Friday, May 8, 2009

For such a time as this

Most important, no, no baby yet.

Just been spending my time nesting and resting.

And then there was the stress of what to write for my 500th post.

Something other than the fact that my dentist will love me at my next visit.

I am officially addicted to lime water with crushed ice.

That I like to chew.

In fact, I am out of limes right now and the withdrawals are killing me.

Thankfully, I put off the post long enough to have an inspiration the other night. I had already considered my thoughts below, but then I gathered even more insight as I finished up my Esther study this past Tuesday.

May marks the 1st anniversary of our move to small town east Texas. A move that I fretted and pouted over for almost 2 years. If you count the time my husband spent commuting before our move could happen. A move that had me leave behind everything that I had had long enough to make leaving incredibly difficult. Church, friends, neighborhood, kids' school, job.

While I do understand the value of a small town in general, for the most part, this small town doesn't really do much for me. Other than the fact that we live .7 miles from my husband's parents and that my kids soak up much attention as their only grandkids. I also understand the value coming here holds for my husband and his growth with his company.

But the indefiniteness of how long we will be here leaves me with a continuous restless feeling. I want the short-term plan. He would be happy with the long-term plan.

Leaving there and coming here left me pretty low for months. I am not afraid to call it by its name. Depression. The really low kind. The kind that found me close to taking medication for. I didn't, but only because my mind was clear enough to be thinking about another possible pregnancy in the very near future.

Imagine that?!

I can't remember a day that I didn't cry for at least 6 months. Although less frequent, it still happens even now.

Church was almost the hardest place to be. It was as if Satan met me at the door each time. And here in small town east Texas, that means 3 times a week. The feeling of being stuck in a time warp. The stagnant aroma of worship. The lack of relationships among couples/families our age. What made it harder, is that I have known and been loved by many in that church for 10 years. I just never had to worship there longer than a weekend before. It has been a suffocating experience for me.

I had pretty much shut off my direct line to God as well. I felt abandoned in Him allowing circumstances to work out that brought us here. What had happened to all my prayers about it working out a different way?

And when you are doing work you don't particularly enjoy, have a church that doesn't feel comfortable, and don't really have anyone to call a friend, you wallow. You wallow in self-pity, self-doubt, self-anything.

In October, I did get a job working with kids in a school district. I don't find it ideal because working for a school district means your hands are tied at times by policies and regulations. Plus, it was a whole learning curve for me. But I have been welcomed there and given the opportunity to continue my 2 day per week work schedule that I prefer. So, I do my best to give the kids what I can offer and try to feel good about that.

My kids have settled into their schools. There is always seems to be a birthday party to attend for my son. And my daughter has secured a few good friends. One that has allowed me to make a friend. A friend that completely understands how I feel as they moved here from California this past December.

Church still feels hard. I still tear up from time to time while there. But along the way, I felt the nudging. The nudging that means if you want things to change then you have to do it yourself. Believe me, I ignored it as long as I could. I fought it. I argued against it.

And then I even accepted the nudge. But very begrudgingly.

We spent a little time with another couple at church. We shared similar reservations and struggles and I felt pretty comfortable talking to her. Beginnings are always hard. What do you share? What do you not? Who is safe? Who isn't? And all that goes with beginnings.

In the end, the nudge was a clear directive from God.

Start a bible study. Make the effort. Fake it until you make it.

Well, maybe that last one is mine! :)

So, I initiated a bible study. I chose my all time favorite. Beth Moore.

God chose Esther for me.

I even prevailed through announcements like "Stacey will be teaching a class on Esther." (my goal was to get people out of the mindset that this was a class) or questions of "Is it a (our denomination) study/author?". That last one was the hardest to bite my tongue on, but I did.

I was determined to bring bible study to life for some people. Determined to help some people realize that this was about a relationship with Jesus, with God, with each other and not about doctrine or facts.

Don't get me wrong. One of the things I love most about Beth's studies are all the wonderful facts that I would probably never discover on my own. But what I love most is how rich they are in both learning the facts and discovering the message. The message God has just for me. Just for you.

And frankly, I was feeling every bit of "It's tough being a woman" and was ready to know why!

Of course, I learned so so very much. But the obvious A HA moment for me was Esther 4:14, ...."And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?".

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that this is about me. It is about what God can do. If I let Him. What would happen if I refused "such a time as this"?

Let me share with you some the things that revealed the most to me over the last nine weeks and see if it makes more sense. Everything below is either taken directly from the study book or from the DVD sessions. None of it is mine to claim.

* Sometimes we expect the path of our destiny to feel different; revealed differently.

* You want to fulfill your dreams. God wants to you to fulfill His destiny for you.

* God is as purposeful in what He does not reveal as He is in what He does-He is intentional.

* You are one decision away from changing your destiny or story.

* God's patience always involves His passion.

* Esther shows us that ordinary events are never coincidental in the lives of God's people.

* Try to grasp that we are the only reminder some people ever get that God lives, forgives, loves, and remains in control.

* Ephesians 1:11, Philippians 2:13 & Romans 8:28

* Jesus is never overwhelmed by you.
(thank goodness!)

So, life here is not perfect. It is not my heart's desire. I still miss terribly everything and everyone I left.

But I am trying to be a little bit happy. My kids are happy. I get to love on one more very soon. We have some security in very unsecure times. I have a friend or two to talk with. I am trying to be optimistic that God is using me to encourage relationships at church and not using my situation as my punishment.

And I am frequently reminded that although I left a place I would rather be, my friendships are still constant.

God is still constant.

Did I forget to mention that this would be a long one?! :)



Jennifer said...

wow, I love your honesty and am heartbroken for you over your saddness. I can see how you are so homesick and miss your life here. I'm proud of you though for taking matters into your own hands and for allowing God to prick your heart. You are an amazing person, an amazing friend! Praying that you feel more settled soon! ....and that baby comes soon too!

Jennifer said...

Okay, I just reread what I wrote and it sounds like of weird......."taking matters into your own hands" and then " allowing God to prick your heart" I meant that it's great that you took charge and lead the Bible study. Good for you! And then for being open to God's calling on what you should do while there. Sounds weird but it made sense in my head!

Kimmy said...

Stacey, this post spoke so much to my own experience, and honestly, I had no idea you were going through similar struggles that I have been for the past two years since we moved from one location to another. I'll try to send you an e-mail with more details, but I must want to let you know that reading all of this encouraged me immensely. I'll continue to pray for the safe delivery of your son. Blessings to you . . . God is USING you!!!

Mommy Cracked said...

I had no idea how hard this past year has been for you. It makes me sad to think of YOU being sad. I do pray you will feel better and better as the days go by. I will say that I can completely identify in some ways because I feel like my life is just not working out like I planned. And then I am reminded it's not MY plan, but His. And while it all sounds so easy, it's just not.

Anxiously awaiting news on the little guy's arrival. You are in my thougts and prayers!

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

Amen and amen!! I know how you feel. It's been really hard for me too and I still find myself in tears at times when I dwell on the past. Because of my recent illness, I hadn't been to church in almost a month. When I went yesterday, I found myself comparing it to our old church.

The Esther study was excellent for women in our situation. I learned so much from it as well. God is so faithful to us, isn't He?

I'm glad you are starting to make inroads and connections there. It takes a while. I'm still working on that one. All this is to say that I get it and you are not alone in this boat. Thank God we have Jesus, right?

Shannon said...

You have left me speechless. And teary-eyed, trying to prevent the "ugly cry". I love you and thank God for bringing you into my life. From reading the other comments, it sounds like new friendships are being built as you faithfully serve. Congratulations on completing the Esther study. Those Beth Moore books are an undertaking and you did it while finishing up pregnancy!!!

Martie said...

What a remarkable post. Thank you for sharing your experience.

And wow. "You are one decision away from changing your destiny or story." There is nothing I needed to hear more right now. Thank you for helping me to make a huge choice I am facing.

My best to you,


Cara said...

Not the main topic of your post- but I was addicted to lemon water with ice, that I would chew, when I was pg with Hannah, through that winter (she was born in the fall) and the next summer. I forced myself to stop it once the next fall came, since it's too cold!

Enjoy those nice oxytocin nursing hormones with your little one. They help a lot ♥

Anonymous said...

Perfect post!