Sunday, June 30, 2013

I am Aunt Jojo

Taped to the top of my desk at home I have a picture my nephew drew me. My sister has 5 kids, 2 daughters and 3 sons. They are always making pictures and drawing scenes for my parents, but rarely do they do that for me. My 6 year old nephew and my 7 year old niece do though. I came home from work one day to a picture in my recliner and a strong recommendation from my mother to let my nephew know that Aunt Jojo did indeed received his picture. Apparently he was afraid that I wouldn't get it and told my mother several times to make sure she gave it to me. I taped it to my desk so that every time I look at my desk (which is a lot) I am reminded that though I am not Nana, Bupbup (my father) or my nephew's parents I am still special to this special little boy. Every time I look at it I smile and know that I am loved by a child- not just him though, all of his siblings. I just don't get the pictures that my parents do. I do, however, have 4 children run at me full speed when they see me. The youngest is not yet at the age where he can do that with all the others. I am reminded every time I look at not only this picture, but one his sister gave me, that they love having me around. This is a different type of love, a special love, between an aunt and her nieces and nephews. I have a special bond with all of them, though my 7 year old niece is attached to my hip when I'm around. I love this reminder I have from my nephew. It helps to ward off my "woe is me" moments when I want to feel sorry for myself that I am not a wife and mother. I am something different and unique. I am Aunt Jojo.

"I love you Jojo you are very special to me I love Jojo"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Priorities

Life is hectic. Sometimes a bit overwhelming. Life has been that way the last week or two for me. Looking for a new job, maybe starting a side business, trying to get time to write up devotionals to go with some patterns I have, and write out other patterns I've done are just a few of the things that have been on my plate recently, not to mention still keeping up with my family and getting time alone with God. The last one is the most important one to have, but the one I'm most likely to put on the back burner with every excuse that you can think of. "Only for today, I'll read twice as much of my bible tomorrow"..."I don't have enough hours with work and family to squeeze in any "alone" time and I know God understands"..."I'm just too tired to read my bible and pray"..."I have hats I need to finish for my one friend, I can't put that off any longer" and they keep coming. But what does that really say about me? Even Jesus found time to go to a secluded place to pray and he was always surrounded by people who vied for His attention (Mark 1:35 and Luke 4:42 to name just a few spots). One thing that learning about the Proverbs 31 woman is helping me to see is that life is busy, but having our priorities in the right order is necessary. She "burns the midnight oil". Sometimes it feels more like burning the candle at both ends. Sure does give off a lot of light, but only for half as long. We are made to work, but not to wear ourselves out. I'm also learning that sometimes I get overwhelmed with life because I'm working for immediate results and not willing to be patient and wait. What do I mean by this? Well, for example, I've been lead to write a book. I've barely started and I'm already wondering why I don't even have the first chapter written down. I have it outlined (yes, I know, something I learned in school really did come in handy. I never thought that I would actually need to use an outline outside of the classroom). I get discouraged just thinking about how little I have done and how much there is to do. I want it finished NOW. With everything, priorities and goals need to be set. We are going to have busy lives, there will be times when we are worn out. We need to put the most important things first, work for a goal, and not be hasty in things. But most of all, make sure that we put God first and in all things seek Him.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

An Excellent Wife, A Godly Woman

I decided to do a summer bible study with several other women on Proverbs chapter 31, how to be an excellent wife. I started this study for a few reasons, I wanted to stay connected through the summer with some women that I love to learn from, I want to know how to be a Proverbs 31 wife if I ever have the opportunity to be one, and I want to see if there is anything for a single woman to learn from this chapter, even if she never marries. The first few days were fine for me. It was just about King Lemuel and what it takes to be a great king. Then came day 4, Proverbs 31:10.

"An excellent wife, who can find? 
For her worth is far above jewels"

Okay, I agree with this one wholeheartedly. An excellent wife (or noble in the NIV translation) is a rare jewel in any circle that you may run in, especially in our society today. I was doing good until I read these verses:

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband" (Proverbs 12:4)
"He who finds a wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor from the LORD." (Proverbs 18:22)

I got to thinking. Sometimes that is a dangerous thing for me to do. I got to thinking maybe I'm not good enough to be a wife or mother. I got to thinking that maybe I'm not worthy of being a gift. Like I said, sometimes things that get me thinking are dangerous. I know better. I really do. So I did something about it. I prayed. I even wrote my prayer out so that when I feel like this again I can go back to it and read my thoughts, my hearts longing, and remember that I am from God. I am right where He wants and needs me to be. I want to share that prayer since I know that I'm not the only person who struggles with being singly satisfied.

Oh Lord, God of creation, I was created, knit together for a reason. I'm here and alive, though I should not have lived past a year. My heart aches. Studying Proverbs 31 shows me I have a long way to go to be a good woman, a Godly woman worthy of being called a gift from God. So many women strive to be an excellent wife. I know my season right now is one of singleness but even then, learning how to be an excellent wife can teach me how to be a Godly woman. Even if I am never blessed with a husband, I am still a gift from the Lord. I am a gift to those around me- my family and my friends. My greatest dream has always been to be a wife and a mother: two things that are sacred and holy. I know that even if my dreams do not come to fruition, as long as my gaze stays on You and You alone, I am right where I need to be. Surrendering my greatest dreams may be the hardest emotional journey that I alone can make, but being in Your will is the greatest destination. I know that You have plans in motions specifically for me. I may never know on this side of Heaven what my journey will do, for me or for others. Like Isaiah, when he was asked who will go, my response is "Here am I Lord". I'm here to be used for Your glory and honor. I'm here to do Your will. I'm willing to go on the journey even if I can only see the next step. My fears, my worries, my anxieties- many as they are, I give to You. Here am I Lord, send me where You will.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Through The Storms

Hunkered down in a room in the basement, the only room in the whole house without windows, listening to the wind, rain and hail pound on the building. The sound of water rushing in the basement right underneath the front door from the shear force of the winds outside. The winds so loud you would almost swear there were planes flying low to the ground, or train tracks right outside your house. This is what it's like to have a tornado come at you. This is what it's like wondering if you will still have a house in 5 minutes. This is the sound of Spring in the Midwest. Not a beautiful sounds, but fearful. 
Damage is done





There is devastation




But there is still hope. Yes, a 32 mile long path of an EF 2/EF 3 tornado was forged in Missouri hitting my neighborhood...again. We are no strangers to tornadoes. We even had another one hit two years ago in almost the same path. Both times damage, great damage, was done, but there is still hope. Hope found in delicate flowers that lived through 100+ mph winds, tiny baby bunnies who survived the rain and hail, and knowing that though the winds swirl around us, the rain pours out in sheets and hail is hurled at us, we are on a foundation that cannot be shaken. We are to be like the wise builder in Matthew 7:24-27. For when we have our foundation in Jesus, "the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock" (v 25). Trust in God through the storm.