My thoughts are so jumbled after an unexpected start to my day.
I was up around 6:30 as usual, and praying and taking time to dig into the Word. Around 7, my aunt calls. She's sick with the flu. Thankfully, my backup babysitter, Annie, is able to watch my two youngers boys. But it meant an extra 30 minute drive across town to get a carseat and playpen. This is why I'm applying for state daycare assistance.
I've been reading this great book called The Single Mom Life by Angela Thomas (and thanks, Kathryn for this book!). I'm 4 chapters in, and I can identify with so much of what this single mother of 4 is saying. I even laughed at the fact that she only ends up sitting next to married men on her plane trips. And I could empathize with the lonliness she feels. Yes, I mean, it's great to have time off from the kids...but there are times where lonliness can really set in when they're gone. And at night. Lonliness can make you feel like you will never meet anyone. I mean, life wasn't supposed to end up this way. I was supposed to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after, right? I wasn't supposed to be running a household by myself and go home bone weary night after night. The guilt is immense when you're so tired at the end of the day that all you want to do is rotate between sleeping and crying. I am praying for a measure of strength from my Husband for Now (God), because He promises that He is my Provider and Spouse. Strength that carries me beyond my physical limitations and allows me to get things done for my kids. After all, they deserve my very best. They deserve to grow up in a home where they see that just because they come from a divorced home, God brought something good out of it-a legacy of integrity and love! I will raise my boys to be men after God's heart...how I pray for them and for their career path, and for their future wives.
I also am a tad bit frustrated....I told Ryan it was OVER Sunday night, over for good, and not to call and not to email. He called me at work and I said not a word. I hung up. So he left me a message on my home answering machine, saying the only reason that he called was to test and see if what I told him was really true. Um, I'm sorry, but me saying the words "don't call, don't email" wasn't clear enough? The Bible says to let your Yes be Yes and your No, No. And he said he's praying for reconciliation. And that he'll be here when I want to talk. This, coming from a man who two days earlier told me that I was the one who pushed him into this relationship too fast. I don't wish for any type of reconciliation. I am done and over with this relationship for good. Can I forgive and pray for blessings upon his life? Yes. But it doesn't mean that I'm going to put myself back into a relationship-or a friendship for that matter-where I'm going to get used and stepped on and feel utterly miserable.
The pastor of my church once told me that for two people to be in a relationship, you have to have two completely whole people. Not two 50% whole people. I believe I have reached that point of wholeness. I have given up my desire to be married to the Lover of My Soul...and I have everything I need in Him. I don't need a man, but it would be nice, someday, to be part of a marriage again. I've finally come to realize, however, this doesn't have to be in my timing. It has to be in HIS timing. And when it's time, I will know it's time. And whomever that man is, he'll know its time.
Ever looked up the word SINGLE in the dictionary? My, it has several definitions. But I pull out here the one that I have most recently discovered:
a : consisting of a separate unique whole individual
Which leads me to the word SEPARATE:
a : to set or keep apart
b : to set aside for a special purpose
a : being the only one
b : being without a like or equal
c : distinctively characteristic
a : physically sound and healthy
b : mentally or emotionally sound
c : seemingly complete or total
I read a rather intersting book recently called Single, Married, Separated and Life After Divorce by Myles Munroe. He talks about how people have to truly be single before they're married. And how people still have to be single after they're married. Which, in turn, causes me to ponder the verse in the Bible that says "for this reason a man shall cleave unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh". How are you still 'single' when you become one? I'll have to think on this one some more...
Ok, so day 6 of being officially, well, not single, but trusting in the joy of the Lord as my strength. Single, I guess, would be more of a society label. I am happy. I am free. And I have no children for the weekend. Two more weeks, and then they're off to their dad's for an entire month. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do during that month. Esepcially with my house staying clean for more than five minutes before a whirlwind of boys take over. I wonder some days if I'm really raising boys, or Tazmanian Devils. In that case, that would make me Queen over the Looney Tunes bin.
Perhaps I might mow my lawn on a weekly basis. Get up and go for a jog after my daily devotions, as I'm still trying to loose weight. Volunteer more at church. Catch up on sleep. Spend more time with the wonderful blessing of my friends. Finally go through the boy's clothes and pull out what doesn't fit. Go to the thrift store to buy new clothes for my oldest. Laugh when my ex calls because the boys are driving him up the wall with their antics. Miss the evenings of devotionals with my boys, the daily hugs and kisses. Miss all the times I won't have to yell "BOYS, STOP SPLASHING IN THE TUB!" or "BOYS, GO TO BED!" or "BOYS, TIME TO WAKE UP! GOOD MORNING!" and then threatening the tickle monster on them if they're not out of bed in two seconds. Bwahahaha. I so love being a mom. If there is one great thing that came out of my marriage, it is definitely my boys. I am so blessed to be their mom.
Ok, I sneezed about a bazillion times last night. I couldn't stop! I went home still feeling all achy and feverish, but after I sneezed a million and one times, I felt better immediately! I know this has to be a God thing, so I have to stop here to PRAISE YOU GOD for healing! No motrin today and I'm feeling much better!
My stresser today? The bills. I am seriously worried about how on earth $627 worth of bills are going to be paid on a mere $300. God tells me to not be anxious about anything, but to submit my requests to Him. I am praying for peace and calm. I haven't the slightest idea of how he is going to accomplish this, but I am trusting and praying that He will come through as Jehovah Jirah, the Lord is my Provider. And I have my boys this weekend. How I'd love to take them to do some fun things for the weekend....but I can't afford it. I hate not being able to be a fun mom sometimes. Not to mention the fact that all three of them need new shoes, and my oldest needs new summer clothes. God keeps bringing Matthew 6 before my eyes...about not worrying about what we will eat, or what we will wear....God provides for the sparrows...he clothes the lillies of the field...My Father knows I need them....how difficult it is to step out in faith and simply trust right now, when there seems not to be a way....so Father, again, I continue to pray that you will make a way....
God is SO good! All the time He is good! I may just get into praising Him big time through this blog, because the answers are coming!!!
So I went to Walmart last night to pick up a $4 pair of shoes for Caleb. We got to the register, and they wouldn't ring up. So the cashier said here, they won't ring up, just take them. NEVER in my 30 years of life has Walmart given me ANYTHING. Ever. I knew this was of God. I called everyone I knew who knows God. What a blessing, hallelujah! My babies are getting what they need, not from my hand, but from God's hand! My oldest son now thinks I am completely NUTS. $4 shoes, I know, seems so small, but yet it is bigger than anything, because I know without a doubt it was God! Hallelujah!
Whew, what a really long unexpected joyous 5 1/2 day weekend it has been!
First, the blessings have gotten bigger! Granted, that came with a my-kids-were-fighting-in-the-back-seat-and-I-ran-a-stop-sign-and-got-a-$175-ticket-for-it-such-a-mean-cop-and-my-serpentine-belt-came-off-and-after-that-was-fixed-the-alternator-went-out-and-then-after-that-was-fixed-the-battery-cable-terminals-needed-replaced kind of stress. Yep, you read all that right. Got a $175 ticket for running a stop sign Wednesday night. That tempered my excitement over Chase winning 4 awards Wednesday afternoon at school. 2 for reading, 1 for teacher's honor roll, and 1 for principles of citizenship. Made his mama sooooo proud of him.
Wednesday night I got the honor of picking up my friend Lee from the aiport. Turns out his plane was an hour and a half late, which I later found out was because the radar was out in Chicago or something. He looked pretty tired. 6 days later he still looks tired. Poor guy.
Thursday morning went to drop Chase off and at the corner of 15th and Vickie, my van suddenly died. While it was pouring down rain. And my van restarted....but then I discovered no power steering. I made it to Annie's house and shut the van off. By that time, I was bawling my eyes out. Too. Much. Stress. I felt bad when Annie got Lee out of bed just to push my van out of the driveway so she could take the kids to school.
Thankfully, God blessed me with an incredible friend in Mike. Mike isn't a mechanic, and Mike HATES grease. So for him to fix my van was nothing short of a miracle. $40 later, I had a new serpentine belt and tensioner belt pulley on my van. And then I went to start my van and NOTHING. A jump start later, and my van was running again. Until the battery light came on while I was on my way to pick up the boys. The needles on my dashboard were jumping all over the place. Went to church and sure enough, the van wouldn't start when I got back out.
My ex husband was supposed to come help me get the alternator out on Friday, since he was in OKC testing for a job (heaven help me now, he's moving to Edmond in a week! yikes!). Surprise of all surprises, he didn't show up to help me, so Mike came to my rescue yet again. Getting the alternator out of the bracket, that was easy. Getting the alternator out of the van entirely (so it could be rebuilt) now THAT was a different struggle. After a lot of praying, it came out and I was jumping around in circles. $20 later, the alternator was rebuilt (and thank you Mike for paying for it) and put back in the van, and it still wouldn't start! Ach! Thankfully about that time, my ex showed up, followed me down to O'Reilly's and figured out that the battery cable terminals needed replacing. Lo and behold, healing for my van! It's all fixed and running now! AND I found out the reason why my horn and cruise control don't work. It's some relay switch in the steering column, which is under recall by Dodge. Which the dealership is going to fix for FREE. So for what would have cost me well over $1000 taking to a mechanic cost me a whopping $43. $43. I KNOW that is a blessing to no end!!! Hallelujah and PRAISE God for HUGE answers to prayer for all of this.
Thursday and Friday evening there was a special speaker at the church I attend. I know God has called me to the field of Christian Counseling. What I've been praying about is whether or not now is the time to go back to school. I've tried going to school while maintaining a full time job and a family, but it's been an immense struggle all the way. Through this speaker, whom I've never talked to in my life, I got my answer. I woke up Friday morning expecting God to do something. What I thought that expectation carried is massive financial blessing (there isn't enough $ to pay any of my utility bills right now, and there still isn't). But what God gave me was the UNEXPECTED. Apostle Horton told me that something had broke in me Thursday night. That what I had been praying about God was saying 'PURSUE, PURSUE, PURSUE' All I did was nod my head in agreement, b/c I knew he was talking about my schooling. Then he said that he saw me walking across the stage to receive my credentials for the ministry God called me to. I could only go back to my seat and sit down, shaking from the power of the Holy Spirit moving and working. That was until the Apostle began to share things with Apostle Brown (the leader of my church). At the very end, he mentioned a Training Center for up and coming pastors. I about fell out of my chair.
Understand that I have not talked to Ryan in well over two weeks. God put it on my heart that I needed to step out of his life so God could work and move in his heart and life so strength and leadership could be established. I was compelled to go to his house right then and there. I so wish Ryan could have been at church to hear that confirmation of the ministry he and I have been called to do! I was excited beyond compare. We talked for about 10 minutes, and it turned into a massive argument. I went home with a heavy heart, saddened because nothing has changed in Ryan. So we talked at length for a couple of hours Friday night, and at the end, he asked if I would go hear him preach Saturday morning at God's Corner.
God's Corner is on the fourth Saturday of every month, as an outreach to the homeless, held just across the street from the City Rescue Mission. The annointing that fell on Ryan as he preached was incredible. I was praying that even if one person came to know the Lord, I would be rejoicing with the heavens. Not one, but seven came to know Him as their Lord! Hallelujah! And I had been praying that if God would like to use me in all of this, I would gladly serve. How humbling it was to find that God found me able to serve Him. I was able to pray with a few people and give words of encouragement. I walked away that day feeling so blessed!
One of the things Ryan has told me we would be doing together is preaching. Hah, I thought. Me, preaching in front of a crowd? No way, hosea. But what I noticed is that as he preached, God was giving me words to add to his message. Now God is going to have to conquer this fear in me so I can speak for Him in front of large crowds.
And something changed between Ryan and I Saturday afternoon. We had a really long discussion. Granted, right now, while we know that we will marry someday, we have pushed that desire aside. God has so much to accomplish in both of us before we can be husband and wife. So we're taking this time to slowly build a friendship and learn the true meaning of treating one another as brother and sister in Christ. Through that conversation, I noticed that the very air around us has changed. I can't pinpoint it, but it's like I can feel God in the midst of us for the first time since we met.
Sunday afternoon was fun. Aside from the large plastic burn I have on my left knee. Having a scraped knee at 30 is much worse than having a scraped knee at 10. LOL I crawled around in a bunch of inflatables with Ryan's girls. I thought I was in great shape, being that I'm up to running 3.5 miles a few times a week. Nope, because after 6 laps in an inflatable racing slide thingy, I was completely exhausted.
Sunday night, Lee and I finally had our pool match. I, of course, got my hiney kicked, but I made 7 to his 50. That was a vast improvement. Lee showed me quite a few tricks to help improve my game. Maybe, just maybe, by the time he gets back from the Azores I might be good enough to give him a match. We also went to Braum's beforehand, where I watched him eat the weirdest concoction of a banana split. Bananas, mint chocolate chip ice cream, Reese's PB topping, strawberry topping and whipped cream. It was quite tasty. We laughed because he said he considered it a gourmet fruit salad. And then onto IHOP and a bit of conversation. I really pray that when he's ready (and God is ready) that a great woman will show up into his life. I told him he's the guy that gives all of us gals hope that we'll find the love of our lives because he is a great example of what a man is, a diamond in the rough. I know he's worried that he'll miss out on meeting her, but I told him, he'll just KNOW. That's how it was for me with Ryan. No fear of getting hurt. No fear that he would walk away. Just a knowledge that he was it for me.
Whew, finally the end of 5 days worth of massive blessing! I am blessed beyond measure...and even though there isn't enough right now to cover my past due utility bills, God has given me blessed assurance that He will provide.
I think I must have blogged myself out yesterday. Here I am, sitting down to blog, and don't have much to say (hush to all of you who know me! lol). Haha, should have known. I just thought of something.
Ryan's been job hopping for years and years now. As of late, I've really felt like God has been pushing him towards the Police Academy. Granted, this means he's got to get in good health and loose some weight. I so strongly feel that this is the direction God wants him to go that I am asking God to confirm this calling through the Pastor tonight at church. This training will work together with the ministry we've been called to. This will also help instill some of that strength, leadership and discipline that God wants to bring out in Ryan. For me, this simply gives me a reason for me to be even more proud of my dear friend and brother in Christ. Why do I share this with all of you? Merely so you can see that God does direct and guide when we allow Him to, and that He does answer our prayers.
Which brings me to another thought. I have seriously got to start figuring out which college I am going to attend this fall. I don't know which one yet, but I'm praying for direction. Somehow, I have a feeling it will be OU. But I'm still praying. I know that the thought of going back to school while working a full time job, raising my boys as a great mom, doing the stuff I do for the church, and going to school makes me apprehensive. I mean, I've tried to do this before, and it's been a struggle to make the grades I know I'm capable of. But being that God is telling me to pursue, here I go. I'm going to put my blindfold on, my earplugs in (So the distractions that the enemy is going to try to use to hinder me will fail!) and I'm going to jump off this cliff and keep my eyes solely fixed on Jesus on this.
I figured it up yesterday. I need $297 to cover my utility bills. God is going to provide, and I have that assurance. Before I could even start praising Monday morning while I was praying, I got the assurance. I guess God does that at times. I keep hearing His voice, assuring me that He's going to take care of us financially. I will continue to praise and TRUST.
What has surprised me over the past few days is a particular topic of conversation. My oldest son told me there is no way I can hear God telling me things as clear as like he and I would talk in normal conversation. Another friend of mine yesterday wondered how I can hear God's voice, because she needed to learn to listen better because she missed God telling her about something that was going to happen in her life. Another friend of mine says that it's obvious God talks and listens to me but not to him. My point here? God talks to everyone. His voice really is that still, small voice, that comes with an immense feeling of peace, along with the rest of the fruits of the Spirit. When I choose to quiet my soul, I can hear His voice. The Bible says that His sheep will know His voice. The part that becomes difficult sometimes is determining whose voice it is. God's, the enemy's or my own. And if you listen, you can Hear His Voice....
Woah. That's all I can say. It finally hit me, and the realization has humbled me completely. God is actually listening when I pray, and He's answering!
I asked Apostle Brown to pray over my children last night, for their protection while they are with their dad for a month. Heck, I've been praying for His protection over them for quite some time now. That's when Wayne, our music minister, took over and began sharing with me some incredible things straight from God's heart.
I have sensed for a long time that the very host of angels that I have prayed to protect my children and my household are there. I told Ryan that I wished that I could see them, but I'd be too afraid! And I have sensed that God has got some incredible things in store for my children. What Wayne shared was nothing short of God, and I know it! I got a gentle chiding from God on asking God to keep protecting the kids, because I have already stirred God on this, and He's already doing it! So it's time for me to stop praying for it and it's time for me to start praising God for doing it! Wayne told me that if I could see the angels that surround both me and my kids, it would scare me to death (which is what I shared with Ryan last week!) And he shared that God does have some incredible plans in store for my boys and if God revealed those plans to me right now, I'd never be able to let go of them. God is using this time right now to bring me to complete trust in him financially. That I cannot sit back and worry! There will be a time when I will see those angels and when I will know what God's plan are for my boys, but I'm not ready for that yet. But God is purposing in my life to get me there.
The more exciting part!!! I have been praying for my ex husband to come to know the Lord for close to two years now. Wayne told me that God has already planted a word into one of my children that's going to start this process in my ex. And God is going to allow me to see the seed grow, not because I have to see it, but because God is choosing to allow me to see Him working in my ex husband. I'll see the seed, I'll see the shoot, I'll see the first leaves, all the way up to the plant that grows from a seed in one of my children. Wayne told me that I have no ill will towards anyone, and my heart really is to see people won to the Kingdom. It truly is!
Even more so, Wayne looked right at Ryan, and said that he saw Ryan and I praying about this together, and the things in store for the two of us are clearly TOGETHER. God just confirmed what I've been sensing all along, that God needs to work and move in the two of us right now before we will be brought together.
Even in my prayer time this morning, it's been God reassuring me again. Reassuring me that He will provide. I am completely humbled that He speaks just when I need it. Sometimes it's through others, sometimes it's through the Word, and sometimes, it's that still, small voice. I am loved because I am His daughter. I am so blessed...
I open my black, rusty mailbox, and I cringe when I see an thin, white envelope bearing the mark of the evil, tyrannous Gas Company. Trembling hands tear open the envelope, and my worst fears are confirmed. 48 hour shut off notice. So I hear again, I've told you I'm going to provide. Me, in my state of worried weakness, picks up the clumsy black handset and purposes to call said Gas Company to make payment arrangements or see if there is another public agency that can help cover this one bill. Buzz Buzz Buzz Berk Berk Berk Beep Beep Beep is what I hear after one ring. Odd, I think. Hmmm. Maybe it's just my phone. So I pick up what is called by some my 'remote control.' (aka cell phone) I try the number again. Ring. Buzz Buzz Buzz Berk Berk Berk Beep Beep Beep. At this point, a laughter escapes. It almost sounds foreign to my ears. "God," I say, "You're not going to let me call them, are you?" "Nope," He says. "You've got to trust that I am going to provide ALL of your needs.
So I go back outside, and begin speaking to my mailbox. "I'm giving God my tithes and offerings, and I EXPECT checks to appear inside your rusty old body. I EXPECT that all $163.19 of said Gas Bill will disappear with a check that I find in your depths!" The mailbox is silent. (I might have had a coronary right there on the spot if it had spoken back to me anyway.) (Or, as a friend pointed out, very rich.) (If I told the world my mailbox talked to me, say hello to a mental institution!)
This morning, a very stark reminder given straight off the pages out of Matthew 6:25-34
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
So, God, how do I get to the place where I will not worry about any of this while I wait upon you to provide? And need I remind You that my gas is going to get shut off June 6 at 5:00 p.m.?
I reach into the rusty black mailbox attached to the outer stone wall on my front porch. Sweat pours down my face in anticipation. I reach in the mailbox with clammy hands. NOTHING. How can there be NOTHING in my mail box today??? Surely Saturday, I thought. Something would be in the mail on Saturday to cover the tyrannous, evil, Gas Company Bill. Oh, my. Yet another white envelope from the Gas Company! I open it. Whew. Just this month's bill. Only around $30. Good.
The pan sizzles around hashbrowns and sausages. Me and the boys sit down at the table to eat our breakfast. Suddenly, a knock on my front door. It's my friend Mike. I was a bit surprised to see him, I must admit. And then I'm in shock. He hands me money. At that point, you could have knocked me over with a slight push. After we chat for a bit, and I give him the world's biggest hug ever, he leaves.
Now the rule of thumb when anyone ever gives you a gift, wait until they leave to look at it. $140!!! Wow, God. Wow. I am amazed and humbled that You provided for well over half of my Gas Bill.
But stupid, stupid me. I still worry over the $23.19 that is still owed. While I'm listening to a show on TBN, I hear something that I obviously needed to hear. Never tell anyone your situation is bad. Because after you tell them that, they're going to agree with you that your situation is bad, and that makes the two of you come into agreement. So I'm here to tell you, my situation is NOT bad. It is good. I am blessed beyond measure.
I spent a good deal of yesterday afternoon praying that God would take my worry and my doubt and turn it into an unwavering faith. And Praise Him, He's doing it! For this morning, as I was telling another friend of mine that I still had $23.19 left for the bill to be covered, he offered to pay it!
And God shall supply ALL of my needs! Hallelujah!
So this makes the $60.42 I still need for car insurance by the 11th and the immediate need for gas money feel like nothing. And I have the peace, that just as He has provided for this one bill that had me fretting and worrying for nothing, that He knows that I need these items as well.