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Archive for June, 2012

If there is one thing I love to do, its read. And when I find an author I like, I read everything I can get my hands on that they write (well, as long as I can find it at the library!). I decided to dive into a few books by Donald Miller after hearing friends and other online mentioning the movie “Blue Like Jazz”.  I don’t have a lot of time to devote to researching books and movies before I watch them anymore, but after reading a brief mention in the book “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers” I thought it was worth a try. I started out (unintentionally) reading “Through Painted Deserts”.  I quickly read that and in less than 4 days I read “Blue Like Jazz” and then “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”.  I didn’t realize at the time I started, that I had read the books in sort of a chronological order (which I thought was pretty cool). I totally loved the writing style and content and will be adding them to my personal library soon.

I could probably go on for quite a while about things in these books that spoke to me. Honestly, I am still processing it, and will likely need to reread to absorb more. It has triggered me to think and dig deeper in my relationship with God (I felt very similar after reading Shane Claiborne’s books). A lot of Miller’s pondering and questioning aligns with the way I used to think way back before real life stole my focus. This thinking thing is a slow thing for me (please no blonde jokes, haha!) because it has been dormant for the most part.  I used to spend hours trying to figure this world out and this whole God thing. It used to be so easy. Now I have all the dust and cobwebs of my history that I have to brush out of the way, and pray that God will awaken desire to keep searching Him in such a way.

Yesterday I was thinking about what all I had read in Miller’s books. The last one I had read had affected me much more than I had anticipated. In “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” He talks about how our lives are a story, God is the writer, but we still can help determine what kind of ending we have. That is just putting it briefly, and he explains it so much better than I ever could. I started wondering what kind of story I was writing. I never really thought of myself as that interesting, but I had to really look at what my life was saying. Things were fairly uneventful until I was a teen. Teen years brought about a bit of mischief and hormonal brooding. Then my adult life seemed to be burdened with bad choices, abuse, loss, failed relationships, depression and the like. Geez, so far it was looking like this story was pretty depressing. I hate depressing books or movies :-\ Looking at my current situation there is a lot of working, going to church/serving at church, sleeping and eating…and just existing. I don’t socialize too much aside from church and work and I am pretty much broke most of the time anyway….so now my story is boring. I am not thinking a boring story is any better than a depressing one.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I talk about being healed from depression and anxiety attacks.(I won’t go into that testimony right now as those details aren’t very relevant to what God showed me). Anyway, just over 2 years ago, I was a real mess. I was imprisoned by my depression and fear of everything, and I felt that I was in an impossible situation. I could sit for hours watching tv, playing on the internet, and sleeping. My marriage had fallen apart, and I was left sitting in a cell with little hope of ever getting out. I just wanted to sleep until this nightmare was over, because it hurt too bad to change. In my mind, just barely existing was safer than living any kind of life. I didn’t think I was even worth it anyway. Then through a series of events and choices, God let me out of that prison about a year ago. I have been kind of dazed, as I had lived with depression and anxiety most of my life. I have had to learn to feel emotions on a normal level (as opposed to medicated or filtered through the depression). I have had to adjust my eyes to the brightness of life and people in the outside world. Even with all the challenges, it feels good to be free. I know I don’t want to go back, God doesn’t want me to go back.

Lately I keep finding myself pacing around outside that cell. I let my hands trace the outline of the bars. I lean my face on the concrete wall, and smell the dampness. Just beyond the steel door, a cold slab of a bed and flickering light. I close my eyes and inhale the familiarity of it all.  I KNOW I don’t want to be in there. I KNOW it is better out here. I KNOW that God wants me to stay away. But there is always that faint whisper of the comfort of not changing. I have to get away from that. I can’t stick around and toy with the idea of locking myself up like that ever again. But then I turn and it seems like there are so many things that are in the way and I can barely see my life beyond them. I want so much more, yet because I was shut away for so long I have no idea what to do. All I know is that I want a story with a beautiful ending, not some tragedy.

After reading those books, I got to wondering…what would it look like to dream a little. God forbid I make some sort of list and call it a bucket list (as that seems pretty cliché now lol). It is so much more than that. I try to remember about the things I used to want to do as a kid, and then it hit me…our family needs to dream so we can create moments in our story. Last night, I announced (a little misty eyed) that we are going to start listing some of the stuff we each want to do, accomplish or learn. We are going to have adventures no matter how small, but more importantly we are going to live life.  Then we are going to put our dreams in a binder, notebook or folder and have a family dream book. Some of these things we may get too quickly, and some we may have to work toward. Some we might not get to do for years. Some we can do alone, some we can do together, and yet others we can include our extended family and friends.

From my older 2 kids’ reaction, they didn’t know what to think…and I also saw what my depression had done to them…they seemed reluctant to dream because I had been too afraid to let them do anything. I had been their dream crusher. That lies as a heaviness on my heart. Honestly, I have this little fear of not following through and further damaging their abilities to dream. Now I have to be stronger so that will not happen…I am so glad God will help me.

So there are going to be some challenges. As a single mom, there are going to be plenty of things that may be difficult to do because of money, time, etc. I think we will start small and find things to explore and do in our state of Oklahoma. I will have to get a “dream jar” so we can save for some bigger dreams. I will probably have to get some books from the library to help us all figure out what we want to do. Right now I am a little overwhelmed at the vastness of possibility in this, but in the end we will all have better stories by living our dreams.

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