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Archive for February, 2013

Its been an amazing few weeks! I made it through an emotional last 2 weeks working with my babies, and started a new job last week working with teens with various disabilities (specifically teaching them vocational skills). So I have been busy trying to learn everything I need to know to do my job 🙂 Everyday I grow to love my job even more knowing that God is using me make a difference in their lives.

There have been at least a few areas of my life that I feel like I have been challenged this week. The most immediate one being trying to build a new daily routine, especially with food. (and being sick this week has not helped! lol), I find myself so wore out by the end of the day, I don’t even want to think about food, but I really have to push myself so I won’t fall back into old habits. I am so close to the 50lbs lost mark, I can’t give up now! 🙂

The other area that has proved to be a challenge for me is “real world” exposure. Now, I am not saying that I have been totally sheltered my whole entire life or anything. I stayed home with my kids for 5 years or so, worked at Walmart a month, then got the job at LC. If I did anything social (which was pretty rare in the 5 yrs I stayed home) it was church related. Most of the time, depression ruled so that meant staying home and away from any interaction with others. Honestly, the last time I was in “real world” work, it scared me because I was still pretty immature in my faith and found myself backsliding . I know I am a lot older and wiser than I was , but it doesn’t stop that fear from creeping up. Here I am working with people of various backgrounds, religions, etc. Some may not have healthy families or some may be from bad neighborhoods. Some of the music, honestly I couldn’t tell you who is singing (lets just say its been probably a decade since I have listened to regular radio stations!)

From all the growth I have experienced over the past few years, God has been trying to prepare me for situations like this. I have to be around people outside my comfort zone and start building relationships with them if I really want to show Christ’s love. I can’t just sit around talking about how great it would be to do it, I have to get out there. If my story is supposed to help others, then they need to hear it, not just my Christian friends.

I know that I can’t stay in my “bubble” forever. A few of years ago, I couldn’t see myself ever doing this type of work, or much of anything for that matter. Depression had me bound and blindfolded. Even as scary as real life seems, I am so thankful that God has brought me to this place in my life. I had thought at the beginning of all this change that I would never get through all this “learning to feel again” stuff. I didn’t think that my dreams that I had in high school of being a special ed teacher would have ever survived…now here I am learning to do something that is in a closely related field! God is good! I never would have thought I would be right here, right now. Once again, He has left me amazed 🙂

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So this week will begin the flood of posts on social media about Valentine’s Day. Some will be talking about their plans with their sweetie, while others will complain about how they wish they had a significant other so they could celebrate it (and I can tell you 98%+ of both of these posts will be made by women lol). All of it causes me to laugh a little, because of what little I know of the real story of St. Valentine and how we as a society let certain businesses think that buying a bunch of their stuff will show our love… ::shaking my head:: Its kind of sad when you think about how that happens at just about every holiday.

Anyway, back to what I am really wanting to talk about… It always was kind of annoying to me about people being all “anti-Valentine’s day” or “Singles Awareness Day”. I understand why those feeling surface, but they seem to be laced with desperation (“I NEED to be with somebody!!!”), emptiness (“I am incomplete without a partner”) and envy (“It’s not fair, that I am alone, and everyone else has someone”). I think Valentine’s Day just amplifies what has been lying inside all the rest of the time.

During this period of my life, I have found myself feeling those same feelings at different times. Over this past year, things have changed and I have found myself in a better place, a more content place. I can only credit God with that, because if I am not focused on Him, then I find myself slipping into the “poor single me” attitude. If I find myself focusing on that, then I know I am not trusting Him in that area of my life. I have to trust the He has my best interest at heart, and at the right time He will bring the right man along. If I am constantly complaining that I “NEED” to have a boyfriend or how I don’t know how long I can stand being alone, then its another way of saying, “God, I love You and all, but You have no idea what I am going through, and Your timing is not perfect.”

So this Valentine’s Day, I won’t be complaining (except for maybe the whole commercialization thing lol). I will take joy in my friends’ excitement over their relationships and do my best to show love to my single friends who maybe struggling with the loneliness. My prayer is that Christ will be the center, so those feelings will be overcome by His love. His timing is perfect, and He does know what we are going through.

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This week was the much anticipated kick-off of the new series, Time Travelers, in Toon Town . The whole series is about media and how it can affect us and what the Bible has to say about it. It was so awesome to see the kids so pumped about it, and personally most of us serving were excited too.

One of the things that amazed me was how much the kids had to say about media.  I served in 4 services and most of the small groups I lead had so much to say. The one that wasn’t as talkative (well at least in answering specific questions) still had some interesting input.  One of the things I learned was that I probably need to research tv shows more, because I had NO clue what some of the shows were! (mainly because we do not have cable or even basic channels at home.)

I have been thinking on what all I observed while serving yesterday. Several of the kids knew some of the stuff that they were exposed to was not good for them (whether it was super scary, violent, sexually inappropriate, bad language, etc). It came down to what the adults happened to be watching while they were around and not so much what the child was allowed to watch during their tv time.

I found myself having to really watch how I say things, so that all the suggestions I gave the kids would still allow them to honor their parents/guardians. The kids’ first reaction is to go and turn off the tv or tell the parent straight up, “Turn it off, that’s bad!” or whatever else came to mind. I gave the kids some options that gave them the power to protect their heart from the bad stuff, with the hopes it will help them cope with any environment that exposes them to stuff that might not be the best thing for the kids to see. Some of the suggestions included: asking their parents nicely to turn it or talk with their parents about what they learned, find something else to do like go their room and play or put some headphones on and listen to good music, etc.

All of this really hit my heart. I ached in my spirit, seeing all these kids who wanted so much to do the right thing and watch what they hear or see. These kids want to please God and grow in their faith. I saw the pain behind their eyes, when they shared that they were scared by certain shows or movies and they don’t like to hear the bad words or see stuff that is inappropriate. For the most part, they knew what was good or bad media, but seemed at a loss as to what to do because they felt like sometimes they didn’t have a choice.

I wish that parents could see this side of their kids more often, to see them from perspective that is a little different. I know that these parents love their kids with everything they got, and never want to hurt them. As a parent, I know this is hard to see with my own kids, it often takes someone giving me a different way of looking at things…

Kids (especially those in elementary school) are very literal. They have problems discerning reality and fantasy, even if they tell you they know the difference.  They will often believe whatever someone (especially a trusted adult!) tells them. They also struggle to understand why the grown-ups in their lives do stuff they can’t do. So many times they hear, “because I am an adult” or whatever.  They are very black & white when it comes to moral issues/rules. It’s either right or wrong and if there happens to be a gray area, they struggle with understanding why. The excuse that “kids are resilient” is not entirely accurate. So many times we  adults say that so flippantly. Whatever a child (or person of ANY age) exposed to WILL affect them in some way, whether good or bad.

I am not telling anyone what show to watch or music to listen to…that’s your choice. But consider what you are potentially exposing your kids to. I used to listen to a lot of different music and watched a lot of stuff, but there came a point where I knew something HAD to change. I don’t know exactly when I realized that it wasn’t cute for a kid to be singing the song on the radio that was blatantly about sex or hurting someone. I wasn’t even that interested in changing what I listened to at that time, but I couldn’t stand for my kids to be repeating some of the lyrics! So I started being super careful what I listened to around them. That eventually became a whole lifestyle change for me, and at the very least my children were changed for the better because of it. Sometimes the best changes in our lives come from what we do to protect our kids. At the very least be willing to listen to your kids when they tell you something that they are exposed to is bothering them. My oldest daughter does this frequently, I used to get mad at her, but then I realized God was using her to change me 🙂

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