Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Staying in the fire---Update

Well, as was no surprise, there was a message awaiting us on the answering machine, from the lady who owned the lovely Cape Cod. She felt so badly that they couldn't afford to wait a month out for us, but could not, therefore had another couple moving into the place November 1st. I admit I was very disappointed. I had to fight not to grumble all the more as I shoved things into my overflowing kitchen cupboards, as I flushed the toilet & it overflowed yet again, as I heard the racket next door, as I wondered where I was going to fit my Christmas tree this year.....
I need to learn to be grateful for what I have. The other day I was grumbling about the toilet clogging again, and then I caught myself, repented, & started thanking God that I even had running water & plumbing. Really, it's something we take for granted here in North America.
So we are here for the winter. And ya know what? I'm okay with that. I'm going to be okay with that, because things always turn out far better when they are in God's timing. I admit I don't want to stay here beyond the Spring, but again, waiting on God's timing. So for now, drafty walls, noise & toilets overflowing...and in the midst of a toilet overflowing, I pray that I will learn to let my joy overflow as well and to realize that the cup of blessing is truly overflowing in my life. I have my family, I have a place to live and food to eat. I am in fairly good health. I am blessed.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jumping out of the fire

So here's the deal: There is a gorgeous, huge Cape Cod for rent at an excellent price in a prime location. My husband, son & I went to check it out last night & we just fell in love with it. Thing is, it's for rent November 1st & we should, out of respect & integrity, give our landlord a month's notice. Also, what a stressful rush to pack up everything & clean this place in 3 short weeks!!! Especially with a demanding 5 1/2 year old around.
Why such a desire to move? Well, where we live right now, at the month's end, we will have been here for 2 years, fulfilling our 2 year lease. When we moved into this side by side duplex, on the other side was our landlord, who was single & very quiet. See, there is nothing between our walls: No firewall, no nothing. So you can hear every single noise, including someone urinating in the bathroom. I like quiet. Yes, it's not something I get much of with an active little boy, but adding someone else's noise on top of his is almost too much for me.
About 7 months ago, our landlord had his buddy move in with him. Now, his buddy was nothing like him: He would get drunk regularly, smoke dope out on the back porch & curse & swear loudly, going off on anyone from the landlord to Bell Aliant on the phone. This went on for 6 months. Thankfully, this wasn't an every day thing, so I tolerated it. A month ago, he moved out. So I thought, finally peace & quiet again. Not to be.
Then the renovations began. Hardcore renos. Video cameras & alarm systems were being installed, as well as the kitchen being redone. Why? Because our landlord had decided to rent the other side out as a business of sorts. A teenage boy with severe Autism would be being prepped to go into a group home. They'd be teaching him things like washing dishes, cooking, etc. This goes on everyday, Mon-Friday, 10-3 (but people are in there longer some days, doing things). So daily now, starting this past week, I constantly hear people cheering loudly all day. I see numerous vehicles parked outside. People are in and out all day. It's like a mini circus. My landlord, did however, inform me that they wanted to do this from 8-6 and sometimes on weekends, & he'd refused. So if that is the case, I am very grateful for that! I am seldom awake at 8!
My husband was adamant about us renting the Cape Cod after we saw it, & set out to figure it all out, & try to see if our landlord would allow us to just pay him the extra for us leaving earlier than with a month's notice.
Bedtime came, & we both laid there in the dark. I was thinking & thinking, & then the Lord began to speak to me & remind me of some things. He made me see that the circumstances couldn't be of Him. First of all, the Lord would want us to have integrity & give a full month's notice. He wouldn't put us in a position of not honoring that. Secondly, the Lord wouldn't put us in a position of being rushed. Rushing breeds stress, & 3 mere weeks to pack up a lot of stuff & clean the place would be overwhelming for me. Not of God.
Then the Lord reminded me of a time around 4 1/2 years ago,where I was saying the same thing to him then, as I was now, when we were buying a house of our own in the "middle of nowhere". It was a nice looking spacious home. I remember several times saying to the Lord, "Lord, this seems too good to be true! Would You really get us this home?" My flesh wanted it so badly! At the time, we were living in a small 2 bedroom, paying a lot for it, with landlords that had crossed some lines that shouldn't have been crossed. We wanted OUT. So we ended up getting the house & the next 2 1/2 years were like HELL. That was NOT God's best for us. But we got impatient, & we wanted out of the trial we were going through. So we just went ahead, convincing ourselves God was in it. I mean, why would He want us to live there, paying someone else's mortgage & having landlords who had done things they shouldn't have, right? Wrong.
God is not concerned about our comfort. Did you hear that? He's not!! He is more concerned about our growth, and growth doesn't occur without trials & tribulations. And if we go through those trials & tribulations & wait upon the Lord to deliver us, then it will be worth the wait. We are essentially holding out for God's biggest blessings. But in the meantime...
...In the meantime, He wants us---He wants me---to learn how to be content in any & every situation. To be grateful for what I have (nice yard, clothesline,big windows, etc.), rather than desiring what I don't have (cupboard space, closet space, wood heat, etc.).
My husband, about 10 minutes after we'd been laying there supposedly "sleeping", he spoke, & he was having the same thoughts as I was. So we prayed in agreement, that if this was of the Lord, it would come to pass, otherwise, let another take the place.
Now, we, not being able to move any sooner than December 1st, if the woman who is renting that beautiful home somehow agrees to hold it for us (which would be nothing short of a miracle), then we will know the Lord is in it! So we meet with her tomorrow afternoon, to find out what's going on.
So whether I move or whether I stay here another winter, I will accept it. Yet I know God wants me to do far more than merely accept it. He wants me to be joyful & grateful in the meantime. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." That is God's will for me...and for you. He doesn't want us to jump out of the fire when it gets hot. He wants us to remain in it, so that we can be purged of all the impurities in our lives. And when we have persevered, there will be a greater blessing.
My husband & I have a habit of jumping out of the fire, & missing out on God's best. I pray this time that God will have HIS perfect will, & we won't just accept it, but rejoice in it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Facing Your Fear

This past year, I have suffered from 5 bouts of the dreaded stomach flu. Yes, FIVE BOUTS! The first was at the end of February. I managed to contain it to just myself, with the help of my trusty jug of bleach. The other 4 times were all in the span of a month & a half.
What's significant about this, other than that is an INSANE number of times to get stomach flu, is that one of my BIGGEST fears was getting stomach flu. I was so bad, that if someone so much as even said the words, "stomach flu", I would suffer from an anxiety attack! Fear would grip me. It was horrible. I would go out in public, ever conscious of germs that are lurking on anything from shopping carts, to doors, toilets to taps. I was equipped with my trusty hand sanitizer at all times, which I later found out, does NOT kill the stomach flu virus (Norovirus). So then, I went out & bought hand wipes that included an ingredient that may have helped kill the virus. No matter, it was better than nothing! I kept my boy away from cootie-infested McDonald's play places & play groups (which I always avoided, anyhow), & spent much more time at home when I would hear of stomach flu running rampant.
If I suspected I or my child had been exposed to the stomach flu, I would be on edge for 2 whole days after, waiting to see if we had caught it or not. Then sweet relief would overtake me when I saw that we hadn't. Seemed, the only time I could relax, was when I was safe at home, having not been in any public place for at least 2 days!
Where did this fear began? I was living with my husband & child, in the "middle of nowhere", which is fairly accurate. Every direction you looked out of our windows were trees. You couldn't see the nearest neighbors, & there was no amenities within walking distance. Nothing but the wildlife & lots of bugs to keep you company. We were extremely isolated, getting out maybe once a week for church. I began to be tormented. Too much time on my hands, left to myself. Probably some loneliness I didn't recognize as such (since I enjoy being alone).
I had that H1N1 (AKA "Swine Flu") & I'd have rather taken a week of that, then a few hours of stomach flu!
Fear is a nasty thing. Stress comes with it. Sickness & fatigue follow.
I had a 6 day bug that I shared with my boy who, then had it for 5 days. It seemed an endless month & a half of washing barfy bedding, scrubbing the bathroom, floors & doorknobs with bleach & hardcore hand washing, as well as isolation. It just didn't want to leave my house. No sooner I'd recovered the first time (from the 6 day bug), 3 days later, it hit me again! 2 weeks later, it got me again. 3 weeks later, again. Fortunately, I didn't share it the last few times (again, thanks to bleach!).
There is a worldly saying that says to overcome our fears, we need to face them, & I totally believe it. That is taking nothing away from God's perfect love that casts out all fear, because, ultimately, that is the cure-all for fear, period. However, I believe the Lord allowed this sickness to hit me again, & again & again...& again....& again....until I'd faced my fear enough times, that I would no longer be in bondage to it. Not a fun lesson to learn, but I tend to learn things best, the hard way!
Am I still weary of stomach flu? Weary, yes, terrified, no. Of course I will take precautions not to catch it, but it's not the same gripping fear. I am more nonchalant about it. Kind of like, if I get it, I get it. Big whoop.
Fear is never truly rational if we know the Lord. Jesus said many times, "Fear not!" He wouldn't say it if we had cause to fear. Fear puts us into bondage, which is exactly what Satan wants. I felt in such terrible bondage to this irrational fear!
All things work for good....Yes, all those barfing at both ends fits served to glorify God! Now that fear is under control.
We all have fears/phobias. God can deliver us from ALL of our fears, just like it says in the Psalms (& David knew what he was talking about! What a life!). We just gotta let Him.