! If you want to remind me that I am not alone in the struggle to keep my house clean, I accept!

But just as there are days when I have no motivation and know I need to get stuff done, sometimes there are days when this happens.  Sometimes there are days when I finally get all the dishes done.  It only took me two weeks between the mass quantity, the never-ending cycle of using dishes, and the loads I did that weren’t quite enough to keep up with that cycle.  This is also life.  Finally working up enough motivation to get life back on track.  Sorry if you thought I was perfect. I’m not.  I’m still a definite work in progress.

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Look! It’s clean! Last load in the dishwasher and hand-wash-only dishes are drying!
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The Path Shrouded by Night I Walk

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to stay with a dear friend in Texas while on vacation.  It was such a  treasure to be with her and to watch her live life a little.  I was beyond amazed at how she was able to do so much in her day. Her house was so wonderfully clean.  It felt amazing to be able to relax and spend time with Jesus in her home, and I realized I needed to have that kind of cleanliness and organization in my life.  She completely inspired me!

So much so, that I reached out to her tonight.  I reached out to a friend I looked up to, and I was vulnerable with her because as I spoke with her, I realized my emotions felt very broken, and I didn’t even fully realize it.

Today started like a wonderful Sabbath Saturday.  I watched 9-10 glorious hours of Anne of Green Gables.  From 13 year-old Miss Shirley all the way to 20-something Mrs. Blythe. I loved just about every minute of it.  I laughed.  I cried.  I yelled at the TV a little, even when I knew what was going to happen in the end.  I engrossed myself into a fancy story for a day, and I indulged into one of my weaknesses.  Movies.

My husband arrived home as I was finishing the last movie, and as we try to plan dinner, he makes a comment.  It was no harsh or untrue comment.  It was spoken with respect, and it was just a matter-of-fact statement, but its truth struck deep.  It was like I had been standing in front of a mirror that was poorly lit, and he had flashed a bright light at it and exposed what I knew was true about myself. He simply said, “You were home all day.”

I wanted to defend myself with things like, “Yeah, but you knew I was going to do this movie marathon today…” However, that didn’t seem justified.  The fact is this: I spent the first week after getting back from Texas cleaning the house like crazy.  I was excited.  I was on track.  I was feeling accomplished.  I got a lot of work done, and I was able to leisurely chip away at things and spend time with Jesus for hours at a time. Then work started again.

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So, as I was cooking Stephen’s meatballs tonight for his meatball sub and doing the dishes, I began to cry.  I let it the house and all my plans fall apart again, and I reached out and asked my friend how she does it. And then Holy Spirit said, “Just do 30 minutes every day.”  You are right, God.  Clean for 30 minutes every day, and I will learn to maintain the house.  Just 30 minutes. At the moment, I didn’t really know why I was crying.  Then I started to reflect on my first week at work when everything fell apart.

When I get home from work, I have no desire to keep up the house.  I have no desire to do dishes just to turn around and mess it up again.  I have no desire to go to the gym.  And worse of all, if I do find the strength to do it all, It eats away at my time, and I feel like I am living with my husband, but we aren’t actually getting any quality time together. We are River and The Doctor with opposite time streams that cross for a brief hour or thirty minutes before I start shutting down for the night. I wish he knew both how much I wish I could stay awake and be with him and how much I need my break-of-dawn time with Jesus in the morning.  There are times I feel guilty to go to bed early enough to wake up early with Jesus because I want to spend time with my husband. My husband is a night owl.  I am an early bird.

And it is like a snowball that went out of control as I reflected on work and realized just how draining it felt for me.  Perhaps I would feel more able to do the work I need to at home if I didn’t come home feeling emotionally drained. Why does it do that to me now?  Is it because I have been doing it for two and a half years and yielded no fruit?  Is it because I put my heart and soul into teaching most of last year at one school and they didn’t even have the decency to interview me?  Is it because I am no longer sure about teaching?  I feel like I am walking down a path shrouded by night, and I can’t even see the stars.

As I talked with my friend, I said, “I want to find the strength to do what needs to be done for my body, mind, and soul, but it seems… impossible.”  And as I typed that word in my text, I felt God drawing me to His presence saying, “Rely on me.  I make all things possible.  Come drink in my love.” He instantly reminded me of what He was doing and how He was removing that faith-crippling word.  God has been showing me areas where the world, the devil, or myself have spoken that dreadful word and where I have allowed its unbelieving seed to plant in the depths of my heart and soul.

With God, I will be healed.  He is the creative God who is creating a new womb inside me. It is not impossible.

With God, I will get a job I feel satisfied in.  I must daily rely on Him for strength to trust again. It is not impossible

With God, I will learn to care for my home, my body, and my mind.  I will learn to care for my whole self.  It is not impossible.

With God, I will learn to better tell Stephen how I love and adore him, even when we are passers in the night. It is not impossible.

God, remove that faith-crippling word from my vocabulary and forgive my unbelief. All things are possible!

Love Myself Enough Challenge

Yesterday I wrote blog about something God is stirring in me titled, Loving Myself Enough.  Basically, God is revealing new layers where my identity is broken and my self-image is broken by showing me and teaching me about His love for me.  As He is showing me how He loves me, it is compelling me to show myself more love.  And so I want to challenge myself to Love Myself Enough from day-to-day, and I invite you to join in the challenge.  I will probably post some periodic updates and things God shows me, but this is a challenge done in real-time, not one I did and am posting about at a later date.  I have no idea where this will go.  I just know, God is taking me on a journey to loving Him deeper and thus loving myself deeper.

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I won’t bog you down with daily updates of my fitness perspective on the Love Myself Enough Challenge, but it is going to be about more than just fitness. It is loving myself enough to give God control because I know I can’t do it on my own. It is loving myself enough to eat healthy and not over-indulge in the sweet things I love. It is loving myself enough to exercise. It is loving myself enough to read a book instead of watch Netflix. It is loving myself enough to clean my house because I can enjoy it better when it is clean. It is loving myself enough to do what I need to do physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally before what I want to do.

Let me be clear. This isn’t a challenge to put myself above anyone, especially not above God. It is simply recognizing that I need to value what God values, which in a nutshell is me, you, and every one of His children. God values my time with Him, so I am going to value my time with Him. God values my body; it is his temple after all, so I must value my body. God values my stewardship, so I should value stewardship. God values my rest, so I should value my rest. God values my marriage, so I should value my marriage.

I can show I value these things by working to invest in them.  So Loving Myself Enough may mean waking up early enough to read the Holy Word of God and listen and commune with God.  Loving Myself Enough may be working out for 30 minutes or 2 hours.  Loving Myself Enough may be eating a salad instead of a cookie.  Loving Myself Enough may be giving yourself a day of rest to do the things I enjoy, like reading, writing, or watching Netflix.  Loving Myself Enough may be turning the phone off for a few hours to give my full attention to my husband, my best friend.

Loving Myself Enough is about finding the balance between rest, health, and God.  It is about not condemning my mistakes, but learning to pick myself up.  It is about shifting my perspective. You find your way, but I am not doing this for you.  I’m doing this for me, but you are welcome to join.

Loving Myself Enough

I just got done working out at good old land of purple, Planet Fitness, not that you needed a play-by-play.  At the end of it, on my 15-20 minute drive home, my wheels were fully engaged in what I would say to the trainer I’m meeting with tomorrow to learn a good workout plan that fits where I am in life.  I’m that girl who sits and role-plays everything in her mind, whether it is what she will say, might say if such and such things happen, or wished she did say.  I tend to over dwell on things.  More than anything, I was trying to figure out how I convey to the trainer tomorrow just why I am working out and why I cannot be there for more than 40 minutes. After adding in travel time, I just can’t make it any longer than 40, and I am working out (again…) because I am choosing to love myself enough.

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I was journaling last night about some things that had been on my heart.  About a week ago, a thought came to me that the sexual desires and impulses I once fought and got freedom from in high school had merely changed its name and face.  The crux of that perversion of truth was me satisfying my own desire for love, which is silly to say now.  Though I don’t struggle with that anymore, I do struggle with an array of other sins that at the crux are me fighting against my sinful desires when what God wants for me, and what is best for me, is quite the opposite.  I see now that I am free from the things of high school, and in a way it may seem to have just changed names and faces because I am a human that has layers of sin to deal with as God takes me deeper with him. It is all different sides of the selfish desires and enticement of sin.

So, I was basically journaling about the sins I see in my own life that I need to deal with, and I started to realize that calling them out and writing what I would like to see happen really was doing me no good.  It only made me feel like less of a person and less of a Christian.  Yes, I need to make changes, and as John Bevere would say, “What you don’t confront, doesn’t change,” but I was going about it all wrong.  My focus was entirely on what I needed to do different and not on who gives me the grace and strength to do it different.  That’s when I started to write instead a prayer asking God to teach me how to love myself better because I saw that my identity was broken.

I don’t think I can honestly have enough pages, Lord, to fill with all the ways I feel like I fall short.  So, in the journey, help me to never forget that I don’t have to strive in my own strength.  I don’t have to feel worthless because of what I feel I should or should not be doing.  Help me to know Your heart toward me, Lord.  Help me to not get overwhelmed with the process.  Help me to see myself better, the way you see me. Remove the layers and make me more like you.

My Journal, June 28, 2016

I think this is where the thought started to birth that I need to change the way I view eating and working out.  It can’t be about weight loss.  It can’t be about looking better than so-and-so.  It can’t be about making everyone in high school look on me with amazement if I ever go to a reunion.  It can’t be about my husband.  It can’t even be about getting healthy.  It has to be about loving myself the way God loves me.

God tells me that I am his precious child.  I am called for a purpose.  He says that he loves me; He calls me His beloved.  He cherishes me.  He delights in me, even though I feel like I fall short.  That doesn’t mean I am perfect, and that doesn’t mean I should stop trying to be more like Him; rather, it compels me to pursue Him more.  And if He loves and cherishes me that much, even where I am, then I should love and cherish myself, too.  If I had children, I would want them to eat well-balanced meals and stay active because I love them and want them to be healthy, should I not expect the same for myself? So, perhaps working out and eating healthy needs to have a make-over in my mind because learning to see myself as God sees me, with love, starts with how I take care of myself. I am beautiful and loved the way I am, but to make healthier choices is to love myself better.

As I day by day learn to listen to God’s voice telling me what He thinks of me, I’m going to choose to love myself enough to take care of the body He has given me.  One choice at a time.  One day at time.  I’m not going to let myself get stuck in the process or stuck in the what I should be or could be, but I’m going to press on into what loving myself looks like day-to-day. And really, this goes beyond just my physical health.  It goes into my spiritual, emotional, and mental needs as well.  This frame of mind even breaks the cycle of self-condemnation when I do mess up.  It is saying I choose to love myself enough to get up and keep trying, not in my strength, but in God’s strength.

I’m redefining what loving myself looks like, in every aspect.  And to do that, I have to allow Him to teach me how much He loves me.

7 Reasons I’m Excited for Summer

I, like most people, am a woman with many hats and responsibilities, and even though I am only a substitute teacher, I greatly struggle at juggling them all. So, I am very much looking forward to the summer when I can work on things I need to work on without work getting in the way of productive and energetic work.  And here are seven things I am going to work on (with one that is not work at all) that make me so excited for the next two weeks to be over and for summer to begin.

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1. Working on Sleep.  Precious, precious sleep.

This may be self-explanatory, but I find myself stuck in this tug-of-war between what my body deems necessary (sleep… precious, precious sleep) and what my spirit deems necessary.  You may say, “Go to bed earlier.”  And you know, in an ideal world where I can be secluded from everyone and have no other relationships to maintain and invest in other than mine and God’s, that might be easier to do, but the fact is, I will probably always struggle with this because I love my husband.  In my ideal world, I would wake up early to work out and do my devos, but if I were to go to bed early enough to get all that accomplished before work, then I would be going to bed as he is getting home, and I would have like zero time with him.  I’m not ok with that.  So, I am stuck trying to find that balance between taking care of me: body, soul, and spirit, and maintaining relationship with my best friend.  But I also need to put away my idea of “ideal” and start figuring out how to make the best of my 6 am to 10 pm day and quit blaming other things for my lack of self-discipline.

2. Working on My Personal Bible Study Time.

I have gotten better the last couple weeks, but if I am honest, my time with God gets very dry and rigid very easily.  I want to work on that.  I want to be able to wake up refreshed, have some quick bible reading and worship, go to the gym to really wake up, come home and have some time of real worship and prayer, pressing into the throne room, asking for revelation, praying what He leads me to pray, learning a deeper side of who He is.  In a lot of ways, I feel like I treat God like a long-distant relationship that I catch up with on the phone every once in a while.  It is as if somewhere our communication with each other is getting lost in the mail, yet I know He is right here with me.  I don’t want a long-distant experiential relationship with my Lord.  I want to have a deep, intimate, close friendship with Him, and I know He want it, too.  And don’t get me wrong, there is a definite level of deep intimacy with God, but I want deeper.  I want Him to invade all of me. Everyday.

3. Working on My Health.

I’m 289 pounds of food-loving obesity.  That needs to change.  It takes time.  I have not gone to the gym, and I have not necessarily been eating healthy.  Something has to give, and I need to start figuring out what.  I was told by a close friend that it took her two years to love running and working out.  That scares me. Why can’t it be instantaneous? Perhaps I need to start treating it like I do things in the spirit realm.  Perhaps instead of fretting, stressing, hating on the things that make the health journey difficult I need to start declaring that I love it, that it makes me stronger, that it makes me feel better.  Ultimately, I know those things are and will be true, but I have to invest the time and discipline.  God has given me lots of wonderful ambitions to do in my life, and I need to get healthy if I think I’m going to achieve them.  He has equipped me with the body, and I need to make sure it is ready.  It isn’t yet.

4. Working on Writing Curriculum and Other Planning for Children’s Church.

I have been coping with this responsibility.  Straight up.  I have lots of ideas and lots of plans in my head, but without writing them down and beginning to act on it, I can’t expect my kids to flourish.  If they do not grow under my teaching, that is on me.  I am not ok with them staying where they are no more than I am okay with me staying the way I am.  I want to challenge them, I want to teach them, I want to build a godly relationship with them, and I want them to all become the amazing men of God that I know God wants them to be.  I may not have a classroom of 30 kids to pour into, but I do have these four boys, and I need to focus on doing well with what God has already placed in front of me.  That means I need to write the curriculum I am doing for the next few months as well as get the behavioral checks and balance in place (We are working on some positive reinforcement, incentives, and things of that nature). You may be seeing a recurring theme of time, but it is so true.  I have a ton of work to do every week, and I feel like I barely get it done.

5. Working on Maintaining My Home.

I’m pretty sure this doesn’t need any commentary.  My home falls apart… often.  I want to work on that self-discipline of doing what I hate because the outcome is what I love. My goal is to clean for just 30 minutes every day.  Power clean for 30 minutes, surely I can do that!

6. Working for NISE

NISE is an organization I work for that hosts Chinese students here in Colorado Springs and teaches them about American customs, giving them an opportunity to practice speaking English.  It is wonderful, and I have loved doing it the last two years.  Each year, my responsibilities have increased, but I am so thankful to be a part of this organization that I love and get paid for it.  And pretty soon, we will be really cracking down on the logistics and planning, my favorite! There is a lot yet to do in preparation for the students and a lot yet to do while they are here, but hopefully my co-teacher and I will have been able to invest the time leading up to their arrival to make our time with them as fun and stress-free as possible.

7. (Not) Working at Comic Con

And the best for last, my husband and I are going to Denver Comic Con for our anniversary.  It will be three days of pure nerdy goodness as we go to forums, meet celebrities, and just hang out with each other and invest in an experience with each other. That is what we try to always do, invest our time and money in experiences with each other.  Meeting Alex Kingston won’t be too bad either.

 

What will you be working on this summer?

Love & Respect

“A wife has one driving need—to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need—to feel respected.  When that need is met, he is happy.  When either of these needs isn’t met, things get crazy.” This is a quote from Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, a book my husband and I are reading.  It is a good summation quote of the book, for the premise stems from Ephesians 5:33 in which Paul commands husbands to love (not respect) their wives and for wives to respect (not love) their husbands.

The truth is that men and women need both love and respect because they are off chutes of each other.  If you love someone, you will respect them.  If you respect someone, you will show them love (not necessarily romantic love but at least a brotherly, caring kind of love). The two influence each other.  The difference is that men read in their brain acts of love as acts of respect.  Women read acts of respect and honor as acts of love. Men and women need both, but they process them differently.

As my husband and I were reading and talking about this concept, I came to a realization about God.  In Genesis, it tells us how God made man and woman in his image.  That means that both male attributes and female attributes are aspects of God.  He has no gender, but he encompasses the character traits that we often think of as feminine and masculine.  For example, we think of females as nurturing and more caring.  That is the way we were wired (generally speaking). God is also nurturing, comforting, and caring.

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Therefore, since God encompasses the male and female attributes, than he must desire and need both the love and the respect. This may not seem like an eye-opening concept for it makes sense, but I think we, myself included, tend to separate the two.  How often do we feel like He is this big God to be honored and respected and miss out on the intimate love He has for us?  How often are we too focused on loving God that we forget to show respect to the King of Kings?  We must give Him both.

He is the intimate friend with whom to walk on a beach, and He is the Holy Lord Almighty. He is the bridegroom, and He is the Victorious Warrior.  He is Love, and He is the one whom we should revere. He is the lover of my soul, and the King of it also.  We cannot separate the two.    The word Jesus uses for worship when he is talking to the Samaritan woman has imagery that even supports this concept.  It means to kiss the hand toward someone in respect or to bow down in reverence. He is worthy of our love and our respect, and worship should thus be an act of love and respect.

 

Doctors vs.THE Doctor

When I was 5 years old, I was diagnosed by medical doctors with a genetic disorder that is very common in my family line.  Essentially, the disorder boils down to this: I have no reproductive system at all. Ever since then, I have always wanted to adopt.  It was a fact I just accepted up until high school.  I still wanted to adopt, but I also wanted God to heal me.  Nothing is impossible for God, right?

Just before my senior year of high school, I felt God was promising me that He would heal me.  I held onto that as I went to college. When I had to tell the man who would eventually be my husband about the disorder, I was so afraid he would disown me, but he, too, believed God would do a miracle. He stood beside me.  Through the years, I have had confirmation after confirmation that God wants to heal me.  People who do not know me at all who would come up to me with a prophecy or word of knowledge that can only be explained by a Holy Spirit confirmation and revelation.  God has been removing layers and layers. Still, there are days when doubt slips in, and I wonder if my healing will ever come.

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I think about Samuel Ephraim all the time.  I anticipate the day he is born.  His name means “The Lord hears me and makes me fruitful.”  It is the name God prophetically gave me to name our first biological miracle child (which is why I believe it will be a boy). Most days, I am not hurt by the innocent comments of, “It will happen some day,” or “You’re time will come.” or “You’ll be such a great mom.”  Most days I can let it run right off my back, but yesterday, for whatever reason, it was like a needle that faintly pierced my heart right at the point of doubt.

I wept as I worshiped God and declared His faithfulness, all while trying to convince myself that I believed it. He is faithful to His promises.  My healing will come.  You are my healer, Lord. You can do the impossible, Lord… Then God said, “Don’t take those comments of “It will happen some day…” as a point of pain, rather take them as prophecy.  Declare them. Receive them as My truth for you. Your healing IS coming and it WILL happen some day.” I cried there in the presence of God with a new found trust and hope of my healing.

I don’t trust what doctors say.  They do not have the final answer.  THE Doctor, my Abba Father, my healer, my great physician, my Lord, He has the final answer.  His answer was that I will birth my own children, so that is what I will walk in and accept. Nothing is impossible for Him! I know we will still adopt at some point; the timing is not mine to know.  It isn’t walking in a false reality.  It is walking in faith.  Until the miracle comes and I can declare God’s glory even louder, I will still walk in faith and proclaim, “My healing is coming!”