Inspired by Draw the Circle devo Day 39

Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.

Exodus 3:5

I had a “send chills up my spine moment” typing this when I realized that I am typing to you in a place that has become holy ground to me (We started the Draw the Circle 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson and Covid-19 hit right in the middle so I finished the 40 day challenge via email typing the daily devo and then relating it to our journey.) When my husband died one of the first places I felt less lost was in the chair at his desk, in his office.  It was the first room in our house that wasn’t re-done for one of our kids.  He had inherited a couple of hundred dollars from his mother and wanted to do something tangible with the money and decided he’d invest it in his office space. I remember him asking, “Is that selfish of me?”  I, of course, said no, and encouraged him to move forward.  

He picked out the paint colors,

He designed the desk, 

He picked out the flooring, 

He re-wired the lighting.  

He made it a space that he loved and as soon as he was gone, I loved it too.  

Before he died, I had sat in his chair to type something for him and commented, “This is the most uncomfortable chair I have EVER sat in.”  Knowing him, he had probably found it in the trash somewhere and refurbished it.  I promptly bought him a new chair and he fell asleep in it the next time he was on a conference call!  ANYWAY, he’s been gone 1,349  days and this is still one of my favorite places to be. I’ve done a few things to make it my own, but it is largely the space he created.  It’s small, well lit and comfy.  But typing this week’s devos I was overwhelmed by the fact that this is where God has done great things in my life.  

It is in this chair that I have poured my heart out to Him in my journal and written the prayers I have seen Him answer.  

It is in this chair that I have worried about how I would make it without him and seen God fill our EVERY need. 

It is in this chair feeling lost and with no direction that I have sat and done Bible Studies that have sustained me.

It is in this chair that I have opened the cards people sent that contained exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.  

It is now that I realize this place was prepared for me long before I knew I needed it.

It is from this chair that I have risen and faced what I thought was unfaceable.

I never have shoes on here unless they are house shoes because my feet are cold – and I never will again, because now I know this is holy ground.  It is where my God has met me, comforted me, sustained me and sent me.  I will never look at this place the same again.

God knows where you are!  Get your order pad ready!

The one handed girl isn’t weird?

I saw a post on Facebook by a super cute one handed girl who was pleading — don’t let your kids call me weird, I’m different.  I don’t even know you, but I love you one handed girl who had the courage to post on Facebook.  But, sorry sweetie, you are weird — and spoiler alert, we all are!  I may have two hands but I’m a creepy, old, fat, white lady and a lot of people find that weird.  Really we’re all weird in some way, but you have to reach a point where you realize your weird is wonderful, if you will just let it be. I’ve actually met three girls born without one hand in my lifetime — and at first glance they did look a little weird, but it took me no time at all to see that they were also quite wonderful!  It took me days of thinking about this topic to remember I’d ever met someone with one hand because once you get to know someone you just accept them as a fellow human being and remember they touched your life.  While it takes a second to realize someone is different it only takes the next couple of seconds to get to know them and see that really they are  more like me than different. 

I think not being weird is weird.  What is normal after all?  It’s weird how upside down God’s world is.  Years ago I read a book by Carol Kent, A New Kind of Normal.  It’s about how her life turned upside down when her vision of her life was turned upside down in an instant and the process of how she learned to adapt to her “new normal”.  She never would have chosen this path. I don’t imagine anyone would say, I’d like to be born without an appendage, or dyslexia, or whatever imperfection we came with but we can adjust.We can do our best with what we are given and try to define ourselves, not as others see us, but as God sees us – redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Normal is just perception.  If I perceive any situation as normal – it is my normal. Normal really only exists in cyberspace where professionals take weird people, Photoshop and air brush them and then present them to the world as normal — and we eat it up!  I, personally, really like weird, probably the weirder you are the more likely we are to be friends, because I am pretty weird. If people define you by or treat you according to the number of appendages you have, number of pounds you weigh, the color of your skin, your religion, your sexual orientation, number of blemishes you have, number of eyeballs you have, whatever — they are missing the opportunity to know someone wonderful.

The tabs open on my computer would make Freud’s day.  Right this second I have Facebook, Zoom, BibleGateway, Urban Dictionary, Pinterest and 4, yes four Google email accounts (Real me, work me, Paxton who’s been working on a project in here and a student who’s been coming over to use my stuff).  I’m pretty sure this fact alone makes me weird!  But I looked up weird on Urban Dictionary, (I love Urban Dictionary, people put definitions on and other people vote for the most accurate one. Disclaimer: It’s often irreverent, sarcastic and off color, buy hey, I’m weird).  It is very unconventional.  It also helps me navigate the world of teenagers I work in without having to ask so many stupid questions! 

The truth is every word has two meanings: what I meant when I said it and how you take what I say.  They are both right.

This teaches me that I have a choice with every word I say.  I can choose my response, I can choose to be offended, I can choose to think you are ignorant, or funny, or clueless or kind, but most importantly we can choose to not be defined by the words of others. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion after all. We should use kind words, but sometimes I don’t. I may be having a bad day— hurt people hurt people.  I may think I’m funny when really I’m not. But at the end of the day I choose Philippians 4:8 and I choose to focus on

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

If I have said something that wasn’t these things – please disregard!  Our words DO matter but I think what we focus on matters more, because I can control that!

Go – make your weird wonderful.

I don’t want a dog!

My twenty something year old son says arrogantly, “I don’t want children now they are too much responsibility, but hey, I really want a dog.” Because, you know, they are no responsibility at all!!!  

Then you hear, 

“Mom, I’m going out of town, can my dog stay with you?” 

“Mom, I’m going out of town, can my dog stay with you?” 

“Mom, my dog is tearing things up because I work and I’m gone a lot.”  Who knew!  

“Mom I’m working double shifts this week can my dog stay with you!”  

“Mom I’ve been working double shifts and really need to sleep late, can my dog stay with you!” 

“Mom you can’t go to school because of COVID-19 and I hate for you to have come over and let my dog out in the afternoon, can he just stay with you?”  

And bam – I have a dog.  

I don’t like him (the dog, not the kid, that’s another post all together!), but he really likes it when his treats are dipped in peanut butter first.

I don’t like him because if you leave the remote control out, he will eat it. I know because he’s eaten FOUR, because remember I am a slow learner. 

I don’t like him because he demands to have the bathroom door open and since my bathroom door is a barn door there is very little I can do about it.  He hates water, no amount of peanut butter will get him in the shower, but I can’t be in there alone either evidently.  Once the door is open he’s perfectly happy and goes to nap on the bed or back outside – he just has to have things the way he likes them.  

I don’t like him because he bites my left foot continually when I’m on the TreadClimber.

I don’t like him because he chases off the squirrels and the birds, and he lays IN my flower bed which he has eaten the landscaping timbers, and he likes to dig, and eat holes in the fence…..and he has a hunger for knowledge – he’s eaten several books.

Yes those are landscape timbers that he ATE!

I don’t like him, but he’s sweet as he can be and I love that stupid dog.

Now in the dog daddies defense, he did send him to obedience school, he is crate trained, he’s not a beggar or big fan of people food, but he does keep my kitchen floor clean and he does spend weekends with his dad (sometimes) and he loves to sit on the patio with me and watch tv at night.

Really I don’t want a dog, but he comes with some things that I DO want.  I want a great relationship with my adult kids.  I want them to say, “Mom can you ….”  I want to be needed.  I want to have a reason to get up in the morning.  I want someone to be excited to see me.  I want someone to sit on the couch with me and watch TV  at night.  I want something to complain about besides my own idiosyncrasies, well dammit, I do want a dog, because he’s part of a package that is in fact a blessed life!

The reality is — the best things in my life I didn’t even know I wanted.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  

Romans 7:15

Life is such a dichotomy.

I don’t want a dog, but suddenly I have one.

I don’t want to be fat, but I love to cook and eat, especially with others. 

I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t want to go anywhere. 

I don’t want to go anywhere, but I love to travel. 

I don’t want to be a widow, but I have a dead husband.  No, really I don’t want to be a widow!  Please don’t refer to me as Ms. I didn’t sign up for this, I don’t want it, I didn’t choose it and it really really sucks. But in reality … I have to focus on what I do have, not what I want or don’t want…

  • I have had one and only one marriage, I have honored a covenant to another, I have loved and been loved.  
  • I have found GriefShare and have met the neatest people through it and made some of the best friends in my life at point that I thought my life was over.
  • I have taken more chances, been less controlling, made more plans and been happier with fewer plans.
  • I have become more mellow as I realize, really, I am not in control and really that is a good thing.
  • For the first time in my life I’m doing what I feel called to do rather than focusing on being someone’s mother or someone’s wife, even though I wouldn’t trade those things for anything.
  • I have learned that it’s not about what I want, because I’m usually wrong.  It is about surrendering my life and taking advantage of the opportunities God places in my path.  And trusting that my days are numbered and I have the choice to make them count or not. And believing that the God who created the universe and cares about the sparrows, also cares about me.

It’s not about what I want or don’t want, it’s about knowing that I am NOT in control and THAT is good!

It’s about sometimes embracing what we do not want because God has incredible blessings in store for us!

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Luke 12:24

Update:  A couple of hours after posting this Rocky shattered the office window charging at a squirrel, broken window, small dog cut, which I thought was no big deal until we ended up in the doggie ER for stitches at 9:30 on Sunday night (cha-ching) and a ten day sentence in the cone of shame!

Cone head the destroyer!