I ran away yesterday…

I did.  I’m not proud of it, mind you, but I did.  I ran away.

To be fair though, you must know that in my running, I was running TO something, not just away from it.  Truly, that does make a huge difference in the end.

All in all, it was a fairly good month.  I had almost 10 straight “good days” where not one single migraine knocked me on my butt.  My daily body pains weren’t their usually grumpy self.  I wasn’t full of energy, or my silly old self really, but it was enough to catch my kid’s attention and my 11 year old began asking me each morning with beaming eyes, “Is it # (such and so) today?!”  It sorta crushed my spirit the day she didn’t have to ask.  I lay there all early morning unmoving, praying away the pain, willing myself to get up before her, knowing it wasn’t going to happen.  I can’t tell you what it did to me when they all left for church without me.  I just couldn’t manage to mask it up.

I lay there with two words bouncing around the smallish space of my skull.  I got angry. The two words “Chiari Malformation” were never in my personal dictionary before this time last year, and the closest to “Chiari” I ever came was Chai, which frankly I think is an evil joke.  (Chai is my most favorite indulgence at any coffee house I’m near and is a delishious spiced tea, NOT a brain to big for a skull’s size and space to hold.)

Why didn’t God make my skull bigger?  He could have, I spose.  He is afterall, God.  For whatever reason, He chose not to change the way I was to be made up.  I got mad.  REAL mad.

You need to understand that I dont really believe that God chooses to inflict pain on people.  I believe in a God who embodies love, grace, and is so smitten with us that he sent HIS son to die in OUR place, so we’d NOT have to suffer for the wrongs we’ve done.

He created us because He wanted to have relationships… not to play ant bully with a magnifying glass on a sidewalk full of anthills.

God is always loving, even in the face of the most unbelievable sorrows or tragedy.  I know with all my heart that He cries with us and grieves with us.  He gives us ways to work through the trials and obstacles, opens windows where doors are shut, builds bridges, and yeah,  sometimes even allows us to show His amazing glory through these trials lived out in front of others.  He never allows more than we can bear, though, and promises it again and again in His word… will always bring help, healing in His ways, and comfort to those who fully rest in His embrace.  Yes, even in the midst of the worst imaginable tragedies.  Don’t get me on my soap box…

It doesn’t have to make sense in all ways, but God sees what we cant.  In some ways it’s like a child who cant see why he cant run across to the ball in the street, but a parent can see the on coming car and jerks them back the the curb and doesn’t explain the pain to the arm right away.  In time, the answers may come… a car may rush by and it’s obvious… or not.  That’s what we see so often, or what it seems like to us in life… But that’s where faith comes in and we just have to believe that God always has our best interest at heart.  He sees and knows more, and loves us enough to jerk us back without a word to why…  In our human-ness, we just wont always be able to fully understand.

Well okay, Christi.  You ran away…  you started this little tirade…  Where are you going with all this?

I got bogged down in my personal wallowing.  I was tired.  I was hurting.  And frankly, I was mad!  I don’t WANT to be a walking testimony.  I don’t WANT to live in pain, constantly, and show how God can choose to do things DIFFERENT than MY way.

I had someone recently say her faith was renewed by seeing me still believe and trust that God has a plan, a good one… even though so much of life is challenging right now. I can tell you THAT took me back a step or two.  Grudgingly, I had to concede that I don’t always know the best way for God to do His work, but it’s not always fun to be the answer someone else is looking for as a message in their life.

My life verse has been, and always will be:   11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.   Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV  

So that’s what I did.  I needed to live out verse number 12, not just believe in verse number 11.  “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me…. and I will listen to  you.”  Those are the words that I “RAN” to…  but I only ran to them after I did a LOT of running away.  But God cant listen to me, nor answer, if I don’t first call to him and talk to him.  That’s all prayer is.  It’s talking towards God’s ear.

I’m not proud, but I left my family without hardly a word.  I grabbed my keys, purse, and left.  With tears streaming down my face, I got angry, fuming mad… because I was tired of the way life was, and where it seemed to be headed.  I wasn’t really thinking, I was just feeling.  I rode it like a wave, right out of my house.  I drove to a parking lot and let it all out.  I raged, I cried, I bawled till I was a snotty mess and I got it out of my system.

Sometimes I think we are too adult in life.  Really.  My kid’s dont seem to have any trouble getting their mad out.  Then they seem to move forward… Somewhere in life I sorta decided I was too grown up and it was too “bad” to get mad at God.  Here’s a secret I’ve learned a long time ago, (cause this isn’t my first “mad at God” session).  He can take it.  He can handle anything you can dish out…  The key is you gotta do one thing when you’re done…  you gotta run TO Him, when you’re done running “away”.

I never had any intention of telling anyone any of this…  Honestly I was embarrassed about the whole blasted thing. But God finds ways to do what He wants to regardless of what we plan.  This one “got out” on me before I hardly left the house.  THAT get’s to stay MY story…  but the rest, well it’s the “behind the mask” part that, for whatever reason, God’s decided He wants someone to know.  So here it is…  I blogged it just for YOU.

Whoever you are that needed to hear this…  I’m praying over you now.  God loves you and He’s ready to hear your heart.  Go run away.  Just be sure when you’re done, you turn around and see that He followed you to wherever you ran and He’s waiting for you with arms open and tears for your pain.  May He bless you even as I write these words.

In His embrace, even when I run away,



Reader Appreciation Award

I was happily surprised the other day to get a note saying that a fellow Blogger had nominated me for a Reader Appreciation Award.  I guess it honestly meant more to me that someone is actually reading and coming back than anything else.  🙂

I’ve been blogging off and on for about 7 years and been with wordpress for 3 of them.  I have journals of thoughts, beginnings of novels, books, and even finished a couple books due out this summer.  Writing is second nature and it’s “what I do” when my world stops making sense.

I freelance for a parenting magazine and website and write monthly newsletter articles, so it’s not I’m new to having readers… but oddly, when a complete stranger stops by and says, “Hey, though I have NO idea who you are, I  think you’re sorta cool,”  well it’s then that you realize maybe you’re not half bad.  🙂

So – Patricia – Thanks for making my day completely ROCK! Stop by to visit her some time soon @ http://patriciakirsch.wordpress.com  (Thanks for the awesome shout out!)  I have taken more trips and mental-getaways via her photos than I can count.  (Someday, Patricia, I swear I will have your life of interesting travels!  All in due time, I know, all in time.)

Here are some other’s who I read regularly and love having “FOUND” via the wonderful world of all things digital and online:

Please accept this award, fellow admired bloggers, and post it on your blog and share it with your favorite bloggers! 

Words do matter… and if you ever wondered what all that means, hop over to Tammy’s blog Wordsmatter @ http://tvdavis.net

Now Jen, well she doesn’t write nearly often enough for my liking, but that is probably due to the fact that she actually lives life.  But seriously, she has more strength in her little finger than I have in my whole body.  If you dont jump over there… then you’ve just wasted a lot of time here.  Go to http://shreddedpersonality.wordpress.com .  So Jen – I love ya, but darling, dont forget to shout your incredible insights to the adoring world!

Betsy over @ http://parentingisfunny.wordpress.com  where things are always just a laugh away – helps you escape from the chaos of parenting by showing the lighter side. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from from crying, but aside from, darn it anyway, kids are FUNNY!

Teresa is a must read to @ http://bellybuttonblues.wordpress.com.  If you’re a mom, know a mom, or love kids in any way…  this is a great blog for you.  She makes me laugh and remember that motherhood is not just a title, it’s an honor!

Then I truly appreciate the blogs and messages spread by http://peacefulwife.com/.  There is never a time I will know it all and not need to learn something new about how to be a better wife and spouse to my husband.

So – As I take this completely humble bow, I say thanks to all those who’ve stopped by over the years, and to those who’ve just come to find a laugh or two lately.  It’s nice to have ya around!


If I knew then, what I know now…

Ever wish you could write yourself a note and send it back in time?  You know, like to the scared self, the stupid self, the self absorbed self, teenage you, or maybe on your wedding day?  Well, today, I wish I could send me a letter back to today, exactly 16 years ago.  I’d be nice and wait till after the cake was cut, the bouquet was tossed, and maybe even the honeymoon was over.  But…  really…  It’s been proven that I wouldn’t ever listen to anyone who said anything – I mean, what did they know?  But I MIGHT listen to me….

It would say:

Hey Christi,

I know today is the day you are getting married to a guy you are hopelessly in love with.  You even probably think this is the crowning day of all of your whole life…  But I am here to burst your bubble.  This magical day, yes,  the one you’ve dreamed about your whole girlhood life… it’s just a day.  It’s A step.  It’s not THE step.  I am proud of you for getting here… but beware, marriage is not a game, it’s a life long marathon only “won” by working together, keeping your strides even and your pace steady.  It takes TWO partners willing to do the  hard work of the race to make it through.  Do YOU have what it takes.  Don’t look at your new husband and see if HE has what it takes.  I know the YOU.  You did that then.  But here’s something you need to know…There will be days you will need to have enough strength for the BOTH of you.  He has to make that choice and step on his own as well…  Since I know the future, I can say He does choose to do that, and he’s picked you up more times than you’ll ever want to admit to yourself.  He’s amazing.

Dear sweet girl… There are going to be huge hills you will actually INCORRECTLY believe are mountains. There will be beautiful views from awe inducing vistas and major mile stones you never dreamed possible.  I only wish I could make you stop and slow your pace enough to REALLY  enjoy, but from where I stand, I know for certain you will rush ahead and on to the next view, because you are always pushing ahead like that.  You forget to live in the moment so often it hurts me to say the words out loud.  You will use up your energy climbing one rocky hill early on way too quickly and with all your OWN effort, and you will be shocked and nearly flattened when the real mountain comes into view.  Suddenly  you’ll realize that you haven’t the strength to climb it. It really will shock you because really, underneath everything you SAID you believed in, there was a little bit of smugness that really believed YOU could do anything you DECIDED to do.  

It’s then that your real wedding day will come.  The partner you’ve chosen today will honor his vow and carry you when you couldn’t walk another step, and you’ll both have to learn how to truly lean on God and find your source of renewed energy in Him.  

Your REAL wedding day is going to be the day you put God first and your husband second, and when you cling to them both with your heart free of the worldly stuff.  It’s the unmarked day where you’ll sit with Bible in hand, distraught, with three kids to raise and no energy or means to raise them.  It’s THEN that you will take THE step and give your hand into God’s and He will lead you and your life-mate down the path HE has chosen for you… not the ones YOU’ve always chosen for yourself.  There’s no special day on the calendar where photos were taken, cake was cut, and family gathered… not for the REAL wedding…  but I can promise you that the man you stood up and took a vow to love, honor, and respect will still be there, by your side.  And between you and me, he’s more handsome than the day you met.  YES, REALLY!

One day, 16 years from today, your best friend will come home from work in the morning with flowers for you on your anniversary.  He will let you sleep in, he’ll drive kids around and do breakfast and morning duties…  and he’ll let you sleep till you wake up.  He’ll be there when you look like hell warmed over and he’ll be nice enough not to say it.  He’ll ignore your morning breath and bed head and lean in for a sweet anniversary wake up kiss.  He’ll show his love daily by going to work and always doing what it takes to provide for your family.  He’ll keep looking for answers for your medical issues long after you’ve personally given up… and he’ll stay by your side, even if you never do find them.

Now don’t get me wrong here, girlie.  While I am thrilled you are marrying this wonderful man today… dont fool yourself into thinking you’ve conquered your mountain.  Really, the race has just begun, and there is a whole lot of life to go.  And to be fair, this letter is to future me too.  This is just a bend in the road, and another valley, rocky road, but it will be worth it in the end.  There will be more to climb, and more beautiful views to take in together… But don’t forget to keep God between you and before you.

As I sit in year 16 and remember even the few college years before WE officially began, I sit in awe and with great joy at the gift God bestowed upon us as a couple when He gave us each other.  May God continue to lead our lives, our marriage, and our love down many paths, and give us strength to run the race before us with courage and stamina.  

Love you, Babe…  Thanks for loving me through it all – for giving me 3 amazing children, and for our two sweet dogs too.  You put up with a lot – but we’re all worth it right?  🙂

I know you say we’ve really got the “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” down pat…  now we just need the “for as long as we both shall live!”

Today I say I DO all over again.  You are far more than just my husband and my best friend.  You are my ONE and ONLY.  The best gift I’ve ever been given is YOU.

Stupid bee… REALLY??

My favorite part of church growing up was the “Children’s Story”.  If you’ve never been to a church that has this… it’s the fantastic part of the service where kids get to leave their seats, run down the isle to the front steps of the church and gather to hear the KID part of the sermon.  As a kid I loved it – but as an adult it’s even better.  Watching the kids and hearing their answers and randomness is pure joy packed inside of a five minute “story”.  And often, well the adults get as much out of that as the kids do, they just don’t want to admit it.  The story will stay tucked inside of them and pop up when they are unsuspecting.  God works in our “kid hearts” no matter how old we are.

I’m rambling, I know, I know…

Every now and again, as my parents are still ministering at two small rural churches, my mom will relay a “thought for the day” to me in an email and it eventually will turn into a children’s story.  I love it because I can hear it from the eyes of a child each time she tells me.

Last Sunday’s story was about a stupid bee.  Yep.  There is something to be learned from observing life – and it’s oddities – and yeah – find God in stupid bees.

Thames artificial flowers sat in a decorative corner and a very busy bee was desperately trying to get something out of nothing.  Over and over he tried.  He believed with all his little bee heart in what he saw before him and continually buzzed around, tiring himself out with busy “bee” work, but it was not getting him anywhere.

Not even one foot away sat a LIVE potted Petunia.  To admit he was getting no where would be to give into defeat right?  He could make this work if he just kept at it.  So that’s what he did.  All along… the sweetest offerings and more satisfying work was just behind him if only he’d look up long enough and ask for a little direction in is little bee life.

Bees are not much different from people.  We can be a lot like stupid bees sometimes.  Have you ever tried to do something on your own without asking for help, but you knew you were not sure what to do?  Have you ever been sure you could do it if you just tried hard enough?  It’s good to try hard and to work at things – and even believe in ourselves… but we need to be looking in good places for what we need to know and encouragement from Someone who can help us work BETTER.

Looking for answers in the wrong places will get us nowhere.  It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how much effort you put into it, or even if you BELIEVE in yourself enough.  Just like fake flowers will give a bee no sweet reward… empty and fake choices, and not looking to God (the REAL thing) will never give you the good things you need.

God has good things for us, will provide for us our needs, but we have to be willing to look for Him in our daily lives, look into His word for direction, and to ask Him to give us guidance to the best and sweetest offerings that could be just a foot away from us.

God loves us and can see us working hard at life just like we can watch a bee.  He can see the direction we could be going.  So next time you feel like a busy bee, stop and look up.  Ask God the directions the “Petunias” are growing in, and then set about finding the good things he has for you!

(And there you go – your children’s story “nugget” for the week.  If you want the silly kid comments and responses, you’ll just have to visit a Children’s story near you!)

Monday’s Hero…

My husband is a quiet man… but he is far from quiet in the ways he is writing upon the hearts of my children.

Today is simply another start to the week…  but not for my family.  Today my husband begins a new job promotion.  It’s full of stress, new things to know and still learn, and he’s exhausted both physically and mentally from two and a half weeks of intense training.  He’s not a TYPE A personality.  So many times he has been told that is what makes a person successful by the world.  A “go getter”.

But for a minute – I want to show the “world” what a real “Go-Getter” can look like…

It’s a man who shifts from working nights onto living days each weekend and then back again so his family has him around.  Its the guy who never says no to a “can we ride to the park” bike ride, always holds a child who wants a book read, and is always more concerned about his family’s day than rehashing the day he just had.  It’s the man who offers to take his daughter to Chicago as a chaperone on a field trip and then a few hours later go into work for the night on whatever sleep he can get on a bus ride home full of middle school teens.  If the willingness alone is not red cape hero material, I don’t know what is.

It’s not just about what he does though… it’s about who he is daily, when no one is really looking.

Respect.  He almost unconsciously gives it.   He shares it unconditionally with not just family – but work colleagues, neighbors, and strangers alike.

He is quietly faithful to God.  When he prays over his family, it is strong and unwavering, powerful, and protective.  It’s amazing.  God moves in this house because he keeps us before the throne of God daily, by his continuous prayers.

He may be quiet, but he knows what needs done… and has never taken a day off for sickness, or himself, ever.  He is teaching his children what a work ethic is just by living his life in front of them.  He is showing them what it means to give his word and stick by it.  A promise is a promise.  Your word is your word.  If you take a job, you show up.  Period.

We need more cape-less heros in our world… and frankly, the ones who go about it quietly are critical.  It’s not wordiness we need – but living examples.

So Derek, I thank you for all that you do for us… but more over, I thank you for WHO you are.  I am praying over you today, and am more proud of you than these words can ever express.  I am so honored to have been your wife for these nearly 16 years.   I love you.

It’s about TIME…

I cant tell you how glad I am today is Saturday!

This week has been wonderful with seeing family during the holiday weekend, and yet for me…so exausting.

Ever feel like you just need a day off before the week even starts?  Yeah.  That’s been my life for about 4 weeks now… and while there is a soccer game to go cheer for my Amazing Alli – the rest of it will be loafing off.

Today – I’m simply grateful for … time, family, the many blessings I’ve been graced with, and more time.

Sometimes in the midst of busy life and the trials it brings, I forget that I have been given much “time” in the midst of it.  Time I would otherwise not have.  It’s hard to be grateful for being down (health-wise) and not able to do the things I always have done; run around with kids, groceries, DRIVING, and the volunteering and working I have always loved.  But in the midst of this hard place in life – time is still here and waiting to be filled up, same as always.

Honestly though?  It forces me to really see my kids growing, their daily lives, to be here for snuck phone calls from school on scary days for one, to hear the immediate after school updates, and to be able to lay with another when nightmares come.  I used to be a “Just a minute” mom, because I was always working into the future. But now I just live in the “now”.

And that’s not bad – no matter how you look at it.  There are always blessings if you look for them.  Today – I’m simply blessed to pieces with time!