August 25, 2010

"It's just the gypsy in my soul"

Gray days make me want to run.  Clouds alone are not enough to send me into a tail-spin, but every once in awhile a patch of unsettled weather aligns with the end of a season, and hormones, and individually meaningless disappointments, all working together to make me feel as unsettled as the boiling gray clouds above me with tears seeming as close the mist that refuses to rain.  On days like this I feel I hear my name in the wind and see the road rising up before me, daring me to leave it all behind and just start over.  The lies of discontent become almost overwhelming and the ties of love and common sense seem to be stretched to the limit.  For a day or two I dream of how deliciously romantic it would be to just keep driving past my exit on my way home from work...to drive far enough to drown out the "nevers" and "maybes", the "shoulda dones" and "coulda dones"....and i think how wonderful to be Mary Poppins or that lady from Chocolat who would just pick up and leave whenever their job was done and the wind changed.  I crave the feeling of jumping without a net, of spreading my arms and flying with reckless abandon.
On days like this I wonder how a season of glorious possibility, that was once so full of promise and plan, is drawing to a close before all the dreams could be fulfilled.  I remember dreams of long ago that still hang unrealized.  And I stew in unlived memories with only a cup of tea for company.  How lovely to just leave the disappointments behind and create new memories, in a new place where no one knows my name or what to expect from me.  I look at the lives of those around me and see them moving on while I feel stuck in the mud and mire.
Lies are easier to believe on gray days.  It's not that I doubt the love of my family and friends, it is their love that keeps me here instead of running when this restless spirit hits.
Praise God He does not let me stay here long.  Behold the power of a beautiful redheaded baby boy snuggled into my chest as we dance to every song comes on the radio.  Babysitting my favorite redheaded nephew tonight was exactly what I needed.  As he sleeps in the room next to me and I begin to clean up the broken bits of dinner left of the floor I realize that God was here, these pieces of tomato and bread and hummus are bits of manna from heaven, my Father's love sent to comfort my soul....yes there are dreams still unrealized and hungers still unsatisfied but He is good and has promised good to me.  Little by little my Father is teaching me to trust Him in the midst of longing, not to meet the need but that He will be enough.
Realizing my brokenness and God's wholeness with Emily for Imperfect Prose

August 18, 2010

Free to Love

"in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.What can man do to me?"  As I read this verse this morning and then throughout my day God has been showing me that with Him as my first love I have nothing to fear.
Not only has Christ conquered sin, sickness, sorrow, and death so that I may no longer fear them; but He has also loved me so completely that I truly have nothing to fear from loving others.  True people may disappoint, leave, or even betray but if my hope and trust is in Christ alone none of these events should throw me.  What a freeing thought!  I can love others without fear of rejection because that is how Christ has loved me......hallelujah, what a Savior!  Through His unconditional love of me I may love others truly unconditionally. 
As I'm writing I'm just now beginning to see how this opens up the possibility of loving one's enemies, this is only possible when He alone is my source of satisfaction.  Christ can never disappoint and He has promised never to betray.   Hurt and disappointment should never color my relationships, they should only serve to increase my longing for heaven when all things will be made new!  When I feel abandoned or neglected, discontent or disappointed a change of perspective (a return to my First Love) is what is needed not a change in circumstances.
If only this were a once in a lifetime lesson instead of one that must be re-learned with every step through life.  Praise the Creator for His unfailing love and enduring patience in teaching my wandering heart!
As I am humbled by God's great infinite mysteries and my finite and inadequate vocabulary I connect with Emily forImperfect Prose

August 16, 2010

Why I run into burning buildings

I realized last week that I have left out a large chunk of my life from this blog....for those of you who don't know I run into burning buildings.  I've been a volunteer firefighter for 9 years, but I've been around the fire service my whole life, literally.
There is a picture of my dad feeding me a bottle while sitting on the front bumper of a fire truck and some of my earliest childhood memories are of my sister and I helping my dad at the firehouse on Saturday mornings.  Even though I marched with my girl scout troop I always rode to the Memorial Day Parade on a firetruck.
I'm a firefighter because my dad, along with numerous uncles, set the example (for a while growing up i thought Santa wore fire boots, because in our family he did).  At first I thought that joining the fire department when I turned 16 would be a cool way to get to spend time with my dad without my mom or sister being around but I soon discovered the unique satisfaction of being able to physically help someone when they were in need, and I was hooked.
Of course there's the adrenaline and sense of brotherhood which are pretty cool too, but the ability to bring order and safety to a chaotic and dangerous event is what I love most about this work.  I love it so much that I went to college to study Fire Science to learn how to do it better.
My "paying gig" is as a fire inspector.  This means that I get to stop fires before they start through reviewing building plans for code compliance, inspecting buildings for fire safety, and my favorite part, educating others about simple steps they can take to be more fire safe and home, work, and school.  And then if a fire does happen, we get to investigate where and why it started.  I like my job; I LOVE fire prevention.  I love when people ask questions and learn stuff they didn't know before, stuff that might save their or their family's lives.
The pictures from last week are from the National Fall Firefighters Memorial.  On average the US kills over 100 firefighters a year, leaving behind broken families and grieving communities.  In 2008 3,320 civilians lost their lives to fire and direct property loss due to fires was about $15.5 billion.  Many of these fire could have been prevented. 
Check out http://www.firesafety.gov/ to learn more about how you can take steps today to protect your family from fire.
I love being a firefighter, I love wearing the gear and riding in the trucks.  I love being of service and seeing that look of appreciation.  I love showing off our trucks to little kids and seeing the awe in their eyes.  I love the exhaustion and satisfaction that comes after fighting a fire.  I love my fire department family and the unique bond we have....but honestly I would be so much happier if we didn't have a job to do.  If there was a way to eliminate fires I would give the rest of it up in a heartbeat, but until then I'll keep doin' my job and praying for the safety of those I serve with and those we are serving.

August 12, 2010

Hushed by those who have gone before

As I sit humbled by the sacrifice of those brother and sister firefighters who have given so courageously and selflessly of themselves I am reminded to pray for those who are left behind....children, parents, lovers, and friends.

Although I'm not very wordy today I am linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose today.

August 4, 2010

My God, how great thou art, and how quick I am to forget

Sometimes I fear suffocating in safety, of living a life of quiet desperation.  It is easy to believe in a mighty God when I am faced with mighty obstacles....Goliath before me solidifies my soul's certainty that my God is bigger.  But what do I do when there is no Goliath, when the only obstacles before me are a mirror to show my own sinfulness.  The mundane is such an excellent soul-snuffer and sanctification moves like molasses when measured by the minute.

The questions arise in the still of the midnight moon and the hum of the summer bugs outside...."have i missed my chance for love by speaking too late? too early? or maybe by just not working hard enough?" "does God actually care or have a plan for me or am i destined to slip through the cracks" "can i call my self a christian when there is so much wrong in the world and i live in such luxury?" "am i actually living in God's will for my life or have I missed the mark? and if so how long will i be stuck before I get back on track?" "have i lost my muchness? i seemed so much muchier a year ago when my hands were dirty and calloused from serving the poor and needy halfway across the world."

But then in the breeze i hear that it is time to lay my questions down and i feel ashamed of my questions.  How can I still doubt when I have been witness to so many evidences of His faithfulness?  At times like this God speaks though my garden.



As seeds I doubted in the March mud and cold but my tomatoes proved me wrong











Then as transplanted seedlings assaulted by the late May sun and wind and rain I braced for the worst, but still they grew.











I bought cages sure they would never fill and even if they did they would be lovely green plants with no fruit, still they grew







Then one day, despite my doubt, fruit!


My prayer is for contentment, that I would learn to grow where I am planted and to take joy in the exact circumstance God has placed me in in each moment.  For I know in my head if not always in my hear that it is He who loves me, that guides my steps.  Let my life be like my tomato plants, bearing fruit in the presence of doubt. 

A wise woman once showed me this quote and I pray that I would remember this when the questions come....
"I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because that is His best for me. It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single. The psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me."--Paige Benton Brown

Linking up with Emily for Imperfect Prose