Day 1 of my journey to deepen my devotional life and draw closer to God, and all He has in store for me (read us) has dawned. (Read here to figure out what I’m talking about.) After posting last night I did some praying and soul searching. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to share through these devotional insights. I was feeling led to really open up some of the darker, less pretty parts of where I am, but I was…… well, I was too chicken to commit to that. I have to be careful as a pastor’s wife not to offend anyone. Really. Then after checking in on facebook today I got a swift kick in the behind. Plumb (aka Tiffany Arbuckle) is one of my favorite singers and she had posted about her plans for Lent. She is planning on posting each night via her FB account about those dark places in her life “as they are exposed to healing.” It felt like God speaking to me in that moment. “Hey Heather! Toughen up. Trust Me and open up.”
So, as I reflect on the devotionals daily, I am going to really be doing some soul excavation and restoration. It will not be my intention to offend anyone along the way, but to be honest and open. I hope God will honor this transparency and bring some needed healing and hope, not only in my life, but maybe in someone else as well. So, here we go…..
“O’ Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I will never pray to anyone but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning, I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.”
Psalm 5: 1-3, NLT
I’m afraid this morning just did not happen for me. Our toddler decided last night (this morning) would be the perfect time to wake up every hour, cry for almost a whole hour, and then decided to finally fall asleep on the couch at 4:30 am. Fun times. So the reading of the first devotional day did not start until after lunch today, but I did it! Small steps and what not, right?
(By the way, the hubs totally “encouraged” me to stay on target and lovingly handed me the Kindle as he headed out the door after coming home for lunch. Thanks honey!)
I’m not normally one to make a big deal about devotional times having to be done in the morning, mainly because I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. Yes, I used all caps. Get the point? I am a night owl. HOOT!
However, as experience has taught me, life tends to get in the way more often for me when I don’t do my devotional time early. I’m tired, or busy, or Glee is DVR’d and screaming to be watched, or there is a toddler needing to be put back to bed. You see where I’m going? I let life get in the way. I make time for Pinterest, tv, FB, reading, people, etc., but I tend to put off my God time, to my own detriment.
Those times I have literally put God first and done a morning devotional have been well worth it. I find myself and my days fuller and more focused; purposed if you will. I believe that God eagerly awaits His time with us and blesses that time. He will give us strength, joy, guidance, wisdom, and so much more to see us through each circumstance we will face that day. Why wouldn’t I want that? So my goal is to make room for God each morning, despite how tired I am.
Holly Wagner, author of the devotional I am reading, closes each day with a Daily Step. This was one of the main draws of the book,“Daily Steps for God Chicks: The 90-Day Devotional For Real Women,” for me. I like action steps during my devotional time, even if it is just a thought reflection. It helps me move beyond just reading the Scripture, and helps me find real life application. (Transformation cannot happen without action, hence application.)
Daily Step for Day 1: Tell God your biggest fear and your biggest dream.
Simple, right. Yes, if I was only sharing it in my own little journal, safe from judgy eyes. Deep breath. I said I would share. The best part is, God already knows my biggest fear and my dreams, but He wants me to share them with Him anyways. He wants to hear my heart, in my words.
My biggest fear is being alone. I’ve been in counseling and been told I have fear of abandonment, which stem from childhood divorce issues and other relationship issues I have found myself in. Despite having an incredible loving familial support system, that’s one of my dark parts. I fear being alone and being left. Things I have faced and worked with, but still thorns in my side. It’s the being alone, or rather lonely, part that has been dragging me down lately.
Sometimes I feel like this lone, withered Hydrangea “blossom” that has lost its luster.
Ever since our move back to Oklahoma I have struggled to find a place I fit. I struggled with this in Kentucky as well, but after about a year we met some amazing friends whom I miss terribly. I know that I am a person who needs a friend to share life with. My husband, bless him, is my best friend, but even he knows that I still need a friend to share things with. Conversations about your husband, to your husband, don’t work so well. And as much as he loves me, he cannot understand my love of Pinterest and share in the joy of Vera Bradley. I thought moving home and being closer to some of my oldest and dearest friends would make life better, and it has, except it is still difficult to have the kind of friendship I long for with someone who is an hour 1/2 away, despite social media’s best intentions.
I have tried making friends in my new town, with people from the church and outside it. Nothing has clicked in almost 2 years, despite what I feel have been genuine and good efforts. Some people’s lives just aren’t in the same place as mine, and some already have all the friends they need. I’m finding in a small town that being an outsider is hard and lonely. People have had the same friends and routines since birth (exaggeration, but not by much). They have not had to include a new friend since school, or just don’t need to and so it doesn’t cross their mind to include the new kid. It’s not because these people are not wonderful, sweet, and worthy people. It’s just the way it is. But it has been really hard for me. Just the other day Aaron and I were talking about a possible new friend and I broke down in tears. Pregnancy hormones, maybe. Truth, I’m just hurting that bad.
What I know though, in my head if nowhere else, is that I am not alone. I do have an amazing family and I have friends I can keep in touch with, but I also have a God who desperately wants to spend time with me. Even if no on else does, He does. Maybe that is an area He has been breaking down in me in order to bring wholeness and dependency on Him alone. Perhaps through the pain and ugliness of my loneliness will come beauty in a deeper and closer walk with God.
My biggest dream is two-part but I think they feed each other. Most of all I desire to uncover and fully live within God’s purpose and calling for my life. It’s a journey I have been on and am struggling with. I believe that my writing is a major part of that purpose and it has also been a dream of mine to be a professional writer.
What’s the advice? Find something you love to do and then do that as your job? That’s where I am. I want to be a writer who can inspire others to know the beauty and grace of God’s love and within themselves. How that comes about is the discovering part. I know that blogging here in my small, little corner of the world is a step for me. How many more steps, leaps, and bounds are left? God knows and I hope to discover that truth as I spend time with Him.
I do know some of the steps in realizing my dream of being a successful writer. One of those is getting a new workhorse, or laptop, as mine is about to breathe its last breath. Sooo looking forward to getting that new
toy tool with part of our tax return. Sharing a computer just doesn’t work in our house, mainly because the hubs has the computer all day at the church!
Another major step is creating a warm, welcoming, and creative environment for me to write/work in. With Kasen, baby boy #2, on the way, we are now down a “free” room to use as we desire. So our “office” and my space will be located in a corner of the dining room.
The Yellow was the paint color when we moved in to the parsonage, and we haven’t decided if that is changing. Not my favorite, but it works for now. The desk was also given to us by the previous pastor (very thoughtful gift), and it is on my project list and is scheduled for a face-lift. She and I will both feel much better once that happens! I also want to find a fun and comfortable chair to settle into for long and creative work days.
Thanks for sticking with me through lengthy day 1. I obviously have a lot on my heart. Good thing God is plenty big and capable of tackling a tough job like me!
Hope to see you tomorrow for Day 2.
Just in case you didn’t know, God is waiting and wanting to spend some time with you as well!