Ice Cream In The Microwave

You know when something utterly makes sense to you?  You rationally defend your claim and stand beside it-no matter what.  You feel it can’t be disputed and you convey a persuasive, logical reasoning to it’s unusual case.  In your mind, it’s unquestionable and you have true conviction about the whole idea.  Should these feelings be on display about everything?  No.  Should it be about things that matter to you?  Oh, yea-definitely.  Could you see another side to the argument, perhaps?  Maybe (but unlikely to come to a regulated agreement, unless it’s to agree to disagree).  Your probably wondering, “What on Earth is she talking about?!?”  Well, let me tell you a story…

It’s a week night, and my husband and I decide to enjoy a wonderful bowl of ice cream.  Mmmmm.  I love ice cream.  I could eat it once a night for the rest of my life.  So, as we take out the ice cream, my husband turns the faucet on to ‘hot’ and begins to hold the ice cream scooper under the running water.  I simply ask him what he is doing and his reply is, “I am getting the ice cream scooper warm, so it will cut through the ice cream better.”  Hmm, okay.  I, on the other hand, decide to grab the whole carton of ice cream, open the microwave, and press ‘start’.  My husband, freaking out, says, “What are you doing?!?”  I very rationally explain that this is the most efficient way to soften ice cream, while keeping it still cold, and easily scooping it into our bowls to then enjoy.  Rolling his eyes, he says I’m crazy, and argues that his way is better…

Fast forward a few nights later.  Once again, the ice cream craving comes.  My husband and I want to enjoy a lovely bowl of that creamy goodness.  He goes into the kitchen, pulls out the ice cream, turns on the faucet, and yes-waits for the water to get hot.  Observing him from the comforts of our living room, I watch as he aggressively tries to scoop and scoop ice cream from the carton.  Continually placing the ice cream scooper under the hot water, he attempts (for a lengthy amount of time) to fill our bowls with that yummy sweetness.  As he is struggling, I simply say, “Now you know why I use the microwave.”  Hard to step down from his prideful ladder, he gently shakes his head back and forth, smiling just enough to indicate that he’s secretly thinking, “I should have put the ice cream in the microwave.”

Okay, so I am not telling this story just to be silly.  I wanted to expand my thoughts on something more concrete.  In reference to that first paragraph I wrote, I would like to discuss the feeling of having conviction.  You don’t feel wrong, you don’t have doubt, and you express your thoughts in a clear-cut manner that makes complete sense.

I look back on the past few years, and I see myself manifesting in various degrees of light.  What I portrayed to people, wasn’t always what I portrayed at home.  However, what I portrayed outwardly, was my way of helping the internal part of me feel better.  I felt strength in how people viewed me as this ‘encouraging person’.  Someone who had thoughtful, godly things to say, almost daily.  I always thought it was weird, though, because I just felt it come out naturally.  The way I expressed myself, and the things I ‘said’ on a daily basis were real and clear to me.  I remember telling someone that it wasn’t me talking, it was God.  He was using me as a tool to convey certain messages, or words.  I believed every single thing that came out of my mouth, and I wanted to people to hear it.  I wanted them to feel equally convicted of that same strength and courage.  Why not?  Was it really helpful to be sad and angry all the time?  No.

This time in my life started in the late winter of 2012.  It had come after a rather horrifying end to 2011.  My husband and I experienced our first pregnancy loss that included months of uncomfortable moments, pain, and inevitably surgery.  In addition to that, I had finally reached my breaking point with my Dad and brother.  They had pulled me in all sorts of directions, up until that point, and I finally couldn’t take it anymore.  I cut them out of my life and disabled all forms of communication.  I even paid to have a service put on my phone so that I could intentionally block several of their phone numbers.  Then, in December 2011, just as we were coming to the end of the year, Adam was let go from his job.  Since he was the ‘bread winner’ of the house, we were lost.  At this time, we had been physically, emotionally, and financially beaten down.  However, God’s timing was (and is) always mercifully perfect.  When the news was shared that Adam was now unemployed, we were at a church event, surrounded by loving church family.  My husband and I describe that moment as, “God literally holding us in His arms, through every single person there.”  In that moment, we knew life was going to change dramatically, but that God wasn’t going to leave us.  We had conviction that He was going to hold us through and provide for us in every way.  And He did…

Anyway, as the new year began, I was prepping for my mission trip to Guatemala.  I had already raised my funds, and had been preparing for months.  I was ready to go, yet hesitant to leave at such a fragile time.  Looking back now (and even soon after that trip) I would have never changed a thing.  That was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.  I came back to the states filled with a humble heart, hope, and love for life.  I vowed that I was not going to display myself (like those on Facebook) as a complaining, depressed human, pretending to having a wonderful life.  I was only going to say what was helpful and use words that I really meant.  If I was feeling down, I allowed myself to express that, but only after seeking wisdom from God.  I wanted to be pure and honest, but hopeful with truth.  I believed in my words because they were from God.  I loved sharing my heart because I felt as though people needed it.  It’s like God literally pressed on my heart to step out and speak.  So, I did…

That time in my life kind of reminds me of now.  However, I don’t necessarily have that passion to be as encouraging (though I would like to be somewhere around that again).  I feel like the encouraging type of person I am becoming encompasses a steady calm, with meaningful energy.  I don’t feel like I am as ‘crazed’ with excitement to share my heart.  I look back at that time and view myself like a firework (and no I am not referring to Katy Perry’s hit song).  I just see that “Sarah” as overly driven to some degree.  Which makes sense because I ended up falling very, very hard after that.

So, what I mean about me feeling like I did then, now, was that during that time, I knew God was right there.  Not that He was (or is) ever gone, but we really felt His presence in our lives, and He made Himself well-known.  The way things were provided for, the depth of our trust in Him, the ease we had about all the chaos and mess around us.  He was there in every moment, placing His hand wherever we put ours.  I think I just got way over excited and took the ‘encouraging’ to a level that maybe…was not Him.  That’s the thing about the enemy, he can sometimes mask himself to resemble good.

Anyway, after feeling so high, then coming down soooo low, I feel like I am starting to stabilize.  The majority of the time, I feel rather consistent.  Not only that, but I feel that specific presence from God again.  Actually, we do.  We feel God moving in our lives in a surprising way.  We trust His idea’s for us and we literally are just following His plan at this point.  We are praying, we are listening, and we are letting God lead.

If you are weak in faith, in mind, in body, in discipline, in self-control, or in determination, simply wait on God.  He is your strength when all you have is weakness.  It might not be what you want, or how you think it should look, but it will be exactly what you need.

Until next time…adios.

-S-

“Worry weighs a person down…”

“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” – Proverbs 12:25 NLT

So, I was feeling a little disheartened.  Now, there are two people who are my ‘go to people’ in situations like this; my husband and my Mom.  They remind me of what’s important and allow me to refocus.  After wiping my tears and blowing my nose, I then prayed.  I thanked God for all He has given us and acknowledged that I completed trusted Him and that His will was all that I was interested in.  After that, I looked at my phone and opened the K-Love app.  When I opened the app, the music that was playing was from the artists called, “The Afters”.  Their song, “Every Good Thing” was blaring loud and clear…

“You’re the reason for every good thing, every heartbeat, everyday we get to breathe…You are, you are…here in every moment and I know it…”

While hearing that, and smiling from it, I searched the app more and checked out the Bible verse of the day.  Take a wild guess at what verse that was…yes, the one that is my heading for this post.  Reading this verse, I then said to God, “Your right God.  I am not going to worry about this, I am confident in you.  Just like the song, you are the reason for every good thing.  I am thankful for all you do, because I know I don’t deserve it.  You are always faithful, even when I am not.”

I don’t know what God has in store, but I do know that His intention is not to hurt me.  This life is NOT as good as it gets.  There is more and it involves God’s Kingdom.  All the refining that happens to me here on earth, only builds God’s Kingdom.  Until then, I can’t let others bring me down.  I can’t let it get in my head and rob me of the joy I feel.  When I do, I go to a dark place that allows for the enemy to get stronger.  I will not have that.  Not this time.  I might break down and fall short sometimes, but those feelings won’t remain.  I am becoming a stronger person each time and I only have God to thank for that.

Each day I get right now, is a blessing.  I will NOT feel bad or worry about it.  I will embrace it and acknowledge this life.  If no one else wants too, that’s fine – but I will…I WILL.

-S-

Don’t Worry About It…

I have anxiety, and it sucks.  I wish, with all my heart, that I could just let go and let be…but I can’t.  I want to control situations, know everything, and ask as many questions as I can because I want to be prepared for every single second…yea…I know.  But you know what bugs me the most!?!  When someone says, “Just stop worrying about it…”  Really?!?!  That’s not helpful, at all.  Okay, here’s something for you.  Don’t think about an elephant.  NO MATTER WHAT, do NOT think about an elephant.  I mean thinking about an elephant is just not good for you.  When you think about an elephant you lose focus, your self-esteem goes down, and sometimes you can become irrational…So, please, try your best, and don’t think about an elephant…okay?  Hmm…I wonder what came to mind after reading that…you see my point?

I don’t like having this feeling, and need, to know every single detail, but the unknown is just so scary for me.  Typically, when people become anxious about the unknown, they can rationalize and process through those feelings in a fairly healthy manner.  For Christians, they can just trust that God has it under control, and that He will provide for them as planned.  I believe that, too.  However, I also have trust issues; even with the big man upstairs…

You see, anxiety is not biological or inherited.  It is actually environmental and can be maintained (with A LOT of practice and time).  It mostly involves being aware of your mind and acknowledging what’s going on with your thoughts.  The key is to being aware that certain thoughts will be there, but that they don’t have to stop you from living or experiencing life.  And they certainly don’t have to control the way you react or respond-you can have some say in that.  I know, sounds very ‘therapy like’…I mean it is helpful; I just have to remember that God is truly the only one who can calm my heart and pull me away from the enemies lies.

Anyway, the first time I learned that anxiety was environmental is when I was in my outpatient therapy.  As soon as I heard those words, I couldn’t find blame anywhere, but within me.  It immediately gave me this sense of responsibility and guilt at the same time.  Responsibility meaning:  I can manage this and I need to.  Guilt meaning:  your the reason for all the problems in your life (clearly not from God…).  My therapists, however, did acknowledge for me, that my anxiety formed out of being raised in a hostile environment (being in constant fear for my parents and our lives, in all aspects).  Not that this is where my blame is to be-no, but that it is a dominant factor.  I didn’t have anyone else in my life I could go to, and ask about what I experienced on a daily bases.  I just sat with those feels, those fears, and those questions.  I worried constantly.  Psychologically speaking, this is where I started to develop an irrational filter for processing situations.  Until now, I haven’t actually been taught anything different…

Growing up I cried about 4 out of 7 nights a week.  Angry, frustrated, confused, scared etc.  Most nights, I would wait until my alcoholic Dad came home (or I would be awaken by him slamming the door) and I would listen… Listen to his footsteps, how the floor sounded as he walked across it, what he was mumbling, how he seemed.  I could tell right away what kind of mood he was in, and how the night was going to go…Sometimes, though, my predictions were wrong.  He would often go into my Mom’s room, and wake her up. He would always ask her stupid questions, telling her stories she didn’t care about, and yelling at her because she wasn’t attentive to him…at 3 A.M.  This went on almost every single night growing up.  And every single night, I would hear every single thing they said, and how they behaved.  Worried, I quickly invented a tactic to distract my Dad.  I would get up and walk to the bathroom (which meant I had to walk past my Mom’s room), and subtlety remind my Dad that his food was in the microwave, in the kitchen.  Most of the time, that would redirect him enough to grab it and go downstairs (where he slept) to go to sleep.  My room was right above his and I knew I was successful, when he would turn on the T.V. (very loudly mind you) and proceed to call some ‘buddy’ of his and talk like a 14 year old girl all night…This, is usually what I fell asleep to…Anyway, that was just part of where it all began.  There is so much more in-between…

Oh boy, do I digress…My point in my rambling is this: I  had an anxiety attack today.  I couldn’t control what was happening (or going to happen) and it freaked me out.  However, it also made me realize, once again – I do not have control of anyone or anything around me – I only have control of myself and what I do…but even that, I don’t have full control of.  Just like my childhood, or the events in my life since (especially those two miscarriages);  I couldn’t stop that, and I can’t stop what is ahead…

So, I leave you with this Bible verse that says it all…

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Until next time…Adios

-S-