Monday, September 16, 2013

Tick Tock

Any day now.  I have contractions all night long, and yes, they are really painful.  I'm about to burst.  I know I'm a mom, and yet, I still don't feel like it.  I think I emotionally distanced myself when I was spotting and cramping early on in pregnancy, and definitely more so when they said something could be wrong with Sampson.  It was so heart wrenching, I feel like I turned myself off or something.  I know he's going to be okay now, or at least I think, but you never know.  The thought of loss early on was hard enough.  I couldn't imagine now.

As a result of turning my emotions off, I feel absent sometimes, and it almost feels like a dream.  I know a human being is inside me, but I can't imagine how I should love him or how I should be feeling.  I'm anticipating, but I feel guilty for not feeling completely overjoyed.  I feel guilty for the worry I feel.  I wonder what having a child will do to my marriage, to our finances, because I know all too well that adding another factor just makes things harder.  And how will I deal with it all?  How could I be a good mom?  The list of questions goes on and on in my head.  My mom says it will change when I hold him.  I'm sure it will, but I feel like I'm in a constant state of shell shock, and I don't know what to feel.

I love my child, but I don't know what that means.  I guess I'm just going to find out, right?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In a World that is Mourning

There are days like these when it is impossible not to shed a handful of tears.  Even with years between now and when you lost someone, the wound still seems raw.  You see it on people's faces.  It's not just 9/11.  It's not just parents of soldiers lost in the wars of the last decade.  Death is everywhere, whether loud and apparent like 09/11 or Syria, or quiet and stabbing, excruciatingly quick like a young mother losing her child before he is born or a bride dead on her wedding night.  It can be long and drawn out like watching your mother and all that made her wonderful disappear before your eyes, piece by beautiful piece.  Death is pervasive and each situation arduous, grueling.

Death tests the spirit to the core.  It is the ultimate loss.  It is a realization that your life will never be the same--a hole will always be where he or she was-- and that one day, you too will walk through a similar door into the unknown.  So many have gone before, and more and more are going every day, but it doesn't dull the knife of pain death brings.  Years pass and Death will scar your life, leaving marks on you with each and every precious person he takes.

I see how Death makes people despair.  I must admit that I, too, am pierced by Death and what he has done in my own life.  I still struggle with how much I miss those gone in my life, and I am young.  I know well that it will only happen more often, and that's something I must come to accept.

But I have something most people don't have.  I have a Hope that my life now--the past, present and future--is only temporary, including the pain, no matter how unbearable.  I have Someone to hold on to when everything else fails, and when Death comes calling, I have a Friend that comforts me, and He's closer than a brother.  He gives a peace that no one person or thing can offer.  It gets hard, yes, but if there is one thing I wish I could impart to you, if there is only one thing that you would ever hear from me, it would be that He is there for you, too.  He has rivers of infinite mercy waiting for you, no matter where you have been.  You may think He is a figment of my imagination, or that He's a god that has never cared, but I know from my own life that He sees you and everything you have been through and He grieves for your broken heart.  He has lost, in fact, He sent His only Son for you.  You will never understand why, I know I don't, but I trust this Friend and He has brought me through every pain I've had.  Not only that, but He conquered Death, as impossible as it sounds, He defeated it to where sin, death, and pain no longer reign, He does.  This Friend cares, even if you fight Him, even if you hate Him.  I have hated Him and cursed Him, and still He has followed me to the darkest pits to pull me out.

I only pray you allow Him to do the same for you.

"There's bound to come some trouble in your life, reach out to Jesus, and hold on tight.  He's been there before and He knows what it's like, and you'll find He's there."--Rich Mullins

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bombs in Syria

Should we or should we not strike Syria?

It's been several weeks since images of the devastation of Syrian civil war leaked into the news.  And now, the White House even has a video of people, including young children, dying from the gas attacks.  Thousands have died.

Is it wrong?  


Should we interfere?  

In my opinion, no.

We have spent the last twelve years in war in the Middle East, and Syria's civil war isn't the only conflict where thousands of people are losing their lives.  Egypt anyone? Libya?  And there are even more countries where people have been systematically killed and we turned a blind eye.  My question for the president is simply this:  What about Syria is so different that we should get involved?  Iraq is a prime example of jumping into a war for reasons that aren't readily proven.  Weapons of mass destruction?  And remember, Congress supported Bush then.  Congress isn't so sure now.

We don't want to help the Syrian rebels.  They are al-Qaeda sympathizers.  And honestly, the chemical attack is terrible and gruesome, but what's the difference between that and Egypt's military mowing down innocent people with guns?

What does Syria have that we want?  I really wonder why Obama is pushing this so hard.  Because my generation is tired of the US being the self-proclaimed international policeman that no one wants in their country.  Personally, I think intervention in Iraq helped the country and opened up a life for women and children who were treated like animals.  All the same, looking back, was it worth the billions of dollars and thousands of lives we spent?  I don't think we are in a place financially to spread ourselves out even more thin, actually both monetarily and with our troops.  We should be wrapping up the wars we are still in now.  It's been twelve years.  We have been in war for half of my life now.  It's time for it to end.

How about you?  What do you think? Answer the poll on the top right of the page, or comment below.

Here is a link about this debate.

Read up on it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another Season of Waiting

So, I'm in another part of life that requires patience...waiting.  I'm waiting on Sampson.  Waiting on God.  Waiting on opportunity.  Waiting on security.  Just waiting.

I'm not as completely freaked out as I expected myself to be.  This is the second time this year that I find myself without a job.  I used to apply to about thirty different jobs a week a year or two ago.  But earlier this year, when a good job as a book publisher went under, I applied at different places--but I also took a number a man from Mardel gave me.  I called it and scheduled an appointment at a temp agency.  I was put on a temporary project with Chesapeake not a week later.  The pay was the same as my job as a publisher.  I thought I might even get a chance to be hired on.

It was a good seven month run, the same amount of time I was with On Demand Books.  I wasn't cut when most people (about half) were, and my original prayer of making it to September was answered.  Praise God for His graciousness in that.  I made it as far as is comfortable.  We have enough savings to last us about two months, and I'm already applying for jobs as we speak, so I can get hired on in November after I have Sampy.  I'm not stressed like I thought I would be.  God has taken care of Breck and me.  He will continue to do so.

All the same, prayers are always greatly appreciated.  The support of a brother or sister with prayer is always uplifting, and it makes this sometimes hard battle of faith easier.

I remember when I praised God about getting the Chesapeake job earlier this year, an Atheist man asked me why I was giving glory to God about a job I busted my tail to earn, and a job that I was perfectly qualified for, so why was I surprised about getting it?

I spent the first year out of college married, working for $9/hr, and I was the only one working for six months, too.  It was rough.  There were weeks we went without groceries to make rent.  We ate potatoes and macaroni.  That's it.  I applied for every job I could, but no matter how many times I called back or no matter what I applied for, I wasn't getting any response.

Mind you, I know that I'm not the only person who experienced this.  We are in the middle of a Great Recession, and I know plenty of people with degrees applying for the same $10/hr jobs I was.  It didn't matter what your experience was, no one was hiring.  They were hiring administrative assistants with master's degrees.  Isn't that funny?  Getting paid $10/hr with a master's degree?  So, all of us new graduates had no chance at what traditionally has been reserved for entry level college graduates.  All of the experienced workers from across the nation faced lay offs, and guess what?  They came to Oklahoma for jobs...even jobs that they wouldn't want, such as secretarial and administrative jobs.  And the college kids like me?  We were stuck waiting tables, waiting for our turn to jump on any ladder that had nothing to do with sales.  And believe me, there weren't any at the time.

I only had two interviews in that first year after college, after applying at hundreds of places.  I finally remember telling God, "Okay, I get it.  I'm not going anywhere.  You want me to wait?  I'll wait."  Within a month I was told of an opportunity with On Demand Books.  My music minister and friend, Darrell, let me know about it.  I was one of three people interviewed, and I got the job.

Sadly, the company had to close their locations, and mine was the first to go.  It was just the wrong time to introduce printing and publishing when iPads and Kindles were taking over the market.  Print readership is down and will continue to decline, so in all reality, I shouldn't have been surprised.  My professors warned me of things like this in 2007 when I entered the journalism program at UCO.  They were right.  It's only going to continue changing, and traditional media is going to die out if it doesn't evolve with the rest of the world.

So, after being let go, I was ready for the long haul.  I knew it could be a while before I found a job that would provide for my family like I needed.  But a week later, God came through.  It had nothing to do with me.  In fact, the less I worry about what I have no control over, the more room for God to do something amazing. I'm excited to see what He will do with this one.  :)

Two or three years ago, I would be having a mental and emotional breakdown over this.  I would be destroyed.  But I'm grateful for the growth that I couldn't achieve without Him.  The peace I have right now is not of me.  It isn't my nature.  I'm a neurotic and obsessive person.  I'm a control freak.  But when I let these things go and put them in His hands, I'm free.  I can only do what I can, and believe me, I'm applying for jobs and looking for ways to provide for my family, but I also know that what God wants for me will happen.  I cannot change His will, and freaking out and acting out of desperation only tells Him that I don't believe He'll take care of me.

I'm glad He has taken care of me over the past few years, and I'm glad for the peace He gives me now.  I'm glad I'm not in control.  I don't want to be.