Saturday, April 23, 2016

No Rhythm, No Worries? No Problem!

About two months ago, I decided that I wanted to go see Carrie Underwood in concert.  I checked her tour schedule and my friends calendars to see if a girls' weekend was possible.  One of the girls was already busy that weekend :( but the other three of us decided to go!  At that time, the closest venue to Dallas that Carrie was to appear was going to be Bossier City, LA.  Of course, since that time, she has added other cities, including...you guessed it, DALLAS!  O'WELL....we needed the weekend away!


This weekend was SHOW TIME!!!  I took off on Friday. I asked Brice to get us some snacks.  Every good girls' trip should include:  peanut butter M&Ms, our favorite drinks (Diet Dr. Pepper for me, Coke for Rachel, and water for Sara), popcorn, Chex Mix, and Twizzlers, of course!! :)  I downloaded Carrie's CDs on iTunes, burned them on discs, got everything and everyone in the car and we were headed out!!!!  First stop, Zig Zag Stripe Boutique in Mansfield!

I won't bore you with a bunch of details about this stop, except this....Sara bought an ADORABLE outfit that I will show you later!!!  AND...I do not own any cowboy boots. I tried some on at ZZS and LOVED them.  They were just SO expensive!!!  I did not end up buying them and, honestly, I kind of regret it.  I anticipate that I will either go back and buy them or buy them somewhere else!!  We grabbed lunch and then zipped on to I-20 for a lot of miles towards the state where crawfish are plenty!

It had been rainy and dreary all week long and God was so good to us to give us an ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS day of traveling!!!!  The weather was beautiful, skies were blue, and the clouds were big and fluffy!!!  We could not have asked for more perfect traveling conditions!

We made it all the way to Van, Texas before we stopped to go to the bathroom (thank you to Cynthia for the restroom stop tips ;) We were going to stop at Buc-ees but we did not have time on the way there.  We did stop on the way home!! :) 



We pulled into the hotel parking lot way later than we intended to (anyone that knows Rachel and me are likely not surprised by this) but with still plenty of time....or so we thought!!!!  Our plan was never to drive to the concert venue.  I did not want to deal with traffic, paying to park, or just the headache of it all.  The hotel has a shuttle but what we did not know is if the shuttle would go to the venue.  Our backup plan was Uber.  

Arriving to the hotel around 5:30 pm (just an 1 1/2 hours before the concert STARTED) was a little stressful as we still had to get dressed and ready and figure out how we were getting to the concert.  We had given up on eating dinner before the concert at this point.  We rushed around, got pretty, and started figuring everything out.  We began stressing out when we figured out that the shuttle DID NOT go to the Centurylink Center, Uber DID NOT service the area, and the cab would take over 45 minutes to get us there, when the concert was then supposed to start in 30 minutes!!!  I said, "Okay, girls, LET'S GO!!!"  I grabbed my keys and we jumped in my van and I drove....well, as Sara says, "aggressively."  



I have to give some serious Kudos to this venue!  The parking was absolutely FREE and they had some pretty efficient parking staff!  I was super impressed!!  We got to the Centurylink Center in about 15 minutes and still had 15 minutes to spare!!!  WORD!!!  We thought we were living right!  We walked up and saw that there was a door right there that said, "Entrance for VIP and floor seating only."  Well, HOT DIGGITY DOG...guess what?  We had floor seating!!  We pranced right on in, got our little swanky floor seating wrist bands, and the kind lady said, "All right girls, it's general admission but it is standing room only.  There are no seats."  Cue the dropped jaws, eyes wide open, blank stares.  "I'm sorry, what?"  She said, "Yes, that's right.  The concert people changed it because Carrie's stage is too big and no chairs will fit on the floor along with her stage so it is standing room only."  We all just looked at each other.   Rachel went off upstairs to see if she could talk to someone because of her back issues about getting a seat and Sara and I scoped things out a little.  Ultimately, we all decided to keep our spots by the stage as the place we had was so super close to where the performers were going to be.  Little did we know the condition we would be in at the end of the night!  

The first act was the Swon Brothers.  Apparently, they were on the Voice which I have never watched one second of but they were pretty good.  The second act was someone named Easton Corbin and I have never heard of him either but I kind of liked him.  I could have done without how long he performed but he was really good.  Then....Carrie Underwood!!!!!!!

First of all, she was just great!!!  She was a great performer, her vocals were amazing, and the best part, she just sang!  She was classy, beautiful, and entertaining.  I just thoroughly enjoyed the show!  It was one of the best concerts that I have ever been to.  She changed clothes five times, I think.  She sang for a SOLID 3 hours and never took an intermission.  Awesome, awesome show!!! One of my favorite parts was when she sat on the piano and did a tribute to her son and husband.  Loved it!!!!  


After it was over, I knew that I had a blister the size of Texas on my heel.  I borrowed pair of boots from Maura and they were just a smidge too small, I am afraid.  I need to be real honest for a minute...I am not a dancer and I do not profess to have very good moves...like AT ALL!!!!  BUT...boy did I MOVE at this concert!!!  And..in the car...and in the hotel room!!!! I just let it loose.  I had THE BEST TIME!!!!!!  I think that might be part of the reason for this blister.  So the blister and the fact that I had been standing for 4 1/2 hours straight was KILLING my back!!!!!  I COULD NOT walk straight!!!  I looked like I had drank about 4 too many beers.  Well, I hadn't!  When we got back to the van, it hurt to sit down.  I couldn't breathe!  We just sat in the parking lot waiting for the cars to file out which was good because I had to get the boots OFF!  We talked and laughed and just goofed around!!!  

We were STARVING but recognized that we had NO IDEA what would be open at 11:30 at night in Bossier City, Louisiana!  We landed at Chili's.  Problem was....I had to put the boots back on!  The hostess....have you ever watched the Bon Qui Qui videos on YouTube?  If you haven't, you should...they are entertaining and that is what our hostess reminded me of!!  We ate dinner and headed back to the hotel.

After taking turns prying our boots off, we took meds to ease our aching backs, talked until the meds kicked in and then went to sleep at about 2 am!!!!


When you are on a girls' weekend trip and you have the capability to sleep in until AT LEAST 11:00 am, what happens????  Your body does not allow you to sleep later than 7:30!!!!!!  But that does not mean we had to get out of bed!!  We I laid in bed as long as I could before Sara would not let me anymore. I was stressing her out!!!!  :)  We all got ready, had a mini concert in the room, did Bible study together (one of my favorite parts of the weekend), and checked out of the hotel, headed for lunch!  

Some of our church friends (from Louisiana) recommended this restaurant called Posado's in Bossier so we ate there at lunch.  It was pretty good.  We just all shared everything.  Funny little story...we were trying to get a good picture of the front of the restaurant for...you know...documenting purposes (and because we were jamming to the song on the radio) so they had me drive around the restaurant THREE TIMES!!!!  LOL!!!  We were all a little sad after lunch because it was time to head home.



We got gas and hopped on I-20 headed to the Big D!  Next stop....Buc-ees!



Buc-ees is a Texas monument!  The one we went to today is actually the newest one opened....in Terrell, Texas.  It just opened in June of last year.  If you do not know what Buc-ees is, it is a HUGE gas station with like 150 gas pumps, a convenience store, and mini Walmart all in one.  It's pretty cool!!  It was the first time any of us had been to one.  We three got matching shirts and I got shirts for everyone in my family.  :)



The trip was officially over with the arrival home to my babies and my sweet, sweet husband!!!  My husband who has so selflessly given of himself this past week for everyone!!  I cannot say enough about Brice and how he has served so many people lately.  I don't deserve him...at all.  

This was one of the best trips I have ever had!!!!  I was 100%, completely myself!!!!  I let anything and everything GO!!!  I have not laughed that hard in such a long time!!!!  It was so good to just laugh, sing at the top of my lungs, roll back the sunroof, listen to the same song over and over and over again, dance even though I have zero rhythm, and let the cares of the world stay in my rear view mirror...even for just 24 hours.  It was good!!  The Lord so graciously gave us beautiful weather and traveling mercies.  So so thankful for the blessings that He gives me.  The Lord is so good!!!

**SIDE NOTES**

Throughout the trip I started writing down quotes because there were things that we did not want to forget!!  I have recorded some of them below for your entertainment.
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Rachel:  Y'all, I think deep down I have always had an inner theatrical side.
Sara:  Inner???  I think it comes out way more than you know!

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Sara (to Rikki):  It's okay that we are running late.  You seem to be an aggressive driver.  We will get there.

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Conversation about syncing our FitBits....

Rikki:  Cynthia synced really early this morning.
Sara:  Well, she's an hour ahead of us I think.  At least Florida is...
Rikki:  Oh, yeah, that's right.  So, is Mississippi the next state over, then Alabama, then Florida.
Sara:  See this is how it works...
Rikki:  WOAH...I am not looking for a geography lesson!!!!

*****************

Sara:  Oh!!!!!  Look at this beautiful day!!!!  I AM SO EXCITED!!!  (This one comes with a picture...below!!!)


*****************

Rikki:  I wonder what Posado means?
Rachel:  Do you think it means tortilla?

That one is our favorite from the entire trip!!!!!  We laughed about that for hours!!!!  



Saturday, April 16, 2016

He Is Better

"For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a Mighty Savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With His love, He will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs." ~Zephaniah 3:17


 All I prayed for was for God to make my feelings change.  I had been feeling so desperate for love and so incredibly sad for the past three days and I could not stand it any longer.  That morning, I uttered two very distinct prayers intermingled amongst the other things I said to God.  Those two things were:  God, change my feelings.  Please, just make my heart feel better.  I am broken and I do not know what to do, and keep satan so far away from me today.  I know that he loves to take anything when I am like this and dig deeper into my insecurities.


This was Monday...this past Monday.  Let me back up a little.  My feelings have been waxing and waning for quite some time over the past several months.  While I can recognize that God has been doing some good things in my life, those good things have not been easy (back up a couple of posts for more details).  Sometimes sadness comes flooding in with great intensity and I am not sure what to do with it.  Most of the time, I try to stay away from people that I care about in order to keep those relationships "safe" and not alienate them.  This last weekend, it was bad.  Monday morning, I just knew that I was going to wake up feeling better.  But I didn't.  I woke up, still feeling crummy and stumbled downstairs to do my Bible study like I do every morning.  Then I spoke the prayer above, got dressed, gathered Hannah, and went out the door.  

About 15 minutes before I left, I received a text that said, "Happy Monday.  I love you BIG."  

She had no idea how much that meant to me and how much I needed that at that moment, so I told her just that.  

I dropped Hannah off, got back into the car, and what happened next is quite impossible to put into words.  I have not ever been one to say that I have heard God speak audibly and I didn't this time either, but this was God speaking to me.  This is what came to me...

Rikki, when you were a child, the very people that were supposed to love you unconditionally, tenderly, daily, without fail, and never leave you did not do that.  They did not show you what love is.  They would tell you that they loved you but were not consistent in their actions.  The healthy sense of love and affection that a child should learn early on was not shown to you by the most important people in your life.  Your parents did not show you that you were the most important thing in their life.  They (and drugs) were the most important things to them.  You learned that from a very early age and to compensate for that, you found love in constructive ways, but in ways that would plague you as an adult.  

You went to school and you earned love.  You were an excellent student.  You performed well, you were a shining star, you put on a great show.  No one would have ever believed that your home life was what it was.  You were popular, you were a best friend to everyone, you got straight As, you were a cheerleader, basketball player, softball player, leaders in clubs, drama teams, in the 5th grade your last report card was ALL 100s for crying out loud!!!!! But why??  Because you wanted to be noticed.  You wanted to be loved and accepted, and the way you did that was by showing that you were worthy of that love.  It worked!  Except when it didn't.  

I sat in my car probably with my mouth wide open.  My complete attitude changed.  In a split-second my feelings changed.  I was no longer overcome with sadness but almost relieved that God had given me such an insight into why I was so incredibly dysfunctional!!!  I think I found some sort of comfort in the fact that, although, I am in control of my own actions, I did not have to be completely at fault for the way I am.  I felt a peace wash over me like I cannot explain.  I felt God say to me that it was all going to be okay.  Once again, I felt His presence and Him say, "Rikki, this might be hard, but I am with you."  It is hard.  It is not fun to dig up old things that you want to not think about.  I have long forgiven my parents for the pain from my childhood.  I am thankful for the person that I am today, for the most part.  I am thankful for the relationship that I have with both my dad and with my mom.  My mom and I have gotten so much closer in the last 8 months, because I have prayed that God would show me how to be her daughter and for Him to show me what she needs from me.  This life is not all about me, it is about Him and I want to point her to Him.  

I don't know exactly what this revelation means for me except that I know that God is teaching me to trust in Him.  I cannot serve two masters.  If I seek approval and significance in man, then I am looking in the wrong place.  I need to be more concerned about what God thinks about me instead of what people think.  I know that every time I have a tendency to do something or say something or buy something for someone, I will question my motive first to make sure that I am doing it out of a giving heart and not because I need an extra dose of love or acceptance that day.  I know that God is changing my heart.  I know that God loves me and that I do not have to do anything to make Him love me more but it is the people that I love that has been my issue.  I have to trust that the people that love me, love me because they simply LOVE ME not love that I tell them they are pretty, buy them presents, or that I act a certain way.  If I have to do that for someone to love me, they did not truly love me to begin with.  This is going to be a process but I will be okay.

I have wonderful friends.  They are absolutely a gift from God and I will NEVER quit thanking Him for that.  I have a handful of people that I can call right this very second and I know that they would, if able, do ANYTHING for me.  I have to trust that they are not going to "drop me" when I am a hard friend to love or when I make mistakes, because Lord knows I will.  

God not only changed my feelings on Monday, He took my simple prayer request and He said, "I am going to do something even better than that, I am going to change your entire perspective on life.  I am going to change you!"  My goodness, I cannot wait to see where He takes me! 


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lessons From A 7-Year Old


I spend my days utterly exhausted. It's true. I don't know how to sugar-coat it or make it sound any more glamorous than that! I actually think I have gotten used to it because I have been so tired for so long. The thing is that everyone that has been in this very place before me tells me that I should cherish every moment because it won't last long. I believe it. I do. The older I get, the faster it goes!! My baby is FOUR!!!!! I have no idea when that happened!!!!! Some days I miss the baby days and other days I love the fact that all of my kids can do certain things by themselves!

Last night, I started a new medication for my migraines. I took it at about 10:00 and around 10:30, I was seriously unable to function. I was DONE. At about 2:30 am, my sweet middle child woke me up and was in tears standing by my bedside. I am still not completely sure what the problem was but she does have nightmares occasionally and knows to bring her pillow and blanket to my floor by my bed. We have a queen bed and the two of us, Libby, and another human just doesn't work! (Especially because I cannot stand to be touched while I'm sleeping-that was free info- you're welcome ;) ANYWAY, she woke me up again about an hour later hysterical and said, "Mommy, if we do one flip, we can't do another one, right?" I instructed her to go back to sleep. 

This morning she got up and got dressed without any protest which isn't completely abnormal, as she is generally my most cooperative child in the morning but she was very quiet. Right before she went to school, she came upstairs where I was getting ready and was in tears. What I got out of the situation was something about her friend and how she told her teacher that she was going to do something.  She didn't do it and she was afraid that her teacher was going to be mad at her; she was going to sign her folder. The bottom line, she had lied to her teacher and she felt bad about it. It was killing her!!! That was what she was so upset about in the middle of the night last night! 

What if I was that convicted each time I sinned against the Father? What if each time I did something wrong, I was so grieved that I could not sleep? What if something as simple as a lie caused me to weep? I am not so naive to think that my child was not simply afraid of getting in trouble instead of grieving her sinful ways; nevertheless, it reminded me of my relationship with my Father. 

God wants me to be so broken over my sin that I fall on my knees and ask for forgiveness. I need to repent and turn from those ways. And I need to be serious about walking so closely with Christ that it grieves me as much as it does Him when I sin. 

Lord, help me walk with You so closely that it breaks my heart when I sin. Break my heart for what breaks Yours.

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”
James 4:8 NLT

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Take A Minute Tuesday

Taking a minute today to just remind myself that what I feel does not define who I am.  The things that I may go through in a day does not negate what Christ has done for me.  When I have a bad day, it is simply that, a bad day.  It does not mean that I am a bad person.  It does not mean that people do not like me.  It does not mean that I am any less of a person than I am on a good day.  When my world around me feels like it is crashing down, I have an unchangable God who is with me, always.  He walks beside me.  He loves me no matter what.  Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.  He suffered so that He would know what it would be like for me to suffer.  I almost kind of chuckle when I think about this.  Not because it is funny but because what I go through pales in comparison to what my Jesus went through.  Then.  Right then is when I decide that my day really wasn't so bad after all.  I do think that it is okay for us to have our days when we have our "moments" and cry and say, what in the world?!  But, when we choose to stay in those moments and continue without moving forward is when we have a problem.  Not only that, but there is almost certainly someone else who has had a much worse day than me. 

"Knowing that Jesus Christ is sympathetic shows me that I am not alone." ~Jen Wilkin

Sure, yesterday was a rough day for me.  I did not want to "adult" as I like to put it.  Ha!  I was glad when yesterday was over.  Why? Because God's mercies are new every single morning.  Today, I got up, thanked Him for today and read His Word.  I did the same thing yesterday.  Will today be filled with the same unexpected twists and turns?  No, but there will be things that will annoy and irritate me, I am sure.  I also know that God is the same today as He was yesterday.  I have a new perspective today.  I am going to CHOOSE joy today.  Satan will try to stop that.  He does not want me to be joyful in the Lord but I have my armor on and God is walking beside me.  I have friends praying for me.  God is good and He is faithful!  I am such a blessed girl and I could not ask for much more!  Why would I not have a good day? 

"This is my command - be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9
 
 
 


Sunday, April 3, 2016

SUYL - Favorite Beauty Products

I know that a lot of people think that I require a lot of beauty products but it simply is not true.  The more children I added, the more true it became!  Ha!!


Kelly at http://www.kellyskornerblog.com featured Favorite Beauty Products on her weekly edition of Show Us Your Life this week and I thought I would share my favorites! :)

First, the most important part of my day is a good face cleanser.  Every single day, I use this little set that I LOVE LOVE LOVE by Mary Kay: 



This is the Volu-Firm Set.  What I love about this is that the cleanser is really foamy so it feels like I am really washing my face! After that, I use the Lifting Serum which makes my face feel firm, then in the morning, the Eye Renewal Cream (which is AHHH-mazing), and the Day Moisturizer, and just the Night Moisturizer at night.  This set is a little pricey but if I can look like Mary Kay in my 90's, I am good with that! :)

I used to SWEAR by Bare Minerals because I do not like to feel like I am wearing makeup.  In the last year I started selling Mary Kay and they have a mineral powder foundation that I have started using and I like it just as well and it is cheaper so that is what I use now.

Sometimes when I want a little extra coverage I will also use the matte-finish foundation under the mineral powder as well.  I also use just boring eye-liner, blush, and mascara.  One thing that I cannot live without is my eyeshadow.  For three years in a row, I got the newest Urban Decay Naked Palette for Christmas.  Bless my husband...one year, he could not find the Naked Palette 3 in stock anywhere!  he went to 3 different Ulta stores looking for it and finally ordered it online!!! :)  BUT...it is my favorite!!  I use it every single day!! 

On the makeup front, I will just mention that I have used the same lipstick since I was able to start wearing makeup at 16 years old.  Yes, I am boring.  It is Raisinberry by Mary Kay.  I hope that they never retire it. I have tried some others, especially since selling it, but I always go back to this one.  It is just my color!

The only other thing I will mention is hair.  I believe that my hair is my best feature.  I spend a lot of money getting my hair done and I spend a lot on hair products.  I have very thick hair and it is not exactly easy to manage!  My favorite shampoo is Biolage and because I do color my hair, I use the color-fast one.  It smells SO GOOD!!!  
I also have to use conditioner every time I wash my hair.  I try to only to wash it every other day.  I have recently discovered dry shampoo...not sure if I love it yet but I am using it.  I also use a little product called Biosilk.  I have used this since I was in high school.  Since my hair is so thick, it sometimes gets frizzy.  I use Biosilk when it is wet and just run it through...it helps keep the frizz down and I sometimes even use it when it is dry.  it smells SO GOOD!!!!!  A little goes a REALLY REALLY long way!!! 

So...there's my secrets!!  HAHAHA!!!  Really, I am pretty simple.  I do like to put on makeup if I am going out but I really don't wear a lot.  I don't have a lot of time to do much!!!  




Friday, April 1, 2016

What Has God Taught Me

You hear people say that there are defining moments in your life.  These moments can include graduations, births, deaths, relationships, etc., These moments bring about change.  As I have mentioned several times on my blog, I do not enjoy change.  I don't know many people that do love change, actually.  The thing is, though, change is necessary. What is that saying?  The only thing that is constant in life is change?


In the past about eight months or so, there have been many defining moments in my life.  I cannot say that any of those major "events" listed above have happened. No graduations, my cousin had a baby but not a major impact on my life, no major relationship status changes.  The main thing that did happen as far as my list is concerned is that my Aunt Donna died last month.  It was a very difficult death for me, but I am not even referring to that.  

Without going into too much detail due to confidentiality purposes, God took some pretty big things back in August and September and asked me to really grow up.  God handed me some real "grown-up" stuff and said, "Rikki, you are 34 years old and I am going to test your faith.  You do not have to do this alone but you MUST trust me if you are going to do this the right way."  It has been hard and I did not always do it right, but trust Him, I have.  And you know what?  I have learned so much!  I have grown beyond those eight months.  There were mornings driving to work where I could barely see through my tears.  I remember specifically dialing every friend's number that I could think of and NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON was available.  I stopped my car on the side of the road and sobbed.  I am not talking cried.  I am talking SOBBED with noise, you know, like you did as a child.  I had come face to face with the reality that in that moment, God wanted me to go to Him.  Not my friends. HIM!  That is what He had been wanting from me for MONTHS!!!! I had been whining for the past few years about what a hard time I have had with friendships and what He was trying to tell me was that He wanted me to depend on Him instead of others.  That was only part of what He was teaching me.

What has God taught me in the past eight months? God has taught me that even if your past is your past, the actions of others really can rock your world.  When you feel like you have been able to separate your current life from your former life, somehow that connection to who you once were still exists and the pain is hard to shake.  The reality that someone you love has done something terrible somehow does have a reflection on who you are as a person, whether you want it to or think it should.  God has taught me that things are not always what they seem.  Even those that you find you should be able to trust the most, they are merely flesh and bone.  They can and will fail you. I have learned that someone can go from one complete end of the "secure" spectrum towards the total opposite end to completely "insecure" with one quick blow.  I have realized how devastating it is for someone to literally claw their way back from the PITS of insecurity hell.  I have learned to pray like my life depended on it - because IT DOES!!!  I have learned how to pray for my husband more diligently.  I have learned who my real, true friends are.  I have learned who, when I am at my worst, would be willing to offer me grace if needed.  God taught me so much about patience.  So very much about patience and seeking His face.  One of the main themes over and over again the past several months was not trying to figure out His will but knowing Him more so that I wouldn't need to "figure it out" I would just know.  I would be walking in it without even realizing it.  I would be IN His will because I would be daily living and walking with Him in peace knowing that it was what He wanted.  God has been teaching me more and more that this life that I live is not about me, it is SO much more about Him.  It is about what He will accomplish.  Through all of this that happened the past several months, what was God's main goal?  What did He want to accomplish?  Well, I know that He wanted everything to be done for His glory.  

I have walked through a study on the armor of God, to help us defend against the enemy and goodness gracious was the enemy attacking on all sides during that time!!!!  Then we moved right into a study in I, II, and III John about God's love.  From that study, we did a study on the Bible, from the beginning to the end which we just finished.  It was a great study on how the Bible is a seamless story.  I have recently started a study on Hebrews and I cannot say enough wonderful things about it and as women, we are about to start I Peter.  So much wonderful teachings through these studies!  GOD HAS TAUGHT ME THAT HIS WORD IS CRUCIAL!!!!  HE HAS GIVEN ME A RENEWED DESIRE TO STUDY HIS WORD.  I am so grateful that I long each and every day to sit down at His feet and study what He has in store for me that day.  I literally cannot wait to see what my study, His Word is going to teach me each day. I cannot tell you the last time I felt this way.  

God is in the business of doing good things. The thing is, as Brice and I were talking about the other day, God's good and what we think as good may not be the same.  I remember specifically talking to someone one time and her saying, "I just cannot believe and will not believe that it is God's will that my husband have a seizure disorder."  Well, her husband had a seizure disorder.  How else do you explain it?  Now, someone that is not a believer may very well have another explanation but I AM a believer and I very much believe that it was, in fact, His will if her husband had a seizure disorder (although I don't go around telling my patients' family members this...I do like to keep my job).  God's good is for HIS plan to be fulfilled - whatever that may be.  God's good is NOT for everything to FEEL good the way we think of it in human terms.  God's good might actually FEEL really yucky to us sometimes.  Someone might have to die for His good to be fulfilled and that may not make sense but God is sovereign and I do not understand everything there is to know about His sovereignty by any stretch of the imagination but I DO believe that sometimes in order for good to happen, it has to hurt first.  That is where genuine trust comes into play. That is something else that I have learned.  Trust.  

I have had multiple conversations over the past eight months where I had to be the "grown up" and say things that I wasn't even really sure were right or made sense.  I literally felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants and praying the entire time.  I remember saying many times, "You may have a hard time seeing it right now but you will come out of this stronger than you are now. God is going to do something wonderful through your story." This is true for many of the trials I have endured during this time period.  I believed that because I had to.  Like I said, God told me that I had to be the adult whether I wanted to or not!

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned change and how I did not like change.  It's funny because part of the anxiety that I had as things started to unfold during my time of multiple crises this past end of summer/fall was all of the changes that were happening.  People were leaving my life and things were just kind of unstable which is difficult for me.  I remember praying for those close to me that I knew were struggling with different things where I may not have been struggling because that is what you do.  When you are strong, you pick up the slack for a friend and vice versa.  What I remember most is, during the time I was praying for specific people, I also began to change.  The whole process that God has brought me and my friends and family through has been just incredible to see.  

I had a conversation yesterday with someone who I had been praying for during that time who looked at me and said with tears in their eyes, "Isn't God good?"  Yes, my beautiful friend.  He is.  He has shown Himself faithful, yet again.  In at least two very specific circumstances from the past eight months that I can pinpoint in my life directly.  This period of time might have very well been the hardest time that I have ever faced as an adult.  And, honestly, it isn't over.  The trials that I speak of are still continuing but I do really feel like time is healing parts of these wounds but the majority of the healing is coming from Jesus.  

These types of changes are welcome.  The process is hard but the changes we go through are so worth it.  God is so good.  He has taught me how to be a better wife, mom, and friend.  How to read His word more, pray more diligently, love more intentionally, give more, and worry about what others think less.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Completion

Most of my friends that know me well know that I do not finish things.  I find this to be an interesting quirk about myself.  The main reason why I think it is so strange is because I am such a perfectionist and with that being my nature, the tendency would generally be to not start something until it could be done to perfection.  Which, allow me to chase a rabbit for a second, also leads to one of my biggest flaws - procrastination.  I wait until the LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE to meet any deadline because I work better under pressure dread the long hours working on something until it looks EXACTLY PERFECT - because nothing else will do!  Which then leads to my only other weakness - tardiness.  It kind of reminds me of that one Bible verse - you know the one...let's see...ah, yes - "and suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope...." (Romans 5:4)...except not at all....anyway, where was I?  Oh, me being perfect!  Right.  


I have a habit, I guess you could call it that, of not finish things - namely, Bible studies, books, and last bites of things.  Weird?  Okay, sure.  Let me explain a little.  For several years, I would do about 3/4 of the women's Bible studies and then just not finish them.  I would get behind, frustrated, discouraged, and not finish the homework.  I LOVED going to the meetings but I just wouldn't finish the homework.  Totally felt like a failure so I started doing the only thing I knew to do - make a joke out of it.  "Rikki never finishes a Bible study."  It became a running joke.  Made me feel better...sorta....not really.  It was an outward "mask" to make the inside failure feel like it was still "okay" somehow.  That perfectionist did not finish, she failed. But, hey, she was funny and cute on the outside that everyone laughed at.  Books?  Well, I am not a good {fast} reader.  I like to read I am just not a great reader.  So, I get about 1/2 to 3/4 way finished and I either get bored, pre-occupied, busy or whatever and just put it down.  No big deal.  Add it to the pile of "unfinished business."  Last bites of things?  Can't tell ya.  It's just weird!  But really, I can eat an entire cheeseburger but the last bite.  It isn't with everything like an OCD thing but it happens a lot.  Just a random piece of trivia about me.  Carry on.  

I wanted to share some thoughts about finishing.  I am doing a new Bible study by Jen Wilkin who I LOVE, by the way.  It is her Hebrews study which is FREE for download available on Facebook right now!!!  Go get it!  It will rock your world!!!  Anyway, I am doing it right now and loving it!  Two of the verses that stuck out to me this week are both in chapter 3:

verse 6b: "And we are God's house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ."

verse 14: "For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ."

Both of these verses talk about remaining, holding fast until the end.  What if I give up on believing in Christ half-way or 3/4 of the way through the journey? "If we are faithful to the end, trusting God," I mean, wow.  What if I was as faithful and trusting now as I was the day I first believed in Him?  The entire city where I lived would know about Him!  We must hold fast until the end.  Until the day He calls us home or He comes back for us.  

In Philippians, Paul writes in 1:6 that "I am sure of this that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." What if God said He was bored with me 1/4 of the way and quit?  I would be in a WORLD of trouble!!  I am so thankful that He is not finished with me!!!!  

I get so anxious about the "ends" of things that I dread them starting.  I know that sounds neurotic but it's true. When something exciting is about to happen, like a Disney trip or a fun girl's weekend with my dearest friends is approaching, part of me is super excited about the event but as it gets closer my heart starts to grow weary.  Why you ask? Because the closer it gets, the sooner it will be until it's over!  I know...live in the moment but they are SO SO FLEETING and it just hurts my heart something fierce!!!  I HATE goodbyes and hate when happy things end!  I hate it!!!!  

My favorite verses of Scripture are found in Romans:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (12:1-2)

The word "perfect" there is the idea of completion - lacking nothing.  The last 2 Bible studies I have done, I have completed them.  I am on the road to recovery.  :)  In all seriousness, my prayer is that I will live my life pleasing to God and striving exactly for what the verses say above - as a living sacrifice for the One that gave His Son for me.  I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind and the way that is done is by studying His Word daily.  The Bible studies I have been doing allow me to desire to be in His Word.  I have learned so much about God, His character, His attributes, what He wants and desires for me, and His love for me.  I am a better wife, mother, friend, and person because of God's Word.

We are called to finish this race but we do not have to do it alone.  That "failure on the inside" was not a failure at all.  She just didn't answer some homework questions.  God still loves her.  The unanswered Bible study questions did not define me.  What I do does not make me who I am.  How well I do something does not determine my self-worth.  God bought me with a price - His Son.  He loves me when I don't feel {or act} lovable. He is faithful when I am not.  He goes before me, He walks beside me, and He will never leave me - until the very end - until completion!




Reason to Rejoice
 
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