"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Okay, God... let's have some FUN

A few months ago, as I was being prayed for, a brother felt he heard God whisper the word Fun into his heart.  After the prayer time, he approached me and said he felt God wanted me to have more fun in my life---especially in this season of transition with my children launching into the world and out of my nest.  He then asked me a pointed question, "What is fun for you?"

I was dumbstruck.  The feeling of utter confusion must have wafted across my face... because he laughed out loud.  "Ah!" he said, "That is probably where you need to start!"

I have been a wife for nearly 25 years and a mother for 20 years.   Almost half my life I have had the privilege of nurturing and raising two amazing children.  I have worked part time from home and we chose to home educate, as well; and so... my time has been very much all about them.  I truly don't regret this in any way, shape, or form.  I feel blessed by this truth.  But, when it comes to fun for me... well, ...I just didn't have an answer.  The question actually felt strange in my ear and hard for my heart to comprehend.  I know what is fun for my husband.  I know what is fun for my son and my daughter.

In all honesty, I am not sure I could have answered this question even 25 years ago.  'Fun' doesn't come naturally to me... I don't 'do' 'fun for me'.  Or at least, that is how it felt.

I began to pray.  What IS fun for me, Lord? Lord, help me know myself.

My 'go-to' solution to any dilemma is to pray and then read.  When in doubt, I say, read a book!  On the heels of this prayer time, a friend 'just so happened' to send me a book about the God-given creativity in every human being, The Soul Tells a Story by Vanita Hampton Wright.  I wondered if creativity and fun went together?  So... why not... I picked it up and gave it a go.  Maybe God would begin to answer my question in this way...

For years, I have had a very regular debate going with my husband.  "I am not a creative person" was my stance.  We had the--- 'yes, you are'... 'no, I'm not'--- going for years.  From the beginning, Ms. Wright suggests that creativity lives in each and every of us;  innate in us, creativity is like one fingerprint of God's design as 'made in His image'.  He created.  He creates still.  We also create.  Wright does a fabulous job explaining that creativity is so uniquely colored and varied with each individual...and so, I guess, sometimes it just isn't noted.  Or, understood and labeled as "creativity".

Or, in fact, it just gets lost for some of us.  In the first chapters, she offers a set of exercises which explore what was 'fun' for you as a child.  Like venturing back memory lane, you are searching for what was in you naturally... maybe what got hid away, or set aside.  What did you do as a child that you enjoyed?  What made you happy?  What did you do for fun?  For me, this question alone took quite a bit of time, quiet, prayer, and memory-journeying to find some answers.

I now believe with all my heart that I am indeed creative.  (My husband will be pleased with this!)  And, I have slowly ventured into the effort of 'doing' more fun things in my life.  Opening up.  Pressing in.  Things I used to do...?  Things that I have always wanted to do... or wondered about?  Slowly.  One thing at a time.

My newest venture has been into the realm of watercolor painting.  The ever-present practical-Stephanie assumed (wrongly, as it turned out)... that this was a cheap hobby.  So, I started here.

Today, I boldly---and it does take significant courage, mind you--- I share (below) a few of my first attempts to have creative fun in my life.  I figure, for the faithful few of you that read these posts, you hear the ins-and-outs of many vulnerabilities and very often the weaknesses in my life.  So, why not... I'll share this vulnerable place of creativity and strength, too.    And, I will assure you... I am really enjoying it!

...having a little bit of fun.  Thank you, God, for whispering on my behalf.  

Friday, June 1, 2018

To Know

photo source
Each and every day there are things I just don't understand.

I like to understand.  I like to know.  This morning, I was struck with the reality that I don't hold ambiguity very well.  Many of us don't.

I remember taking a personality test a few years back that proved that my ability to tolerate ambiguity was quite low... or underdeveloped.  I didn't really need a test to show this.  I know it well.  Each and every day.

Yesterday we had some hard and sad news.  The news included certain pain.  But, also much ambiguity.  ...as does most difficult news. 

If I am honest, in my line of work, we have hard and sad news quite regularly.  But, don't we all?  I mean, really!?  Don't we all.  Each and every day.

I felt like yesterday's news hung around my neck like a dark, wet blanket.  Heavy.  Hard to carry.  How many times did I pray... Lord, I am just sad. Father, I feel so very sad.  
All day long, questions filled my mind...  Why?  Why, Lord?  What are You up to, here?  What are You doing? What should I do?   

I want to know the answer.  I like to know.

This morning I had a lovely moment of fleeting light and a lift to the heaviness of the damp, sad news.  Psalm 90 reminded me,

"Lord, You have been our dwelling place from generation to generation.  Before You made the mountains and brought forth the earth, from everlasting to everlasting You are God"  (Psalm 90:1,2)

As these words were read, I could feel the lift and the peace swell deep within my heart.

He is.  And, He knows.

Stephanie, I know.  

Is that enough?  Today, yes, it is enough.   God isn't ambiguous.  He, Himself, is firm, certain, clear, and definite.  He has always been.  He will always be.  From always and for always...  and He knows.

You know, Lord.  

Solid One, my rock.  You are the place I live.  You are my home, my refuge, my hiding place. You are my dwelling place.   

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