Monday, February 25, 2013

Give it up

Basketball season has ended, softball is just around the corner, then it's time for the Downtown Market!
Steadily building my inventory, I am excited about some "new products" I have created to share this upcoming season.
The Market begins May 18th.  The Vendor Fees have increased, so I do foresee that trickling into the prices of the goods, but it shouldn't be extreme.  Most vendors have always had such great prices to begin with.  That is, for handmade or home grown   These prices should be kept in line with the time it took to make or grow a product, and the money it cost to do so, for fairness.
My next vendor opportunity is the Old Time Fiddlers' show March 8th & 9th at Rossview High School.  I'm looking forward to it.  Every year I read about it in the Leaf Chronicle, but this is the first time I'll be there.  When I was nine and ten years old I took violin lessons, so I have great respect for the instrument and the talent required to play it.

Before yesterday afternoon (when a sweet friend enlightened me with a gentle reminder from the Love of God) I was thinking, thinking, thinking, stressing, and considering summer plans.  I really like to plan summer.  Our oldest son, Josh, has fortunately gotten a summer job, but they have asked him to commit to it for the summer, taking only one week off, because it is only a ten week job.  Well, that just throws a wrench into family vacation, church camps, basketball camps, and time at the grandparents' house.  I have felt so torn, how to help him have it all, knowing that the summer between his Junior & Senior year is so special.  So fleeting.  I have this fear that he won't have been given every opportunity, that he won't have experienced everything he needs to before his Senior year of high school.
How do I help?  What can I do?  The wheels in my head have been spinning and the wrench is getting worn.  It might have sounded awful in my son's head every time I tried to broach the subject, thinking we need a plan now!  I think he started avoiding me.  Still, I felt the need to tell him everything I knew about it all.
If he has to choose just one week to do what he wants to do this summer, he must choose very wisely!  Then I started trying to persuade/influence him (unknowingly, of course).
 Finally, he just said, "Stop.  Please.  Stop"
And I realized.
I (really) can't make his decision for him, ever how huge it may seem to  me.
NO coercing.   No persuading.  No intellectual/experiential advice.
It suddenly feels like when I put him on the bus for kindergarten that first day.  When my heart fell to my stomach as I realized I had to let go.  That he was going.  Then he was gone.
Nothing prepares you for that with your first child, whenever it happens.  As it continues to happen.
And though it is supposed to happen, and we can enjoy the process, it is soooooooooo bittersweet.
He has to make his own choices.  Though my intentions are good-- in wanting to be a loving, informative, giving mom--- I have to let go and give it up.  (My friend's words, "give it up.")  I knew exactly what she meant as the wrench was torn from my heart.
It's a scary thing.
Have I prepared him?
Have I taught him everything I know?
And who?  Just who do I think I am? I'm having to trust that I have done the best with what I have known.  Yet, believing and trusting that God will do much much more than I could have dreamed of doing.  That He will provide every good thing my son needs.  That He will take him to and through things that will forever change the man, and that He will teach and teach and teach him more.
I know it seems like I should have been prepared for this, but unbeknownst to me, this is one of those things that can only be experienced to be understood.  Fully felt.

Crazily, it is our greatest hope as parents is that when the time comes we can truly let go and give it up - stand back with tears in our eyes - and watch them fly.

My Hope.

So I waited.  Eight long days.   I prayed, but not nearly as much as I should have have.  I learned that I needed to pray more.   About many things.  SO many things.  That I should pray without ceasing.  I cease far to often!  I should pray.

I MUST pray.

Then he goes away for two days.
He returns.
He says he knows what he is doing now.
He has chosen.

Whatever.  I am content with whatever decision he has made.  Because I know it is God's hand.  God's will.  Our trust.  Amazingly led.  All along.  Praise God.  Thank You God.

Josh chose to go on the mission trip to World Changers: Puerto Rico with the Relevant Students group this summer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tell Them / Speak Life

We are temporarily down to one vehicle again.  So, I am currently utilizing public transportation.  The buses here are great, clean, affordable, and not that crowded.  I've only been on one other city's bus to compare though.  In Mexico we took their city bus to Market 29 to get some great deals from locals on souvenirs (if you buy souvenirs close to the resorts, you'll pay double).  That bus was CAH-RAZY.  The locals use it every day and they just cram into it to get to work, or home.  It felt extremely illegal.  But since we were sitting and it kept getting squishier, there was not getting off.  We had people holding on while hanging out the front door of the bus, and people at passing bus stops were still trying to flag our bus down to get on!  (Eye opening....considering most people  I know (myself included) have the luxury of riding around in a five to seven passenger vehicle with a/c and heat).
All this to say that Clarksville buses rarely have this problem.  I've been taking it nearly every day.  It allows for exercise, fresh air, some thinking time while waiting or riding, and personally I enjoy it.
But it also does something else for me.  It's humbling.  Many times I overhear people talking about how they are trying to just get a job, or a GED, or place of their own.  The bus I ride is en route to the local medical clinic that charges based on income, so a lot of people riding are in need of medical care also.
So it was last week when I got on the bus and heard a young lady talking loudly to a guy friend sitting in front of her.  She was in a wheel chair, and she may have been missing part of one leg, but I didn't want to stare, so I walked past her and sat down two seats behind.
She was talking so loud and so much, I went to put my earphones on to resume listening to music.  But then I could hear her over the earphone music, and Tobymac's song Speak Life came on, so I felt compelled to listen.  She was telling stories of her childhood, wrought with emotional abuse.  The stories were supposed to be funny, as she was loud in proclaiming them.  But every once in a while she would look out the window and I could see her eye.  And I knew that she knew.  She knew that the life she'd been brought up in didn't make sense.  That it wasn't right, but it had made and shaped her and she had resigned herself to it.  I could see the pain in her eye even as she laughed and loudly recounted the stories of her family's dysfunction.  She knew, somewhere deep down, that this childhood she'd had wasn't "good."
Then I thought of Tobymac's song and I wondered, "how can I speak life to her? I'm not even engaged in the conversation.  She doesn't know me!"
But I imagined for a second myself walking up to the seat across from her and time slowing for the moment, as I seriously told her what God wanted me to: "I have been sitting behind you listening to your stories and I feel God wants me to tell this:  You are so worthy.  You are beautiful.  You are valuable and you are wise. The experiences you have been describing don't sound stable, and so I sensed that God wanted me to tell you how truly wonderful you are."
Then I really wanted to tell her!  She need to hear it!
But then, I wondered, how would she respond to that?  I didn't want to offend her.
And I lost my nerve.
So, I just prayed that she would know it somehow, as I sat there wondering who would tell her.
I felt everything the opposite of brave.

Is it possible (for ordinaries) to speak life to total strangers?  I've heard stories of evangelistic people doing that.  Is it Personality? Gifting? Or simply being equipped with courage while being obedient to God?  What are some instances in your life where you have followed the Holy Spirit's prompting in a situation that seemed uncomfortable?  How did it turn out?

I know I don't want to be ordinary.  I want to be a rebel.  An ordinary rebel.  A fool.  A crazy God-loving kid, who is NOT afraid to speak the truth to perfect strangers.  I desire to speak LIFE.
Oh God, please give me the courage.