November 28, 2005

I'm Just Not Cool Anymore

Romans 14:4 - Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One day you're up, one day you're down. This Saturday night, I was certainly on the down side. As if that wasn't a kick in the stomach, somehow I went from Mammal to Bird in the ecosystem this weekend as well. I am de-evolving - a puddle of cyber slime. We all need a little humility lesson now and then. Trouble is, I seem to be one who is in constant "schooling" in this area. I got quite a lesson this weekend.

We did our budget Saturday night, or rather, our budget did us - talk about raining on your holiday parade. I decided, before we were heading out the door to go see "Chicken Little" with the kids... that we should at least pay a few bills first. We discovered that even with our huge scale-backs (apartment vs. house, no traveling and gasoline cut back since we're now living as one family and no-longer commuting, eating at home rather than eating out, etc.) that we are still going to be living on the razor's edge of "paycheck-to-paycheck" or worse. My sweet husband (who I don't deserve) brushed off my offers to get a seasonal job or a part time job and said that if need be, we would get rid of one of the vehicles instead.

We also got introduced at church as the new members this weekend. After my prayers to God over our finances the night before (and skipping the movie to save money) we were delighted to find that God was about the business of answering our prayers the very next morning at church services. The class, the worship service, the introduction as members, and even the people who came up to talk with us after church seemed to all have something from God to tell us. Before we even got off our pew, we were invited to a Dave Ramsey financial peace course starting in January. It was one of those "feeling like you are in the center of the universe" moments.

Even the beginning of the morning at church in our class was "geared towards us"... the teacher in our class was discussing how God used flawed and sinful people to work His will out in the past (Noah got drunk, Abraham lied and gave his wife to other men because he was afraid of being killed, Moses killed people... and David was an adulterous murderer!). The point was that even when you're sinful and a "BIG LOOSER" (like we've been feeling lately in our exile)... you can still be used by God and do His will.

If that wasn't enough, we got a great sermon in service that kept the lesson moving forward. I could almost feel God whispering, "This message is for you" in my ear as the preacher spoke. The sermon was about how trials and setbacks are going to happen to you that will shake your faith, (death of a loved one, financial collapse, loss of a job, death of a child, etc.) and during those times you need to keep moving forward in honesty with the Lord - to force yourself to do the things that will bring you closer to God. Our tendency (mine for sure) is to fall away and melt into the woodwork when life deals us these blows. The preacher said we need to PRAY even when we feel like God isn't listening, READ our Bible even when it's message rings hollow, FELLOWSHIP even when we would rather be alone, and GO TO CHURCH even when we would rather be anywhere else.

I have to admit that over this past year, as much as I have wanted in my heart to be close to God, it has been a really trying time for me. I have fallen away from my personal study time, Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance. It was easier to get overwhelmed and wrapped up in all the trails than to try and take control of them by prayer and fasting.

Speaking of prayer and fasting... I ran across a verse yesterday that I wanted to share....

In Mark 9, a father pleads with Jesus to heal his son who has been sick since birth with a demon who has made him mute and thrown him into convulsions. Jesus had given the power to cast out demons and heal to his apostles, yet they were unable to heal the boy. When the apostles asked Jesus privately why it was that they couldn't cast it out, he told them:

Mark 9:29 - And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

I think that some troubles and some lessons are so deep and hard that only a committed effort and bond with God will help you dig out of them. Maybe it is time for me to pray and fast.

In this same chapter, the father who is pleading for his son makes the mistake of expressing his doubt to Jesus that He could heal his son. "IF you can", he says. "If I can?" asks Jesus...

Then comes the moment of truth... "I DO BELIEVE. HELP ME IN MY UNBELIEF!" This is where all the talk is swept away, and the action starts. I can pretend I believe that God will fix things all day long. But when I empty my heart and honestly express my doubts to God, it is then that HE will go the extra mile to truly bring me out of my doubt and into His light.

I may not ever be "cool" again (and that's OK), but I will be on the other side of this test... and my Lord can make me stand victorious.

Praise God that He can use fault-ridden sinners like me.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. We've been going through some major struggles at our church, and sometimes I get lost and overwhelmed by the circumstances. Thanks for the reminder that I can be honest about it with God - He already knows anyway, right?

Anonymous said...

Great post! And I feel your pain! While I didn't have as far to fall as you did, I am just about to devolve out of being a flappy bird! LOL! We went through a season like you are going through a year or so ago, and it was worth it to experience has God reached down into our "Job Season" and revealed Himself to us in ways we never would have experienced otherwise. It sure is painful at the moment, though. I can't wait to read how God continues to do in your life what only He can do! Love ~ Patricia

Grizzly Mama said...

Hadn't you heard? Huey Lewis and The News said it just right: "It's hip to be square." We're in. We're in like Flynn, girl.

I hope that joking doesn't offend you. We have SO MANY moments like you have just described. I don't understand it and I can't even pretend to. Like I tell my girlies: somehow, some way we always end up in the right spot. It isn't what I would choose MANY, MANY times - but it always works out better than what I (in my ignorance and foolhardiness) would have chosen.

I am not a very good Christian but I DO believe in God and Jesus. I DO pray for help every day and experience moments of despair and doubt. (as well as moments of joy and peace)

Every year at Christmas for us is some new crisis. Always a financial struggle. It works out okay - turns out the girls like a lot of dollar store stuff...and thank goodness for relatives who get them the GOOD stuff. LOL!

I hope that you are feeling better soon. You have been through many changes and it is always hard. Take good care - you're doing a beautiful job!!

MommyLydia said...

Lots of people seem to be losing "place" in this Ecosystem thing. I suspect they reevaluated how they were determining it.

Don't worry. I don't pay attention to that.

Sprittibee said...

Carrie - you are welcome. If no one but me benefits from this trail, I would REALLY feel like a looser. ;) So, at least I can make other people feel like they have it all together!? Eh?

Patricia - Thanks, friend. I am really OK with the bird thing... it just seemed funny to me that it happened when it did. :) I can't wait to read about what God does when he fixes this mess, either!

Monicar - Yep, it is hip to be square. :) My husband and I have always been happy to be nerds. I am truly thankful to have him. It could be much worse - always. I told him the other night that If there was anyone in the world I'd rather be dirt poor with, it was him. ;) I hear you on the Christmas thing. I think it is all a conspiracy or something. Last year, we took out a 5K loan at December so we wouldn't loose the house and could afford to buy gifts and pay bills, too. This year, we're paying off last year! Ha. Not much Christmas for us... but we'll string up some popcorn for the fake willow tree, make some home made paper decorations for the walls, read some good books, drink some hot chocolate, and cuddle and watch movies together here in our cozy 2 bedroom apartment. I might even get real "LARGE" on home-made sweets. :) Dollar store sounds promising. Glad someone things I'm doing a good job. *grin*

My boaz's ruth... I'm glad you aren't a star counter... and thanks for your consistant comments. Sorry I have not been as much of a blog READER as I have been a blog VENTER lately. Not sure that will change with homeschooling taking off again...

Life is always full of activity with small kids at your side.

God bless to each of you who stop in to encourage and comment. Hopefully I can find a good samaritan web designer to upgrade me sometime soon. I put in a request for a friend to help with revamping my site recently. I'll see if they will take up my cause.

Love in Him,
Heather aka Sprittibee

Anonymous said...

What a powerful entry you have written. I started reading it and relating to my plummet on the ecosystem this weekend as well. I was actually just commenting on Beth's site how she has skyrocketed to a Flappy Bird overnight!

However, it was the remainder of your entry that kept me reading through the end. I really appreciated everything you had to say and can resonate with your trial from past experience. Just recently I have started to become lax on my devotional time. And I realized that my reasoning has been because we were ministering to a dear friend of ours and her children who are in need right now. Now, what kind of lousy excuse is that?! Here I am attempting to be Christ's hands and feet and neglecting to seek His strength and victory through His word.

Thank God for His graciousness and faithfulness in spite of our glaring inferiority and complacency. Thanks for writing such a compelling post that it unveiled our Lord's hopes for my own devotional time to be renewed.

Jan said...

Perhaps our tendancy to become sidetracked allows for two things: recognition of our NEED for God, and to experience the LOVE with which He continually draws us back to Himself. For our God truly is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.
You are not alone in your confession of times of ebb and flow. It's par the course, I think. Not acceptable, but inevitable, helping us to realize again and again that our strength is not found in ourselves, but ONLY in HIm.
Blessings. Your humility is refreshing.

Unknown said...

Hi Heather~
Well, I guess it's all relative...LOL! Here I'm about to come upon my 1 yr. blogging anniv. and have just now made flappy bird, and am a wee bit flattered and excited about THAT! But, I'll probably plummet back down soon anyways, so no biggie...
Besides, I am reminded of why I write, because it's cathartic, and am just glad of the bonus I've had of meeting such interesting, COOL people!;-)
Thanks for your note to me, and this post here, your transparency is encouraging. Simply continue to write from your heart, with such honesty, seeking Him sincerely, and the Lord will do the rest.
I am so glad to hear of how He's blessing you with Godly fellowship and answers to prayer.
I'm glad to *meet* you, and also happy to share a blogroll now!

Anonymous said...

Now see, you got me curious, and so I've checked and found that on my blogger blog, I'm a mere "multi-cellular micro-organism"...But simultaneously a flappy bird over at my HomeMaker site, and they have basicly the same info...sheesh!LOL!

Sprittibee said...

Victoria, glad to know it wasn't just me on the way down, but sad it had to be you. I'm with you on getting back into the Word. :) You go girl!

Jan - I totally agree with you on the reasons God allows us to fall away. In fact, one of my favorite scripture references for this is:

Job 33...
(26) He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state.

(27) Then he comes to men and says, 'I sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved.

(28) He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.'

(29) "God does all these things to a man — twice, even three times-

(30) to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.

Thanks for your blessing-wishes, Jan!

Beth - Cool people know what the word Cathartic means. YOU, BABY, are cool. Not me. I had to look it up. :) So in case other non-coolies come in here, we better let them know...

Main Entry: 1ca·thar·tic
Pronunciation: k&-'thärt-ik
Function: adjective
: of, relating to, or producing catharsis

Source: Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.


adj 1: emotionally purging [syn: psychotherapeutic] 2: emotionally purging (of e.g. art) [syn: releasing] 3: strongly laxative [syn: evacuant, purgative] n : a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels [syn: purgative, physic, aperient]

WAY COOL. I even feel cooler. I LOVE learning new words. :) That's why I'm part of the VRP (see link on my sidebar) - WORD ON!

Thanks by the way, for your encouragement. I absolutely enjoyed my visit to your site. You have spent a lot of time on your sidebars... so many interesting links!

RegentLawWife said...

Bee, you wrote this a long time ago, but here I am now, wanting to melt into the woodwork because it's not all going exactly how I pictured it -- and we are going to be introduced as new members of our church tomorrow morning! Today has been so taxing that I feel too tired to finish tonight's work to even make it to church in the morning...but we will make it. I have a hubby who won't let me give up. Thank God!

Thank you for writing this last year. I must have needed to hear it, because this could not have been a coincidence. New members in a new city...God works. Good thing He strengthens us for the work He sets us to!

Sprittibee said...

Regentlawwife... Thanks for making me read it again. :) I'm still in exhile - and it has been nearly a year... so I'm keeping my eyes on Jesus and thanking Him daily for all the progress (painful as it may have been produced). Hopefully by Christmas, I'll be on my way home and I'll have a new story to write about.

RegentLawWife said...

Exile? Patmos? Wanna talk about that? If you have already posted about it, please direct me there. I wish to know more about the woman-I've-never-met-who-is-my-sister/helper/friend. I care!

Sprittibee said...

Well... RegentLaw Wife, I would probably direct you to this post in particular, The Day We Sold Our House... but there are many, many more that the thread of the story run through. Most of the beginnings of our exhile began in October thereafter (see: Hotel Living). From the time I started this blog, I was trying to sell my home due to our finances taking a turn for the worse and the taxes on the house being improperly calculated (causing my payment to double). My husband's company where we lived was going bankrupt and he was working in another city; driving four hours one way there Sunday, and coming home on Friday late. We did that for 8 months while selling our home. We sold the house the month before our payments went up, the month before we would have had to foreclose, and the DAY that our school year started in 2005 (last school year). Soon thereafter, we found out that he would be transferred to another state, and after living with my inlaws and him still in another city, we drove to meet in our new state with a van and truck full of belongings and lived in a hotel for a month looking for houses. When the house search went downhill, we moved into an apartment. There has been a lot of missing home since we came here. All of our family (or most of them) are in Texas. We hope to return home sometime soon. My husband has been trying to get a transfer home since we got here (back even as far as our hotel room). We'll have been here a year this October. We have made a lot of wonderful friends. I would consider this a very EASY and FUN way to be exhiled. The church we go to, the people we homeschool with, and the place we live are all really wonderful. Part of our heart is still in Texas, however. It is never easy leaving home.

RegentLawWife said...

Whoa, goodness! I'm sorry it took me so long to reply, Heather. I may have told you of my computer woes -- I've given up on buying a new one and so I just use hubby's when he is asleep :)

Thanks for sharing and for filling me in. God's ways are not our ways and He has plans for us! I am eager to find out what He is doing in me now, because He's got me puzzled.

We are in our mid 40's and our kids are young enough to be our grandkids! They are 8, 7 & almost 5. My husband was injured and returned to school in 2001. At the same time, I had to take a job. Although I hated putting my precious babies in day care, I grew to love my work and I was good at it. That gave me confidence. Hubby did very well in school and has moved us all the way from our native California to Virginia Beach, VA in order to attend the only ABA-approved Christian law school in the US (another school nearby has since gained their provisional approval).

Driving across the US with a truck and a car and three kids was an adventure. We had no place to live lined up, but God pulled one of His 11th-hour miracles, getting us housing on campus in the face of an 18 month waiting list! We only had to stay in a hotel for a week while the apartment was made ready. We just had to explain to the kids why we could not order room service anymore.

God's plans are not my plans. I am VERY GOOD at what I do. I have a Strong Resume and the excellent Letter of Recommendation. (read: "The bigger they are, the harder they fall!") For the life of me, I could not get a job here! Then, once I did, my child care fell through at the last instant, so i lost the job. So, my prayers were answered. Yeah, the ones that went "Dear Lord, you know that my heart's desire is to be home with the kids, but I need the money, so please grant me this job..." Hubby says to look at it as a promotion. I'm staying home! We have no income, but I just want to laugh and sing praises. When the Lord hems me in, He REALLY hems me in! In fact, I wonder whether my computer failures aren't part of His plan...

I've taken in a neighbor's child for day care -- her day care fell through at the last instant (same provider) -- and homeschooling. Here's where God is rubbing me raw: the child is incredibly wild, rude, ill-mannered, disruptive and violent. And she is only four. Phew! But I have the love of Christ for this tiny person. I keep praying that He will show me how to help her. And I realize that I may never have a massively successful brreakthrough with her. But I'm up for God's lesson and so are my kids. They impress and amaze me regularly.

Still, I'll tell ya, I was ready to quit the first week. And again the second week. But it's getting better. Her temperment seems to be evening out or else mine is! So now I have a small income. And we just keep putting one foot in front of the other...trusting God to see us through.

Thanks for all you do for us by posting, Heather. I've begun to read your posts whenever I can get a minute with a computer!

Sprittibee said...

regentlawwife - so you have no income coming in from your husband right now? Is that what you said? One of my best friends is from California, but she lives in Texas now. Wish you were closer, we could give you a computer. My husband is a computer guy and we are getting rid of things that we don't need because we are still crammed in this little apartment with really no plans in the make right now for getting out of here. I know that God is in control, however... and I see His hand working in each day - ever so slowly - making us better people. Abiding is a learned verb. It doesn't come natural. I hope your little four year old girl will learn some good Christian character from your family. May God richly bless you.

Email me off-blog any time if you would like to chat more. My email info is under the "Contact" tab in my white sidebar to the right up near the top.

Anonymous said...

I am married to my husband of almost 4 years im 22 going on 23. we just resently started getting out of the pit. we have had a year and a half struggle with finaces.(idont know if i spelled that right owell i cant spell) but anyways. we were both out of work for 6 months the rest of it we both went back forth on be out of work. but in November or december. my wonderful mother in law went into the holy of holies so to speak for us she fasted and interceded on our behalf and God gave her a scripture (i cant remember the exact one) that basicly said God Was going to pull us out of the pit in the first month of the new year. I started working pt in on dec 19th but we were still struggling bc of back bills. Well Jan 5th my husband started training that when he is done he will be making anywhere from 700 to 1200 a week. on Jan
29th and now we are finally starting to get out but the entire time we had the struggles we stayed faithful to God and payed tithes on whatever money we did bring in. so if you still struggling i just wanted to say dont give up. stay faithful to God Have your famliy pray for you. yall pray and fast and God will bring you through.If you ever need prayers or just someone to talk to my email is
God Bless,
Sister in Faith

Unknown said...

I know you posted this like 2 years ago, but I happened across it tonight during my journeys thru bloggity land, and it just struck me as what I needed to hear. I keep waiting sometimes I think for God to shout in the thunderstorm when in reality, He is waiting for me to choose to act faithfully and do what is right. Fasting has been coming back to me over and over again lately. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts on it at all? (I haven't had time to look over the rest of your website, but it looks sure to become one of my favorites!) Thanks for being used just as you are as encouragement of faith in my life tonight.



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