Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's Been Too Long . . .

 Yes, it HAS been a while . . . .
 but I'm back in blogdom!  God has been working miracles in my life and in my home.  It's taken me some time to process all the changes He's wrought in my world.  I hope to share some of my new found life lessons with you, my friends . . . 
While walking my pup, Biscuit, on the leash the other day, I noticed how he seemed to take his time and notice every little thing along the path.  He would sniff the grass or weeds or whatever he came across.  He would scratch at it and, really, just take it in.  This calm and almost thoughtful demeanor is so unlike his ways when he's unleashed.  When he takes off unleashed, he's a wild lil man!  He runs aimlessly, fast and crazy.  He gets into trouble and rolls in . . . shit, literally . . . or dead animals.  Freedom is simply too much for him.  He's reckless and runs blindly into danger.  He gets soiled and stinky and not very becoming.  Really, who wants to cuddle with THAT?

And it hits me - I am so much like this wild little pup.  When I am tethered to my Master and allowing Him to lead me, I'm content.  I revel at all the wonders along my path.  I notice every little (and big) blessing.  I delve into the wonder of it all.  I'm grateful for what I've been given.  I stay close to Him and desire to be nowhere else.

Inevitably, though, I get the proverbial hair up my backside and "think" I want something more and I chase "freedom" just like Biscuit when he spots that perfect crack in the door offering escape.  I run wild and crazy.  ALWAYS to my own detriment.  Oftentimes to the detriment of others.  I take off, directionless.  I roll in the shit of the world.  I flirt with danger.  I get soiled and oh-so-unbecoming.  I reek. 

Even though I reek and am all kinds of trouble, what does my Master do?  HE waits patiently for me to return, takes me into His arms, and loves me - soil and all.  Then He cleans me up all sparkly and He holds me close and He whispers love words to me.  Over and over and over again.  And the next time the world beckons?  I'd like to say I'll stay nestled in His loving arms and not venture out.  But we're not there yet, are we?  

Hmmm . . . I think I'll go snuggle with my puppy now.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Help . . . I'm Being PRUNED!

In my last post, I pretty much spilled my guts, laid the ugliness out on the table. To tell you the truth, it has taken me this long to recover enough to crawl back into the blogosphere.  I don't particularly like emotions, especially when those emotions are mine.  I've spent years perfecting the poker face in any & all situations.    Yet, since we last got together, so much has happened and those emotions have seeped out.  The Holy Spirit has been working over-time reminding me that emotions are just that - emotions.  They are not Truth.

A real Spring Cleaning in progress has been going on here.  Something called "pruning" in church-talk.  Painfully trimming back those dead & dying parts.  Enough to kill.  Kill the diseases that can so easily infest.  Infest our innermost selves and infest others around us.  If we will only see those infestations, pruning will deftly make a way for growth, reveal our weakness which in turn reveals God's all-mighty strength.  Pruning causes us to look past our own abilities and realize, hey, I can't do this myself.  It makes us stronger after the process is complete.  It brings renewal.  Such is grace.

This becoming is so damn painful.  There are so many hours, days even, when I feel utterly alone on this battle-ridden road stretched out before me.  But, my sweet Jesus reminds me through His gentle whisper (and if I don't hear that, through my spiritual director's less-than-a-whisper) that I'm not on my own.  Not by a long shot.  He is with me . . . come what may.  

Just . . . gotta . . . lean . . . hard . . . into . . . Him.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Okay, I admit it. I screwed up. One of the most important safeguards for me to have in this day-by-day saga of becoming is that I have brutally honest friends who will kick me in the butt me when I need it. When deciding to write this blog, I asked a couple of my closest, spiritually discerning girlfriends to look at each of my posts and keep me accountable to being transparent on here. I feel God has led me to share my struggles and my successes and failures with those who may be experiencing similar difficulties and joys.

My number one reviewer (and butt-kicker) is my spiritual director and dear, dear friend. After reading my last post, my friend promptly and deftly delivered said butt-kick. Her words were something along the lines of "Your post is rather tame. It doesn't accurately portray your struggle with all that's happened and all that God has told you. I believe since you know you now have an audience to your blog, you're slipping into making what you write palatable. If that's the direction you're going, you should stop writing." Ouch.

Once I pulled her foot out of my ass, I had to admit she's right. Which is highly annoying. I don't believe I was consciously trying to be deceptive in my last post, but I condensed it into this nice, neat little package and made it appear that I'm now skipping carefree through the wildflowers, sure of where I'm going and who I am becoming. That I'm anticipating with bated breath the wonderful joys that being present in my home will bring. No way. Such is not the case. This trying to hear God, my "becoming", has been, and is, and will continue to be, a huge struggle. I'm a natural fighter (due both to my lawyerly training as well as being a hybrid middle/first child), an obstinate mule even, and I don't change my direction without a helluva lot of convincing that my direction is wrong and someone else's is right. I detest being wrong. I like to win, plain and simple, which makes me a damn good attorney.

So . . . please allow me to back up and take off the mask of "everything's okie dokie" and "I'm so happy to be going down this blissful road of motherhood and wifedom," and show you what's really been going on in this chick's head . . . and heart.

When God took off His kid-gloves and nailed me, so to speak, it was ugly. I mean nasty ugly. See, my friend has every right to kick me in the butt because she knows the truth. In fact, God's words for me first came to her in the form of a horrific, yet cautionary, dream. And these words of His crushed MY plans for my life, the dream I had worked toward attaining, finally finding approval from others & feeling "important" and liked. I couldn't believe it; I didn't want to believe it. For days, I refused to believe it. Instead, I looked for every angle possible that could get me around throwing off my plans and quitting my ascent to the top, and going with God's yet-to-be-revealed-how-to-get-to-His-better-place-for-me plan.

Honestly, it really pissed me off that God would do such a thing as to yank the carpet out from under my feet. And it pissed me off that my friend had the audacity to tell me that God is smarter than I am, that He actually knows me better than I know myself and knows what I'm letting myself get into. But, then again, He is GOD. And she is a trusted friend who is obedient to speaking the truth in love. In the end, through clenched teeth and fists, I quit the SA race.

I cried virtually non-stop for a week. (And my friend tells me she did too). Those of you who know me know that I do NOT cry. I don't have a reputation of being an emotional beast. Yet, I bawled like a baby. How dare He do this to me! I fought vehemently with Him for days. Heck, I'm still fighting to some degree. How could it be that where I was headed was wrong?! After all, I looked at being SA as a form of ministry. I would be helping so many people. In what position would I ever find more broken and needy people? And, darn it, it just wasn't FAIR. I had spent years with this goal, dreaming of the day I could reach it. Plus, as a bonus, I'd get a hefty paycheck and retirement. I deserved this job!

Now the dream, let me tell you more about this dream. In a nutshell (though not a neatly packaged one), this dream depicted myself and my family at a time down the road should I continue my SA quest. It wasn't pretty. It was a bloody mess - literally. Lust won out over innocence. Evil prevailed. My family suffered . . . and the suffering was brought on by my decision to continue my SA race. How important was this race to me? If I won, would I really have "won" if I lost everything good and true and lovely and pure?

At the time of its initial telling, I believed the evil depicted in the dream oozed out from other people in my life and politics in general. I wanted to believe that I was saving my family, that they needed ME to rescue them from the Darkness. Sounds valiant, huh? Instead, I've discovered the dream actually revealed the icky, yucky, bad gunk that was deep inside of my own soul. Really, who wants to face that stuff, to ADMIT its existence? I sure as hell didn't. I'm a good girl, remember?

Yet, over the past two months, God has graciously, though not painlessly, revealed so many ugly self-truths to me. I shared many in a previous post. At one of my small group studies just a few days after the hellacious revelation, the words of the author in our book study jumped out boldly at me, paraphrased as follows - "as ministers (which I considered myself to be should I have gotten the SA job), our first obligation is to minister to our own family". Holy cow! If I were to be SA, my husband would have, in all practicality, become a single parent and I would be taking care of everyone else's problems at the expense of my family. He has also shown me that His instruction for me to go home, to focus on what is important to Him, was not so much because my husband and kids needed me, as their spiritually superior wife & mother respectively, to save them from the big, bad devil, but more so because I needed to be saved from myself - my lust for worldly success, my pride, my sense of entitlement. And if I didn't stop my ridiculous self-aggrandizing quest, I would never hear God and never experience His best for me. And for what? Nothing of eternal value. Would I have gone to Hell if I had pushed ahead with my plan? No, I don't believe so. Would God have washed His hands of me? I don't believe He ever will, regardless of what fool thing I might pull. His Grace is beyond amazing.

Yet, I would have wasted so much time chasing earthly passions, earthly gains of money and position. And just how much time do I really have? There's only so much time to watch my babies grow up and to notice the day-to-day changes in their lives. There are only so many opportunities that my 17-year-old daughter gives me to see into her heart. I have to be present in order to accept and lay hold of these gifts. Heck, I never know when a God moment will occur, especially with my girl. Or where. The last time I was privileged to hear her soul speak, I had finally sunk down into a hot, lavender bubble bath after the boys had FINALLY gone to bed when I heard a tap-tap at the locked bathroom door. And know what? I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Yet, I almost had. I've been a fool for far too long. As always, God help me.

As a clarification to my being present in my home, I am NOT leaving the practice of law. I am, however, limiting my representations to those cases that He has instructed me to keep - cases that allow for compassion and mercy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

God, You Want Me to Do WHAT?!

Recently, through a dear, beautiful, godly friend with tears in her eyes, God tells me, "I want you to quit this search for significance, this chasing of your worth through the acceptance of man, and instead, trust me and go home. I want you to be present in your home, PHYSICALLY present. You are to be Mom and Wife, first and foremost. I want you to serve your family. That is my path for you at this moment in time."

My incredulous reaction . . .

God, You want me to do what?! Are You serious?! But I've already tried the at-home-mom thing and I SUCK at it! I mean, really, I so wanted to be a stay-at-homer, but I'm not the super cool fun s-a-h mom like, say, my friend Michele. Now SHE is that kind of mom! Michele always had really neat activities for her girls - crafts & art projects. Me? I couldn't get my boys to do an art project to save my life. Heck, I couldn't even get them to sit still long enough to do any structured activity. No, God, I don't see how this will work. I'd like to pass and take what's behind Door Number Two instead. I'm pretty sure I heard God sigh. He seems to sigh a lot when we're together.

And He said, "Trust Me."

Really, God, I want to trust You. But, I just don't see how this thing is going to work.

He whispered, "Trust Me. Not yourself. Not your own abilities. And not your idea of what it means to be a wife and mother. You've based your expectations of how you are to fulfill these roles on what others have done, on what your church background has painted, not on what I have revealed to you. And let's not forget, that the last time you "tried", you didn't lean on Me. This time, LEAN ON ME AND I WILL GET YOU THERE. Take My hand; it will be like a rafting adventure . . . give up the control & I will give you the ride of your life."

How can I refuse this invitation? So, I'm searching, I'm leaning, I'm falling, and I'm getting back up - He's extended His hands and lifted me up.

He's giving me resources along this journey. Precious godly women (Paula, Laura, Evalene, Donna, Elizabeth, just to name a few). The Word and books galore. I've renewed my love of reading, a pastime that had all but died some 18 years ago when I started law school. Except, of course, for the reading of case law and statutes, "useful" reading to help me win my cases. Now I've discovered the devotional masters. God speaks to me through their words.

This leaning, this trusting, can best summed up by one of my fave authors, Oswald Chambers -

"Loyalty to Jesus means I have to step out where I do not see anything (cf. Matt. 14:29); loyalty to my notions mean that I clear the ground first by my intelligence. Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way."

God help me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Digging Through the Muck Within

This becoming is so . . . difficult. So hard on the ego. It's messy even. To discover those deep-seated flaws that I've carefully hidden these many years.

I mean, I've gone to church my whole life. I confessed Jesus Christ as my Savior at a young age. Heck, I was even baptized - not by mere sprinkling as the Methodist Church I grew up in allowed - but by full-fledged dunking action in a farm pond (which, by the way, "didn't count" when I wanted to join a Southern Baptist Church a few years later & had to be immersed again by the "right" kind of person who believed the "right" things - aka, NOT a Methodist minister). I've played by "the rules." I've always been a "good girl", right? That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Then why have I been so pissed off with God for taking the identity I had painstakingly crafted for myself? After all, I did what He told me to do. I dropped out of the SA race. Shouldn't He be patting me on the back & telling me "well done, good & faithful servant"? And then shouldn't He be ushering me into a Promise Land of blue skies & butterflies & Beatles music & easy living?

And why do my children still fight so vehemently with one another? Full punches and kicks, along with a constant stream of bad-mouthing. Why does my husband still get on my nerves when he leaves his thousands of pairs of shoes in the middle of the floor & I trip on them yet again?! He does that ON PURPOSE you know.

And instead of those much-deserved pats on the back, why has He been exposing so blatantly the darkness that dwells within my deepest parts? Convicting me, even? Of ugly things within, like: I am self-absorbed; I suffer from self-aggrandizement; I am so ungrateful; I don't fully trust Him to have a better plan for my life than my grand scheme; I am prideful; I've been perpetuating the "brat syndrome" - you know that one . . . "but Daddy, I WANT it my way!" And, most telling thus far, I have not placed on the altar my ambition, my longing for acceptance from the populace. Ouch! Lyrics from a Rich Mullins song are playing in my mind right now - "I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want than take what You give and I need? I've beat my head against so many walls . . . "

Perhaps life was easier & more carefree when I was blind to my ugliness. Yet, I'm finding a certain freedom in this Truth, as ugly as it may be. I'm climbing out of the dark.

God help me, please.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Okay, God, Let's Go!

Have you ever had a lifelong dream that you worked so hard to reach . . . only to find out when you got there that it just wasn't "you"? That God has something else planned for you that is altogether different, but you just don't know exactly what that something else is . . . yet? Yep, that's been my journey thus far.

Ever since I was an 8th grader in Roger Lee's class, I've wanted to be a lawyer. And not just any lawyer, mind you. I wanted to be a fighter for truth, justice, and the American Way! Plus, I wanted to make lots of moolah and drive a brand-spankin'-new, candy-apple-red Mercedes convertible. And, oh yeah, my husband was going to stay home & raise the kids while I set the world on fire. I'm serious. So, I worked my butt off during high school and college and set off for law school.

Right after undergraduate graduation, I married to my high school sweetheart, had our first child (it's a girl!) over Thanksgiving break my second year of law school, graduated in the top 1/2 of my class (hey, something had to slip), started my first job as a bad-ass prosecutor (all 5'2" of me), and kept going for my goal of becoming the State's Attorney of my home county.

Along the way, we added two sons to the family (16 months apart - YES, we know what causes that). I opened my own private law practice, about had a nervous breakdown, recovered (ha! just don't ask my therapist how recovered!), then got my big break . . . the coveted opportunity to run for election to become the next State's Attorney. The stars appeared to be aligned . . . I thought, this MUST be from God, right?! After all, I've known God personally since I was 8 years old. Surely His goal was for me to get what I had always wanted, what I had always planned for . . . right?

Then why didn't it seem "right" when I was caught up in the buzz & whirl of meeting & greeting & fundraising . . . & missing my kids' ballgames & drama performances? But, still, surely God wanted me to be happy and that meant becoming who I had always planned to be, right?

Then one day, He got my attention. It was ugly. See, He had been trying to use that still, small voice, but guess who was too busy to listen. Too full of herself and the places she was going and headed. Yeah, He let me know alright. As I looked at my children (ages 17, 12, & 10 1/2), I said to myself (or perhaps it was out loud) - WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?? Thus began my journey of learning to lean and hear and really listen. Actually, my journey began with fighting God, being angry with Him and His messengers. I was, to be honest, a hateful, awful, resentful child of God.

Then GRACE took hold of me, and here we are. Won't you join me in this wild, terrifying, terrific journey?